Thursday, August 30, 2012

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Film Review

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is a hilarious twist on Mark Twain's book The Prince and the Pauper. Directed by Tim Hill, it is the so-called sequel to the less than worthy Garfield: The Movie. In my opinion that movie was not as good as its sequel and so at first I was skeptical about watching Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and I didn't think it would be any better than the first movie, but after watching it I've found it to be a better movie AND that you don't actually need to watch Garfield: The Movie to understand what's going on. With the voice of Garfield being done by Bill Murray and the voice of Prince, Garfield's rich counterpart, being done by Tim Curry, you're guaranteed a load of laughs. (Fact: Garfield is the only fully animated animal in the movie.) Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love Hewitt reprise the roles of John Arbuckle and veterinarian Dr. Liz  Wilson in this better-than-the-first sequel.
Watch the trailer at:

The movie's plot is a funny chain of events that will keep the whole family laughing. It starts out with a storytelling by a narrator (Roscoe Lee Browne, the narrator of Babe) of the cat Prince (voice by Tim Curry) in the "Once upon a time" fashion. It shows him living a life of luxury and being pampered. The storyteller then jumps to the other side of the ocean to tell the tale of an "equally pampered cat," Garfield (voice by Bill Murray) and his antics around the house as John (Meyer) is making dinner and setting the house up for a date and trying to get up the courage to propose to Liz (Hewitt). Of course, Garfield (Murray) wants none of this and he basically sabotages the meal and the living room so that by the time Liz gets to the house John's outfit is a mess and the engagement ring has been stolen by Garfield.

 Liz has good news to tell John and is so excited that she fails to notice that John has carefully set up a nice dinner for her. She is excited because she gets to go to London to speak at conference and that she is leaving in the morning so she can't stay for dinner.  After she leaves John is unhappy about this until he gets the idea to follow her and surprise her in London and propose to her there. So he packs up his suitcase and takes Garfield and Odie to the kennel to stay there while he is gone but after he gives them over to the staff, they escape the kennel and are able to jump into the back of his car, pull everything out of his suitcase, and stow away inside it for the flight to London. John discovers them when he sees them get out of the suitcase at the hotel he's at. He then sentences them to stay inside the room for the whole time but they escape and go wandering about London as Garfield plots ways to keep John from proposing to Liz. Meanwhile in a castle close by, the wealthy owner of Prince has died and, much to the displeasure of her nephew, Lord Dargis (Bill Connolly), left her whole estate to the cat. So Lord Dargis starts plotting ways to get rid of Prince permanently by killing him so that he can inherit the estate. One thing leads to another and Prince is thrown into the river and floats downstream all the way to London where he is mistaken for Garfield, by John and Garfield is mistaken for Prince, by the butler at the castle, Smitty (Ian Abercrombie, voice of Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated video and the video game of the same name). Smitty takes Garfield home where all the animals on the estate convince him to play the part of Prince, by claiming he's the long lost heir to the Carlyle Castle, so that Lord Dargis won't be able to keep the castle and so Garfield starts living a life of luxury.

After several plots to kill Prince/Garfield go wrong, Lord Dargis tries to get rid of the perceptive and suspicious butler by sending him away for a vacation. Gafield is caught and thrown into the jail cell in the basement. The other animals help him escape but Garfield has realized how much he actual misses John when he overhears the other animals talking bad about him behind his back and says goodbye to the animals and starts to leave through the garden to go back to London. He and Prince, who has made his way back from London, finally meet and decide together to help the other animals get rid of Lord Dargis. Watch Garfield and Prince meet at:

It eventually works out and John and Liz end up meeting at the castle as well and everyone sees the two cats together and John starts to propose to Liz but he can't find the ring. Garfield has since decided that it's okay for John to marry Liz and gives John his "blessing" by giving him back the engagement ring then and there. Liz accepts the proposal and the movie ends with a big animal pool party in the house.


The key actors portraying animals in the film, Bill Murray (Garfield) and Tim Curry (Prince), and the key actors playing human characters, Breckin Meyer (John), Jennifer Love Hewitt (Dr. Liz), Bill Connolly (Lord Dargis), and Ian Abercrombie (Smitty), all put together a laughable performance with good onscreen chemistry and they met the expectations I had for those comical characters.

