Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Movie Review Quickies, Part III

This latest batch of quickies tries to offer a bit of variety - as much as possible without actually straining my still-healing eye. The line-up is: The Man With One Red Shoe, The Godfather 3, Frantic, The Edge, I Am Legend, One Fine Day, Ratatouille, and Transformers. Enjoy.

I think this is Art Deco. No wait, her hair is Art Nouveau!

The Man with One Red Shoe
A fun (but stupid) vehicle for a pre-guaranteed-success Tom Hanks. Two US Intelligence Execs are out to burn each other; the smarter one decides to pretend a random violinist (Hanks) is his top agent, just to distract the dumber one. Soon the dumber one's team is destroying his life, and he may die soon. Also, his best friend's wife is trying to sleep with him!

When I watch a movie like this, I really miss the energy of Hanks' early comedies. If you don't find it funny or charming, you'll probably hate it. If you do enjoy this film, you'll have to thank the impressive cast - Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Edward Hermann, Jim Belushi, Carrie Fisher, and Daryll Hannah - all do good work.

Some of the jokes may not work for you, but (probably) enough will… I feel foolish because I still haven't seen the French film this was based on.

When the end comes, it will come with hammy, poor acting, my son...

Godfather 3
A modest train-wreck of a movie. The famous Corleone family inches toward the late 90's, and Al Pacino CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE, AND YOU NOTICE BECAUSE NOW HE YELLS INSTEAD OF ACTING. Funny, Michael was usually so quiet.

Several characters don't feel right in this long picture - even when they're fine actors like Andy Garcia. Coppola's daughter never should have appeared in this (the audience openly jeered in unison at one point). At least it looks pretty... I can't tell if the director used too much or too little from the prior "G" films.

Still, there's an incredible adherence to "themes" - no, I'm sorry - THEMES in "G3." You get the feeling that someone can run out of ideas and just call it motif, though. The guy who loudly brays like a donkey (it gives me a chill) is the most annoying character in this film (and possibly film history?). This experience was such an amazing disappointment, I don't even know if I can judge it fairly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Youtube, you are truly grand sometimes

This quickie update highlights a three fun movie-related videos available on youtube. Two are Star Wars parody clips, while the last is a choose-your-path New Zealand zombie short that is actually a pizza company advert. Sheer brilliance.

The first two clips are great. Both replace Darth Vader's well-known voice with that of Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The result is pure comic genius. The best mashups are great examples of what can be done with modern tech, wit, and a good idea.

The last video is even more impressive. A New Zealand pizza chain inspired a video where NZ is over-run by zombies. Trapped on top of a container, and surrounded by the living dead, an attractive woman dials the best pizza place in the country. She hopes that the delivery boy will reach her in time, save her, and bring food.

As if the tone and filming weren't cool enough, it's actually a pick-your-path adventure! At the end of every clip, there's a choice to be made. Selecting one of two options will lead you to different videos where your decisions are played out before you (note, you must pick an option before the video counts down to zero). Why, oh why, are the New Zealanders so gifted at physical comedy and zombie flicks? I don't need an answer, but thank you!

Darth Schwarzenegger

Even better, Arnold Strikes Back (down as of 2/5/13 because of a stupid DMCA takedown notice)

And, best of all, Kiwi zombies + pizza + multiple path adventure

Friday, August 6, 2010

"The Illusionist" - that summer's OTHER magic film

You've noticed it: every so often, Hollywood sees the nearly-simultaneous release of two films with the same plot. "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact" were the two "meteor" movies one summer. One year saw a pair of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral pictures, "Wyatt Earp," and "Tombstone." Topics get popular, studios compete, or a new venture gets produced just as similar one ends filming. So these things happen, but 2006 saw a damn odd duo of all-star magician films, "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist." I saw the former in the theater; I only caught the latter in June. The upshot of my recent viewing: it's reasonably- or fairly-good, and very pretty.

I give you... Korean glowy balls!

Before I begin to lay this out, let me say that I will be taking a partial break from the site, a bit of a boring one. I've got an injured eye, and I shouldn't be looking at bright screens too often until I'm better. This means that new reviews - like "Inception" - will have to wait a spell. I'll flesh out and post reviews that I've already began, though. I hope to entertain, critique, and expound, no matter what. Enjoy, please.

"The Illusionist" stars Ed Norton, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, and Paul Giamatti. Norton plays the titular role, the unflappable Eisenheim. But he's no man - he's a performer who stages CGI impossibilities that awe and confound 1890's Europe. When Eisenheim sets up shop in Vienna, he finds out his childhood sweetheart (Biel) is with the Crown Prince (Sewell). Eis-y renews the acquaintance and gets audiences to question all their beliefs, so the Prince sets his pet cop, Inspector Uhl (Giamatti), to hound the master Illusionist.