Monday, May 31, 2010

A Night of Drama

So the school year has come to a conclusion. It has been an amazing year for Drama at Provo High School. At the Night of One Acts we performed our award winning Kabuki scene of Richard III. We read several plays that students wrote, and several award winning scenes and monologues were performed. We were kick butt at State Competition this year, and this night was for us to shine bright. I took none of these photos. I stole them from friends.

Our Kabuki Scene. James and Dexter duel.

Dexter and James in the Kabuki scene. James' face is amazing. He is an incredible actor.

More pictures of Dexter in the One Act.

Lauren and Dexter

Facundo and McKenna perform their scene from Barefoot in the Park. They received straight superiors for their performance.

We read out loud several plays that were written by students. I am on the left... in case you didn't know.

This year has been incredible for me. I'll probably blog later about my full thoughts in the drama experience and about all of the friends that I've made. But until then, I hope you enjoyed all of these photos that I stole.

PS - I made Drama Council. I am THE Historian.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Triple Movie Review: Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, Prince of Persia

Today I'm going to do three reviews in one post. Summer has kicked off and there have already been a couple of summer blockbuster's released. Some are better than others, and some movies have been nightmares to sit through. I'm going to quickly let everyone know what I thought of these three movies that were released recently. I'm going to review Iron Man 2, Robin Hood and Prince of Persia. Do any of these movies get a bullseye, or are they all forgetable movies that can dry up in the sands of time? (Go me. That was creative.)

IRON MAN 2

Sure the original Iron Man was entertaining. Maybe a little more than entertaining... The original Iron Man had a fun story, a very well cast of characters, good story development, a lame villain, great special effects and everything else that makes a super hero/comic book movie good. Unfortunately Iron Man 2 lacked almost all of that.

Iron Man 2 lacked almost everything that made the first movie good. The first forty minutes or half hour of the movie are filled with plenty of Iron Man action... then the movie takes an awkward turn in pacing, storytelling and everything else. We are introduced to the characters from The Avengers, another comic book series; and from thereon the next hour or so of the movie is awfully dull and focuses on these boring characters instead of Tony Stark.

The story focuses on Ivan Vanko, a Russian Physician living in the slums of modern Russia. Vanko is the son of a great Physician that helped build the original Arc Reactor, and wants revenge on Tony... or something like that. I really don't care because there was almost no motivation for his character. So Ivan builds his own reactor thing and goes off to try and kill Tony Stark. There is almost no character motivation for the villain or anyone else, making him feel dull and just there. It was a waste of talent from Mickey Rourke, and Robert Downey Jr. The film had several stories being told at once and it just didn't work. In the end three or four stories collaborated into one jumbled mess.

The few redeeming factors of the movie were that the design of the film was just as cool as the first movie if not cooler. The world of Iron Man is filled with creative futuristic technological marvels that make watching Tony Stark throw away content on his computer entertaining. The cinematography was great, and there were a lot of fun tid-bits thrown in. Unfortunately the music wasn't even that great. The soundtrack didn't even feature Iron Man by Black Sabbath.

Iron Man 2 was a movie that was as entertaining as watching the rain on the ground dry up. I will not be watching it again anytime soon.

STORY 3.8/10
DESIGN 8/10
PRESENTATION 4/10
CINEMATOGRAPHY 8/10
MUSICAL SCORE 7/10
REPLAY VALUE 2/10
TOTAL SCORE 5.5/10

ROBIN HOOD

After years of waiting, Ridley Scott's newest project has finally arrived. Robin Hood is here. Upon its release critics have bashed this movie to pieces. I am here to tell you to ignore what all the critics have said about Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a fantastic film.

Taking place before the actual tale of Robin Hood, the film is a prequel to the legend that we all know and love. The film stars Russel Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett (Benjamin Button) as Lady Marion.

The story revolves around Robin Longstride, an archer caught up in a ten year long English crusade to conquer France. After a freak accident involving the death of King Richard, the marksman and his gang of merry men stumble upon a great fortune that earns them a free ride back into England, some respect and loyalty. As the story progresses Robin is set onto a course of events that force him to learn about who he really is and ultimately leads him into becoming the outlaw he's famous for being... so that's a very brief (and crappy) explanation of the story of the new Robin Hood. It is the same Robin Hood that we all know and love... he just appears after two and a half hours of some made up story. The story for me wasn't a problem. I liked how they created a story that was completely new and actually worked.

