Feb 23, 2013

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Total Recall (2012) – To be fair, this is a good enough action movie. There’s nothing wrong with running around and shooting and jumping and all that. On the flip side, I can’t think of one thing it does better than the first one. Yes the first one is corny and dated, but I didn’t have more fun with this one than that one. The dated quality of the first one does not prevent me from enjoying it as an action scifi movie. So what’s the point? Not sure.

Pitch Perfect – I had heard this movie was pretty good, but the previews looked pretty dumb. The previews were right. It’s exactly Bring It On, except for singing instead of cheerleading. They even stole the “cheer-ocracy” thing, except instead the put “aca” (as in a capella” in front of everything. Everything about it is pretty bad. Similar to a Step It Up movie, except that at least has great dancing. The singing in this is just okay, some Glee cover crap. There’s a couple funny moments, but the funny character has as many really bad moments (unfunny, or just offensive) as good ones. Pretty dumb over all.

Frankenweenie – This movie is exactly what you think. It’s cute enough, mildly funny, sometimes sweet. The character design is very creepy and kind of funny – it’s surprising how kooky they look, yet it’s exactly what you’d expect from Tim Burton. There’s not much else to say, if you want to see Tim Burton being Tim Burtoney, go watch it.

The Tree of Life – BORing. Like wow boring. It is so painfully slow and artsy. The whole first 30 minutes are more abstract images and nature documentary than they are movie. And the rest of it is just massively boring. I kind of get what they are going for, but yeesh. 

21 Jump Street – This is a decent amount of fun. It’s stupid and goofy, but I laughed. There’s not much to say about it, shocked that Channing Tatum was decent? Cool cameo at the end? That’s about it, fun though.

Dark Shadows – This movie is pretty much exactly what you think. That’s exactly what I said for Franeknweenie – the connection? Tim Burton. Johnny Depp acts awkward for a couple of hours. Helena Bonham Carter is her normal self, which I could do without. It’s kind of morbid, kind of sweet, and very odd. I liked it well enough, the concept was certainly different (except for the burton-ey stuff).

Seven Psychopaths – I liked this, I wanted to really like it, but it didn’t quite work that well. It kind of has a british gangster movie feel, which I like. The mix of made up story and real life is mostly fun, but sometimes cumbersome. But it’s a cool story, everyone does a good job, it’s a good time.

V/H/S – I like the idea of this movie, which is several little vignettes, about a murderer or a demon or whatever. That seems kind of cool, and enables the movie to get away with the found footage bullshit a little easier, since there’s a new reason why people would actually be holding a camera instead of running the fuck away every 20 minutes. But in the end it’s not that interesting. There was no connecting thread, just a bunch of completely random stories. And the stories in themselves aren’t good enough to stand alone as an anthology. So in the end it’s just a random horror movie, except it’s like 5 little random horror movies in a row.

Human Centipede 2 – Jesus, that was dumb. I saw the first one at the Loft as sort of an event. That one was ridiculous too, but for some reason it didn’t seem so bad. It was over the top, as disgusting as humanly possible just to do it, but in a really stupid way, it seemed like it was at least trying to do something. This one is very much just torture porn, and it’s just disgusting in a way I can’t quite describe. I don’t know why the two are different, I guess the first one was a new idea, and as disgusting and useless as it was, at least it had that going for it. This is nothing but a rehash of the idea, except now it has to increase the amount of disgusting ideas by an order of magnitude just to be more crazy. Dumb.

Hellraiser – The thing about seeing a cheesy 80s movie for the first time in 2013 is it don’t look so good. It’s got all the 80s corniness without any lingering nostalgia. It’s pretty gory, with some pretty good (all things considered) practical effects. Still 80 times better than some shitty horror movie from today with its digital blood. I can see why it would have been pretty popular when it came out, it has all the stuff it should have for this kind of movie. Kind of silly to watch nowadays though.

Stake Land – A perfectly reasonable reaction to this movie is that it’s massively boring. It’s a vampire movie, but also kind of a "The Road” kind of movie. A lot of traveling and talking and narration. The acting isn’t very good either, so that didn’t help. For much of the movie I thought that’s all it was, and that it was pretty lacking in fighting for a vampire fighting movie. For a while in the middle I started to think it was better than that. There was actually something kind of interesting about these people traveling, trying to find a way. But then it turned out to be boring after all. Nothing really noteworthy happened, eventually the story kept going and that was it.

