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Watch any good movies lately?

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  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2011
    Horrible Bosses. Jason Bateman's boss is Kevin Spacey, who seems to be playing a non-Hollywood version of his character from Swimming With Sharks. Charlie Day's boss is Jennifer Aniston, who's definitely interested in him as more than an employee. Jason Sudeikis' boss was Donald Sutherland, until he died, which means his cokehead son Colin Farrell (who looks really stringy after the makeup team did its work) is now in charge. Their reasons are varied, but their bosses definitely achieve their eponymous status, and seemingly the only way out is to remove them from the earth. Doing so proves considerably harder than expected for the rather inept trio of unprofessional killers, but the viewer certainly won't have a rough time watching their problems unfold.
    Good comedies are harder to make than it would seem, given how many of them deliver a few laughs but a lot of clunkers. Horrible Bosses has a few clunkers, most early on, but the ratio of hits to misses is quite favorable. It's an adult comedy, but the movie isn't necessarily about disgusting gags, it's just not aimed at the middle-school crowd (though I'm sure they'll find their way to seeing it anyway). I feel like I should have more to say, but analyzing comedy is really subjective. Either it works or it doesn't, and most of the material here worked for me. Charlie's initial booking of someone to commit the crime is funny, Brian George as the voice of Jason Sudeikis' onboard car navigation system gets some laughs, an encounter by Bateman and Day with some cocaine isn't overdone and thus stays funny, and I'm just describing things that happen right now. I can't write the name of Jamie Foxx's character without causing the swear filter on this site to hiccup, but the story of how he got that name is also amusing. The direction is nothing special, but when the cast is asked to carry things and does it just fine, that's nothing to bother anyone.

    I haven't described something other than a movie in theaters for awhile, so let me remedy that.
    The Ox-Bow Incident. Henry Fonda and Henry (soon to be Harry) Morgan enter a small Nevada town for an afternoon of drinking at the saloon, since it's among the five things available (eating, sleeping, drinking, playing poker, and fighting). The uneventful day is altered when a messenger rides in with news that Larry Kinkaid, one of the most respected local herders, was shot and killed by someone who also rustled his cattle. A posse is quickly formed, with most of its members determined to administer frontier justice upon whomever they can catch. Soon enough they do find a trio of men, who happen to have some of Kinkaid's cattle and to have interacted with the man the day before. Their explanations are plausible but ineffective against a gang of men out for blood. The result is delayed a bit by the few along who want to wait for a real trial, but soon all three have been hung for their purported crimes - only to encounter the sheriff bringing word that Kinkaid was not killed after all. The ending is not the happiest of affairs.
    William Wellman is a director I've had hot and cold feelings toward, but this is definitely one of his best efforts. The movie is very tightly told (only 75 minutes long), leaving no room for wasted material. The moral isn't exactly subtle, but I don't mind that when the storytelling is strong, and it is very much so. The stagebound outdoor scenes could have hurt a lesser movie, but this one doesn't depend upon the environment for its effect. Watching Dana Andrews plead his case when the posse is determined to hang him is gripping, and the movie will resonate for awhile. Being nominated for Best Picture in 1943 when the category had 10 nominees wasn't necessarily a great thing, but this movie deserved it, and deserves to be remembered better than its muted modern reputation would suggest.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    edited July 2011
    All these movies and all these games, JuMeSyn, and you still find time to write reviews in addition to all the inevitable chores of life. I'm a bit impressed with this level of hardcore commitment to one's passions.

    Did you write anything on Casablanca yet? I actually haven't seen this milestone but I found a sexy bluray set for a low price and decided to finally pick it up. I'll see if I get to it sometime this week.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2011
    I lack the grandeloquence of my podcasting counterpart, however, I echo his sentiments. As a vocal fan of all things Green Lantern, I could not help but feel let down by this movie. He was not a likable character, there were too much focus on his relationship with the girlfriend, too many loose plots points, too little action, and stupid bosses. While not a total fialure, it was certinaly mediocre and a let down in my books.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2011
    I don't have anything revelatory to say about Casablanca, save that my first (incomplete) viewing of it was misleading. Then again, if you were watching a movie idly while the court tried to determine your eligibility for jury duty, it might not register very well either. After watching it undisturbed by outside concerns, I can see why it gets the acclaim it does. I'll gladly watch it whenever it appears. 'As Time Goes By' has become a standard, for good reason. Ingrid Bergman was almost always gorgeous, and she's certainly that here. Humphrey Bogart should've gotten Best Actor that year instead of the guy from Watch on the Rhine (Paul Lukas) - because it's a great performance. Paul Henreid may not get to do much except be the third wheel between Bogart and Bergman, but he does it well. Claude Rains gets a ton of great lines. The movie stays involving all the way through, riveting even, and doesn't get old. When people talk about movies not being made the way they used to, this is a fine example of what classic Hollywood exemplified - an excellent script that gives all the principals moments of glory, and isn't dominated by soulless special effects. It was unexpectedly successful to those working on it (Ingrid Bergman hated being questioned about this when she thought For Whom the Bell Tolls, just from movies in 1943, was a better film) but it's stood the test of time magnificently.

