Archive for May, 2010

Swingers

I can find room to watch this movie no matter what I am doing. I can identify with all the characters in different ways. The problem here, and this is why it has taken so long to put this one up on my list is simply, I can’t explain exactly what it is about this movie that I like. I just like everything. It must be the little things that add up to one big enjoyable movie without exactly having a lot of takeaways after seeing it. I love the little banter back and forth between characters. I love the way the Michael character can turn good situations into incredibly horrible ones. The humor is rich and the relationships even richer. Even the little scene playing NHL Hockey on Sega Genesis is classic. Do me a favor, if you haven’t see this, go get it and then when you are done, let me know what exactly made you like it. Its just that hard to put into words.

Batman and Robin

Alternatively “An Open letter to Joel Schumacher.” This is an especially disappointing is the performance by Jim Carrey. He was not amusing or anything like The Riddler in any form, but annoying. Its performances like this which makes me understand why some people can’t stand him. Jim is brilliant, but he needs to have a good director at the helm in order to bring out the best and discard the worst. Joel Schumacher is not that director. In order to save space on this page, you can put Batman Forever, 8MM, St. Elmo’s Fire, Flatliners, DC Cab, and every other movie from Joel Schumacher into this category (except The Lost Boys, Falling Down and Phone Booth which kind of allowed me to keep wondering whether there was directorial learning going on here).

I honestly believe that he destroyed the Batman franchise that Tim Burton brought to life out of a limp slapsticky jokey TV show image. Joel has pretty much killed the entire idea of Gotham City (hmm… does the word Gotham mean anything to him? Apparently not). He changed it to a neon, prancing goon, dumb good guy, irksome bad guy, gratuitous piece of pop-culture drivel with less value than a two day old unrefrigerated hot dog that has fallen on a dirty floor. Gratuitous? Lets talk codpieces and butt shots, shall we? What the hell Joel? Did you ever read a Batman comic in your life? Is this about helping George Clooney get a sexiest man of the year award or making Batman the brooding, bad mo-fo that we all know him to be. Clooney didn’t look like he had any inner demons, instead he smiled through his lines (something that I thought was his acting ability until I saw him in Out of Sight and The Perfect Storm. Again, the Director’s fault. I can go on, but he just ain’t worth it. One more thing, I just made a reference to the great one liners of Arnold in another movie (Predator), but you live by the cheese, you die by the cheese and his lines in this movie were just dumb. Reason to see it: I can’t think of one.

Highlander II: The Quickening

As much as I like some of the atmosphere and mood of parts of this film, it only took me about 3 hours before I came to my senses and realized that the only reason that I liked the movie was the eternal love that I had for the original one. Michael Ironside was really the only rather memorable character and there were times where he was really menacing, but after thinking about it, they completely tried to pander to the audience by explaining the origin of the immortals. They become aliens from Planet Zeist? Please. It was almost like it was trying to be Superman or something. There should have been only one. Reason to see? This movie doesn’t exist. You can’t see it, so there, nyah.

Spawn

Proof positive that you can’t wish for a movie to be good and make it so. As I mentioned in stark contrast with a well done movie like The Crow. The Spawn comic was even moodier than The Crow comic, but was toned down to market to children. Sorry folks, any way you slice it, Spawn was from hell, don’t try and make the kids dig him, parents who are worth their salt would keep that away from them anyway. Wait until they will when they grow up. My friend Dave pointed out one of the most ridiculous things about that movie, not only did this little annoying kid hang a round with Spawn, but Spawn also had a dog! And his name was Spaz! Dave said, “Spawn has a dog?” in the movie while we were watching it, and it finally registered with me that the concept was atrocious, not only because it was a blatant attempt to make the character look more appealing, but he was dead for 5 years, and Spaz would have most likely died or lived with Al’s former wife. But instead, the dog was homeless, looked pretty healthy, recognized Spawn as his former owner, and wasn’t mad after 5 years of abandonment. ‘Nuff said. Reason to see this movie? The special effects are quite amazing.

