Frankenweenie (2012)

FrankenweenieRelease Date: October 5, 2012Director: Tim BurtonStars (voices): Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin LandauRuntime: 87 min.

Tim Burton isn’t my favourite director, but he has a style about him that’s usually easy to appreciate. I haven’t seen many of his classics; but I can tell lately, his charm has been lacking in many of his films. That is most prominent in 2012’s incredibly dull “Dark Shadows”. Burton also released the animated flick “Frankenweenie”, which is actually pretty damn good.

Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences.

“Frankenweenie” has a real old-school charm about it, that will satisfy families and, more so, fans of classic horror. It has some attractive messages depicting science isn’t only about the facts, one must have a love and passion for it for their experiment to work properly. It also brings about ideas of the thought of life and death. It also teaches that isn’t so bad to be different. Kids’ll want to bring back their pet if (s)he died, so this movie is sure to strike an emotional chord or two with animal lovers. This movie simply works, as a fun time and a smart spin of that classic “Frankenstein” story. The beginning’s slow, but once it gets to the half-way point and many colourful (well, black and white) characters join in on the “bringing animals back to the dead”, it becomes a true blast.

This is a memorable creature feature. There might be some aspects that won’t have me rushing back to it, but it’s charming to see a stop-animation like this, coupled with an old-school feel thanks to the black and white, and its tone. On second thought, I’d probably add this movie to my collection thanks to the second half alone, because it’s an blast that doesn’t feel lazy in the way it gets resolved. I’m glad I like one of Tim Burton’s animated movies. There are some laugh-out-loud moments in this screenplay and some phenomenal voice-work in here. The most notable voice-work is from Atticus Shaffer (TV’s “The Middle”) as the hunchbacked Edgar “E” Gore, and Martin Short, who is just basically using his own sincere voice for the majority; but he is able to have a true blast as the incredibly strange Nasser, one of the school students hell-bent on winning the science fair. All of the voice performers have fun in this family movie that isn’t always easy-watching for little tykes.

Score: 75/100

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Pitch Perfect (2012)


Pitch Perfect

Release Date: October 5, 2012

Director: Jason Moore

Stars: Anna Kendrick, Britany Snow, Rebel Wilson

Runtime: 112 min

Tagline: Get Pitch Slapped

TV Director Jason Moore (Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill) brings his talent to the big screen with Pitch Perfect, a great music comedy.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) is an aspiring Disc Jockey, who gets forced by her father to attend college before following her dreams in Los Angeles. She ends up attending Barden University, where she soon joins the school’s all-girl a capella singing group, The Bellas. She knows that they sound beautiful together, but the (ever-so A-ca-clichéd) leader of the group, Aubrey (Anna Camp), doesn’t like to stray away from her set design, or really try anything new for that matter. Beca just may be the one to change the Bellas for the better by adding energy and pizaz to the group, help them out in the competition, and make a few friendships in the process.

Going into this film, I really didn’t know what to expect. It seemed that it had pretty sweet reception, so I guess I expected it to be a little good. It’s probably one of the last films I’d see in theatres right about now, but I saw it. And you know what, I enjoyed it a little more than I’d like to admit. It’s actually rather fun, and the hot girls help a lot, too.

In the cinema world, this is all fairly original. It’s a lot predictable, but that doesn’t keep it from being enjoyable. The pay-off is pretty great. The same premise of all those competitive dance and cheerleading films is offered here. So, in that way, it feels like the atmosphere of some Bring it On flick. The romance part of it all is offered, too. It isn’t exactly the most original atmosphere, because we’ve felt it all before. What sets this film apart is that it isn’t dancing or cheerleading (obviously), it’s singing. And I can’t really recall another film that the premise was a singing competition.* I say in the cinema world, that’s a pretty darn original concept; but in the general popular cultural world, this feels reminiscent of TV’s Glee. That’s just all the music and stuff, but this does have the tendency to feel fairly fresh and new.

*Side Note: Can you guys?

The music is really great, and a soundtrack that would be really cool to add to a collection of any sort. There’s a nice mash of rock and pop and rap, and practically whatever else. There’s catchy tunes of all sorts, which really makes the film lots of fun.

The only flaws that were presented is that it could just get really predictable, and in some scenes I just felt a little worn out.

I usually really hate boy bands, but the main rival singing group of the Bellas, The Trouble Makers, is actually pretty good.

