Wednesday, June 15, 2011

But the Man on the Television Said it Sucks!

Since I had last weekend off, I had planned to catch up on my summer movies. Instead I just dicked around the internet and went to a family gathering. I did make it out to see at least one flick though, unfortunately I already wrote about Super 8, can't do that again. I did still want to get something else up this week, keep the habit going and what not, so this is the result. Sure it's been said so many times that if it were food it would actually make the big lump at work full, but I'm saying it anyway.

So I'm looking at the reviews for Green Lantern, and yeah, it's looking pretty shit. I wouldn't say I was eagerly awaiting the flick (I think the only movies I'm eagerly awaiting this year are Scorsese's Hugo Cabret, Spielberg's Tintin and Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), but it was something I was looking forward to. As I've said many times in the past, I'm a very director oriented movie buff, and GL is directed by Martin Campbell. I know Campbell is far from a great director. He's definitely made several piles of turd, among them The Legend of Zorro (Disappointing seeing as Mask was great) and Edge of Darkness (So we get him walking in heaven but no scene of Mel Gibson licking his daughter's vibrator? WTF?), but he also made some flicks I really dig, most notably Casino Royale, which to me, is the epitome of the modern American action flick. For this reason alone, I will always keep him in the list of director's films I'll watch, pretty much no matter what.

So yeah, Green Lantern is getting some rancid reviews, but I'm still gonna watch it. And that's the attitude I'll take with any film I want to see. I honestly could not care less if a film I'm looking forward to gets ecstatic reviews, or just pure hatred. Yeah, it's nice if a film I dig is loved by many other people, but at the end of the day, it's my opinion. I can't speak for anyone else, I don't know how anyone else thinks, or how they would act, or how they feel about a movie. All I know with absolute certainty is what I think. I know that The King's Speech got good reviews, but I don't like it. I also know that Flash Gordon is generally disliked, but that I dig it.

Maybe I will hate GL, just as I've hated many movies I've seen in theaters. But after all the effort we put into getting excited for a movie, even if that's just saying, "I wanna see that flick," after watching a trailer or reading a synopsis, isn't it kind of a damn shame to not create your own opinion?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Super 8

Something that has always bothered me about when people write about a product or whatever is all the good things will be pointed out first, but then the final paragraphs of the review will be spent talking about all the things they didn't like. They even end their final sentence with something along the lines of, "Blahblah is a great product, however it does have several noticeable problems, if you can look past them then you should consider purchasing one." You know what impression this leaves me with?

This Product Sucks Monkey Balls.

And then of course you look at the score, at it's something like, 8.5 out of 10 or some other totally decent rating. It doesn't matter though, cause now all you really remember is that the reviewer had problems with it. So in an attempt to break that feeling, here's what I disliked about J.J. Abrams' Super 8 up front:

Just a bit too much time spent going to the military when what we want is to see the evolution of the children. That's who we care about.

Things got a bit too silly with the various shots of tanks rolling over and crazy action that seemed to be there for the sake of having something blow up.

The relationship of the main character and his father seemed to wrap up really quickly and in a manner that really didn't involve growth from either people.

Okay, that's out of the way, now on to the rest.

J.J. Abrams' had always made it clear that he wanted to make his sort of tribute film to 80's Spielberg. Interestingly, it's the second one that came out this year, the other one being Greg Mottola's Paul. Of course Paul was a wild comedy that paid homage in various ways to Spielberg and Science Fiction films, like Shaun was to zombies and Hot Fuzz to buddy cop pics. What Super 8 went for was to create an authentic Spielberg movie, think Planet Terror versus Death Proof.

In my opinion, he succeeded. He brought us back into the small town, the creative and interesting children, the heartache that lies in the characters, basically a beautiful portrait of small town Americana that can easily be it's own film, and then adds the supernatural element.

I have to say, I loved every second the young actors were on screen, it must be difficult to find, for lack of a better word, good young actors, Abram's has found at least six. In particular, I have to give credit to Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning who, in their performances gave us something to care about. It created a central focal point for the drama and story to unfold, just as Spielberg's best movies did.

The flick of course, also brought with it, a big budget and special effects not possible when Spielberg made movies like E.T. and Close Encounters. Abrams stages the action well and holds back on the shaky cam stuff he did in Star Trek. The monster is appropriately creepy, threatening, and kinda lovable. And the film has a few truly great jump scare moments.

This is not my favorite movie of the Summer(well, because the Summer isn't over yet so how would I know?) But if I had a kid and could only take him/her to one movie this summer, it would be Super 8... and it's great for everyone else too.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Makes One an Intense Mother F**king Film Geek?

This is, first of all, not really an answer to the above question. Really, it was just one of the many ridiculous thoughts that stampede through my head every day. Secondly, this bit was really just done for fun, there's no insight or anything contained below. I just wanted to post something today to get back into the habit.

The idea of those "Would you rather..." or other wacky hyphothetical questions is in many ways, pretty fucking stupid. At it's best it's filler talk for people who have nothing left to say as they wait in line to get the guy who sculpted Batman's nipple's autograph. And yet, you have to admit that under the right circumstances it can be entertaining as hell, okay so alcohol is usually involved, as well as situations that get more homoerotic by the second despite the fact that both guys would rather have their testicles pulled off than see a gay couple walking down the street. Fine.

