Groundbreaking “Effect(s)”

Avatar (2009)

From the Na’vi themselves to the dozens of species that exist on Pandora as well as the geography of the entire landmass, “Avatar” can almost immediately be summed up as a groundbreaking film in terms of special effects. Released in 2009, this one looked like James Cameron hit a home run on certain levels.

*SPOILERS*

To me, the story of “Avatar” seemed pretty cliched. A main character (Sully) thrust into the wild by the majority; he/she encounters the unknown or less-advanced population (Na’vi), forms an unlikely alliance and together, they take on the stronger majority, and thus a “new hero” is born out of it. Even so it’s still an emotional investment that can keep you wanting to know what follows after every sequence. Apart from that, the acting is decent enough, but not the main aspect of the film.

What really was the stand-out aspect, and I’m sure almost everyone will agree with me, is the utilization of special effects. I’m not always a fan of CGI sometimes because it can divert the audience’s attention from the plot, but in this case, James Cameron really made it work. Since this film takes place on the fictional Pandora setting, it’s pretty obvious that visual effects would come into play and I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure most of you did too.

With all that said, “Avatar” to me really is that special film that seems ahead of its time. Definitely not the best film ever made, but a groundbreaking one for sure. If you still haven’t seen it, I most certainly encourage you too. It’s long, but it’s visually stunning as a big payoff.

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The Two Towers (G #10)

Gollum

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Gollum has good days… and he has bad days.

“BFFF?”

Pineapple Express (2008)

I’m a fan of Seth Rogen. Or should I say I’m a fan of his movies. From the ones I’ve seen so far, he always brings “IT,” one way or another in order to make people laugh whether it’s by himself or with his co-star(s). Whether it be the hilarious bromance we see or the insatiable desire for drugs, “Pineapple Express” delivers comedy altogether.

I don’t do drugs myself, but that does’t mean I have to in order to be able to laugh at the jokes and humor that even James Franco brings to the table. James for me was the real stand-out aspect of the film. Up until the time this film came out, I only used to remember him as the 2nd “Green Goblin,” but upon watching this I thought, “Wow, this guy is actually really funny.”

*SPOILERS*

No matter how stoned or clueless Franco’s character Saul is, you can’t help but love the guy. The way he bounces off of the supposed bromance that he shares with Dale (Rogen), to inadvertently getting him into trouble with Ted and the police and ironically being the one to get him out of it, Franco pretty much stole the show. That’s why this movie seemed different for me; because Franco actually made me laugh more than Rogen did. Surprisingly the film also seemed well shot from a director’s standpoint. It made every scene look all the more dramatic than it probably should’ve since this is a comedy we’re talking about.

The title itself is more of a laugh too since every scene that involves use of the titular drug either has something hilarious in it or ends up getting Dale and Saul into even more “misadventures,” if we can even call it that. From Dale panicking after witnessing Ted commit murder, to the cat and mouse game involving Craig Robinson and Kevin Corrigan, to the hilarious fight scene involving Danny McBride, to a disastrous car chase scene, to the final shoot-out act, “Pineapple Express” should deliver enough entertainment if you want to enjoy a comedy without having to do drugs in order to laugh.

Shaun of the Dead (G #9)

Shaun 1

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost at their finest.

No Country for Old Men (G #8)

No Country gif

No Country for Old Men (2007)

NOBODY could’ve played this role better than the way Javier Bardem did. He was freakishly scary, ironically philosophical, but a crazed killer boss.

“Time just gets away from us”

True Grit (2010)

Well crafted, well acted, well directed, etc, “True Grit” is such a good film in my book. While I never read the actual book nor saw the original 1969 film, this version looks like it was handled with the best production possible and the best set of directors, the Coen Brothers. I’m a really big fan of their films and what I really noted about this one in particular, was how straight-forward the film was when it came to being just a “western.”

*SPOILERS*

It’s pretty much a simple story. Mattie goes after her father’s murder and meets Cogburn and LaBeouf and their journey becomes a bit of an adventure as they try to locate Tom Chaney. Everybody fit their roles perfectly and you could tell they brought their A-game whether it’s Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges or Matt Damon. There aren’t really any kinds of “dark” themes present in the film which is what I alluded to earlier when I mentioned that it was surprising that the Coen Brothers directed this film.

They’re known for maker their films with a darker or more violent tone, but regardless this was still another fine masterpiece from them in my view. Eventually I want to see the original film and even read the book too, but for now all I’ll say is that “True Grit” is a western extravaganza. Enough said.

School of Rock (G #7)

Diet

School of Rock (2003)

The logic of Dewey Finn