Archive for March, 2009

A Twilight review. (Remember when vampires looked like Salma Hayek?)

March 30, 2009

Awhile ago, Ryan requested that I watch more 90's action movies and write about them. HA! Who has the time? Instead, I've done the opposite and watched Twilight. Have you seen this movie or even heard about it?

Kidding, of course you have. The world has Twilight Fever, which is funny because vampires are cold to the touch. Just tonight I was at a Battle of the Bands at the Hayloft in Mt. Clemens(lovely place) and Twilight was the name of the game, with more than a few "Team Edward" shirts, which means that in the war between the white vampires and the Native American werewolves, the Indian's lose again. First the Trail of Tears, now this? Some guys have all the luck. But I'm getting ahead of myself, which is easy to do since Twilight takes forever to get going. If Ed Cullen is 114 years old, then this movie is approximately half his life.


 

Bella(Kristen Stewart) is the new girl in town, moved from sunny Arizona to rainy, cloudy Forks, Washington. To remind us that she's new in town, one character insists on always calling her Arizona, which is always annoying and never endearing. When this douche asks Bella to prom later in the film, my first thought at her refusal was not because she's in love with an undead slab of hair, but because this ass kept saying things like "Hey Arizona, how about this weather?" and "Wazzup Arizona, the Cullens be mad crazy wack." Speaking of the Cullens, hilarious. Whoever did the makeup for Twilight, woof. I get it, they're pale. And if you're going to pile on the Mac concealer, make sure you don't miss any spots. When Doc Cullen walked in, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, on account of the laughing. 

The Cullens are introduced in a clunky scene(all the scenes are clunky) where they enter the lunch room at the school, in two's so that Bella's new friends can easily introduce them. When Ed sees Bella for the first time he does something interesting that I don't think was the filmmakers intention. He makes a "gotta poo" face. Later, in science class he looks ready to shit his pants and ends up missing school for a week. Of course, the problem is that Bella smells great(of course she does, ALL girls do) and it was driving him crazy. This behavior isn't isolated to just vampires. In 9th grade French class a girl sat next to me in a see through top with a bare middriff and I think I imploded. And the next day they banned bare middriffs. This is a true story. Ask Justin. About the ban. He doesn't know about the first part. Of course, since he's a vampire, Edward just really wants to eat Bella. And she basically says, "Cool, let's do that." And Edward says, "No, I sparkle in the sunlight." and I went Not Vampire. I'm pretty sure there are some set down rules involving vampires, best layed out in Bram Stoker's Dracula and in Garth Ennis's Preacher. Details have been fudged and changed in various pieces of fiction, but sunlight has always remained a constant, on account of it making vampires blow up. In Twilight, sunlight it makes them look like a drunken night of out of control Bedazzling.

 
So instead of hiding during the day to avoid death, it's really to keep from being embarressed.

 
The film takes its time as Bella and Edward proceed to play a game of "let's be together/we can never be together", which is probably thrilling on a personal level, but as cinema is just boring. Think about every shitty relationship you had in high school. Now imagine it was with a vampire. That's Twilight. Oh, and these other vampires show up during this vampire baseball game(I know!) and at first everybody is cool and then the new vampires are all, "We wanna eat this Bella chick" and the Cullens are all "No way! Everyone run away!" It's a lame conflict, about on the level of someone crashing your barbaque and trying to eat all the dogs and burgers you've layed out on the grill. Except you're dating the burgers. Once again, Twilight, the phenomenon that is sweeping the nation!


 

Bella flees and the Cullens devise a completely hackneyed plan to hide Bella from this hungry vampire. They're assisted by this villainous vampires former friend, who actually says "Yeah, I was with him, but I wasn't with him. Dude was an asshole. And an amazing tracker. Later."
So we get some scenes of vampires rubbing Bella's clothes on trees, which doesn't work. Spoiler.
Big fight in Bella's old dance studio, and then all the other vampires show up because. Doesn't matter. Bella gets bitten by the evil vampire and Edward has to suck out the poison. Because vampires are poison. Right. I wish I could just make up rules too. Anyway, while Ed sucks out the poison, the camera bobs and weaves and shakes so we can't really tell that the other vampires ripped the evil vampire apart and threw his body into a fire. That's how you kill a vampire. New rule.
 

Then everybody goes to prom. But the evil vampire's girlfriend is mad! So, sequel. As snarky as the above has been, Twilight wasn't as bad as I hoped. Kristen Stewart wasn't too bad, and there was one scene with Bella's dad that was intentionally funny. I would like to think that they'll learn from their mistakes when making the next one, but since it's being rush released in November of this year, expect it to actually look even worse. And make a billion dollars. I'm on Team Don't See It.

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Shadowboxer, baby

March 26, 2009

Leave it to Videogum to inspire me to finish this Shadowboxer review. Or start it for that matter. Have you heard of this film, Shadowboxer? You must have, I mean, how does a film about stepson/stepmother assassin lovers slip under your radar? Seriously, how?