    Since I watched a couple of unsuccessful horror movies recently, I should mention them.
    Beware! The Blob is the sequel no one asked for to the 1958 original starring Steve McQueen. And yet, despite this being a sequel to that movie, a character is seen actually watching The Blob on television... I make no pretense of understanding how. Larry Hagman directed it, and based on this effort I can see why he isn't named with people like Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford as great actors-turned-directors. Where the original was unquestionably from the 50's, but in the best possible way, this movie is unquestionably from the 70's, and in a very bad way. Its cinematography is lousy, making lots of shots look remarkably ugly. There's a mean-spiritedness to the proceedings, since the first victim of the Blob (aside from a fly) is a kitten that's dragged out the window. Our pair of protagonists, introduced fifteen minutes in, is annoying and vapid. Plenty of other characters are introduced, have a few lines, and are then killed by the Blob. A quick scene featuring Larry Hagman and Burgess Meredith as hobos is mildly interesting, but then they're killed and it ceases to mean anything. Stupidity and bad acting permeate the whole thing, such as a woman's reaction to her boyfriend's car crashing into the Blob of running to look closely at the now-boyfriendless wreckage abutted by a far-from-invisible Blob, with predictable results. The conclusion involves an ice rink that can activate instantly being used in exactly the way one would predict, and then someone being an idiot by leaving a hot light on a part of the frozen Blob. It's hard to become involved with a movie that throws aggressively stupid, annoying people at the camera all the time.
    Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a lot easier to admire than to actually like. Even in 1982, sequel-mania was afflicting Hollywood, and making a movie that deliberately confounds the audience's expectations by putting a III in the title without having anything to do with the earlier movies is an incredibly gutsy move.
    If only the movie was better. The concept is quite good, and this is a movie that I think deserves to be remade, because this incarnation is not well-done. The introduction is the best part, showing a man fleeing from a couple of suited goons who attempt to eliminate him, but already coincidence is being strained a bit too much when the man manages to pull out a chock holding a car in an auto yard on a slant WHILE BEING CHOKED. That car manages to squish the choker against the bumper of another car, ew. He escapes for now, but the man is caught at the hospital (suspiciously empty - maybe hospitals didn't consider it necessary to keep someone at the desk all the time in 1982) by another suited goon, who breaks his skull via a grip inside both eyes, then emulates the Vietnamese monks of decades ago. The doctor who treated him joins with the now-dead man's daughter to find out what caused all this, along the way improbably starting a love affair. Their search leads to Santa Mira California, home of the Silver Shamrock novelty company, which is apparently breaking records with its insanely popular (and incessantly promoted) Halloween masks. Something goes on in this company, and it involves the use of a missing Stonehenge rock to trigger very nasty stuff.
    To say this plot has holes is putting it mildly. First of all, it requires that the world's children go gaga for Silver Shamrock's line of masks, to the exclusion of all other suppliers. This is a bit dicey when only a few varieties of mask are ever displayed. Second, a tiny chip of the Stonehenge stone is included in a microchip embedded within the plastic logo affixed to each mask. When a woman investigates this microchip, she triggers it and manages to cook her head, out of which a potato bug crawls. Despite treating this as a 'misfire,' the odds are insanely good that someone, somewhere, would investigate these chips and get a similar result, which would be poor publicity. Leaving aside all the variants of that problem, the masks are to be triggered by a special TV broadcast on Halloween, with a program that seems to consist of nothing more than a monocolor pumpkin that flashes a strobe light. TV broadcasts don't simply occur with no one having looked at the content, and this seems unlikely to have passed muster by any network concerned for its ratings, since kids generally demand things to HAPPEN in order to keep watching.
    Oh, and this one makes the same mistake Beware! The Blob (and a number of other movies) made: playing a better movie in the middle. Our hero is forced to watch the original Halloween while waiting for his mask to turn him into a bug-generating pile of death, and even on a tiny TV screen inside the movie image, the original Halloween is riveting where this movie is full of problems. Bad move, filmmakers.
    Intelligently written and directed (both of these were handled by Tommy Lee Wallace, whose career has not become a household name since) this concept could very well work. It's certainly more interesting than anything Halloween series has done since, though H2O is at least not terrible. The concept is certainly not child-friendly, but since I'm completely callous toward child-endangerment, that's not a problem.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • killxokillxo Member Full Members
    edited July 2011
    Recently watched Hackers on a DVD I burned years ago with my dad. It's still an amazing movie, we need another movie like hackers! The Social Network came close, but it's a tad different.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2011
    Let's see, going back quite a bit... Cover Girl. MGM musicals rarely resided in the real world, and this one sure doesn't. Where else would the audience be asked to believe that Rita Hayworth might have trouble becoming a magazine cover icon?
    The plot is pure fluff. Rita Hayworth (Rusty) is a singer in a rather elaborate nightclub within New York. Gene Kelly is her boss, Phil Silvers is the self-styled Genius who helps run the place. Rita auditions to be a magazine cover girl, and because of some bad advice from a fellow singer, succeeds in nearly being thrown out of the office by the applicants' judge, until the magazine head finds her picture and demands that she be given a return engagement. Turns out Rusty is the granddaughter of a singer the owner knew 40 years earlier, in a lovely coincidence that allows Rita Hayworth to be in a couple of scenes from the turn of the 20th century (and also pad the running time). So she's a shoo-in to get the cover girl slot, but that means poor Gene Kelly has to look on in dismay as the girl he loves seems to be parting ways. Will she return at the last minute to her beloved? Well, this is a musical, so expecting a downbeat ending is a surefire recipe for disappointment.
    As musicals go, it's not a great one. The songs, while mostly pleasant, didn't stick with me for the most part. Two sequences stood out: Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and Phil Silvers dancing down a sidewalk while interacting with the people they meet, and a sequence that helped take Kelly to the A-list in which his reflection jumps out of a window to dance all over the street with him. Like pretty much any Technicolor musical that's been well-preserved, it looks great. The dialogue was pretty good, if not at the best I've seen in musicals. Overall a good entertainment without being a standout in its genre.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2011
    Red River. Hollywood legend is that, after seeing this, John Ford said "I never knew the son of a ***** could act!" with regard to John Wayne's performance here.
    Wayne and longtime buddy Walter Brennan establish domain by fiat over a portion of west Texas, creating a gigantic cattle range. They also pick up the sole survivor from an Indian attack upon a wagon train, a gutsy kid who grows into Montgomery Clift 14 years later. By that time the cattle range may be huge, but the local prices are horrid. Wayne determines to organize a drive to Missouri, not exactly a small undertaking. Roughly ten thousand cattle will be driven about a thousand miles, and the many hands who sign on with this are at first gung-ho regarding the prospect. Indeed, the cattle drive makes good time and is a pleasant undertaking... for awhile. Wayne's character refuses all appeals to compromise in his plan, but it doesn't matter until a man with a sugar fix manages to knock over half the contents of the mess wagon on a night when coyote howls have already unnerved the cattle. The resulting stampede costs a man's life and hundreds of the cattle, putting Wayne in a ferocious temper the next day. The sugarholic knows he did wrong, but is unwilling to take the whipping Wayne wants to administer, only getting out of being shot dead when Montgomery Clift shoots his trigger hand before Wayne shoots him through the heart. Relations continue to deteriorate, until three men steal supplies and attempt to get away. This breaks their deal and riles Wayne to an even higher degree, so that he sends men after them. The two survivors of this (one of them chose to be shot instead of captured) Wayne decides to hang. Clift shoots his gun away, something only possible because of several sleepless nights to prevent any more desertions. Forced into action, Clift elects to take the drive under his own auspices, but Wayne is an unforgiving man, and vows to kill the traitor upon his return.