The film techniques used were what I expect from a family movie comedy, going straight to the laughs with sometimes comical reminiscence to old cartoons on how those cartoon characters would get seriously hurt if it really happened but instead they bounce back up to continue with the story. Lord Dargis is one such character. The movie has only a few occasional location indication mistakes with the road signs written in Miles and not in Kilometers as they really are written in London. There were tons of puns relating to the different animals' names. Ex. Two ducks see Lord Dargis aiming a gun at them and one says, "we're sitting ducks!" Also, added into the movie are quotes from other famous movies including "Where's Waldo?" from Castaway and "[Before I eat your]...liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." from Silence of the Lambs. It even uses a famous quote from American history right after Garfield fails to "break" a British guard and then Odie succeeds in this endeavor by peeing on the guard's shoes and as the soldier chases them Garfield yells, "The British are coming! The British are coming!" just as Paul Revere was said to have done on his famous revolutionary ride. The music edited in fit the different scenes well and made for some nice montage sequences during the beginning of the movie right after Garfield gets to the castle they make a montage of Garfield getting pampered to the music "Movin' On Up" with a few of the lyrics modified to pertain to the film. During another montage, when the animals are making lasagna in the kitchen Garfield has someone hit the on button to turn on the vent over the stove on which a stuck-up and annoying parrot is yelling orders and the parrot gets sucked up through the exhaust vent. There's a close-up on Garfield and he says, "Proof, more accidents happen in the kitchen than in any other room in the house." Watch it by clicking the link below.

One more film technique that I noticed was the way the costumers separated Liz from the rest of the tour at the castle. She is wearing a beautiful little blue dress with some sparkles on it whereas the rest of the tour wears nondescript colors so that we immediately see where Liz is. (Personally, I want to have that dress, it's so pretty!)

Now, I would definitely recommend watching this film. I think the absolute best reason to watch it is to watch the montages, hear all the references to other movies and sit back and laugh. So, watch the clips I've put in this blog and go ahead and laugh and have a good time and then go watch the full video!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Media Literacy Project #1 Results and Q & A

The forms of media that I use are normally, Facebook, Performing a show, surfing the web a little bit and a moderate amount of listening to music, (I do not use the radio stations for listening to music. I use my CDs and computer for that. I will also soon be using my iPod, which I got today, to listen to music). (This week's music total is an anomaly since I do not normally drive from Ohio to Georgia every week and listen to music for that amount of time.) I don't watch TV since I absolutely DETEST commercials. Don't get me wrong, they are a great way to make a living as an actor and I would take any commercial job with a decent salary but I just don't like seeing the same thing over and over again. I don't normally watch movies as I hadn't had the time to do so in Ohio because of work and moving back to Georgia but I was able to squeeze in watching one movie and a documentary about the making of the film Apollo 13, for information on my feelings about the movie please read my film review somewhere on this blog. I use my email moderately but have had to use it more often since the Fall semester started and I had to send stuff by email from Ohio to my teachers in Georgia. Working on the blogger is interesting but new and I'm still not quite sure if I'm doing this correctly since I haven't actually been able to attend a class yet. I usually also read a lot of books but since I went to Ohio I didn't have the time to read, especially near the end of the season when I had to pack to come home. Hopefully, I will have more time to read since I'm back in school. I also know that my surfing the web is going to grow immensely as I do research for my Senior Capstone.

My media totals for the week were as follows starting with the lowest total and going up:

Email = 2 . 17 hours
Watching Movies/TV = 2 . 62 hours
Working on Blogger = 3 .75 hours
Surfing the Web = 9 . 25 hours
Performances = 10 . 42 hours
Facebook = 12 . 34 hours
Listening to Music = 14 . 75 hours
Total Time Uses in Media = 55 . 30 hours
Total Time in One Week = 168 hours
Percent of Time per Week using Media = 33%

What does my media use say about me?

Well, it says I spend a proportionate amount on time on Facebook and on performances, however that is going to change since I finished my contract in Ohio and have no more performances to do for them. My Facebook usage will undoubtably go up as will my Blogger and email use. I normally listen to music while on the computer so those amounts should stay close to each other. Also, Movie usage will be more this semester than it has been in a while since I have to write a weekly film review. And by the evidence above, I really need to get back to reading my books.

Which media do I trust and why?

Well, I trust the internet to a point. As in I will do research on it, but I don't really use Facebook for gathering information on other people. I normally just spend time playing Facebook games. The only form of media that I really and truly trust are books because once a book is written, it's done. It's hard to go back and edit something when you have already sold 15,000 copies of it to people. Also, it is harder to get away with plagiarism in hard copy format than it is on the internet.

What media do I enjoy the most and why?

