Opinion Guys http://www.opinionguys.com Entertainment and Tech News Sat, 31 Dec 2011 01:02:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 27958046 Paul’s Favorite Films of 2011 http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/12/pauls-favorite-films-of-2011/ http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/12/pauls-favorite-films-of-2011/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 18:58:43 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=88 At the end of the year, I like to list my favorite movies of the year.  I go through the list of movies that I saw in theaters (new ones only, not counting the Cult Classics that I managed to see on the big screen, like Ghostbusters), and then I just list the ones that really struck a chord with me.  I’ll admit, my number one moviegoing experience for the year wasn’t necessarily an entire movie.  In fact, it’s going to be my favorite movie of 2012, and the film’s second half will be my favorite movie of 2013.  That doesn’t mean that other movies shouldn’t be considered up there with it, just that they’ll always be my second choice to these.  This list is going to be sorted into categories such as favorite overall, because to list them in any particular order is dangerous.  I like different movies for different reasons, so that’s how I thought to sort the movies out this year.

Overall best moviegoing experience of 2011

The Announcement Trailer for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Yes, it was just a trailer for the first part of the upcoming Hobbit movie.  But it had enough to bring me back into Middle-earth and prepare me for the return to that world in a little less than one year’s time.  It included everything from an introduction to new characters, to the theme of the dwarves, with new music by composer Howard Shore.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the soundtrack, and look forward to this movie more than any other.  Watch the trailer, and enjoy it, then watch it again, and close your eyes, and listen to the music in the background.  Some of it was from the Lord of the Rings, sure, because it’s in Hobbiton and has to remind you of that music.  But then the Misty Mountain song starts, and it doesn’t end with their singing.  It keeps going, the melodies from the singing are played throughout the rest of it, and it is majestic.

Overall top five films for 2011

1. The Muppets

They’re back and this movie was the most fun I’ve had from beginning to end, in a long time.  It recaptured the old Henson magic and managed to bring great characters back to the fore.  Family friendly and fun for all, this movie captured my heart and I want more.  I want the return of The Muppet Show and I want more great Muppet movies.

2. Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg have created a love story for film and filmmaking.  I love this movie! Read my Super 8 review

3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

My list, my choices.  Transformers was awesome, and this one was my favorite of the three Michael Bay films.  Now there’s rumor that he’ll be back at the helm for Transformers 4… I was hoping for someone that cared as much about the franchise as Jason Segal does for the Muppets, but with the success of these films it looks like we’ll be waiting a long time for that.  That said, this is a personal favorite of mine.

4. War Horse

Steven Spielberg has done it again.  He’s captured magic in the lense of the camera, with incredible cinematography and composition, the film is a testament to the human spirit.  Sure, it’s about a horse, but it’s about more than that.  Courage, bravery, companionship, honor, loyalty, friendship and family.  It’s a very deliberate movie, but it is meant to be so.  It’s everything it needs to be, and doesn’t claim to be any more than that.

5. The Way

Probably the one movie on this list that few readers will know about.  Starring Martin Sheen and directed by Emilio Estevez, this is a journey and sometimes difficult to watch, but a very good film that is worth your time.  By the end, you’ll want to make the same journey that Martin Sheen did.

Best Action Adventure Films of 2011

Not counting any that are in the overall, this is a list of my favorite action adventure films of 2011.  In alphabetic order.

Adventures of Tintin, The – Young Indiana Jones?  Very much so.  Spielberg has managed to recapture that spirit again, and I loved every minute

Captain America: The First Avenger – The Avengers can’t come soon enough.  This movie captured Captain America perfectly.  The character was spot on.

Cowboys & Aliens – Epic fun, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in a western with aliens.  Yes, Indiana Jones and James Bond.  Fun movie.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Non-stop from beginning to end.  Tense action sequences with some laughs to break things up.  My favorite Mission: Impossible movie so far.  (And this from someone that hated the first two.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Excellent Pirates film, and no Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley (not that they aren’t good in the pirates movies, but their characters’ stories were done).  This allowed Jack Sparrow to play in this world without yet another side story to take away from his adventures (though there were a couple).  It was fun and I hope the fifth is even better.

Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows – Almost didn’t make this list, thanks to Stephen Fry.  I don’t like his character in the film, and look forward to a restrained and unrecognizable Stephen Fry in The Hobbit.  I am not a fan of the man, because he mocks my religion openly.  That said, this was a better movie than the first, with Moriarty played in the right manner, not over the top, and a good nemesis for Holmes.

Thor – Solid introduction to the character and his world.  Looking forward to the Avengers.  Did I say that before?

Best Unexpected Surprise of 2011

Hugo – Based on a 2007 book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this film seemingly came out of nowhere.  It’s a very good film, though not for everybody.

Best Animated Films of 2011

These I put in order, because there aren’t very many.  This doesn’t include Tintin, which was also animated, for two reasons: it is listed above and it was motion captured and not animated by hand.

1. Winnie the Pooh – Recaptured the original spirit of Winnie the Pooh.  It was a fun movie that was entertaining and witty.  If you can overcome the mental block that Winnie the Pooh is ‘just for the youngest in the family’ then you’ll find you enjoy the deeper nuances of the characters in ways that you never thought you would.  As evidence of that, a very good and deeply spiritual man that I know reads the books by A.A. Milne practically every year.  Well done, Disney.

2. Kung Fu Panda 2 – Dreamworks has done it again.  They’ve proven that they’ve found the Pixar method of putting the characters and story first.  While they’re still pumping out films like Madagascar and Ice Age, they’ve now got a couple of series that they can really be proud of: How to Train your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda.  (Shrek, Madagascar and Ice Age all have their ups and downs, but Dreamworks seems to be taking extra care with these two franchises, which is also evidenced with Ice Age 3 actually being good.)

3. Arthur Christmas – Aardman has created some of my favorite movies with Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit and Flushed Away.  With Arthur Christmas, they’ve made a film that could become a Christmas classic.  It’s very similar to Disney’s Prep and Landing Christmas specials, but has its’ own take on the characters, showing the various generations of Santa Claus.  Very well done.

4. Cars 2 – Not Pixar’s best effort.  It was good, but not great.  Somehow a merely good Pixar movie feels like it’s worse than it actually is.  It’s a fun movie, has fun sequences in it, but overall it’s just good.  Looking forward to Pixar’s next film Brave a whole lot more.  Though I’m fairly certain they’ll be accused of going into the world of How to Train Your Dragon for that one, though it’s an entirely different film with a different story in a different world and country, with a little bit of the Robin Hood story mixed in.  On the part of Cars 2, however, I just thought it was a bit too much of Larry the Cable Guy’s Mater, and not enough of Lightning McQueen and the others from Radiator Springs.

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Best Movie Of All Time! http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/11/best-movie-of-all-time/ Wed, 02 Nov 2011 19:27:38 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=71

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the greatest movie of all time is the ORIGINAL Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita.  There are not any original ideas floating out there anymore and that is no more evident than the (horrific) remake of the original Karate Kid.  I was 9 years old when the karate kid came out.  I moved a lot when I was young.  I took martial arts at the YMCA.  I got bullied when I moved to a new school.  I grew up without a father.  I WAS THE KARATE KID in more than just one sense.

The way this movie builds and speaks to the vast majority of us is unequaled in today’s film industry.  The plot is more about life than it is about anything else.  Trying to fit in, the awkwardness of dating, and making your mark in this world are several of the underlying themes that make this a transcendent film.  We find ourselves rooting for…well…ourselves, and when the movie crescendo’s into what I consider the ultimate cinematic climax, we learn about overcoming our obstacles and embracing life’s hardships.  Are there more explosions, more romantic love scenes, more tear filled drama moments in other movies?  Yes, is there a better movie?  I humbly answer…NOOOOOOO!  For further evidence, watch this…



Wii U Final Format to be Released at E3 2012 http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/wii-u-final-format-to-be-released-at-e3-2012/ Fri, 28 Oct 2011 04:18:53 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=63 Nintendo’s next console, Wii U, was announced this year at E3.  It’s yet another revolution in console gaming that changes how games are played.  The Wii U uses a controller with a touch screen, and is also compatible with all of the Wii remotes.  As a big fan of Nintendo, I’m anticipating this release more than any other.  I’m hopeful that they make gaming with friends as easy as it is on Xbox 360.

