Apr 22, 2009

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Crank High Voltage - Wow, what an amazing pile of shit.  The amazing thing isn't that I paid real life dollar money to see this, it's that I'm not surprised that I did.  I actually really liked the first one, it was over the top and insane and stupid, but it had a fun pace and good Statham action.  This movie upped the pace and the stupid, and reduced the action to 3 minutes cumulative.  My favorite thing about this movie is what I get to say when it comes up.  See, the in the last movie, spoiler alert, Statham dies, he falls out of a damn plane, bounces, and dies.  It was actually a good ending to such a ridiculous over the top movie, to have the guy die.  Then I hear the director talking about the new one and saying that he heard a story about a guy falling out of a plane and living - and boom we 've got a new movie!  They even put that story (minus the director) in the damn movie, it's so dumb.  The movie is, at least ,very self aware.  It knows how ridiculous it is, from its subtitles, to its puns, to its encore performances from the first one, to its editing, music, and violence.  But just knowing you are stupid doesn't excuse it.  There are parts I like, where they mock other things along with themselves, like local news, other action movies, other jason statham movies, etc.  There is some action, and its good.  There is a whole ton of boobles, most of which are not good, but a few are.  The main girl, amy smart, she's like a pretty version of jamie presley from My Name is Earl.  Maybe I could have stood that show longer than 2 seasons if she was in it instead.  Not much else to say about it, it's really bad, really ridiculous, and there's no reason to see it.  Except maybe in a stereotypical black theater in new york, that probably would be fun.  Oh, I just found out that it was filmed all with prosumer cameras.  That is exceedingly awesome, cuz I had no idea.

Milk - Finally I see Milk!  It's a very good movie.  It doesn't rank higher than my other favorites from 2008 (Slumdog and Wrestler), I wouldn't even say it's close.  But it's up there with Doubt and whatever else I can't think of right now.  The filming is exquisite.  Some of the framing they use is just awesome.  I'm thinking of the early scene with Penn & the dude from spiderman, and you see mostly table and wall, with them in the background.  Or the reflection in the whistle, or the mix of the TV image and the reflection of the person watching it.  Some just fantastic cinematography, I think it's my favorite part.  The script is very good too, though, the structure is very well done.  Penn is good, everyone is good, actually, no one falls down.  It's also got a lot of relevance and resonance with today, espeically for me not knowing this history.  But at the end of the day its a biopic, and it did not have nearly the majesty of slumdog or the tragedy of wrestler or even the pure acting mojo of doubt.  It may be the best filmed of the 4, but slumdog was awesome too.  Anyway, I am not down on this movie, I liked it a lot, but it did not flip my shit.

Amores Perros - Wow what a movie.  First off, this movie was kind of hard to watch.  Dogs are constant throughout the movie (the title means "Love's a bitch" though I think it loses something in translation), and for the first 1/3 it's about dog fighting.  They don't show much fighting (it's just dogs playing, obviously), but there are fake or make-up'd dead and dying dogs that are really brutal to watch.  But it's worth it, because the movie is amazing.  It's nominally about three different stories, that don't really intertwine at all, except that they pass each other on the street (literally) and share a common theme (which is basically that love messes you up).  The three stories are mostly broken up into three chapters, but the movie plays with time so that you see how they interesect at different points.  For the first 1/3 you have no idea who these people are that will be in the second and third parts of the movie.  You see them show up and things happen, but you don't even know their names until their time comes.  It would be frustrating if it wasn't so well done.  The structure was almost perfect.  There was one time where the time-shifting bothered me, but it was 99% great.  This was Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's (babel, 21 grams) breakout movie, and he deserved the attention, it's produced wonderfully.  The movie has a way of looking crisp and clear (if not clean) at one point and then looking very grimy and rugged at the next, it's good.  The actors do really well too, I was pretty surprised that all these unknown (to me) mexican actors do such an amazing job.  Then I was surprised with myself that I would assume unknown (to me) mexican actors would necessarily be average.  Over all the movie is just really good, with such a seemingly trite message as love fucks you up, it could have easily been an amateur movie, but it manages to present these stories as real and meaningful and similar even though the characters couldn't be more different.  Thumbs up.

