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Avatar – Big Bucks Create Incredible Movie Experience Through a Compelling Story

Avatar – Big Bucks Create Incredible Movie Experience Through a Compelling Story

Does spending millions of dollars to tell a compelling story make sense? From Cleopatra to Titanic, Hollywood has spent big bucks to entertain while simultaneously earning a significant return on investment.

After watching Avatar on its opening day, all I can say is the expenditure was indeed worth it. Of course to be honest, I am a science fiction fan from my early childhood days of reading Jules Verne to H.G. Well. I remember many of those now “cheesy” science fiction movies such as Them or The Blob to even the better ones As the Day the Earth Stood Still to the first War of the Worlds.

Watching this movie I had this one consistent thought, “Cameron’s creativity was endless.” From the colors to the intricate environmental relationships between the humanoids on the planet Pandora to all of the native flora and animal life not to mention the mixing of animation with actors, I just could not stop thinking about the details within this incredible film. Having experienced the many contemporary science fiction and fantasy films, I could not find one having such an intricate story line. Possibly the closest one was Dune and yet never reached the depths of Avatar.

While having this ongoing thoughts of Wow, how did he think this up?, I also experienced several deep emotion reactions to this movie. These emotional jumps reminded me of watching Sleeping Beauty as a child. Not since Disney (which was a very long time ago) have I had an emotional connection with an animated picture.

In reflecting after leaving the theater, I realized that Cameron must have had read McCafferty’s Dragons of Pern not too mention possibly Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Last of the Mohicans. I saw and felt through the dialogue pieces of Native American to African American cultures.

The physical look of the Na’vi appeared to be cat like in the face like the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast television series. Their bodies moved like the felines in the musical Cats only with the combined agility of Spider Man, Flash and the Fantastic Four.

If you wish to experience something far different than anything you have ever seen, then you should purchase a ticket for Avatar. The only thing is you may wish to see it again because in one viewing you will truly not see everything that is happening on the big screen.

P.S. When it comes out in DVD, this is a must for my collection. Also, I believe Cameron may be thinking a series based upon the ending of the movie.…

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Decorate Ideas – Rooms For Those Who Love Movies

Decorate Ideas – Rooms For Those Who Love Movies

A love for movies usually starts at a young age. The fun, adventure, danger, and laughter captured on screen lights a flame in the hearts of most children. Superheroes, cops, firemen, astronauts, and cowboys fabricate the dreams of many aspiring childhoods. While these dreams may or may not come true for some of us, our love for the silver screen remains true to these ideals.

Decorating a room is not just about throwing up some pictures or posters, painting a few trendy colors on the walls and calling it good. Decorating a room is all about personality. Is it a love for Disney movies? Disney characters? Specific movie stars? I know that my little sister absolutely loves Hannah Montana, and was lucky enough to go to one of her concerts. I bought her a poster before she went, and she was somehow able to get it signed. She couldn’t wait to display her experience on her wall in her room for all to see.

Whether you are decorating for yourself or for a son or daughter, you need to ask three basic questions:

What type of movies are the favorites? Disney? Pixar? Classic cartoons?

Is it a love for something specific that you may want a theme? Or a little bit of everything?

What type of movie memorabilia are the favorites? Posters? Film cells? Cardboard cutouts? Shadow boxes? There are so many choices when it comes to movies, answering these questions will give you insight into the best way to set up the room.

Finding the material to set up in the room is fairly simple. If you know the specific items you will be searching for, you can search the internet specifically for that item, and with a little research you can find a web site with a great selection, quality merchandise, and competitive prices. I have decorated and redecorated rooms so many times with film and television decor, that the process is simple. It all comes down to knowing what you want, and where to go look for it.…

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Awake Heroics In You Like Iron Man

Awake Heroics In You Like Iron Man

Superheroes are evergreen characters of the world of imagination. Every child wants to become a superhero when he grows up, and every adult has a hidden wish of having extraordinary powers. One of the most popular sources where superheroes emerge from is comics. The world of comics has fascinating and breathtaking superheroes. However, from Superman to Spiderman, there is undoubtedly one comic house which creates the most mesmerizing superheroes, Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics is the king when it comes to developing the most heroic figures in the world of fiction. One of the best creations of Marvel Comics is Iron Man.

Iron Man is a superhero who gets his superpowers in pursuit of protecting himself by making a metal armor suit. This character of Iron Man gets his distinctiveness from a gentle and noble nature he possesses. The journey of Iron Man began from comics and reached up to the big screen. The Iron Man movie was a blockbuster, and the audiences loved every attribute of the character of Iron Man as Tony Stark in the movie.

