May 31, 2010

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Ironman 2 – Second verse, same as the first! This one’s just like the first, it has the same good points, and the same bad points. Perhaps my single greatest complaint about the first was the overwhelming number of bob-the-builder montages. So what do I get in the opening credits? Montage!! So that’s annoying. The movie is fun, it has lots of explosions and fighting. Robert Downey Jr. has the charming asshole market cornered. So much so that it became a little overbearing. I couldn’t take one more smirk. The action is great. I am to this day SHOCKED at how well they have pulled off ironman. Not only the CGI ironman flying around shootin’ shit. But the tony stark iron man standing on a rooftop mackin’ on gwenyth paltrow in what must be a real life suit. The fact that that cheesy ass 70s red and gold suit can come to life in a completely realistic, superheroey, and cool way is great. On the other side, the movie is very thin. It’s a pretty, exciting, explodey veneer that is approximately 2 and a half microns thick. There’s just nothing underneath it all. It’s all surface. And hey, that’s not a horrible thing. There are all manners of thin movies that don’t come anywhere close to the entertainment value. But let’s not pretend this is the dark knight, this is not an amazing movie, it’s just a fun movie. It’s not like it supercedes its genre or anything. Getting into the lore aspect of things, I was rather disappointed with Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury. To be fair, this version of Fury isn’t really fleshed out. He’s really only been in the Ultimates line, as far as I know, so maybe he was allowed to be sam jackson. But the classic Fury is more interesting than sam jackson being sam jackson. He needed to be gruffer, not so smirky. Then again, I’m not a big avengers guy, maybe fury is exactly like that and I never noticed. The biggest butt hurt of the movie is obviously the science BS. In as much as physics is ritually abused throughout the movie, it’s truly engineering that gets dick-punched from top to bottom. As if building the suit in a cave wasn’t bad enough, now he’s making particle accelerators in his basement? Engineering doesn’t work like that, folks. Science is not discovered in basements anymore. I know it’s charming and romantic. I know we all want to believe the surfer who smokes pot 6 days a week can actually invent the grand unified theory on the 7th day, but it’s not 1900. Copy editors don’t invent fields of physics anymore. You have to be very well educated to even know what there is to discover. And no matter how smart you are, you don’t cobble together a particle accelerator out of stuff in your living room. Sorry! The post-credits teaser, and I’ll warn you of spoilers here even though it’s not worth the words, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty lame. Thor’s hammer in a big crater in the desert. Honestly, it’s not that big a crater. Secondly, as amazing as ironman looked, he hammer looked correspondingly crappy. I’m pretty sure it is exactly the hammer you will find if you go to the aisle in the back of the toys’r’us. The one under the big foam hulk hands on double clearance. It was kind of sucky, I imagine they had the dollars to make some amazing, rippling, electrified, steaming source of power. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they tried that and it looked really cheesy. I hope they figure it out, though, I’m pretty worried about the next two movies. Captain America is going to be really hard to pull off. He was cheesy when he was created, let alone 60 years later. Making a guy in a plastic red white and blue suit with freaking wings on his head is daunting, to say the least. But Thor, yikes. How the hell do you make a norse thunder god not look ridiculous? Some nordic weight lifter with a silly helmet, flared nostrils, and a superiority complex? You’ve got a hell of a job, marvel! UPDATE: None of what I just said matters. Because I just learned that the 3D printer that they used in the movie to make all the physical (non CGI) iron man suits is an Objet, which I HAVE IN MY NEW LAB. All I need is a leaked torrent of print files from the production company and I’m going to have a bad ass halloween costume.

The Human Centipede – Uh, wow. This movie sets out to be the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen and it very much succeeds. The premise, if you are sane and are not familiar with it, is (hold your lunch) a mad scientist surgically joins 3 people together, mouth to asshole, to make a human centipede. It is not only a disgusting concept, they go out of their way to show the surgery. More than that they have to show us the experience (though not an x-ray vision visualization) or what digestion is like for them. It’s the grossest thing you’ve ever heard of. I hate to give the movie points, let alone money, for just coming up with the most revolting concept in the history of cinema, but there it is. The rest of the movie is average crappy b-movie fare. Everything from the flat dialogue, over acting, walking alone in the woods, not using obvious means of escape, and not killing the bad guy when you have the chance. The camera used to film the movie is fantastic, and I bet it cost no more that $1000, which is pretty great. The trouble with digital films is often that they tend to look TV ish or even worse. But they actually do a damn decent job with lighting to make the movie look good. The director is awful fond of perspective, he usually filmed the bad guy from below to make him menacing and towering and the women from above to make them seem diminished and weak. It’s over used and too obvious, but it’s not wrong in theory. The bad guy is dutifully creepy, in a particularly german way, I suppose. The three victims are a japanese dude whose job is merely to yell a lot and does that fine, and then two girls, one of whose job it is to cry a lot and be the emotional center, while the other’s job is to be very very hot, both succeed. Nothing much else to say about it, it doesn’t have a point, the mad scientist does his thing, the s hits the f, he gets his, everyone loses. But you will never unsee it, that’s for damn sure.

Whip It – Meh! This movie is like 25% very cute and 75% really annoying. If I told you “outcast girl in a small town, forced into beauty pageants by her mother, discovers rockin’ roller derby chicks – GO!” You could write the entire script. Rock star boyfriend who’s an asshole? check. Supportive best friend who gets in a big fight then makes up? check. Dad who hides in his room and watches sports? check. thinly structured rivarly with the badest ass derby chick that turns to gruding respect? check. Do you need more? You could seriously write the whole thing in 10 minutes, you’d probably get most of the dialogue right. And not just that it’s predictable, it’s obnoxious. It’s so trite and stereotypical, it’s really annoying at times. If not for the novelty of a roller derby, this would be a horrible movie. But we all have a little love for the derby chicks. The silly combination of sexiness, violence, and anti-social gender bending is endearing, in as much as it is kinda dumb. So the movie has that going for it, but it’s just not enough. And in fact, there are times where I think this movie is a 15 year old boys idea of what derby girls do. There’s too much sorority girl pillow fighting. I mean, not literally, but it has that feeling of what a boy thinks these girls do. Either that or this is an accurate representation of roller derby culture and that’s kind of pathetic. Could be either, I guess, I hope the former. So, the movie is okay, not really, but I’m not left with immensely negative feelings. Oh, also, the juno chick must do something different next movie, or she will be michael cera with tits. Fact.

The Princess & The Frog – So this is Disney’s big return to form. I assumed it would be bad, but then I heard from multiple sources that it was actually good. That it had the art, and the humor, and the music of the old 90s cartoons. And it’s true, it looks a lot like them, feels like them. Trouble is, it’s 2010, and it doesn’t quite fit. Maybe that’s not fair, not every cartoon should look like Pixar, or even like Dreamworks. But I didn’t love this one. If anything, the similarity to the old standards just kept inviting comparison. The princess looks like any disney princess but with darker skin. The villain is Jafar, the old man is Smee, the bad alligators are Ursula’s eels, the good alligator is the bear from the jungle book, and the firefly is jiminy cricket. It feels like a disney greatest hits movie! It’s not a bad story, it’s sweet. Though there is a tough line to walk between “the love of your family is the greatest thing of all” which we are all for, and “you are only complete when you find the man you love” which we are not all for. Even as someone who finds his most importance in another person, I understand that’s a dangerous message, especially for young girls. But besides that the movie is likeable enough. The music for the most part isn’t all that wonderful. It’s not bad, it’s just average mostly. There are some fun jazzy songs, but nothing I have stuck in my head. My favorite character, despite being Jafar’s and Ursula’s love child, is the shadow man, the voodoo trickster. He’s pretty entertaining and his introductory song is the absolute standout of the movie. Both the music which was toe tappin’ great and the visuals were really wonderful. The movie never got better than that song 20 minutes in, for me. Still an okay movie, just not what I had heard.

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