Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I'm not about to rip you for watching Harry Potter. I watched the first one, too, but I actually willfully brought it into my home. I don't remember any backstory, primarily because ever since then I've tried to forget that I watched the abomination. Thanks for dredging up bad memories, though. You're a pal. And while you're at it, to mention 27 Dresses, probably the second worst RomCom I've ever seen, I just think you must be angry at me for some reason. But I didn't need name actors, just competent ones. Malin Akerman, while quite suited for the nude scenes, isn't up to the task of acting in a comic book film, let alone Shakespeare. In fact, that was pretty much the summation of Michael Wilmington's review. I'm guessing that when casting they simply matched faces to the original comic book and hoped for the best, only to get lucky with Rorschach.
As you said, the movie went to great lengths. They pulled no punches. There was never a chance that this would get a PG-13 rating, and really, there would be no reason for it anyway. I don't think your average 15 year old would understand the complex ideas and revised history put forward. For all the acclaim heaped upon the Dark Knight for its hyperrealism, it was often just reduced to Batman's tough posturing and the Joker's maniacal antics. Watchmen pushed the limits, something I always appreciate even if it doesn't always work. And hey, it's a comic book taking place in an alternate history, so it doesn't necessarily need to. However, I should note that about four rows behind me, there was a guy who was laughing at some rather strange times. First, at The Comedian's violent advances on Sally Jupiter, and then letting out a tremendous chortle during the spaceship love scene. I was of course intrigued to find out exactly what type of Argentine was reacting this way, and delighted to discover upon the movie's end that it was a stooped, elderly man on a date with his wife. Harharhar.
The pop music was often front and center, turned up to 11. At times this worked well (Times They Are a Changin' Montage, Sound of Silence, Hallelujah), while at others, (99 Luftballoons, KC and the Sunshine Band), not at all. At least putting on all those 80s tunes reminded us when this was supposed to be taking place. And I'm glad to see that Nixon having a fifth term didn't eliminate the world's yearning for Tears for Fears.
I didn't expect much coming in to this film, and yeah, the acting left a lot to be desired. But I can't help coming away thinking that this was a great experience, one that I would undertake again. There was just enough intellectualism to make a point, even if it's a simplistic one. I'm not going to claim that the film is as groundbreaking as Lord of the Rings, or Terminator 2, but I'd put it right along side Dark Knight, albeit with different strengths. The near three hours passed so quickly, I feel like there must have been a ton I didn't pick up, and I am looking forward to giving it another go. Of the three films we've covered so far, it's easily a solid #2 for me. So I'll leave you with that wide open opportunity for a disgusting pun and the following question that nagged me throughout the picture: If Dr. Manhattan became so incredibly powerful through his accident, why on earth didn't someone else try to do the same thing? And if they did, what happened to them?
Care to take us on home?
That is hilarious about that old guy on the date. Must have been his turn to pick, right? What I liked most about Watchmen was that the characters were truly dark and the movie allowed them to travel to strange, real places, especially for a graphic novel. True, Batman is supposedly a dark presence. But is he really? I don’t remember the horned one trying to rape Cat Woman, do you? But these Watchmen? Abso-frickin-lutely!! Not only are they into the rough stuff, but they get naked and fuck. Sex aside (if that is possible), these men and women certainly walk a very fine line of protecting the people, while sometimes also assaulting, robbing, or even killing them. This is what makes the Watchmen kick-ass and fun to watch.
I don’t think you will be surprised to hear that my favorite character was also Horshack, er, I mean Rorschach. You are with me right? When they were pulling off his mask I was praying for a trademark “ooooohhhhh, ooooohhhh, ohhhhhhh, Mr. Kootttt-aire,” and/or maybe a Scooby-Doo-esque, “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you darn kids!” Rorshach was a Noir throwback, and that was awesome. The private agent on the prowl. At the beginning of the film they used his voiceover and vantage point to great effect. In fact it was so effective my expectation of the film considerably moved up. Unfortunately, Rorschach was not the continuous narrator and I think the film was weaker for that.
Would I see Watchmen again? Probably not. It was just too long with too many boring, drawn out back stories. Would I recommend it to one of our friends? Probably. There is a lot to like about this movie and I think some people will really appreciate it. I also think it may be better suited to video. That would eliminate your first question, the bathroom issue.
I am looking forward to our next review, whatever it may be. I have not been to the cinema for a few weeks now and am looking forward to catching some of the movies studio’s have dumped on us in the March/April dead zone.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Well, Brad, we're at it again. And this time, it's not some Oscar darling that's sure to please. Today's review is Watchmen, the film based on a 1980s graphic novel that is apparently beloved by many, many comic book guys. It's 1985, Richard Nixon is in the middle of his fifth term as president and we are at the brink of nuclear war with the USSR. There were once superheroes who ran around in masks, saving the day, but they've now been either banned or marginalized. When The Comedian, one of the old fraternity, is murdered, the rest want to know who's behind the hit. They proceed to do a Blues Brothers-esque getting of the band back together, though Mr. Fabulous could not be pried away from his maitre d' gig. Uncovering the mystery behind the murder leads to further intrigue and we find out more about each hero as the world approaches nuclear extinction. I'm going to leave the plot summary there otherwise we'll never get to the review. Neither of us have read the book, and I'd actually never even heard of Watchmen until this movie came out. So we're not going to come at this with the same perspective as the die-hard fans, so let's not worry too much about the source material.
