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Wyvern

Movie Reviews

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saw the new Indiana Jones movie recently. SPOILER ALERT!!!!

 

finding out that Indy actually has a kid is surprising. I mean, after all his relationships, it's slightly expected, but it was still like "WHAT!?" the return of Marian was GOOD. Indy's still afraid of snakes (hee, hee), so the part where he and Marian are sinking in the quicksand was really good. :D the part with all the red ants was a bit on the creepy side. (shudder) and I never would have thought that Indy would wind up finding aliens. :blink: but overall, pretty good. one and a half thumbs up (oh, wait, how do I only have hallf a thumb up?)

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I saw two bad movies recently, "Quantum of Crap" and "Charlie Wilson's Bore."

 

"Quantum of Crap" is the latest James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig as Bond and some random good-looking girl as the heroine-whose-name-I-forget. "Casino Royale" was nice enough, so I went to this with decent expectations, in the mood for some of Bond's typical smooth action, snappy one-liners, and Double-O 7 debonair. Unfortunately, "Quantum of Crap" was one of the worst Bond films I've seen since "Goldeneye," with little to salvage it other than an opera montage scene. A relative of mine remarked in the theater that the film felt more like an Indiana Jones adventure film than a James Bond thriller, and in retrospect I would have to agree with that statement... this film lacks the elegance and wit displayed in most Bond films. Craig showed that he could tap into Bond's suave side in "Casino Royale," but that element is severely lacking here and the action scenes aren't nearly as cool without a snappy Bond. The heroine of the picture was also not as talented as Eva Green in "Casino Royale," and the film felt kind of rushed and incomplete to me on the whole. On the positive side of things, it did get me revisiting older Bond movies in an effort to wash the taste of my mouth, including the superb "From Russia with Love" and "Her Majesty's Secret Service." Thumbs down to "Quantum of Crap," thumbs up to the other two mentioned.

 

"Charlie Wilson's Bore" is a comedy about the cold war starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and the uber-talented Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I happened to catch it on TV for free, and since one of my relatives felt like watching it I decided to join him. If there's one thing this film made me realize, it's that I find Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts both a bit overrated, as neither of them impressed in this movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman did a very good job in his part and could have salvaged the movie if the problems ended with the acting, but the truth of the matter is that the screenplay of the film is just straight-up boring. I'm a big fan of dialogue, but "Charlie Wilson's Bore" was one long drawn-out conversation after another, and I really felt that they could have made the pacing better. There were also very few scenes that I found funny in the film, and it seemed to be struggling for laughs from intellectual types at times. Thumbs down, watching this is like engaging in your own miniature cold war with boredom.

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Say, ah, you do know that Charlie Wilson in a real person, right?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Wilson_(politician)

 

The film is not only a creative non-fiction comedian, but a very pointed critique at current and past American Foreign Policy. This is an imperfect comparison, but it's in the same vein Crucible being written to critique McCarthyism, or Wicked being written to critique the treatment of Arab and Islamic people in the USA post 911, ditto for the movie Good Night, and Good Luck.

 

oh, there I go again...the American Studies Major geeking out.

 

rev...

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Hi rev! :-) How are things with you these days? Hope you're doing well and that you're having a happy holiday season. In regards to the film, I am aware that the events that "Charlie Wilson's War" dealt with are factual and that the film is intended as a critique of the U.S's foreign policy, but that's not what bothered me about it. I think that a good film could be made about Charlie Wilson and the cold war, a good comedy even, but the acting and more importantly the boring excess of dialogue-driven scenes dragged the film down to me. I think the subject matter is interesting, but the manner in which it's presented is dull and sleep-inducing (and not funny) to me. Interesting that you should bring up "Good Night, and Good Luck," as I felt the same way about that film, though to a lesser extent.

 

I saw "Slumdog Millionaire" recently and liked it quite a bit, though I'm not quite as blown away as some of the masses praising it. On the plus side, the premise and the screenplay of the film are very original and engaging, and constantly kept me interested for the film's duration. It revolves around a boy from the slums of India participating and succeeding in the Indian version of the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?," only to be pulled aside and interrogated by the police after the second-to-last round. The police suspect he's cheating, and he has to explain to them how his life experiences led him to the answer of each of the questions. Plenty of original twists and interesting concepts ensue, and the casting and photography of India are great as well. The one thing that bothered me in this movie was the camerawork, which was shaky and all-over-the-place to the point of being annoying at times. By the end of the film, I kind of wished they'd filmed it in a more conventional manner... still, it's worth your time if you want to check out something a little different.

