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Andy Stitzer

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  1. [***I'M EXHAUSTED AND HAVE TO BE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING, SO SINCE THIS IS A DOUBLE-CROWD REPORT I AM GOING TO CONDENSE 'THE FILM' WRITE-UPS TO HAIKU POEMS] Hope Springs 4:30pm Saturday, August 11th Regal Fenway 13 & RPX Theater Capacity: 250 (40% full; mainly older couples... like 50's+) Ticket Price: $0 (I had a rewards ticket) Concessions: small sprite, small popcorn ($10.25) TRAILERS: Skyfall - cool trailer, but calm reaction. Zero Dark Thirty - a 9/11 feature about killing Osama Bin Laden directed by JC's ex-wife? I'm not interested, and neither was the audience. Trouble With The Curve - trailer got some laughs from the audience, looks okay. This is 40 - got an excellent reaction from audience; lots of laughing and talking afterwards... good to see the reception to this trailer from an older audience for a change. Anna Karenina - why does Keira Knightly only seem to do period drama films now? Meh, no reaction... but it looks like it was shot in a cool way. Hit and Run - this trailer sucked and got a pity laugh from some people, no reaction otherwise. The Words - "Bradley Cooper again?" Waiting to see reviews on this film, but I have no faith in CBS Films. THE FILM: Meryl Streep's flawless. Tommy Lee Jones holds his own. Go see this movie. Experience - 21/30 Story/Writing - 15/20 Acting - 13/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 10/15 Direction - 8/10 Music - 9/10 (*I loved the Annie Lennox song they squeezed in before the end... great mood-setter) THE VERDICT: 76/100, B -and- The Campaign 10:30pm Saturday, August 11th AMC Boston Common 19 & Lie-MAX Theater Capacity: 215 (95% full; I originally showed up for the 9:30pm but that was sold out as well. And best of all, the audience was a very good demographic mix) Ticket Price: $12.00 Concessions: N/A TRAILERS: Silver Lining Playbills - great trailer and some talking, overall okay reaction. Hit and Run - "Bradley Cooper Again?!" Good reaction and lots of laughing... this trailer was a little different from the other I saw today, and got a much warmer reception. Fun Size - an awesome-looking, older-leaning raunchy comedy from "Nickelodeon Studios"?!?! It can't be!!! This looks way too awesome! And the crowd had a similarly awesome reaction to it. Boom - looks stupid, but got an excellent reaction... so goes the Happy Madison routine. Trouble With The Curve - this audience was certainly in the mood to laugh, gave a good reaction to this film (especially to the Dr. Phil line at the end). Life of Pi - I've never read the book, but the trailer looks mesmerizing. I think there were whispers between every person in the theater after this trailer. Argo - I'll watch anything Ben Affleck directs. This looks more mainstream and fun than some of Affleck's other movies, but got no reaction. Finding Nemo 3D/"Please turn off your cell phones" Announcement - very clever, funny ad. THE FILM: Both candidates stink. But that's usually the case. Makes great comedy. Experience - 24/30 Story/Writing - 16/20 Acting - 11/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 14/15 (a shot of Will Ferrell hitting a baby is amazingly put together) Direction - 7/10 Music - 5/10 THE VERDICT: 77/100, B
  2. Watched TDKR a 3rd time tonight, first time on a non-IMAX/LieMAX screen. With regards to Bane's voice: I think it sounds much less like a megaphone/crummy dub job in a regular 2D-screen theater than it does with a high-quality sound system. Other things I noticed: - So much of the detail from the cinematography is lost on a regular big-screen presentation. Of course you're still watching the same movie, but those jaw-dropping visuals of Gotham don't have the same impact on a smaller screen as they do on IMAX. - Crowd was still strong. 252-seat theater was about 80% to 90% full for a 9PM screening tonight (at AMC Boston Common, where they had plenty of other showings). That impressed me. - A guy sitting next to me said "That's What She Said" during the Star Spangled Banner scene at something JGL's character says and about 20 of us sitting closely around him laughed uncontrollably through the rest of the national anthem (obviously to the displeasure of everyone else in the theater). That definitely lightened up the mood. - The movie still holds up well on a 3rd viewing, although I'm starting to identify discrepancies in the storyline... but those could be up for debate.
