Friday, December 28, 2007

Mischief! Mischief! Mischief!

Am catching up on my movies this week, since I neglected viewing many this past year while making my own.

Here are my decidedly different opinions, your mileage may vary.

Die Hard - Liked Justin Long and almost nothing else. Felt like a creaky dinosaur with no stakes. Look at the difference between Bruce Willis falling several stories, being blown up, shot, hanging from crap twice and not being hurt, and how you care and feel the pain when Will Smith hurts his leg in I am Legend. But I did enjoy seeing the Avengers' Vision doll for a second onscreen. And Kevin Smith.

Transformers - Was entranced, then horrified by the racism (I-Ran? Really?), then confused by the tone changes and overwrought length. Who exactly was their audience? Besides the focus group leader's stereotypical vision of thirty-year--old midwestern army guys? 'Cuz if that was for kids, man there was innapropriate, disturbing war stuff in it. Poor John Rogers. I gotta buy him a beer and hear that story. And did I mention the Bay institutional racism and nationalism? America, fuck yeah!

Sweeney Todd - Sumptious grand guignol. Absolutely pitch perfect. What a joy! Gorgeous turns of phrases, as well. A lot of love went into this film, and it gleams in every frame. Worth gandering.

I am Legend - Didn't breathe the whole time. Moved me despite being a calculated paint by numbers screenplay.

Then I got home and read the difference between Matheson's short story and this movie version, and felt betrayed and tiny. Bought the book and will read it tonight and report back. Sounds like the movie is as faithful an adaptation as William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet was. What a shame. Richard Matheson was one of my favorite writers, and I can hardly believe out of three versions from the same source material, not one filmmaker has actually used the source. Probably a good thing he's dead, save him the heartache. Did you notice the thank you to guru Chris Vogler in the credits? Interesting.

Waitress - Cloying and hackneyed. I don't think critics would have been so nice to it if she hadn't died. Sorry, someone had to say it.

Once - Really? As someone who plays the piano and has done spontaneous duets while falling in love with a stranger, the movie felt unemotional and like a calculated two hour music video for the band. Ugh, and the production values! Put the camera on sticks, don't make me nauseous.

Because I Said So - Um, I really liked this one. Why did this get such a critical backlash? Because it was ghettoized as a chick flick? The last five minutes belonged in a different movie, but otherwise it was charming and engaging and had a witty script I would happily call my own. Nothing to be ashamed about here.

Worst previw: The Ruins. The preview alone brought the foul stench of that damned novel back to me. Yuck. And for the record, I think the movie and book of A Simple Plan were totally overrated too. Not one surprise, just a steady predictable march towards nihilism.

Best preview: The Dark Knight. Holy crap. Can it be summer now? I wonder what Frank Miller thinks.


spacemonqui said...

KidSis, Richard Matheson isn't dead-he's in Hidden Hills. As a fan of the book, this thing made me leary in the 1st hour, yeah, I knew when they were swiping from Omega Man, but after that 1st hour they sssooo lost me-this director did the Same Damn Thing to "Constantine". I'm sorry, if you fark up adaptations of Alan Moore AND a chance to "get right" the best of Richard Matheson you're gettin' life in the SuperMax of movie jails. Will Smith had Nothing To React To except Very Bad CGI. It looked like cut-scenes from "Resident Evil" on Playstation 1. I mean, with "Legend" they dumped all those fantastic elements, the New Breed of Vampires-& all those scenes with Ben Cortman would've been great, instead we get Alanis Morissette ex-boyfriend, that GEICO Caveman, making scary faces, what a waste...

Oh, congrats on the Fishbowl nod,

Kid Sis said...

Re: Hidden Hills...oops. See, I should never rely on mainstream media outlets as my source.

Glad to hear it for me, sad for him. Truly.

Constantine...grrrr. Some good stuff, but, well...I don't have to tell you.

Yeah, I'm confused about the film. The CGI was atrocious. But I had so much good will towards IAL, I just kept thinking, "geez, 28 Days stole that from Matheson too? Poor guy!" But no, none of it was his, and it sounds so brilliant...okay must push computer screen down and open low-tech book. Discover for myself.

Thanks for the Fishbowl headsup; I missed that today.

Josh said...

Yeah, being a fan of the book, the film made me want to punch things. The original story beautifully highlights the thin line between a hero and a villain. Whereas I felt the movie primarily highlights the Fresh Prince's abs. Other elements that made me grumble:

--The aforementioned CGI. They looked like an army of Voldemorts.
--The tenuous Bob Marley motif. Ick.
--That ending.

Done grousing. I did think some of the action sequences were well staged, and I loved seeing all the shots of a barren NYC. Also, the great Mike Patton provided the freaky voices of the CGI baddies; always nice to see him getting work.

Lis, hope you enjoy the book; I have a feeling you'll love it but I'm curious to hear your thoughts when you're done...

Kid Sis said...

Yeah, give me a call, can discuss more.

God, that bob marley thing was heavy-handed. I'm sure it sounded great in the meetings, "Bob Marley REFUSED chemo! And he's black like Will Smith!" What was that dumb line about the light that became a metaphor too?

Geez, I don't know. I just wish TPTB running the Overdevelopment of screenplays would trust it could be more subtle...many other movies have perfect paint by numbers structure, but are elegant and creative and surprising and have genuine soul and emotion...does everything have to be calculated at an eighth grade reading level for them to think it'll hit four quadrants?

Kid Sis said...

I mean, how great would it have been to see Will Smith writhing around in bed with a stiffie like Jeremy Irons in House of the Spirits? And then he goes to his low-tech peep-hole to stare at the naked vampire chicks? THERE'S your hit movie, people.

The little baby Jesus cries when you don't use the source material.