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Splice: it's alive!

6 Jun

Oh man, this movie. Jeez! Not what I expected. It was good, but CREEPY. And not in a sci-fi horror kind of way, but in an Adrien-Brody’s-character-why-the-hell-would-you-do-that kind of way. If you see this, you will know what I’m talking about. YOU WILL KNOW.

This film was less of a horror film than I was expecting anyway, which is good because I’m not much of a horror fan (I am a Brody fan though, so that’s why I went). And I liked that the creature wasn’t CGI the whole time, and when it was, it was done pretty well.

This film will definitely stick with me for awhile, even though it wasn’t mind blowing or anything. (Sidenote: Brody’s plaid suits may haunt me far longer, I fear.)

While we’re on the topic of Brody, this is the best:

Grade: Splice B-, Brodyquest A++


Kick-Ass: so good

21 Apr

I super loved this movie. It was just fun as hell to watch. And personally, I was not offended by the violence or cussing. I just wasn’t. I basically thought it was awesome. I do enjoy Tarantino films, and the occasional comic (everyone should read The Killing Joke and Ghostworld, they’re great) so I guess I’m not really wired to be offended by semi-humorous over-the-top violence set to pop music.

I liked this so much, I already can’t wait to see it again (which will be when it comes out on DVD. It’s great, but it’s no District 9)!

Grade: A-

Alice in Wonderland: it was…okay

8 Mar


I wasn’t really all that stoked to see this movie; it was more of a ‘well I’m not doing anything right now, why not see a movie?’ and since the other choices involved either Sean William Scott or a person named Percy Jackson, I decided to go with Alice. It was alright, pretty good, not bad. The kind of shrug-your-shoulders type movie that is entertaining enough, but forgettable.

It was also just a weird script; it’s about Alice returning to Wonderland a few years later, after having chalked up the first visit as a dream. The thing is, the story is different from the original, but also the same? Like, the plot progression mirrors the original (meet the catepillar, tea party, croquet at the Queen’s, “Off with her head!”) but it was a little different…like one big deja-vu situation. Some of the dialouge was also exactly the same. It was as if the writer wanted to do an Alice sequal, but only wanted to have to write half a script.

Also, it’s rated PG, but just barely, I think. Now, I’m not a mother, nor do I spend time with children (unless you consider standing in line at the grocery store making faces at the baby in the cart in front of you “spending time” with children), so I’m only kind of sure what is and isn’t ‘too much’ for a kid, but I have to say that eyeballs getting poked out and moats full of severed heads is probably very close to ‘too much’. Right on the cusp of ‘too much’, at least.

Let’s just hope Tim’s next project (a remake of his 1984 short, Frankenweenie) is more memorable.

“Make me a bingo!” (Inglourious Basterds joke.)

Grade: B-

Oscar Nominated Short Films

5 Mar

My local independant theatre showed the 5 live-action short films nominated for this year’s Academy Awards and I just saw them (chimay!) and they were great (mostly). First, we had Kavi:

Kavi is the story of a young Indian boy (Kavi) who is trapped in modern-day slavery making mud bricks, and who never gets to play cricket. Poor Kavi! This short was sentimental and a little boring. Also confusing. Kavi had a plant that he was taking care of, just a regular potted plant, but he and his parents kept referring to some kind of ‘cow’ inside the plant and/or pot. Huh? I don’t know. Maybe I missed something. Posssibly because the older woman in front of me got a phone call two minutes in, answered it to say “I’m in a movie!” then preceeded to chat for a few minutes, then hung up and chewed her popcorn very loudly while also throwing the unpopped kernals on the floor which landed with a loud tink! What I’m saying is, that woman sucked. Kavi was okay, but definitely my least favorite of the night.

Next up was The New Tenants which was great times a million. It’s from Denmark but all the actors were Americans (including Vincent D’Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan, aka Goon from Buffalo ’66) which was weird but also cool. It’s about two guys who discover the apartment they recently moved into was host to some pretty grim stuff which comes back to haunt them. Also cinnamon rolls. It was Tarantio-esque in its banter and violence, and was just fun and absurd to watch. Great stuff.

Miracle Fish from Australia was up next, mate (Australia joke). After waking up in the nurse’s office after a nap, a schoolboy discovers that he may be the only person left on earth (or at least his school). It was kinda cute and kinda sad and then just very sad. I liked it though, very interesting to think about once it’s all over, and they did a great job of manipulating the mood from ‘oh this is great!’ to ‘maybe this is just creepy.’

