Archive for March, 2015

22
Mar
15

Thief, Branded to Kill

Thief

A Michael Mann cure for insomnia.

An orgy of 80s nostalgia, Thief was director Michael Mann’s first big budget production. It shows all of his trademarks like glacial pacing, an overabundance of needless dialogue, and no concept of editing. Tangerine Dream provides the super-dated synthesizer score. James Caan stars as a diamond thief who works independently, but gets muscled into working for a big-shot crime boss, who is played by the innkeeper from The Great Outdoors. The movie is drenched in darkness, and every shot was filmed behind two or three blue filters. You get the feeling like you’re watching a movie under water. Like any standard crime “thriller,” Thief features a double-cross and Caan has to get revenge against the innkeeper. It’s really a lame-brained, been-there, done-that scenario. I highly doubt that this plot hadn’t already been done to death by the time the movie was released in 1981. There’s also a weird, pointless subplot about Caan getting a baby on the black market. Thief goes to show that Michael Mann is a director who doesn’t have the capability to leave needless garbage on the cutting room floor.

Verdict: Bad

Branded to Kill

“Do I make you horny, baby?”

This 1967 film from Japanese director Seijun Suzuki is about as weird as they come. It’s about a hitman, ranked number three in the country, who wants to be number one. He devises a way to take out the competition. Well, sort of. That’s what the movie says it’s about. But really, it’s an acid trip. Suzuki must have just discovered LSD when he went about filming this monstrosity. There is dialogue, scenes, characters linking the actions of the film together, but none of it is coherent. The main character has weirdly distracting chubby cheeks. He gets horny when he smells rice cooking, then bangs his wife, who runs around naked for the entire movie. His other love interest decorated her apartment with dead butterflies. He kills people, but the action scenes lack any sense of excitement or tension. The closest film I can think this movie resembles is Pierrot le Fou, an experimental French piece of shit from the same era. Branded to Kill is better than that movie simply due to the weirdness factor. At least it doesn’t come across as pretentious. Unfortunately, Branded to Kill is too strange, too experimental, and not worth anyone’s time.

Verdict: Shitty

15
Mar
15

It’s Heracles, Not Hercules

I swear to god, Hollywood is filled with dumb fucks. For as long as they’ve been making movies, they’ve been making Hercules movies. And for as long as they’ve been making Hercules movies, they’ve been calling him by his Roman name, and putting him in ancient Greece with the Greek gods. It’s a boneheaded move that makes zero sense. His Greek name is Heracles.

It can even create confusion. For example, this film stated the name “Hercules” is meant to be an appeasement to the Goddess Hera; he was named after her. Well, that only makes sense if you call him Heracles, not Hercules. If you are going to use the Roman Hercules, then the gods should be Jupiter, Minerva, Juno, etc. Since everything in this movie is based in Greek mythology, from this point forward, I am going to refer to him only as Heracles.

The movie begins with a five-minute recap of Heracles’ history. I knew I was in for a bad time when the story begins with two woeful CGI snakes that pop out of a statue’s head. After baby Heracles kills the two serpants, we smash-cut to an adult Heracles completing his famous 12 labors. He chops the head off the Hydra, he battles the Erymanthian Boar, and he kills the Namean Lion with his bare hands. This sequence features a barrage of shit-tier CGI. The Hydra looks passable because its in a fairly dark scene, but the Lion is dreadful. The CGI hairs looks like a bristle-brush. Aslan from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe looked more realistic, and that shit came out 10 years ago.

Continue reading ‘It’s Heracles, Not Hercules’

07
Mar
15

Magic Mike, The Fault in Our Stars

Magic Mike

Hey, ladies, has anyone seen my shirt?

I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to like this movie. But in the end, I only ended up hating this movie. It seems like it had all the right ingrediants: C-Tates in a starring role, Matthew McConaughey at the height of his acting powers, and an over-the-top story about a group of male strippers. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t revel in bawdy antics or go balls-to-the-wall (so to speak) with playing up the ludicrousness of the the strippers. It settles for a slower, more introspective character study of C-Tates and his desire to do something else with his life. Director Steven Soderbergh bleeds the life out of this movie from the first frame. He encouches the whole thing in weirdo lens filters to make every scene saturated to a single color. Cody Horn plays C-Tates’ love interest, and she wanders around the lanscape like a zombie, speaking her lines more robotically than Honda’s Asimo. She must have given Soderbergh a ton of blow-jobs and/or reach-arounds in order to get this part, because she sure as fuck didn’t get it on talent. Anyway, the movie is slow and pointless, nothing much happens, and it isn’t bombastic and fun like it should be.

Verdict: Shitty

The Fault in Our Stars

You make oxygen tanks sexy.

This whole business of adapting young adult novels into films really needs to stop. They are truly scraping the bottoms of the barrel at this point. The Fault in Our Stars is a sappy romance about a chick with lung cancer and a dude with bone cancer who fall in love despite having horrible illnesses. The problem with this movie is that the characters define themselves by their illnesses. They seem to have no life apart from seeing doctors and going to cancer support groups. Hazel (the chick) reads one book over and over again, a book about another chick with cancer. Gus (the dude) tries to show her that life is about more than cancer, but she eventually wears him down enough that he, too, learns to obsess about his illness.

Like any teenage boy, he tries to worm his way into her pants, and finally does so on a trip to Amsterdam to meet the author of her favorite book. They make out in Anne Frank’s hideout (I can’t think of a better place to get freaky, can you?), and then decide to blubber about the fact they are going to die. If they just chose to live their lives to the fullest, to live each day as its own, they could move forward with their lives, perhaps even enjoy them. The fact they mire themselves in their cancer is super fucking depressing, and not at all interesting from a narrative perspective. The Fault in the Author is the culprit in failing to craft a good story.

The other thing, a pet peeve of mine, is the fact they fuck up all the medical shit. Hazel has to lug around an oxygen tank for the entirety of the movie. Why? She has lung cancer, duh! Except lung cancer doesn’t require supplemental oxygen for treatment. It’s just a stupid fucking prop to make a beautiful actress appear sick. What a bunch of horse shit. Fuck this movie. The only young adult adaptation I can think of that was worse than this was The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Verdict: Shitty




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