Archive for November, 2011

Bill Murray hogging the show

I finally watched Groundhog Day.  In fact, I watched it instead of going pre-Black Friday shopping.  Time well spent.

The plot is summed up by the movie’s synopsis: “A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.”  Of course, that doesn’t give any of the details, but one can get the gist of how the movie is going to go.

What I found most enjoyable about the movie was how Phil, the weatherman, ran the gamut of emotions after realizing he was stuck living the same day over and over.  First he was annoyed that he had to deal with the same people and same situations, then he was ecstatic because he realized he could literally rob a bank without consequences.  What was perhaps funniest, ironically, was when he hit depression and tried to kill himself off in rather interesting ways.  I think that part was funny because of Murray’s deadpan acting skills.

It’s pretty predictable where the rest of the movie is going, but it’s still entertaining seeing how it arrives there.  And Phil’s character changes, which is believable, given the premise.  It’s worth watching if you’ve never seen it before.

You Again

There are a lot of new movies and TV shows that deal with the issue of bullying, and You Again is one of them.  It’s the story of Marni, who finds out that her brother is marrying the girl who bullied her in high school.  My problem with movies like this is that if the main character, Marni in this case, confronted the person from the beginning a lot of mess could have been avoided.  So there would be no movie, but still!

And if the former bully really wanted to change her ways, she should have admited her past before it was exposed.  Again, that would take away ninety percent of the movie.  However, that might save all of us from too many movies that aren’t very meaningful or even that entertaining.

So when I see the title You Again, I think, yes, you again, another movie that is rather a waste of time.

Quote Quiz 11.25.11 – ANSWERS

1.  ”Whoa. ‘We?’ No, she’s your arch nemesis. I’m not going to be part of your evil plan to bring down Joanna.” – “I’ll give you 20 bucks.” – “Done.” – Marni and Ben, You Again

2.  ”You didn’t think I would recognize you because I can’t see your cheekbones?” – Carol, Green Lantern

3.  ”Damn you, Bernice!” – Angry Troop 417 member, Dodgeball

4.  ”I know somebody here! I met him on a train! His name… is… his name is… James. No. His name is… James Josephson. Lor. No, no, no. James Lawrence. LAWRENCE… Lawrence. Lawrence Fells. Lawrence Feings. Forest Lorenston. Low. Lars. LARS. Lawrence. Lawrence. Luch. Lawrence. Tuh. His name is James Jesenthon. Lawrence Fell. Lawrence Jesterton. LAWRENCE JESTERTON.” – Freddy Benson, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Green Lantern

I watched Green Lantern with one of my friends, and she brought up an interesting point.  Why do all superheros have no parents?  Isn’t it possible to be heroic without having suffered the loss of one’s parents?

The issue that I had was that, yet again, the ending implies a sequel.  Perhaps that’s following the story of the Green Lantern comics, but it still seems cheap to me.

Local furor

Who knew that writing a sports column for the local newspaper could be so controversial?  David Selvig, who writes for the Jamestown Sun raised some hackles with his off-hand dismissal of the Bison 6 Cinema’s movie “choices.”  The article Mr. Selvig wrote really had nothing to do with the theater, but he used the price of movie tickets to illustrate that going to a local sports event was cheaper.  If he’d left it there, that would have been fine, but he did rather sling mud at the theater, which has backfired.

Cory Keim, co-owner of Bison 6 Cinema, responded to the article with a letter to the editor, which you can read here:

http://www.jamestownsun.com/event/article/id/148807/

There have been movies I’ve wanted to see that have not been brought to Jamestown, but I believe in almost every case it was because of a limited release, as Cory Keim points out, and not out of a desire to rob local audiences of a greater variety of movies.  And after all, didn’t they bring in The King’s Speech (when they still only had four screens), which could very well be a much better movie than Ides of March  or J Edgar?

I’m thankful for the service the Keims provide, bringing in entertainment, not to mention the number of people they employ.  I’m hoping that the furor raised over Mr. Selvig’s column will help people think a little more before blindly criticizing something they might know nothing about.

Immortals

I waited to write about Immortals for a while after watching it.  I think I was hoping it would grow on me, but it didn’t.

