This is going to be a short review. Anyone who reads this blog should be relieved.
"Lawless", the third collaboration between director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave, is the sort of gangster movie that is both at once positively innocuous, making it a perfect passive afternoon viewing experience, and ribald and scorching, a direct comment on the American dream. It’s also the best work of it’s creative duo to date, surpassing the dark landscape heavy drudgery of "The Road" and "The Proposition".
The Bondurants, in all their scholarly glory.
The following is a review of the 1982 film "Cat People"
If you’ve never heard of the movie “Cat People” before let me break this down: Natassja Kinski is all virginal and stuff, so that’s off putting straight from the beginning due to her well publicized history. Seriously, her dad, great actor he may be, was all touchin’ his daughters and stuff. Klaus Kinski was a seriously fucked up man. And that’s why he made some seriously fucked up movies (that are awesome) like “Aguirre: the Wrath of God” and “Nosferatu”. Anyway.
Natassja Kinski is the most oft-naked virgin you can imagine and the reason is: She’s a cat person. In fact, so is her brother Alex from “A Clockwork Orange”, slave name Malcolm McDowell. He’s all trying to bang her because the cat people can only mate with other cat people and they are the last two cat people. If cat people have sex with people people then the cat people transform into cats and the only way the cat people cats can become cat people people again is if they kill some people people.
Got that? Good. So anyways, their cat people parents were also brother and sister and it’s gone on like this for a long time, which means that they should look a lot more retarded, but maybe cat people DNA doesn’t incestuously distort like people people DNA does.
Superman’s biggest problem has always been that he’s, well… he’s Superman. It’s telling that in trying to reboot the world’s most famous superhero, the name Superman is tossed aside except for when it’s treated as a joke. Here Superman is known by his real names, Clark Kent and Kal-El. This is a smart choice, since Superman has always been my least favorite superhero, which is true for many others as well. He’s too perfect. He can do anything, and nothing can beat him except for one stupid plot device, kryptonite (another element that the film leaves out). For the first time in film history, Superman is actually legitimately vulnerable in “Man of Steel”, which is the film’s greatest triumph.
It starts at the very beginning, as Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe, and Lara, the underrated Ayelet Zurer, stick their newborn son Kal in a space ship and rocket him off to earth. Kal (played as an adult by Henry Cavill) is the first natural Kryptonian birth in centuries. Apparently most children are conceived in some future-space chamber and designed for specific purposes, such as warrior, teacher, scientist, politician, etc. Jor takes a philosophical stance against this, and steals the codex, a.k.a. MacGuffin, which holds all the genetic information allowing this way of life, sending it to Earth along with Kal.
Of course this means Jor is a bit of an asshole, since Krypton also happens to be dying due to overuse of it’s natural resources. There’s all sorts of go-green, keep funding NASA commentary here, but it’s handled fairly smoothly. Jor gets on the bad side of General Zod, (the brilliant Michael Shannon) who attempts to stage a coup to save the planet and regain the codex so the Kryptonian race can survive. So in a way, Jor has doomed the planet and his entire species. Except for his son. Like I said, kind of an asshole.
What works here though is that it makes General Zod a surprisingly relatable character. He really isn’t a bad guy, in fact were I a Kryptonian I’d totally be on his side. But of course, while Kal/Clark’s DNA may read alien, he’s a red-blooded American at heart. So when Zod shows up on Earth, in pursuit of the codex, so he can destroy Earth and build a new Krypton, Clark isn’t down with that noise.
Anyone who read my muddled list of favorite films knows that “Evil Dead II” is one of my favorite movies. To quote myself: “[it is] is the most awesome shit ever, and that’s about all you need to say.” Yep that sums it up. So naturally when I heard of the newest installment of what is perhaps my favorite franchises, I danced.
It’s important as well to note my relationship with the original film, “The Evil Dead”, of which this new film is a remake. I was originally introduced to the series through “Army of Darkness” and went backwards from there. So, one rainy night I snuggled up all alone in my dark basement, popped in a DVD of “The Evil Dead” and sat in rabid anticipation of what was sure to be another hilarious slapstick horror comedy.
I was caught off guard to say the least. I refuse to re-watch “The Evil Dead” ever again. Not because I’m afraid of it, but because I don’t want to taint the original effect it had on me. I have never been more frightened by a film in my life. The pacing, the originality, and most of all the inventive low budget aesthetic created a terrifying experience. To this day, it is still the only time I can recall a film actually scaring me.
Anyway, on to the remake. I didn’t expect to be scared by it, because the surprise factor of the original was no longer present, nor was the novelty. I did however expect an intense, gory, well made movie that could hopefully stand up to the rest of the series.
So, did the film succeed? Well… yes and no.