    Howard Hawks directed some great movies, and this is one of them. The camaraderie between the men involved is shown entertainingly and rather realistically, the emotions roused feel real, and the whole thing is very compelling. The only real misstep comes when Clift aids a wagon train under Comanche attack in the last third of the movie and encounters a woman. She's so at odds with the rest of the movie that most of her appearances are off-putting instead of complementary, not a good thing. The movie as a whole works excellently though.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited July 2011
    Mediocrity, another member of your grouping is Mad Money.
    Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes all work in the Kansas City branch of the federal reserve service, specifically in the facility that handles disposal of old currency. Keaton gets the bright idea to swipe some of those bills, using the other two as help. Since the movie begins with scenes of money being destroyed and the characters freely talking to police in jail, we know this scheme will fail. There's no way to introduce any suspense when the movie constantly intersperses clips of the characters talking to the police after being caught, now is there?
    That would be forgivable if the movie worked in other ways, since it's apparently intended as a comedy (or else casting Ted Danson as Keaton's husband was a very strange move). The comedy doesn't really work though. It seems to be dependent upon the audience's identification with these characters who just want to grab a whole lot of money and buy things with it (Holmes, upon hearing that Latifah is satisfied with what she currently has, quips 'Are you an American?'). I guess it's in that spirit that Keaton, on her first day at the job, goggles like a moron at the sight of all the cash. Also in that spirit, Holmes dancing freely to whatever her iPod is playing while on the job. Clearly, these two are well-placed to work in a federal bank, right? Stephen Root as the boss has a couple of smile-worthy moments, but he doesn't get much to do except as the plot device near the end to allow a 'happy' ending for characters who haven't earned one. Not funny, not interesting as a caper movie, and featuring in Keaton's character one of the more unsympathetic protagonists I can remember in a supposedly crowd-pleasing movie (unless the idea of someone who just wants to spend money all over the place is more popular nowadays than I think), it's pretty much a big waste.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Cassandra RamosCassandra Ramos Eternal Kyoshi Administrators
    edited July 2011
    I recently saw Captain America: The First Avenger. I can't say how accurate it is to the comics, but it is a pretty decent movie. It's cheesy in spots, but not overly so, especially considering the subject matter.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • MaudrenMaudren i can post! thanx paws! Full Members
    edited August 2011
    Jumesyn is a freaking machine!
    sup?
  • caddyalancaddyalan Member Full Members
    edited August 2011
    Watched "Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny" just a couple days ago. It's not a very good movie, but it was funny.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    A quick one before I go to bed - Garfield the Movie.
    I'd been avoiding it for quite awhile, since after I stopped finding the comic strip funny, what point would there have been in seeing it? Now I know: not much of one. It's inoffensive and occasionally smile-worthy, at best.
    As if the plot matters, but... Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) treats Garfield with all the reverence one would expect based on any familiarity with the comic strip. Most owners wouldn't tolerate a cat that eats four packages of lasagna (though how Garfield got them out of the plastic is the sort of question that shouldn't be asked). Jon has a thing for veterinarian Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and when she asks him to adopt a needy dog, he does it. Odie is thus brought into the household, and Garfield takes to this intrusion with poor grace. He manages to lock the dog out, whereupon Odie gets lost and winds up in the hands of the somewhat-nefarious-but-more-pathetic local cable trained cat performer who dreams of more.
    Bill Murray voices Garfield, which should have been more of a plus than it is. He sneaks a few good lines into the mix, such as an early one in which Jon gets to sample the liver-flavored food he prepared for Garfield, but the one-liners are so constant that the few with any effectiveness are lost in a sea of forgettable tripe. Breckin Meyer is bland to the point of invisibility, with no screen presence in this role. Admittedly, the role of Jon is not exactly a heartthrob, but he should leave some impression. Hewitt has absolutely nothing to do except look cute, which she succeeds in doing.
    The decision to make only Garfield CGI is an odd one, because he stands out constantly. Other animals talk to him, but they're voiced by what looks like a combination of animatronics and selective CGI to make their lips move, not by being entirely computer wizardry like the eponymous cat.
    I could analyze individual scenes, such as one at a dog show in which Garfield leads a pack of them after him in a chase that's notable for not being funny, but the movie will probably amuse very young viewers who haven't yet developed the ability to determine that just because a CGI cat is crawling around inside a woman's muumuu, it's not inherently amusing until something more is done. It's not a horrible movie, but it wasn't aimed at me, and I'll probably forget it very soon.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2011
    JuMeSyn wrote: »
    A quick one before I go to bed - Garfield the Movie.
    I'd been avoiding it for quite awhile, since after I stopped finding the comic strip funny, what point would there have been in seeing it? Now I know: not much of one. It's inoffensive and occasionally smile-worthy, at best.
    As if the plot matters, but... Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) treats Garfield with all the reverence one would expect based on any familiarity with the comic strip. Most owners wouldn't tolerate a cat that eats four packages of lasagna (though how Garfield got them out of the plastic is the sort of question that shouldn't be asked). Jon has a thing for veterinarian Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and when she asks him to adopt a needy dog, he does it. Odie is thus brought into the household, and Garfield takes to this intrusion with poor grace. He manages to lock the dog out, whereupon Odie gets lost and winds up in the hands of the somewhat-nefarious-but-more-pathetic local cable trained cat performer who dreams of more.
    Bill Murray voices Garfield, which should have been more of a plus than it is. He sneaks a few good lines into the mix, such as an early one in which Jon gets to sample the liver-flavored food he prepared for Garfield, but the one-liners are so constant that the few with any effectiveness are lost in a sea of forgettable tripe. Breckin Meyer is bland to the point of invisibility, with no screen presence in this role. Admittedly, the role of Jon is not exactly a heartthrob, but he should leave some impression. Hewitt has absolutely nothing to do except look cute, which she succeeds in doing.
    The decision to make only Garfield CGI is an odd one, because he stands out constantly. Other animals talk to him, but they're voiced by what looks like a combination of animatronics and selective CGI to make their lips move, not by being entirely computer wizardry like the eponymous cat.
    I could analyze individual scenes, such as one at a dog show in which Garfield leads a pack of them after him in a chase that's notable for not being funny, but the movie will probably amuse very young viewers who haven't yet developed the ability to determine that just because a CGI cat is crawling around inside a woman's muumuu, it's not inherently amusing until something more is done. It's not a horrible movie, but it wasn't aimed at me, and I'll probably forget it very soon.

