Archive for the 'Movies' Category
They Came Together
If you’ve seen a lot of romantic comedies and think they’re stupid, then you’ll probably love They Came Together. This is a farcical send-up of the chick-flick genre. It hits pretty much every cliché in the books, and revels in how much it blasts them. It has everything from the cheating girlfriend who says, “You should really be questioning my motives” to the entire genre structure of 1) hate each other; 2) love each other; 3) break up; 4) get married. This is not a subtle movie. Its sense of humor is more akin to The Naked Gun than anything else. Despite its short running time, the gags start to get a bit tired by the end. At first, they’re a blast, but there’s almost too much. It’s non-stop buffoonery, and you get bogged down in the horrible clichés they are lampooning. The cast is great, and Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd have good chemistry together. This is definitely worth a watch. You’ll probably get a laugh out of it.
Full disclosure: when I watched this movie, I had no idea who was playing Frank. The leader of an ultra-quirky band, Frank always wears a giant human-faced helmet. You don’t get to actually see his real face until the end of the movie. The actor’s probably a bit too good looking (he is an Awesomely Shitty favorite) for his self-shame to be believable, but hey, whatever, it’s a movie. Frank follows the exploits of this trippy band as they record an album and try to play the South by Southwest music festival in the U.S. The band members’ abrasive personalities cause friction and cause the band to degrade over time. A series of comedic mishaps ultimately lead to disaster. Although it is funny, this is not a comedy. It is a heartfelt character study of broken people trying to make their lives work in spite of their quirks. Ultimately, I liked the message the film conveyed, and felt this was a great watch.
I’ve generally enjoyed the Mission: Impossible film series. It’s a franchise going on its 20th year, and it’s still going strong. Five movies deep, you’d think it would be getting stale, but somehow they keep reinvigorating it. Part of that has to do with having a different director for each movie. This keeps infusing the franchise with new ideas, and gives each film a unique vision. Christopher McQuarrie helms Rogue Nation, and brings us the best film the series has had since the first movie.
I was pretty worried after watching Ghost Protocol. That movie was such a campy, cheesy, CGI-laden piece of shit, I figured the series was doomed. Ghost Protocol brought out the worst of the spy genre. It had the over-the-top crap from the Pierce Brosnan Bond films combined with the corny jokes of the Roger Moore Bond films. It was abysmal, an absolute travesty. Sadly, it did extremely well at the box office, and I figured they would keep up that style in order to wring every last penny out of the movie going public.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
And here we have another exhibit of Wes Anderson’s overly indulgent, self-absorbed hipster film-making tendencies. He gathers an incredible cast, puts them in a unique and fun setting, and then takes a shit all over everything. This movie pisses me off because it could have been amazing. It is part tribute and part parody of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Bill Murray plays the titular Steve Zissou. He goes on a quest to find a Jaguar Shark or some shit. What unfolds is little more than a series of loosely connected episodes that have only a slight relation to each other, and do nothing to develop a more robust plot. Sure, some interesting things happen like when Steve’s ship is overrun by pirates, and Bill Murray gets involved in an unexpected gun fight. But that doesn’t sustain a movie. It’s absolutely bloated in length. I would say nearly 45 minutes could have been excised and nothing much would have been lost. There isn’t much substance here. It’s meant to be whimsical, like all of Anderson’s output, but it fails at that too. It just doesn’t do anything. It isn’t worth anyone’s time.
If any movie screams the 1980s, it’s this one. Repo Man is a comedy/sci-fi about a young punk (Emilio Estevez) who drifts through life until one day he winds up working for a repossession company. Harry Dean Stanton takes him under his wing, and trains him in all the tricks of the trade that every repo man must use in order to survive their job. Everyone hates them, they get paid crap, and they work horrible hours. There isn’t much to like about the job, but once he starts, Estevez finds he has a purpose in life. He’s actually pretty good at the work.
A secondary story about a stolen Chevy Malibu slowly intersects with Estevez’s tale. Everyone wants this Malibu: criminals, the CIA, rival repo men, etc. It turns out to actually be an alien spaceship dressed up as a Malibu. Anyone who looks at contents of the trunk (and we never see what those contents are) is immediately vaporized in a blaze of green light.