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I went and saw "Revolutionary Road" the other night with a relative of mine, and we both walked out of it thoroughly unimpressed. I had moderately high expectations for the film after its promising trailer and the various rave reviews its gotten, but must say that I found it rather dull and disappointing. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver good performances on their parts, putting their respective roles in "Titanic" to shame, but the trouble with this film to me is its lack of ambition. Yes, the themes of being trapped in the suburban dream are there, but director Sam Mendes delivers something so linear and predictable that its pretty hard to get excited over it. It just feels like one of those safe movies for intelligent adults, that only challenges and provokes thought in the most blatant and uninteresting of ways. It's also one of those movies that could have ended in about 5 different places, but kept dragging on to the point where it was just rubbing the message in the audience's face. So nope, all in all, not impressed with this one.

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Watchmen

 

...Eh.

 

I'd be lying if I said the hype of this movie hadn't gotten to me. The trailers were art forms in themselves and the comic really does come with a lot of endorsement. I wasn't one of the many die hard fans who are now freaking out over whether the ending's different but I did make an effort to borrow the comics off my brother and read it beforehand.

I have to say, I'm glad I did. And I'd advise anyone going to the movie to read it first.

The director's attempts to follow the book are so devoted that unless you know the structure you're likely to get lost. The first half of the movie is devoted to constant flashbacks which make it hard to get into the story until it settles down.

 

It's not a bad movie, and its attempts to honour the story are certainly noteworthy, but to me it just didn't really translate well to film. I think if they wanted to cover so much of the backstory it should have been a mini series, not a film.

So...yeah. Read the book first. If you don't like it, save your money and hire the DVD.

 

...Rorschach was awesome though...

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That he was... that he was...

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The Watchmen, yeah ...

 

I didn't really get hit by any of the hype and I only noticed a few weeks beforehand that the movie was coming to here, which is how I prefer it - hype can only disappoint you, or at best make you expect awesomeness the few rare times the movie is equal to it. I did check the reviews and based on them hoped the movie would not disappoint.

 

And for me, it totally did not disappoint. It was not perfect, but for me it is perhaps the best comic book movie so far, or maybe #2 after X-Men II which had the advantage of having a plot I did not know. There were a great number of "damn, this is done well" moments, including most of the songs used, the starting credits, the end of the prison scene, Rosarch in general. There were also a few "hmm, this was a bit excessive" moments - I didn't really care for the added sex and violence, even if I have nothing against either and even if they did not manage to spoil the movie for me. I just didn't see the point. Oh well.

 

I had read the book (obviously, if I knew the plot), my friend who went with me had not (and had actually quit after a few pages in because it was so "boring and badly drawn"). We both enjoyed it, so you don't have to necessarily read the book first to like the movie.

 

4.5 Full Frontal Very Naked Blue Men out of 5, IMO.

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Saw a couple of movies recently. A couple old ones and a few newer ones.

 

12 Angry Men - definitely one of the older ones. Great acting from nearly all of the actors. Not much in terms of action, romance or all that, just some good acting. Quite enjoyable and time hasn't degraded the quality of watching it. 4.5/5

 

Seven Samurai - time has not been kind to this movie, in many places it was visible how things could have been much, much better with modern filmmaking techniques. Still it's very easily visible that it was a revolutionary movie at the time. I had watched it in Japanese with English subtitles. I still prefer watching a film in the original language, even if I don't understand a single word of what is being said (apart from samurai, ronin and the other usual suspects...) 4/5

 

The Wrestler - I did not know Mickey Rourke prior to this film and so it did not surprise me to see him come back (read afterwards that he hadn't made a movie in some time). He played brilliantly in the movie, carrying the whole thing easily. I'm not really a fan of wrestling (hurting oneself for the amusement of others doesn't seem a smart thing to me) but the movie was quite enjoyable. I haven't yet seen Milk so I'm not sure which of these two was more deserving of the actor Oscar, but this one definitely would have deserved it. 5/5

 

The Reader - lovely movie. The acting, while not brilliant flowed quite nicely. What was unsaid in the film actually added more to it than what was said. A great movie about the consequences of WW2 in Germany. 4/5

