Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Movie Reviews

To start, I’m not going to break down the A-Rod press conference. There will be plenty of other opinions to fill the void. I just want to point out that his story has already changed from the Gammons interview. Considering his history (see Couric, Katie) can we believe anything he says? What’s confusing is he is giving off the illusion of honesty, but everything seems scripted and choreographed to repair his image. Plus, every time he speaks I have more questions. That is never a good sign.

Enough of that. On to some movies.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe: We waited ten years for this? Not terrible by any means and, like the show, manages quite a few creepy moments that get under your skin and worm around. However, considering this movie has been in the works for the better part of a decade I would have thought creator Chris Carter would have been a bit more creative with the characters and plot. See it if you were a fan of the show, but doesn’t come close to the conspiracy, dread and terror of the first movie.

Sidenote here: I was watching this while quite inebriated last week and had to shut it off when I started seeing double. Well, I picked up where I thought I had left off only to run into a scene 20 minutes later I remembered quite well. So, I either passed out at some point and never realized it or I really wasn’t paying much attention at all. I will admit the scene made a lot more sense the second time around.

There Will Be Blood: This movie sat on my bookshelf for three months before I finally watched it. Being more than two and a half hours long had a lot to do with that, but when wifey and both boys were sound asleep by 9pm on Saturday night I took my chance. Daniel Day Lewis is phenomenal!! I even gave that two exclamation marks to stress my enthusiasm. I also enjoyed the first two thirds of this before the letdown at the end. It’s a very good movie and I would recommend it to people who love movies and want to see a director and actor at the top of their games. There just seemed to be some rationale missing behind the main character’s behavior or maybe it was implied and I missed it. We get that he’s a drunk, but there is an underlying paranoia that didn’t seem to make much sense. The ending is darkly funny, but much too abrupt. Even at the long running time, I wish they spent another 10 minutes showing us the consequences of his antisocial behavior. Everything seems rushed at the end.

Two notes here:

1: Every person who wants to become a film maker should be required to watch the first 15 minutes of this movie in order to show how to visually tell a story. There is literally no dialogue, but we still know exactly what is going on and what kind of man we’re watching.

2: Loved the battle of wills between Lewis’ character and the young pastor of the town Lewis buys up in order to get to it’s oil. For a good chunk of the film we can never figure out who the bigger con man is.

First Snow: Guy Pearce has quietly become the most under appreciated actors of our generation. From the clean cut cop in ‘LA Confidential’ to the tattooed amnesiac in ‘Memento’ to the fly infested scumbag in ‘The Proposition’ to this absorbing, little movie he never looks the same and completely inhabits whoever he’s playing. Chances are he’s a psycho in real life, but that’s fine as long as he keeps putting movies like this out. In this case he’s a slick talking salesman who is told by a psychic he will die very shortly (‘during the first snow’). Laughing at first, it quickly becomes his obsession and things quickly go downhill from there. The beauty of this movie – other than Pearce’s unraveling – are the unspoken secrets that simmer throughout all his relationships. His ex-con friend who blames him for sending him to jail, the mother of his friend who hints at some wrong doing, his coworker who just got screwed over, even his wife (girlfriend?) has some hidden resentment towards him that is never explicitly laid out for us. The ending is a bit ambiguous, but overall a pleasant surprise.

Wanted: A ridiculous, over the top, ultra violent movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s the teenage boy in me. What can I say? If you can buy into curving bullets and hot chicks who can kill you in the blink of an eye and assassins taking out train loads of people just because, then this one is for you. The only misstep – wait, let me rephrase this: The only thing I had a problem with was some of these people having super human abilities. Like the guy in the opening scene that leaps nearly three city blocks to another building. That was a bit much. I was very entertained, though, and the way a lot of these movies are made lately that’s saying something.

Into The Wild: Story of a strange, brilliant boy who ditches civilization and heads to Alaska to live….um…in the wild. You know. Like the title. Solid movie, but if you read the book you may have issues with it. I won’t give anything away in case you plan on seeing it, but there were details in the book that are omitted from the movie that made you wonder if this kid had a few screws loose. Here he’s charming and smart and supposedly adept at surviving in the wilderness. The book – which is a non fiction account – paints a picture of a very young man in over his head and possibly suffering from emotional or mental illness. By the way, his argument throughout the movie is that human attachments just hold you back in the world, yet nobody points out to him that if it weren’t for strangers helping him out during his cross country jaunt he would have never even made it to Alaska. Fucking putz!

Eagle Eye: I was fully enjoying this movie for the first hour until it was revealed what was going on. Then it fell apart like a wet paper towel. I won’t give away too much, but if you’ve seen ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ you’re going to be floored when they reveal the bad guy in this movie. There is homage then there’s complete rip off. You can decide for yourselves. Of course, the ending was totally ridiculous but it had lost me by that point anyway.

The Signal: A low budget, squirmy little horror show about a town that begins receiving a bizarre signal over all the phones, television sets and radios that drives half the population crazy. Let the murdering begin. Creepy and unsettling in it’s first half hour when you can feel the tensions escalating before blood is finally spilled, this movie quickly turns a corner and becomes somewhat of a comedy. There are some hilarious moments including one involving a decapitated head and an attempt to shock it back to life. As you can tell, this isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed it immensely. It’s always tricky bridging the gap between dark comedy and true horror, but this movie pulls it off.

Space Buddies: Youngest wanted to watch this when he was sick yesterday. I would describe the plot, but it involves puppies walking on the moon. Please kill me.

Today’s distraction: Sorry if I’ve linked to this before, but I love these things. Name as many of the movies as you can based on the single scene shown. Spelling is critical.


Rob said...

My official score was 38/100. But, I think spelling some wrong, like Forest Gump instead of Forrest Gump cost me about 10-15 points. So, convervatively, I'll give myself a 48. Terrible.

Hammen said...

I scored a 72 on the movie quiz, I was a little disappointed with that score.

Your paragraph on There Will Be Blood was a little creepy. Partly because I, too, just watched it for the first time, over a year after it was all the rage. And partly because that entire paragraph was EXACTLY how I felt about it as well. Seriously. Even the two notes you made, those were two of my main thoughts as well. Creepy.

BeachBum said...

Rob, the spelling killed me, too. Forest Gump drove me crazy as did the Lord of the Rings picture. I couldn't figure out which one it was, then couldn't figure out why I kept getting it wrong. Finally just skipped it.

Hammen, it's not creepy, we're just both fucking geniuses. That's all. It's the 'great minds think alike' corollary.

Anonymous said...

I got a 71, but it would have been 72 had I known which Indiana Jones that was and the exact phrasing they were looking for. Damn thing. If the quiz would have been cut off after number 50, I would have scored like a 46. I went way downhill toward the end.

I am looking forward to watching "There Will Be Blood," so I didn't read your paragraph about that.

I have seen "Eagle Eye" however, and I was a little disappointed much in the way you were. That chick's voice was too sexy to be what she turned out to be.