Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

2012 (2009)

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I told you! Just because I'm a black president it doesn't mean the world is going to end!

How it took someone this long to make a movie about the popular Mayan prediction is beyond me. This could have easily been one of those 80’s movies that thought we'd all be flying in cars and escaping an exploding volcano at Yellowstone. That’s not to say that wouldn’t have been alright – sort of a Blade Runner meets Back to the Future meets Armageddon. Yes, I know Armageddon is from the 90’s but I couldn’t think of an 80’s disaster movie and nothing popped up fast enough up when I Googled “80’s disaster movies” -so, whatever.

But even in the 90’s , the decade of disasters, Hollywood was far too busy making 8 volcano movies in one year, or meteor movies, or tornado movies, or floods or whatever. That was the 90’s when all we wanted to see with the invention of CG was some really cool shit being blown up and giant towers getting knocked down. Maybe Hollywood was actually behind 9-11? (Too soon?..) But the point was filmmakers were like kids with Legos, where nothing was cooler than to build something and see it get wrecked. Hell, one movie even won an Oscar for sinking and wrecking a friggin’ boat! This of course was before this current decade where Hollywood embraced uber-hippie environmentalism and gave us disaster movies with a ‘Save the Whales’ bumper sticker plastered across the poster. (You know what I’m talking about Day After Tomorrow fans). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a giant tidal wave hitting New York just as much as the next guy, I’m just saying don’t make me feel guilty about throwing my empty beer can out the window on the drive home from the theatre.

The idea behind 2012 could have been made far sooner and in so many ways I’m glad it wasn’t -that it sort of flew under the radar all these years. First off, it’s nice to see a disaster movie once more that doesn’t blame us (humanity). There’s no talk of feeling guilty the world is destroyed, or feelings we should have been more careful and respected the Earth. Screw - that. This film ended up being so much more than that, so much more than I expected at all really.

It’s like it pays homage to all the great disaster films of all time. Things like earthquakes and the tidal waves and the volcanoes prove to be some of the best visuals, even if it looks like they borrowed scenes from The Langoliers or Titanic or Poseidon (I’m actually pretty sure they literally took a scene from Poseidon). Hell, it even has the cliché black president. I suppose it’s sort of tradition by now, like having John Ratzenberger in every Pixar film. It also makes me fear for the real 2012 apocalypse. Thanks Obama. Yes – we – can! … destroy the world.

However, even as sub-par as the acting may be sometimes; even as lucky as John Cusack’s family may be every time they narrowly escape yet another disaster, 2012 ends up being fairly realistic. It works in the sense that if the world was to actually end in three years, would the government really let us know? If not, is it so bizarre to think they wouldn’t sell seats to the highest bidder on whatever their version of Ark would be? None of that seems out of question – which actually gives this movie some ... validity if you will.

Is this all a reason to see 2012, though? It helps. But I didn’t go to 2012 for the politics, nor do I believe the American people would make Danny Glover president. Morgan Freeman – yes, Danny Glover … no. I went to see this movie for the killer special effects and CG. It’s what drove me to it - so yes, I’m shallow. But it’s only because I believe a movie like 2012 should be experienced right in the theatre. Something like this will be far less effective at a discount theatre or at home. It's movies like 2012 that we have big motha effin’ screens for. Once the world started ending, I was smiling for a good while - I'm a guilty pleasure whore. The door is open on this one, and you know what they say – “when one door opens, the pacific coast slides into the ocean”. Sweet.

*Still courtesy of Columbia Pictures



>> Monday, November 16, 2009

I wonder what the fifth kind is? If it's probing I am NOT seeing the sequel.

In the spirit of The Blair Witch Project, “archival footage” is used in addition to re-enactments to portray the chilling events that took place in Nome, Alaska in 2000. So, because I’ve had this question on my mind since seeing the trailer this summer, I will propose it once more: is the archival footage actually real? Technically (and because I was listening for it), it’s never once said. Mila Jovovich, who plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, warns us at the beginning of the film that what we are about to see can be disturbing, and that this is all based on actual case studies (also a line printed on the poster). I also did research and found nothing supporting this film is real, other than Nome actually having a lot of missing people cases. In fact, most of what I have found states nothing is found on the actual Dr. Tyler, including whether the interview of her at Chapman University in California is actually legit. Because let’s face it, grainy video and a title at the beginning of the film stating it’s “based on a true story” doesn’t always mean exactly that (ie: Fargo and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Is it all real? I personally doubt it, but I had to in order to not allow the idea to eat away at me as I watched the film.

After several people begin to report memories or an odd-looking owl at their window at night, Dr. Tyler decides to investigate further, by means of reference to other patients of hers that have reported the same thing, and by means of hypnosis. This is when her patients begin to remember it was not an owl they had experienced at night, but an abduction wiped clean from their memories. Further hypnosis on the same patients creates further problems, such as speaking the ancient language of Samarian, hovering, and having the innate ability to make the video camera see nothing but static. Static by the way, that allows you to see just enough to be decently and conveniently creeped out.

Obviously Dr. Tyler feels she must investigate further, until she too becomes a target for abduction. Abduction by the way is the fourth kind of contact. The first is seeing a UFO, the second is said UFO leaving evidence of its visit (crop circles, radiation, etc.) and the third kind is alien contact.

The Fourth Kind is a really entertaining movie. It does all the right things, and it does get that extra creepy factor from acting like its real – that and the footage of the “real” Dr. Tyler. That woman almost looks like an alien herself - big eyes, long thin face. Her estranged eyes and distant speech make her a living ghost of sorts. They cast this role right (assuming it was actually cast that is…).

