Friday, April 19, 2013

The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

Number Rolled: 20
Movie Name/Year: The Call of Cthulhu (2005)
Genre: Horror
Length: 46 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Andrew Leman
Writer: H.P. Lovecraft, Sean Braney
Actors: Matt Foyer, John Bolen, Ralph Lucas, Chad Fifer, Susan Zucker, Kalafatic Poole, John Klemantaski, Jason Owens, D. Grigsby Poland, David Mersault, Barry Lynch, Dan Novy, Daryl Ball, John Joly, Jason Peterson, Matthew Malcomson

This movie is not a new remake of the story of Cthulhu, it is the movie version of the original short story written by H.P. Lovecraft. The nephew of a professor that had been researching the cult of Cthulhu is followed by this story. Slowly he learns about the cult and that cult believes the day the old one will rise is nearing and that he will rule the Earth. As he nears the end of his own life, he makes a desperate plea to his psychiatrist to destroy the records.

I have to admit, I absolutely hated this movie, but I feel unqualified to critique it. I hadn’t realized when I added it to my instant queue that it was a silent film and in black and white. I should have, because it does say so right on the cover – but I overlooked that.

In the past you’ve seen me state that people that hate a certain type of movie shouldn’t review that type of movie and I, personally, hate silent movies. So I feel uncomfortable adding a review. The story itself is the classic, and so if you like that kind of thing and you like the silent movie genre, watch it.

I will say that this is the first movie I’ve ever seen have a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That alone is kind of impressive.

I’m giving it a medium-rating for the sake of the blog, but don’t put any stake in it.

Overall Opinion – 2.5/5

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fat Kid Rules the World (2012)

Number Rolled: 93
Movie Name/Year: Fat Kid Rules the World (2012)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Matthew Lillard
Writer: Jacob Wysocki
Actors: Dylan Arnold, Billy Campbell, Megan Day, Sean Donavan, Jeffrey Doornbos, Vivan Dugre, Julian Gavilanes, Russell Hodgkinson, Heidi Korndorffer, Matt O’Leary, Lili Simmons, Brian Sutherland

Troy is an overweight, self-conscious, depressed, high-school student. So depressed, in fact, that he’s decided to walk in front of a bus and end his life. Out of nowhere comes Marcus, an out-there drop out who takes an interest in him. He convinces Troy that they are going to start a punk band, but several things stand in their way. Not the least of which is Troy’s father’s growing suspicion about his son’s new friend.

Matthew Lillard is one of my all-time favorite actors, so when I had the option of seeing a movie he’d directed, I added it to my Instant Queue immediately. This is Lillard’s first directed full length movie, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a mix of “Angus” and “SLC Punk!;” maybe I should be annoyed at that, but I loved both movies and this one still managed to have a brand new creative feel to it.

All that aside, it’s easy to tell that this is Lillard’s first time. There were some minor continuity issues with the scenes among other things. However, I also think it was a highly successful first. I’ve seen the first works of some much more well known directors and been left with the feeling I was mislead by seeing their name credited. I feel that even after Lillard’s directorial talent is honed and smoothed out, I’ll still be able to look back at this movie without those negative feelings.

It was quick to start, then slowed down, then picked up speed again. I feel as though perhaps there were scenes cut from the book that might have been helpful. I don’t know for certain because I haven’t read it. It’s possible the parts I felt were missing something, stem from there.

Just an off-note? I recognize that people could watch this movie and think of the story as one they couldn’t relate to or was way too out there. I had a friend in high school, though, that was JUST like Marcus. And the ending of the movie was pretty damn close to how it happened in real life. So when I was reading the other reviews and seeing people say how fake it seemed I was just like, “Look, that dipshit called my life fake. I kind of want to flip him off.”

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

Monday, April 15, 2013

Paper Man (2009)

Number Rolled: 81
Movie Name/Year: Paper Man (2009)
Genre: Drama
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney
Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, Hunter Parrish

Jennifer Lawrence said that she never once considered defeat. She said that was why she believed she became successful. After watching “Paper Man” today, for my blog, I realize that as much as my heart goes to writing; as much as it's always been the only thing I've ever wanted to do; I've never considered anything but defeat. It never crossed my mind once, “what if I succeed?”

I looked up to my Uncle Steven my entire life. He never made tons of money and he was never famous, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t have balls. My uncle is a writer; in my opinion, a really good writer. I’ve read all his books, twice, and all his short stories. When I started writing, he would talk to me about the industry, and his intentions were really good. For all the good he meant to do, though, all he managed to do was scare me.

He prepared me for the world, made sure I didn’t go into anything with naivety. Warned me all the time that my first work likely wouldn’t be accepted anywhere, or my third, or my twelfth. He pointed to the first sentence of his novel and told me that was the most important thing in the entire book: the first sentence. He said that I could write like Shakespeare but no one would ever know it unless I got them to read. That first sentence was the most important line in any book, because that line is what would breed interest or boredom into a new reader.

To a new writer, maybe also to seasoned writers, a blank page is the most frightening thing in the whole world. When I have a mind full of ideas and I look at a fresh new page in Microsoft Word, it’s like I forget how to type. Anything can distract me. Anything looks preferable to that open-ended, imposing, blank page. Add to that the belief that the very first sentence I write on that page will make or break everything else, and I become paralyzed with that fear.

The rest of my family didn’t help. Watching my mother and my aunt respond to my uncle’s first published eBook was painful. It was a long time ago, but I still remember nearly the exact words used. “Oh, so it’s not really published.” Down the line it was followed by, “Will you be publishing a real book?” I understand that it was ignorance of technology that bred those comments, but that doesn’t take the sting out of it.

Later on, when participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), I made the mistake of mentioning it over dinner with my family. I was asked what the novel was about and how long it had to be. When I told them that it would likely go over the 50,000 word minimum, my aunt’s response was, “So it’s a novelette?” I corrected her, and we went back and forth like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for a minute before I gave up and decided it wasn’t worth it.

I never revisited that novel again. I scrapped it as another unfinished project that was a failure waiting to happen.

“Paper Man” was a movie about a writer with writers block, his imaginary friend and a girl. He has dealt with a person who meant well (his wife), but was really not all that supportive – in the long run – of his methods or his goals. That kind of thing scars your soul. When people you love remind you every day how easy it is to fail, it becomes impossible to contemplate success.

I’m lucky enough to have a fiancĂ© and some very close friends that think I can do anything. People who have sat me down and tried to tell me that I can accomplish what I want; that I’m good enough. As much as their words mean to me, that scar on my soul from being told so long to be afraid, that it’s all too hard, too unlikely, is still there. No one can control how a person feels when they face themselves in the mirror, or how a writer feels when faced with a blank page.

I’m not claiming this movie magically healed me. All I’m saying is that it inspired me at such a depth, that I feel like I can look at the next blank page and power through the fear and possible failure; that I can think that all-too-important thought, “what if I succeed?”

This movie was fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t in it, but her quote fit my needs. Jeff Daniels, Lisa Kudrow, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Kieran Culkin were amazing in their parts. The story was unique and completely engulfed me.

It had its faults, but I don’t intend to take any points off for that. Any movie that can affect me at this level becomes an instant favorite of mine.

I started this blog because it gave me a safe place to write about something I loved without actually putting myself and my ideas out there to be judged. How interesting it is that this blog is what has led me back to where I wanted to go.

See you on Wednesday, right now I have a confrontation with a blank page to get to.

Overall Opinion – 5/5