The character of Tony Stark required a highly advanced look. It was particularly challenging for the fashion designers to give him the apparel that could step side by side with the character of Iron Man. However, the designers met the challenge with diligence and eventually came up with extremely chic and classy apparel. Robert Downy Jr. played the character of Tony Stark and managed to sport the fashion pieces exceptionally well. The audiences simply fell in love with Downy from his very first look. Though Downy sported every piece of attire well, it was his trendy jacket that gained most popularity.

The jacket of Tony Stark was a unique and classic piece in itself. Unlike the conventional jackets, his jacket had a side zipper. This new way of zipping accentuated the appeal of the jacket. Even the style of the pockets of his jacket was exceptional. Away from the traditional pocket cuts, his jacket had a diagonal zipped pocket on the chest. There was another diagonal pocket on the stomach in the opposite direction. The collar had a snap with two metallic buttons which added intricacy to the jacket. The fitting of his jacket looked neat, and the cuts were extraordinarily stylish. The back had an inverted T-stitch which made the jacket look distinct. The sleeves had no extra leather hanging which awarded an exclusive look to his jacket. The details of the jacket spoke themselves for their exquisiteness. The structure of his jacket was well-defined through the stitches which fulfilled all the needs of the character to look muscular and athletic. The outer shell of leather used in his jacket was black and had a rough touch which complemented his appearance.

Iron Man is a legendary superhero. Every fiction lover will love to look like him. Every fashionable being would wish to look as stylish as Tony Stark. For every style savvy person, the apparel Downy sported in the movie are quite tempting.…

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Movie Review – The A-Team

Movie Review – The A-Team

Don’t you just love remakes? With so many adaptations/remakes running around I suppose it was just a matter of time before The A-Team got remade. Based of the TV series which ran from 1983- 1987 a lot of us might not have had a chance to watch it or remember it very well because we were too young. So if you did remember the series well. Dude! You are so old. The good thing about not really remembering this series is that I went to watch as an average movie goer with no expectations a fan might have. Which is a nice change.

The movie stars Liam Neeson as Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson), Bradley Cooper as Templeton “Faceman” Peck, Quinton Jackson as B.A. Baracus and Sharlto Copley as H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock. Jessica Biel plays DCIS Captain Charissa Sosa and the film is directed by Joe Carnahan.

Now the A-Team stands for Alpha Team and just like in the TV series, are sent on a super top secret mission. Upon their return to base however they find their commanding officer who gave them the order, murdered, and therefore they have no proof that they were acting under orders. They are then sent to a maximum security facility but of course, they escape. Which makes me worry about maximum security facilities in general. The A-Team now go looking for the people that set them up. The storyline has been modified from Vietnam to Iraq but its generally the same.

Liam Neeson has pretty much played every conceivable character there is to play by adding Hannibal to this already long list of roles. Jedi Knight, Greek God, King of the Beasts you name it Mr Neeson has done it. So this role would hardly be a challenge for him. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

A lot of us will remember Bradley Cooper from The Hangover and he is well suited for the womanizer Faceman. Plus he is eye candy apparently. If the girls I hang out with are any indication of what girls in general feel about him that is.

Copley as Howling Mad Murdock is probably going to be audience’s most favorite character. The mad pilot from hell who gave Baracus his fear of flying? Whats not to love? What I found out is that Copley is actually a South African producer, actor, and director who produced and directed several short films for the Cannes Film Festival. Didn’t see that coming I must say.

I’m actually the most impressed with Quinton Jackson who plays Bad Attitude Baracus. Now filling the shoes of Mr-T will be a big task indeed. For those who do not know Quinton is also known as Rampage Jackson, and is an American mixed martial artist. He acted in several reality TV shows including The Ultimate Fighter 7 and is a trained UFC fighter. After watching the movie thats pretty scary stuff. You don’t ever want to get into a fight with 6 foot 1, 93 KG guy that looks like that. What impresses me however is the fact that this guy isn’t actually an actor per say like the other three but he plays his role very well.

Overall it was a generally enjoyable movie with a nice blend of humor and action. Probably not the most original plot or storyline but it has decent jokes and a lot of explosions. So don’t expect too much and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this movie.

“I ain’t gettin on no plane!” Sorry couldn’t help myself.

