Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Apparition - My Review

The Apparition  -  2012  -  Directed by Todd Lincoln

I don't know what amazes me more? That movies like this keep getting made or that I keep watching them.

Ashley Greene, one of the most unlikeable heroines I've seen in many a moon, stars as a woman who moves into a house with her boyfriend and immediately begins witnessing paranormal activities (no pun intended.) Back in college her boyfriend helped unleash a demon and now it is after them.

When I saw the preview I distinctly remembered the tagline, "Once you believe, you die" followed by Ashley saying "It's not real." Neither of these are in the movie and have absolutely nothing to do with the finished film. Yes another thing that irked me with this movie.

There is no conflict, no moments of suspense and I was rooting for everyone to die so it could finish quicker. It didn't finish fast enough and has the distinction of being the worst movie I saw this year.

Rating: 0 out of 10

Brave - My Review

Brave  -  2012  -  Directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell

Pixar just does animation better. The colors are crisper, characters more defined, story more developed and landscapes more detailed. However, their latest offering, while at times a break from convention, suffers from one too many cliches and becomes bogged down in atypical Pixar fashion.

Princess Merida, (Kelly MacDonald) the young daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, desperate to forge her own path in life, ventures out on her own and unleashes a deadly curse that threatens to destroy her family and the kingdom.

While most animated films feature a one note villain, "Brave" features none. It is a story about courage and family that would of rung more true had it not been weighed down by such incessant cliches. Girl complains her family doesn't understand her and wants to break from tradition. She wants to prove she is old enough and wise enough to be on her own and shows otherwise and then must spend the rest of the film trying to undo her mistake.

A film this beautiful looking with such great voice acting deserved a better story and I've come to expect way more from Pixar.

Rating: 6 out of 10

The Adventures of Tintin - My Review

The Adventures of TinTin  -  2011  -  Directed by Steven Spielberg

In the hands of director Spielberg, "Tintin" is an animated version of Raiders of Lost Ark. but lacks that films humor, charm and overall sense of style.

Jamie Bell voices Tintin, a young reporter who will stop at nothing to obtain a new story and his throw caution to the wind mentality puts him on a collision course with Red Rackham (Daniel Craig) as they both search for a sunken ship full of treasure.

Spielberg's best films feature indelible characters with a strong visual style so its surprising that neither exist here. In fact, it is a struggle at times to keep up with the action in the frame as Spielberg, being a novice to animation, definitely believes in more is better rather than letting the story speak for itself. Rather than being an exhilarating ride it turns into a wearisome, forgetful disappointment.

Rating: 5 out of 10

The Ides of March - My Review

The Ides of March  -  2011  -  Directed by George Clooney

George Clooneys 4th directorial endeavor is that type of movie that wants you to believe that it is smarter than it really is when in fact it is about as timely and original as a week old episode of Meet The Press.

Ryan Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, a young, naive idealistic press secretary to Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) who is in a heated battle in Ohio for the presidential primary. When a secret threatens to derail the Governor's bid, Stephen begins to question the moral and ethical dilemmas facing him.

The cast, led by Clooney and Gosling, along with Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei are all excellent but the screenplay by Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon is chock full of cliches and and its cynical views of politicians is nothing new in this era of political cynicism.

One thing is certain though. Clooney knows how to direct. No further proof is needed than to watch his brilliant film Good Night and Good Luck. He just needs to pick his projects better.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Thousand Words - My Review

A Thousand Words  -  2012  - Directed by Brian Robbins

For my money no actor had a better string of comedies in his heydey than Eddie Murphy did. 48 Hours, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America, Harlem Nights. All movies that continue to make me laugh. So it pains me when he keeps showing up in tired, witless so called comedies like "A Thousand Words."

Murphy stars as a literary agent who never stops talking who meets a spiritual guru who introduces him to a tree (not making this up) and then the tree begins losing leaves everytime he speaks and eventually he will die when all the leaves fall. ( Of course, no one ever tells him that would be the final result so I'm not sure how he came to this conclusion ) Along the way he realizes the error of his ways with work and family and begins to prioritize his life.

