Star Trek: Into Darkness

May 23, 2013

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CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

The second in the Star Trek reboot…the one we’ve all been waiting for!

And now I’m going to give you all a BIG OL’ SPOILER











Really. Huge SPOILER coming.











I’m giving you a chance to go somewhere else, because you don’t want to accidentally see the immense


I’m about to drop. Really. You don’t. Unless you’ve already seen the movie.











Okay, don’t say you weren’t warned. Ready? Here it comes:

Yes, exactly. “No way!” that was my reaction too. And of course he doesn’t, they have already set up the way they bring him back from the brink of death.

It is, as Ottersis calls it, Benjie-peril, where innocent/gullible/easily deluded watchers are led to believe that something awful is going to happen….and it’s averted at the last second.

The makers of one of the most anticipated movies of 2013 (and that’s really saying something, IMHO, it’s a heck of a movie year) had nothing better to do with this movie than waste HALF AN HOUR OF IT on BENJIE-PERIL.

I was sitting in the theater with Mr. Otter and Spider Jerusalem, enjoying this movie and especially Benedict Cumberbatch (don’t you just love that name?) as the villain, mildly amused at the role he was playing, going along for the ride…when the BP sequence started. OMG, I thought, surely they’re not going to jerk us around like this, make it look like he’s going to die with appropriate emoting from all characters, and then miraculously save him? And then (as I watched the movie) I thought about how cool it would be if they ACTUALLY KILLED OFF KIRK and kept the series going without him…it would cause a huge furor, and would require some damn good writing in the next couple of movies, but it would be a SERIOUS reboot.

But no. Benjie-peril averted, nobody important is killed, the universe is saved, all is well.

Except that I was extremely disappointed.

Good actors, amazing F/X, good plot up to the last trite and annoying half hour…go see it but don’t expect it to be as good as the first one…because it’s not anywhere NEAR that.

Ah well. Summer beckons, I’m sure there will be good explodo coming along to make me forget this…

The Big Lebowski

May 22, 2013


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

Three bowling partners get mixed up in a kidnapping and meet a bunch of very strange characters.

Mr. Otter and I saw this movie in the  theater. We had liked Fargo, which came out two years before, very much. We thought this could be a very good movie.

It’s not. We were nonplussed. The only thing I remembered from it, besides the bowling, was the scene where they were scattering the ashes and didn’t allow for wind direction, which was pretty amusing. We thought it was pretty stupid, and when O Brother Where Art  Thou? came out two years later, we figured it was the Star Trek Movie Syndrome- every other Coen Brothers movie is brilliant, and every other one is not.

So that was fine, not every movie is a winner.

Except…this movie became a cult favorite. People quoted it over and over. The Dude Abides is a well-known catch phrase. Jeff Bridges has said that of all the movies he’s done, this is the one people most want to talk about when they meet him.

And both Mr. Otter and I thought, well…it was a long time ago. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe we missed something.

So we got it from Netflix and watched it again.


Sure, there were moments. Some of the characters were amusing. But overall? no better than we remembered. We have no idea why it’s such a cult movie (Mr. Otter: Slackers. Must be slackers watching it…) but it sure did nothing for us.

The Village

May 22, 2013


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A bunch of people living an old-fashioned kind of life worried about something in the forest outside…

Okay. So it’s M. Night Shyamalan. You know there’ll be a twist, because that’s all he does/knows/is willing to do.

And Spider Jerusalem says, you know what’s going on when the movie starts, but it’s not bad.

So I was at the red cross to do apheresis donation (two hours in a chair with needles in my arms) and didn’t bring my own movie. I went through all the movies they had available, and I found The Hurt Locker, and The Bucket List, both of which I wanted to see but both looked sad, and the last movie you want to watch with your hands otherwise occupied is something sad, believe me. Personal experience.

Then I saw this…perfect! Not too long, not too engaging, good people in it. So I watched it.

And indeed, there were good people in it. And the twist was good, actually.

But wait! here’s ANOTHER twist! Mwah hah hah! And ANOTHER ONE! and at that point, I said, nope. Done.