All of the characters are actually rather good and mostly likeable. Beca is really reserved, so when she breaks out of her tender shell, it’s great. Some are really annoying, but in the end, a lot of them have changes of heart. I liked the characters, and I could only count the ones that I didn’t like on one hand. There are scene stealers all over the place. Without surprise, Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy is the largest (oops, no pun intended) scene stealer, and she brings that same comedic timing as she did in Bridesmaids. You’re going to be have to be with a name like that, anyway. Some other scene stealers include Lilly, the quiet Asian girl whose eyes make her look a little like that really creepy chick from the trailers of Frankenweenie. Also, the surprise appearance by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) and his character’s larger friend, Justin, just make a perfect team. The great thing is that every character is developed, and they all get their chances to shine at some point in the film.

At points the film does get pretty ridiculous and strange, especially when the group initiations are happening for that one scene, or like the oddball, yet hilarious, announcers for the singing competition (played by John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks [who also helped produce the film]). Like I said in my previous sentence, it’s pretty strange. Strangely entertaining, that is. The atmosphere isn’t something all that special, but it’s the characters, music, Anna Kendrick, and mostly because I didn’t have a ride home, that convinced me stay until the very end. Something Anna Kendrick’s character doesn’t like to do.* The comedy that is offered can be a little too spaced-out for my liking, but when the jokes are made, they can hit pretty hard.

*Side Note: Sheesh. I really don’t understand how some people don’t stay until the very end. That’s usually the best part!

The song mash-ups and set designs and all that are really nice and fun, and something to tap one’s foot to. The wardrobe is okay, because the Bellas’ uniform is that of a practical flight attendent. During the auditions, the filmmakers put them all together so they’re all singing the song. It’s really cool and funny; it’s something I’ve seen on American Idol (or any other singing show) before, but it’s cool to see it in a film.

Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelly Jakle, Alexis Knapp and Adam Devine star in Pitch Perfect.

Pitch Perfect offers a fun experience that is worth the look. It has great music, a pretty good plot, great characters, a great ensemble, and there’s just a lot of things to love about this one. It’s entertaining, and my have flaws because of its wicked predictability, but that doesn’t stop this film from being a foot-tapping crowd pleaser.

80/100

Box Office Results: October 19 – 21

Paranormal Activity 4 took the top spot at the box office this weekend with a disappointing $30.2 million. But, the joke’s on the audience, because they just paid to see the same film for a fourth time. The other new release, Alex Cross, took 11.75 million at the box office. These two films performed poorly for the critical audience. The other new release, The Sessions, was well-acclaimed and earned $121, 000 at four theatres. All 41 films in theatres right now made for a[n] (estimated) weekend grand total of $129, 584, 600.

Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)

1. Paranormal Activity 4$30, 200, 000

2. Argo$16, 625, 000

3. Hotel Transylvania$13, 500, 000

4. Taken 2$13, 400, 000

5. Alex Cross$11, 750, 000

6. Sinister: $9, 030, 000

7Here Comes the Boom$8, 500, 000

8. Pitch Perfect$7, 009, 000

9. Frankenweenie$4, 434, 000

10Looper$4, 200, 000

Other two films I predicted: 

Seven Psychopaths$3, 305, 000

The Sessions$121, 000

My Box Office Predictions (Title/My Prediction/Off by (+/-))

(Legends:

I will use the + sign if I estimated too high.

Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $31, 200, 000, I’d put: (+$1,000,000)

I will use the – sign if I estimated too low.

Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $29, 200, 000, I’d put: (-$1,000,000)

Comprendé?) And let me know if I should be doing it the other way, haha. 

1. Paranormal Activity 4/$54, 000, 000/ (+) $23, 800, 000

2. Argo$18, 000, 000/ (+) $1, 375, 000

3. Hotel Transylvania$12, 000, 000/ (-) $1, 500, 000

4. Taken 2/ $16, 000, 000/ (+) $2, 600, 000

5. Alex Cross/ $14, 500, 000/ (+) $2, 750, 000

6. Sinister$15, 800, 000(+) $6, 770, 000

7. Here Comes the Boom/ $10, 000, 000(+) $1, 500, 000

8. Pitch Perfect$8, 000, 000(+) $991,000

9. Frankenweenie$6, 000, 000(+) $1, 566, 000

10. Looper/ $5, 000, 000(+) $800, 000

Seven Psychopaths$3, 800, 000(+) $495, 000

The Sessions$45, 000(-) $76, 000

So, for this weekend, I was off by a grand total of $44, 223, 000. If my calculations are accurate (I at least think they are).

My reviews of films in theatres

Argo 

House at the End of the Street

Looper 

Perks of Being a Wallflower, The

Seven Psychopaths

Ted

And expect my review of Pitch Perfect for tomorrow or Tuesday.