As expected in Ridley Scott films, the film is gorgeous to look at. The world of medieval Europe is incredibly believable and gorgeous. Everything from the costumes, to the dialogue, to the musical score, to the acting is all expertly portrayed. In short, it's a quality film.

If I have anything to complain about, it is the presentation of the film. As with most Ridley Scott films, Robin Hood feels unfinished. The story, although solid, feels as if it is missing several key points. It's not much of a problem for me but this led to some awkward pacing. I'm assuming that a director's cut will be released later this year and that will fully explain the story. So it really wasn't much of a problem for me. Since the movie was originally rated R, all of the battles scenes feel toned down, and I wish there was more blood. (There. I said it. I love blood.) I did not go to see the movie for action though. I saw it for the drama, and there was plenty of it.

Most people didn't enjoy Robin Hood because Robin Hood doesn't appear until the last two minutes of the movie. I enjoyed the movie for it was. It was a very well made production with a few flaws. Besides, it's a million times better than the disaster made by Kevin Costner. People can complain about Russel Crowe not being Robin Hood in the sequels that are sure to follow.

STORY 8.2/10
DESIGN 9.5/10
PRESENTATION 8/10
CINEMATOGRAPHY 8.7/10
MUSICAL SCORE 8/10
REPLAY VALUE 9/10
TOTAL SCORE 8.6/10

PRINCE OF PERSIA

Holy crap... and not in a good way. When I heard that they were making a Prince of Persia movie, I was actually excited. I love the Prince of Persia video games. The Sands of Time game, which was released in 2003 was an instant classic. If you've played the game then the entire concept of it being made into a movie sounds like a match made in heaven. Maybe it could have been. But Disney has turned the sands of time into hell... literally.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko) as the Prince, the movie starts off with an epic siege on a city in order to retrieve an ancient treasure; a sacred dagger that allows one to travel through time. After accidentally retrieving the dagger, the Prince, Dastan, soon finds himself in a situation where he is framed for the mysterious murder of the King. He must then travel with a beautiful princess to discover the truth behind the death of the King, and find The Sands of Time; a magical land where magical sand is produced that allows the magical dagger to magically travel through time, in order to prevent the end of the world. The story sounds as good as it is. In other words, it sucks. The story vaguely follows the story of the game; leading me to wondering, would it have killed them to just make a movie based on the game?

The original Sands of Time was an instant classic. Unfortunately, the movie isn't.

On a more uplifting side, the design to the movie is solid. All of the costumes are well thought out, and several of them are similar to the actual costumes that the characters in the games wear. The costume that Prince Dastan wears is very similar to his costume in the second game, Warrior Within. All of the sets are gorgeously crafted. However the props, such as the dagger itself look like little Power Ranger toys. The special effects are also not the best, which makes me wonder what Disney did with the 150 million dollars spent on this film.

The costume that Prince Dastan wears is in the film is very similar to the costume of the Prince from the second game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Luckily, Prince Dastan doesn't look as stupid.

My biggest problem with the film is how it was presented. The story to the film is so large and epic in scale that it feels like the entire movie is rushed in order to fit the film into the two hours. In other words, the pacing is so fast that it's awkward. Several scenes in the film feel unfinished, or completely chopped to the point that you forget what is happening and you forget that there's even a "story" to all of the action, ultimately making you wonder why you're even watching the movie. It's not entertaining at all. In fact, it's about as entertaining as watching grass grow.

Although the overall design is great, props such as the dagger itself look like toys.

The cinematography in the film has one mission. Give you a headache; does it succeed? Yes. Maybe their goal while making the film was to imitate the camera style from a video game, and if that was the case, then they failed miserably. The action scenes are very quick camera shots that often involve the camera shaking as if it were being held by a five year old. There are random shots where the camera pointlessly circles around characters which results in you feeling like you are on the tea cups ride at Disney Land, only without the fun of Disney Land. In other words, it makes you feel nauseous.

