A while back, I was reading an appraisal of trailers for teen films – an appraisal given by teens. They were unanimous in their dismissal of the trailer for I Love You, Beth Cooper, for which they summed their disdain with the phrase, “This would never happen.” They were, of course, completely missing the point. Of course this would never happen. It’s precisely because this would never happen that the movie got made. It’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy not-so cleverly disguised as a teen comedy. It was made for every high school student who crushed on the head cheerleader or varsity quarterback but didn’t show up on their radar – not even as the tiniest blip.
So far this summer movie season is turning out to be one massive crop of bland, dud. Of course I knew this going into the summer when I wrote a post a few months ago listing the 10 summer movies that I had absolutely no interest in seeing, in that post I also mentioned a movie that could not possibly fail. I mean this movie had an amazing trailer, great cast, great director, cool story, how could it possibly get messed up? Well somehow Public Enemies screwed up. It’s one of those films I watch thinking to myself, “yeah, I like it but why don’t I love this?" It’s a beautiful looking movie, with a gorgeous cast, I mean, really, it has Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard.
The problem with Public Enemies and almost all of Director/Producer Michael Mann productions is that they are always all flash and style, but have very little substance behind them, from Miami Vice (The TV Show and Movie) to Heat to this. You can watch his stuff and be wowed by how visually beautiful and colorful everything is but then there’s not much else there. Never once did I believe that this 40’s era tale truly existed in the "real" world. Everything – the cars, the streets, the buildings, the actors all looked too clean and shiny. Even the Prison looked like you could eat food off the floor.
Ok, before I start my rambling, incoherent review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, let’s start with a PSA Announcement. (In my Voiceover voice) Parents, if you don’t know how to control your kids in public, KEEP THEM AT HOME!! God, one of these days, I’m going to get into fisticuffs with these bad, annoying movie goers. But there’s nothing worse than a Parent who won’t control their freaking kids. I swear there was this kid who was talking at the top of his lungs through the ENTIRE movie. It was driving me mad.
One woman got up and left in the beginning of the movie saying “I can’t take this anymore” and yelled at the woman learn to control your kid. Then about a 1 1/2 in, I snapped and yelled at the woman to keep her Kid quiet. Her response almost sent me over the edge, what was it you kind readers ask? “I already asked him to be quiet. He’s 4 years old, what do you expect me to do?” What kind of response could I have to that? It’s called freaking DISCIPLINE! Take the brat out of the theater! Go home! Of course I didn’t say these things, but I desperately wanted to. At first she threatened to take the kid out of the theater and he was like, “No, no… I want to stay.” So of course she did NOTHING, I HATE parents who refuse to control their devil spawn in public. I think we act as enablers for these bad parents, because we are all too scared to say anything. If more people speak up, maybe, in my dream world these parents would get the message that people will no longer put up with these monsters.
Words cannot describe the horrors that was witnessed while watching the latest film from Director Michael Bay. Normally, one would expect to see a great summer blockbuster and a great sequel to boot. Unfortunately, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fails to impress summer movie audience. With its six acts within two plus hours of boring dialogue, the Bay cliche of blow everything to sky high attitude, emotionless characters, and some twin robots that make you do a double take. The film doesn’t make me go WOW! It makes go HOW LOW can you go.
To cut a long story short. The Autobots have spent the last two years working side by side with the US military to track down remaining Decepticon forces that got away after Megatron was killed in the last movie. But an increased number of Decepticon attacks, plus an ominous warning, has Optimous Prime and the military worried about a coming invasion. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia Lebeouf) is off to college, but he immediately stumbles upon a lost sliver of the ‘AllSpark.’ Contact with the artifact causes a flood of Earth and Cybertron knowledge into his head, once again making Sam a target for the Decepticons.
If there was a comedy that has biblical proportions for the 21st Century, Year One would not make the cut even in the 1st Century. If we really wanted to "Meet Our Ancestors" as the movie’s tagline suggested, I highly doubt that the human race would survive and thrive. The movie follows Zed (Jack Black), a villager who is a lazy hunter who spears his fellow man rather than a warthog for food. He tries to win the heart of his dream lover Maya who is outside of his league in more ways than one.
In a year when every summer film has been directed by some bland, visionless studio hack like McG, it was great watching a movie that clearly had a style and vision to it. At no point in “The Taking of Pelham 123,” you do not know that yes, this is a Tony Scott movie. All of his signature touches are here – the slow-quick motion edits, the fly in transitions, the map of the city with the text overlays it’s all here. Usually, I don’t like it when Directors insert themselves into the movie, but here it works.
For a movie written by a great screenwriter like Brian Helgeland, it’s filled with some draw droppingly bad moments. There were times when things got so stupid that I wanted to walk out, these moments kept taking me out of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable movie. It’s why I’m having so much trouble with this review, does the good make you forget the bad? Ultimately, yes, but wow the bad moments are really, really bad. Most of them center around New York City’s Mayor (James Gandolfini) and this idiot Girl whose boyfriend has a laptop on the train that happens to have the web cam turned on so everyone in the city can see what’s going on. I got the feeling she cared more about being an Internet star than her boyfriend, there’s this dumb moment when she’s begging her boyfriend to tell her he loves her when one of the Terrorist is right near the computer.
