Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Avatar

Deep down I knew I wouldn't really like this but I wanted to give it a shot. I really wanted to like it. Honest I did. Why else would I subject myself to almost 3 hours of tall smurfs cavorting in an Enya video? I mean - other than as a member of Earth 2010, I felt like I had to see this movie and to be part of the conversation.

Well - I can now participate in the conversation. So on that front, I don't regret seeing this movie. And on the I got some Listmaker relax time during SHR's European jaunt front, this movie was also a rousing success.

Unfortunately, the only major successful thing about this movie was that it made me long for the campy Billy Zane to save it. What a big piece of poop this movie is. Yet it is perfect poop. I see why people like it. The special effects are almost really great. The spiritual stuff makes this seem almost kind of deep. The theme of tying our current wars into the proceedings help the viewer think that there is even more depth to the movie than the 3D glasses offer.

Five minutes into this movie I knew I had made a mistake if I was hoping to be entertained. Yes, there were some interesting fight scenes but not nearly enough to sustain my attention for almost 3 hours. Then again some of the dialogue and ideas were so over the top that I do have to give credit to Mr. Cameron. Come on people - stop making fun of the hard to find mineral being called unobtainium. That's kind of funny.

The problem with this movie is that there isn't enough of that kind of silliness. There are too many ultraserious points to make and a 3rd grader's idea for romance plot points to hit for that kind of camp. At least Titanic had that going for it. What happened to the days when Cameron could make a bloated boring movie like The Abyss and then it would just sort of be disregarded. Now he does it and his films are considered landmarks in movie history. Strange.

And what was up with those spirit thingies floating all around?

And the one saving grace was supposed to be the technology but it didn't blow me away in the way that I was hoping it would be. It was okay. This movie is being discussed as changing cinema. But I never really felt like I was ever watching anything all that original. Yes there are the comparisons to Ferngully and Pocahantas. Definitely. But I also felt like I was watching parts of Return of the Jedi or the innumerable amount of films about humans landing on another planet from Alien to Starship Troopers.

Cameron likes to think that this film is a cinematic gamechanger in the way that The Matrix was. It is not. As I was watching that film, I felt like I had never seen anything like it before. Not the case with this movie. Hell, didn't The Matrix even have a similar sort of plot of virtual reality/avatar kind of thing?

Guaranteed Best Picture winner though.

Directed by James Cameron
2009
Edgewater NJ Multiplex

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bunny Lake is Missing

A young woman drops her daughter (nicknamed Bunny) off for her first day of school. She's in a rush so she leaves her with the cook. When she comes back, her daughter is not there, the cook has quit, and the school officials insist that the girl had never been there at all. And thus the mystery begins.

The mystery slowly unravels in a completely satisfying and memorable manner. I keep replaying moments from this film in my head weeks after seeing it. Jodie Foster can suck it. Flightplan my ass.

Favorite lines from the movie:
Have you ever been in a pub before? Here it is - the heart of merry old England complete with dirty glasses, watery beer, drafts under the door, and a 23 inch television.

And on the screen - The Zombies! Love it.

Directed by Otto Preminger
1965
TCM

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ninotchka

The Lubitsch Touch strikes again. I love the fun tone of all of his movies. While I didn't like this as much as The Shop Around the Corner, this one still had a lot going for it.

First off - Greta Garbo was fantastic. I think I've only seen one of her films before this one and to be honest, I don't know that much about her. This film was her next to last movie. Two years later, at the age of 36, she retired from the screen and from public life. Like the poster says, once the dour character smiles for the first time (about 1/3 of the way through) her whole aura changes and the entire film brightens. Pretty damn magical.

Secondly, the crazy Russian comrades including one of my favorites from The Shop Around the Corner are hilarious in a Marx Bros. kind of way.

Third, the making fun of the Russkies throughout is scathingly funny. Lubitsch's films work on many levels - silly, subtle, romantic. This movie has it all. Also, it was co-written by Billy Wilder.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
1939
TCM

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Army of Darkness

Every single line that Bruce Campbell utters in this film is comedy gold. I mean it - every single damn line. The man is a genius. Unfortunately, he doesn't have that many lines in the second half of the movie.

No matter though - the film is still fun from beginning to end. I had forgotten just how much of a comedy this film was. I much prefer the Evil Dead films to this though. But who am I kidding? Campbell's lines are just too damn good to discount this movie. And the special effects are hilarious. I love the skeleton army.

Some of my favorite lines:
First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me. Blow.

Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things, right now: Jack and shit... and Jack left town.

Yo, she-bitch! Let's go!

Honey, you got reeeal ugly!

To the "I will swallow your soul" demon -
Come get some.

And while nothing compares to the cutting off of his own hand in Evil Dead 2, the mini Ashs that end up inside of him thus creating an Ash that pops out of his shoulder has to be one of the best scenes in movie history!

Directed by Sam Raimi
1992
HBO

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Humpday

Sort of Old Joy meets Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Much better than the latter but not as good as the former.

The first half hour annoyed me but then I got more into it. I like Mark Duplass quite a bit but the dude from The Blair Witch Project was like a poor man's Zack Galifianakis trying to be like Owen Wilson but acting too much like Jay Mohr for my tastes.

Still even he grew on me by the end. There were many memorable scenes as the plot unfolded. The two best ones were when Duplass tried to break the news that he was going to be in a porn with his friend to his wife but couldn't quite bring himself to do it and the final scene of will they or won't they?

The first 1/3 of the film felt really forced but by the final scenes, everything rang true to me. The situation was absurd but the characters responded to the absurd situation in realistic, funny, and fascinating to watch ways.

Directed by Lynn Shelton
2009
DVD