Well, contrary to my media log week's indication, I love books. Lots and lots of books because they can take you places you've never ever dreamed of going to and you can do things by thinking of how you would react to the same stimuli that the character(s) in the book encounter. You can take books anywhere you go and they are not annoying to others around you since most of the time you don't read books aloud to yourself.  You can live in another world and be omniscient,  know everything that each character is not only saying or acting but also what they think and why they think, which is something that most movies don't even try to emulate since the ones that do never come close to the real thing. With a book, you can know everything, be everything, do everything that you ever imagined that you wanted to do. You can travel to the far reaches of the universe or go back in time and live the lives of real historical figures. You can read fiction or nonfiction which can help you learn about the past. There are tons of How-to books out there on everything you can possible imagine. The invention of books is not anywhere near us. People have been using the written word since paper and the written language itself was invented. The internet only really came around in the last decade or so but books have been here forever it seems like to me. I love to read. It is my passion, joy, and hobby. I am an extremely fast reader and short books are sort of sad to me because I only had one day or so reading it. I love thick fa books that have good, let me emphasize GOOD, sequels to them since that gives me more chances and more time to do what I love to do which is read books and live the lives of a thousand different people. I also like to re-read good books because every time you read something over again you can spot details you might have missed the first time you read it since the first time you read it you might have been rushing to find out what happens at the end of the book but now you know and a well-written book is most enjoyable to read many times over. But I'm getting carried away since our class is actually about film and TV and no books but let me end this paragraph with my favorite quote about books.

"I cannot live without books." -Thomas Jefferson

Am I willing to expand my exposure to other forms of media?

Yes, absolutely. The more media I am exposed to the more I can learn and I love to learn new things. In any case, this class will actually make me have time to watch DVDs, VHSs or hopefully commercial-free movie channels since I can justify it as homework and not be lying. I've played video games in the past and found it moderately enjoyable but still, books are better. I'm willing to broaden my genres in books and movies although I really dislike horror movies and/or onscreen sex/nudity in movies since it violates my religious beliefs. Also for that same reason,  I hate non-Christian romance novels since they almost always involve lots of sex and not very original plot lines. I am not a fan of those Shades of Gray books for that reason as well. Now, since this year is election year I shall try to broaden my exposure to the news media, (newspapers (online and hard copy) and *grimace* TV) to help me figure out who I think I should vote for as president of the United States. But I most definitely want to learn more form life and broadening my exposure to different forms of media is just one way I can do that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Media Log for August 24th, 25th, and 26th

Friday August 24th
Facebook: 30 minutes
Surfing the Web: 20 minutes
Email: 10 minutes
Listening to Music: 2 hours & 15 minutes
Performing in Show: 2 hours & 30 minutes

Saturday August 25th
Facebook: 10 minutes
Email: 5 minutes
Listening to Music: 1 hour
Performing in Final Show of the Season: 2 hours & 30 minutes

Sunday August 26th
Facebook: 1 hour
Email: 15 minutes
Listening to Music on the drive home from Ohio: 10 hours

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Media Log for August 22nd & August 23rd

August 23rd Media Log

Facebook: 2 hours & 30 minutes
Surfing the web: 30 minutes
Email: 15 minutes
Listend to music: 40 minutes
Performed in Trumpet in the Land: 2 hours & 30 minutes
Blogger: wrote review of Apollo 13 = 2 hours & 30 minutes

August 22nd Media Log

Facebook: 4 hours
Email: 40 minutes
Surfing the web: 2 hours
Blogger: 30 minutes
Watched Apollo 13: 1 hour & 39 minutes
Watched the documentary about making the movie Apollo 13 called Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13 = 58 minutes

Film Review of "Apollo 13" August 22nd, 2012

Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard, is an amazing movie in which Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon, portray the 3 astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert who were onboard the spacecraft Apollo 13 when part of the service module exploded causing their journey to the moon into a race to make it safely back home to earth. With Gary Sinise playing Ken Mattingly, the astronaut who was originally suppose to be on Apollo 13 but was cut 2 days before lift off because he had been exposed to German measles, and Ed Harris playing Gene Kranz, the commander in Mission Control, this film is a line up of top notch actors who portray the real life heroes with astounding believability. Add to that the magnificent music composed and conducted by James Horner, who later went on to compose the scores for Titanic and Avatar, and you have a must see film.

The story starts off with the Apollo 11 landing on the moon broadcast on Jim Lovell's (Hanks) TV, narrated by Walter Cronkite. Jim and his crew of Fred Haise (Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Sinise), were Neil Armstrong's back up crew and they are slated to go to the moon on Apollo 14. When illness prevents the original crew of Apollo 13 from flying, Jim's crew is called in to take their place. They do so with enthusiasm and soon are ready to go until 2 days before the launch, Jim's told that Mattingly  cannot fly and that they have to replace him with Swigert (Bacon) or postpone their trip for a longer period of time. Jim protests but ultimately gives in and Swigert comes and replaces Mattingly.

