Thursday, January 31, 2008
2007 bringing of the classic TV show the big screen by one of the series' most seasoned director (David Silverman) and many of the writers from the very best seasons of the show. This, basically, really long episode concerns Homer and Bart saving the town from certain destruction. Of course, lots of other crap happens along the way and of course he does actually end up saving the town. After Homer does something really ecologically stupid the town becomes a true cespool and the EPA has the idea to put a big glass dome over the town to isolate it from the rest of the world. But as you can imagine, Springfield doesn't take too kindly to this so the EPA changes it's mind and decides to just wipe the town off the face of the earth. When I first heard about the show coming to the big screen years ago I was very skeptical, but then when many of my favorite writers from the show (namely John Schwartzwelder) joined in on the act, I got excited. I love David Silverman, who directed my favorite episode 'A Milhouse Divided.' But I gotta say I didn't really like this movie at all. It was predictable and just really not that funny. It would've made a good episode, but as a stand alone movie it was pretty marginal. It's very hard to convert a tv show to a movie and few have done it well. But still this movie just wasn't that great. It just simply wasn't. I would love to see these same writers come back to the TV show, but as a movie I might watch it on TV like I've watched so many Simpsons reruns, but it's certainly nothing I'm dying to recommend or go out and buy.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
2008 film about a giant monster attack on New York City. Well...sort of. If that's how I described it you probably wouldn't want to see it unless you're some King Kong/Godzilla fan, but you shouldn't be disuaded. Yes, a giant monster and some other freaky creatures attack New York, but this shows that from the ground floor. The flick follows a small group of friends who are throwing a going away party for Rob (one of the friends whose moving to Japan). During the party the shit hits the fan. A guy named Hud was filming the party as a going away present for Rob and keeps filming b/c "people will want to see how it all went down." The movie is produced by JJ Abrams, the producer that brought the world Lost and if there's one thing Abrams can do, it's the unique. The entire movie is taken from a video camera found in Central Park after the attacks. So the whole thing is seen from the point of view of the people experiencing it. The quality is not always good and some times the film cuts out or they drop the camera, but I think it makes the experience so much more fun and frightening than if it'd been done in the conventional way. This concept is great, the sets are great, the acting is (mostly) great (and from unknowns), the story is good. I liked alot about this movie. I do think Hud was pretty annoying and that he probably would've stopped filming once things got really harry. And I do think some of the footage was so similar to footage we've all seen from 9/11 that it bordered on exploitation. But overall I thought this movie was engaging and alot of fun to watch. I mean, there was a scene on a rooftop about 2/3 of the way through the film that literally had me writhing in my seat. Fun stuff. See on the big screen for sure.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This 2008 flick is the first thing writer/director Mark Cahill's ever done, behind or in front of the camera. And boy, what a first flick it is. Where has this guy been hiding? Quentin Tarantino's first was so bad he has fought his whole career (and has been succesful so far) to keep it from ever appearing even in video. But King of California is fandadgumtastic. It tells the story of Miranda and Charlie a daughter/father pair that, through their life so far, has been disfunctional at best. Charlie is a intellectual jazz musician who is brimming over with eccentricity and is at least a little crazy. Miranda is his quiet responsible daughter whose been taking care of him and putting up w/ his junk for a little too long. When the movie starts she's picking him up from his recent two year sentence in a mental hospital and before they even get home he's spewing out crazy ideas about naked Chinese guys washing up on the shores of California and hidden gold from some theiving padre from the 17th century. It is just about to drive Miranda over the edge when she starts to somewhat believe him about the gold. Up until the last seconds neither she nor the audience truly knows whether or not he's just nuts (which is what seems most likely) or there's actual gold. We hope there is, but really can't expect there to be. I LOVED this movie. The two main actors are perfect and their relationship feels totally natural and genuine. The story too is unique and natural and really fun. It's sad, funny, heartwarming and totally enjoyable to watch. I especially liked that they are essentially making a treasure hunt movie that's set in the real world. They show all the brands. I mean there's a scene where they're using survey equipment to plot the path to the treasure in the middle of a Costco. Basically, the filmmaker uses every part of the buffalo in this movie. There's almost nothing bad about this movie, but I'd have to say the best part is the acting. Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood fit into these roles like a glove and carry them just perfectly well. Really, I totally loved this movie and would recomend it to anyone that is looking for a flick that'll make them laugh and feel good.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