Brian Robbins, who previously directed Murphy in Meet Dave and Norbit, should officially never be allowed to direct him in anything ever again. He clearly is not helping. What made Eddie a star was his infectious charm and comedic wit mixed with great stories and competent directing. 2 of the 3 have been missing for years now.

Rating: 3 out of 10

Sparkle - My Review

Sparkle  -  2012  -  Directed by Salim Akil

Sparkle is everything you think its going to be and nothing more. It is Dreamgirls without the stars, good music or infectious musical numbers.

Jordin Sparks stars as Sparkle, one of 3 sisters struggling to come to terms with her love of music growing up in her mothers house who is deeply religious and scorns the pursuit of fame and money. Whitney Houston, in her last starring role, shines as Sparkle's mom who never made it herself but her one singing scene doesn't live up to anything she has done before as her voice is clearly battered and unable to hit the high notes that made her famous.

What prevents this film from being completely wasted is Carmen Ejogo, who plays Sister. She is the true star of this film. She is alternately enchanting, beautiful, hypnotic, grandiose and the movie never recovers when she is not on screen.

For a film like this to permeate to audiences it must have good music, showstopping numbers and a cast that is up to the task. This has none of that but it does have Carmen who I believe has the possibility of becoming a much bigger star.

Rating: 3 out of 10

My List of The Top 10 Best Signers in Hollywood 2012

Welcome to my 2nd Annual list of the best signers in Hollywood!

Well we've come to the end of the year and its time to honor something good about Hollywood, the nice people! And yes, they do exist in Hollywood and this list, my list, are the nicest I met this year!

#10 - Pauley Perrette - Two years in a row now for Pauley on this list and she continues to amaze me. She is always in a good mood with fans and will sign and take pictures and converse with you and truly make you feel like she is honestly thrilled that you are a fan.

#9 - Matt Bomer - The White Collar star, and in my opinion, the nicest and best signer of the Magic Mike cast, Matt will always stop and take time out for his fans. Nice guys go far in this business and he should have a long career.

#8 - Andrew Lincoln - At The Walking Dead premiere and the star ceremony for Gale Anne Hurd, Andrew signed more autographs than many celebs do in a year. He was gracious with fans, signed multiples, took photos, anything asked of him. A truly class act.

#7 - Milla Jovovich - Turned the Resident Evil Retribution premiere into a rack session unlike any I had seen in quite some time. She signed so many autographs no one, NO ONE, had any photos left for her. She literally signed for 30 minutes and then spent the next 10 minutes taking photos with fans. One of the nicest displays by a celeb to fans I've ever seen,

#6 - Jon Bernthal - Last years best signer drops to number 6 this year due to the fact I only saw him once. But that one time was enough to prove this guy hasn't changed. He signed everything, took photos, carried on a conversation with multiple fans for close to 5 minutes and the whole time kept thanking us!!! I wish this guy the best of luck in his career as he might be one of the nicest people I have ever met.

#5 - Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Jeffrey is one of the most down to earth celebs you will meet on the other side of the barricade and will sign and sign and sign until he literally can't sign anymore! Seriously, last time I saw him the only reason he stopped signing was because he said his hand had a cramp in it! 

#4 - Olivia Munn - Time and time again one of the nicest actresses you will ever meet. She loves haning out with fans and talking to them and signing for them and taking pictures with them and will go out of her way to make YOU feel special.

#3 - Berenice Marlohe - First impressions go a long way and my first impression of her was being awestruck at how nice she was that I nicknamed her "The Autograph Bunny." She kept signing and signing and signing and signing and well you get the picture! She wouldn't stop! Then, the next day she did it again! Bravo Berenice!

#2 - Johnny Depp - His Dark Shadows premiere will be forever remembered here as the day he spent 1 hour signing autographs for fans! He did press first and then came back and signed across an entire city block of Hollywood Blvd! Even when his security tried pulling him away he pulled away from them and signed even more. The next day he was on a talk show and once again more of the same. Proof that nice guys go the farthest in Hollywood.

