Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ghost in the Case - Meet the Robinsons

Ghost here, thanks for joining and I welcome you to...

"NO! Everyone will tell you to let it go and move on but don't!  Instead let it fester and boil inside of you.  Take these feelings and lock them away; let them fuel your actions. Let hate be your ally and you will be capable of wonderfully horrid things!  Heed my words, Goob, don't let it go!"

Yeah yeah I know what you're thinking.  This is only my second movie review and I'm doing a Disney film?  You thought I was supposed to review movies you've never heard of before right?  Well not exactly.  It's things that you probably haven't watched.  How many of you have actually watched this movie before?  No seriously, I'll wait..... because I guarantee few of you have.  Sure most of you probably know about this movie but let's be honest with ourselves here.  You only know of it because of that one joke.
The question would be whether or not there is anything else of merit in this movie besides T-Rex related humor.  Well, let's find out.

The Story
Lewis is a blonde orphan who desperately wants a family.  The boy is a pure genius making up inventions out of his room all of the time.  Unfortunately his over ambitious attitude about his inventions coupled by the fact that pretty much all of them fail and blow up cause him to never be picked for adoption.  Out of desperation he created a machine that can read the dormant thoughts inside your brain in hopes of seeing his mother's face from when he was an infant and using that to track her down and become a family.   As he heads to the science fair to show off his invention he meets a kid who is telling him to beware a man in a bowler hat who kind of looks like Dick Dastardly after having a psychotic episode.

Bowler Hat Guy is from the future and there to steal Lewis' invention to ruin his future by having his robotic bowler hat, Doris, destroy the invention so he could steal it and sell it as his own.  Wilbur is also from the future and attempting to foil Bowler Hat Guy's plan.  In order to prove to Lewis that he needs to go back to the science fair and fix that one project, Wilbur takes him to the future briefly.  However the boys get into an argument and crash the time machine.  There in the future Lewis meets Wilbur's family but has to keep wearing hats because as Wilbur says "His hair will give him away that he's from the past."  Bowler Hat Guy returns to the future after failing to understand how to work the machine to get Lewis to help him.

Shenanigans ensue including the well known T-Rex joke as it is revealed to the family who Lewis is, and he learns that this family is actually his own and that it is because of him that the happy future world is possible but he just has to keep moving on.  Due to a misunderstanding, Lewis helps the Bowler Hat Guy but the hat, Doris is the evil one with a plan, eventually turning the future into an apocalyptic world ruled by mechanical hats.  Lewis saves the day, goes back in time and learns to keep moving on so that one day the carefree world of the future will be a reality through his persistence.

What's Good About It?
One of the most outstanding features of this story is the message of persistence and to keep moving forward.  Sure we've seen this so many times before and even though I skimmed over it in the story portion it really is a large portion of the film; learning to take pride in your failures as a lesson learned and to keep pursuing what you should. They take time with the message and don't pound it into your head like a sledgehammer.
 errr...Well... most of the time at least

The villain is a lot of fun.  I won't give away who the villain actually is but when you figure it out, it's actually quite funny.  He's such a bumbling idiot but in many ways you actually want to see him succeed at something just because he tries so hard but is so incompetent.  The fact that the hat, Doris, was created by Lewis at some point and is seeking revenge because she had the ability to do more than she was programmed and meant to do is a bit silly but fun because hey it's Disney.  You expect some bit of silliness. 

The ending is also one of those heartfelt endings that most people love.  Everything falls into place perfectly, the song by Rob Thomas is actually fitting for the theme though I honestly didn't pay attention to the lyrics, and there is a quote at the end.  Just like Doug Walker when he reviewed this, I'm not going to say the quote or give away who said it but it never fails to bring a smile to my face and leaves you walking away with something good.

What's Bad About It?
While there are only a couple of things bad with this film, the things that are bad are REALLY bad and distracting.  The first of which being the pacing of certain scenes.  You'll have one scene really slow and emotional  then the next thing you know, BAM!  You're hit in the face with 3 minutes worth of nonstop shenanigans and jokes at the speed of a 3 year old after two cups of espresso.  The jokes themselves don't know what they're doing. There are so many different varieties of jokes aimed at so many different audiences all at once it's unimaginable and all in the span of a couple minutes.  First there will be a kiddy joke about frogs, then toilet humor, then some actually kinda edgy humor that kids might or might not get but adults know exactly what they're insinuating.  It's a madhouse cluster!