 

City of God - Probably the one I liked the most from this bunch of movies. A very hard movie, due to its subject matter. The mostly amateur actors actually work quite well, since first-time gangsters don't usually know what to do either. Definitely worth watching in the original language, judging by the subtitles the English version isn't perfect. 5/5

 

Gran Torino - If, as things stand to be, this'll be Eastwood's last acting film, then he gives a great performance to end his career. Others in the film however...unfortunately in this film it's quite visible that some of the actors were amateurs. Still, the story is good, and the ideas behind it well though out. 4/5

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Saw the new Star Trek movie this weekend, called somewhat appropriately Star Trek. I had been waiting to see it for what seemed like eons, so I was very excited to finally be able to see it.

 

First off, it is a good movie. Very exciting, fast paced, with a very well written script, good acting all around, plenty of action, and even moments of self-satrizing humor, titillation, and superb drama. That's the good news.

 

Reportedly the writers and director were looking to revitalize the Star Trek Franchise by bringing contemporary standards of characterization, visuals and pacing together with the root concepts of the original 60's Star Trek Series. Overall, I think they accomplished this. Of course, some concessions had to be made, in that this isn't your parents Star Trek, and then there is the issue of the storytelling slight-of-hand they used to pull the story away from the expected. It works, IMO, but not without some plot holes which a ST purist will no doubt find quite aggravating, though to the general moviegoer will probably fly right by without a blip. That's the bad news.

 

Much more I really cannot say without giving away more than I should. :)

 

So, recommended, earning a grudging 4.5 out of 5 Enterprises. :P

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

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At one point in Jim Jarmusch's new film "The Limits of Control," a scene where the Blond speaks to the Lone Man about movies leads to a line about how the best films are those that leave you with images which you can't remember if you'd dreamed or seen in a film. I think this is a good way to think about the latest opus from the director that brought us timeless flicks like "Dead Man" and "Ghost Dog," as Jarmusch always has a keen eye for interesting details and finds ways to draw beauty from the mundane. "The Limits of Control" focuses on the silent meditative aspects of a journey while ignoring what the journey is actually about... plot details are exceedingly vague, if existent, which has led many critics to pan the movie for its lack of narrative structure. I think that it works well, however, and allows the audience to have their own meditative experience watching it. The dialogue in the film is very sparse, and when it arrives it's often a slight variation of dialogue repeated elsewhere in the film... yet it remains observant and often-times interesting, not to mention hilarious once in a while. Miscomunications between people have always been another of Jarmusch's fortes, and the inability to communicate is used in some very comic and interesting moments that play around with the audience here. The movie boasts a cast of truly exceptional actors (Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton), but many of them appear for only 5-10 minutes for a brief conversation to break the film's long spans of silent thought. Isaac de Bankole is the only actor who gets major screen time, and he does quite a good job of conveying the emotionless work ethic of his character as we follow him through the streets of Madrid, his face constantly cold and removed from the rest of society. It's very much a film about the experience of solitude, the long stretches of time without people and the feeling of being removed from it all. Also noteworthy in the film is Paz de la Huerta, who provides an interesting element of temptation whenever her sultry character comes on screen, flaunting her nudity in every scene she graces. The Lone Man remains emotionally removed from her, yet as the film progresses, we realize it may have been slightly less so than other characters... one of the few hints of emotion we're able to obtain from him.

 

Throughout the film, the Lone Man visits an art museum in Spain with paintings reflecting different things he see's and experiences. The final image he views in this museum is a painting of a veiled painting... the greatest remove. "The Limits of Control" may not be Jim Jarmusch's best movie, but it is a great film worthy of his repertoire and I can't help but feel that this is the sort of film he's been working up towards... Increasingly long silences, languid pacing, and more unabashedly artistic and poetic flourishes than ever. The film is not without it's flaws... there are a few too many shots of Isaac de Bankole walking to unknown locations, and the final confrontation with Bill Murray was a bit of a let down. It is still another great achievement from one of my favorite directors, however, and well worth checking out if you want some beautiful cinematography and something that sends you into a kind of trance. Thumbs up.

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Recent movies I saw:

 

Star Trek: Loved it. I can understand how ST purists could be upset with it, it felt a lot like Star Wars (Episode 4) but all and all, I thought it was great. I can see it revitalizing the series for a new generation.