I rate the movie 3 out of 5…

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As Far As Robotics Technology Has Come

As Far As Robotics Technology Has Come

It’s a development in robotics technology that the Spielberg movie Artificial Intelligence perhaps foretold for a period that was a little too far in the future. In the movie, science is seen to create a robot in the form of an adorable little child. The robot in the movie is for childless couples, to help them expend their pent-up affection and caring instincts on. In real life, a little fat robotic creature called Paro with fleece as white as snow, that looks like a cross between a puppy and a baby seal and that is filled with sensors and microprocessor circuitry, is beginning to pop up in places where there are people who are in need of soothing – in a rehab center, an old people’s home, at a children’s hospital. It’s a big, fat teddy-like thing to hug, that really seems to ask for your affection and that seems to appreciate it when you give it some. When its name is called, when it is stroked, when soft comforting words were whispered to it, it responds with appreciation and with cute vulnerable little sounds that would warm anyone’s heart.

The name of the robot is Paro – derived from the first syllables of the terms Personal Robot. It’s one of a bunch of primitive and yet emotionally rewarding little robots that are designed to help and offer companionship to people in need. There are other robots that help humans in other ways too. There is one to help dieters keep to their schedules; there is one that is supposed to be worn by addicts in rehab that can tell when they have their cravings, and give them reassuring and supportive messages. Robotics technology has certainly advanced to a stage where it can help in running the machinery of war, play advanced chess and even perform intricate surgery.

To have one be able to understand even a narrow range of emotional cues and respond appropriately though, is a really big deal even today. These devices are successful because they are used only in situations where caring is what is called for. They’ve had science-fiction stories and movies about just this kind of thing for ages; to have these appear even in rudimentary form in real life is sending science-fiction writers on a new high.

The technology will improve one day, and we certainly will begin to have robots to read a bedtime story to a kid or play with the child or something. But one has to remember, that people have a lot of tolerance for robots only when they are sufficiently primitive. Things that take on a primitive impersonation of humans as cartoons do, find a ready audience. When an animated movie tries very hard to create a character that you’re supposed to accept as actually human, it only creeps you out.…

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Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Exhibits in Paris at Jeu De Paume Museum

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Exhibits in Paris at Jeu De Paume Museum

I recently visited the retrospective exhibition of Ai Weiwei at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris where his work is being exhibited along with Berenice Abbott.

If nothing else, Ai Weiwei has certainly been prolific. There is an obsessive-compulsive quality to his work, especially the later work when he is using his telephone to shoot and immediately post to his blog or other online accounts.

Naturally, when there is little or no editing taking place one finds the good, the bad and the ugly in his work. That said, for a Western audience, his work does offer us a view into Chinese society–albeit one made up of artists one suspects are far from being in the mainstream in China.

Because Ai Weiwei seems to have been on machine gun speed with his cameras for much of the last twenty years–including during the 1980s and 1990s when shooting film–there are many ups and downs. The early New York period is interesting in how it gives us a glimpse of the life of Chinese students living in New York. In some ways they don’t seem so different from slacker art students of any nationality–and this may be part of the interest–but I suspect it also betrays some of his very Western attitudes about art and life.

Overall, Ai Weiwei seems caught between two worlds. There is the part of him that seems to have been seduced by the Western cult of personality that has become the expectation in the American art world–and this part seems a bit too self-focused and not particularly interested in bigger societal or existential issues. But on the other side, as for example, after the earthquake in China in 2008, he made some quite beautiful and moving pictures of the aftermath of this tragedy which show a strong interest in the world around him.

One cannot neglect to mention his on-going battle with the Chinese government over his outspoken nature. He has shown remarkable courage in taking on the government and withstanding his emprisonment and torture only to go right back to work taunting the government, defying their effort to silence him.

It may well be that these experiences play a central role in his choice to make himself more and more the center of his work. This may, in effect, offer him additional security as the government now is unable to simply eliminate this thorn in their side which they might have been tempted to do with a lesser known artist.

In the end it’s difficult to evaluate Ai Weiwei’s work because of the reality of his personal struggles in China. He certainly deserves all the credit in the world for his courage to continue in his outspoken ways, challenging the government to allow for some semblance of free speech in the country. This is clearly an honorable and remarkably courageous quest on his part. And from a Western vantage point we probably can’t begin to imagine the stress and danger he faces through his actions.

That said, while there are some definite high points to his work, ultimately, some of the series don’t have the same interest or power.

Michael McCarthy

Atelier Vagabond…

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Donnie Yen’s Return of Chen Zhen Movie Review

Donnie Yen’s Return of Chen Zhen Movie Review

Donnie Yen’s latest movie, The Return of Chen Zhen, is expected to hit the cinemas any time. If you don’t know who is Donnie Yen, the following is some background about him.

