Zorro!

Jul. 5th, 2011 03:14 am
Probably my most favorite Zorro of all time, from the first time I saw it in the 1970s. And I LOVE the theme music!

Because Mermaid was driving me, her brother, and herself nuts yesterday, I told her to find a movie and I'd take them to see it.

We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

My response, without giving away any spoilers? There was one scene where I was actually SUPRISED by the actions of a character. Genuinely surprised. Of course, it was the only character/set of characters we didn't get to know well at all, so there you go.

Jack Sparrow was still Jack Sparrow but on less drugs. It's like he still does drugs, but has cut way back and actually makes some sense in a world of craziness. The ONLY human woman in the film, Angelica, is of course stunning as Penelope Cruze (sp?) is stunning. OMG, she is beautiful--except in that one scene where Jack slides in next to her on the bed she's sleeping on. I thought it was a different woman!

spoilers here, watch out )OKAY, SPOILERY PART ENDS HERE

The movie was entertaining, which is usually all I ask for escapist fun, but I have to admit it did lack a certain streak of anything-goes that the first three did.

I did really like the Missionary, Phillip, and the mermaid. I'm sure (I'm hoping!) they'll be back for Pirates 5. I'm not sure what she was telling him to ask her for, but what the heck.

I missed the other wackadoo pirates from the first series. They added a lot of flavor, and it helps to have more than the top pirates to root for--after all, it's the rank and file that I think many people (me) root for in a movie. The regular guys caught up in the bizarreness of Jack's world.

Iron Man 2

Aug. 21st, 2010 10:26 pm
Seriously. Dudes, a superhero movie with Samuel Jackson in it...how can you go wrong?

Spoilers in my discussion of Iron Man 2. Yeah. )
NOTICE: SPOILERS ARE GOING TO BE MENTIONED. IT IS A P.O.S. COMEDY, PEOPLE. IT DOESN'T RATE SPOILER WARNINGS.

Dunno if anyone on my flist has seen the ads for Vampires Suck. It's by the same people who have done a whole string of spoofs (such as 300-Meet the Spartans, and others). This one, of course, spoofs on Twilight. The only problem was, except for sections here and there, the comic pacing was slow; seriously, if you're going to mock a movie series, then please, STUFF your comedy with jokes. Neverending, nonstop jokes.

In this case, the movie stuttered and halted as much as the actress playing the Bella (Becca) role. She was exaggerating the inarticulate Bella from the Twilight movies, and okay, yes, that's a big point. But move on, please?  Matt Lanter, who played Edward's twin spoof, Edward Sullen, was spot on. In fact, most of the actors were pretty much right there with their roles. The costumes were great, and the cheesiness of the stunts was, unfortunately, about on par with the original Twilight movies.

That's not to say there weren't funny bits in it (and I was about the only person in the theater who dared laughed out loud at certain points, but hey, I'm 45 and have no shame these days). But damned if I can remember off-hand what they were!  Aren't you supposed to remember those things after you walk out of a funny movie?

I can remember my mother pulling over after we'd gone to see Movie Movie (1978) because we were laughing so hard we couldn't stop for about half an hour! And I still remember some of the dialogue!

One thing I kept expecting during the Prom scenes in Vampires Suck was a scene referencing Carrie, but alas, it was not to be. I guess that would have been TOO obvious, even for this team of movie makers. Vampires Suck could have been so much funnier with more intensity, less faithfulness (!!) to the original Twilight series--that's right--and more twisting of the characters. And better editing. But with better, tighter editing, the movie would have been about a half hour long, instead of the hour and a half it already is.

Ah well.

PS: Click on the IMDB Vampires Suck link--the featured reviewer on the page (scroll down past the cast list) pretty much nailed my objections, and got my positives, but also knows more about these filmmakers than I do. He's right--they got the sets *perfect*. To the point that I wondered if they found the house from the first Twilight movie and rented it!

PPS: David DeLuise has a cameo, and of course, they reference The Wizards of Waverly Place shortly after. That was cute. He had one of the best scenes in the entire movie.
Grac graciously pointed out that Castle: The Complete First Season is on sale

So is Bruce Campbell's The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series!!!

