Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer

With the understanding that this is a low expectation movie... I liked it.

I don't think it's PG, and I won't let my kids see it because of suggestive comments, unnecessary scenes, and some inappropriate questions, but get past that and it's a fun movie.

You'll also have to get past Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman who is just painful to look at. Is there anything on her body that hasn't been surgically enhanced? It doesn't help that she's not a natural blond and doesn't have the coloring to be a blond - nor acting talent... but she's good when she disappears.

It was fun and several times they really looked like the Fantastic Four from the comics. The Thing is smaller, but they did a much better job with this version than the first version. He doesn't look like he's made of waffles this time.

The Torch was fun and the show stealer again.

Reed was played by an actor who either couldn't take it seriously or just has low talent (though he did okay in Amazing Grace).

Silver Surfer was great. Doom was Doom. Galactus was inspired, though nothing like the comics version (thank goodness... though there was a nod to the comics version in the shadow cast over Saturn).

The effects were much better. Story, better. Everything, better.

How that for a fairly positive review?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who do you say that James Bond is?

This won't be of much interest to my younger readers (and probably not for my older readers...)

007 has a sticky wicket; every few years you need a new actor, and no matter who you pick, some will love him and some will hate him. And that's fair. Who you think James Bond is determines if they made the right choice for you.

For example, is your James a heroic, licensed to kill, gadget guy with a thing for the ladies? Or is he the cool nerved spy, good at everything... and everyone?

My take is a suave, GQ fellow. The type who looks like he belongs in a photo shoot, but is really the genius lady killer, and um, bad-guy killer, too. He must have the Austin Martin, the Walther PK, and martini -- shaken, not stirred, and neato toys made by Q, flirting with Moneypenny, and verbal fencing with M. Above all else, he is flash and flair, devil-may-care.

The latest movie is impressive. It has amazing chase scenes (always good), the Austin Martin (with only a few gadgets), and the beginnings of the guy we know. This actor is very talented (better by far than almost all the others)... but despite direct hits and near hits on almost everything, he's not a GQ fashion plate. He has craigy good looks, I guess, but blond hair? He's a great 00x, but he's not Bond. I cab believe this fellow would get into and come out on the winning end of a bar room or back alley fight. James is supposed to be able to clean anyone's clock without spilling a drop of martini. He isn't supposed to look like he'd be in a back alley, let alone fight in one (though he'd win if he did, of course). This is completely my own take on the character, though, so it's just me shooting myself in the foot.

Sean Connery - Quintessential Bond.
Roger Moore - Not even close
Timothy Dalton - I always liked him, but they were poor movies.
Pierce Brosnan - Probably the most spot on in my definition, but only a TV actor and it showed.
New Guy (Craig someone? Someone Craig?) - Great actor, true to the book but not the stereotype. Quintessential Bond Movie, missing Bond but with another 00 who thought he was Bond. Raised the bar on the movies, though, because it was really good if you don't mind the violence and naughty bits (which were pretty tame for a Bond movie) and non-Bond Bond.

Y'know, I just can't be happy. Not with iconic movies. Don't listen to me, I'm impossible.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean - The Story Without End

I don't know where to start. It was looooooonnnnnggggggg. Some of it was boooorrrrrinnnngggggg. Some was witty and clever. There was a little fun.

Dunno, it moved you through the story without too much trouble. I could watch Davy Jones all day long-a -- He's the most fascinating visual and vocal character I've ever seen, even if I don't care about him.

And that is the problem with Pirates, I think. Jack, Barbosa, Jones, and Elizabeth are interesting characters. Turner is a bore, and the pirates are a bit fun... but despite all the amazing effects, convoluted story, dashing swordplay, and stage dirt... who cares? I mean, it wasn't a secret to anyone that the unspeakably dull Turner was going to get killed and helm the Flying Dutchman, and he was - did I mention? - unspeakably boring, so he gets a sword run through him. Ho hum. Ho hum, a pirates sleep for me... who cares? (Personally, I think it would have been far more interesting if Miss Swan got the deep six and helmed the Flying Dutchess, but that's just me).

They were fun to watch when it wasn't being gross, but engaging? No. The first Pirates I went right out and purchased on DVD as soon as possible. The second one I wanted the theater to give me my money back (no DVD, no wasting of two hours to borrow it and watch it again). This one, I don't need my money back, but I won't buy the DVD, and if there's a fourth, I'll see it in the cheap theater if it all.