But before we even get started, permit me to make a quick aside regarding one of the trailers. I was shocked to hear "Soulja Boy" come across the speakers, only to find that it was being used to promote a fourth Fast and Furious movie. Not only that, they're calling it "Fast & Furious." Even better, Vin Diesel is back to collect a paycheck. I thought the fact that they picked a song that had clearly finished its run was only fitting. Anyway, I declare here and now that we're not reviewing that one.
I'm going to start by asking you a question that was on my mind throughout my screening. How many times you had to leave the theater to go to the men's room? You're a bit notorious for frequently being "on the go", and because this movie is nearly three hours, I figured you had to step out at least twice. That question leads me into my first point. There was a lot going on in this film. I believe we had five main characters, though someone could easily argue that there are more. They gave us backstory on every one of them, and each was a crucial part of the plot. Some of these characters worked better for me than others, with Rorschach being the most compelling. In addition to all the plot details, we had a plethora of kickass fight scenes. You know I'm no fan of the Bourne-series-style shaky camera freneticism. Each fight was well choreographed and filmed in a way that we could understand and appreciate. A little clarity can go a long way. Most of the superheroes in this movie may be mere mortals, but they kicked ass anyway. On top of that, the concept was not only creative, but pretty high-minded. Nixon in his fifth term because Dr. Manhattan helped him win Vietnam? That's brilliant.
However, some areas were lacking. Aside from Rorschach, all the characters were pretty flat. And worse than that, none of them showed a lick of passion. How are we supposed to care about this movie if they don't? Perhaps this was more a problem with casting lousy actors. If some of the names that were rumored over the years had made it to the final project, I think everyone would have been fleshed out better. No, I'm not talking about Nite Owl's butt or Dr. Manhattan's, um, front. Those were plenty fleshed.
I've gotten the ball rolling here, but haven't really given you any real conclusions about what I thought. See? Sometimes I can still play it coy. When I come back, I'll tell you about the strange man who was seated in the last row of the theater. But first, let's hear what you think!
Yep, here we are again, going back-and-forth, but this time the film under the microscope is certainly not as universally revered. Watchmen is a movie that went to great lengths. And I am not solely referring to the bladder-busting run time (and to answer your question, I did not get up to go the bathroom even once!!). Watchmen uses its length to properly present each protagonist, play out visual niceties, and weave story complexities.
I can confirm that I had never heard of Watchmen or read the graphic novel prior to screening the film. Additionally, my comic knowledge in general, of both the colorful paper books and feature length films is spotty. If I met a comic fan at a party and he were to offer an ice breaker like, "so, are you a fan of comic based movies?" I might agreeably reply, "Sure. I really enjoyed the latest Batman and Iron Man movies." To put this in sports terms, the equivalent conversation would go like "hey, are you getting psyched for the baseball season? Are you a fan?" and getting the response, "Well, I kind of like the Yankees. Jeter and A-Rod are cool." And there lays an initial obstacle. Going to see this version of Watchmen, as presented by Zach Snyder, is like catching a Kansas City Royals game. You can infer that these are important people, but without any stars it is tough to know who to root for or what to expect.
Without question there was a lot going on in this film - especially with 5 plus main characters, and a thorough back story on each of them. The only other film I have seen that went into that much detail about so many characters was the original Harry Potter movie, which by the way was horrible. Secondly, when you reply to this email, I am not interested in your snickers that I even watched Harry Potter in the 1st place. I was on a plane. Stuck in a window seat. And there were no viable alternatives! And although Potter is an inexcusable travesty to the senses, at least the studio knew before filming began that there would be 8 more films to come, so squandering the entire first feature (and moviegoers money) telling back story provided a longer-term payoff. Not so with Watchmen, as this is likely the only installment.
During the movie, as my mind wandered and bladder swelled, I thought to myself, this would all be a lot easier if they had hired name actors. In comparison, I did not know anything about Iron Man either, but with one central character and Robert Downey Jr. starring it was so much easier to jump in and enjoy. With Watchmen, I was only familiar with two of the actors, Malin Akerman and only because of my love affair with RomCom’s (she starred in 27 Dresses and The Heartbreak Kid) and Billy Crudup. And with Crudup, I thought he was Night Owl until I saw the closing credits and read that he had played Dr. Manhattan, at which time I turned to my wife and whispered, “Wow! I thought we had been staring at Crudup’s ass for the past 2 plus hours, but really we were looking away from his blue schlonger.” Needless to say, that was a sentence I had never uttered before.
But enough about the story and anonymous acting. I cannot talk about Watchmen and not include mention the visuals, specifically the cinematography. Watchmen is a beautifully shot movie, borrowing the best of Sin City and 300 and then adding in some fresh ideas. I am curious to get your take on it? Is Watchmen a case of style over substance?
Gotta run. Hit me back when you can!
We'll be back with Part II tomorrow where I will excoriate Brad a bit for his affront to my sensibilities. Stay tuned!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This band is called Garotas Suecas, which basically translates to Swedish Girls. Er - Swiss Girls. So hard to tell them apart when they're really Brazilian. This tune reminded me of a more stripped down version of "Evil and a Heathen" by Franz Ferdinand. But anyway, the plot is kinda hard core. See, and you thought I was going away or something. This trip did prove useful for the blog after all. Enjoy!