TMNT by Michael Durr

My respect for Michael Bay is now below E!

I grew up with with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember watching the cartoons, jumping around doing ninja kicks, turning my sister's Barbie Corvette into a Shredder Mobile, stringing up toys to fishing line and tossing them out my bedroom window and dressing up as Michelangelo for Halloween. In addition, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also reinforced my love of pizza.

Now, I don't want to jump to conclusions, (I am) but the trailer for the new TMNT appears to be exactly what I feared. Can someone say Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? I hate what movies have become! This doesn't apply to all movies, but movies that we grew up loving that have now been remade or sequelized into on-screen CG vomit. Do producers/directors even think moviegoers might like to see movies that look and feel like the ones we grew up with? The ones we've watched hundreds of times. The ones that spawned our imaginations and filled our closets with plastic replicas of the on-screen heroes. Would kids today enjoy those movies? I like to think they would.

Yes, Michael Bay I will give you Transformers. Keep in mind Transformers was never an actual live action movie. Yes, we grew up watching the cartoons and playing with the toys, but at least I did not have the visual of a live action 80's movie to reference when going to see Transformers. The scale and epic nature made at least a little more sense. Also, I could have done without Transformers II all together. Who knows what the fourth one has in store for us. ANYWAY...

I don't want to sound "old school" but will we ever see movies that have good stories, costumes, real pyrotechnics and stunts, as opposed to a freakin' digital video game with collapsing buildings, weak plots and supermodels in distress being saved by hulk sized CG monstrosities. Why do the plots always have to involve the scale and threat of world domination? Why does someone always have to be falling down a steep hill at an incredibly high rate of speed only to emerge at the bottom without so much as a scratch!

Does anyone remember in the original TMNT, Raphael was injured for 80% of the movie. It was still good! Does anyone remember Master Splinter's advice... vanish quickly without a trace. Good luck super-sized Leo. These new representations of our childhood heroes would not even be able to fit through a manhole and could probably eat an entire Pizza Hut and still have room for more. (bricks and all) If you want to make these movies that is fine, but don't get us excited thinking we are going to be able to relive some of our childhood memories by attaching the names of the movies we grew up with and then making complete garbage. NOTE: Please do not make Ghostbusters III. #frustrated

Will they ever make them like they used to?

Ok... three wasn't the greatest, but you can't win them all.

Oscar Night by Michael Durr

Tonight is the night. Billy Crystal hosts the 84th Annual Academy Awards. I managed to watch all nine nominated films. Chicagoland is a cold and sometimes miserable place in the winter, but watching the nominees for best picture over the coldest months of the year is really a great a tradition. I have done this every year since 2006 and I will continue to do it for as long as I can. So, let's take a look at this years nominees. (in no particular order)  

The Decendants It seems like this type of movie is nominated every year. A depressing theme with dark comedy pushing it forward. I thought the movie did a great job in putting us into the mind of George Clooney as he tries to deal with the hand he has been dealt. There are some great close up shots of the actors in this movie. You can feel the emotion of what the characters are going through. I did enjoy this movie.

The Artist This was an amazing movie! It was fun, well acted, and the music was amazing! It was a perfect take on an old silent movie. I found myself enjoying this movie more than I anticipated. Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin gave stellar performances. In my opinion, this will most likely take the cake for best picture.

The Help I admit I am a huge fan of racially charged movies. This movie was amazing. It was very well acted with a powerful message. I laughed more than I thought I would during this movie, but who wouldn't, seeing someone eat shit?

Moneyball I hate baseball and really enjoyed this movie. Anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman is awesome. Plus, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill gave amazing performances. The story is very well told, but did not make me like baseball any more.

The Tree of Life This was my least favorite movie of the nine. I understand it's unique take on a man's life and memories tied in with the birth of the Universe, but all in all I thought it was way too long and hard to watch.

Hugo This is up there on my list. I saw this in 3D and it looked absolutely amazing. I was familiar with George Méliès, having studied some of his movies in college. This is a movie that you truly get lost in. It felt like it was ten minutes long. I loved it!

War Horse Steve Spielberg rocks! I thought this film looked beautiful. The landscapes and time period were so well depicted and John Williams knows his musical scores. Also, I feel Joey (the war horse) should be nominated for best actor. I would love to see how all the horses were trained and how they achieved some of the shots they did. I might have to buy this on Blu-Ray.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close I wanted more Tom Hanks. The movie had an interesting story, but it never really pulled me in and I can not really explain why. Thomas Horn, the young boy in the movie, will be someone to keep an eye on.

Midnight in Paris This is an interesting one for me. I feel if I read more books I would have loved this movie. Owen Wilson gave a classic Owen Wilson performance, a guy lost in his own mind of art and love. I find myself thinking about this movie a lot. The music was great and the I was surprised to see that it was not nominated for cinematography. I think I will enjoy this more the second time I watch it.

Overall, the movies this year were the best group of nominees since I have started watching all of them. There is not a clear winner in my mind. And the the Oscar goes to...

PS. I want to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon win for Sound Editing and I hope Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins for Visual Effects because I still think this was my favorite movie of the year.

The 84th Academy Award Nominees

Chronicle by Michael Durr

What do you get when you mix a new superhero movie and a viral campaign? You get three people flying around lower Manhattan, on a seemingly average afternoon. This viral campaign for the new movie Chronicle was perfectly executed. The campaign had people stopping in there tracks to check out the weird phenomenon. I love viral promotion and I think this was the perfect plan to promote this movie. I only wish more things like this would take place Chicago. Check out the behind the scenes video and the movie trailer.