I've only seen Briscoe County here and there back in the ninties. I didn't "get" everything back then. Hmm. Bruce. Bruuuuuuuce!
Yesterday was Weddingfest time on a cable channel, most likely on Lifetime. I can't be sure now, because none of the cable channel websites allows me to go back a day in their schedule and check!

But it was movie after movie of wedding vows, wedding hijinks, wedding romances (all messed up, of course!) wedding wedding wedding!

Mermaid, 13 years old, switched the TV onto a movie that had Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch - The Complete First Season) in it: My Fake Fiance
 She missed the first hour of it, but it didn't make any difference. Two people both oweing money to a mobster, pretend to go through with a wedding, somehow getting the mobster off his back.

There are some badly written and connected scenes that show the doofus male (he's always a doofus) with awesome musculature going to see his estranged father who has now won money at the track and wants to make it up to his son by giving him some of the money as a peace offering. This is done because ... well, let's just say it was because of an out-of-the-blue line spoken by a child saying that his grandparents are spending his college money on his aunt's wedding. So the fake fiance feels guilty and goes to his father.

Of course, this was only one movie of many in this movie marathon. It's enough to make you think that most women are only thinking of the wedding, and the romance, and want nothing else! The worst of it is, these are pretty bad movies, the whole lot of them.

Movies!

Jan. 29th, 2010 09:46 am

It's been a while since I've talked about movies, so here goes!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Very entertaining with a wacky-minded professor science type, a comedic-sinister politician, a spunky cute reporter who lets out her inner nerd for the hero, who Likes Her Just As She Is (when she's a nerd, and not a beautiful weather reporter)...it's cute over all, and was more entertaining than I thought it would be.

Up: Ah, okay. I understand NOW in a way I didn't when I saw it in the theatre, that the old man never looked in his wife Ellie's adventure book after she had added some stuff to it in the hospital, just before she died. Still, I'm not thrilled with the "women don't get adventures like the men do" vibe, and the almost complete lack of human female characters aside from Ellie, who we really only meet in the beginning when she's a little girl. Still, I adore Dug, who is totally our dog Goldy (really)!

Kung Fu Hustle: [title corrected! thank you!] This is the funniest, most violent, over-the-top, amazing action movie I've ever seen and I LOVE it. It involves the Axe Gang going after a small neighborhood, which turns out to be defended by three ordinary seeming men-a coolie, a tailor (gay tailor), and a noodle shop owner. Each of them turns out to be a Master in their martial art. They end up dead, however, but then it turns out that the horrible landlords of the building are even tougher Masters of the martial arts. And they find a young guy who turns out to be a one in a million Ultra Master of the martial arts.  The film clearly gets a lot of its inspiration from old Warner Brothers cartoons. Everything is exaggurated to the point where you can't take it seriously at all, even when characters are killed, maimed, or simply disappear part of the way into the movie.  I'll have to find Shaolin Soccer next. The same guy made that as made this movie. Highly recced.

There are some other movies I've seen. I just have to dig them up. But these are the ones that stand out.

UP

Jun. 8th, 2009 03:59 pm
Up was a heckuva lot of fun. It did get a little toothgrinding, though, that cut here for spoilers )


Um. It was fun.

And I didn't like it.

It's nowhere near as good as the first one--just flashier, with more effects and characters and a very poorly done character arc for Larry, the main character. It had a lazy script, and crappy historical characterization. Want to read more? Click here and read the full review up on Hathor Legacy (or just wait for the RSS feed).
My show is back! MY SHOW IS BACK! I grinned all the way through the credits, with the sixties-style campy planets, and the original music, and practically danced and jumped up the aisle. MY SHOW IS BACK!

The guy tried bringing me down with his complaints of the alternate reality stuff, but I honestly don't give a shit about that. It was fun, my favorite characters were back!

There were flaws, of course, particularly with the villian (and no trademark moral dilemma) but, I don't care.

YAY!