  3. I'd say sound mixing just wasn't very good. Nolan's skill--heck, maybe a trademark--is his choice to have loud music and sound playing during the more dialogue-driven scenes, the more dramatic scenes. But when you've got the rising action or climax, there's either little or no music. Think of the first time in TDK the Joker shares how he got his scars... probably the most suspenseful escalation of a score in the whole movie. However, when Harvey and Rachel meet their fates with the exploding oil drums, you can nearly hear a pin drop in the theater. He does the exact same thing in TDKR, but it doesn't always work. And then there's the whole "Bane's Loud Speaker" thing. It sounds less like the dialogue is coming out of his mouth and more like Christoph Waltz shouting into a megaphone off-screen. Horrible sound mixing. I mean, that sounded much better during the prologue pre-screening in December before they revisited Bane's scenes. But what's done is done.
  4. I watched TDKR a second time tonight, this time in AMC Lie-MAX. 654-seat auditorium, probably 80% full... 12:00AM showing, technically Monday morning, and this was the first non-sold out showing all weekend for the AMC Boston Common on their Lie-MAX screen. Honestly, 80% at this hour is pretty impressive if you ask me. The movie was so much better on a second viewing, mainly because I didn't have the Aurora shooting in the back of my mind. While I got the main gist of the story the first time, I think a second viewing was great to pay attention to the details. Everything from the characters' choice of words, expressions, and the sequence of events falls into even better shape. I know my biggest complaint about the film on my original crowd report was about Hans Zimmer's score, but it's actually been growing on me the last few days. Had I either seen TDKR at midnight on Friday or just waited a few days after the shooting to see it, I'm confident I would've given this film an A+ crowd report. With that said, I won't be adjusting anything; I'll only be saying that I enjoy watching this film.
  5. The Dark Knight Rises in Tempur-Pedic IMAX 15/70 (SPOILER FREE) 8:45pm Friday, July 20th Tempur Pedic IMAX Theater at Jordan's Furniture Reading (*as I've said time and again the greatest place to experience a film) Theater Capacity: 500 (100% full; the theater sold out every single showtime through the next 3 days) Ticket Price: $12.75 Concessions: N/A TRAILERS: N/A FOREWORD: Before formally reporting on the experience I had tonight watching The Dark Knight Rises, I feel compelled to share my thoughts and feelings about the catastrophe that has affected movie-goers during TDKR's midnight premiere in Aurora, Colorado. Like many people, I'm a big fan of going to the movies. Whether a time to celebrate, reflect, learn, laugh, think, or fall in love, movies have offered an escape, simultaneously creating a sanctuary for people of every race, sex, age, or nationality, likely all under the same roof. In a statement released tonight by Christopher Nolan, I believe he eloquently captures exactly how I feel: -Christopher Nolan - July 20, 2012 Simply put, I've always believed the cinema was a magical place insulated from all the harsh realities of the world, but yesterday that belief was shattered and a little piece of me died inside. My fingers, soaked from the tears I've wiped away, can neither type nor convey the immense sadness I feel over the tragedy that's stricken our world community. I remain hopeful that people will demonstrate resilience to this horrible event, even if right now I privately shudder at the realization that this could've happened to anyone. THE FILM: To say I've been anticipating The Dark Knight Rises for a while is an understatement. Anyone who has checked my facebook statuses periodically since--well--pretty much Inception knows that I've been counting down the months, days, and minutes for this film's release. After delivering one of the greatest sequels of all time with The Dark Knight, there was no question that with Christopher Nolan at the helm The Dark Knight Rises was going to be an excellent movie. How excellent that film is, however, remained the question. Performance-wise, everyone delivers their A-game. Christian Bale, hot off his long-overdue Oscar win for The Fighter, gives his best performance of the Dark Knight trilogy. Michael Caine, who's never given enough screen time in these films by my estimation, really ties Bruce Wayne's story together arcing across all the films, and arguably gives the most emotionally resonant performance in the film. Although Heath Ledger's "Joker" is an impossible act to follow, I think Tom Hardy's "Bane" and the story surrounding him reveals the epic scope that trailers promised us when promoting this film. