Watch This Not That

Watch This…

Olympus Has Fallen

olympus-has-fallen-gerard-butler-aaron-eckhartLast year two White House terrorist movies were released.  As far as quality movies go, Olympus Has Fallen was able to combine humor, action and familial love effortlessly. Brining in a high profile cast, the movie had stronger characters brought to life by a talented cast. Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Ashley Judd, Angela Basset, and to round things out Morgan Freeman gave life to the terrorist crisis. Director Antoine Fugua was able to focus on the action while mixing in emotions and humor without losing sight of the film’s plot.  Exciting, engaging, and entertaining Olympus Has Fallen has gotten a sequel to take place in London. Here’s hoping the team can recreate that same style.


…Not That

White House Down

816rBuBLsjL._SL1500_While it had a bigger gross at the box office (and a way bigger budget), White House Down falls short at fulfilling its scope in an emotional and exciting way. One of the biggest problems is that Channing Tatum is not a good actor. He’s good looking (I’d watch him in Magic Mike all day long) but he is not a quality actor. The movie also meanders along and it’s quite sure where it is going and when to end.  It’s heavy on the FX and that is what really steals the show. Like so many Roland Emmerich movies, this one looks good but fails at being a quality film.



Watch This…


300-Rise-of-an-Empire_zpsf2428956_1398972388300 took a graphic novel and made an inspiring underdog story and entertaining film. It didn’t focuses on gore, and Zack Snyder gave it a distinctive color palate to help mimic the look of a graphic novel. Mostly unknown Gerard Butler showed us he could be an action hero and Olympus Has Fallen continues to show that. Rounded out with Lena Headey and Dominic West, the movie’s cast captures the emotion of the characters without being sappy.  Well thought out and smart, the film stands on its own merits—even if it isn’t very factual.


…Not That

300: Rise of an Empire

300-rise-of-an-empire-movie-poster-3The problem with this sequel is that it is a spectacle movie. Rise of an Empire is not about the story, it’s not about the character; it’s about getting your attention with blood, gore and nudity.  Director Noam Murro tries to outdo himself adding in special filtering techniques and using slow motion way too often. Unlike the first film, it’s not a story of an underdog to inspire the ages. It just wants to push the envelope. Sorry it takes more than Eva Green’s breasts to entertain me.

By The Book

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The modern YA craze that started with Harry Potter and Twilight isn’t slowing down. Studios are pushing forward making movies of the most popular young adult fare. But for every The Hunger Games there is a Beautiful Creatures.  The movies can’t always live up to the original material. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is one such film.

The-Mortal-Instruments-City-of-Bones-Book-CoverThe City of Bones follows Clary an ordinary human with an ordinary life. But when she sees gorgeous and dangerous Jace, her life changes forever. Jace is a Shadow Hunter, a group of human who have angel ancestry and fight demons who wish to do harm the human realm. Clary is one of the few people who can see the Shadow Hunters, and she joins Jace one their journey in an effort to unlock a secret past and a part of herself she is never known.

The book looks at the coming of age story through a magical lens. Instead of teenage angst, the books focuses on Clary as she learns that she is a demon hunter and possesses the talent to wield magic and take out the unwanted of the supernatural world. Learning about her true self is a perfect allegory for teenage life without being overly depressing. She must deal with learning her true talents, learns her mother isn’t perfect, and falls in love-all typical teenage life events. The script takes no time with these ideas. Even the most complex ideas, like sexuality, are pared down into a few lines and then forgotten leaving the movie without any emotion. Either the ideas should have been explored in greater time or left out completely.

Another huge difference between the book and the movie is that the film depicts all the characters one dimensional. Isabelle is always uptight and bitchy, Alec is cowardly, and Simon is Nerdy, and so on. By downplaying the emotional material from the books the characters are not able to be fully formed. And many of their roles are down played. Magnus Bane is truly the source from which Clary was able to train her powers; he gets about five minutes of The_Mortal_Instruments_-_City_of_Bones_Posterscree n time and is only responsible for her lack of memory. Plus, the casting director didn’t bother to read the descriptions of some of the characters when casting it. Isabelle is described as gorgeous, raven haired with brown eyes so dark they seem black, and tall-taller than most of the boys. Her actress is none of these.   While Jamie Campbell Bower was the perfect Jace, the other characters were miscast. Lily Collins and Lena Headey both lacked any drive or used any skill to portray their characters (that surprises me of Headey). The only change worth making was the local palm reader: it is never a mistake to cast CCH Pounder in anything.

The most unusual thing about the movie version of the books, it that is spoils the rest of the saga for anyone who hasn’t read past City of Bones. While most fans have read the saga, some viewers like me are just getting into the series. You learn in the film the Star Wars like twist has even another twist later in the series. As a reader, this will make my experience with the books less enjoyable. But, honestly, if you’ve the movie you will be discouraged from reading the book.

This is the saddest things when movies based on books are badly done; people are less likely to pick up the book. This is a shame because the book is better 99 percent of the time.