    I don't get the Hollywood obsession with creating live-action versions of beloved cartoon figures. There have been far, far, far too many of these things, and not nearly enough actually animated ones. The latest offender's trailers (the Smurfs) make me want to gag.

    These movies all get critically panned, too. Do children really like these things? Hell, I'm amazed that children even know what some of these characters actually ARE. The franchises many of them are based on have been out of syndication for decades.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    It's a typically cynical marketing move, I think. The thinking seems to be that the parents will remember the source material, and will take their kids to something that falls under the loose umbrella of a 'family film.' It works, too, given that Yogi Bear (shudder) is getting a sequel, and the Smurfs is taking in enough to probably balance its budget (why did Neil Patrick Harris join that cast?), and a THIRD Alvin & the Chipmunks movie is coming. Hell, Garfield got a sequel. Last I heard, the Family Circus is still being turned into a movie (will the kids be CGI?). I'm sure if the rights could be seized from Charles Schultz' estate that Peanuts would join this crowd, given that its pedigree goes back further than any of the others.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2011
    LOL...if you had such an integration of real people and fake monsters in a game (for the oopening cinematics, for exampe), your game, today, would be considered B list right off. It was acceptable in the 90's...but we're well into the 21st century now....
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    Let's see, my thoughts on Captain America: The First Avenger in broad strokes are similar to Strawberry's. In detail...
    The CGI in the movie is a very mixed bag. An excellent job was done making Chris Evans look like a 98 pound weakling in the first part of the movie, before the super serum is applied. Red Skull also looks pretty good - except he bears a too-close resemblance to The Mask, not the association one ought to be making. On the other hand, all of the giant Nazi vehicles look like obvious CGI, which diminishes the thrill of, say, seeing an eight-engined bomber modeled off the B-2.
    Another relative demerit comes from Red Skull. Oh, he's evil, and Hugo Weaving does a good job with that, but he doesn't get much development beyond being so very evil that he's opposed to Hitler trying to tamp down his Hydra department's excess.
    The movie as a whole works pretty well, though. Its CGI may be lacking compared to Green Lantern, but it does a much better job getting its characters established and likable. Its success at creating an alternate history of World War II in which the Nazis had a department called Hydra that used the power of Yggdrasil to create super-powerful ray guns that almost tipped the balance is ... incomplete. I wasn't expecting an Inglorious Basterds, though, and as comic book movies go it works pretty well. Chris Evans shows again that his incredibly irritating Johnny Storm was a fluke, because he's actually a very likable actor when Tim Story isn't at the helm of the movies.

    Cowboys & Aliens. If someone walked into this movie without having seen the trailers, the beginning could easily be considered a true Western. A man with amnesia wanders into the town of Absolution and finds the son of the local landowner making big trouble, drinks in the saloon, gets jailed by the sheriff beholden to said local landowner, and guns are wielded on dirt streets with fanfare. Then something explodes around two cattle herders who go missing into the sky. Then more things explode as flying machines grab people from Absolution and take them away. Amnesiac Daniel Craig (who turns out to be on a Wanted poster for quite a few offenses) with a mysterious device on his arm that can down the aliens is on the case, along with local landowner Harrison Ford.
    If you're looking for an airtight plot that will keep you guessing, stay away. Particularly at the climax, things just don't hold up to scrutiny of any kind. The aliens are also kinda boring: they're reminiscent of Independence Day with a slice of War of the Worlds, and they have no personality aside from being generically bad (except the gold mining part, which brings Battlefield Earth to mind). As an action movie, though, Jon Favreau knows how to frame things well and comprehensibly. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford both get chances to shine. It's fun, but hardly a great summer movie that people will go back to repeatedly. Considering some of what the summer movie season has brought, though, fun is not a bad thing to say about it.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    I've watched multiple movies in a day so frequently that the list would be enormous. Two movies in one day in a theater, though, is a feat I haven't accomplished in awhile.
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. Pretty short on surprises for someone who read the book, but I actually think it works better as a movie. Plenty of action was going on in the book, and action is a lot easier to show than to describe. There are a few minor changes, but anyone who remembers how the book went is on solid ground.
    For those who didn't read it? Harry, Ron, and Hermione are still seeking to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes and make him vulnerable to death. The next one is buried inside Bellatrix's Gringotts vault, guarded by a dragon, and that's just the beginning for the rest. Most of the action takes place in Hogwarts, promptly besieged by the forces of Voldemort.
    The CGI of the Harry Potter movies has always been quite good, and it stays that way here, though it's helped by using as many physical sets as possible. Pretty much everyone here is familiar by now, since aside from the unavoidable exception of Richard Harris, the series has kept the same cast. David Yates has been a good director for the installments since Order of the Phoenix, and aside from a very early 360 camera shot that's unnecessary, he continues to serve the material well. This movie is even darker than the first half of Deathly Hallows, which makes me sad for anyone who saw it in the post-filming 3D conversion made solely for the inflated ticket prices, which probably rendered many scenes so murky as to be unintelligible. In a series that has exercised remarkable consistency, the final installment stays with that trend.