The second of which is the family. 
I mean I understand that they were going for an eclectic bunch of misfits to prove how crazy the future is but yet it all works together but.... holy crap!!  Within the span of 3 minutes we are introduced to 13 characters (three of them not even pictured above) most of them only getting one line to shout out their gimmick or not have any dialog at all.  You get no character development, no reason to care about these people at all.  The mother and grandfather get a little more screen time so you actually feel like you can understand who they are but the rest are just there because... why not?  They do a little bit in the "fight" against the T-rex but for the most part they serve no purpose other than to continue the insanity of the shot.  They all have names but those names are mentioned maybe twice and again all in the span of maybe a 5 minute time frame.  I've seen this movie multiple times and while looking at the IMDB page for the movie I see the characters that the voice actors were playing and just have to scratch my head and go "WHO?"  It's definitely one of those things that was a good idea for a TV show where you could take episodes with these characters, not just a standalone movie.

Final Thoughts
Overall I don't think this movie is all that bad.  Sure you have to stomach some of the usual Disney silliness and cheese, and you have to be prepared for absolute randomness and hyper-activeness that would make someone with ADHD feel it was going too fast, but if you can handle those things then it might turn out to be a fairly decent film.  The point of the story is a very good one, Lewis is likeable enough and the Bowler Hat guy is hilariously idiotic.  The singing frogs are something else I failed to mention which some people might like but will make other people groan.  Sure there is the silliness of them being singing frogs, but if you can look past that they have this whole 50's gangster feel to them that's actually kind of funny especially for this one scene involving the trunk of a car.

All in all I would suggest watching it at least once.  It's probably not going to be on anyone's top 50 list and I've certainly seen better from Disney.  But I've also certainly seen a lot worse

So give it a try and see for yourself.  If you don't like it, well just keep moving forward.

Meet the Robinsons is available from Walt Disney Pictures and is rated G.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other Movie and Television reviews/recommendations then simply click here!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ghost in the Case - Driving Lessons

Ghost here, thanks for joining. and I welcome you to...

Welcome to the first edition of Ghost in the Case where I hope to bring movies that you haven't heard of or have heard of but never bothered to watch.  What better to start this bad boy off with than Driving Lessons.


"To wit, I leave you with this quote penned by my dear friend William Shakespeare... 
'When the s**t hits the fan; get a tent.'"

Driving Lessons is a 2006 movie starring Rupert Grint, Julie Walters, and Laura Linney.  Now Julie and Laura are both well established actresses but this was only the second project outside of Harry Potter that Rupert had been a part of.  And let's be honest who thought that this
was going to turn out to be great?

Ben Marshall (Rupert Grint) is a 17 year old boy who lives in a seemingly Christian home.  Despite their outward appearance to the world, behind the walls of their home it is another story as his mother (Laura Linney) is an extremely overbearing woman with questionable practices all in the name of God.  His father (Nicholas Farrell) is the priest at the local church but is a pushover when it comes to his wife.  Things start to change for Ben after he fails his drivers test and begins taking driving lessons from his mom.  His mother, who has let an elderly man live in their house after he ran over his wife with a car, asked Ben to get a summer job to help get the old man back on his feet.  Thus Ben finds a housekeeping job for an older, eccentric but very broken, out of work actress, Evie Walton (Julie Walters.)

Ben helps clean around the house but it's not till Evie tricks him into taking her on a camping trip against his mother's wishes that the adventure really begins.  Once they get to the campsite, Evie swallows the car key so that they couldn't return that night.  Eventually they end up in Edinburgh, Scotland for a literary festival in which Evie is supposed to recite some poetry.  Slowly Evie learns that Ben has given her happiness that she hasn't had in a long time and truly needs him, just as much as Ben needs her wisdom and shenanigans to come into himself as his own man away from his mother.  The two become great friends and despite a bump in the road end up having each others backs in the end. 