I am finished with M. Night Shamalamadingdong. I’m tired of him trying to relive his triumph with Sixth Sense. I’m tired of movies that might otherwise have been good that are hijacked by his need to try to astonish his audience. I’m tired of him wasting his fine directorial abilities on this endless quest to relive his past.

I’m done with him. Just sayin’.

But not a bad movie, the stupidity of the twists aside.

John Dies at the End

May 16, 2013


Internet Movie Database          Movie Reviews

From the novel by the same name by David Wong

This is just too wierd to describe, but mostly it’s about a new drug that lets aliens take over people’s bodies. And talking dogs. And paranormal stuff. And a lot of other things.

Spider Jerusalem emailed me.

SJ: They’re making a movie of John Dies at the End (a book he had recommended to me and we had both enjoyed.)

Me: There’s no way I could see it, it’d be WAAAAAAY too oogie for me. (what are oogies?)

SJ: Yeah, I know. I’ll watch it and let you know.

(time passes)

SJ: Bought it, saw it. I don’t think it’ll be too oogie for you.

Me: You gotta be kidding.

SJ: Srsly.

Me: Okay, but if it’s oogie I walk out.

So last night SJ came over, movie in hand, and we watched it. There was one thing that was a little, WHOA. But then there were beautiful snakes, so that was okay. There was another scene where someone who is dead immediately gets up and starts walking and talking.

I should be out of here by now, I said. This is interesting, no oogies.

Maybe you’ve outgrown them, he said.

Hm. We’ll see.

Oh, you want to know about the movie? Gross, fun, witty.

It kind of reminded me of Philip Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, although better written than ASD…or should I say that ASD reminded me of JDATE, since I read this one first.

I liked the actors they hired (and Paul Giamatti, who was also executive producer (because the verb “executive produced” DOES NOT EXIST IN ANY UNIVERSE))  and the editing they did to make a very odd book into a coherent story for the movies. It’s a little more amusing and tongue-in-cheek than the book; more like the book with a splash of Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn added. Not a bad thing.

Read the book first, it’ll mess with your mind. Then enjoy the movie, it’s fun.

Carmen (1984)

May 16, 2013


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A factory worker and the guys who love her. It ends badly, of course…it’s opera.

Mr. Otter and I saw a version of Carmen in the early ’80s that we have always remembered, that was set during the Spanish Civil War, and I thought this might be it…but no.

Although this was very good- the principals were very watchable, Julia Migines-Johnson was adorable, and the settings (locations rather than a stage) were really nice.

The subtitles (and there was no choice in this, they were a part of the movie) were evidently put there by a brit, some of the words and phrasings were really odd to American viewers (at least THESE American viewers…) But they got the job done. Would have been nice being able to choose French and actually see what they were singing, but no.

Not the we were looking for, but very watchable and enjoyable. If you like opera, which I generally don’t- Carmen is an exception.

Iron Man 3

May 7, 2013


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CinemaSins       Movie Reviews

The third, and probably last, in the Iron Man franchise. And an excellent addition to the series.

Spider Jerusalem: Iron Man 3 is opening this coming Friday.

Me: Mr. Otter and I are out of town for the weekend, and I hate seeing stuff opening weekend. How about Monday?

SJ: Done.

And it was perfect. We went to our favorite Emporium du Movies, had excellent pizza for dinner and I smuggled in a huge pile of sugar and ate it all before the movie started. There was hardly anyone else in the theater except a full row of twentysomethings hooting and bellowing before the movie started; I was very pleased that they were PERFECTLY BEHAVED during the movie, I actually thanked them and told them I’d go to the movies with them anytime. They were amused.

But how was the movie?

EXCELLENT. Worthy. Full of plot twists and character development. Enough explosions to make even an otter happy. Good actors who were a joy to see- Don Cheadle and Ben Kingsley were wonderful, and even Guy Pearce didn’t annoy me as much as he generally does. Gwyneth Paltrow was fine, she actually got to do something this time. Good writing, which is rare in the current crop of superhero movies- only The Avengers and these Iron Man movies make that a priority.

So yes, the otter loved it, will buy all three and is already planning a marathon. You coming over for it?