    Friends With Benefits. Ads for this were all over the place in the early summer, but it seems to be underperforming. I'm not sure why: I don't make a habit of watching romantic comedies, but this is a good one. The plot isn't exactly the most important thing in this genre, but the setup is that Justin Timberlake has just flown to New York for a job interview. Headhunter Mila Kunis lined up an interview for the top position at GQ for him, and a day in the Big Apple with her showing the sights is enough to convince the LA native to relocate. They become friends, then the topic of 'just sex' enters the equation. Anyone who can't tell where this might be going is officially lacking higher brain functions.
    Two things are right in the genre's classification for a romantic comedy to be successful. Timberlake and Kunis are nice together and definitely seem to be having fun, so the romance is working. There are a lot of jokes, many courtesy of a very gay Woody Harrelson in the GQ offices. Most of the comedy is successful, so that's part two of the confection. The movie makes a lot of references to the Hollywood formula in the first half, but things get a touch more serious in the second half, and despite the mockery of certain romantic comedy templates, the movie isn't gutsy enough to dispense with them. The friend I saw the movie with thought having Richard Jenkins as Timberlake's Alzheimer's-afflicted father was a rude injection of the real world, and it got me thinking about my grandfather, which isn't exactly a happy subject. Nevertheless, it's effective for a romantic comedy.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited August 2011
    From what I recall, romantic comedies usually do better when they come out on DVD than when they're in theatres.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    Probably because the genre doesn't benefit much from the screen size. There's a reason no one makes romantic comedies in IMAX 3D.
    Special Bulletin. Now here's one I doubt anyone else here has seen, due to its relative obscurity and being unavailable on any home video until recently thanks to the Warner Archive. It aired as a TV movie in 1983, the first thing Edward Zwick (Glory, the Siege, The Last Samurai, Love & Other Drugs, Legends of the Fall, & more) directed. Airing as a TV movie is key, because its format works far better when seen on television.
    That's because every frame of the film is from the perspective of a network news show. Some shots are just of a couple of anchors in the studio, others are from 'in the field' where a couple of correspondents and their camera are positioned. Apparently during its original broadcast NBC put a big disclaimer after every commercial break to inform people that they were watching a work of fiction, but the people of Charleston South Carolina freaked out anyway.
    Understandably so. This is a tale of an RBS reporter and cameraman being held hostage by terrorists in Charleston harbor. The terrorists demand a live feed using the network, and they get it. Their demand is to have every nuclear device operation key in the Charleston area delivered to their boat by 4:30 PM the next day. If this demand is not met, their own nuclear device will be detonated.
    The tale is told as if it was a real news broadcast, with talking heads in the studio offering commentary on the people involved and the situations being developed. Other reporters in Washington DC are cut to whenever government information is delivered. Each commercial break at the time of the original broadcast served as a means to skip ahead, so that the denouement can be seen. It's dated in some ways, since the advent of cable news and the internet has drastically altered how terrorists would conduct themselves and be reported upon in a similar present-day incident. Being dated doesn't keep it from being riveting, though.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • NergalNergal The Don Full Members
    edited August 2011
    Dead Again: Wasn't expecting to like this one at all but I ended up really enjoying it. The classy black-and-white flashback scenes went a good way to elevating the film above your stock-standard Hollywood thriller, as did the (actually well-executed) ending plot-twists.
  • QuinQuin ne cede malis RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2011
    It was long enough to count, I guess.

    Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance
    Now, the first one could be seen as just a remake of the first six episodes of the TV series with better characterization and redone animation. In the second, the plot dramatically derails from the original series, and is probably better off for it. The first half does come across as rather lighthearted, but once Unit-03 shows up, it certainly takes a turn for the worse. Despite this, Rebuild feels a lot "nicer" than the old TV series.

    Or, to quote TV Tropes Laconic page for Rebuild: "Hideki Anno: I Am (Not) Depressed"
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.
  • TheDoomhammerTheDoomhammer Prod with the Prod Full Members
    edited August 2011
    The Spy Who Came In From The Cold: I've been on a John Le Carre kick lately, watching the brilliant BBC miniseries' of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People and now this excellent thriller from 1965. After his last agent in East Berlin is shot trying to defect, the disgraced and utterly exhausted chief of British Intelligence's West Berlin station, Alec Leamas, is recalled to London. After refusing a desk job, he's informed that 'The Circus' (as MI6 is referred to in Le Carre's works) requires him to do one more job for them before he is allowed to 'come in from the cold' so to speak: He is to pretend to defect to East Germany and provide fake evidence that one of the highest ranked men in East German Intelligence, an ex-nazi named Mundt, is actually a British agent. Leamas accepts the job, but unknown to him he is being deceived by his superiors as to the true nature, and goal, of his assignment. Richard Burton is fantastic as the cynical and exhausted Leamas, and was nominated for (and robbed of in my opinion) an oscar for his performance, and the rest of the cast is also superb, especially Oskar Werner as Mundt's jewish deputy, who is looking to incriminate his boss.

    Everything culminates in one of my favourite movie finale's: a devastating, yet strangely heartwarming final scene as Leamas realizes the depth of his betrayal and makes a decision which sees him 'Come in from the cold' not as a spy, but as a person. Anyway, if you can't tell I really liked this movie.