This is Rob Zombie's 2007 update of the horror classic. This version is more violent, more vulgar and much more human. Essentially what Zombie does is remake the film but expanded all of the human, real sides of the story. He delves more into the relationship btwn Loomis and Meyers, more into Meyer's upbringing and childhood and showed more of the killings. Everything in this version is more textured and genuine. It's good, but I'm not sure that making Halloween more realistic makes it any scarier. I thought it was the second best of all NINE of the Halloween's. In other words, while I like the first one better, it is easily the best one since. It's a darn good flick, but it would certainly be hard for the squeamish to watch. What I liked least about this version is that the portrayal of the teens is really shallow and one-dimensional and I also felt like tha language was unnecessarily vulgar. However, these two things were the only things unrealistic in the whole thing. What I liked best about it is how human they made Michael in the beginning. He was a real person with people who cared for him and all the normal trials and trevails of a normal kid. And I also liked how once Michael lost his humanity it was truly gone, it was almost like watching his actual descent from Mikey to Michael Meyers. If you like horror this flick's certainly worth your time, but if you're not into horror you'll probably want to skip this one.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
2006 Spanish film by the acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. And if there are two things Almodovar is known for it's creating strong films for female actors and for creating truly weird stories. Well, he did that here big time. I almost can't tell you what the story is about w/out giving some of it away. But basically it's about the bond formed between a mother and a daughter. One mother practically comes back from the dead to make sure her eldest is loved. Another goes to great lengths to cover up a major crime committed by her daughter. The only thing I didn't like about this movie was the story, which is so weird and convoluted that it almost ruins it all. Let's just say that one of the daughters turns out to also be her mother's sister. Yeah, I know. Outside of that, everything's fantastic. The cinematography, the message, everything, but especially the acting. The women in this movie are all pitch perfect. Truly everyone does a great job. In fact the acting is so strong that when this movie won the best actress award at Cannes it was shared by six actresses from the movie. It's a great movie, with a great message that becomes only a good movie b/c the story is so goddamn weird. But it's certainly worth a watch.
Friday, January 4, 2008
2006 film by Terry Zwigoff, who did several other flicks like Crumb and Bad Santa that I really liked. Art School Confidential follows Jerome, a hopeful artist, as he goes from the burbs to art school and, he hopes, into the arms of a beautiful girl and fame in the art world. Sounds good, but the filmmaker throws way too much other crap in here. Like John Malkovich, who is struggling to revitalize his art career and Jim Broadbent, a serial killer who paints his victims. Every character is either naive or depressingly disillusioned. At no point did I care about any of them, or the outcome of the film. I seriously thought of turning it off and really could have and it wouldn't have made a difference. At points the performances were downright amateurish. The characters are all practically walking stereotypes, especially the cops. Basically, while Max Minghella's performance of Jerome is really good, it's pretty much the only thing good about this movie, and even that is not nearly enough.
2007 indie comedy by Jason Reitman (son of famous director Ivan Reitman)whose previous work is pretty much Thank You for Smoking and a couple episodes of The Office. This flick tells the tale of Juno McGuffin, a 16-year-old who, after one sexual encounter, is pregnant. The movie concerns her, her pregnancy and the adoptive couple she's giving the baby to. Each has it's nuances, tensions and moments for humor. I liked this movie, but I didn't love it. What was good was really good, but what was bad was pretty distracting. The dialogue was way too witty and ironic. Everything everyone said seemed so perfect that it all just seemed unnatural and forced. I just kept thinking, no one is this witty. It'd be different if it was just Juno or one or two characters, but everyone was like that the whole time. What was good, though, were the heartfelt moments and the ending. And those things were great. When the movie dropped all the hipster wit and just gave us some genuine emotion, it was fantastic. And while I can't tell you anything about the ending, I will say that it was by far the best example of what I'm talking about. This movie was almost like an album that has some great songs on it, but taken as a whole just isn't that great. But those few songs are so good, that it makes the album worth buying.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
This 2007 adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel (which is awesome) tells the tale of Robert Neville, a scientist who thinks he may well be the last man on earth. A terrible virus has killed just about everyone on earth, leaving only one percent alive, but that one percent is hardly human anymore. For some reason Neville was immune and it's been years since he's seen another intelligent being. He was the leading scientist who set to cure the virus, but it never happened (obviously) and he is now downright obsessed with finding that cure. But since it's been so long he's becoming desperate and (maybe) a little crazy. Critics compare this movie to Castaway and there is some of that, but I'd say it's more like Castaway meets 28 Days Later.
Ok, so I know it's a remake of a remake, and is directed by a guy whose done little other than music videos (and most of them were Britney Spears) but I loved this movie. It was freaky, it was tense, and it felt very natural. Despite the fact that many of the aspects of this flick come from other movies and this movie itself is a remake, still it felt very natural and there was nothing about it that seemed to not fit. Since it's full of freaky inhuman goodness I'm going to say that it might not be for everyone, but it was certainly for me. I really enjoyed it and saw it on an IMAX which is the best way to see it for sure.
ME, but it's at least S'good