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotrillard, and Matthew Modine are great supporting cast members (among others), but the real shining stars (even if only supporting ones) are Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I've described past IMAX features as "beautiful" when describing how they appear on a proper IMAX screen; however, it's hard to assign that adjective to a film that features so much darkness, grit, and terror. I will say that The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most vivid, immersive experiences I've ever had at a movie theater. There is an aerial flyover shot captured by an IMAX camera that I bobbed up and down in excitement over for how epic it was (*NOTE: I am a HUGE nerd for skyscrapers and skylines... Nolan just gets me). There are only two points of negativity I can think of right now regarding the film. First, the score. While there was some chanting and original music used in this, I believe that overall Hans Zimmer recycled music from the previous Batman films he worked on. This doesn't mean the music is bad--I <3 the other soundtracks--but you expect more from a capable, celebrated film composer like Zimmer. The second point of negativity is a personally uncomfortable one: the terror The Dark Knight Rises presents. During a special features video I watched on The Dark Knight, filmmakers who worked behind the scenes on the stories for all these films explained the psychology of their films and their intention of tapping into the very real fears of movie goers. Had I neither become cognizant of this intention nor had I waited until after the midnight screening opportunities to watch The Dark Knight Rises, I believe I would've had a much more enjoyable first impression of this movie. As it was with this very palpable sense of terror looming over the film like a storm cloud, witnessing some of the action scenes in this movie actually diminished the crowd experience for me... an unprecedented event in my years of going to the movies. So aside from the couple things I've nitpicked, The Dark Knight Rises was mostly the movie I'd hoped it would be. The brothers Nolan crafted a very clever script... incidentally, their funniest since Memento. The overall crowd reception seemed very warm with others and myself clapping multiple times throughout (yeah... I'm that guy, sorry). Seriously, there's no experience at the movies like that of a Christopher Nolan-directed picture with this slam dunk cast, visual perfection (kudos Wally), smart writing, and twists or turns aplenty. If you've watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, you owe it to yourself to finish the story and watch The Dark Knight Rises. Experience - 21/30 Story/Writing - 20/20 Acting - 15/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 15/15 Direction - 10/10 Music - 5/10 Bonuses - Award Caliber, +5 (sweep the tech categories, long overdue recognition for Nolan, and wouldn't be surprised by noms for Caine or Hathaway... or possibly Bale); Special Effects Caliber, +2 THE VERDICT: 93/100, A
  6. Well that kind of movie experience would be more rare, except that I watch a lot more movies than the average movie-goer. If my friends and family are any indication (*who, by the way, I share all of my crowd reports with), the average person probably only sees 3-5 movies a year--I see 60 to 80. The reality is that movie-goers have become much more selective about the films they're going to see as A) ticket prices get more expensive, and B] websites like Rotten Tomatoes & Twitter dictate whether the film is even enjoyable to watch. The way I see it, my crowd reports serve a dual purpose: 1) They enlighten box office observers of a film's playability in front of a real crowd, not a critics circle. Between the crowds' reactions to trailers as well as their reactions throughout a movie, a crowd report enables the B.O. enthusiasts like us to better dictate/predict exactly how well a film can perform in its theatrical run. 2) For the more selective/average people that will only see a handful of movies every year, I think an A or A+ crowd report I've written will be the motivation they need to get their butts into the cinema seats and enjoy a really good movie experience. If there are a few 100+/100 reports out of a total of 50+ to 60+ annually, then I would say those movie experiences are more rare and, thus, all the more special. Moonrise Kingdom, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, and Titanic 3D were all special, A+ crowd experiences compared to the 30 times I've gone to see films so far this year.
  7. I had no idea until I read your post that it was James Horner! How funny is it that the two films I immediately thought of were Titanic and A Beautiful Mind?! If it ain't broke, why fix it?