“We are also planning to launch the Wii U, which is the successor to the Wii, during the next fiscal year. We would like to show the final format of the Wii U at the E3 show next year. As we learned a bitter lesson with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, we are trying to take every possible measure so that the Wii U will have a successful launch.” -Satoru Iwata

Via Nintendo.com

The Lorax Movie Trailer is Online http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/the-lorax-movie-trailer-is-online/ Fri, 28 Oct 2011 03:16:55 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=57 The Lorax is the next Dr. Seuss movie to be coming to the big screen.  A few years ago, Horton Hears a Who came out and did well enough that the studio decided to make more adaptations.  The Lorax is scheduled for release on March 2, 2012 and features the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, and Betty White.

Steven Spielberg on Jurassic Park 4 http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/steven-spielberg-on-jurassic-park-4/ Fri, 28 Oct 2011 02:49:26 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=54 I love the Jurassic Park movies, if for no other reason than I get to see Dinosaurs on the big screen.  Sure, the stories weakened as the series went on, but each film brought in different dinosaurs that we hadn’t seen before.  Now there is talk that a fourth Jurassic Park has been planned, and there’s a screenwriter that is hard at work on the script.

In an interview with Empire, director Steven Spielberg said: “The screenplay is being written right now by Mark Protosevich. I’m hoping that will come out in the next couple of years. We have a good story. We have a better story for four than we had for three…”

There’s currently no word on if Spielberg himself will direct the fourth Jurassic Park or if Joe Johnston will return to the director’s chair, having directed the third one.

Steven Spielberg on Indy 5, Crystal Skull, and ‘Nuked the Fridge’ http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/steven-spielberg-on-indy-5-crystal-skull-and-nuked-the-fridge/ Fri, 28 Oct 2011 02:24:36 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=49 I’m a pretty big fan of Indiana Jones.  I really enjoyed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, finding it better than Temple of Doom.  I’m also looking forward to the next possible film in the franchise.  Director Steven Spielberg recently spoke with Empire magazine about Indiana Jones, and this is what he said.

“You have to ask George Lucas. George is in charge of breaking the stories. He’s done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories. He is working on Indy V. We haven’t gone to screenplay yet, but he’s working on the story. I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story.”

And Crystal Skull? “I’m very happy with the movie. I always have been… I sympathise with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn’t want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in – even if I don’t believe in it – I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it. I’ll add my own touches, I’ll bring my own cast in, I’ll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that.”

And on the specifics of the criticisms, Spielberg takes some of them as a badge of pride. “The gopher was good. I have the stand-in one at home. What people really jumped at was Indy climbing into a refrigerator and getting blown into the sky by an atom-bomb blast. Blame me. Don’t blame George. That was my silly idea. People stopped saying “jump the shark.” They now say, “nuked the fridge.” I’m proud of that. I’m glad I was able to bring that into popular culture.”

via Empire Magazine

Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty Trailer http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/studio-ghiblis-the-secret-world-of-arrietty-trailer/ Wed, 26 Oct 2011 05:03:13 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=42 Studio Ghibli has created some of the world’s most influential and beautiful films in the history of the motion picture industry, and they are all animated.  They’ve effected the way that studios here make films, by inspiring studios like Pixar to put the same care into the work that they do.  Their next film, coming out on February 17, 2012, is The Secret World of Arrietty.  It is based on the book The Borrowers. It is the first film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.  The English-dubbed version features the voices of Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, David Henrie, and Moises Arias.

