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A review of a movie or TV show.

The Avengers Assemble in all the ways we hoped!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Avengers 2012Joss Whedon,Stan LeeJoss WhedonChris Evans,Chris Hemsworth,Mark Ruffalo,Jeremy Renner,Scarlett Johansson,Tom Hiddleston,Samuel L. Jackson,Cobie Smulders,Clark Gregg,Gwyneth Paltrow,Stellan Skarsgård,Paul Bettany,Lou Ferrigno,Jenny Agutter,Walter Perez,Robert Downey Jr.,Powers Boothe,Stan Lee Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Avengers(2012)

After years of teasing and ruining some movies (see “Iron Man 2”) “The Avengers” is finally upon us! Typically Bitter Balcony has some opinions that don’t quite jive with the current thoughts on a film, but this time we can’t even pretend we aren’t really happy with the results. The inclusion of Joss Whedon in this project is what we attribute to the main factor for its success.

Loki, brother of Thor, is a bitter god intent on using an alien army to destroy Earth, which is under Thor’s protection. The only way Nick Fury sees Earth having a good chance to survive is to restart the Avenger protocol (or whatever they called it – and when was it shut down?) and get a cast of heroes to band together against this new foe. The mixed cast of characters causes some friction amongst themselves that could stop them from defeating Loki and the question is raised, “Will they rise to the occasion?”



The Raven - John Cusack as Poe is full of wit and win!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Raven 2012Hannah Shakespeare,Ben LivingstonJames McTeigueAlice Eve,John Cusack,Luke Evans,Brendan Gleeson Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Raven(2012)

“The Raven” is the fictional story of the bizarre events in Edgar Allan Poe’s final days before he was found half-dead on a bench. In this tale, a killer is using his previously published works as inspiration for murder and an elaborate secret plan. Once the police discover that there is a striking similarity to Poe’s work he is called in to help solve the mystery.

John Cusack stars as Poe himself and brings a certain wit and charm that is sharp, fast and entertaining in a Tony Stark, from “Iron Man”, kind of way. Cusack is able to deliver quick-witted lines with ease and draws us in to the life if a drunkard who has reached his creative end, but continues to attempt at creating another work that would get him enough money for the next drink until he finds the next story. Luke Evans plays Detective Emmett Fields, a methodical man who is working hard to solve the case and catch the killer before it’s too late. His performance is solid and while not as charismatic still the steady/thoughtful manner a detective like this would have.


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Cabin in the Woods

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Cabin in the Woods 2012Drew Goddard,Joss WhedonDrew GoddardRichard Jenkins,Bradley Whitford,Jesse Williams,Chris Hemsworth Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Cabin in the Woods(2012)

Your typical group goes off to your typical cabin far away in the woods where help would be hard to find. The characters are your standard horror film characters; the jock, the sexy cheerleader girlfriend, the unlikely nerd/stoner that is friends with them and the virginal girl. Unlike most films that prefer to stick to these tropes out of laziness or because they know their script won't be produced otherwise, this is all part of a greater tale.

The effects in this film are well handled for the most part. We miss out on what could have been some great gory moments because of cutaways and we aren't sure why. The film is already R rated and it wouldn't have had to be over the top. The missed opportunity is something that was felt and, while not necessary, would have added a bit more horror into this horror/comedy.


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Hunger Games - Board games have more action

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Hunger Games 2012Gary RossGary RossJennifer Lawrence,Josh Hutcherson,Elizabeth Banks,Liam Hemsworth,Willow Shields,Woody Harrelson,Amandla Stenberg,Stanley Tucci,Isabelle Fuhrman,Donald Sutherland,Alexander Ludwig,Lenny Kravitz,Jacqueline Emerson,Wes Bentley,Toby Jones Suzanne Collins Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Hunger Games(2012)

The “Hunger Games” have finally arrived. Much like the characters in this movie everyone is anxious to enjoy how interesting this film is only to realize that the premise is handled as blandly as one could fear. Considering the whole premise is about a game where 24 youths hunt and kill each other this movie is exceedingly boring. I couldn’t help but wish for the film to be over before they even entered the games (as in one game). When the “games” started I realized the option of walking out became even more appealing.

Primrose Everdeen’s sister is drafted into some ridiculous game she volunteers to fight the good fight instead, thus saving her sister. Each of the twelve districts is expected to hand over one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 per year to compete to the death. She takes on this task to save her sister and enters a new world of ridiculous fashion and eventually some terribly shot action.


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The Secret World of Arrietty... another cookie cutter Miyazaki film

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Secret World of Arrietty 2011Hayao MiyazakiHiromasa YonebayashiMary Norton Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Secret World of Arrietty(2011)

“The Secret World of Arrietty” is another Studio Ghibli film. It is a film based on the novel and old TV series, “The Borrowers”. Little people live in a house with big people and try to get discovered, though you know they will. The question is if the big people will be mean to them or not, but with Miyazaki writing you know that they will always be kind and gentle… and there is the problem.

Visually, the film looks like many of Studio Ghibli’s other works. This pretty much means design and animation is not the issue. They certainly have a style that works for them and they know how to use it. Direction is solid enough, considering the screenplay, and voice acting (I watched the Japanese version) is solid.


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Norwegian Ninja - The Nords attempt a B-movie

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Norwegian Ninja 2010Thomas Cappelen MallingThomas Cappelen MallingMads Ousdal,Jon Øigarden,Trond-Viggo Torgersen Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Norwegian Ninja(2010)

Bitter Balcony reported about “Norwegian Ninja” a few months back and after all that time we’ve finally been able to sit and enjoy it’s B-movie antics… or did we?

The movie’s synopsis is as simple as it gets; the true story of how Commander Arne Treholt and his Ninja Force saved Norway during the Cold War. Of course by “true story” they mean a ridiculously bad ninja movie in the style of late ‘70s camp. There are things like the secret island they live on being protected by a Feng Shui barrier. This is totally ridiculous as Feng Shui is probably the furthest thing from a weapon you can use. It leads to a great scene (seen in the trailer) that provides a hearty laugh.

The movie should have continued to tap into this ridiculousness and purposefully bad miniatures for the special effects, but somehow misses the point. It’s not easy to point to one or two direct things that are what fails. It just seems like they had a great idea and somehow missed the point when they started shooting it. There are a few gems that survived from the script, but overall it was a tad too unfunny.


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Bitter Balcony reflects on 2011

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, 2011 in review  Bitter,Bitterometer,meter 2011 in review

I commence our late recap in film by thanking all the studios out there for releasing EVERY movie produced in 2011 within the span of ten days! The “let me save my dysfunctional family by building a petting zoo” movie, the “Swedish Punky Brewster” movie, the “Tom Cruise shrugs off his height shortcomings by climbing skyscrapers” movie, the “charming little artsy black and white French movie that will win all our callous American hearts” movie, the “interspecies love story of a boy and his horse” film, the “washed up actors assemble New Year’s” movie, and how could I forget Tintin (if anybody knew who he was to begin with). All that, and I haven’t mentioned the other half of films released in the last month or so.


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