    On a related note, there's a film adaption of Tinker, Tailor being released soon with Gary Oldman playing the lead role of George Smiley which I'm both excited for and also dreading, since not even the seven hour mini-series managed to fit in everything from the book. On the other hand, it's got one hell of a cast. TRAILER TIME!
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). It has a reputation as one of the best science fiction movies of the 50's, and indeed of all time. I hadn't seen it in ten years, but it holds up excellently.
    A UFO has landed in Washington, D.C. It disgorges first a humanoid occupant, who is shot by a soldier when an object is mistaken for a weapon. It then disgorges Gort, a robot with awesome destructive powers that are promptly used to disintegrate the many armaments of the US military surrounding the flying saucer. The shot humanoid is revealed to look remarkably like a person, and his name is Klaatu (Michael Rennie). The US government attempts to grant his demand for a meeting with every head of state simultaneously, but rather than sitting around in a hospital (the wound healed very quickly thanks to a salve), he decides to investigate the people of Earth on his own. This leads to meeting Helen Benson (Patricia Neal), a widowed mother with a son (Billy Gray) who takes to the stranger quite well. Further developments involve a demonstration of what Gort can do (like shutting down all electrical apparatuses in the entire world), learning that humans are capable of great good along with stupidity and evil (partially because of scientist Jacob Bernhardt, well-played by Sam Jaffe), and experiencing what happens when the US military deems you expendable.
    To be fair, there are a few nitpicks that can be made of the original. Klaatu's escape from a government-monitored hospital is completely unexplained, which is a bit odd when he was the subject of a lot of attention. A scene in the middle, where Klaatu gives Gort instructions by reentering the saucer, is only possible because there are no people around except for two army guards. True, it was 1951 and people went to bed earlier, but a flying saucer doesn't seem likely to inspire public disinterest that fast. The ending also gets a little preachy, and Gort is somewhat obviously a man in a suit instead of a robot (most apparent when the costume's knees bend).
    Having said those things, this is a riveting movie today, just as it was when I first saw it ten years ago, and just as it was when new in theaters. Robert Wise has directed a LOT of stuff over the years, and he invests this with a genuine tension that's hard to look away from. The performances are all solid - Billy may be a kid, but he's genuinely likable and not annoying, which is the sign of that rare breed, the good child actor. The special effects shots are fairly limited, but manage to still be solid even for the jaded eyes of the modern day. Bernard Herrmann's score is sparsely used, but dramatically creepy whenever it does appear. Preachy or not, the ending gets to the point and offers a warning call to the human race, one which has changed now that atomic weapons are passe but is not disposable even in the slightest. Patricia Neal also delivers 'Klaatu barada nikto' as a means of stopping Gort from exterminating humanity, and the line became legend.
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) is a better movie than I would have expected, but not to the degree that I can call it actually good. The premise is roughly the same, except that Helen Benson's character (Jennifer Connelly) is now more the focus than that of Klaatu (Keanu Reeves). After an introductory scene that serves no purpose except to explain what didn't need explaining (why Klaatu takes the form of Keanu Reeves), we meet Princeton doctor Helen Benson. Due to the changing nature of space detection since the original movie was made, the approach of a celestial object has been observed, and she's among a large cadre of those presumably knowledgeable in such phenomena that has been gathered by the government. Her doctorate is in the unusual field of astrobiology, which certainly explains why something extraterrestrial would warrant dragging her into the mix. Once the object lands, events proceed similarly to the original, except that the flying saucer is now a CGI sphere, as is Gort. Once taken into custody by the US government, the outer layer of flesh that enfolded Klaatu upon his landing sloughs off to reveal - gasp! - Keanu Reeves! The following scenes are actually interesting, and fill a hole from the original, as it is revealed that Klaatu can manipulate all devices that use electricity, and with this powerful ability escapes from the installation after Helen Benson didn't administer the tranquilizer she was supposed to. He then latches onto her as a convenient source of transportation, and together with her son (by a now-dead father and his first wife) Jacob (Jaden Smith), they begin moving around to fulfill whatever Klaatu's purpose is.
    I can't judge Jaden Smith as an actor based on this material, but I can judge his character to be a whiny brat who never got over having his stepmom become the only guardian in his life, and deals with it by automatically opposing her. Keanu Reeves is actually a fine choice for an unemotional alien. Jennifer Connelly is wasted in a thankless role. John Cleese (as professor Barnhardt) is even more wasted, getting just one scene that shows Klaatu humanity is capable of more than it's shown.
    Gort is problematic in this version. It looks like the original humanoid robot for awhile, just with CGI. The climax of the movie reveals that Gort is actually a collection of nanomachines that is the instrument of humanity's destruction. This reveal makes the earlier scenes completely pointless, for if Gort can take the form of a big black destructive swarm, and is supposed to, why keep the original shape?
    The remake also forgets the iconic 'Klaatu barada nikto.' It might (repeat: might) be in a line of dialogue obscured by sound effects, but as one of the most remembered sayings in movie history, banishing it from the forefront of the film is inexplicable.
    Klaatu's purpose has passed from giving a warning to administering doom unto the human race on the grounds that Earth is too valuable to let stupidity on the part of people render it uninhabitable. The precise reason for this is left vague, and the movie suffers because of it. The concrete nature of the ultimatum in the original has been removed in favor of a simple 'humans have failed for reasons so obvious no one needs to spell them out' notion. The very theme of the movie has changed, from something that people could change in 1951 to something in 2008 that's dependent upon a sappy scene where Klaatu observes human emotion and somehow gleans from it that people have more facets than bad.
    There are good parts to the movie, but overall it's a great disappointment compared to the original.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    We had a thread in this section about Role Models being 'great.' Well, what I watched was many things, but great is not an adjective I would ever apply in its direction.
    Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are guys who go from school to school pitching their energy drink, Minotaur (how schools would allow something so obviously commercial into their presence is just something I'm not supposed to ask). On a bad day, one of these appointments goes very badly indeed, with Rudd assaulting a police officer and almost committing vehicular homicide, among other things such as fighting the operator of a tow truck and uttering obscenities in front of a group of kids. I wouldn't have thought community service of any sort to be applicable after the events of that day, but apparently it is (another premise I'm just supposed to swallow without question, apparently), and they're saddled with Jane Lynch (who I've always found off-putting instead of amusing) running a variant of the Big Brother foundation. Rudd gets a teenage Laire (sort of like a more violent Renaissance Fair) addict, Scott gets a kid who spouts obscenities all the time. Hilarity ensues?
    I'll grant that a few moments made me smile. Rudd putting down Scott with "that's not a motto, that's just a bunch of sayings" was timed well. A guy breaking out of character in Laire during a big battle was smile-worthy. Scott's adulation for Kiss produced more unbelievable stuff than funny things, but it did provoke a few smiles. Still, it's a long slog for very little reward. Rudd does his sarcastic take, and it's not inherently funny. Scott does the same character he's been doing for years, and it got old for me a long time ago. The kid spouting obscenities is, again, not inherently funny, and the ubiquitous Ben Affleck routine didn't strike me as that great either. The whirring of the screenwriting formula that must produce a happy ending is clearly visible in the third act, and it comes complete with inexplicable character turnarounds that will only make sense if all thought is abandoned. Pretty much anything from the Judd Apatow production house is funnier than this, with more appealing characters to boot.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    Damn, I needed a day with four movies. What a good day.
