Posted by Martin:
Posted by Martin:
Posted by Martin:
Posted by Martin
Casino Royale 2
Bond returns, and for the first time in its 22 movie history, he returns as a true sequel, to Casino Royale, and not as a individual episode. Consequently the movie has a very different feel from previous Bond films. I like the feel of this film.
The opening of Diamonds Are Forever is a connection to the previous On Her Majesty's Secret Service , but that was more to show Connery coming back after Lazenby. And in From Russia with Love there is a brief mention of Dr. No and Connery has a tryst with the brunnette from Dr. No, the only Bond girl to be in two movies. (Maude Adams, Golden Gun and Octopussy, plays two different characters therefore does not count.) But those are not story arches as this is.
Posted by Martin:
The X-File:I want to Believe
Roger Ebert wrote in his review of The X-Files: I want to believe that you don't have to be familiar with the show to understand what it is going. In a way that may be true, because those that do know the show are going to be completely lost as to why this sloppy mess would be called The X-Files.
According to Ain't it Cool News director Chris Carter had to finish the script before the writer's strike in order to get it into production. And man does it show. This is a really, really early rough draft of a script they shot. As in no time for spell check or rereadings. But it also begs the question why not just scrap the thing until it is ready? Because this ain't ready.
Take this exchange for example between Agent Drummy, yes that is what they named him, and Scully:
Scully (on phone): Where is Mulder?!
Drummy: Is this Scully?
Drummy: Where is Mulder, Agent Scully?
Scully: I don't know. That's why I called you!
Seriously, this conversation occurs on the screen. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
Scully is completely, completely STUPID in this movie. The strong confident character of the series is not to be found here. She is side tracked by two stupid side stories. One, the psychic who his helping the FBI is a convicted pedophile priest. She is so angry at him for his sins, she can't keep it professional and work with him. Which made me think, why make him a pedophile priest? Oh yeah Scully is Catholic, and therefore this would create "tension." Stupid.
Second, she is now a doctor at...wait for it...a CATHOLIC HOSPITAL ! (That's how the script writes it, in great big capital letters so you will understand the importance.) And she has a child patient with some rare brain disease, that is going to die. Expect he will probably live with some new RADICAL (that's how the script writes the word) treatment that is comes from...wait for it...STEM CELLS!!! (Again, that is how the script writes the words.) Therefore Catholic Hospital verses Stem Cells equals TENSION! (Again, oh never mind...)
It is this STEM CELL side plot that gives me my favorite shot of the whole movie. Scully apparently spends hours on Google doing STEM CELL RESEARCH printing dozens upon dozens of articles. At which point she gathers all of these printed articles and puts them into a folder, where the camera lingers as she writes in ink on the front of the folder "STEM CELL RESEARCH." Oh! This is stem cell research. Thanks for telling me. The previous three minutes of screen time spent on Google I wasn't exactly sure, but now I am sure that she was doing STEM CELL RESEARCH.
Which made me realize, hasn't Scully heard of Google Notebook, or bookmarks for that matter?
Molder seems to sleep through the movie. But unlike Scully, Molder is at least Molder. Just a sleepy version of his better self.
But for some reason this former fugitive wanted by the FBI goes into hiding in Scully's spare bedroom and grows a beard. Apparently the FBI is stupid too, or maybe just really lazy.
The strength of original X-Files was fighting a government conspiracy of an alien attack. That was when X-Files was at it's creepy best. This is one of the monster week episodes, and unfortunately not even a good one.
Spoilers below, but you don't want to see this movie so it doesn't matter...
The monster of the week for this a Russian doctor, (it is nice to make the Russians the bad guys again, it was a simpler time...) who does some RADICAL experiments on dogs. As in replacing heads and putting them onto new bodies and still having them live. But this time he is trying them on humans. Why is he doing this? Well we actually don't understand why until the last five minutes of the movie. Which I think was when Chris Carter finally figured it out himself.
The Frankenstein scene brings us the cliche of cutting edge medical experiments being done in the most unsanitary and dilapidated building found in the area. The eye replacement scene in Minority Report comes to mind. See that movie instead, it's better movie. (This cliche can also be found in the original Batman when the doctor was working on the Joker.)
But some Russian's homosexual husband has lung cancer that requires this Russian to go around stealing body parts of different people. But why not just steal one body and be done with it. And if you're gay wouldn't you want your husbands new body to be a male body? Why put it on a female body? SO MANY ISSUES THERE!
My wife said it best, "they should have stopped with the last one."
Spend your hard earned cash on MUCH better movies this summer such as:
Posted by Martin:
At this point The Dark Knight is beyond review. The blogosphere has been singing it's praise with no real negativity I've seen. I just saw it and it is an incredible movie, even my wife made note of how good it was.
Okay let's get it over with, Heath Ledger's take on the Joker is amazing. Makes Jack's performance seem just down right silly. Enough said.
