Monday, February 15, 2010

When It's Time to Change, You've Got to Rearrange

Check it out, I changed the image header of my blog! Whaddya think? On one hand, the old AMELIE pic was perfect because (a) I love that movie, (b) it was like a double entendre, with her sitting in a movie theatre and all. But at the same time... eh, I just felt like it was time for a change, perhaps in the hope that it would inspire me to actually write more often about things besides the Oscars and year-end lists. And who better to provide that inspiration than Daniel Day-Lewis? So with that in mind, let's take a look at some movies I've seen recently....

from_paris_with_loveFROM PARIS WITH LOVE -- Ten months from now, when we close the books on 2010, there’s a good chance that this mindless action film is going to be way down towards the bottom of my list. Terrible plot, terrible acting, terrible dialogue, terrible twists, terrible gun fights and car chases… it’s really a perfect storm of crap. Travolta is in standard “crazy mode” and completely unremarkable (though his little homage to PULP FICTION was funny and earned the biggest crowd reaction of the movie). Jonathan Rhys Meyers, meanwhile, puts on quite possibly the most laughably bad performance since Mark Wahlberg in THE HAPPENING -- it was almost as if he was concentrating so hard on speaking with an American accent that he couldn’t do anything else. So bad. I really liked Pierre Morel & Luc Besson’s previous collaboration, the surprisingly entertaining TAKEN, but this was a step in the wrong direction.

frozen FROZEN – Great little thriller about three kids who bribe a ski lift operator into letting them take one last run, only for him to accidentally forget about them, shut down the park and leave them stranded high above the ground in the freezing cold. While the movie requires some suspension of disbelief (these kids are pretty damn stupid, even by horror movie standards) and teeters on the brink of ridiculousness at times, it actually works quite well and is both psychologically and visually intense. The kids are likeable (I particularly enjoyed their conversation about the Sarlaac Pit) and their plight is pretty ominous: Either sit there and likely freeze to death, or try to escape and possibly fall to your death... or get eaten by wolves, as the case may be. Simple but effective. (Two interesting tidbits: I saw this movie on the day of Snowpocalypse 2010, which was kind of poetic. Also, I was all by myself in the theatre except for one couple sitting five rows in front of me, who totally ignored my presence and hooked up throughout the movie. Yeah baby!)

shes_out_of_my_league SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE -- I saw an advance screening of this mildly amusing R-rated sex comedy about a dorky guy who gets together with a hot chick and the trials and tribulations that ensue. Seeing as how I am a dorky guy with a hot girlfriend, I appreciated the general concept, but there wasn't very much in this movie that we haven't seen before. The raunchiness was far more miss than hit and often felt like it was just trying too hard -- the pube-shaving scene, for example, was a bit much. I offer the tip of my cap to Jay Baruchel for snagging a starring role -- but to tell the truth, I think he's the kind of guy that is better suited to playing supporting characters. (Wouldn't mind seeing more of Alice Eve, though... yowza.)

the-wolfman THE WOLFMAN -- Good-but-not-great retelling of the classic monster tale. I like that it takes place in its original Victorian setting, as opposed to, say, updating it for modern times -- the gothic look definitely sets the right tone. I also like that it is pretty unflinching in terms of violence – it is really damn gory, with blood and guts and brains and body parts splattered all over the place. I also enjoyed seeing Anthony Hopkins chew the scenery like we haven't seen since his Hannibal Lecter days. On the downside, there is... well, pretty much everything else. The movie comes to a screeching halt whenever the wolf isn't wreaking havoc, and while Benicio del Toro is well-cast (since, y’know, he kind of looks like a werewolf already) and Emily Blunt is fine in her own right, there is zero chemistry between the two of them. Overall, it is just plain dull. (Side note: It's weird that Emily Blunt stars in this movie, which is set in 1890 when England was ruled by Queen Victoria... whom Blunt recently portrayed in THE YOUNG VICTORIA. Let’s hope they never bump into each other or else it could create a paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the universe!)

valentines_dayVALENTINE'S DAY -- No real surprise that this movie was awful. It’s an unfunny celebrity clusterfuck that isn't the slightest bit endearing, let alone romantic. Normally when you see a movie like this, with lots of intertwining storylines and characters, there are at least one or two situations that are somewhat compelling... but not this time. It is completely worthless in every conceivable way. The least-negative thing I can say is that it actually ended up fooling me with a couple of character twists towards the end... but that was more a result of the movie lulling me into a mindless stupor than anything else. Maybe it would have been better if it had been rated R for aberrant behavior involving nudity (more specifically, Jessica Biel and Anne Hathaway nudity). Or if it had been the exact same movie, but with the occasional zombie attack. Come on, Hollywood, work with me here!

Ahh, that felt good. Now let’s see if I can keep it going on at least a semi-regular basis. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!

1 comment:

  1. I always knew you were an oil man, Ben. "From Paris with Love" sounds like a Bond movie title. And I agree, it's good to see Jay Baruchel in a lead role, but he is better for supporting roles. I love that guy though.