The door is open on this one, so go through it if you aren’t afraid of being abducted. My advice for you is do the same thing I did, and don’t go into it assuming it’s real, just go in expecting a very effective tale of fiction.
*Still courtesy of Focus Films



>> Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jim Carrey plays the Grinch then Scrooge? What kind of shitty Christmas gifts did he get as a kid?

We are all familiar with this classic tale from Charles Dickens. And as of this adaptation, there are over two dozen versions of this movie, and this one is by far the best. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed nothing more than watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol almost every year since I was born. It is the version I am most familiar with, and it seems to be one of the more popular Christmas movies amongst the masses. But Robert Zemeckis teamed up with Jim Carrey to create what may be almost exactly what was in Dickens’ head when he wrote the story back in 1843. This is made obvious if one views original illustrations which accompanied the original story. If placed side by side, it would be hard to distinguish between the two.

This isn’t the first time Zemeckis has been faithful to the source material. The Polar Express was literally like a living version of the book, right down to the last shot of the movie. I will use the mention of that film as a nice segway into comparing the two.

The reason for this comparison is because I don’t believe there would be a better comparison for either now that both exist. Express was a beautifully done film, and unlike many that came before it. It came to us as a faithful adaptation from a children’s book. So much like Where the Wild Things Are, because Express was so well done, it stands out and is well on its way to becoming a classic Christmas film much like the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life.

A Christmas Carol however, although memorable and no doubt part of most chirldren’s DVD/Blu-Ray collections by January 2011 (assuming it’s released December 2010), may not be as memorable as Express. The reason for this is twofold. The first being it will be lost amongst the large amounts of adaptations that have come before it, and the second being that it does lack that certain warm holiday feeling due to its sometimes scary visuals and old English dialogue – which can at times be hard to understand, as faithful as it may be to the original source material. That, and the audience who watches and re-watches Christmas films on a yearly basis is made up mostly of children, who will no doubt relate more to a preteen boy who has trouble believing in Santa Claus versus an elderly man who has lost his holiday ways.

That said though, this is undoubtedly one of the best 3-D films I’ve seen (Zemeckis is a master at making sure he uses this technology to his advantage). The film itself looks absolutely wonderful and photo-realism takes another step forward with the infinite amount of detail, to the point where you can actually see the fine hairs on Scrooge’s face. Jim Carrey’s performance as the classic Christmas-hater Ebenezer Scrooge is well done (as well as all the past, present and future ghosts), although at many points the role gets lost in the usual antics of Carrey, and it can become distracting. Gary Oldman however does wonderfully as Bob Cratchit, and in the usual order of motion capture or other animated films, features of all the actors faces can be seen in their cartoon counterparts.

This film overall is definitely one to see, 3-D or not, as there is almost nothing else coming out celebrating the holiday season, and I am all for the holidays. This is definitely something I don’t recommend for your usual G-rated audience, as it all can become quite scary and maybe is too mature for audiences under the age of 8 or so – as it should be though, and is one of the reasons it will stand out amongst the other Carols for years to come. The door is festively open on this one, so go through it if you don’t mind a gentle Christmas haunting, and another visually stunning masterpiece from Zemeckis.

*Stills courtesy of Disney



>> Friday, November 6, 2009

Vince, why do ya look so tired all the time?

Vince Vaughn plays, well, every character he’s ever played in this, touchy-feely, let’s talk about our feelings newest comedy from, well, Vince Vaughn … and friends.

Basically, the premise here is that Jason, played Jason Bateman, and his wife Cynthia, played by Sarah Marshall’s Kristin Bell, decide that if they don’t go on this “couple’s retreat”, their marriage will end and they will have to waste another three years or so finding other partners and marrying and having kids, and well, that just doesn’t make sense financially nor does it fit into their business plan – and they have the slide show to prove it. But, in order for them to afford it, they have to take a cheaper group rate and end up suckering in their friends Dave (Vince Vaughn), Shane (Faizon Love), Joey (John Favreau) and their wives.

Then, unexpectedly – hilarity ensues as the gang realizes this isn't going to be as relaxing as they thought. And wouldn't you know it, they can't even watch the "big game" on TV as this retreat ain't got no TV's. Awww, shucks, I sure hope a lesson gets learnt here...

Okay, not really. Now, don’t get me wrong. I laughed during this movie. Due to the persistence of watching some terribly bad movies with my friend Luke, I am able to find humour in almost anything, and one moment can make a movie funny for me, and make it worth it. Except Norbit, nothing can make that movie funny – NOTHING. So, yes, I was able to enjoy the movie enough and enjoy the company of the people I saw it with.

However, I am growing tired of Vince Vaughn’s sarcastic/obvious outlook on the world and impatience towards stupid people. Sure, he does what he does well, and he’s a nice enough guy, but that man has NO acting spectrum whatsoever.

Couple’s Retreat is not realistic. It is convenient, uses cheap laughs and really makes it seem like everything can be solved in a problem marriage by having an epiphany, being honest with one another, and recognizing the mistakes you made are – well, mistakes. Sure, key points are made on how a successful marriage should work, it’s clear the writers may have cracked open 'Marriage for Dummies' and read the index, if not a couple of chapters. But it still doesn’t inspire as much as it maybe should, and it’s mostly forgettable. Oh and it ends with a happy ending. Literally, a happy ‘you learned your lesson and that’s what I was planning the whole time’ ending. Really.

Retreat may have been saved if it actually looked into the heart of what a simplistic yet terribly complicated thing marriage is, and if it took it more seriously than a sitcom romance or a black man showing his best friend’s wives his ginormous – love – tackle…. A lesson from Knocked Up or any Apatow flick could and should have been taken into consideration more when making this film. The door is closed on this one, save your $10 and put it towards a real vacation.

*Still courtesy of Universal Pictures


About This Blog

  © Free Blogger Templates Skyblue by 2008

Back to TOP