Trolls

“I finally figured out a movie theater where I could semi-easily double without breaking my budget. Woo! And it turned out to be the perfect day to test this experiment too, since I either had some mild food poisoning or an alien baby was preparing to burst thru my chest at any moment. Armed with two bottles of Gatorade and a sleeve of saltines, I settled in. I mean hey, that’s how I would have taken care of myself at home too. Might as well watch a new movie at the same time.

And might as well watch something incredibly cute and happy when I was feeling very down and icky. I actually first started having high hopes of happy feels when the first video for “”Can’t Stop the Feeling”” was released, with lots of the cast members dancing. Srsly, I can’t hear that song without dancing. It boded well for the film.

Usually the problem with having a film based on something like a toy is trying to figure out a story that will make sense. Trolls did it pretty well. These trolls are always being hunted by creatures called Bergens, who believe that the only way to be happy is to eat a troll. After escaping and living in peace for twenty years, the trolls secret hideout is discovered and a group of trolls are kidnapped and taken back to Bergentown. Princess Poppy, the most outgoing and optimistic of the trolls teams up with Branch, the doom and gloom troll who knows more about the Bergens than any other troll, and they set out to rescue their friends and protect their people. Nothing too earth shattering but it works.

Part of the success of any good animated film hinges on the voice cast, and that was the first thing that Trolls nailed. Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschannel (who sounded amazing singing “”Hello””), James Corden, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Russel Brand, Christine Baranski, convinced yet? The humor was cute, but didn’t talk down too much.

The music was a good mix of originals and familiar songs. I actually just took a pause to download a couple of them. Besides the aforementioned Hello, True Colors was rather moving. Listening to it again is getting me kinda emotional. Just a beautiful interpretation of a beautiful song.

So a good way to kick off the holiday movie season, when you need to placate the kids with an entertaining film that won’t make you wanna claw your eyes out.

Trolls – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

Saw (entire franchise)

“And here we have a shiny new example of how I’ve become a total slacker with the blog. A few weeks back, I saw that the complete set of Saw movies was on sale for too cheap to pass up. Seeing as how it had been a very long time since I’d done a blog mini project, and I’d never written up any movies in the series (hell, I’d only seen 2 of them and only once each), I thought it was perfect. Clearly it didn’t work out that way.

What happened is that I had a friend who was helping me with this year’s Halloween costume, and we thought this box set would make great background entertainment. It turns out, however, that listening to Saw in the background while actively working on things is very disturbing and you don’t really grasp too much of what’s going on that way. NBD, I can just rewatch them later. Except these movies really are so unsettling that it was gonna be a struggle to get thru them once. I was not about to rewatch them. So instead we’ve got one giant blog post talking about the whole seven movies at once.

Let’s go back to the very beginning, and see what got us into this mess of waiting so damn long to see these movies. I remember watching the original back in my college dorm room. I have never felt such a strong visceral reaction to a film. I walked out of my room shaking, hoping to find a friend on the hall because I desperately needed some positive social interaction. Yes, me, queen of the macabre had met her match, and I loved it.

About six months later, I saw a blurb in EW announcing a set of upcoming sequels that were planned. One tiny little sentence buried in the magazine. I had a very gnarly nightmare that night about being in Jigsaw’s traps. I only get nightmares occassionally, and they’ve never been the direct result of me watching something (I’ve been known to fall asleep watching horror flicks or other psychologically disturbing movies). I refused to watch any of the sequels. It wasn’t until last year when I got Saw II from that video store that closed (remember that, loyal readers?) that I continued.

Fast fowarding back to this year (and a warning that things may get vaguely spoilery), I got thru about half of the series that first day, and finished it off over the subsequent week. Since I didn’t make a point to blog each individually after watching, they all sort of blurred together. And really, after the first two, the stories sort of blur together. Events happen concurrently, and then flashback to different points, and it can be kinda tough to pull apart.

My main fascination with wanting to watch the full series was the traps. I’m a sucker for the concept of a diabolical game, and I really just wanted to know what all the set ups were. Obviously, some where more inventive than others, and ideas did start to wear thin as it went on. It also didn’t sit to well with me that in later games, there were seemingly innocent people who died as a result of the player’s choices. True, that’s mostly a symptom of a change from Jigsaw running the show to his proteges, but his whole philosophy was to test and punish the players. Killing people close to them that were uninvolved doesn’t fit with that. Still, I loved the reveal of each new set up and seeing how twisted they could get.

Oh another thing I’m a sucker for, the big twists at the end of each film with theme rising in the background. Even now, I can only play it in chunks before I feel too skived out.

I’m trying to think if I have a favorite trap, but none of them stand out to me individually. I liked the way that the main game flowed in V, with the realization of how it was meant to be played. I also like the visual of the carousel in VI. Oh and the needles in II is prolly the one that was most uncomfortable to watch. I don’t even have a fear of needles, it’s just an icky set up.

Now I’m consulting a list to refresh my memory and see if anything else jumps out. Nope, nothing worth adding to my list, just more of an icky feeling in my gut. Sweet dreams, gentle readers!”

Inferno

“Okay time to stop slacking and write this post so that I can move on to movies I have more of an opinion on, especially as we lead into a possible 4 movie weekend.

As the most of the world did, my reaction to seeing there was another chapter in the Dan Brown/Robert Langdon/Da Vinco Code series, was something like “”huh, another one? Um okay. Why? But okay”” Similar reaction to the film itself too.

I should preface by saying that so far, my favorite in the series has been Angels and Demons. I think Da Vinci code was just too scattered and too much of a stretch, but A&D was more streamlined with a tighter story and more palpable stakes. I’d prolly put Inferno somewhere in between, but closer to Code.

Anyways Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon, and this time he finds himself waking up in an Italian hospital from a mysterious head wound that has taken his memory. Something something something painting of Dante’s Inferno, something something, track down Inferno things. Now there’s one key difference between this and its predecessors. The puzzle aspect wasn’t quite so puzzle-y. It was more of a trail of questions from a literature and/or history test than things to solve. The bigger theme was a moral question. Would you kill much of the world’s population in order to save the human race from its inevitable destruction.

Of course, the film ultimately had its answer to the question that it was leading you to, and I don’t entirely disagree. Still, the moral question is a valid one. Overpopulation of the planet and its negative effects are something that are of concern to me, so it was very interesting to see it addressed in such an extreme manner. Personally, I feel there’s a better solution somewhere, but I couldn’t help but empathize with the villains motives (and not just because that villain was played by Ben Foster whom I adore).

As far as how the movie played out, to me it was more of the same mainstream watered down thriller that we see way too much of. I rather like Dante’s Inferno, so I appreciated that flair, but I could still see every twist and turn. The lady sitting next to me who had multiple servings of wine (I was at the dine in theater) clearly did not anticpate as many steps as I did, as evidenced by her loud gasps and audible reactions. Good to know someone was into it.

Anyways, decent film, but not worth going out of your way for. I’d recommend you spend your time rewatching A&D instead. I’d say read it, but then you wouldn’t get any Ewan McGregor

Inferno – \m/ \m/ \m/”