Many have said that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a “Breakfast Club” for a new generation. I don’t think that’s necessarily something to aspire to, considering that the John Hughes “classic” is a shallow attempt to validate teen angst and shove children’s book level morals up the audience’s nose.
Still, I understand the comparison. Both try to provide insight into the adolescent mind, and create something relatable for their core audience, while holding a nostalgic relevance to the older generations. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” seems to be trying to remind me what it was like to be 15 again.
Except here’s the problem. Teen angst isn’t that interesting.
The film centers on Charlie (Logan Lerman) a shy and nervous 14 year old entering his first day of high school. Charlie is the wallflower of the film’s title. He doesn’t raise his hand in class, and has no social life. His only friend blew his brains out the year before.
This last detail brings up a major problem of “Perks” which is it’s use of heavy melodrama, much of which is casually brushed over, rendering it irrelevant. I suppose this wouldn’t be much a problem if the film wasn’t so overtly attempting to be “powerful”.
This movie is so awesome.
There’s really not much to say honestly. Literally everything you need to know is in the title of the film and it’s rating. The story focuses on Hansel and Gretel, from the Grimm fairy tale, once they’ve grown up into badass mercenary witch hunters. The movie is a hard R. So it’s violent.
If you like B-Movies, this is your flick. If you like action, pulpiness, trolls, boobs, fire, monsters, magic, flying, Peter Stormare, steampunk weaponry, more monsters, cheesy one liners and total, abject stupidity this movie is a must see.
Seriously, I love “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. I just like saying the title. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. It’s so ridiculous, and it has literally no aspirations of being good. It reminds me of something Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson would have done back in their early days, though it’s risky to predict that this director, Tommy Wirkola, will ascend to those lofty heights. But Wirkola clearly understands the fundamentals of filmmaking and doesn’t try to make this a good movie, opting for fun instead. The movie knows what it is and it knows what it needs to deliver.
The action is technically amazing, the effects are good, the movie is funny and surprisingly well acted. The story concept is so old school in it’s hokey, old timey, drive in chic appeal. File it next to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, another ludicrously dumb movie that had no aspirations beyond blood and cool action. I wish we had more exploitative action movies like this, instead of the Luc Besson, Jason Statham garbage that we see multiple times a year.
That’s about all that needs to be said. There is not one legitimate discussion to be had about a movie like this, and nor should there be. If you have 90 minutes to kill, go watch this movie. It’s a blast.
4 out of 5 stars
Let’s talk about Tom Hooper, the Academy Award winning director of “The Kings Speech”, which also won Best Picture and a slew of other Oscars, as well as the Emmy winning HBO Miniseries “John Adams”. He also directed “The Damned United” which was probably his best film, but no Americans watched it because fuck soccer, right?
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, right. Tom Hooper sucks. He is a pretentious and boring director who in general is not good at his job. I’ve ranted often about how overrated “The Kings Speech” is, but if one wants proof of just how dull Hooper is they should watch his latest film, “Les Miserables”.
What I mean by this is that, unless you are a masochist, you should stay as far away from this movie as possible. Yeah, I know it got nominated for Best Picture. But, anyone worth their salt should know by now that the Academy is a den of self congratulating idiots. These are the people who nominated average to horrible movies like “The Help”, “The Blind Side” and “Crash”. But, I digress. This isn’t an Oscars rant, it’s a review. So let’s explore what makes “Les Miserables” such an excruciatingly bad film.
First, let’s address exactly what Hooper does wrong here from a directorial standpoint. He has a pompous style that lacks any substance. Hooper bombards the viewer with so much stuff that none of it registers. There is no subtlety. This is a movie that wants to make you cry, but the movie never shuts up and lets the audience think. It’s so overstimulating it becomes flat.
Secondly, for some reason, in Tom Hooper’s mind, artsy cinematography is a simple formula consisting of two shots: Slow, wide angle tracking shots and canted angles. This movie is proof that nice sets, costumes and cameras all go to waste when the director is incompetent. Canted angles don’t make something edgy, or stylish. They require reason. All things in film require a reason. If Hooper was trying to portray that Jean Valjean’s perspective on life was skewed, perhaps a canted angle would work, though even then it’d be kind of stupid. But at least it’d make sense. The camera tilts so much in this film that I think the cinematographer must have been drunk.
I figured it was finally time to review this one.
For many, one of the year’s largest disappointments was Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”. The anticipation from the film community was palpably high, and perhaps over done. But then again this was the Alien prequel from the original director, with Damon Lindlelof (“Lost”) writing and an all-star cast! There was no way this wasn’t going to be a great movie.
But, I must admit, I was disappointed. Then again how could I not be? This was Scott’s first foray into science fiction since “Blade Runner”, which just so happens to be my favorite movie of all time. “Blade Runner” is a movie that literally changed my life, so there was really no way “Prometheus” could ever live up to my expectations. But…
"Prometheus" was the best film of 2012.