Anyway, the two stories intersect in a completely absurd way. There is a lot of ironic humor. It’s not a laugh out loud comedy, but more of a “huh that’s weird and clever” kind of comedy. It’s incredibly low budget, the fight choreography is laughably terrible, the special effects are about as basic as they come, and the acting leaves a lot to be desired. But despite all those factors, the movie is as charming as hell. You can’t not like it, because it’s got heart and originality, and it’s pure fun.
Bailiff: Hear-ye, hear-ye, this court will come to order. The dishonorable Judge Brikhaus is presiding.
Judge: Today’s case is the People of Good Taste versus Terminator Genesis, no, Genysis, no, Genisys, oh for fuck’s sake, why did they give this movie such a stupid title? From now on, it’s Terminator 5. Anyone calling it otherwise will be held in contempt.
Judge Brikhaus: You can’t object, the trial hasn’t even started yet.
Defense: I’m sorry, your dishonor.
Judge Brikhaus: Very well, let’s hear the opening statements.
Prosecutor: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I stand before you today as a representative of mankind. All of humanity craves good entertainment. And we were all cheated out of good entertainment when this new movie, Terminator 5, was shat into theaters. By this time this trial is over, you will agree that this movie is a rancid piece of shit that should be wiped off the face of the planet.
Jaws recently had its big 40th anniversary, and since I’ve never seen it, I decided to check it out. Jaws is one of those classic movies that has a lot of hype to live up to. When a movie is older than you are, and you’ve heard nothing but praise for it your entire life, you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be a let-down.
Fortunately, Jaws holds up pretty well. It’s not an amazing film, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s pretty solid. It’s the movie that made Steven Spielberg an A-list director. You can tell that he’s developing his style, and he’s a little rough around the edges still, but the Spielberg magic is definitely there.
The thing that is both a benefit and a hindrance to Jaws is the pacing. It’s incredibly slow. It’s good because it builds tension and creates atmosphere, but it’s bad because it takes way too fucking long to get to the climactic battle with the shark. At 124 minutes, it’s about 24 minutes too long. I literally fell asleep while the crew was on the ship, talking, before the shark showed up.
Everything else about the movie is pretty good. The acting, the cinematography, the music, the directing, and even the story. Yeah, it’s a little thin, but it’s a play on horror films, so it’s good enough.
What probably made this film such a classic was the era it was released. The 70s had its fair share of great films, don’t get me wrong, but there was a ton of shit from that era, too. Jaws was probably so different, such a popcorn spectacle, that it immediately endeared itself to people. And those people who became so enamored with it on their first viewing haven’t forgotten their nostalgia for it. That’s why it’s considered a classic today; much more so than any truly amazing quality of the film itself.
Ultimately, Jaws is not the unstoppable film behemoth it’s purported to be. But it’s decent enough to watch once or twice. It’s a fun film. I’m feeling generous today, so I’ll give it a score of…
I decided to do a marathon of the Terminator movies. I’m not sure why, other than the fact I’m a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan. After all, he is the star of the greatest movie ever made. I remember enjoying the first two movies as a kid, but as an adult these things rarely hold up to scrutiny. Plus, I had never seen the fourth movie. So, I decided to watch one a day, and write a mega-review trashing them all.
The original Terminator is a 1984 cheese fest. Watching it today, you can see just how incredibly dated it is. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “LOL BUT BRIK ITS A MOVIE ABOUT TIME TRAVEL SO OF COURSE EVERYTHING IS GOING TO LOOK DATED LOL!” Technically, that’s true. But the cheesy 80s synthesizer music certainly doesn’t give The Terminator a timeless quality. The music is so fucking bad, I cringed every time it started up. I suppose the main titles theme is alright since it evokes the monotonous, single-mindedness of the titular killer robot, but other than that, the music sucks major ass.
The acting doesn’t fare much better. The only person who turns in a good performance is Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese. Arnold is good, I suppose, but he just acts like a robot, which isn’t much of a stretch for him. Linda Hamilton as the main character Sarah Connor is a disaster with her ridiculous shrieking and forced line delivery. She looks like she’s still stuck in rehearsal. Her line “You’re terminated, fucker” is so bad, just try not to laugh out loud when you hear it. The typically good Lance Henriksen is criminally underutilized. The rest of the cast (cops, Connor’s roommate, people with a line or two) are generally terrible. They were barely passable by 1980s acting standards, and completely suck by today’s.