Jurassic Park

I know that nobody agrees with me on this one, but if a movie studio is going to cash in on a best-selling book and use the “from the award winning book” material in its advertisements, it should try and grab the most important plot points from the book. For instance, the dinosaurs’ instinct to migrate off the island (which is the biggest threat in the book). Overall, its not like I absolutely hated the movie, but I sometimes wonder how Spielberg retains his “heavyweight” title when he uses devices like “dismembered hanging arms” to try for a cheap scare. It shuts off the ability to identify with a character that was originally painted as an intelligent human and reduces them to a level of any horror movie with a number after it. And in the scene where Laura Dern’s character forces these guys to stay out there because she has to help a triceratops (and they use the shock value of watching her sift through a dump truck sized-pile of dung) but they don’t show you that the effort had any resolution or reason to be in the movie, aside from getting them out into the park, well, its just damn disappointing. Anyway, I think the only reason to see this movie is: Cool dinosaurs

The Warriors

The Warriors (The Ultimate Director's Cut) My first recollection of this movie was from the local TV news in Boston. The news report said that it glorified violence and gangs and undermined police and other positions of authority. On a little B & W TV, I remember seeing a gang member throw a night-stick and hitting the shins of one of New York’s finest badge wearers, in slow motion. I was too young to really get whether that little clip was enough to judge a movie by, so I withheld judgment. Flash forward 7 years and the movie is playing on The Movie Loft (with Dana Hersey) and he describes the way the movie director attempted to make the scenes and shots look like comic book panels and how visuals take over the need for too dialogue. I loved comics for years and was intrigued by this concept. Well again, sometimes its the frame of reference by which you watch a movie, but I was fascinated by this one and how powerful some of the scenes were. The only problem with the movie is that when the characters do speak, its dated dialogue, but its still a good flick.

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry DVD Cover Art

This is the first movie that has been added based on lobbying. My friend Steve told me that it changed his life, at least from a moviegoer’s perspective, though I must say that based on a simple Wiffleball “batting out of order” error, this movie simply can’t appear in my Pantheon.

The mistake that I made was this. Growing up I heard all about Dirty Harry and his one liners but was rather sheltered from seeing any violent movie. When I became a teen, there was a new Dirty Harry movie that came out called Sudden Impact. I went to see it, not really understanding that I should have waited and perhaps seen the first couple of movies before seeing this latest installment. It never occurred to me because I saw Moonraker without any trouble or needing to go back and watch Goldfinger. Well, I liked Sudden Impact, but didn’t love it. Later I rented Dirty Harry and it was really awesome, but based on my mistake of timing, the movie didn’t strike me the way it apparently strikes others. For this I am sorry, but sometimes this kind of thing happens. So with that in mind, this movie belongs in that grey zone between the Nearly Perfect and the Pantheon, for me at least.

Top Dog

This is a Chuck Norris movie, and the second ticket that we won through WBCN. Needless to say it was the last time I tried to get free tickets on the contest line. It is an action movie that stars Chuck opposite a German Shepard, and it was just odd. I think somewhere in the middle of making this movie, the director (Chuck’s brother), decided to tone it down to make it appeal to kids, so you have this partial violent, partial slapstick, and partial “look at the doggy doing neat things”, which added up to a disjointed and plot-less movie. The most memorable thing is when Chuck got mad at the dog (numerous times) and censored himself (kind of like a parent would with a child), and ended up being this tough guy who kept yelling “Darn Dog!” Again, I am not sure why I stayed, but I have yet to walk out on a movie and after Breakfast (above), I can tolerate anything.

Amateur

Upon further consideration, I am wondering whether a movie like this even belongs here. What I mean is that it barely even cracked the box office and was forgotten (no pun intended) immediately, rendering its powerless. Nevertheless, I still remember it, so here goes. This was a free ticket won on WBCN. The movie was trying to be many things at once, which usually will spell disaster. It was very funny at times, but the comedy never tied in the with rest of the story and it was serious at times, but many of the plot lines just laid there and pretended to be dead. I won’t even bother describing any more, because it is not worth the ASCII text.


Idle Hands

From what I was able to surmise, this movie stole some ideas from a bunch of different places. The first and most obvious is An American Werewolf in London (where the people who get killed hang around and you get to see them rot as the movie progresses), and another one where a severed arm is re-attached and wreaks havoc (I can’t remember, but it was an equally bad movie and utterly forgettable). I haven’t even watched the whole thing at one sitting, but I have seen enough of the movie to make the final judgment that it is Uber-dumb.



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