So the crew leaves on Apollo 13 and the launch goes of without a hitch, almost. One of the 5 engines powering the craft quits before it's suppose to and they have a few heart stopping moments wondering whether they'll have to abort the flight until they're told that it's ok and the other engines will just run a little longer than the others. After that nothing goes wrong until day 3 when NASA calls up to ask Swigert to stir the oxygen tanks. Swigert flips the switches and an explosion happens setting off the master alarm. More things go wrong as they try to fix the problem and have no success. Then Jim looks out the window and sees oxygen venting out into space. Everything seems to stop for a moment as everyone realizes that this is much more serious than they ever expected. In trying to stop the leak, all chances of a moon landing are wiped away and the crew is forced to shut down almost everything and live inside a freezing space craft for 4 more days. In Mission Control everyone is rushing about trying to find out what exactly is wrong and how to get the astronauts home. It's a race to fix everything and correct mistakes but they manage to get the spacecraft close enough to earth to make a landing but when they release their service module as they get ready to splash down into the Pacific Ocean they see that the explosion that crippled their ship may have damaged their heat shield and without that shield it is impossible for their command module to pass through the atmosphere without burning up.

 No one knows if the shield will hold as the ship goes into radio blackout. Black out normally only lasts for 3 minutes but when 3 minutes turns into 4 almost everyone gives up hope until they hear static over the airwaves and the voice of the astronaut answering the call. With the triumphant return of the astronauts, the movie ends with a narration by Jim Lovell explaining what was discovered about the explosion after everything was said and done.

All of the actors in this movie did amazing jobs in portraying their characters. They more than exceeded my expectations. Ed Harris did an awesome job playing the stoic no-nonsense Gene Kranz that kept everything at mission control going. It's no wonder he got nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards and won the SAG award. Tom Hanks played Jim Lovell perfectly and was able to keep the team going and stay on top of everything. Gary Sinise was outstanding as the bitter Mattingly turned into hero as he helped get the astronauts home.The chemistry between this cast was very apparent and it earned them the SAG award for Best Performance By A Cast. Kathleen Quinlan played Marilyn well as she tried to hold herself together and give nothing away to her children. Her eyes were very expressive and said it all.

The music for this movie literally blew me away. James Horner did a magnificent job in composing this masterpiece.  His music was the glue that helped hold this movie together along with the superb film editing done. One of the best film cuts in the movie was us seeing the joy of Swigert getting told that he's going to the moon and then cutting straight to Mattingly being told that he's not. The contrast between the two characters is astounding. Another good film technique used was an extreme close up on Marilyn's right eye as she awakens from a nightmare that has Jim's mission ending horribly. During the launch of Apollo 13, they used CG technology to put us right over the launch space to give us a view from above as the rocket leaves the earth. That's something that would have been impossible to do in real life. The music always knew right where to come in and put the same feelings inside us that the characters in the movie felt. It's something you have to hear for yourself. (I'm going to try attaching a clip of some of the awesome music to this blog but I don't know if it will work.) Ok, I know the clip of music is almost 10 minutes long but you just have to hear the first 3-4 minutes or so to understand what I'm talking about. So don't think you have to listen to the whole thing, (although it really is worth it), but just listen to the first 3-4 minutes and you'll have a taste of what the music feels like.

Without a doubt this is one of the best films I've seen. If you haven't seen it then you're missing out on a masterpiece. If for nothing else, you have to hear the music; it is the best thing in my mind about Apollo 13. You'll also see the chemistry between the characters as they portray real life events with great accuracy. This is history in the making as you watch what happens in Apollo 13 because it really happened. Some dramatic license was taken but the film mostly stays true to the real life events and it is heart stopping. Go and see Apollo 13!!! You won't regret it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Media Log for August 21st

These are the added totals for what i did all day involving media.

Listened to music: 1 hour & 10 minutes
Facebook: 2 hours & 10 minutes
Blogger: 15 minutes
Email: 45 minutes
Surfed the web for color Assignment: 6 hours
The outdoor drama I'm in was cancelled because of bad weather so we only did a "preview" of some songs for: 25 minutes

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Media Log for the 20th of August

Facebook: 1hr
Posted Blog: 30 minutes
Surfed the web to check the weather for the day: 15 minutes
Listened to a CD with all of my favorite Contemporary Christian songs on it as I travelled to work and back home: 20 minutes to work and 20 minutes from work = 40 minutes

Also, I'm not sure if this counts since i was a participant, I performed in a play from 8:30pm - 11:00pm, which equals: 2hrs & 30 minutes

Monday, August 20, 2012

Media Literacy Topic #1 - Weekly Media Use: Day 1

I started my Media Log on Sunday the 19th of August after I received the Syllabus for this class at 6:46pm. I surfed the web for about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to create a blog. I used the Google search engine to do so and finally was able to create one around 7:30pm. After I created the blog, I then personalized it with a template i found in the Google blog creator. After I finished creating and personalizing my blog I went onto Facebook and played a Facebook game for about an hour before getting off the computer and doing other things that were not related to media, i.e. I went to sleep.

Media use for the 19th:
Facebook: 1 hour
Surfed the web: 30 minutes