  8. Yes, they have: And to that I responded with this. I wouldn't call it flawed, it's just different.
  9. The Amazing Spider-Man (in Eye-Popping 2D!) 11:30AM Tuesday, July 3rd AMC Boston Common 19 & Lie-MAX Theater Capacity: 300 (roughly 30% to 40% full; couldn't get a good read on the audience breakdown because I got into the theater a bit late) Ticket Price: $6!!! (I need to see films before noon more often!) Concessions: small Coke Zero, medium popcorn ($10.50) TRAILERS: (*It's possible I missed a couple trailers because I arrived late... I would've loved to see a TDKR trailer & reaction) Bourne Legacy - great trailer, lots of action, no reaction from audience Here Comes the Boom - this looks like a total comedy rip-off of one of 2011's best movies--Warrior. Even so, the crowd gave a good reaction to this trailer. The Watch - this looks funny and got a great reaction from the audience... especially for Jonah Hill. Total Recall - sexcellent trailer! I'm officially really pumped for this movie. Not only is the three-boobied woman in it again, but also... well... hey, the three-boobied woman is in it again!!!!!! Tepid reaction from audience, the guy in front of me saying, "They're redoing this too?" THE FILM: Similar to the Batman franchise circa 1997, Spider-Man 3 left a bitter taste in many audience's mouths. Fortunately, Sony learned a lesson from Warner Brothers' choice some years back to reboot their franchise with some new talented blood (referring of course to WB selecting Christopher Nolan--> Batman Begins). Who better a director to reboot the Spider-Man franchise than a guy named Marc Webb? For those who don't know, Webb is the mastermind behind 2009's cult hit (500) Days of Summer, and although he lacks any other film work to his name Webb is near the top of my list of favorite directors working in Hollywood today. See The Amazing Spider-Man and you'll understand why. The Amazing Spider-Man (TASM) may give you deja vu as it reestablishes Peter Parker's origin story much like the 2002 Spider-Man film. However, this film dwells more on the back-story component to Peter by concentrating more on his youth and prescribing a very healthy dose of character development. Very similar to Batman Begins (in so many ways) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, TASM successfully creates a personality for its protagonist that audiences can empathize with and, thus, root for later in the film when the opportunity presents itself. Andrew Garfield possesses the talent, charisma, and physique to pull off the Peter Parker/Spider-Man character effortlessly. His co-stars--Emma Stone, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, et al--make for an A+ ensemble, which only adds to the film's laundry list of awesomeness. There's a very palpable chemistry between Garfield and Stone, which looking back I think was a bit forced between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Like (500) Days, this film has a great soundtrack; however, the really definitive musical feature for TASM was its score. During several of the scenes, I felt like I was listening to a mash-up of scores from Titanic and A Beautiful Mind, and then some Alfred Hitchcock sounds in others (*keep an eye open for the Hitchcock homage). Also of note, the effects--they're great! While a lot of CGI was employed for the film, I was impressed by how seamlessly it intertwined with the real sets/locations (I especially liked a fight scene that takes place in the sewer). Thanks to its contemporary feel, great acting, fresh writing, beautiful music/song selection, stellar direction, and Grade-A special effects, The Amazing Spider-Man is a film I recommend without reservation. It's definitely a step above the previous Spider-Men and certainly enjoyable on a 2D screen (although I'd be lying if I said I'm not curious/anxious to watch it in IMAX or 3D). Whether you're a hormone-crazed teenager, a romantic comedy-loving cougar, an architecture enthusiast/Nolanite (***the Hearst lobby is the OSCORP HQ, I nearly died!), or just a casual filmgoer looking to watch something fun with your friends, The Amazing Spider-Man has something for everyone. GO SEE THIS, AND HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!! Experience - 28/30 (would've preferred a bigger audience) Story/Writing - 20/20 Acting - 15/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 15/15 Direction - 10/10 Music - 10/10 Bonuses - Special Effects Caliber, 4; Awards Caliber , 2 (at the very least it should sweep the MTV MOvie Awards) THE VERDICT: 104/100, A+
  10. Impact, I respect you, your very passionate contributions to box office analysis, and your stellar administrative abilities on the box office forums over the years. But with that said, I think you are seriously off your rocker if you think A) Brave was well written; Brave deserves a couple Oscars; and C) Brave might be the darkest Pixar film by far. What exactly did you find "well written" about Brave? I think the story was flaccid. The more I think about it, it was a misguided ripoff of Dreamworks' Shrek and Disney's own Beauty and the Beast. And a week after seeing this, I don't remember a single moment or quote that'll last in my mind for years to come... aside from the old father lifting his skirt that says "Feast yer eyes!", but I really only remember that cause I saw it in the trailer about a dozen times. And that's not the kind of quote you expect to remember from a Pixar film. "To infinity, and beyond!" "Just keep swimming." "Anyone can cook." "I was hiding under your porch because I love you." "I don't want to survive. I want to live." THAT is good writing. Those are the kind of lasting quotes, themes, expressions, and messages that I expect out of a Pixar film; the kind of theme that'll resonate with audiences young and old for the rest of their lives. Pixar has dished out great writing before, and Brave (sadly) missed the mark. As for deserving a couple Oscars? That remains to be seen. Frankly, I was a bigger fan of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax artistically and will be rooting for that come awards season. And as for Brave being the darkest Pixar film by far? Please... not even close. Again, Impact, I respect you. I sincerely apologize for this diatribe, but I couldn't resist letting my opinion be shared and up for grabs to any other forum contributors who'd like to comment on the matter. - Andy Stitzer