#1 - Matt Damon - Friends of mine know I love the word phenomenal and phenomenal is what describes Matt as a signer. In 3 consecutive times seeing him I got close to 40 autographs and could of got more I just didn't bring more. Want him to switch pens? No problem. Personalize it? No problem. Write a quote? No problem. Photo op? No problem. Matt is just one hell of a nice guy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Django Unchained - My Review

Django Unchained  -  2012  -  Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino's latest film is a bold, bloody, daring, perversely funny, controversial, violent, revisionist take on history and its also entertaining as hell. Oh, and its his best work since Pulp Fiction.

Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a slave who is bought by Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and enlisted in his plan to help him track down 3 brothers that Django can identify and then collect the bounty and in return he agrees to help Django rescue his wife who is owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo Dicaprio). In atypical Quentin fashion the film is told in linear narrative and follows Django and Dr King (QT has always loved playing with character names) as they head from Texas to Mississippi over barren landscapes, snowy mountains and Robert Richardson's breathtaking cinematography elicits memories of Robert Altman's classic 70's film, McCabe and Mrs Miller. It is certainly the best looking QT film so far.

Once the second act starts and Django and Schultz head for Calvin's plantation the true intentions of Tarantino begin to show. He depicts slavery in all its brutality featuring mandingo fights, whippings, slaves being torn apart by dogs and the most liberal use of the "N" word ever heard in a film. QT is not interested in floating around the word for meaningless impact though. Every member of society in the film, most prominently polite society, views the word as the only way to describe their property. It is an ugly word and he doesn't flinch from acknowledging it.

While Leonardo is quietly menacing as Calvin, the true horror of the plantation is Calvin's loyal servant Stephen, played with such evil and abhorrence by Samuel L Jackson that he easily becomes the most villainous character to ever inhabit a QT film.

The film moves at a steady pace towards the ultimate bloody third act and violent it is. Tarantino wants Django to get his revenge and revenge he gets by any means necessary.

Whats ultimately the most surprising about this film is how much humor exists in it. It isn't played for irony rather more absurdity and one of the movie's biggest laughs comes at a KKK rally. Nothing is off limits to Tarantino and this is a fresh take and molding of two genres he so lovingly adores, Blaxploitation and Spaghetti Westerns and the result is the directors best film in 15 years and this years best film overall.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Monday, December 24, 2012

My List of The Top 10 Worst Signers in Hollywood 2012

Welcome to my 2nd Annual list of the worst signers in Hollywood!

Let me preface this list, my list, by saying that not everyone who does what I do always shares the same opinion on who is and who is not a great signer. This list comes from my experiences and mine alone so without further hesitation here goes:

#10 - Colin Farrell - This guy is arrogance personified. He believes he is a huge star (he's not) and he will act like it. He goes out of his way to treat people rudely and tries his best to leaves scores of people disappointed when they meet him.

#9 - Liam Neeson - Seen him multiple times and he always states "I'm not signing autographs anymore." He has not been rude about it so I have no problem with it. I've just come to terms with it.

#8 - Sophia Bush - It's been years since I last got an autograph of her and based on how she was this year I think it will be years before I get another.

#7 - Hugh Laurie - I've always said I think the true test of how nice a celebrity is is how they act when it is low key. Well, I saw Hugh earlier this year, it was just me asking him and he acted like I had the plague when I asked him to sign an autograph. If I can't get him in that kind of environment when can I?

#6 - Vanessa Hudgens - More and more celebrities seem to be getting to the point where they only sign when they have a premiere. Well, not Vanessa. She doesn't sign at her premieres either!

#5 - Joseph Gordon Levitt - For a guy who doesn't sign he is nicer about it than some people who do sign! (Some celebs who do sign are angry signers and it drives me crazy) At least JGL doesn't lie about it. Many celebrities will say sure I will sign on the way out and then you wait only to find out they were lying. I appreciate him being upfront about it.

#4 - Lindsay Lohan - I must of seen her 10 times this past year and 10 times I had a better chance of her hitting me with her car while she was driving drunk than her signing and autograph.

