Wall-E

December 19, 2012

walle

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Another cute animated movie about a cute anthromorphized being who falls for another cute anthropomorphized being and (against all odds) saves the day. Ho-hum.

Ottersis was visiting during Thanksgiving Week. We were showing each other movies. (Actually, we got her hooked on Firefly, but that’s not a movie. Mr. Otter and I are serious Browncoats.)

And she had brought this movie, loaned to her by Spider Jerusalem, and which he had not even watched since purchasing because she wanted me to see it, so he let her bring it on her visit. Brand new. And she pulled it out and our housemate, Maid-of-Awesome, said, OMG, that is the cutest movie EVER.

And she did that thing where she waves her fingers at her face to indicate that she REALLY LIKES something.

And we watched it. And you know what’s coming…

Yes, I am the ONLY PERSON ON THE WHOLE PLANET who didn’t think this was the cutest, most romantic movie ever.

I mean, yes, Wall-E sets off all the ‘cuteness alert’ responses in the normal human. He’s short, and has big cute eyes with little expressions and worry crinkles. He has an adorable cockroach sidekick, and loves Hello Dolly, and plays the musical numbers over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Well. Okay.

But you know, it just didn’t work for me. It’s like (and I think this is indeed what happened) the animators wanted to do a robot, and had to figure out how to make him appealing enough for everyone to like him and want to see the movie over and over and buy the merchandise and all. And of course, big appealing eyes are always good. A cute little smart sidekick, even a cockroach, is good. And if he loves old musicals? Especially not-as-famous, slightly wierd ones like Hello Dolly? It’s a winner!

El mektub mektub. What is written, is written. What is made by Pixar and/or Disney is, by definition, wonderful. Especially these days.

And that’s what this feels like. It’s a buttonpushfest worthy of Spielberg himself, and had just about that much heart and genuine emotion behind it, in my opinion. This movie felt more like something designed by a committee to make as many people like it as possible, rather than created by someone who had an idea that s/he loved and wanted to see brought to life on the big screen.

realpolThis is also the only animated movie where the Reality Police are showing up…even for an animated movie, there were so many parts of it that made me say, Huh? how can that happen? why is that there? that makes no sense…my disbelief hit the ground with a thud. And I’m not even going to discuss the huge spaceship full of fat people. Not going there, not this little black duck.

So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m a curmudgeon. Maybe I just don’t get it.

But I didn’t get it. At all.


Two Weeks Notice

December 18, 2012

2weeks

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Hugh Grant is rich and needs a lawyer. Sandra Bullock has ideals and is pretty. He hires her, she quits, they fall in love.

No sparks in this one, actually pretty dull for a love story, but there were several amusing bits, and I liked her parents a lot…they were more interesting than Hugh and Sandra, actually.

I mostly went to see it because I enjoy both their usual personae: his ‘dim but charming’ and hers ‘gorgeous but klutzy and tactless’. Not bad, but not particularly good either.

realpol
Grammar police: it’s Two Weeks’ Notice, dammit!!! Why on earth did they leave the apostrophe off the second word? Are they STOO-PID, as we say chez Otter, or just too frickin’ lazy to care? sigh.


The Tall Guy

December 13, 2012

tallguy

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Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Guess what happens next?

Jeff Goldblum is an actor in London, a sidekick to a vicious comedian (Rowan Atkinson, natch). He falls in love with Emma Thompson, loses his sidekick job, and finds one as part of a company doing (I kid you not) a musical version of The Elephant Man.

This is screamingly funny. Firstly, Jeff Goldblum is a serious honey. No kidding. Looks, talent, charm. He’s got it. Emma Thompson, although not a honey in any movie but Treasure Planet is also very easy on the eye, and their dalliance is hilarious. Plus the musical, oh my GOD, what a hilarious sendup of overblown RSC and Andrew Lloyd Webber style musicals! it’s too good to miss.

And it’s a nice love story too.

Watch it when you want a feel good movie that will make you laugh til you cry.

realpol
Reality police: Like Jeff Goldblum would have trouble finding a girlfriend, give me a break.


Swordfish

December 12, 2012

swrdfsh

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Hugh Jackman is a hacker hired by rich wacko John Travolta to break into government computers and get a whole lot of money.

This review contains SPOILERS.