Julie Walters was brilliant casting for more than one reason.  First off, I'm sure she provided a slight bit of comfort for Rupert Grint having worked with her before on Harry Potter as she played his mother, Molly Weasley in those films.  But beyond that, her portrayal of this woman is amazingly hilarious.  She gets into character and gives everything she's got with it.  You truly love Evie by the end of the film and a large portion of this movie's likeability comes form her performance.   Laura Linney also does an amazing job as the mother.  She gets the subtleties of being this completely detestable woman while still being pleasant and believing that she is doing the right thing the whole time.  It's a rather complex character that she plays expertly that you really despise her or at least wish that she was truly being as good as she believes she is.  The pay off for her character at the end I won't spoil but it's just too ironic and great.

Beyond that it's just a story about life.  It doesn't feel the need to make the mother into this villain or add complexities.  It's just simply telling a story about this boy's life and times with this woman who becomes his best friend.  The ending is very well written as even the father learns something from his experience and the world for this boy seems to be falling into the right place.  It's certainly not the perfect place, but it's at least the right place for him at the time. Also you get to see plenty of beautiful images of the English and Scottish countryside.

There are two things that stand out to me as "bad."  I'm using quotations here because while these two things are certainly not good, they aren't awful enough to lessen my liking of the film.  The first one being the second act.  This movie follows the standard three act format of most films.  The first act and final act are brilliantly written and wonderful but the second act is just sub-par.  It's a very predictable scenario that we've seen hundreds of times with nothing really new added to this scenario.  Not to give it away entirely, but a promise is made that you know good and well is not going to be carried out thus resulting in a lesson learned.  It's not really THAT bad but it's just something I know I've seen in hundreds of movies and TV shows before. 

The second thing is, unfortunately, Rupert Grint's performance.  Now don't get me wrong, I generally love Rupert's acting especially in the final three Harry Potter films.  However, this was filmed around the time of The Goblet of Fire, which I do have to say is Rupert at his most forgettable.  Now when you start criticizing an actor on their performance especially a young actor you have to wonder if it is truly their fault, how the character was written, or how the director was telling them to do the part.   Ben in this movie throughout is very awkward and most of the time is just sort of there.  He does get several lines with emotion but for the most part he's just reacting to people by standing there like he doesn't know what's going on.... Look at this..

50% of the time he's pretty much staring at the ground.  It's not enough to ruin the character but it is a bit distracting.  There are portions of dialog that are entirely one sided as someone speaks to him and he just stands there awkwardly.  So if you watch this you're just going to have to get used to the fact that he's beyond incredibly awkward to the point of being plain odd. It would be one thing if he started off that way but was completely different at the end of the film, but that's not really the case.  Even at the very end he's looking at the pavement though admittedly not quite as often.

As I said before, the faults with this film aren't enough to take away form my enjoyment.  They can be a bit distracting or eye-roll inducing but not enough to ruin the movie overall.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film and even though I've seen many better, I've certainly seen a multitude worse. If you like coming of age stories then you should definitely like this.  Even if you don't, it's worth a look just for Julie Walters' performance alone as she is a real treat.

Driving Lessons is available from Sony Pictures Classics and is rated PG-13.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other Movie and Television reviews/recommendations then simply click here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ghost's Angry Reviews - Ocarina of Time

This is the standard spoiler warning.  If you don't want The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time spoiled then don't even bother.  

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

Ah 2013.... But what should I review?  I need to start this year off with a bang!  I wanted to do Star Wars Month but I don't have the patience for that at the moment.  OH I KNOW!!  How about The Legand of Zelda Ocarina of Time!   That's not only one of the greatest games of all time, but it's one of my favorites.  It was my #1 Favorite for several years!

There is so much to talk about though.  All the intricate details to show. We'll be here all day but that's fine, a game like this deserves it because it really is...... wait.... I said I would strive to make these reviews shorter so people might actually read them....



This is Ghost fading into the shadows

**Yes this is obviously meant as a joke,  just in case someone is confused**
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If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Blog in 2013

Hey everyone,

Thanks for clicking on this or at least showing some interest in the stupid things I do.  2012 was a bizarre yet fun year filled with laughs, tears, pain, and friends.  So, let's gear up for another round of the same then, shall we?

