Saturday, May 16, 2009

Metacritic's All-Time Worst-Reviewed Films

I've expressed before how the process we go through to form an impression of a movie can sometimes be quite delicate. Seeing a comedy in a full theater and hearing roars of laughter may make a movie funnier than if you were to watch it alone. If the theater malfunctions at some point and alters the sound or picture, or if the same thing happens when watching from the comfort of your home, it can ruin the viewing experience. Watching trailers can sometimes give away too much of a film. And reading reviews or hearing buzz about movies can sometimes give you either high or low expectations before seeing a movie. So many factors can contribute.

As far as movie reviews go, however, I never resort to a single source. The power of averages that Metacritic provides is hard to least most of the time. Let's take a look at some of the movies that Metacritic has included in it's "Worst-Review Movies," keeping in mind that they use a 100-point scale...

#196: Saving Silverman (Rating: 22) - No Jack Black movie should be included in this list, and that even includes The Neverending Story III and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I admit that this movie is one of those comedies that gets funnier the more times that you see it, but some of the reviews are definitely unwarranted, like the ZERO received from The San Francisco Chronicle: "The movie can barely muster the bravery to be even 'Dude, Where's my Car?' stoopid."

#164: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Rating: 21) - (See above)

#83: Half Baked (Rating: 16) - My question is did movie critics actually expect to be moved by this movie? It's a stoner comedy, lighten up! A ZERO from the Washington Post: "Someone definitely inhaled too much before making this one." Umm...yeah, that's the point broseph.

#80: Billy Madison (Rating: 16) - For this one, let's look at the deserved low-rated movies that are rated ABOVE Billy Madison: #182: Christmas with the Kranks, #172: Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, #163: Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, #141: Corky Romano, #139: Digimon: The Movie, #125: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, and to top it off, #113: Gigli.

I literally just watched this last night because I feel obligated to put it on whenever it's on TV...and 500 viewings later, I was still laughing out loud!

#51: Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist (Rating: 14) - If you haven't seen this one, it's a spoof of martial arts films. It definitely had some dumb parts (like a Matrix-style fight scene with a Cow), but I found it entertaining.

#34: Cocktail (Rating: 12) - No way! Tom Cruise 80's movie starring Elisabeth Shue? How'd this get on here? My own opinions aside, however, I do like the review that the WSJ gave though: "This one could bring back Prohibition."


#1: Biodome (Rating: 1) - I don't know how this is at #1 because it's the best Pauly Shore movie ever made...oh wait, that's why. Still though...I went to see this movie in the theater for my friend's 10th or 11th birthday party and loved it. Also, Tenacious D made a cameo appearance, so the rating should be boosted atleast 50 points just for that. Honestly though, I couldn't really see a more fitting film to fill in the honor of this title.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Philadelphia Union

My feelings about the MLS, Major League Soccer, the league formed here in the USA, are mixed. I believe that the competition in European leagues, particularly the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, is far superior. Everyone knows that "football" will always be much more popular in practically every country outside of the US. However, I am definitely pleased to see that the MLS has gained some popularity over the past few years, a defining moment of which was of course the enormous contract signed by David Beckham.

I think that another moment will increase the popularity of the MLS: the addition of a new team based in Philadelphia. Obviously I'm biased because I'm a Philly sports fan, but I don't think anyone can argue that Philly sports fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. Yes, they may be known more for their aggressive nature which will always be exemplified by the time snowballs were thrown at Santa at an Eagles game. But far worse things happen at soccer stadiums across Europe.

The news that a team will be formed in Philly is old news, but I bring it up because the team name and logo will officially be announced on Monday. Like practically anything that's trying to be kept under wraps, the information has already been leaked onto the web. The team will be known as "Philadelphia Union" with a blue and gold logo containing a snake (don't tread on me).

I look forward to finally having a team that I can get behind in the MLS next year and seeing the new stadium that they'll play in. Chances are they'll cause heartbreak, but that's inevitable; they're a Philly team.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Karate Kid Remake - A Travesty

The Karate Kid can not be redone...plain and simple. Here's why:
  • Mr. Miyagi is one of the most well-known and well-loved characters in film history
  • Ralph Macchio, I'm sure, can't walk around in public to this day without someone yelling "Daniel-san," "Ay Laruso!" or "Look! It's the Karate Kid!" He is the Karate Kid.
  • A big reason why The Karate Kid is great is the fact that it's so 80's - wardrobe, music, hairstyles, etc. Can you imagine someone trying to remake Top Gun? Also, There's no possible way that you can top the montage with "You're the Best" playing in the background.
And yet...Will Smith can't see these obvious points. By now, I'm sure, you've heard about the remake that he's producing, starring his son Jaden as the star. And Jackie Chan will be playing Mr. Miyagi. I mean...are you serious?

