Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Not as bad as I thought it would be (ahem, Shira) but it has the disadvantage of being barely understandable to someone who hasn't read the book. To those of us who have, it is a ghost of the original work, which has far too much complexity to squish into a two-and-a-half hour film. Although the focus on Dumbledore's Army, a student group created by Harry and his friends to practice defensive magic, is a bit much compared to its treatment in the book, it makes sense in driving home the film's major theme--that being loved is the most precious thing of all. Despite the mushy-gushy-ness of it all (in which Harry fends off a creep-tastic Voldemort WITH HIS MIND BUAHAHAHA) this film is quite dark (as befits its PG-13 rating).

Imelda Staunton
gives an amazing performance as Harry's pink-clad, sadistic new teacher, who manages to remind me of both my grandmother and Hitler at the same time, but the more famous Helena Bonham Carter was a poor casting choice for crazed Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. Her performance was nearly identical to her portrayal of Morgan LeFay in the 1998 TV movie, Merlin, but Bellatrix is no giggling witchlet. Carter is not physically intimidating enough for this part, despite her experience with creepy roles, and Bellatrix appears to have no depth whatsoever, which will become a problem in the next film, in which she has a much larger part.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have all definitely matured as actors since the first couple of films.

Also, the wizard battle was very cool, special effects-wise, although I'm not quite sure how accurate it was to the books.

In general, it's worth a rental if you're already a fan, but I doubt it'll make much sense if you're not. If you're completely obsessed with the books, you'll probably hate it as well; it does take a lot of shortcuts to become palatable to the general public.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

[-] The Pursuit of Happyness

So...Will Smith's new movie. He plays Chris Gardner, who's a real guy who made millions after being broke and homeless with a kid.

The acting is good. I especially liked the performance of Smith's son, who played his son. Smith portrays his character with respect and warmth. We feel bad for them. We feel outraged at the homeless shelter that turns them away, and at the IRS that takes all of Gardner's savings because he didn't (couldn't) pay his taxes.

But this movie is heavy, and the payoff at the end isn't even worth it. It's a success story, but it plays out like a tragedy with a glimpse of happiness at the end.

I guess the title makes the most sense. This is a film about the "pursuit" rather than the "happiness".

Unfortunately, I was looking for something a little lighter this holiday season.

Monday, August 14, 2006

[+] Lucky Number Slevin

all i can say is Josh Hartnett looks incredible with his shirt off.

[+] The Secret Lives of Dentists

here's a real high calibur film. made with finite attention to detail and character nuance, The Secret Lives of Dentists features husband and wife tagteam dentists david and dana who have three young daughters. as shane mentioned at intermission, i think the director captured the children perfectly from their annoying mantras and fights to being acutely aware of the bigger-than-them things going on in the house.

the flashback/daydream sequences in this movie are amazing in a whimsical/contempletive/dark way. david, the husband has a few mental issues in which he sees denis leary as slater.

david and dana are perfectly cast as dentists, husband, wife, parents. the film repeatedly shows the effort he puts into his daughters and wife to keep the family together. slater keeps him second guessing himself. but remains determined, refined, patient until his single table-heaving outburst.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

[-]The Hills Have Eyes

This movie was HORRIBLE!!! It is about this family that is driving through the middle of the desert in New Mexico, when they get attacked by a group of blood thirsty mutents. First of all this movie is so obviously anti-poeple who have genetic defects and i think that that is wrong. Second of all it is so pointlessly violent, and horrible. the entire movie is needlessly and overtly horrible and terrible please dont waste the two hours watching it.

[+]Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came out in 2005, it is partially based on a novel written by Brett Halliday called "Bodies are Where you Find Them", and it was directed and the screen play was written by Shane Black who did a lot of work on the whole Lethal Weapon set of movies. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., who plays the main character, a NY city petty theif who gets "discovered" and flown out to L.A., Val Kilmer, who remarkably plays a very funny and I think believable tough guy gay detective, and Michelle Monaghan. Interestingly, if you have watched a ton of crappy teen age movies, like me, you will recognize Shannyn Sossamon, who also plays in "40 days and 40 nights", and is the girl in "A Knight's Tale", and Larry Miller, who also plays the father in "10 Things I Hate About You". This movie is very interested, and narrated very humorously. When I rented this movie I was not sure even what to expect but it turned out to be a very good time. I highly recomend this movie to anyone, but if you are going to watch it, watch it, becuase it is very action packed and if you miss a few minutes you might find yourself lost as to what is going on.

Friday, June 16, 2006

[+] Secretary

"I'm your secretary!"

this movie is the tits. one reason it's so cool is you go through life and meet people and talk about movies. and so many people who you'd never expect have seen this movie.

it's about this lawyer who hires a new secretary or whatever to type up documents for him. she makes some typographic errors and he repremands her. by spanking her sharply on the bottom.

it's an interesting toe in the water of BDSM real-world relationships as well as committment, power exchange, etc.

