Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filmic Adventures

So during the recent way-too-many-plates-spinning-at-once hiatus from Solomon Mao’s, I did manage to watch a few flicks, so I thought I’d take a moment here and spout off some reviews.

Bridesmaids: F
Sometime in September, Mock’ and I lost count of just exactly how many people had raved about this movie to us, so one night at Family Video we broke down and rented it. Rest assured that if you are one of the people who recommended this move to me, you will pay. So women can do gross-out comedy as well as men. Okay. What else you got? Look! Women in groups are bitchy, fake, manipulative, insecure, and jealous of and among each other! Isn’t that funny? Nope. Not really. What else? Oh, I see, this film is a TWO-trick pony, and both of them are bad. Look, people, this isn’t character-driven humor, it’s characters written around a style of humor, and badly. I think Mock laughed three times in the first forty-five minutes, and I admit to laughing once, but the laughs weren’t all that hearty, and once we’d seen all two of the movies tricks—repeatedly—we turned the thing off and went on to better, and funnier things, like clipping our toenails. I can count on one hand the number of films that were so bad that I just couldn’t finish watching them, and Bridesmaids is one of them.

Hanna: D
Oh look, its The Bourne Identity meets Run Lola Run, only with better actors than the former and much less interesting than the latter! Not to mention plot holes large enough to steer a Maersk container-ship through. For instance, why, exactly, is it necessary to activate a radio-homing beacon and thereby let the evil CIA-Bitch (played by the usually amazing Cate Blanchett, who really disappoints here) know where young Hanna is when Hanna and her “father” have managed to disappear so successfully for at least thirteen or fourteen years? Seriously, if they can’t find your cabin in BF-Finland, they probably won’t be able to catch up to you in, say, London, either. Also, what’s with the awesomely ineffectual Euro-trash, metrosexual assassin whose habit of constantly whistling loudly would seem to provide any target plenty of warning that he’s in the neighborhood. Rather than creepy, that little tick turned out to be clownish. I’m not sure I get the press about Hanna being such a strong female character, either. The entire film revolves around Hanna doing just exactly what her father has trained her to do and the bad guys expect her to do. Hanna is more puppet than empowered female.

Inception: C
The theory here seems to be that if the action and pacing are kept fast, are combined with some truly stunning visual effects, and aided and abetted by the skills of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe, the audience will fail to realize exactly how little sense the premise upon which the entire film hangs makes. In truth I’m a big fan of both DiCaprio and Watanabe, but neither actor is anywhere near the top of his game in this film. I’m going to step aside here and let Trey Parker and Matt Stone finish this review with a clip from South Park’s “Insheeption” which pretty much sums this movie up:

The Bad Sleep Well: A
Ah! Thank God for Akira Kurosawa! (NOT the first time I've said that.) This very dark piece from 1960 is a tale of greed, revenge, and murder. Koichi Nishi (played by the incredible Toshiro Mifune), enacts an elaborate ruse in order to take revenge against the corrupt post-war Japanese corporate system. The film is a surprisingly brutal indictment of a corporate culture in which loyalty to the company is the ultimate measure of a man’s worth, more important than friendship, family, love, or any traditional moral code. Decades before No Country For Old Men, Kurosawa crafts an evil which is equally disturbing, and perhaps even more horrifying than the Coen brothers’ Chigurh for being so ruthlessly mundane. Warning: there’s no happy ending here, just brilliant, scathing filmmaking.   

Puss in Boots (2D): A
To wrap up with the most recent film here, it’s a delight to have enjoyed this animated adventure as much as I did. Puss (voiced by a scenery-chewing Antonio Banderas), turns out to be from a place that resembles Extremadura more than a little, and has all of the legendary traits of the region. He is dashing, daring, proud, foolish, undefeatable, and absolutely sure of himself. He is also unapologetically male in the Don Juan mode. Puss meets his match, however, in the dangerously lovely Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), as he becomes involved in the twisted and nefarious schemes of Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). The film has some lovely bits, particularly a flashback sequence in which Dumpty is revealed to have been in the background of every major plot point of the story, the rotundly ovoid puppet-master leading Puss to disgrace and dishonor. The cast obviously had tremendous fun with the film and it shows in every frame. The story was very well done, and I don’t feel as if I missed anything by eschewing a pair of clunky plastic spectacles. 3D had nothing to add except the usual “oh look, it’s kinda like it’s coming near me, sorta,” and I’ll pass on paying three extra bucks for that!

So, anyone else been watching movies lately?  

1 comment:

  1. At least in part, I married you because of your ability to craft phrases such as "rotundly ovoid puppet-master."