That's not are a few of the other apparent details regarding this remake:
  • There were rumors that it would instead be called The Kung Fu Kid. Sounds ridiculous, but this would actually make sense considering the setting for the movie will be in China. Though it was more or less adapted from martial arts in China, Karate is known to have an origin in Japan, not China. "Kung Fu" translates to Chinese Martial arts. However, rather than respecting this ENORMOUS difference that is understood between the two countries and the rest of the world, the movie is apparently still going to be called The Karate Kid.
  • Though Jackie Chan is basically playing the character of Mr. Miyagi, his character name will be "Mr. Han." Jaden Smith's character name will not be will be Dre. *sigh* Pat Morita is probably rolling in his grave.
Obviously, I will not be going to see this movie, whenever it's released next year. I hope you're with me...let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer Movies - June 09

It's gradually transitioning into consistent warm weather here in the Northeast...which means it'll soon be the best time to sit in dark, enclosed theaters for hours! It's already May if you can believe it so I'm going to break down the next few months, starting with June, with my humble opinion of the summer blockbusters...

What to see:

- The Hangover (Release: June 5) - You know how sometimes you see a trailer for a comedy and then you see the entire movie and realize that the best part is in the trailer? Well I'm fairly certain that the best part of this movie is in the trailer - see for yourselves below (hint: it's at the end). However, I have faith in this comedy because there are a few hilarious guys in the cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. And it's directed by Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School)

- Dead Snow (Release: June 12) - Kids go on a ski vacation and end up in a battle with Nazi zombies. Give me one reason why you wouldn't want to see this. It's actually a Norwegian comedy-horror movie that obviously has no serious intentions, was shown at Sundance, and it'll be released here in the US next month.

- Food, Inc. (Limited Release: June 12) - A trend has slowly moved across our country that shouldn't be a trend and thus this movie. And that trend is people are starting to pay more attention to what food they buy and eat. Many people go food shopping without putting much thought into it when in reality, what you buy can have serious implications. A good quote in this trailer is, "When we move an item across a scanner, we're voting...for local, or, or not..." You might get a bit more out of this documentary than Dead Snow, but I'm open to debate on that.

- Year One (Release: June 19) - Everyone seems pretty excited about this one and though I tend to be a bit pessimistic approaching movie releases, I'm really pulling for my man Jack Black here. The one thing that concerns me is that this is rated PG-13. However, Nacho Libre was rated PG and that was a masterpiece.

- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Release: June 24) - Now I'm not going to claim this as the movie to see this summer or anything...but I'm still going to see it. I found the first one entertaining and not just because Megan Fox was in it. Also, I was able to circle the set of this movie last year in Bethlehem, PA (I got Optimus Prime's autograph). Michael Bay's only really good for explosions and action, which I'm 100% OK with.

Will probably be disappointing:

- Land of the Lost (Release: June 5) - I'm on edge about this one. We all know that Will Ferrell is a bit too liberal in his choice of comedies. I'd probably completely dismiss it if Danny McBride (Hot Rod, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder) wasn't in the cast. I also am not sure of its rating; if it's PG, forget about it, though I'm thinking it'll be PG-13. When I first saw the trailer for it, I thought what pothead came up with this plot? And then I realized I wasn't alive in the 70's for its inception as a TV series. The other thing that throws me off is the director, Brad Silberling, who's directorial filmography, for the most part, can ironically be described by one of the movies he did: "A Series of Unfortunate Events." [Ay-o!] I also give him extra negative points for directing Nic Cage (City of Angels).

- The Taking of Pelham 123 (Release: June 12) - I hope that I'm wrong on this one, especially in light of the year that John Travolta has had, but I don't have a good feeling about this one. First of all, have you heard of it? Probably not...bad sign considering it's released in about a month. Second of all, I'm definitely not going to completely dismiss the work of director Tony Scott, but that's mostly just because he directed Top Gun and True Romance. Other than that, most of his work has been average action with big-name actors - Days of Thunder, The Fan, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, Domino. Because of that, and because the trailer didn't move me in the least bit, I'm not relying on the superstar cast of this movie: John Travolta, Denzel, John Turturro, Gandolfini. But that's just me.

Movies NOT to see:

- Imagine That (Release: June 12) - Eddie Murphy: why did you have to start doing lame movies? I didn't even read the plot on this one...all I saw was that it stars Eddie Murphy and it's rated PG, and we all know where that's going.

- Tennessee (Release: Who Cares?) - If I really need to tell you that a Mariah Carey movie is going to be bad, I exile you from reading this blog.

Obviously I haven't covered EVERY movie that will be released in June, so feel free to comment on anything you're looking forward to (or not looking forward to)! Stay tuned for upcoming posts on July and August releases.

Monday, May 4, 2009

T-Mobile Public Ads

It's comforting and entertaining to see genuine reactions from regular people, which is why hidden camera ads and ads based on guerilla marketing have grown in popularity. T-mobile has launched a couple of creative, inspiring advertisements with the tagline, "Life's for sharing," based on public displays in the UK.

These campaigns were created by the worldwide advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi who follows the motto, "Nothing is Impossible." A quick look through their site shows that this worldwide agency is very creative and their work will definitely grab your attention.

Here's the first video that featured a group of choreographed dancers, performing suddenly in a Liverpool station:

The video, captured by hidden cameras around the station, was cut down and featured on prime time on a UK TV station, as was this second video from London at Trafalgar Square just last week. This video only features one song, though apparently multiple songs were sung that day: