Aug 11, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Xmen First Class – Well, that was entirely adequate. Not bad, not at all. Good, I guess you’d say. But no more than that. The casting was good all around. The girl who played Mystique was too young (making it super creepy at one point) and January Jones is too weird looking to be hot enough to be the white queen. But she did the uppity thing well. Kevin Bacon is probably the best (though I seem to remember shaw being much burlier), though everyone, including me, is kind of in love with michael fassbender lately. The plot was fine. Ridiculously rushed. I guess it’s cool to put it against a big historical event. But that historical event happened kind of quickly. Which means the standard training montage that typically happens way too quickly happened WAAAAY too quickly. The action is pretty good, pretty brief though. I did have a problem with the setting. Except for one shagadelic song and some silly outfits, it didn’t feel very 60s to me. It could have been any time period, it really didn’t matter. I don’t know, the movie is good. I think maybe we aren’t surprised by good comic movies anymore. I imagine the first Xmen blew me away because I didn’t think they could do it. Now I know they can, so you have to try harder to make it really good. Still worth seeing though.

The Social Network – Well I finally see this freaking movie. I have such a problem with it because there’s so much of it that’s not true. I don’t really know the details, but I know there’s plenty of artistic license, and that makes it hard to watch a based-on-a-true-story movie. It’s a well done movie, the dialogue is very aaron sorkin. Honestly I’m a little sick of that style these days. I think maybe it’s been done too much, or it just is too far from how people really talk. I’ve seen mark zuckerberg talk, he doesn’t talk like that. No one talks like that. Unless you have half an hour to prepare for each sentence to make the utmost efficient use of every syllable, you don’t talk like that. But whatever, it’s entertaining. So I still have this problem that it’s not real. Either the point of the movie is to be entertaining, in which case don’t base it on reality. Or it’s to tell the story, in which case, tell the right story. Kind of annoying that now i have this poisoned version of something that actually happened. But it is a good movie, well made, well acted, all that.

Mao’s Last Dancer – Pretty cool movie about a dancer in the 80s who comes over from China to study, and then causes a minor event when he doesn’t want to return. He’s a ballet dancer, I guess pretty famous at the time, not that I know ballet dancers. The dancing in the movie, though slightly more sparse than I’d like, was very nice. It’s edited and such to make it look better, I’m sure, but he the actor is a beautiful dancer. The movie is interesting, well done, and has pretty dancing, pretty much all you could ask from it.

The Green Hornet – Umm… okay I guess. Not bad, kind of amusing. Nothing special. The Kato fighting is pretty cool I guess. The story is predictable. Seth Rogan is likable enough as the green hornet. Feels a little low budget, like maybe it’s an HBO movie or something. But it’s not bad, just kind of fine.

On the Shoulders of Giants – What a cool movie! It’s a documentary about the beginnings of black people playing basketball professionally in america. Unsurprisingly, it used to be segregated. Surprisingly it wasn’t really integrated until the 50s. In the 20s and 30s there was a team called the Rens from Harlem. They were really sort of the heroes of that culture. A respected team that, though not allowed to compete with white guys formally, were every bit as good and better in exhibitions. They differed from the other famous team, the Harlem Globetrotters (who, amazingly, were from Chicago, and did not travel the globe) in that the globetrotters were more toward entertainment than straight up athletes. The movie follows their progression, eventually being able to play and win a championship against a white team (a win that went unmentioned by the white press of the time!). So the story is super interesting to begin with, and then there’s a very charming art style on top of it. Throughout the movie are drawings/paintings/something by this artist with an extremely cool style. Not quite caricature, kind of hyper realistic, kind of cartoony, but absolutely beautiful. There’s also this weird jib-jab thing I don’t like where they put still photos of these old players’ heads on still photos of their bodies and move them separately. Presumably because they don’t really have much video of them. It’s silly, though, I don’t like it. But the rest is so cool to look at. It’s got interviews with quite a few notable black people, some athletes, some not. And at 75 minutes long, it’s just a great way to spend some time on netflix instant.

The People I’ve Slept With – Oh the movies I’ll watch when I need something to be playing while I do other things! This is super amateur, about some girl who sleeps around, gets pregnant, has to find the dad, has a bunch of drama. Has a gay best friend who is also trying to “reform” his life. I don’t know how you can tell that it’s an amateur movie, but you can. The acting, mostly, the editing too, maybe the filming, not sure. Not very good. Not offensive, just not very good.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Pppppppppt. This movie is just like the first one, except even more pointless. There’s a story, but at least the first one KIND of had an arc. At least a tiny arc at the end. This guy is just an asshole like the first, and that’s it. Nicolas Cage is awful. I’m not sure if he thinks he’s doing a southern accent? Or a asshole accent? Tough guy? Something? Whatever it is, it blows. Everything in the movie sucks. The only good thing about this movie is it makes me look back on the original slightly more favorably.

Creep – Okay, so the girl from run lola run gets trapped in a subway at night, some crazy thing tries to kill her and a few other people. It’s kind of bloody, but not that much. They move past the unseen monster thing in about 10 minutes, so it doesn’t have any suspense to it. The characters don’t have much personality, so we don’t care about them. Look, I know it’s a crap horror movie that isn’t really worth many sentences. I’m just saying, it’s not very good.

The Hole – Hm, is this great, or horrible? 4 teenagers go down into an old abandoned bunker for a party, get stuck, bad things happen. The great part of the movie is its playing with flawed narrator. One version of the story it tells us isn’t the whole story, or even the right story. So we are set up to think things are happening one way. Then we start seeing hints that it’s another way. I thought that would be used more, like they would have us wondering what is true. They don’t really do that, sadly, once it switches, it stays switched. But they do continue to reveal things that we didn’t necessarily know at the start, so that’s cool. I’m not a fan of the super cold calculating effective young person, tends to feel too perfectly set up. But that’s a relatively small part of the movie, and the rest is really quite good. I’m not saying I loved it, but it’s cool.

Capitalism: A Love Story – Finally saw the latest michael moore movie. God damn is everyone as sick of his patronizing high and mighty bullshit tone yet? For fuck sake, I am very glad he tells me most of the things he tells me, but can someone else tell them to me? I can’t stand his obnoxious pretentious asshole voice anymore. Even when I AGREE with him it feels like he’s talking down to me. But if you can ignore that, and I’ll grant you that’s a big if, the movie is good. I don’t know why people get away with what they get away with. I feel like life has reached a level of abstraction that bad people may always get away with their shit. As long as banks can do the horrendous shit they do, and then Obama can get blamed for the state of the economy, how will the people who do bad ever suffer for it? Very frustrating.

Astro Boy – Nothing much to say, just an animated movie. Kind of meh animation, but it’s not bad. Average story, kind of funny. That’s about it.

Book of Eli – This movie’s pretty good. Everyone loves a post-apocalypse, after all. Denzel Washington does a remarkably contained job. I mean, his thing these days, what he gets credit for, is the staccato loud dramatic acting. Here he’s soft spoken, efficient in his use of action and voice, it’s good to see. The world looks reasonably convincing. And it has its own hook, it’s not JUST another guy wandering a scorched world fighting the bad guys who try to control the pieces. It’s got a purpose, and a nice little ending to go with that purpose. I could do without mila kunis trying to look like a badass, but besides that, I’d actually say it was a good movie!

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