Hasbro wants Transformers 4 (and 5) http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/hasbro-wants-transformers-4-and-5/ Tue, 18 Oct 2011 03:15:46 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=34 As a child of the 80s, Transformers is one of those properties that I’d always wanted to see in live action.  Now that we have three of them, I am looking forward to Voltron and M.A.S.K., though the latter may never happen, but who knows.  That said, I loved the first Transformers film, and only liked Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  I thought the sequel had what I was looking for (more robots) but needed a lot of work.  Unfortunately, TF2 was doomed by the scheduled release date and the writer’s strike.  That meant they were filming from a spec script, and had no time to go back over the script for enough drafts to work out the problem areas, and meant gaping holes in the story that you could drive a truck through.  See what I did there?

On came Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a movie that I feel is the best of the three, with incredible action, decent twists, excellent music, and even some emotion.  Plus, it had MORE robots with scenes featuring only robots.  I even left the film under the impression that the “actress” they hired to replace Megan Fox was actually a better actor than Fox, for her part and that Shia LeBeouf has been consistently good in all three of the movies.  The story was pretty solid, and the Decepticons were so evil that by the time the Autobots showed up, you were ready to cheer them on with every Decepticon they took out.

I can only imagine what a fourth Transformers might bring, and from the sounds of it, it could be sans Michael Bay in the directors chair, and without Shia LeBeouf.  Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said Monday that the toy giant is in active discussions with studio partner Paramount, director Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg about a potential fourth Transformers movie, adding he hopes to have news to share in the next quarter.  Rumor has it that Hasbro and Paramount want to save money on the production of the next film in the series, and would like to film both Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 at the same time.  Since the Matrix sequels, this has happened a lot, and would afford a single story spread across two films with a solid cliffhanger.

What do I want?  A good, cleaner, Transformers movie that features the Autobots and Decepticons as the stars of the film, carrying the movie in the way that they carried each episode of the cartoon.  The humans need to be the supporting characters.

I know that some of Michael Bay’s folks said, and heard from others, that people went to the first one afraid that it would be all robots with no people and were happy that it was mostly about people.  I am here to say, they’re wrong.  The robots are supposed to be the heart of the story, and can be.  My evidence?  Toy Story, Cars, The Iron Giant, Wall-E, Short Circuit and more movies that feature characters that are not human that we care about (even if they are secondary characters).

Point is, I love the Transformers and I hope that the franchise does continue.  Even if it’s a continuation of the Michael Bay version, I know that we’re closer to getting the one that we all really want.  Transformers 4 could even be the one, if the right director is in control.  My guess is that the fourth film will be Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay, with a new director behind the camera.  That gives us the opportunity for something that is both similar in look, but different in style.

Martin Sheen stars in ‘The Way,’ written and directed by Emilio Estevez http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/martin-sheen-stars-in-the-way-written-and-directed-by-emilio-estevez/ http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/martin-sheen-stars-in-the-way-written-and-directed-by-emilio-estevez/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2011 03:51:02 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=22

The Way is a film that nearly slipped under my radar this year, but thankfully a phone call later I know of its’ existence and will likely be seeing the film next Friday.  It’s only in limited release right now, and was released in the UK earlier this year.  It is getting a lot of accolades, though, and based only on the trailer, it looks like it could be a terrific film.  Emilio Estevez was scheduled to call me today about the film, but I believe he was short on time.  That said, I’m very excited to see this movie.  It looks like quite an adventure.

“The Way” is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his “California Bubble Life.”

Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On “The Way,” Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen), a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from a bout of writer’s block.

From the unexpected and, oftentimes, amusing experiences along “The Way,” this unlikely quartet of misfits creates an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through Tom’s unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”

THE WAY, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.

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First Official Avengers Movie Trailer http://www.opinionguys.com/2011/10/first-official-avengers-movie-trailer/ Tue, 11 Oct 2011 20:42:18 +0000 http://www.opinionguys.com/?p=17 Here’s a movie that we’ve been anxiously awaiting since the announcement of the film a few years ago.  Originally scheduled for release this past summer, it was delayed to next May as the Marvel movie series continued moving forward.

We’ve seen Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.  All of those movies have lead to this.  We present the first trailer for The Avengers.  It will be in theaters everywhere on May 4, 2012

The film will feature Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk (with Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Hulk), Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.