This movie is a real dog, but if you want to see it and not know what happens, go no further.

For the rest of you, Auntie Otter is going to teach you a new word that she will use a lot in this review: Gratuitous (Gra-Too-It-Us). It means something extra that’s added that really doesn’t need to be there.

This is a thriller that was highly recommended by my Faithful Movie Buddy. He told me the general plot outline and described the first scene, the explosion, which (I will admit) totally kicked ass. The bus/helicopter thing was pretty fun to watch, too.

But he thought this was a really good movie, and now I am going to have to go back to him and disabuse him of this erroneous notion. It is NOT a good movie.

See, it’s a thriller, a caper flick, and it’s trying to be very hip and savvy and up-to-the-minute.

The problem is, as Mr. Otter and I were watching it (and halfway through he realized that he’d already seen it, that’s how forgettable this movie is) I kept pausing it to say, NO WAY!

This is not good in a fast-paced thriller. Normally the director wants the viewer to suspend his or her disbelief like a bus full of people with dynamite vests being lifted by a sky crane…but mine kept slipping its cables. I mean, sure, in any action movie there’ll be a plot hole or something unbelieveable, and you accept it and just go along for the ride. When it’s so bad that you are actually pulled out of the movie to utter those immortal words, something is very wrong.

So here we go:

QUESTIONS

  1. Why is Hugh Jackman living in squalor in the middle of an oil field? I mean, sure, he’s an ex-felon who can never touch a computer again. But he’s young, handsome and well-spoken, surely he can get a decent job. Especailly in Texas, there are lots of ex-felons there.
    • And where is he getting enough money to (as we find out later) go after his daughter with lawyers TEN TIMES?
    • And doesn’t it occur to him that squalor is not a good way to present himself as the putative custodial parent?
  2. Why is there a dog? You see Jackman’s dog for three seconds, and it is never seen or mentioned again, even at the end. Seems the dog’s only function is to slightly prefer Halle Berry to its master, to show (I assume) that she’s a Good Guy. Silly.
    • Where does he find the money to board it while he’s in LA? that’s expensive, even in Texas.
  3. What is the point of the blowjob in the gun-to-the-head-while-you-get-the-password scene? I mean, I understand it, it puts Jackman under more stress and also shows what a nutcase Travolta is. But (here’s that word, kids) it’s gratuitious. Didn’t need to be there. I’m not saying it’s offensive, just pointless. Mr. Otter and I were both saying, Huh?
  4. Why does Don Cheadle, FBI agent, answer the phone? When he’s just gotten the Finnish hacker alone to answer some questions? Seriously, as soon as that guy came in and said, you’ve got a call, Mr. Otter and I were both saying, don’t do it, they’re getting you out of the room to kill Finnish Guy. I dislike a movie where the main characters are less intelligent than I am.
  5. Why is Halle Berry sunbathing topless?
    • Why is Halle Berry sunbathing at all? she’s the perfect color all over. And you do NOT want sunburn on your boobs, take it from me.
    • And why topless? she’s gorgeous, a bikini would have been just as effective. But then they wouldn’t have been able to advertise the HALLE BERRY NUDE SCENE (which this, technically, is not, she’s just topless). They kept trying (clumsily) to build sexual tension between Berry and Jackman, and it just when nowhere.
    • And why is she sunbathing WITH A BOOK? Isn’t the whole point of sunbathing naked to get an even tan? The sun’s rays do not go through paper, believe it or not. Silly and gratuitous.
  6. Are we supposed to believe that courts feel that a porn film producer who shoots movies in his own home is considered a better parent than Hugh Jackman, who has gone straight? give me a break.
  7. And are we also supposed to believe that a government agency has so lost track of its budget that they have let NINE BILLION DOLLARS pile up unnoticed in an account? that one was REALLY hard to swallow, and it was the crux of the whole movie…
  8. Why did the school let Jackman pick up his daughter?
    • They leave a 10 year old kid out in front of the school alone to go home with whomever she wants?
      I don’t think so, even in 2001.
    • And (assuming they were keeping an eye on her to make sure she didn’t go home with some candy-waving stranger) they let her go home with her father, who has been ordered by the court not to see her? You’d think his picture would be plastered all over the school with notes like, Call the police if you see this man.
  9. So he takes her home, the FBI chase him, there’s the whole “Princess Bride’ sliding down the hill scene, they catch him at the bottom, they let him walk off…what happens to his car, which is parked in the driveway of the house he is court-ordered not to go to? after all that running around the house and through the bushes, he can’t hope to pick it up again without being noticed.