Rachel Getting Married - Why the hell did everyone like this movie?  And why the hell did anne hathaway get an oscar nomination?!  Fully the first half of this movie is unbearable.  Unbearable!  It's this god awful torture of a shitty family get together.  It's got all the awful awkward moments and drunken speeches and shitty confrontations and huge fights that you get from your own family, except you have to endure this other family that you don't even have any affection for!  You know how you dread going to thanksgiving every year and putting up with all the bullshit?  Why would you force yourself to endure a movie full of all that bullshit?  And of top of all that, I don't have a shitty family.  I don't dread going to thanksgiving or putting up with my relatives.  So why the hell would I adopt this horrible annoying family for 2 hours?!  It's completey incomprehensible to me why people liked this.  All I can figure is that if you have that kind of family, you appreciate seeing it enacted so accurately, and therefore love the movie.  The second half of the movie gets some semblence of honest emotion in it.  The drama becomes a little less dramatic when heartfelt things start happening.  Even then its pretty melodramatic, it's just that after the first hour of bullshit I was relieved to see something non obnoxious.  It plays out exactly as you would predict from the back of the box, it's not really about surprises just about seeing the people live it out.  I really don't understand why people liked this movie.  Oh, also, this is the most racial diverse family EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.  Seriously, besides native american, I did not see a single race or culture unrepresented.  Not just that the white family married the black family.  But the white family was super into indian culture, and the best friends were asian, and the step mom was mexican, and the little kid was indian, and the black family was from hawaii, and the dancers were from brazil, and the ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Jesus christ, give it a rest, you are a rainbow of humanity, I get it!

Delicatessen - Holy crap what a weird little effin' french movie.  The premise is that during some kind of depression or famine, the owner/butcher of an apartment building chops up strangers and feeds them to his tenants.  So a new stranger shows up and chaos ensues.  Right off the bat I loved the style, the sign for the butcher shop was cool, the picture of the building was cool, the area outside, though clearly working with a limited budget (almost play-like in its isolation), was very cool.  But the movie just gets weirder and weirder as it goes on.  First its strange little rhythmic sections, then crazy over the top hysterics, eventually just a wacky ass plot with everyone acting insane.  The movie is intersting just because it's so weird and different and french.  But I wouldn't exactly call it good either, I'd defintley not watch it again.

City of Lost Chlidren - Speaking of weird ass french movies...  I mean jesus!  This is a fairly well known movie, it's surreal as all hell.  It's like this dirty steam punk slash industrial fairy tale.  In the way you'd normally judge a movie, it's pretty awful.  It's over acted (by the same guy who overacted in delicatessen), it's scattered, I barely knew what was going on, the music is corny, it's weird.  The movie succeeds just in its look.  It is a crazy ass thing to watch, it's got weird creatures (kind of) and imagery and buildings and devices.  For me, it was not nearly interesting enough to put up with the rest of the movie.  It was just weird and french and blah.  I can see how you'd love this movie, I guess, if you were captivated by the style, but I wasn't.

Quarantine - What do you get if you cross Cloverfield and 28 Days Later?  Well, I wouldn't be asking if the answer was Mamma Mia, obviously.  This movie is strange because I feel like it was done well (if of a lower class), yet didn't grab me.  It enabled the claustrophobic feeling of seeing everything through one narrow lens.  It gave you the panic of a human monster running at your teeth barred.  No one acts well, but no one acts badly.  The script is weak, but big surprise.  It seemed like it should have been a good combination of those movies, but it didn't really have me on the edge of my couch.  Maybe if I watched it in the dark with someone scared next to me, it would have had a different feeling.

Gran Torino - This movie actually reminds me of Quarantine, but opposite.  Quarantine I felt like I should have liked, based on individual characteristics, but I was blah about.  This movie I felt like I should have disliked, but I was fine with.  I can't really think of anything good to say about the movie.  It's mostly a mentor/mentee kind of thing.  95% of the badassery in the movie is in the trailer, it's not what they made it seem like.  Eastwood's character is comically ridiculous.  That stupid dick cheney grimace he's got plastered on his face is so over the top it's back on the bottom.  It absolutely seems like caricature, not drama or even comedy, when he screws his face up as tight as possible and grinds his teeth and growls a grumble and the camera zooms in on him.  It was the stupidest thing I've seen in a movie in a while.  Other actors are ok, the girl is pretty awful, the boy is decent.  The barbershop/bar stuff is stupid.  We get it, he's racist, all his friends are racist, that doesn't mean every other god damn word is zipperhead.  It's like a movie trying to be funny by saying fuck every other word.  It's not funny, and this case it's not shocking, it just makes it clear you are trying too hard.  I honestly can't think of anything redeemable about this movie, yet I didn't hate it either.  I'd still say don't waste your time though.  Wow, I just looked it up on RT (I always wait till I finish writing before looking it up).  People loved this thing!  What the hell?  It is not entertaining, masterful, vibrant, gentle, formidible, any of these adjectives!  Y'know, it's times like this when I know I'm a contrarian person.  I was just meh with this movie, now that I know everyone liked this piece of crap, I officially hate it.

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