  11. Magic Mike 12:01AM Friday, June 29th AMC Boston Common 19 & Lie-MAX Theater Capacity: 300 (50+% full; actually, there were two showings of Magic Mike at AMC tonight because the other one was sold out, which I was pretty stunned to see. Also, this audience was 90% women... it was like going to see Sex and the City in theaters if everyone in the crowd was 15-25 years younger.) Ticket Price: $12.00 Concessions: small Coke Zero & small popcorn ($0, thank you Stubs Rewards) TRAILERS: The Words - good cast led by Bradley Cooper, except this looks like a TV movie (CBS Films, go figure). Weak reaction. Katy Perry: Part of Me - this was a more elegant trailer than the others I'd seen and got some talking from audience. Pitch Perfect - at first this looked like Glee: The Movie, but in college. Then I saw Anna Kendrick was the lead, and that caught my attention. Finally, the fat British chick from Bridesmaids ("I didn't know it was your diary; I thought it was a very sad, hand-written book") she stole every scene in the trailer and got a HUGE reaction from the audience. I'm talking loud belly laughs; excellent reaction. Hope Springs - Meryl Streep. Tommy Lee Jones. Steve Carrell. Comedy. Great reaction; can't wait to see it. The Apparition - another paranormal horror film that got a few pity laughs, lots of talking, and a Harry Potter fan in the audience who screamed, "IS THAT DRACO?!?!" The Watch - funny, new trailer. Didn't realize this was a sci-fi comedy, but it looks great. Jonah Hill got the biggest laughs, no surprise there. The Campaign - this got a good reaction, especially after Will Ferrell punches a baby at the end of the trailer. THE FILM Before anyone asks me why I paid to see a movie about male strippers, please let me preface this report with my reasons for checking out Magic Mike (no pun intended) opening midnight. A) After Contagion and the Oceans' movies, anything directed by Steven Soderbergh will get me to the cinema; B] I work a few blocks from the movie theater and my shift ends around 11pm, so for a good crowd experience seeing midnight screenings is really my only option during weekdays; C) I already saw Ted a few weeks ago (excellent comedy, BTW); D) Channing Tatum impressed me in 21 Jump Street, so I officially don't see a problem watching his movies, however risque they may be. Good--now that's out of the way. Magic Mike is definitely one experience of a film. When you hear it's an R-rated film about male strippers, one of the first questions on everybody's minds is "will there be full frontal male nudity?" The answer is... well, sort of, but not really. Actually, there's equal parts gratuitous female nudity as there is male nudity, yet there is really only one shot in the film that could've made the men watching it squeamish. And the fact is that it's so subtle and humorously done, that most of the women in the audience had a delayed reaction to it. (LOL, you have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about... I wouldn't dare spoil it) All of the men acting in this film definitely prepared well for their roles. I'm not just talking about ab-workouts and choreography lessons, I mean stepping up their acting chops and giving pretty good performances (who knew stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias could act?!?!?!). And thanks to Soderbergh's direction, Magic Mike successfully veers into compelling drama territory more than raunchy chick flick land... stunningly, to the dismay of many of the women in tonight's audience... but only after the first hour. See, right from the get-go, Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer deliver "the goods" much of the audience was hoping for. Women were literally clapping, oohing & awwing at the screen, and one woman even held out some $1 bills in her hands, as if they were there in the strip club. That whole part of the Magic Mike experience we all got a kick out of. But true to the trailers' promise, the story is really about how Tatum's character wants to do something more with his life than the Magic Mike act and the deeper that story develops, the more gradually it lost the interest of some women in the theater (namely the 3 women behind me who provided commentary every 5 minutes). Twenty minutes in, they were like "Yeah, shake it honey! Oooooh." Then an hour later, they realized, "Oh wow! This is like a real movie." And then finally, when it ended, "That was terrible!" Well, contrary to the thoughts of a few women sitting behind me, I really enjoyed the film. Because, like they realized, Magic Mike is a "real" movie. And I wouldn't expect anything less from Soderbergh and their team. And it's kind of neat how personal a story it is for Channing Tatum, seeing how it's loosely/largely (?) based on his origins as a Tampa stripper... that definitely shows in his performance. I do recommend people--women and men--go see this movie because it is in fact a very good one. I'm really curious to see how the word of mouth and box office perform for this in the coming days/weeks; I don't really have a handle on what everyone's perception of this film is before seeing it, let alone after. Experience - 27/30 (would've been higher without the over-commentary from the women behind me) Story/Writing - 16/20 Acting - 14/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 7/15 (I think the low budget had a negative impact in these regards, unfortunately) Direction - 10/10 (Kudos, Steven!) Music - 9/10 THE VERDICT: 83/100, B
  12. Feedback is always appreciated, so thank you. By your grading system, my grade for the film is accurate: C, i.e. okay/mediocre. And anyway, I'm not only grading the movie, I'm grading the whole crowd experience. That's why I post exclusively in the crowd report section vs. the "Review That Movie" threads. I choose to watch movies under the best circumstances possible to maximize the overall experience, because at $10-$18 per ticket I'm paying for an experience. That's why I'd rate Snakes on a Plane opening midnight in theaters an A+ experience, and The Dark Knight four months after release playing at your local dollar theater a less-than-A experience. Besides, I've received far more praise for my crowd reports than negative feedback, and my current grading system--which was modified beginning January 2012 forward--is the culmination of all feedback from previous crowd reports.