 

Watchmen: Loved it. I read the comic AFTER seeing the movie, and honestly, the movie ending makes SO much more sense. No complaints, except for big blue penises, but whatever.

 

The Wrestler: Loved it. I really liked everything; I will admit I'm a pro wrestling fan as it is, so I liked seeing what it could be like away from the ring. Lots of empathy to the main character here. My only complaint is the the very end. I wish I could have got a conclusive ending. Everything building up to the end was awesome though, especially how he quits his day job.

 

Futurama: Bender's game: I love Futurama. I love D&D. This movie was made of win, IMO.

Edited by The Big Pointy One

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Saw Transformers 2 yesterday, it was mildly enjoyable. I'm not a huge transformers fan to begin with, so I wasn't that interested going in. Basically, I didn't expect much more than giant robot action, bad acting/plots, and cheesy jokes, and I got those. I DO love John Turturro, and I do love seeing giant robots literally punching holes in other robots. Summary: don't expect anything amazing, and you won't be disappointed. I wasn't.

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The other day, I went and saw Sacha Baron Cohen's latest film "Bruno," and I must say that as a fan of Cohen's work I found it disappointing overall. The film has a few hilarious scenes, but for the most part it's pretty formulaic ground being tread and I occasionally even felt that the humor was in bad taste. I guess it's only natural that we know what to expect from Cohen's films at this point, but everything just felt a little too familiar to me to really be interesting and it wasn't very memorable for that reason. Granted, Cohen has still got a larger pair of balls than the majority of comedians working today, and some of the stunts that he pulls off in this are just as dangerous and outrageous as you'd expect... but at the same time, more of this film felt scripted than his other works, which is inevitable given his rising popularity but which also causes the humor to lose some of its magic. A shame, because the highlights of this movie are still comedic gold. Anyway, I wouldn't call it a terrible movie, but it's not a great movie either... I don't even know if I'd be willing to call it a very good movie. Nowhere near as good as "Borat" and not even close to touching "Da Ali G Show." It'll be interesting to see where Cohen goes from here, now that he's exhausted his base of characters... perhaps he'll turn to more conventional acting, though it'll be a shame to no longer experience his particular brand of humor!

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So in the last couple of months, I’ve been sort of schooling myself on the films of Takashi Miike, an acclaimed Japanese director renowned for his bizarre and occasionally morbid and extreme movies. I’ve gone through my periods of binging and have been watching his movies on and off sporadically for the last few months, and personally I’ve found his work hit or miss, though it’s never without a few interesting elements. He’s a director that plainly loves shocking people, but given his level of productivity and the sheer range of films in his repertoire, there are bound to be as many misses as there are hits. Here’s a breakdown of some of the films that I’ve seen from him, starting with the best of the bunch.

 

“Audition” – This infamous Japanese horror flick is definitely one of Miike’s best works, with some astoundingly gruesome and disturbing images that stick with you long after the credits have rolled. Granted, the graphic nature of the film’s last 15 minutes has been a bit overhyped by the more sensitive movie-goers that saw it, but there were points that were pretty painful to watch. One brilliant thing about this movie is the pacing, as the first hour and a half feels very light and upbeat, like a romantic comedy made for the whole family… only to suddenly shift into something exceptionally dark. I wonder what reaction a person would have to seeing this without being aware of its genre, as the way it suddenly veers into nightmare-land is pretty brutal. It’s a pretty great flick with some very memorable things in it, though it does involve some torture and isn’t for the faint of heart.

 

“Gozu” – This might be one of Miike’s most overlooked and underrated films, as I don’t hear much talk of it and would put it on par with “Audition,” though for different reasons. It plays out kind of like a Japanese David Lynch film, with elements of a supernatural thriller or psychological horror flick combined with the setting of a yakuza gangster movie. It has plenty of comedy as well, including a terrifically funny intro scene involving a poodle and lots of bizarre surreal interactions between characters. The final scenes set up a very effective sexually charged atmosphere that hooks the viewer in with its eroticism, only to go a horrific and hilariously weird route for the ending. Plus it has a cow-headed demon in it as well! Very odd movie, but high quality and well worth checking out.