Miracle Fish

Ireland’s The Door was next, which was set in Russia and was about a family effected by Chernobyl. It was quite sad, as you can imagine. The photography was beautiful and it was interesting that they didn’t tell you explicitly that it was Chernobyl until it was over.

The Door

Lastly, there was Instead of Abracadabra from Sweden, which was actually in Swedish(!). It’s about a guy who wants to be a magician but is a bit mental and also bad at being a magician. I could tell right from the start I was going to enjoy this one, as it’s similar to the humor of Eagle vs. Shark with a little Gob Bluth from Arrested Development thrown in. Very funny and light-hearted (finally! Oscar short films, you are a depressing bunch), it was a great short to end on.

You can buy the films from iTunes for $2 each if you can’t see them in a theatre, and I’d highly recommend both The New Tenants and Instead of Abracadabra. Definitely more worth $2 than that microwave burrito you were going to buy for lunch.

Grade(s): Kavi: C+; The New Tenants: A; Miracle Fish: B; The Door: B-; Instead of Abracadabra: A-

Shutter Island: even Scorsese has his off days (an off day for him is still a B-)

26 Feb

Okay, so I actually read the book Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone), so watching this was much different for me than for the person who was trying to ‘figure it out’ the whole time. I was able to simply relax and not be confused at any point, so my opinion of the film is much different than someone who came in cold. That being said, I think the first half of the movie was overly long and if it wasn’t for the ending, this movie would have been very disappointing.

You know things aren’t getting off to a great start when within the first two minutes you lean over to your friend and say, “This music is annoying.” 

Click play on that song and then imagine Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo…imagine they are…wait for it…DRIVING IN A CAR. That is all they are doing to this music. Driving in a car.  “This car ride is so tense and horrifying that this song is perfect.” –Martin Scorsese.

I can’t believe some of the stuff in here came from Scorsese. It’s like he thought there was certain way to make a ‘horror’ movie (this movie was not scary by the way, not at all, especially considering the way they were marketing it) which includes cheesy overblown music, loud sounds that make you jump and ‘disturbing’ visuals. A lot of the dream sequences or the flashbacks involving the Nazis had this artifcial quality to them that really threw me off. It was like you could see how someone would be like, “Let’s have her covered in a lot of blood, but be really calm and sort of rational. That’ll really give ’em the creeps!” I felt like I was being shown all these images that should have been creepy, but it was like you could tell they were trying SO HARD. Are you still listening to that song? TRYING WAY TOO HARD.

Also, they REALLY played up the Nazi/WW II angle which was only briefly mentioned in the book. I think this was a misstep because it ate up time they could have used to show Teddy investigating more people (because there should have been more of that) and getting more clues out of the orderlies and other patients. Or, it could have just been cut completely so this movie wasn’t two and a half hours (including previews, which were for all my most anticipated movies of 2010, such as Death at a Funeral and The Scorcer’s Apprentice and She’s Out of My League and Clash of the Titans (when I say ‘most anticipated’ I mean ‘least anticipated’)).

Despite the problems I had with this movie, the ending basically makes up for it. The quality of the acting was also commendable; Leo was good as always, and Jackie Earl Haley was also good in his small role.

Grade: B-

Leap Year: it's a movie

12 Jan

Well, this could have been a lot worse. I guess that’s a good thing? Probably. Anyway, aside from all the obvious problems this movie had (including how it wasn’t very good) I do wish they had showcased the Irish scenery a bit more and that Amy Adam’s character was more likeable and that Matthew Goode was better at an Irish accent.

Amy Adams is an extremely likeable actress and she did the best she could with what she was given, but I just can’t see her as some kind of high class bee-yatch who is best friends with Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny. The movie would have worked much better if she was more earnest and less “it’s a Vuitton. Louis Vuitton.” And it was just sad seeing her tramp around in countless high-heeled, tight-skirted ensembles that I guess made it all the more hilarious (?) when she rolled down a hill/fell in the mud/stepped in cow poop.

And Matthew Goode! You know I love you, but you are most definitely not Irish.

Oh well, even though this is (maybe) better than a lot of other romantic comedies I guess America doesn’t care because it didn’t even crack the top 5 box office intake for the weekend. I guess people were either distracted by Avatar or turned off by Matthew Goode’s beard.

Avatar: yep, definitely epic

10 Jan

I liked this movie, probably for the same reason as everybody else: the visuals. Pandora was quite sumptuous and found myself saying “oooh pretty!!!” a lot in my head. The plot is a bit tired (or, I guess I should say the main character is a bit tired) but oh well, Neytiri was the best! Kick more ass Neytiri! Yay!