More extensive review later, when I gather my thoughts about it, and my back lets up on me. I pulled some muscle in my mid-back last night, and it woke me up at 3am. I had to take two Aleve pills and they finally started working about 30 minutes later.
Oh, for eff's sake. Mermaid is not feeling well today, so she's home on the Guy's day off that we were planning on going to see the new Star Trek movie together. She might be able to go, except that the Guy wouldn't be able to relax and enjoy the movie if he felt she was about to blorg during the "Space, the final frontier" monologue at the end (or anywhere else in the middle of the movie, too).

So, he's gone off by himself to see the 12:20 showing, while I am going to pick up Little Guy, who also finally felt well enough to go to school today, and then I'll go at 3:30, sans children.  I intend to see this damned movie while it's still in the theaters, dammit!

Looks like I should have just gone ahead and seen it on Monday.  >:-(
Around noontime, I am going to haul my butt down to the theater (hopefully the Guy can come, but I don't think so) and go see Star Trek. I did tell the Guy that since he's seen so many movies without me, but with his friends, THIS TIME I want to see the movie, too, damn it. Not a huge movie-goer here; and I did ask him to wait to go with me. I'll see what he says about tomorrow. The main problem is, the rest of the week is rife with doctor's appointments (my, Mermaid's, etc) and the movie's first showing is at 12:30! In the afternoon!

27 Dresses

Apr. 18th, 2009 09:42 am
When my mom was here visiting last week, we got the movie "27 Dresses" from the library.

It was a cute movie that took me until the credits at the end to figure out who the actor playing the love interest was (the dude from X-Men who played Cyclops), but that's not what this post is all about.

In the movie, the main character is seen attending two weddings on the same night, in two equally so-so bridesmaids dresses. Her big thing is planning other friends' weddings, and doing whatever they want, without anything but the most cursory thank yous (depending on the friend, of course). But this post isn't really even about her lack of ability to stand up for herself--

It was the final cathartic scene, where the camera pulls back from the alter where she's said her vows with her now-husband, and the viewer sees all 27 of her married friends wearing their own hideous bridesmaid dresses. Some of those dresses were truly hideous. And I couldn't help but feel a vicarious vindication and glee about it.

It was blissful payback for the main character. Brides want what they want, but the tendency to treat their wedding as a circus event where your friends are there to do your absolute bidding and wear the shittiest looking clothing--well, I liked the final scene. A lot.
No spoilers here. I finally saw this movie this weekend. I really didn't intend on watching it, but I walked through the living room and got hooked during the opening car chase. The car chase was confusing as hell, but I stuck with it and was rewarded mightily with a strong entry into the troubled Bond movie franchise.

What did I like about it? Aside from the fact that Daniel Craig as Bond is made of utter awesomeness, I'll tell you.

I liked that in this Bond flick, Bond does not come across as a misogynist. His chief motivation through this entire movie are his feelings for a woman spy he met and fell in with love in the first movie. His feelings are complex about her, but no matter *what* he thinks her motivations were, she still deserves retribution.  (I haven't watched the first movie yet, but I'm planning on it)

There is a spy girl whom he falls into bed with (it's a necessary part of the franchise, I guess) BUT she's quirky, she's smart, she is no butterfly. It's with shock that later you find out she wasn't a field agent at all-she was a desk jockey, according to M. And Bond *makes a point* to M to note that spy girl ... well, the new filmmakers in charge of Bond are making sure that he acknowledges the women in his field as equally brave and taking equal risks as him.

And then there's M. There's a throw-away remark that you could almost miss where Bond comments about an attempt being made on a colleague's life, he's not going to let that pass. Even if, at the moment, M has to follow her orders and do what she has to do. But in her own way, she backs him, and trusts him. Even if she kind of sort of takes his "mother" role, they both know better. The two actors were able to get across that these two very pragmatic individuals are coworkers, boss and subordinate, but that there's also something else going on under the surface. She may not act like his mother, and certainly doesn't act like a mother hen or do anything of the sort--she trusts that he'll get in and out of his own tight spaces--she does *care*. They walk a fine line and it works.

Then there's the girl who Bond does NOT sleep with. She's got her own motivations that he doesn't discover the details of until later on in the movie. Never does he pooh-pooh her. Never does he think she can't handle herself. Never does he tell her what she can and can't do--if anything, he gives her advice on what might happen, how she might feel, and how to deal with a situation should it happen. He helps her do what she has to do if it doesn't interfere with is own revenge and mission. And, when she freezes in terror at the end, you know *why* and it makes sense, and doesn't make her any less than what she is.