    Escape From New York. The story of Snake Plissken being ordered into the penal zone of New York to grab the US President. People who don't know about this movie, I'm not bothering with a lengthy plot synopsis.
    This isn't a flawless movie, not by a long shot. The concept of an alternate future in which (in 1988) Manhattan was turned into a gigantic penal colony sealed off from the outside is just a little far-fetched. At ground level within the movie, our favorite tendency of villains not to shoot straight is in full effect. Having nitpicked a little...
    It's hard to remember that, before this movie, Kurt Russell was associated with silly Disney movies aimed at little kids. This is the role that changed all of that, because nobody would ever think of Kurt Russell as a nonentity again. Snake Plissken doesn't say much, and what he does say is in a rasp that Kurt took directly from Clint Eastwood (far be it for me to complain about that source), but his actions speak very loudly indeed. Half of this movie's fun lies in the other cast members, though: Lee Van Cleef as the prison supervisor who initially boots Snake on his way, Ernest Borgnine as the Cabbie still driving the streets of a Manhattan that looks like the trash heap of the eastern seaboard, Harry Dean Stanton as the knowledgeable Brain, Adrienne Barbeau as Maggie, Brain's squeeze, Isaac Hayes as the Duke of New York (A #1), and Donald Pleasence as the US President. Though this technically falls under the action movie classification, John Carpenter likes to pace the action very well, not cramming the screen with stuff all the time. Then again, most action movies from before the mid-80s didn't throw wall-to-wall stuff at the screen. Anyway, Escape From New York has a sense of humor, a well-realized world depicted with great pre-CG effects, memorable setpieces, and is one of the reasons John Carpenter's work will always be remembered.
    Then, 15 years later, came Escape From L.A. If the alternate future of New York was a hard sell, this one is just ludicrous, postulating that the United States has been (legally) taken over by a theocratic president who has managed to ban smoking and drinking from the entire populace. Anyone who doesn't go along is deported to Los Angeles, which was hit with a 9.6 earthquake in 2000 and turned into an island.
    ...At least I hope that scenario of a theocrat taking over is ludicrous....
    In many ways, this is the same scenario, just in a different location. Kurt Russell doesn't look any different, and slips right back into being Snake with no problems at all. Stacy Keach is the one who gives the orders this time, and in LA the people are quite different. Why, there's Peter Fonda as a guy who loves to catch the waves from tsunamis, there's Steve Buscemi as Map-to-the-stars Eddie, there's Bruce Campbell in a too-short appearance as the surgeon general of Beverly Hills, there's Pam Grier as Hershey-who-was-once-a-man, and others too. There's more to nitpick about this one, particularly an ill-advised sequence depicting Snake's submarine approach to LA using 1996 CG, which means it looks better than video games at the time but has aged horribly. Some kinda sloppy green screen work is present too, and swallowing all of the plot is a tall order, plus a strange sequence in which Snake seems to take pity on a local woman (Valeria Golino) for longer than the character should ever do. With a setup like the one this movie has, though, it's clear that taking things seriously is a bad idea. The action delivers, Cuervo Jones is a solid antagonist (though he's no Duke of New York), and seeing things happen is a lot of fun. It's inferior to the first movie, but not by a great deal the way many seem to think, and when the first movie was so enjoyable that means there's plenty of fun to be had here.
    The Ward represents John Carpenter's first directorial outing in almost a decade. What he delivers is a fairly effective thriller set in a mental institution circa 1966, but the fact that his only credit is as a director (when in his prime he would resort to pseudonyms to keep the credits from having his name seven or eight times) shows he didn't invest too much into the thing. Amber Heard is admitted to the institution after inexplicably committing arson, then does everything she can to get out while loudly proclaiming she's not insane. There's a dual threat, because staying in the institution means she's in danger from a very angry ghost that her fellow inmates in the enclosed ward seem to know something about....
    The conclusion does a nice job of wrapping up events, but the movie as a whole is merely competent without being anything more. That's a damn shame when it's directed by the man who made some truly superb horror movies. The horror comes mostly in the form of Boo! moments, which are hardly the best method when used exclusively. The score is rather interesting and effective, but again it lacks the distinctive Carpenter touch from his best-known movies. There are a few viscerally effective moments (the part where shock treatment is used to its fullest is probably what netted it an R, since the language is period and there's no frontal nudity), and mere competence is sometimes lacking from the horror genre, but it meanders even at 88 minutes and just doesn't work as well as it could and should.
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Had to break from the Carpenter movies for a bit. I enjoyed this CGI adaptation of the children's book, but it didn't become a new favorite. I can definitely appreciate the animation skill at work (this is impossible to do with live action) and a good percentage of the humor is on target, plus many of the voices are nice to hear (Bruce Campbell as the ever-expanding mayor is a highlight). Negatives include several sequences where the children in the audience are pandered to with such rapid cutting that I became disoriented, and several too-perfunctory applications of Screenwriting 101. To wit: why Flint had to denigrate Sam when there was no preface to it, and why he had to feel low for less than a minute before getting empowered again, just to name the most glaring examples. I could analyze it more thoroughly, but I'm tired and my keyboard is being troublesome. Good-but-not-great fare, but in the current market, anything that doesn't make me avert my eyes in the children's genre is a success.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited August 2011
    I think I've mentioned The Thin Man before. In case I didn't, it's awesome, and the prospect of a remake, even starring Johnny Depp, leaves me anxious.
    I think I mentioned After the Thin Man too. Close enough to the original to be very worth seeing, in short.
    The following entries I certainly didn't talk about, though. Another Thin Man has a lousy opening scene in which the parade of people through Nick and Nora's hotel room tries to be screwball and fails. The movie gets better after that, though, just by letting William Powell and Myrna Loy inhabit these characters again. Whenever they're allowed to do that, it's entertaining. Unfortunately, the harbinger of horror that was Nora knitting a baby booty at the end of the second movie has manifested itself, and they have a baby now. Nick Jr. does what babies usually do, sit around and annoy me with the camera constantly finding this immobile infant interesting enough to sideline the rest of the movie. Asta is there too, with a number of reaction shots that are only funny if you happen to believe that showing a dog in an obvious cutaway shot reacting to events in another shot is automatically funny. Still, enough is worthwhile to make it necessary for fans of Nick and Nora. The murder case (of course there's a murder, that's what Nick Charles deals with, involving the business partner of Nora's father) isn't as interesting as the first two movies, but the interaction of these two is rock-solid.
    Shadow of the Thin Man finds Nick Jr. grown up to a three or four year old, and played by one of those horrible child actors who deliver every line as if their mouths are full of food. Good thing he's not in very much of the movie, especially when his presence leads to the unnecessary spectacle of getting Nick Charles to drink milk. William Powell is a trouper for going through with this at least, but his character and alcohol are pretty much inextricably intertwined, making for a scene that just didn't work at all. The murder plot is more interesting, though, involving fairly-standard but nevertheless entertaining gangland business of gambling and greed. Nick and Nora are still great together, and the good parts are enough to make it worth watching. Just be prepared to loathe Nick Jr whenever he appears.