Nolan's Direction and Script
Nolan's script and direction are the real backbone and muscle of this movie. This isn't really a "Batman" movie per say, this is more a police and detective movie. This has a really different feel than Batman Begins, and that comes from Nolan's well written script and tight direction. This is a much more mature direction than Batman Begins or his first hit Momento. This is a highly skilled director.
The Incredible Music Score Gets the Oscar
The internet has been blaze with the notion of an Oscar for Ledger, which could happen, but I would really vote for the music to win an Oscar here. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's music is what really brought the intensity to the scene. High discordant strings for seconds on end really made my hair stand on end. This wasn't a John Williams sort of musical score with brash trumpets, but a score based on strings and rough cords. This really completed the whole feel of unease and anxiety of the script. The score needs to have praises sung as well, without it the movie doesn't fly like it does.
This is no comic book movie
Joel Schumacher ruined the previous Batman series by treating the movies as if they were kiddy comics. Nolan knows better. A lot better. This is police drama on par with the French Connection and Heat. This simply terrific movie making.
But the best quote I've heard on the movie came from an ol' college buddy who I was chatting with on Facebook as I was writing this, and I cut and paste from the chat:
at the end of it I walked down to the front of the theater to get my socks back.
Posted by Martin
I am a big fan of home theater. More specifically my home theater, but I still love going to the movies and seeing them on an even bigger screen.
BUT some people seem to think they are still at home and have the right to behave as such. Therefore I have introduced the Ten Commandments of Movie Going that were handed down to me from the Mount Cineplex 10:
I hope these help. When we follow these the movies will be much more enjoyable.
Other interesting articles:
Hellboy 2 Review
Wall-E movie review
Top Ten James Bond Movies
Behind the Screens of Quantum of Solace
Posted by Martin:
Hell Boy II: The Golden Army
I really liked the first HellBoy, it was quite original and introduced me to the HellBoy comic.
The first movie introduced us to great characters and spent a lot of time on having you enjoy the relationships.
This movie introduces us to great places and creatures, NEW KINDS OF PLACES AND CREATURES. That happens so rarely in the movies that when it does we remember it for along time. When we go into the Troll Market Place, I thought this is what it was like the first time we saw the Cantina in Star Wars. Roger Ebert thought the same thing, he just posted it before I did.
There is relationship tension between Hellboy and Liz his HOT (in so many ways) girlfriend. I won't spoil it here, but it does lead to Hellboy 3.
The strength of this movie of course lies in gifted director and screenwriter Guillermo del Torro. Who most recently won an Oscar for his work on Pan's Labyrinth. The creatures share a very similar style from Pan's Labyrinth, especially the Angel of Death who has eyes in his wings as opposed to his face, a style much like the white child eating monster from Pan's Labyrinth.
Ultimately this time around Hellboy is less about internal relationships and character development, and more about new adventures and places. And it is a good place to travel to.
Posted by Martin:
For me reviewing a Pixar movie can really become reviewing Pixar itself. How they keep making such good movies should be a case study for filmmakers, creative types, and frankly anyone in business. To keep making such work of such high quality will be the study of future academics.
The first act of Wall*E is a tribute to Ben Burtt. Barely single human word is spoken during the first 20 minutes or so. The only words are spoken by Fred Willard, who plays a sort of CEO/President of the world. Yet we still know Wall-E's emotions and we connect with him. A lesson can be learned here for aspiring screenwriters, you don't necessarily need words to connect to an audience. All of this is due to the skill of Ben Burtt's sound design. Giving the Oscar to anyone else in the sound category would just show ignorance on the part of the academy.
Wall-E was written and directed by Andrew Stanton, the director of Finding Nemo, my personal Pixar favorite. As was Finding Nemo, Wall-E has adorable characters playing in front of very intense adult themes, finding Nemo, losing a family and being afraid of everything, and Wall-E, humans disregard for caring of the Earth. These are not easy themes, but they make these movies timeless in that as the children that watch these movies get older they will relate better to the background themes of the movies.
Playing in front of these heavy themes are wonderful characters. Wall-E is a trash compacting robot that has developt a hobby of collecting things he finds in the trash, and he makes a home of this trash that shows a world 700 years in the past.
(images courtsey of Pixar Blog)
Eve is sent to search for plant life. She is a slick updated robot who floats, where as Wall-E rolls around on tire wheels. For a good portion of the film the only two characters on the screen are Wall-E and Eve, again no human words are spoken, yet we know the conversation. Why? Because it is a familiar conversation, one of someone reaching out in their loneliness.
As Wall-E and Eve are moved off Earth and to the spaceship that contains the remaining humans on a cruise space ship. A sort of combination between Gilligan's Island and Star Trek Voyager, they went out for a 5 year tour, but 700 years later they are still cruising.