  10. Why is the body in the wine cellar? Obviously, so that Hugh Jackman and the viewers will see it and realize that More Is Going On Than Meets The Eye. But either Travolta’s cellar is below freezing (to keep the body frozen) which will ruin all that good wine, or it’s at a good temp for wine (50-55 degrees F) which is NOT good for keeping bodies from decomposing. The smell alone would have clued Jackman in that something was wrong in the second case, and his freezing bare feet in the first.
    • And what is Jackman doing getting his own bottle of wine? a big ol’ house like that would have taken a staff of people to keep in good shape, and I’m sure Travolta doesn’t cook for himself. Silly.
    • And why is Travolta allowing Jackman to see the body, anyway? Again. so that the viewer knows. But it makes no sense, even if (I assume) Travolta wants someone left standing after the whole thing is over to appreciate his brilliance. This is the visual equivalent of James Bond Villain Monologing, and it didn’t work for me.
  11. Why does Jackman find Halle Berry in her undies and a gun? I mean, I know why, we get to see her in lace undies and a gun. And he gets to see her wire. But think about it: either he was walking into her bedroom (why?) or she was undressing in his, including the wire which she supposedly didn’t want him to see but obviously did. The fact that she was doing it at all in a place where she could be walked in on makes her story much less credible. There’s that G word again…
  12. Why does Travolta have a convertible with English steering? Oh, because it’s really cool, of course.
    • And the whole LAPD isn’t down on top of him after after that multi-street firefight? Come on, I’m sure at least ONE of the many people he shot at got his license plate number…
  13. And that room full of busy people packing arms and bombs and stuff? We know from something Don Cheadle, FBI agent, said, that Travolta only rented the house a couple of weeks ago. He got that running in a couple of weeks WITH NOBODY NOTICING? like the FBI, who are staking him out?Okay. So the flashbacks are over, the ball bearing bounces back to Hugh, and we are back in the present. But wait, there are more questions!
  14. Why are they breaking into a bank and taking hostages in the first place? The only reason I can think of is that Travolta knows the feds are after him and wants to be declared ‘really most sincerely dead’. I mean, think about it: Jackman is uber-hacker. He got into the DOD computers on a laptop in a nightclub in sixty seconds. Surely he can hack into the DEA computers and transfer all the money to wherever it goes from ANY COMPUTER THAT IS ON THE INTERWEBS? Why do they have to be in a bank, taking hostages, with all the high-profile stuff going on? Oh, because it’s cool. I forgot.
  15. And given that they have to be in THAT PARTICULAR BANK doing this computer thing. why does the explosion throw off Jackman’s timetable for disrupting the money transfer?
    • Why on EARTH would Jackman link the timing of his little surprise to one particular laptop instead of to UTC or Greenwich?
    • And the explosion ONLY disrupted the clock on this laptop and did NOTHING ELSE TO IT? seriously, that is so unbelieveable.
  16. Why did they expect us to believe that Halle Berry was dead? I actually thought to myself, why don’t I see any bullet holes? every other person who has been shot in this movie has been spewing blood everywhere, why isn’t she? Oh, because she isn’t really dead, duh. Note to director: much less of a surprise if the audience has already figured it out.
  17. Why did Jackman get on the bus? I mean, he fixed the money thing so Travolta could get it, his daughter was safe, Travolta said he could go. Why on earth did he get on the bus with the explodo people? this was WAY stupid, and unbelieveable.
  18. Once the bus leaves the police-lined route, there is NO TRAFFIC ON ANY OTHER STREET NEAR LAX? No frickin’ way. I’m from down there, there’s traffic at 3 am.Mr. Otter: Maybe it’s a Sunday morning?Me: No, the bank was open for business. This is just stupid.
  19. When the guy falls off the bus with the other guy holding onto him (and me, I would be all, YOU ARE COVERED WITH C4, GET AWAY FROM ME even falling through the air), why do we not see cool ball-bearing destruction on the building they hit? just an explosion, but it should have ripped the building and those glass windows in half, if it went off like that woman at the beginning. Oh, that’s expensive, and we’re over budget. Got it.
  20. After Jackman hit the chopper with a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile (thanks Mr. Otter!) and it went ‘splodie, why was there enough of the body left to identify? it should have been little bits o’ barbecue, blackened Travolta nuggets.And finally:
  21. After Travolta explains over and over that for movie audiences to be satisfied, the movie needs a happy ending…THIS IS A HAPPY ENDING? okay, Jackman gets his daughter and ten million bucks, but Travolta and Berry are out there killing people. Oh, they’re killing bad guys. Yes, and all the people on that yacht they blew up, including sailors, kitchen staff and kids, were evil. NO, this is not a happy ending, it was just creepy and unbelieveable.