If you go into the movie wanted to see an action movie with innovative special effects, you’ll probably like it.  There were some really nice effects, especially the ones used for scene changes.  However, if you know anything about ancient Greek and Roman mythology, you will probably not enjoy the movie.  The only thing kept the same are the names of major characters like Theseus.  Even the whole story of Theseus is changed.  In mythology, he’s a crafty man (who is probably the son of a god, maybe even Poseidon) and he lives a long life.  In the movie he’s a peasant who becomes a good fighter.

I could have lived with those changes, I think, if it hadn’t been for what happened between the gods and the titans.  There is rather widespread massacre, on both sides.  (And here comes a bit of a spoiler.)  There is no way that Athena could be killed off by a Titan.  Sorry, couldn’t happen.  Same with Poseidon.  Athena and Poseidon would be far too crafty and powerful.

I came out of Immortals thinking that the story was attempting to make the gods more human and the humans more godlike.  Even with the special effects, the result was disappointing.

Quote Quiz 11.18.11 – ANSWERS

1.  ”In the name of King John, pay or burn.” – Godfrey, Robin Hood

2.  ”Come on, Yaskov. You running, me chasing? We’d look like Laurel and Hardy.” – Kendig, Hopscotch

3.  ”In his enchanted gardens, men and girls came and went like moths, among the whispering and the champagne and the stars.” – Nick, The Great Gatsby

4.  ”You have made the cat angry. You do not want to make the cat angry!” – Puss in Boots, Puss in Boots

Casting Issues?

I was rather confused when I first heard that Meryl Streep was cast to play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  I’m still confused, actually.  It’s not that I doubt Streep’s acting ability, it’s that I find it odd that she was chosen when there are brilliant British actors who could fill the role.  Then I discovered that the director of The Iron Lady is Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed Mamma Mia!  So perhaps Lloyd enjoyed working with Streep and got her cast as Thatcher.  I’m looking forward to the movie, but I still think it’s an odd choice.

Perhaps not as odd, however, as casting Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher in the upcoming One Shot, which is an adaptation of one of the popular novels by Lee Child.  This is apparently causing furor among Reacher fans everywhere.  One of the reasons is that Cruise is about a foot shorter than Reacher.  I do think there are better people out there than Cruise, but then I might not be as huge of a Reacher fan as some other people.

All we can do as moviegoers is “vote” with our tickets.  If we like the movie, we will recommend it and maybe watch it again.  If not, we will tell everyone why they should avoid it.  But then again, I think that Hollywood exists in a parallel universe, rather out of touch with reality in many cases.

Courageous

The movie Courageous models its title in more ways than one.  In an age where many people seem to enjoy fluffy action-driven movies or vulgar comedies, Courageous tackles the issue of the importance of faith and fatherhood.

A movie that is driven by a message is often lacking in other areas, so I was not expecting much cinematically when I went to see Courageous.  I was agreeably surprised.  Although the movie takes a while to get started, it is generally well-shot and quite well written.  It has good progression and character development.  And there are a few quite dramatic and action-packed scenes.  After all, the movie is about a group of policemen!

The director, Alex Kendrick, was also the co-author and starred as one of the main policemen in the story.  Directing and starring in a movie can be a bad idea, but it works here.  Kendrick is a believable and sympathetic character.

I would recommend Courageous to anyone who wants to see a movie about taking a stand, trying to make a difference, and living with integrity.  It’s a refreshing change from the rather typical Hollywood hedonism.

Puss in Boots

I’ll admit that one of the main reasons I wanted to watch Puss in Boots is that Antonio Banderas is the voice of Puss.  He’s got a great voice, and I’ve liked him since I watched The Mask of Zorro and 13th Warrior.

So why not capitalize on the popularity of the character that first appeared in the Shrek movies?  Puss in Boots is similar to Shrek in that it relies fairly heavily on fairy-tale characters.  Unlike Shrek, Puss is a cat.  And they managed to make him seem like a cat and not a cat at the same time.  I like the fact that they played up his ability to manipulate people by looking pitiful.

Although the movie is not going to win any awards for plot or character development, it’s entertaining, more so than some other animated movies.