It is here that we meet the first human characters in the movie. And they are all fat and helpless. Unable to walk or turn over without help from a robot or a video screen. The moral lesson gets a little heavy handed in this part and it is the weakest part of the movie. But it is in the ship that we meet more compelling characters We find a robot that must clean up, no matter if he gets off track, to clean is his existence. We find a hyperactive robot, a robot thay many children and parts can relate to.
In the end Wall-E is another Pixar classic. The perfectionism and effort they put into their work is breathtaking. In the future when our world is covered in trash, some robot will be sitting at a tv watching Wall-E.
(In researching this post I stumbled upon Pixar Blog. A great example of a very narrowly focused blog and the great info that comes from it.)
Posted by Martin:
I'm not a comic book junkie. I'm not a comic book geek. My comic book knowledge really rests on Saturday morning cartoons and summer movies. Other than Underoos from the 1980s I have never heard of Iron Man.
I am now officially a fan of Iron Man. Favreau seems to know this character, and he respects him. Downey seems to love him, let me rephrase that, he loves playing Tony Stark.
The Interesting Identity
Tony Stark is infinately more interesting than most other super hero secret identities. Stark fights for good out of experience and a change of heart, not out of revenge a la Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker. Stark also LIKES being a super hero, to him this isn't a dead weight hanging around his neck. Heck even Superman was sad being Superman in the Bryan Singer version. Tony Stark likes being Tony Stark and seems to love being Iron Man. Tony Stark is a secret identity that I would like to hang out with on the weekend, Peter Parker not so much.
The weakness in this movie is with the villain. Obidiah Stane, played by Jeff Bridges, is an interesting bad guy espcially since he is very close to Stark. But when a villain is bad simply because they just want to make more money makes them seem very bland. The Joker is interesting, Lex Luthor is interesting, The Green Goblin is interesting because they all simply want to destroy their archnemsis, making more money is boring in a villan.
The attractive Gwyneeth Platrow plays the card board cut out, Pepper Potts, the standard love interest. But admitedly Pepper Potts is quite possibly the most interesting names of all side kicks.
An Iron breath of Fresh Air
Since my comic book knowledge is weak I've been wondering what else big was coming down the pike. I know of Batman, and love the new versions, I know of Superman and found Superman Returns to be a little blah, but Iron Man was a great surprise for those of us who like Summer movies, but aren't comic book scholars.
Posted by Martin:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I saw this mess on Saturday. I've been too disappointed to even approaching writing about it. I've read the Talk Back on Aintitcool, I am not on the lukewarm side of this mistake.
Unless you like to watch car wrecks don't see this movie.
The Paramount symbol in the previous movies fades onto a huge mountain. Here though it fades onto a mole hill that immediately gets run over. Not a good omen.
Yeah, yeah all of the previous movies have unexplained elements. Roger Ebert writes that this movie fits the previous movies rules, but the rules that were set in the previous movies were that they were supernatural elements, not extraterrestrial in nature. And yes there is a difference. The Ark, The Stones, the Grail all come from the past, and come from human history. Aliens come from "out there" and are not a (proven) part of our history. Indiana Jones is supposed to be doing archeology from Earthly objects, not outer space objects. This movie does not follow the same rules as the previous films and that why it fails.
The humor seems very forced. Using the great John Hurt as comic relief is painful to watch and confusing to understand.
Shia LeBeouf does a good job as Indy's son, but he has two of the most forced "humor" scenes in the movie. First he is regulated to a CGI America's Home Video kick in the nuts "joke." Seriously, the nuts. Lucas and Spielberg have fallen to nuts jokes.
And then he suddenly is able to swing on vines like Tarzan, maybe they were trying to make a comparison to the Bullwhip, but this is just silly and distracting.
The middle third of the movie is simply too muddled and complicated. Trying to increase the mystery by talking and talking and talking is not helpful. Previous entries were simple and to the point, this one is not.
The CGI in this movie is sloppy and obvious, and that is sad coming from Lucas and Spielberg. Spielberg wrapped shooting earlier this year. At least Lucas spends a year in post production. Maybe he should have spent more time in front of the Mac and made it more likable.
Cate Blanchete is great in this movie, she makes a great villian. It is almost like she was acting in a different movie from the rest of the cast.
The motorcycle chase with Mutt and Indy with the KGB is very good and enjoyable. This scene is where the real humor of Indiana Jones exists. Unfortunately in this movie it only exists in this scene.
The opening feels like an Indiana Jones movie and it is pleasing, but as soon as you realize they are looking for an Alien corpse from Area 51, the Indiana Jones feeling goes right out the window.
Indiana Jones did end with The Last Crusade and let's visit with him on DVD, not in the Kingdom of the silly skull.
Other related Articles:
Elizabeth DVD review
Movies I'm looking forward to '08 (I now admit I got Indy wrong)