So there you have it. Gratuitous, silly and wierd. Makes me long to see Pulp Fiction again, a well-plotted exciting thriller full of surprsies that MAKE SENSE.


Suspect Zero

December 12, 2012

suspect0

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Two FBI agents are brought back together to track down the person who is psychically tracking down and killing serial killers.

Mr. Otter and I were on The Great Dinosaur Trip of ’04, in Great Falls, Montana, and had a free afternoon for sauntering and shopping.

And, as it happened, our campground was near a movie theatre.

Well, said we, let’s go catch a flick!

And so we saw this one…partly because the previews looked good (me) and partly because Ben Kingsley and total honey Carrie-Anne Moss were in it (both of us).

And as far fetched as the plot sounds, it was really good. Well plotted, well acted, suspenseful, a little oogie (but not much), really really good.

Until the last ten minutes, when, true to the compelling force of plot over common sense, it all fell apart. People started doing stupid things for no reason, and my disbelief hit the ground with a huge THUD. The very end was extremely predictable and unsatisfying and totally didn’t work for me.

realpolReality police (and they do indeed have jurisdiction over FBI actors, thank goodness): I would rather it had been bad all the way through, I felt so disappointed to be enjoying it so much only to have the writer/director/powers that be thumb his/her/their nose(s) at me and start making these really interesting and believeable characters do stuff worthy of a Jim Carrey movie: “Nah, we don’t need backup, we’re too emotionally involved in solving our case to make ABSOLUTELY SURE that the suspect doesn’t get away and kill anyone else.”

Okay, they didn’t actually SAY anything this stupid, but they sure did it.

Not to mention that a young child rattling around in the back container of a big rig during a high speed chase and several collisions would be mincemeat when the truck was finally stopped, instead of merely bruised a bit. Hel-LO, that’s why there are laws about wearing seatbelts, y’know?

Sigh. Rent it, the beginning was good, just don’t feel bad if you get sent out for popcorn in the last 10 minutes, you aren’t missing anything…


Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

December 12, 2012

sith

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CinemaSins 1          CinemaSins 2

This review contains major SPOILERS, so be warned. Actually, there are so many spoilers here that you don’t even have to go see the movie. Aren’t you grateful? you should really send half of the ten bucks you saved to me, to thank me…you’re welcome.

Firstly, let me say that this movie violates one of Otter’s most important Principles of Movie Stupidity. No, not “The least obvious guy is the one who committed the murder(s)”. Not even “If something scary is killing people, don’t go off alone looking for it”. Or “Don’t wear a red shirt in any Star Trek episode”. No, the important principle that makes me scream every time a moviemaker violates it is: NEVER LEAVE AN ENEMY ALIVE BEHIND YOU. Never. Never. Never.

You’d think a Jedi Master would know that one…but of course, that would cause some major plot problems…so let’s come back to that later, and we’ll just get started with shredding this dog.

Now, just to be fair, there were a couple of good things about this movie: best of all, the much hated and reviled Jar Jar Binks was NOWHERE IN EVIDENCE, an omission for which I, at least, was profoundly grateful…even better than seeing him killed horribly was NOT TO SEE HIM AT ALL*.