Shining Through – This is an older one, early 90s, about spies in WW II. There’s a lot of things I like about the movie. Melanie Griffith is not one of them. I’ve never liked her, her voice is obnoxious, she’s always putting on this fake sexy bullshit act that’s really annoying. But everything else about the movie is actually pretty good. It’s a cool little story about going undercover in nazi germany. It’s all pretty well done and thrilling. The end is kind of lame, but it’s good otherwise.

Battle Royale – I heard about this when Hunger Games got all popular, but just now got to watching it. It’s pretty cool. I’m trying to decide if I legitimately think it’s much better than Hunger Games, or if that’s just my latent hipster who would much rather not like the cool thing. I can compare the two in these ways: HG has all the slick futuristic dystopian thing down much more overtly. For better or worse, they delight in showing you the extravagance of the ruling class, BR doesn’t do any of that. HG also has the whole audience participation/manipulation thing, and that’s a cool additional element. BR is much more brutal, and much darker in general. Though the heroes in both don’t want to be part of the killing, and the bad guys in both do, the violence is much more violent in BR. There seems to me to be more variety in character motivation in BR, but that could be more forgetting the details in HG. The ending to both movies is kind of lame. In the end HG seems a bit watered down, a bit too pretty. BR seems much grittier and I like it better that way, but I’m probably just trying to be cool.

Savages – Yikes. I’m only 5 minutes in, but the narration writing is killing me. She actually just said “war-gasms.” No really. [time passes] Okay, movie over. Wow, that was bad. Like, wow bad. I don’t remember that actresses name, but she did a monumentally bad job. In her defense, the writing on the narration was among the worst I’ve heard in a for reals no shit movie in a long time. The story isn’t as cool as they pitched it in the trailers, too much lame machination, not enough shooty shooty bang bang. Pretty bad.

Haywire – This movie is actually decent. It’s Stephen Soderbergh, which is iffy. And it’s him featuring a non-traditional actor, which is super iffy. Last time it was Sasha Grey, and that was bad. This is some MMA chick, and it’s not bad. She’s not asked to do much acting, that’s probably a good thing. And she’s good at all the punching and stuff. It’s kind of a normal spy-gone-rogue or spy-betrayed-by-employer movie, but it’s paced very differently. At times it’s a bit annoying, overly artsy. But all in all it’s pretty cool and tense, without being crazy high pitched.

Wild Target – Uh, okay. This is a weird one. It’s about an assassin, who ends up protecting his target instead of killing her. It’s very… British. It’s very awkward and stilted. The assassin is very odd, nothing in the movie really makes sense. The girl is annoying. I mean, she’s supposed to be, but she is. It’s not exactly a bad movie, but it’s not a movie for me either.

Jeff Who Lives At Home – Another weird movie. It’s okay, in the end. It’s just about two brothers, life isn’t exactly what they want it to be. Stuff happens, they both find a bit of purpose in their lives (transient as it is, for one of them), and everyone has a warm fuzzy feeling. I wouldn’t really call it good, I guess, but if you are feeling like the warm fuzzies, it’ll do.

Time Traveller – This is a random movie on netflix that didn’t pan out all that well. It’s a japanese movie about a girl who goes back in time to try to do something for her mom that’s not totally clear. The time travel aspect is what seemed interesting, but it was just kind of a random movie about a girl falling for a guy. There’s not much more to it than that. It’s not poorly done or anything, there’s just not much else there.

Rampart – Meh, Woody Harrelson is a crooked cop. Doesn’t really introduce anything new to the crooked cop movie genre. He does bad things, other things happen, he has to decide how he wants to be, blah blah.

Good Neighbors – This is kind of neat, although it could certainly be a lot better. It’s just a few people who live in an apartment building in I don’t know what town. There’s a serial killer in town, and everyone in the building is kind of a wacko for various reasons. The movie stays almost entirely confined to the building, which is kind of cool. The story is kind of ridiculous, I guess, and every character is pretty unlikeable. But for some reason I still thought it was good enough.

Video Game High School – So, first I was shocked that someone gave Freddie Wong a movie. Then I googled and saw that it was a kickstarter, that makes more sense I guess. It’s not very good. His youtube movies are fun enough for 5 minutes. And for 5 minutes on youtube, they look great. The effects in this aren’t great, but they are okay. The writing and acting are particularly bad, though. The story is silly, which would be okay if the rest of it was really cool, but it’s not. It’s just a long youtube movie, in the end. And that’s not usually an appealing thing.

Jim – Very forgettable, I’m really not sure what happened. It’s trying to be clever, connecting some dude trying to have a kid from his wife’s frozen embryos and some future thing. I didn’t really get it, wasn’t cool to me.