My rules of pirate movies:
1. They must have fun! Otherwise, they're filthy, immoral, thieving murders. If they don't enjoy their own evil, why should I?
2. There must be pathos, dilemma, and an emotional crisis at stake (else no one and nothing to care about).
3. SOMEONE SHOULD OWN A TOOTHBRUSH! All these strong, healthy teeth with shoe black all over them was a bit much. Rotten teeth, okay, but just dirty teeth? Yuck.
4. Clashing swords is fine and dandy, but make it a contest of skill, not just hack and slash.

That's it. Thanks, and have a Ho Ho Day.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Republican Debates

A whole buncha fellas with three rising to the top.

1. Romney - Good looking guy, good presentation, Mormon... might win, might not.
2. Gulliani - Not good looking, good presentation, smart, unique, pro-choice... he might be the guy. I almost hope so.
3. Huckaby (sp)- I like this guy. A lot. He stood out from the pack, I agree with him on most levels, but he's a former Governor of Arkansas, and that will ultimately shoot him down.

Of the three, I think Gulliani would be the strongest, oddest president. I'd like to see what he can do.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Sorry, Josiah, I have to disagree with you. I enjoyed Spider-man 3 a great deal.

I do agree that Tobey M. makes a lousy Peter and Kirsten D. makes a lousy M.J., and considering it's their movie, it's saying something for Raimy that I still liked it. The ideal cast for these two would be a young Julia Roberts (circa Pretty Woman) as M.J. and maybe Ashton Kutcher as Peter (he could pull off the nerd and the funny super-hero well, I think).

My original concern was that fitting the black costume/Venom, Sandman, and Goblin Jr. all into the same movie would be an impossible task, but Raimy pulled it off extremely well.

Black Costume: I'd have preferred the black costume with the white spider from the comics, but the creepy crawly aspect worked well.

Venom: Don't like the character in the comics, but thought he was pulled off really well in this. Scary, creepy, twisted... yup, works fine.

Sandman: One of my favorite comic bad-guys, and I liked him in this. The stab at motivation worked up until he agreed to take out Spidey when Venom asked - which didn't make sense - but he stayed true to the comic version for the most part. I like Church, and I loved the sandman effects.

Goblin Jr.: I've forgotten the actor's name, but his acting in this was vastly superior to the last two movies. He makes a better Goblin than his dad.

I didn't feel any pacing problems, though if you don't care for the Peter/M.J. relationship, I can understand thinking it was uneven. While I don't like the actors, Raimy hit on enough real life aspects to make it work (he said/she said, poor communications, baggage dragged into the relationship, a geek thinking he's cool... been there done that). The riff on Pulp Fiction was funny, the conclusion worked for me. I just wish the actors had the chemistry to pull off what Raimy was attempting.

Fight scenes were great, if a tad repetitive. The Spidey scenes work so much better on film than in the comics. The comic relief was used more deftly than in the past two films.

As I recall, McGuire signed on for three films, which are now completed. Will he sign on for more? We haven't seen the Lizard, Electro, Mysterio, Rhino, Shocker or the Vulture yet, so there's still more to explore. Gwen and Captain Stacey are still alive, though it's Green Goblin and Octopus who kill them in the comics and with both of them gone, do these characters have a new lease on life? Betty Brant (the secretary) has a brother who becomes the Molten Man, and we saw John Jamison who becomes the Man-Wolf. You could do a creature feature with Spidey against Lizard, Man-Wolf and Vulture...

Raimy has used the M.J./Peter relationship as the spine of each of his movies, so he could conceivably explore the newlywed foibles if the two of them get around to marrying. If Dunst and McGuire don't sign on, we could find better actors to play them and really put some new life into the series...

Ah, well, geekiness aside, $9.50 is just way too much to pay for a movie, so maybe it's better if the franchise ends now...

Back to Firehouse Dog for a moment. As noted before, when we saw it at the cheap theaters, the book mic was dropping down into view constantly. At least a third of the indoor scenes had the unwelcome microphone.

Now we've spoken to several people who have seen it at the regular theaters and they didn't see the boom mics. Lynette believes there are two different versions of the film; I can't imagine why they would have two versions. Yet people don't see them?

The first Sister Act had the same problem, though not to the same degree.

Come to think of it, the movie was off kilter originally. The heads were being cut off until the projectionist lowered the film into the screen. Does anyone know if the actual projected film bleeds over the screen? When the heads were cut off, the lower portion of the screen was still filled. Did the projectionist lower it too much?

See, thinking out loud on a blog can lead to discovery...