So yeah, Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. play assassins, who are lovers, and also they're stepmother and stepson, respectively. Which means you see Cuba strip to a Nas song about aborting Jesus and then roll around with Mirren, and later he gets buck naked and they bang in the grass, the beautiful shiny grass. I ask again, why didn't anyone go see this movie? Add to the mix an insane plot where Stephen Dorff pays said assassins to kill all his employees after they watch him sodomize another employee with a pool cue. Dorff's character I believe is supposed to be some sort of crime boss, but his lone actions in this film are fucking and fucking killing. At one point he takes a break from banging some chick doggystyle to go yell at people in the hallway for distracting him, and then shoots all of them. How he managed to amass any sort of fortune and business is never explained.

 

Dorff is also pissed because said sodomized employee was talking shit about Dorff's wife, saying that he fucked her, or that Dorff wasn't fucking her well enough(I doubt that). All bullshit and rumor, but Dorff leaves nothing to chance and has his pregnant wife marked for death as well. Mirren and Gooding show up to do the deed, wife's water breaks and Mirren has a crisis of conscience. Mirren decides to save the woman and her baby, and delivers it right there on the bed. Good job, movie.

 

From there, Shadowboxer spirals out and around, with an unbelievable story where the wife, new born, and assassins all get a house together in the woods and live out their lives. Crazytown USA.
What's remarkable and makes this thing watchable is that every actor involved is game for anything. Helen Mirren should be phoning this in, yet she's all serious, doing the dying cough and exclaiming "I am evil" loudly, just in case we didn't get the themes. Mirren's character is indeed dying, which leads to her final scene where her and Gooding have missionary sex and Gooding puts a bullet in her head. And then buries her while he's still naked. Then he comes home and Dorff wife just says, "She's gone?(single tear)" And onward. My nod for greatest performance is Macy Gray, Dorff's wife's best friend. Her every scene is heavily edited, since Gray either couldn't remember her lines or was drunk the whole time.(possibly both!) Before you know it, she picks up Gooding at a bar ("Wanna fuck?" is her smooth line in), and he takes her home for a relaxing night of POISON!

So that works out pretty well.  

This film should be worse than it is, but I found the performances too engaging to dismiss it. But the entire premise is so ridiculous that my brain kept fighting itself, yelling "Bad!" and "Good!" at the same time. I give it two reds out of blue. 

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Watchmen, watched!(my house is the one with dead dog in front..yeah, tire tread over burst stomach)

March 9, 2009

Against all odds, the Watchmen movie is pretty good. Considering all of the elements that go into making a film, from script meetings to casting to catering, we're lucky Robin Williams didn't ham his way into playing The Comedian. Look at my face. Not a joke. When a person, a reasonable person with a functioning brain and reasoning skills looks at Watchmen on the page and compares it to the screen, they have to admit that they didn't fuck it up.
 

Not that Watchmen is a perfect film. Some of the casting choices didn't pan out exactly, with Matthew Goode conveying way too much menace and evil for a character like Ozymandias who isn't actually all that evil to begin with. I sense an appeal to wider audiences, giving them someone villain-like, because what good is a superhero movie without a defined bad guy, right? Of course, everyone is tripping over themselves to scream at how bad Malin Akerman is, which is funny because she isn't that bad. Sure, she isn't that good, but "worst actress in the world", Richard Roeper? How quickly we forget about Halle Barry(Quick, everyone forget about Halle Barry! I'm sorry I brought her up!) Malin's line readings have a flatness to them at parts but hey, girl can sell a sex scene. I'm sure more able actresses were available who recoiled at the sex scenes. Prudes. Also, Charlize Theron is too expensive.(But soooo worth it. Zack Snyder should have dug deep and tossed her some Hancock money. Did you see that one? That is what a disappointment looks like.)


 

You know what I liked? Rorschach. Killed it. Literally and figuratively, killed it all over the place. Jackie Earle Haley threw grease on your face and you liked it. He stuffed a midget in a toilet and you Lurved Him. If you had a problem with Rorschach, well, he set fire to cops. You are so hard to please.
Patrick Wilson was fine as Nite Owl. Nite Owl isn't anybody's favorite part of Watchmen, but he's still important. He's like one glove. By himself, you don't care, but you need that one glove to go with your other glove, which is Watchmen. Great analogy.

I wasn't thrilled with the ending change, but I find it's the least of my issues every time I think back on it. It isn't a terrible change, and it does make sense, so I guess I'm over it and time heals all wounds. What was more interesting is how extra Ultra Fighty the Watchmen film is. So much slo-mo punching and kicking. Everyone can hit so hard that limbs explode and destruct. Dr. Manhatten walks around pointing at people, making them explode in big gooey messes. If that is what it takes to keep the kids in their seats, I stand and applaud it. Speaking of kids, stop giggling at Doc Manhatten's junk. Yes, blue. Yes, it's dangling. Rachel deemed it "a shower, not a grower." In his defense, he can alter the fabric of the universe, so laugh away. Dude could make it like you never existed, just a drip down your mother's leg. Think on it.

In conclusion, Watchmen is now a movie, see it. (Wait, you read all this and haven't seen Watchmen? I spoiled so much. Sorry.)

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