 

“City of Lost Souls” – In case horror films and thrillers aren’t your cup of tea, this is a hilarious and seriously bad-ass yakuza action film from Mr. Miike’s repertoire. It’s the story of an ultra-cool Japanese-brazilian criminal named Mario who ends up entangled with the yakuza when a mob boss pines for his girlfriend Kei, which leads to some serious ass kicking in as many over-the-top ways as possible to get her back. The story is pretty thin and ultimately irrelevant, since the thing that drives this film is the hilariously stylized action sequences, which come at surprising times and are over-the-top to the point of parodying the action genre. Think vodka match flame throwers, deadly booby trapped ping pong matches, and cock fights where CGI chickens perform Matrix moves on each other. Tarantino fans, eat your heart out. Very entertaining movie.

 

Some Takashi Miike films that I had mixed feelings about:

 

“Ichi the Killer” – Probably Takashi Miike’s most famous film, and widely regarded as one of the most graphically violent films of all time. The violence of “Ichi the Killer” is indeed at a level of gruesomeness that surpasses most films, and is worthy of some praise for the creative ways in which it’s depicted, but the movie suffers a bit when it comes to the characters. The protagonist is just a little too weird to carry the film, and the plot is a little on the shaky incomprehensible side of things as well. It was directly adapted from a hardcore adult manga, which might offer some explanation for the strange directions, but something still felt off about the story. Still, it does have some very interesting sadistic imagery that’d make it worth watching for someone who’s a Takashi Miike fan.

 

“Dead or Alive” – To be honest, this movie is really not that great on the whole. This tale of a yakuza boss and a rival detective trying to bust down on him and his gang is really a little too boring at times, and drags for a good portion of the movie. However, what seems like a very grounded and mature (albeit dull) yakuza flick suddenly takes a different direction in the last ten minutes, which are almost worth bearing through the entire rest of the movie to witness. Spoilers would ruin the entire purpose of the movie, but let’s just say it’s an ending that I doubt I’ll be forgetting any time soon. The first 5 minutes of the film are also famous for how fast-paced and graphic they are, but it’s ultimately the ending that very nearly makes this film great. It still doesn’t feel quite up to par on the whole, though.

 

Some Takashi Miike films that I wasn’t a big fan of:

 

“Visitor Q” – This might technically be the most graphic of Miike’s movies, but somehow all the combined elements of shock value just make it feel like it’s disgusting for the sake of being disgusting. Spousal abuse, incest, rape, necrophilia, lactating breasts over men in raincoats… you name it, it’s in this movie. The way that the school bullies harass the teenage son by throwing firecrackers through the windows of his house was interesting, and the breastfeeding scene at the very end of the movie was strangely touching, but for the most part this movie just left a bad taste in my mouth. Goes to show that you need something more than just shocking displays of depravity to make a film work as a whole.

 

“The Bird People in China” – This flick was surprisingly tame for a Takashi Miike film, as it felt like a long drawn out drama with one or two yakuzas thrown in for good measure. I suppose this film speaks to Miike’s diversity as a director, since it’s nothing like his other movies, but it doesn’t really have his stylistic touch and falls a bit flat for that reason. The story had some fairly intriguing elements to it, and the acting was decent enough, but it felt a little too drawn out and never really grabbed me in the way that some of his other movies have. It’s not nearly as weird or unconventional as most of Miike’s films, and not a good example of his work for that reason.

 

“Sukiyaki Western Django” – Takashi Miike’s take on the Western genre is likeable and bad-ass at times, but ultimately feels like a B-version of “City of Lost Souls” and isn’t that great. Having the Japanese actors speak broken English the entire film was an interesting choice of direction, but became grating and annoying after a while and really dragged the film down. Quentin Tarantino has a cool acting guest spot in it, but the storyline involving the white clan vs. the red clan was just a little too simple and didn’t have much holding it together. Has some stylistic flourishes that are cool to watch, but not too good a movie in the end.

