Friday, July 20, 2012

Is "The Dark Knight Rises" Worth My Time?

The Dark Knight Rises PosterI want to start using a more set way of grading movies.  So I made a rubric.  You can find it on my other blog.  I will first address all the things on the rubric, and give you comments to explain the grade given.  After the rubric I will give you my personal over all score, and reasons.  Then I will average all the scores together.

5.  All of the characters felt real to me.  The had real personalities.  They had real problems, and real dilemmas.  They made choices that you could tell they either regretted or supported.  Very well done.

4.  Everything was good.  The camera angles and background were not legendary by any means.  They were good, but not great.  I felt like Batman's motorcycle seemed fake sometimes.  They way it moved, and bounced.  But that is it.  There were a few little lighting issues, at one point it was snowing and sunny.  Again not a huge issue.    Mostly the set enhanced the story.  There was one scene that a city street was wreaked by an explosion before an explosion happened.

4.  I wanted to give it a five here, but after looking at my rubric, I could not do it.  The beginning seemed a little too sluggish, but it quickly sped up.  There was one thing that was very predictable, but to share would spoil it for some of you.  The movie had some really fantastic themes.  And I feel it ended all the plots lines that were opened up throughout the three movies.  

My Score
4.  In comparison to "The Dark Knight," the movie fell just a little short.  Just a little.  It did not reach the same level of intensity.  Still a very very good movie.  Fits well into the story, and adds some great details, and ties the three movies together.  

Overall Average
4.25.  The movie runs about 3 hours, and a short 3 hours it is.  Appropriately rated PG-13.  It is not nearly as dark as "The Dark Knight," but defiantly has an appropriate feeling for the series.  The end might have been a little too romantic for some, but not for me.  A fine conclusion to an awesome series.  Go watch it, you will not be disappointed.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is Dune (The Finale) Worth My Time?

Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune

By Brian Herbert 
and Kevin J. Anderson

These two books were planned by Frank Herbert, but he passed away and was unable to finish the series.  In fact, the notes for the books were in a safety deposit box, which lay unopened for years after Franks's death.  Brian, his son, came across the notes, and eventually Kevin and Brain crossed paths, and decided to start working of the Dune story once more.  Brian had helped his father on some of the original books, and Kevin has written many books on his own.

So if they had all these notes to finish the series why not finish it, why write all these other books?  Well, simply they wanted practice.  But a deeper reason has to do with the story.  There are some vital elements that need to be understood before you read the last two books.  That was their thinking, and now that I have read the last two (and all the books written before them), I agree with them.

The two books are very good.  Even better than the last three. They bring the story to a great close that I think could really be related to current life, in many different ways.  I did not expect the ending, and it was far better than what I could have came up with.  I think these two men have done a fantastic job in keeping the Dune Universe true to franks dream, but instead of trying to emulate him, they made it their own, and they have done a wonderful job at it.

As to the order to read the series I recommend this. (I am only going to include books up to the point I have read.  There are three more, but at a later time I will tell you where they should be read in the set.)

Start at: 

Dune Messiah
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune

Dune The Butlerian Jihad
Dune The Machine Crusade
Dune The Battle of Corrin

Dune House Atreides
Dune House Harkonnen
Dune House Corrino

Heretics of Dune
Chapterhouse Dune
Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune

That is just my opinion, feel free to read them anyway you want.  I am reading them in the order they were written.  And because of life, the lengths of the books, and my poor memory, I felt like by the time I got to Hunters and Sanworms, I had forgotten important things from Heretics and Chapterhouse.  

An alternative place to start would be Dune The Butlerian Jihad.  And continue to read them in chronological order.  When I catch up to the authors (that's correct, they are still writing books) I will read them in the chronological order.

I think the order I have given you is the best of both worlds.  Because if you start the series at Dune and do not really care for it, its a self sufficient story, and needs no other books after it, making it a good place to start. And if you do like it, you can explore the universe in an order that should help you retain the information needed most to understand the end.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is Dune (The Machine Trilogy) Worth Your Time?

Dune The Butlerian Jihad
Dune The Machine Crusade
Dune The Battle of Corrin

By: Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert

If ever there was another place to start the Dune series, this would be it.  No real background on Dune is needed.  Just jump in and go.  As you progress through the trilogy, the books get better.  There are lots of characters to keep track of, and lots of things happening all at once.  And in these books, I think the authors did the best job yet of really bringing the events together seamlessly.

Not only that, but if you know where the books are headed, you still find them very enjoyable.  I was always trying to figure out how the books would get to where they needed to be for Dune.  It was always kept me guessing, and they even threw in some unexpected twists.  Although the books are long, and there are lots of characters, I feel that many of the characters have lots of depth.

I would not be at all surprised if there, eventually, comes a few books before these.  I think there is fabulous potential involving the rise of the "Bad Guys."  The newest book, Sisterhood of Dune,  is the start of a trilogy between this trilogy and The House Trilogy.

This trilogy has many of the same issue that the House Trilogy did.  It moves slowly, and at times it lacks the grandiose feeling of the original.  However, I think they are the best ones yet by these two authors.  And please keep in mind, that although they are not written by Frank Herbert, they are written based on his notes, and they do a fantastic job of making it their own.  Not only do these three come highly recommended, the whole series dose as well.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Is The Devil Inside (2012 Film) Worth My Time?

I had heard so many bad things about this movie.  My opinions are usually nicer that my peers.  So I wanted to see if this movie was as bad as I had heard.  I expected an awful movie, and at the very least I could laugh at how bad it was.

Rated R, for good reason, and at just over 1 hour, seemed a little short.  No noteworthy stars, producer, or directer. The ending seemed a little abrupt, but was actualy a fine ending, in my opinion.  I saw quite a few continuity errors, but I was looking for them, kind of my pet peeve.

The director really tried to make it seem like a real documentary.  Minus the continuity errors, he did a fine job.  A few times the "realness" was broken, again mostly from the continuity errors.  The movie showed some real potential at the beginning, but as the movie went along, it failed at meeting that potential.

It is not a movie I would call scary, just kinda gross.  I was only scared once, but that was one of those cheap scares, a barking dog during a conversation outside.  Some of the movie I found humors, in a strange way, some of the spoken dialog from the possessed people was just comical.

Not a movie to see in the theater.  It might be worth it from RedBox.  And if you have the chance to watch it for free, go for it, as a last pick.