    The Thin Man Goes Home begins badly, by having Asta run away in a train station. This prompts a two-part pratfall by William Powell, first when Asta pulls away the leash he has stepped onto and sends him sprawling, then when he gets up only to trip over a piece of luggage being dragged by. The movie doesn't get any better when Nick Charles, a man who thinks nothing of downing six martinis in one sitting, announces that he's drinking cider in order to make a good impression on his parents, since his father in particular disapproves of the drinking. Swallowing this concept is difficult, to say the least. Still, Nick and Nora are great together, and some of the things that happen at home are entertaining. Naturally there's eventually a murder to solve, which allows Nick the opportunity to impress his father. Setting up his activities later is Nora, clandestinely letting the newspapers make what they will of the fact that he's in town (this does have a funny payoff when Nick sees the resultant headline). Another mixed bag, like all of the later series, but worth it for the two main characters. Still, the change in directors (W. S. Van Dyke, who directed the first four movies, died before this one was made) seems to have been for ill. Also, Asta continues with the unfunny reaction shots that are there because a cute dog is allowed to be granted screen time.
    Song of the Thin Man is the last of the series. It's possibly the least, too, even though it comes in under 90 minutes and should thus be pretty tightly made. The Charles couple is on a cruise ship with an extremely unpopular band member who gets murdered, and his bandmate is engaged to a friend of the family, thus Nick gets roped into things again. Figuring out what happened takes Nick to Keenan Wynn, who speaks mostly in 40's big-band slang that prompts the same reaction in him that it does in me - incredulous non-understanding. Nick Jr is back, played by a different (and somewhat more tolerable) actor, but all he does is serve the function of an annoying kid, so the character still repels me. Nora gets some good moments here as always, but her character has been shoehorned into the role of a matron whenever it comes to talk of the son for awhile, and there are too many moments where she has to act like a stereotypical mommy (though Myrna Loy does everything she can with that) instead of the feistily unpredictable spirit she was at the beginning. It should be seen by anyone who came this far, and it's not terrible, but there were no more Thin Man movies afterward, and I can't say that pulling the plug was premature.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Sharkey360Sharkey360 Member Full Members
    edited September 2011
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes - a very entertaining film and it has a nice amount of intelligence and science-inspired influence on its script.
  • Mike MoehnkeMike Moehnke Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited September 2011
    Okay, as long as you brought up Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it certainly inspired thoughts from me.
    The portion of the movie that deals with Caesar is rather well done. It details his sheltered existence for the first eight years of his life, up to an understandable (from his point of view) attack against a man who seemed to be threatening John Lithgow's character. Result: off to Brian Cox's ape kennel, where he's put under the malicious influence of Draco Malfoy (yes, Tom Felton's character has a different name here, but he acts a lot like Draco and this isn't the role to make me think of him as a multifaceted actor yet) and is forced to adapt. He does so by throwing in his lot with the apes, but the only way to get anything from making them his underlings is to raise their intelligence the way his was raised.
    Which leads into the inextricable connection with the rest of the plot, and the human portions are somewhat easier to nitpick. James Franco does fine in a role that doesn't really ask much more of him than being a devoted son who wants to make an Alzheimer's cure so his father (John Lithgow) can return to his senses. He seems to be doing quite well with that, except the chimpanzee test subject goes wild and smashes most of the lab before being brought down with bullets. The revelation that this chimpanzee was protecting a newborn begs the question - how stupid would scientists have to be, not noticing that their star test subject was pregnant, especially when said test subject was being monitored constantly? In the name of protecting the infant, Franco takes him home and is able to make a case study of what happens when the parent was treated with his ALZ-112 drug. He also makes a case study of his father after a particularly bad day, and determines that it works in the neurogenesis function he designed. Then another five years pass (again, with a human test proof under his wing, why Franco wouldn't make a renewed push for his drug is inexplicable), and Caesar's attack on the jerk neighbor is prompted by Lithgow's immune system working against the drug now, making him act like a man with Alzheimer's again. Incidentally, the canisters of his drug that Franco initially took to use on his father are still in the same spot in his refrigerator five years later. That's some dangerous housekeeping.
    Most of the time the apes are CGI. It's rarely unapparent, but since motion capture instead of completely computer creations was done, I don't mind it much. Getting real apes to do what the apes in this movie do would have stymied pretty much anyone. The ape sequences are the best parts of the movie, and quite compelling. The humans aren't uninteresting, but they don't get as much to do. For instance, Freida Pinto is here as James Franco's love interest, and the only scene in which she is allowed to display any other quality comes when she strongly objects to his Alzheimer's treatment being used on Caesar and John Lithgow. Three dimensional her character isn't. The climax of the movie makes an excellent case for why it's set in San Francisco, at least, since fog on the Golden Gate Bridge is a key element. It's not really a battle, but the action is perfectly comprehensible and interesting when it does happen, something I applaud.
    Oh, and the other tangent of this movie supposedly details the fall of the humans necessary for the apes to take over. This is mostly relegated to a few short scenes until the end credits, when a virus (using a CGI display that could have been done in the 80s) spreads throughout the world. It's not badly done, it simply deserved more screen time. Ah well, maybe Contagion will deliver the goods as far as the human race being felled by sickness.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • Sharkey360Sharkey360 Member Full Members
    edited September 2011
    Has anyone here seen Night of the Creeps? Never mind that most people snubbed it in the theaters back in 1986. I found it entertaining and I like the way it mixed genre elements - sci-fi, 1950s romance, horror, 1980s raunchy comedy.
  • Sharkey360Sharkey360 Member Full Members
    edited September 2011
    JuMeSyn wrote: »
    Cowboys & Aliens. If someone walked into this movie without having seen the trailers, the beginning could easily be considered a true Western. A man with amnesia wanders into the town of Absolution and finds the son of the local landowner making big trouble, drinks in the saloon, gets jailed by the sheriff beholden to said local landowner, and guns are wielded on dirt streets with fanfare. Then something explodes around two cattle herders who go missing into the sky. Then more things explode as flying machines grab people from Absolution and take them away. Amnesiac Daniel Craig (who turns out to be on a Wanted poster for quite a few offenses) with a mysterious device on his arm that can down the aliens is on the case, along with local landowner Harrison Ford.
    If you're looking for an airtight plot that will keep you guessing, stay away. Particularly at the climax, things just don't hold up to scrutiny of any kind. The aliens are also kinda boring: they're reminiscent of Independence Day with a slice of War of the Worlds, and they have no personality aside from being generically bad (except the gold mining part, which brings Battlefield Earth to mind). As an action movie, though, Jon Favreau knows how to frame things well and comprehensibly. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford both get chances to shine. It's fun, but hardly a great summer movie that people will go back to repeatedly. Considering some of what the summer movie season has brought, though, fun is not a bad thing to say about it.

    I bought the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens during the last day of the San Diego Comic-Con

    292670_256454621046167_100000448935979_944206_2660890_n.jpg

    I only started reading it after I saw the movie on its July 29 opening day.

    What is clear is that the graphic novel and film each have different stories and characters. The only thing that they have in common is the concept of people in the 19th century dealing with aliens.

    As you mentioned, the aliens in the film have no personalities other than being destructive and having interest on resources.

    In the graphic novel, the aliens are pretty intelligent, they are also strategic and they have their own plans for survival.

    Similar to the film, there are parts in the graphic novel that carry that strong Western feel and then the tone changes suddenly when the aliens (or some high tech weaponry) appear, which I admire.

    Considering their differences, I liked both the film and the graphic novel.
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