 

A Takashi Miike film that I’d like to see:

 

“The Happiness of the Katakuris”

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So, I just got back from a pretty packed midnight showing of Tarantino's new World War II epic "Inglourious Basterds," and I must say that I left the theater feeling very pleased and impressed. The film is not as much of a B-movie genre parody as I thought it would be, though it does have Tarantino's signature style and comedic touches. Those expecting the goofy violence of "Kill Bill" in a war setting might be caught off guard by the film's loftier ambitions and heavier messages though, which is not a bad thing since the last thing I want to see is Tarantino repeating himself. "Inglourious Basterds" is heavy on long drawn out scenes of excellent Tarantino dialogue, interspersed with flashes of brutal violence that kind of creep up on you in the background. The whole thing is split into chapters in typical Tarantino style and is packed with excellent scenes, my two current favorites being the bar card game romp and the theater finale "Revenge of the Giant Face." What really impresses, though, is the way that these scenes add up in the end, and the way that Tarantino manages to deliver his thoughts on complex War topics while avoiding any annoying heavy handed cliches. On the acting front, Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz are terrific in their respective roles, with a strong supporting cast backing them up. The only supporting actor who I didn't care for that much was Eli Roth, whose portrayal of "The Bear Jew" felt rehearsed and drew a bit of the magic out of some scenes. Another nitpicking complaint of mine as that one of my favorite characters of the film, the hellza bad-ass Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, didn't get as much screen time action as I would have liked... even that gattling gun scene in the trailer is conspicuously absent. Having said that, there is a lot to love here: memorable dialogue, creative and original scenarios, great characters, some juicy violence, and an ending that I'm sure will stick in my mind for some time to come. Another very solid notch in Tarantino's belt as far as I'm concerned, sure to be one of the better movies to drop this year. Go give it a shot!

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I checked out the New Zealand horror comedy flick "Black Sheep" last night and found it fairly entertaining. Not super amazing or anything, but it does get big brownie points for originality and for making one of the most harmless animals imaginable into something fierce. One of my biggest complaints about the movie might actually be the special effects team, which is the same team responsible for Peter Jackson's early horror flicks like "Dead Alive." While the effects are certainly good and at times great, I still couldn't help but note just how similar they were to "Dead Alive," with identical uses of animation and stretchy-splattery gore. They almost detracted from the originality a bit to me, though the gore was very well done at times, particularly in a scene where the sheep swarm a bunch of businessmen gathered for a press conference. Film features sheep dung traps, giant mutant man sheep, explosive sheep farts, and people saying "bugger" a lot. You know the drill!

 

On an unrelated note, I'm curious to hear what other pennites thought of "Inglourious Basterds"! I know that reverie hated it pretty bad, but there's gotta be more of you out there who've seen by this point, so don't be scared to drop your reviews here!

 

On another unrelated film note, the two I'm looking forward to seeing now are "Where the Wild Things Are" (October) and "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" (November). A new superior breed of children's movies on the horizon, mark my words... ^_-

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I did go see "Inglorious Basterds" after all, and I must say I was entertained. I've slowly grown to dislike QT's excessive violence and pointless, meandering dialogue that makes every character sound like him and this movie wasn't too bad on either respect. There was violence but mostly not as the focus of any scene and the characters sounded more natural, more like themselves. It's still a QT movie for sure with all the pros and cons that entails. I'm not really seeing the depth or superb brilliance Wyvern's talking about, merely an experienced director doing what he does best. *shrug*

 

Three nazi scalps out of five, I'd say.

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I've always wanted to write a few reviews about movies I've watched in recent years, but haven't gotten around to it since I was addicted to WoW. I figure I should voice my opinion on some movies while I was in my break from WoW.

 

I picked Girls gone Wild: Mardi Gras out of all the Girls gone wild series because it's the most realistic one of the whole GGW franchise. It's also most believable because many fine female members of our species do celebate this festival in such frolicking nature. My first and strongest complain about this movie and, in-extension, films of this nature is the total lack of plot. Much like our instantaneous gratification nature of our society, everything was strip bare to our base needs and course satification. I mean, when was the last time anyone see an explicited film with an actual decent plot?

 

The filmography is ... strangely ironic. The film claim to be amaturish and a candid shot of girls in their 'wild' state. Yet the camera was uncanny professional. There was a definatively lack of jerky movement, awdwark lighting and focus, and evanencent zoom-in that was the basic charactistics of all amature films. It's completely ironic that the filming techniques are so well practiced on unsuspecting girls that it was suited for its predatory, unscrupulous nature of this particular film.

 

In regards to those credulous actresses, I found them to be truely geniune making it one huge redeaming quality. The lack of silcone was definately refreshing, and for once the argument that this genera of film making unrealistic expectation of the female body went flat. Perhapse to better understand this film, one must place aside the sterotypes of the opposite gender and unclad our armor of psychological vunerability to cardinally know the truth between men and women. One must really dig deep for that and I'll leave the audacious truth to the audience.