  13. Brave in 3D 12:01AM Friday, June 22nd Regal Fenway 13 & RPX Theater Capacity: <300 (15% full; there was also a 2D showing which must've had a bigger audience) Ticket Price: $14.00 Concessions: small Coke Zero & small popcorn ($6.00) TRAILERS: Finding Nemo 3D - funny trailer, no reaction from crowd; my friends and I are pumped for this though. Monsters University - laugh-out-loud teaser trailer, got a good reaction from the crowd. Wreck-It Ralph - this looks awesome. A few people nearby all said, "Bowser!" Good reaction. Hotel Transylvania - Adam Sandler. Andy Samberg... box office poison much? Luke-warm reaction. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - same trailer, but again it always looks great in 3D. - "Ba, ba ba... ba, ba na-na. Ba, ba, ba... ba, ba na-na." Every single person in the theater laughed hysterically at the minions. This may've been the funniest teaser I've ever seen. Snot actually came out of my nose I was laughing so hard! Best reaction. Ice Age: Continental Drift - another laugh-out-loud trailer, this one looks really funny. And that's kind of funny considering I have still never seen a single Ice Age film. THE FILM: Before Brave began, there was a short film called La Luna that played. It was a completely imaginative story about the stars and the moon with very little dialogue, much emotion, and another home run, feel-good short from that special studio. Brave on the other hand... Is it such a crime to expect nothing short of excellence when you pay to see a Pixar film? Like most people, I have an unspoken set of standards I expect to be met when I watch a film from the same studio that melted my heart when I watched Up, broadened the scope of my imagination with WALL*E, and made me truly yearn for my youth upon watching Toy Story 3. At the very least, I expected Brave to break some sort of new ground in story-telling, visual effects, or (dare I say it) move me in some way. Unfortunately, Brave does none of these things. My biggest fear when watching the Brave trailers was that this was in the same universe as Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon. In essence, I was concerned the fantasy, Scottish tale had been done before. In a way, Brave is kind of the same movie as HTTYD, sprinkled with a dash of Beauty & the Beast, low-brow humor in the vein of Shrek, and a fight scene that might very well be a shot-for-shot rip-off of The Lion King (*I need to re-watch both of these to be certain). Now is it a bad thing that Pixar would emulate those films when telling the tale within Brave? No, not really... after all, those are all fantastic movies. But the disappointing reality--the letdown--is that Pixar couldn't do the story in its own voice. Yeah, yeah, I laughed throughout and I empathized with the rebellious teenager against the parent(s) story, but I sincerely felt misled by the trailer, let alone the title. Brave is not a film about "bravery." In fact I think the film was much better-suited by its original title--The Bear and the Bow--because that's at least what the film is about. Unless you're less cynical than I, you will not cry during this movie. You will not be moved in any particular fashion, save for those who are in fact constantly at odds with mom and dad and decide to reassess their lives. While the animation is beautiful and certainly in the Pixar rolodex, it's not the finest animation I've seen lately and it's definitely not worth the price of 3D. My feelings after the film were mutually felt with the audience if the audible, "Meh. Good movie," vibe was any indication. It is a "good" movie, just not a Pixar-perfect one. Experience - 17/30 Story/Writing - 10/20 Acting - 12/15 Tech Specs (Cinematography, Editing, Effects) - 13/15 Direction - 6/10 Music - 10/10 (I love bagpipes; that was a saving grace for this film... incredible score) THE VERDICT: 68/100, C
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