If you’re familiar with the phrase, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas?”, then this movie is right for you. Imagine that you are on the eve of getting married and your best friends treat you to a weekend in Sin City. You & your friends decided to get a suite at one of Vegas’s famous casinos. Then, you do a toast to celebrate your last night as a bachelor. Then the next morning, everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. The hotel room is trashed beyond recognization. You’re sleeping on the floor. One of your friends is missing a tooth. A baby is in the closet. Finally, you found a bengal tiger in your bathroom.
How is it possible McG continues to get these huge directorial movie projects? I’ll tell you – he is capable of making the trains run on time, but not much else. He has no vision, discernible style, wit or knows how to get much out of his actors. Whenever I watch one of his films, I think of this scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strikes back where Matt Damon is doing a sequel to Good Will Hunting and he asks the director how he should do a scene and the camera cuts to the Director saying “Just do it however you want to,” while he counts his piles of cash. Terminator Salvation is one soulless endeavor.
A lot of this is the fault of a bad script combined with lazy direction, but I also am officially sort of fed up with the entire franchise and how it treats time-travel. It’s the saga’s magic bullet that solves – or muddles everything. They have used it so much that I just no longer care about anything that happens in this Universe and there seems to be no consequences to them using it other than nothing major ever seems to change. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television show made me care again, but they canceled that and this movie has nothing to do with the events of that, so again nothing matters.
Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Michelle Weighs in on Terminator Salvation!
I’m not a fan of Tom Hanks or Ron Howard and I also hated The Da Vinci Code so to say I wasn’t enthused to see the sequel, Angels and Demons would be an understatement. It starts off a little slow but somehow I found myself getting sucked into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of 4 Cardinals on the night of electing a new Pope. This is where I put in the disclaimer that I’m not a religious person so most of this stuff went completely over my head. But I found it sort of intriguing. The problem with a movie like this is that in the past writers like David Koepp (screenplay) and Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) would do a thriller where the bad guys would have very simple manageable plots that as an audience you can just go with. It’s going to be hard to do this review without spoiling the film.
These days the bad guy has to be a freaking genius to be able to explain all the various plan details. Look at everything that Tony Alameda on 24 would have to know way in advance in order for his Bad “Guyness” and master plot to make any semblance of sense? The same thing occurs here where the bad guy would have to know well in advance that Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) the man the church hates would be called in and if not him, someone else – maybe one of the scientist who helped create it, Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) would be able to put all the pieces together in time to stop an Antimatter bomb from destroying Vatican City. Yes, I said an Antimatter bomb.
Angels and Demons, set some time after Ron Howard’s previous adaptation The Da Vinci Code, finds Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon being summoned to The Vatican in order to help them with an impending crisis. As a new pope is set to be elected, a mysterious organization known as the Illuminati, an old villain to the Catholic Church, threatens to eradicate the holy city and everyone in it by using an unstable substance with bomb-like properties.
When speaking about this movie, I seem to always get the same basic opening question- is it better than The Da Vinci Code? The short answer is yes. Ron Howard has done a much better job on this venture of trimming the fat from the novel and leaving the audience with a far more engaging movie than the first film. Fans of the book should be rest assured that some of the more preposterous events have been wisely omitted. Hanks also fares better by showing much more confidence and comfort in his role as Langdon, which I’m sure is aided partly by a much deserved upgrade in his hairstyle.
Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Angels and Demons Holds Some Improvements and Thrills, But Only Some
Personal Log Stardate: May 8, 2009
When I heard that Star Trek was going to be on the big screen again, I was excited at first. Unfortunately, when I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to direct it, I was completely stunned. Abrams has given us such wonderful television shows such as “Lost”, “Alias”, and “Fringe”. When it came to his directorial debut with another television series turned movie series, “Mission: Impossible III”, the third movie had lost its luster. So, you can say that I was less than enthusiatic about Abrams making the same mistake with a much more larger fan base such as Star Trek. That was strike one in my book.
Strike two came about when I found out that the new Trek movie was to be a prequel/reboot of the franchise. I was divided between Hollywood remaking the movies that stand the test of time and reimagining the same movies and TV Series to bring in a whole new audience. Keep in mind that Trek has a long history and and legions of fans that span the globe. After 43 years with ten films, five television series, and one Emmy-winning animated series under its belt, the question, “Will Star Trek thrive again?,” remains on the minds of Trek fans. Since the black sheep of Trek left the airwaves in 2005, fans seeked more from the Trek universe in the form of independent productions. Two productions that stood out from the rest are Star Trek: Phase II and Starship Farragut. I highly recommend them both if you want to experience true Trek.