Nov 23 2009

2012

2012This weekend we went to see the mother-of-all-disaster-porn movies “2012“. If you’ve been living in a hermit’s cave the last few years, you may have missed the rumor that the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012 thereby signifying the end of the world! So what if it’s only the end of the Fourth World, we’ve got a movie to make!

I had no expectations that the movie would be good and in that regard, I wasn’t disappointed. This is not to say that the movie wasn’t entertaining! Conflict? Not really… Sometimes you just have to shut-off parts of your brain in order to enjoy yourself. With 2012, the part you need to switch-off is the thinking part (well, maybe everything except the occipital lobe). Just sit there in front of the large screen of your choice and wait for the world to break apart and its nameless inhabitants to fall into yawning crevices, burn in fiery explosions, and drown by the millions (billions?). What could be more entertaining? It also doesn’t hurt to continually remind yourself that shamelessly sampling other disaster flicks is okay these days (it’s like cinematic Hip Hop!)! It’s not like anybody remembers: “Miracle Mile“, “Independence Day“, “The Day After Tomorrow“, and “Earthquake” anyhow! Who needs original ideas as long as our memories are short and the CGI is good… More fluoride for me, thanks!

Oh… you’re looking for story, character development, plot twists, some mystery, chemistry between characters, maybe even some comedy? Well… There’s plenty of that in other movies, why waste time with that stuff when you could watch beautifully rendered images of California slipping into the sea, the Yellowstone super-volcano revisiting it’s 70,000 year old past, tectonic plates sliding around the earth (in observable- rather than geologic- time), floods crashing through every major city of the world (“How long can you tread water?” thanks Cos!), and a spirited John Cusack (who has come a long way since “Sixteen Candles“) jumping flaming canyons in a Winnebago!

So, I guess what I’m saying is before the movie starts, remove your brain and put it in a jar… and try to remember not to leave it under your seat when you leave. All points for effects!

Not worth quoting…

3 out of 5


Oct 19 2009

Law Abiding Citizen

Law Abiding CitizenThis weekend, we went to see a movie titled “Law Abiding Citizen“. It stars Gerard Butler (“This is Sparta!”) and Jamie Foxx (no relation to Megan Fox because of the single “x” and parentage or some such triviality). I was told this was a “good daddy movie”… and I’d tend to agree, as long as there’s no conflict between “good” and “terrorist”.

On its surface, “Law Abiding Citizen” is your typical movie about an ex-soldier/secret agent who decides to use his extreme military skills to wreak havoc on his enemies. The movie quickly veers into gray areas because the protagonist employs blackmail, murder, and general terrorism to make the judicial system question itself and its priorities. While the main character’s agenda is interesting, in the end it is just an excuse for torture-porn and large fiery explosions. Because of this, I’m disinclined to give this movie a great deal of thought even if I did enjoy rooting for the main character (who had a healthy serving of tragedy with a side of injustice early in the film). While he had every right to be angry, pissed, even murderous… (in my opinion) he carries it too far when he starts blowing up people that were only peripherally (if that) involved in the original case.

Is there a lesson here? Not really. The movie actually gets silly toward the end when the writer runs out of novel ways for the protagonist to kill people (his specialty) and resorts to mechanized military hardware. I guess the main problem with the movie (which is the part I liked the best) is that somewhere in the middle, the protagonist and antagonist switch roles. It might be interesting to poll a number of people and find out when (or if) they think this switch takes place. Personally, I think it happened much later than it probably did for other people… But that’s just me. I can be vindictive like that, well… at least in my imagination.

“Spies are a dime a dozen. Clyde was a brain, the best. If he wants you dead, you’re dead.”

3.5 out of 5


Oct 4 2009

Zombieland

Zombie GrrlThis weekend we went to the opening night of “Zombieland”. Let me say at the beginning, that I thought this movie was going to suck after seeing the trailers.

My impression afterward was different. Very different. The movie seemed to be a cross between “Shaun of the Dead” ,  “Natural Born Killers”, and “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, three movies that I like a great deal. The movie centers around two unlikely companions named Columbus and Tallahassee. Both have survived the zombie plague apocalypse in their own way. Columbus has found survival-success creating and following a strict list of rules (some of which are the source for long running gags throughout). Tallahassee has found survival-success in more traditional zombie-flick fashion, aka guns blazing. The movie follows their travels, the people and zombies they meet, their successes and their failures. It’s sort of like a Crosby and Hope road-movie but with lots and lots of gore.

If your mind can’t find entertainment sandwiched between horror, gore, and comedy, then this movie probably isn’t for you. As for me, I enjoyed it, though it never seemed to rise to the level of the movies that inspired it. Not surprising, I guess.Woody Harrelson does an okay job, revisiting (to some degree) his role of Mickey in “Natural Born Killers”. Jesse Eisenberg carries the movie well enough for a straight-man sidekick. Emma Stone does okay… but I miss Juliette Lewis *sigh*. And Abigail Breslin proves that she’s more than just “Little Miss Sunshine”.

All-in-all, an enjoyable flick that is good to see on the large screen!

“Rule Number 4, Double Tap”

4 out of 5


Sep 19 2009

9

9Spoilers!

As this is the first Lounge Monkey movie review, let’s get this straight from the beginning. There are spoilers. There will always be spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers! If you don’t want to know anything about the movie itself, go to Rotten Tomatoes, look at the Tomatometer and decide whether you want to see the movie based on that. If you’ve already seen the movie and want to talk about its content, read and post here.

Last night we went to the theater and watched an interesting little computer animated movie titled “9“. The movie revolves around a collection of little sack-people as they attempt to carve out a safe haven in an alternative post-apocalyptic world, circa 1939. The creators of 9 did something that I always feel is risky, combining science with magic. Sometimes it works but most of the time, it doesn’t. I enjoyed watching the small army of para-mechanical homunculi running around fighting against the Soulless Monster-Machines of Science. I was willing to believe a scientist could have resorted to the teachings of Paracelsus once science was turned against him! Why not? I liked the contrast with  Frankenstein, who studied alchemy before entering medical school (not the other way around). In fact, I liked most of what I saw, until the end… The end left me feeling a little empty.

Leaving the theater, I thought of numerous ways the creators could have ended it–but I don’t get a say in these things, except for here… *sigh* I also think they should have developed the scientist more… and made each of the homunculi an aspect of his personality rather than just a collection of standard archetypes (e.g., entrenched patriarch, big dumb fighter, crazy clairvoyant guy, girl-power adventuress, rebellious thinker).  A small complaint, but I think it would have added some depth to the film. Do animations need depth? *shrug*

My last point has to do with what comes afterward. At the ending the remaining heroes stand victorious above a desolate world. There is hope! There is promise! But they are sexless (unless they’re hiding some other things inside those zippers)… Ah well. Hope they know how to build more…

“I’m not sure. But this world is ours now. It’s what we make of it.”

3.5 out of 5