What am I going to do with this blog?
Well, I went through last year doing a lot of Video Game Reviews, Moral Stories, and one ramble about the Election.  I didn't do anything from the  "I found it on the Internet" thing I had planned on doing, nor do I have any intention anymore of doing that so consider that one dead on arrival.  Won't be doing that.

As far as video game reviews and Moral Stories, my plan is to continue them and have at least something out there every week but don't be surprised if you only get one thing for a week.  I also won't be doing video game reviews every single week. Reviewing Video Games takes a long time because there are so many aspects to a video game that need to be figured out or explored.  Many games are 40+ hours of gameplay and you have to get through the whole thing before you can really give a true review.  That's a lot of time spent that i just don't have.

I'm also going to attempt to make the reviews shorter.  I know they are very long and if i had the equipment i would be making video reviews because watching a 20 minute video is easier and better than reading 40 paragraphs of me whining. 

However with a new year comes a new segment I'm going to try out.

Ghost in the Case is going to be a segment where my "character" who reviews video games is going to step into the realm of movies.  Movies are faster to review because you just watch the 2-3 hour film maybe twice and you're done.  I have come to realize that I am far more a fan of film than I am of video games though i love both things.  It will be a little more to the serious side but i will still put some jokes in there because it's me and I have to have jokes. 

But with all the movie reviewers out there what will make this different?  Nothing REALLY but my main focus will actually be on movies that you may have missed.  Not some sort of really obscure indie film that only was released in San Fransisco or anything out there like that.  For the most part I will be focusing on films that most people don't talk about or when I bring them up most people respond with "Oh i haven't seen that."  Those kind of films whether they be good or bad will be the focus on that so maybe something you passed up before will get your attention.

I'm planning on having something out every Tuesday.  Whether it be a Video Game Review, Movie Review, or Moral Story.  I may do two things in a week I'm not sure of the schedule or my brain's ability to think, but at least every Tuesday I hope to have something out there.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quotes of 2012

2012 was a very strange year.  Several good things came from it but just as many bad things came out of it.  However this isn't going to focus on either of those; this post is going to focus on some of the bizarre and hilarious.

Conversation happens everywhere and quite often you hear something so strange and so hilarious that it makes you want to double take and scratch your head.  I make it a point to collect these statements and provide them at the end of the year.    As per usual nobody will be credited with these as to protect those poor souls who uttered these words.

Sadly around July or August, I stopped writing down things so this year's list isn't quite as complete as last year's I posted on Facebook.

Without further ado... I give you


1.  I'm not hungry but I'm man enough to eat; I want my chicken tenders served with honey mustard and glory!

2. He couldn't get his footing on my butt!

3. Avada Ka-Dah-Ver, Sincerely Tom Dumbledore

4. It's OK for me to be gay, I'm a girl

5. Monkeys aren't good unless you have a good one

6. CNN today is all about what's her nuts' funeral

7. Summer Project is like marriage... but without the commitment and with lots of other people... so it's not like marriage at all.

8. Did you just call me Satan?

9. We're five people short of a mullet

10. Donnie, have you seen a picture of me? The only rapid motion I'm making is toward a buffet.

11. Oh, Josh, I said the word retard today and thought of you.

12. I smell like an attractive baby

13. Woah!  I'm a trash compactor!

14. Sometimes it just pops out of nowhere like WOAH unexpected happiness

15. If you keep pounding it and pounding it, eventually it will break.

16. We should call it "The Day Milton Set His Sphincter Aflame"

17. Everything in your house is a two dollar ho.

18. Why is Tinklebarrel in the painting?

19. On a scale of 1 to Bob Saget, I'm a 10.

20. Enjoy the bitterness of sin.

21. I have more God the Father here if anyone wants any

22. SCAR!

23. HOLY MESS they have a Dillard's!

24. I put ketchup in the salt; I do what I want!

and last but not least

25. There was a room full of Death Eaters but none of them were Jesus

Here's to a great and funny 2013!!!