Background

Donnie Yen is one of the top current martial artists in the Asia. He was born into a family with wushu background. Yen has been practicing wushu since young and had won several wushu competitions. He has acted in several box office movies such as Ip Man, Ip Man 2, Sha Bo Lang (SPL) and Flashpoint just to name a few.

Movie Review

His latest movie that will hit the cinema soon is ‘The Legend of Fist – The Return of Zhen Chen’. The movie is about Chen Zhen, a fictional character created renowned Hong Kong Write Ni Kuang for Bruce Lee in 1972 for his movie, Fist of Fury or The Chinese Connection. The movie ended with Zhen Chen sacrificed himself for the sake of his wushu school.

Yen’s movie, The Return of Zhen Chen, begin with Chen Zhen managed to escape death. He became a cape crusade by night to beat up the bad guys and the Japanese who try to take over Chinese lands during the Sino-Japanese war in Shanghai. In the movie, Yen retained most of the slick kung fu moves from the first movie by Bruce Lee. The Hoo and Haa combating cries and the famous Nunchaku fighting skills were retained in this new movie. The fighting scenes in the movies are assured to be of high quality and electrifying enough to worth every dollar spent.

Avid kung fu fans are in great treats to see Yen in this latest kung fu stunts. Yen is well known for his slick and agile moves which have been demonstrated by his previous movies. He is in fact one of the very few martial artists that has captivated me since Bruce Lee.…

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Movie Reviews – The Ministers

Movie Reviews – The Ministers

This is a very well made crime drama starring John Leguizamo as two characters Dante Mendoza and his twin brother Perfecto.

It starts off with a seemingly ordinary day where a cop Alberto Santana played by Benny Nieves and his partner Joe Bruno played by the stalwart Harvey Keitel (Pulp Fiction), have come to wish Alberto’s daughter Celeste a happy birthday, as Alberto, his wife Gina played by Diane Venora (The 13th Warrior) and Celeste are walking arm in arm towards Celeste’s present, a gunman from nowhere turns up and shoots Alberto point blank, then hands Celeste a pamphlet that reads “A Message from the Lord”.

We meet Celeste several years later who is now a police officer and played by the gorgeous Florencia Lozano (One Life to Live, she looks very much like Matt Parkman’s wife in Heroes), and whose partner is none other than her father’s partner Joe. She is still very bitter at not having caught the murderer of her father, who also at the same time period that her father was killed, killed two businessmen that had committed insurance fraud, where a fire is set to dilapidated buildings in order to collect the insurance money.

In turns out that a similar murder has just taken place with the trademark of “The Ministers” where two armed men wearing a hairy face mask, enter a drug fueled neighbourhood and proceed to shoot all the men they encounter, but leave the women as witnesses, with one of them quoting scripture to her as his partner kills the others.

Celeste is extremely keen on taking the case, much to the despair of her boss, Captain Diaz played by Wanda De Jesus (Blood Work), as well as Joe. Joe on the other hand feels a little guilty for the death of his partner after so many years, and the last thing he would like is for Celeste to put herself in danger, when he has ingrained himself into their family, and considers her his daughter.

Matters come to an interesting twist when one of the twin brothers responsible for killing her father Dante, takes a liking to her and proceeds to charm his way into her life, first by offering to fix her car which has broken down, if she will go out on a date with him, he asks her if she has a jack, she says no, then he says that would mean extra, as in dinner instead of a date, he then asks her if she has a spare tyre, she says no, and he says that could mean dancing and maybe more.

The other twin Perfecto who has the upper hand amongst the two, is still intent on revenge for the harm that has been done to him, while Dante would like to put the past to rest, seeing he is falling for Celeste, but as things go, it is clear things will never be this straight forward.

John Leguizamo is impressive in both roles, playing the more level headed of the twins Dante charmingly, as well as the psychotic and jealous twin Perfecto in equal measure. The suspense will keep the audience at the edge of their seat, on how it all pans out.…

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The Warrior’s Way Review (That Cowboys Vs Ninjas Movie)

The Warrior’s Way Review (That Cowboys Vs Ninjas Movie)

Pretty much all one can glean from the trailers for The Warrior’s Way is that it has something to do with cowboys vs. ninjas. No one needs more than that honestly, but the film’s plot turned out to be surprisingly complex. While The Warrior’s Way doesn’t have the smallest budget in the world, it’s clearly a limited one, but the filmmakers spent what they had in all the right places.

