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.