Sep 15, 2009

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Nine – So this was pretty much my most anticipated movie of the summer.  More so than District 9 (which had too much hype so I ignored) or Basterds (which didn’t have much hype).  I was convinced this movie was going to rock my shit, it just looked like exactly what I wanted.  Sadly, nothing can live up to that, certainly not this movie.  It’s not a bad movie, it’s even a good movie, but it has its fair share of failings, and it did not rock my anything.  Random things: the magnet was completely unnecessary and very uncomfortable.  The bad guy sounds were as distracting as they were scary.  Speaking of sounds, I think that without strong facial animation, the movie relied on gasps to convey emotions.  This led to scenes that literally went: Puppet 1: “oh!”  Puppet 2: “OH!”  Puppet 3: “ah!”  It was lazy and weird.  I like that the girl is a total badass, that’s a nice touch. To the overall picture - I do like the animation, I like the style, I love the sackboy thing, it reminds me of this video I loved and linked some time ago.  The framework for the world is solid, everyone loves an apocalyptic future.  Having a band of characters is always the most fun, the characterization here is good, if archetypical.  Sadly the plot is just not there.  It is rushed, and at the same time meandering.  It’s got an shakey staccato rhythm to it that leaves you unsure what’s a crest and what’s a valley, when should you be excited, afraid, or joyous.  The idea of the plot isn’t bad, it is just executed in such a way that is awkward.  More importantly, it isn’t epic.  A movie like this has to be epic.  The trailer is epic. The music is epic. The themes are epic. But the movie is not, it begins with a sense of wonder, but proceeds with an unsure footing, and ends with an odd whimper.  It should have been great, instead of just good, I feel like we lost out on something awesome, but maybe I saw something that was never there. 

Severence – Some random low budget british horror movie.  More of a deliverance style movie than horror.  Except not memorable or interesting.  Kinda bloody, only one part really.  The rest is out and out average.  I recognize one of the girls in it, not sure from what, but besides that it’s just a bunch of random people they apparently picked off the streets.  Not that they did that bad, it was reasonable for random people, but there’s nothing worthwhile here.

Isolation – Is this british week?   This is a monster movie, also british, or maybe or scottish or irish or something, some kinda UK.  It reminded me kind of a Scott Sigler book, genetic engineering (or something like that) gone wrong, monster terrorizes people.  But those books would probably make pretty cheesy movies, they are good because he reads them and there’s personality there.  This is a pretty cheesy monster movie.  That’s pretty much all there is to say about it.  Not bad enough to be good, certainly not good enough to be good.

The Uninvited – I guess this is a remake of an asian movie, big surprise.  It’s a murder mystery / ghost story, I guess.  It’s a “twist” movie, though the twist isn’t that interesting.  The movie as a whole isn’t that interesting.  Without the twist, it’s just an average suspense/murder movie.  Add the twist and it’s different, but not better.  Twists are pretty much done, you can’t do them well anymore.  Not that I sat up at the 45 minute mark and said “aha I know what the twist is”.  But when the twist happened it was just “oh, yeah, okay, I guess that makes sense”  Not sure if we get mind blowing twists anymore, there’s only so many possible answers, the twist being one of them isn’t that big a deal.  Anyway, movie is fine, nothing to bother seeing.

Sunshine Cleaning – Note to the filmmakers: you made little miss sunshine, you can’t make another movie with sunshine movie, sorry.  Note to Alan Arkin: see above.  But besides that?  It’s a cute enough movie.  Not as good as little miss sunshine, certainly.  it’s less quirky (that’s bonus points), but misses the rest of the boat.  Amy Adams is good, but she kinda has the same look on her face as she did in doubt.  she needs more than one face (the zooey deschanel sydnrome) if she’s going to last another movie for me.  The story is nice, predictable from top to bottom, the trailer tells you it all.  There’s worse ways to spend a couple hours, but meh, no need to rush.

The Spirit – Believe it or not, this was not as bad as you’d think.  I’m not saying it’s good, naturally, just not as bad as I imagined from… from pretty much everything I’ve seen.  So first there’s the style, Frank Miller obviously looked at zach snyder and said “hey! talent! I think I lost mine in the 90s!” and took the black/white isolated color thing, except he forgot to do it good.  It’s exaggerated in a not-fun way, some of the effects look really cheesy, there’s this blood covered sword at one point that reminded me of roger rabbit.  But it’s not all of the movie, so it’s not too offensive.  The rest of the movie is though.  Okay, not offensive, just aggressively mediocre (I love that phrase).  The movie really just tries way too hard.  It’s overtly noir, overacted, over the top, tongue in cheek, and reminiscent of previous times.  And it’s all on purpose, I hope.  But it’s not done well, it falls flat, it doesn’t feel cool or interesting, it just feels forced.  The main guy tries to be too sexy, samuel jackson tries to be too crazy, scarlett johansen tries to be too aloof, the police recruit tries to talk too loud.  It’s all just too much and not convincing.  So here’s my surprise: it was actually a descent idea.  I can see the pitch, cool stylized graphics, throwback to old movies, an homage and a parody.  But it turned more into dick tracy, except cheesier.  You heard me, cheesier than Dick Tracy.

Tell No One – So, this is a french suspense movie.  Kind of a murder mystery, kind of conspiracy movie.  At first I was into it, it seemed to have an atmosphere and play with time in a way that I was into.  But 30 minutes in it was clear it’s just a normal suspense movie.  It’s not bad or anything, it just kind of does what you’d think.  It’s got a mystery and I guess i had no idea what was going on.  But that was at least as much because I didn’t care as because I couldn’t guess.  It just didn’t pull me in enough to unravel the mystery.  I do like the conclusion, it has a romantic longing element that you don’t find in these movies.  Quite touching in its way.  But besides that, it didn’t have much for me.

Dead Man’s Cards – Kinda random irish boxer movie.  Had a hard time understanding them, truth to tell.  Kind of a gangster movie too.  Kind of a I’m gonna redeem myself I did shitty things movie, get out of the life movie.  I guess it was okay, I wasn’t really paying attention. I was kinda bored.

Class Act – There was an ad for this before that Chalk movie I didn’t like, this one was much much better.  It’s a real documentary, nominally about this old drama teacher in miami beach who happens to have taught a lot of semi-famous people, but also many examples of teaching of the arts, and the troubles there, around the country.  It’s a little bit sporadic, for that.  It jumps from subject to subject, different teachers, schools, or foundations.  It’s not necessarily hard to follow, it just doesn’t linger or even let you settle on one issue.  But it’s still a good movie, very likable, very charming.  It’s not hard to be on the side of education and arts education, unless you are an idiot.  I don’t imagine this movie convincing any idiots to stop being idiotic, but I generally don’t imagine that of any documentary.  It’s a nice movie though.

Bobby – I remember this coming out, but somehow it completely escaped my memory until just now.  It’s this carefully constructed (one might say overly constructed) movie of many peoples lives and how they intersected with the assassination of robert kennedy.  If I thought class act was sporadic, jesus.  This movie can’t sit fucking still, it is constantly jumping from person to person and story to story, not only was i not keeping up, I was horrendously bored and stopped paying attention.  It’s also so god damn chock full of celebrities its kind of ridiculous.  Seriously like 20 high B, or A list level celebrities.  And, fair or not, that is incredibly distracting.  This is why people make movies with no stars in them, because I wasn’t thinking “oh, the life of this doorman is fascinating” I was thinking “jesus fucking christ, everyone is in this movie!”  The end of the movie is fairly effective, but then that’s mostly because of direct audio of a robert kennedy speech.  That’s the best part of the movie, and it’s not really of the movie.  The movie just tries too hard, it’s too clever.  The end is good, and some of the individual stories are good, but it does too much and it comes out scattered instead of cohesive.

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