[-] Ask The Dust

bandini's having a tough time making it as a writer. he's a complete asshole to camilla who he meets and later claims to love. he lives in a hotel on the first floor so he can come and go from the window so as to avoid the landlord at the front desk.

the best moments are when the old guy (Donald Sutherland) in the next room comes over and visits bandini. he is pretty deranged but keeps antonio from starving.

[+] Mirrormask

the most visually amazing film you will ever see.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

[+] The Cell

If you are interested in watching a thriller, and if you are interested in watching something that will grab your attention, and if you are interested in watching something that is very visually appealing, then watch The Cell.
Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn are both in this movie, but the acting that really makes the movie is the performance by Vincent D'Onofrio who plays a derranged psychopath whose mind Catherine Dean, played by Jennifer Lopez, enters.
The costumes in the movie were designed by Eiko Ishioka, and April Napier. Ishioka has designed costumes for Cirque su Soleil, and some of the costumes from this movie were every bit as detailed and intense as those from Cirque du Soleil.
The plot of the movie is really interesting and you will not loose interest while watching it, but I really want to show you some of the incredible cinemography and costume design and everything from the movie, so here are some screen shots. Yay screen shots!!!







[+] MirrorMask

MirrorMask is a super awesome movie. Very very very visually appealing. You can very much tell that alot of time and effort and the majority of the budget went into the artwork for this film, not that the other aspects of the movie are lacking, but the art work is so very impressive. There is this one particular rather famous scene, and I do not know if you have seen it before, but I had before watching the movie, where the main character gets dressed by these dolls or puppets that almost meld into real people and the clothes that she is getting put on her are almost putting themselves on. The visual aspect of this movie is so very incredible, the movie is put out by Jim Henson.
The artist who put together most of the artwork for the movie is Niel Gaiman, whose name you might recognise as the writer of Sandman. Here is some of his work (outside of MirrorMask)

This picture is called "Dark Snow White Snow, Glass, Apples"


This is from Sandman

On top of the effort that was put into the artwork on the movie, the plot is thoroughly interesting and captivating, and the performances by
Jason Barry, Gina McKee, and Stephanie Leonidas are stunning. Please watch this movie, but possible not on a Mac.


Some screenshots from the movie:


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

[+]Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots is a really good movie about a multi-generational shoe factory. It was released in 2005 in Great Brittan, and I believe became a box office hit. The story is set in approximately modern day Great Brittan. The story starts with Charlie Price, played by Joel Edgerton whose name you may recognise from his performance as Owen Lars in the new Star Wars episodes, although he looks nothing like Owen Lars in the movie, he plays a very mild mannered man in approximate mid thirties.
Sarah-Jane Potts also stars in this movie as Lauren, and employee at the Price Shoe Factory, she is a very beautiful woman, but her looks are underplayed in this movie to make her a more believable factory worker. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Lola, an integral character in the movie and he was perfectly cast, his character is the most interesting, and he acts very well, both in somber situations and comidic ones, and as an outgoing entusiastic person, and as a shy one, who like everyone has their own insecurities.
There are a lot of very cute lines in this movie, and it is a very enjoyable watch. I actually only had one problem with this movie, and that is that they overly attempt to show a metaphor that ought to be obvious to the viewer. That is it, just one complaint, overall very good movie and I would really really like a nice comfortable pair of Kinky Boots.

[-]Goth

Whatever you do DO watch Goth just for the trashiness. If you read the IMDB summary for the movie Goth you may be intregued, the summary sounds really good, but then you watch the movie and realize what trash it is. For you to really understand how horrible this movie is, picture the most preppy person you know and imagine them making a movie about goths. A couple of "goths" Crissy and her boyfriend decide to go to a concert at a goth club, at this concert they meet a woman called Goth who leads them on a series of adventures, the dialogue is so painful and forced, and the gothicness is so cheasy that you will be laughing at the writers.

[+] Basquiat

Basquiat is a movie about this painter who is super tight with Andy Warhol, played by David Bowie, the cast alone is worth watching the movie for, some names that you will recognize are Jeffrey Wright, who plays Basquiat, Benicio del Toro, Claire Forlani Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, and Courtney Love, just to list a few. It is set in New York City in 1979. Basquiat is a painter who is living in parks in cardboard boxes, and he goes from being very poor and selling artist trading cards, to being very very sucessful. He is introduced and forms a very tight friendship with Andy Warhol, as a side note, David Bowie is absolutely great in the role, mannerisms and body movement are absolutely perfect. So this movie traces Basquiat's growth to fame, and in doing so, shows many many of his painting, which are so detailed and so interestingly made and shown being made in the movie. It is a dramadocumentary-kind of, and it is pretty fast paced, I mean I do not have a very long attention span, but I was intregued and interested for EVERY moment of this movie, as both a caracter and a real person Andy Warhol and his crowd are and were a very interesting movement in art in this last few generations. I highly reccomend this movie to anyone, and would encourage you to watch this as soon as possible.