Right off the bat, from the first scene to the last, what stood out to me most in The Warrior’s Way were the costumes. The costumes were over the top, and seem to have been inspired by Mortal Kombat and various space western animes like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. I want one of the dusters that the cowboys wear, I can then officially change my middle name to McAsswhoop.

Beyond some quick action at the beginning of the movie, the first half of The Warrior’s Way is pretty damn slow. Combine this with a weak supporting cast and hit or miss acting, and I became pretty restless for action. The films protagonist, Yang (played by Dong-gun Jang), leaves his country and clan with the last living descendant of their rival clan, due to his inability to murder a baby. Yang ends up heading to the American West to find one of his old friends in a small circus town by the name of Lode. However, upon arrival he discovers that his friend is dead. From there, hardcore laundry service ensues (Don’t question.) The film then introduces a few different factions and the plot gets more complex than I had originally expected.

There are actually two antagonists in The Warrior’s Way. The first is The Sad Flute ninja clan and their leader, appropriately named Saddest Flute. The Sad Flutes are dead set on eliminating the last of their rival clan, and this faction as a whole reminds me of Ra’s Al Ghul’s assassins from Batman Begins. We also have The Colonel and his men, a rogue platoon who periodically hold the town of Lode hostage so the Colonel can rape their young girls. Clearly the Colonel is the enemy easiest to hate. When all three factions collide in the second half of the movie, it gets real.

There are a ton of gimmicks used to shoot The Warrior’s Way, but they are all well executed and seldom repeated. Battles that clearly borrowed from films like 300, Blade, Resident Evil, and the Matrix are brutally violent, and some of the more over the top deaths will have you laughing at their absurdity or cringing in pain. Yang is consistently dodging bullets and slicing his foes into pieces with lightning speed. Although the sword fights aren’t as epic, or as evenly matched, as those you would find in films like Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, they are still just as fun to watch.

The CGI in The Warrior’s Way is really hit or miss, and it’s clear the filmmakers distributed their funds carefully in this regard. A generic explosion that serves to push the narrative along may look horrible, like something from an early 90’s PC game, but a complex slow motion melee looks amazing, with blood, bullets, and limbs flying everywhere.

The good forgives the bad in The Warrior’s Way, and although it’s still pretty much what I was expecting, it’s not the disappointment I thought it would be. There have been far worse offerings this year in the action realm (I’m looking at you Expendables), so action fans shouldn’t miss this one.…

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Who Should You Rent Movies Online From? Blockbuster Or Netflix?

Who Should You Rent Movies Online From? Blockbuster Or Netflix?

Nowadays, you don’t have to wait a lengthy amount of time for a new movie release to be available for rent. Within four to six months of a theatre premiere, most films can be rented on DVD through a local video store or an online service.

For convenience purposes, many people choose to rent movies online these days. This service is offered through companies such as Blockbuster and Netflix. And, if you are interested in signing up for a service that meets your needs, this article explains how each works and how they differ.

How does Blockbuster work? Blockbuster ships movies to you by post. When using Blockbuster online to rent new releases or classic films, you can enjoy the benefits of keeping the movie as long as you desire, never having to pay a late fee and the shipping is free.

Customers can fill their rental queue with requested movies and receive their DVDs in the mail upon availability. Blockbuster offers 2 ways to rent movies online: films can be delivered and returned through the mail or, delivered by mail and returned to a store in exchange for free or discounted rentals.

Blockbuster is for you if you prefer to rent and return movies in store. They also offer game rentals.

How Does Netflix Work? The Netflix service is similar to Blockbuster in that the movies are delivered on a first come first served basis and customers are not responsible for paying late fees or returning their rentals by a certain due date.

Although Netflix does not have any store locations or offer game rentals, they have a huge selection of movies to choose from so finding a title you like that is available more likely.

So what does one service offer that the other doesn’t? The range of titles available at both is vast. Finding a good selection of your favourite shows or movies shouldn’t be a problem. However, one may have more of a certain type of film than the other. So this is worth checking before you sign up.

Netflix will charge you extra to rent on Blu Ray and they don’t offer game rentals. You cannot rent and return films in a bricks and mortar type store as you can with Blockbuster. They both allow you to watch movies instantly on your PC or gaming device.

So if you don’t mind paying extra for Blu Ray, then Netflix is best because of the range of titles on offer. If you want to rent games and rent/return movies in store too, Blockbuster is best.

Similar plans at Blockbuster and Netflix cost about the same. Blockbuster will charge extra for in store returns.…