The action/fight scenes are fun, but they fail to have any significance to the plot. Usually characters will wander around and then randomly get ambushed by a bunch of lame looking bad guys for no reason. I can't think of one fight scene in the movie that didn't begin this way. The villains always come out of no where, and it makes no sense. The fight scenes themselves can't choose between "hack and slash" fighting or Kung Fu action. Characters do a ton of flips and stunt kicks, which looks cool, but is ultimately pointless. Maybe they did this to imitate the action in the game, but as with everything else, it fails.

The movie does have some redeeming factors. The music is composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (Shrek, Kingdom of Heaven), and as always, he does a fantastic job; but it isn't a memorable score.The Princess, Princess Tamina, is played by Gemma Arterton (Quantom of Solace) and is really fun to look at, and the girls that are watching the film of course have Jake Gyllenhaal. The fact that the movie has two attractive main characters is great and all, but these two main characters are so nice looking that they make everyone else in the movie look dull and out of place. Maybe that was just me though. The movie is also presented in a very light hearted manner, which makes it a little less painful to sit through since the Sands of Time games are very dark.

Unlike the movie, The Sands of Time trilogy was incredibly dark. It often involved the Prince fighting against his dark side. (Pictured above)


Prince of Persia was not only a waste of 8 dollars, but a waste of my time. I doubt I'll watch it again anytime soon. Would it have killed them to make a movie based on the game? Really? Although I will admit that it's the best movie based off a video game that I have ever seen... but that's not saying much. People adored the film, I did not. You'll have to see it for yourself.

STORY 4.2/10
DESIGN 7.8/10
PRESENTATION 3.8/10
CINEMATOGRAPHY 5/10
MUSICAL SCORE 7.5/10
REPLAY VALUE 2/10
TOTAL SCORE 5.0/10

Wow. That took a long time to type. This post was pretty lame, and I apologize. My next post will be better! I swear it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Movies and Games... and a random thought process thing in the end.

I know! I am a liar! I promised that I wouldn't blog about movies anymore... or for a while. But I have no choice in the matter! Hear me out before you begin to throw full wine bottles at your computer screen!

It was on the night of Saturday the eighth of May, 2010. My family and girlfriend all went and saw the new film "Iron Man 2." Just so everyone knows, I did not like the movie. I personally think the first Iron Man movie was much much better than the new film... I'll have a full review out in a few days... I need to... straighten my thoughts before I write a review.



On a more bright side, let's talk about video games! I don't generally care for video games. (Final Fantasy is the exception.) When I was a younger chap I thought that video games were the greatest things ever created. But then my eyes were opened, and now I think they're rubbish. Butt! Some are still okay to play.

An example of a video game that is okay to play is LittleBigPlanet, or LBP for short. LBP is a game that basically allows the player to create anything that he/she desires. The game was released on the Playstation 3 only in 2008, and it won severally awards from critics, including the Game of the Year award. The game in other words, is freaking awesome. It has fun stylized "cartoony" graphics that always make me smile and laugh when I play the game.


Yesterday, LittleBigPlanet 2 was announced and it looks awesome!



My brothers have been playing the new Call of Duty game, and I'm not a fan. Sure it looks cool, but it's way too violent and brutal for my taste. Plus, you have to kill dogs... which I do not like.



Also, there's a new Medal of Honor game coming out, and it actually looks good! The old Medal of Honor games are classics. The newer ones kind of suck a lot. If you don't know, Medal of Honor is a game series created by Steven Spielberg that honors that soldiers and Vets. It was a once a proud series. Every game was amazing, but lately the games haven't been good. The new game looks amazing.



So yeah. I'm not feeling good. I feel sick, and I don't know why. I wanted to show everyone that LittleBigPlanet trailer... now that I have, I think I'm done. I'll probably go lie down now... but I have homework to do. So I guess I'll go do that instead. I have to type up a ten minute play for drama, so far it's not going well, but it's a work in progress. Maybe I'll post that as my next post when it's done... maybe. (Don't get your hopes up. If anyone has any... if anyone even reads this anymore.)

I'm done now. I feel like I've just been talking about nothing now.... I kind of feel pathetic having blogged about video games that I'm not even going to buy. Video games are a waste of time. So why have I blogged about them? I don't know.

Okay, I'm done now... for now.
Until next time,

Adieu!