 

One more interesting point to note. One of the "star" (and may I dare say the best looking one) is actually not of age at the time. (and yes, that would actually deem having an actual copy of this film to be illegal {and no, I do not actually posess a copy}) However her performance was away from the crowd at night between two archway at a gate. I would say that actually a low point of the film as it went against the general theme. She was half decent thou.

 

one and a half lawsuits out of five.

 

 

P.S. I was probably expected to answear this question "How would you feel if it was your signifiant other in that film?" and the question quitely possibily go along with an angry tone. I do not have a significant other, however, my answear would be... "the same way as she would feel." It a pretty good answear if you come to think about it.

Edited by Vigil StarGazer

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The other night, I went and saw Michael Moore's latest documentary "Capitalism: a Love Story" for free at the California Theatre in Berkeley. To be honest, my opinion of Michael Moore has greatly soured over the years and I'd no longer consider myself a fan. I remember being very impressed with his stylistic approach to docs when "Bowling for Columbine" came out, but my appreciation for him has dwindled with each subsequent flick as I've found them increasingly formulaic and propagandized. Having said this, "Capitalism: a Love Story" might be Moore's best in a while, though it still contains a number of the annoyances and gripes I have with his other flicks. To its credit, some of the information covered in "Capitalism: a Love Story" is quite interesting and Michael Moore's heart seems to be in the right place, but there's the same pointing of fingers, the same old TV clip montages, and (most annoyingly) the same "revolutionary" publicity stunts. Still though, given the current state of the US economy and housing crisis, Moore couldn't have chosen a better time to go at Capitalism's throat. The Wallace Shawn cameos were a nice touch too. Overall, I'm not completely bowled over by "Capitalism: a Love Story" and wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone, but at the same time it is one of Moore's better flicks and I'm sure it'll be a lotta folks' cup of tea.

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A few more anime reviews, before I forget to write them altogether!

 

"Ergo Proxy" - I'd say that this was moderately entertaining as far as sci-fi anime series go, though it was flawed and never quite gripped me in the way that some better animes have. It involves a "Blade Runner" style setting with Autoraves (read: cyborgs) that essentially serve as slaves to humans, but become infected with a Cognito Virus that gives them human emotions. There were lots of intellectual references strung throughout the series, from the names of characters homaging philosophers to mythological and literary references in events. These were mostly downplayed, but were overused in the last few episodes to the point of being obnoxious. As far as characters go, the two leads Re-L and Vincent Law were quite likeable, though it took a little time to get used to them. My favorite character overall might have been Pino, a child Autorave who added a much-needed optimism and innocence to many of the series' darker events. One thing I really liked about the series was its willingness to take chances and pull things in interesting and occasionally very weird directions, including an episode set in the form of a corny Japanese gameshow and a Walt Disney spin-off amusement park episode. The highlight episode for me may have been the final episode with Iggy, Re-L's personal Autorave, as it had some very interesting twists and a lot of great tumultuous emotions going on. As far as music goes, the opening theme and closing theme (Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" as the closer!) were both great, though the music within the actual episodes was less memorable. The animation of the series was also very good, and the character design was cool. I think that ultimately, the experimentation and weirdness of the series caused the plot to derail quite a bit, and the ending was over the top and not all that satisfying. Overall, I'd say it's a pretty good series but not great… you could do yourself worse if you're yearning for some sci-fi anime with a dark edge to it.

 

