Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Movie Roundup

A quick summary of movies I've seen in the last few months and what I think of 'em:

Taken: I liked this more than I thought I would. Doesn't do anything new, but it does it all well. I was surprised by the intensity it reached for being PG-13, though I know that rating is pretty effing vague. Some poignancy lent to the 'upset' scenes for Neeson because I watched it just after his wife died.

Up: A joy. I highly recommend this movie. Managed to have more heartfelt emotion in a few-minute sequence than any five live-action dramas put together. Almost felt more for the adults than the kids, but a lot of Pixar stuff comes off that way.

Monsters vs Aliens: Amusing, but mostly a throwaway unless you are a huge fan of B movies of the 50's, where some of the humor resonates. I am, so it was enjoyable. Otherwise, The Incredibles hits most of the same notes but better.

Star Trek: Although I am not a Trekker, I am a really big fan of Classic Trek, the original series. Huge. So this film had me praying to movie Jesus that it would be good (like LOTR was) and not shitty (like almost any other TV-based adaptation). I am bearing in mind that other Star Trek films have been made, some of them decent... but those usually had the original cast in them. I was very pleasantly surprised. A lot of my relief probably stems from the overused, but here very necessary time-travel gimmick. I'm looking forward to more from this franchise. Thank you, movie Jesus.

Watchmen: Huge fan of the comic. Really surprised at negative reviews that said it was too much like the comic. And even more surprised that I felt a little like that myself. I LIKED the movie. A lot. BUT. Apart from a necessarily-altered/simplified ending and some slight updates to the costumes, this movie is EXACTLY like the comic. For maybe the first time ever, I've wanted to see a bit of the director's vision seep through... but in this case his vision was to hew right down the line to Alan Moore's story. See my previous Alan Moore post too. He should absolutely drop the dickishness over THIS movie. It is as much of his story as could fit into a really long film. Movie Jesus did his job too well.

Terminator Salvation: Got exactly what I'd hoped for and expected. Good movie, and again kind of intense for a PG-13, if you compare it to Nancy Drew or the Harry Potter movies. I really must write up an entry about the ambiguity of this rating. Director McG really brought his own style, that will not be everyone's cup of tea. He hit all the notes, answered a few questions, and then injected a cool new twist to everyone's understanding of the SkyNet chronology.

Angels and Demons: Okay. I'm kind of a book snob. I'm such a book snob in some ways that I think (ssshhhh) JRR Tolkein is a mediocre writer. That also means I don't think Dan Brown is a good writer at all. I read Angels and Demons followed by The Da Vinci Code because the collective fan-consciousness of America made me do it. I didn't like either book, but I thought Angels and Demons the better. Same could be said for the movies. I didn't like either REALLY, but I thought this one superior. Props go to Ron Howard for daring the subject matter yet again, for portraying the catholic church more sympathetically than anyone might've expected, and for doing whatever it took to get the filming done, including completely CG-faking the interiors the vatican wouldn't let him use.

Gran Torino: I want Clint Eastwood as my grandpa.

Valkyrie: Oddly lightweight considering the subject matter. As usual, difficult to accept Tom Cruise in an odd role. He's okay in it, doesn't do anything wrong, but like Al Pacino, or even Will Smith, his public persona colors, if not overshadows his roles. I actually don't like myself for even thinking that way. Every actor deserves a chance to take on something different or challenging. No one really cares in this case, except Tom because all of America goes to his films, but have written him off as a egomaniac nutjob.

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