Yeah, I really love this Bond.

The stunts were great, Craig has a real physicality that makes you believe that he could really do what he does. There is something of a Die Hard syndrome going on, though, where if you had the time to actually THINK about what's happened to Bond, he would have been in a hospital after the first car chase. But this is Bond. I wouldn't call him a sociopath. He does have feelings. He hides them, and he does his job, and from the movie, I get the feeling that this incarnation of Bond takes on the dangerous stunts and fights because they distract him from his inner life so he doesn't have to think about it. He is ruthless--if his own people are getting in his way, well, he'll hurt them.  He cares for a former enemy who  decides to trust him, and stays with him until the end. THAT is not a sociopath.  And he has a sense of justice and he WILL fulfill that whatever it takes.

Oh yes. I can finally love Bond again. I'm going to think of the original Bond as a parallel universe Bond. They're both great. But this Bond? They've remade him into something more than he was in earlier movies.

Coraline

Feb. 8th, 2009 10:33 pm
No spoilers here.

You must go see it. The animation is wonderful, the story sticks pretty much to the book with only a few changes, minor ones, and the main character of Coraline is a terrific girl about my daughter's age...that captures that age *perfectly*. Neither of my kids were scared, except perhaps at the sight of one of the old burlesque ladies in pasties and a bikini bottom, but it wasn't salacious. And then you get to see how they looked in their prime (stunning and graceful) and see that even old folks had their Days, too.

Colorful, moves right along and yes! Go see it!
For me, it was a 1958 animated Japanese film called (in English) Magic Boy. I saw it when I was twelve years old, in 1976/77 or thereabouts. I think that perhaps this movie, even though I don't remember it well right now, has influenced me a great deal since then. (well, that and Kimba the White Lion and Speed Racer)

How about for you?



Miyazaki Hayao is a master of the animated film. Perhaps one of my favorites of his films is My Neighbor Totoro, an 1988 film that features no violence, no mustachioed twirling villian; it features a father taking care of his two girls in a large old farmhouse in a rural village (rural area no longer) in 1958 and visiting his wife who is ill with an undisclosed disease. This movie, along with others, was a huge inspiration for the American series Avatar: The Last Airbender--most noticably for its character Appa, the six legged white flying buffalo. Totoro features a Cat Bus-a many legged friendly cat-beast that travels the magical Other world, where everything is friendly and child-like.

It is perhaps one of Miyazaki's most optomistic films, and certainly a huge one in its cultural influence in Japan.

Here you can see the Cat Bus. There are a lot of similiarities between the Cat Bus's magical abilities and the double-decker bus in the Harry Potter series that can squeek past narrow objects, part objects, and so forth. I have no idea if Cat Bus was partly the inspiration for the HP bus, but it's possible.

  And here's a picture of the main cast (sans Father and Cat Bus)

Totoro and the girls live an in almost-ideal world, if only their mother wasn't sick. Their father, although distracted by his work as a professor, is still something of a kindred spirit to the girls, and understands their world of fantasy, even if he doesn't completely believe it himself. In many ways, he's a spiritual brother to the father in Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Of course, Bradbury's story features two boys who are as close as brothers battling against the evil of a carnival visiting their town. Both stories feature the supernatural, the small-town life, an ideal father, an absent mother: if you haven't read Wicked, or watched Totoro, it's worth reading and watching the two stories.

It's unusual for animation or fiction to tell the story of how little girls grow up. Fiction and the movies are rife with the coming of age of boys...in this case, the two girls don't suddenly Grow Up, but they do get their mother back, and the kindly supernatural spirits of the trees and fields help them work with their complex feelings of love, abandonment, desire for family and Mom.

Miyazaki is a master of not only animation, but he's also able to (at least in this point of his career) to treat girls as people with their own stories. It may have been difficult for him to frame this story with two brothers, since boys tend to shout out Adventure and Danger and Adversaries! at every turn. It works with his two girls. They are charming, and their adventures in the woods around their house are reassuring instead of dismaying.

Highly recommended.

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