Where was I going with this? Right, so anyway this morning, as I was getting ready for work, hopelessly dreaming about a world without warehouses and early hours, I had one of those hypothetical questions pop into my head.

If you had the opportunity to fuck any girl on the planet three times, at the cost of never being able to watch another film by [insert favorite director, genre, franchise, whatever], would you do it?

Now I'm a very director based movie geek. I'm very loyal to directors I dig, perhaps stupidly so, so I would take it in that direction. So to be fair, I'll choose a director I love who still has a lot of, ahem, life in him. So no De Palma, Scorsese, whatever. Why? Well it's not very fair if you choose a director that's already had a long illustrious career and whose best years are probably behind him. So for me, I'd choose someone like, P.T. Anderson, David Fincher, Wong Kar-Wai, Edgar Wright or something.

So would I do it? Well, ridiculous as it may seem to regular people, no. In fact, HELL NO! The cost of never being able to see Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or the final film in the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy, or anything by P.T. Anderson ever is simply wayyyyyyy too much of a price. I don't care who or what you throw in front of me, movies shall always be my mistress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not in any way a big post, but damn I have to say I am excited as hell for David Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The man really is one of the greatest talents to have come out of the 90's and can direct the hell out of a "Mean Film," and it's been a long time since he's made a "Mean in your Mother Fucking Face Film."

Love the hell out of that poster, as well as the trailer. I prefer the Red Band International one as opposed to the one here in the States but both offer the same vibe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Late thoughts on Thor

I'll admit I'm a bit behind when it comes to the summer flicks, but seeing as shit's starting to really ramp up right now I figured I'd spend some time going over the flicks as I see them. Now when I say I'm behind, I really do mean it, I mean, so far I've only seen Thor, not that I really intend to watch every big flick of the summer, but there are several that I want to see, that I simply haven't yet. But no worries, I've got this weekend off from work and I plan to do some major catching up.

That doesn't matter right now though cause right now it's time to talk about Thor. I'll admit, for someone who talks endlessly about being in the right mood to watch a film, I sure as hell walked into Thor in the wrong fucking mood. It wasn't that I didn't want to see it that night, I did, but it happened after a 9 and a half hour work day with the knowledge that I had to wake up at 6:30 the next morning to take tests for 5 hours. Regardless, I walked out relatively happy if not a bit underwhelmed. Even then though, I knew I would watch the flick at least once more.

So I saw it again, this time after a well rested day with a few friends, and did find that my enjoyment of the flick was greater, although the little problems I had initially were still there.
I don't wanna spend a bunch of time reviewing the movie or anything so I'll keep this with a simple group of things I liked and things I didn't.

Stuff I liked:
The actors were all pretty spot on, with Chris Hemsworth having that sort of great charisma that made him a believable douche you love as well as a great true hero at the end. Tom Hiddleston probably could have easily given an almost clown-like performance, but instead gives a calmer, and in many ways much more evil performance. One imagines that if someone were really a great trickster, they wouldn't be running around giggling like Mark Hamill as The Trickster from that Flash tv series. Granted there are a few moments where he lets out that sort of sinister smile that makes you feel like you really are staring at one dementedly brilliant mother fucker. Anthony Hopkins brought a lot of gravitas, Natalie Portman was good enough, Kat Dennings was funny, Stellan Skarsgard was a great grounded human character, Idris Elba was HOLY FUCK awesome and so on and so forth, next point.

Marvel seems to have their formula down to a science at this point as all of the films released through the Marvel Studios banner seem to have a very similar feel to them, and that's a good thing. If we're supposed to believe that they inhabit the same universe it'd be strange if all the films felt completely different.

Branagh brought a great sense of epicness and scope to the flick when we were in Asgard, which is really pretty amazing when you consider that you really only see like 3 actual places in Asgard, there's that initial throne room, the bridge, and random castle dungeons and such.

Final thing I dug, I mean, it was just a solid summer flick that didn't submit to endless scenes of action and explosions and actually provided us with some solid characters and story. Aside from the performances there was no single thing that really stood out as fantastic, it was a lot of little things, done right, that created a greater whole.

Things I didn't care for:

While the special effects for Asgard were appropriately beautiful, the rest of it was a mixed bag ranging from pretty decent, to well, pretty bad, particularly the ice effects, which were at some points laughably bad. The Destroyer looked pretty cool though.

Plain and simple, I did not like the action staging. There was never a moment where I was even remotely impressed, and more than once I was completely confused at what what happening on screen, but that's more a fault with me than anything else. Branagh is obviously a drama driven director and it's there that he excels.

For me, when we entered the second act and Thor first showed up on earth, we cut back to Asgard a few too many times, and in my opinion, it completely killed the momentum. Obviously when we head back for the big drama stuff like Loki finding a little something out about himself it's great. But did we really need ten minutes of Lady Sif and the Warriors Three sitting around basically saying that the situation sucked? I mean, we can see that it sucks, but now we wanna see what's gonna happen to Thor on Earth, not see you guys sit around bitching, again though that may just be me.

In closing, it's really pretty simple, Thor is solid summer entertainment.