#3 - Charlize Theron - Another thing I've always said, sooner or later most women celebrities become a tough autograph to obtain. There was a time she was really nice. Those days are long gone and probably never to be seen again.

#2 - Kristen Stewart - The crazy thing about Kristen is even when and if she does sign she is not a good signer. She hates it and I truly believe she hates all interaction with fans. If you get an autograph of her consider yourself lucky as she considers you lucky to have met her.

#1 - Megan Fox - God this pains me. There was a time when Megan was one of the best signers in Hollywood but true to form as with most women in Hollywood they become tougher and she is now the toughest in LA. Every single time I saw her this year she NEVER once picked up a pen. She would always say sure guys I will sign on the way out and then she sneaks out and you never see her. At her premiere she didn't sign a single autograph. At a friends premiere she didn't sign. At Lakers games she didn't sign. See a trend forming here?! She doesn't sign at all in LA.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy! Autographs! Photos!

I must admit I was a fan of Grey's for two reasons: Kate Walsh and Katherine Heigl. While Katherine's career choices of late have not been superb I am still a fan and was happy to get some autographs of her when she was out in LA doing a talk show appearance. I've had these photos of her for so long in my car that it felt amazing to finally get them signed!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

QT AKA Quentin Tarantino! Autographs! Photos!

Yes I am obsessed with QT and his films and will go for him almost every time I hear that he is going to be out and I went once again and got a couple more autographs of him. He was pretty cool about it and signed multiples, now I just need him on about 30 more items!

I just need Christoph on this and it will be complete!

This now has Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Quentin Tarantino on it!

Jamie Foxx of Django Unchained! Autographs! Photos!

I so can't wait for Django to come out and unfortunately the premiere was cancelled here so I have been trying to get cast members wherever I can and I went for Jamie the other day and he was nice enough to stop for a few of us and sign some autographs and I got more Django photos signed for my collection!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Django Unchained Director Quentin Tarantino! Autographs! Photos!

Anyone who knows me knows that QT is my all-time favorite director and I have so many photos that I need his autograph on and was lucky enough to get a few more done last night!

He kept telling everyone one each but I managed to get a few more than that and got another picture with him!

Complete as I am not putting anyone other than Jamie Foxx and Quentin on this.

This is one of my all-time favorites as it has Quentin and Elmore Leonard on it. If you don't know who Elmore is that is your own fault!

Argo Screening W Ben Affleck, Rory Cochrane, Kerry Bishe and Sheila Vand! Autographs! Photos!

Argo is one of my favorite movies this year and I have been working on a cast shot for my own collection so when I heard members of the cast were going to be out I decided to go even though it was raining at the time! Thankfully it stopped!

Rory Cochrane arrived and came right on over when we called him and I added him to my cast shot.

Next was Kerry Bishe and I already had her on my Argo so I got her on my Red State cast shot, a movie I really liked.

I had never before seen Sheila Vand and was pretty damn excited to add her to my cast shot. When I called her she looked around to see who was calling her name and when she realized it was me I asked her to sign an autograph and she was quite excited herself to do so!

I now have Kerry Bishe, Chris Terrio, Sheila Vand, Antonio Mendez, Bryan Cranston, Ben Affleck, Clea DuVall, Rory Cochrane and John Goodman on this.

Lastly was Ben Affleck. I did not expect him to sign as he has been difficult lately but when we called him he came right on over and signed quite a bit and even did a few photo ops. Made the night worth it!

This now has Minnie Driver, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on it.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Matt Damon is nicer than you are! Autographs! Photos!

Seriously, Matt Damon is one hell of a nice guy which is why I am moving him to the top of my best signers list in Hollywood for 2012. He was leaving town and I decided to go for him to try to get a few more and he was the same class act as always and signed and signed and signed and even did photo ops. This is one amazing Hollywood super star.

This one made me so happy as he wrote, " How do you like them apples" on it. Going in my personal collection.

This now has Matt and Minnie Driver on it.

This now has Matt and Tom Sizemore on it.

This now has Matt, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo Dicaprio, Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen on it.