"Berserk" - A great anime series through and through, very gripping and mature with quite a bit of good old fashioned hack-and-slash action thrown in for good measure. Right off the bat, the chronology of the series is very interesting, as we get a brief glimpse into the bleak present state of things followed by 22 episodes leading up to that moment. A tad frustrating perhaps since the story is left inconclusive, but the final image of the series still haunts me quite a bit and I found it an effective way to wrap things up. “Berserk” is a medieval fantasy anime that focuses on the trials of a skilled warrior named Guts, who bears a sword so large that even Cloud Strife would probably go hide in a corner somewhere. He joins a group of mercenaries called the Band of the Hawk when he's defeated by their charismatic leader, Griffith, a man entirely devoted to his dreams of ruling as King. The story that follows is full of great character development and mature themes, as well as a strong plot and some intense battle scenes. Knowing that things are going to end poorly from the get-go actually makes you worry about what will happen next more, as every time a character was put in danger I was biting my lip hoping they wouldn’t be knocked off. The story progresses in very interesting ways and even the minor supporting characters are well put together and very likeable. The series reminds me of “Trigun” in some ways since the animation is fairly poor, but the interesting characters and chains of events make you forget about it almost immediately. The opening and closing themes are great too. As far as favorite episodes go, the ones that gripped me the most were a series of episodes where Guts needs to protect a fellow Band of the Hawk member from a group of a hundred some men, as well as an episode where Guts is lead to re-confront Griffith. The last few episodes were over the top compared to the rest of the series, but the final image they present you with kind of makes them worth it. Excellent series, highly recommended.

 

“Last Exile” – It took me a while to get into this one, but once I did it was quite rewarding and a very good series overall. I should note that right from the start, the animation in “Last Exile” is really superb, combining some very pretty art and smooth animation with excellent CGI graphics and ship designs. Unfortunately, the series spends a little too much time flaunting its eye candy for the first 7 episodes and not enough time developing an interesting story or any sort of unique characters. Thankfully, the series does begin to become much better at around the 8th episode, and it picks up quite a bit from there. The storyline involves a future where everyone flies ships in the air, and there are chivalric wars occurring between different continents at the hands of some greater manipulative force. The two lead characters Claus and Lavie are honestly not that interesting, but the series makes up for it with a cast of pretty great supporting characters, each with their own story and likeable traits. My vote for the most interesting and unique of these characters is Lord Dio, an oddball semi-villain who I initially figured was an annoying anime cliché, only to find myself very mistaken by the end of the series. The way the series portrays Dio and the way our perception of him slowly shifts later in the series is one of the most original elements of the anime, though frustratingly he’s mostly glossed over in the final episode in favor of some irrelevent Clause and Lavie plot point. Another somewhat unsatisfying and rushed final episode to a mostly great anime (anyone seeing a trend here?). Also, the opening and closing music of “Last Exile” is fairly bad, with the ending theme being maybe the most unmemorable of any anime I’ve seen. Overall, I’d rank “Last Exile” above “Ergo Proxy” but below “Berserk” on the quality anime scale. Worth checking out though, especially if you’re into air races and ship fights and the like.

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This evening, I went and saw "Where the Wild Things Are" at a local movie house, and wow was it great! I pretty much loved the film from beginning to end, and thought that Spike Jonze did a remarkable job of translating one of the best short children's stories ever into a motion picture that actually did it justice. The movie was visually stunning, very touching and emotional, and had a really terrific soundtrack courteousy of Karen O. The boy who played Max was well cast, as was Catherine Keener as Max's mom, and the Wild Things themselves had so many interesting personalities and character flaws that they were essentially humans themselves. There's a mature tone of sadness in the lives that the Wild Things lead and the loneliness that Max experiences, and we're witness to the kinds of tragic complications and tumultuous emotions that everyone goes through at some point. The expressiveness of the different faces, including the brilliantly rendered faces of the Wild Things, spoke volumes in themselves. "Where the Wild Things Are" is a strong universal statement, a thrilling visual masterpiece, and one of the best children's movies I've seen. Clearly, those 5 years that Spike Jonze spent working on it didn't go to waste!

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I went and saw "Zombieland" tonight, and thought it was not bad but fairly disappointing. The formula looks great on paper: zombies + Woody Harrelson + Bill Murray cameo + comedic elements = fun bad-ass movie right? Unfortunately, while "Zombieland" certainly had its moments, everything about the direction and presentation felt conventional and predictable to me... This is definitely "zombie light," crafted for the sorts of crowds that attend every big Blockbuster film the day it comes out. Yes, the movie does have some good scenes, including the great Bill Murray cameo. And yes, Woody Harrelson is pretty bad-ass with a machine gun in an amusement park full of zombies. But as a whole, this film just felt a little too Hollywood to me and didn't explore as many interesting comedic aspects of zombies as I'd hoped. A part of me really feels like it could have been more. Disappointing, considering the amounts of good press it's been getting and the praise from reliable sources it's been receiving. I'd label it an average zombie comedy film, nothing more nothing less.

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