Ewan MacGregor and Natalie Portman were two more good things about this (although her lines, not to mention her whole part, were among the worst ever, and there was a scathing article in the San Jose Mercury News about that, thanks to La Cuerva for sending it to me…). They were both in there trying to make their lame dialog and unfunny jokes sound as good as possible, and don’t think I didn’t appreciate whatever they could do to help out. I did notice that Samuel L. Jackson, usually a wonderful actor, was just mugging along in this one, but he didn’t really have much of a part…

And of course, the special effects were good. But you know, no matter how many times people try to convince me that a movie is good (or at least worth seeing and enjoying) if the special effects are spectacular, my answer is the same: I would rather see good actors doing Shakespeare on a bare stage in street clothes than bad actors doing it with all the stage, scenery and costuming that money can buy. Same for explodos: if the script isn’t good, and the actors at least decent (hint: don’t hire Keanu Reeves) then no matter how good the special effects are on their own, it’s NOT A GOOD MOVIE. And I don’t care what the box office grosses are.

But I digress.

realpol

The Reality Police are ALL OVER this one, but I didn’t want my review to look like it had blue measles, so this is my token symbol for all the stupidity that follows. And there’s a lot of stupidity, so brace yourself.

From the opening scene, where Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are zooming in with their little scooters, avoiding certain death and destruction, and rescuing Chancellor Palpatine (and is there ONE PERSON on the PLANET who didn’t know he was Darth Sidious? come on, we all figured that out the first time he showed up in Phantom Menace!) it was obvious that nobody had made Hayden Christensen go back to remedial acting school. Damn, McGregor is good looking, and can act, and was doing EVERYTHING HE COULD to make up for his partner’s shortcomings…but no. Hayden Christensen is about the most wooden actor on this planet, and isn’t even as good looking as Keanu Reeves…just a sulky bad boy with no talent. And that carefully curled and styled hair, oh my god. I guess he’s a *STAR* now, huh?

Then the huge ship that they’re on is attacked, because the evil tubercular droid General Greivous (I’m not making this up, he sounded like a pack-a-day man) got away and starts bombing the ship he escaped from, that they are trapped on, to destroy them.

Now, here is one of the problems with making prequels, and it happened OVER and OVER and OVER in this movie, as it did in Attack of the Clones: not much point in trying to destroy the ship that Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader-to-be and the Evil Emperor who is not yet an emperor are in…because EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE KNOWS THEY DON’T DIE YET. So where’s the suspense? sure, the special effects were cool, but so what? And of course they had to bring in the Star Trek Fallacy: huge window in the room is broken, outer space on the other side…but no! The people in the room have time to get away! sorry, folks, it’s called explosive decompression for a reason, and even if you do manage to escape in the short time you can actually exist in those conditions, five or eleven seconds, you’ll have serious heart and lung problems, and probably won’t be up for piloting the remaining piece of the huge space ship in to port.

And what was going on there? why on earth would an orbiting deep space vessel have LANDING FLAPS? The ship was obviously never meant to land anywhere…on the other hand, George Lucas is the one who made space ships make noise in outer space, so I guess he can do what he wants.

So fine, all is well, mission accomplished.

Christensen is put on the Jedi Council at the express request of his buddy Chancellor Palpatine. And he’s STILL a whinyboy, he’s STILL sulky and childish and awful. Why didn’t they ship him off to that swamp planet with Yoda like they did Luke Skywalker? Yoda would have knocked that attitude out of him pronto…

Oh, and Natalie Portman shows up, so we also have the love scenes. The article referenced above summed that up nicely, I only have a couple of other comments to make:

  1. If they’re not supposed to be married, and it’s so bad that Padme’s queen will dismiss her from being a senator if it’s found out, why doesn’t anyone bat an eye at the fact that she’s WAY PREGNANT? Getting knocked up by an unknown person is ok, but marrying a putative Jedi Knight isn’t? give me a break. As in the last movie, Portman’s clothing is chosen for looking totally pretty rather than useful…although less revealing, since she’s supposed to be pregnant. Demure, yet sexy. So at one point, she’s wearing a dress with a halter strap, cut low across the top, with three little strands of pearls hanging down across her upper arms on each side. Okay. Not so bad. Then cut to late at night, Christensen gets up out of bed…and she has gone to bed in this confection? No woman would use this for anything but seductionwear, either the pearls would break, or they’d dig into her arms. And she’s pregnant, why on earth would she wear that outfit instead of her comfy old sweats? WHAT were the costumers thinking? were they all men? What a crock.
  2. Portman’s portliness increases and decreases throughout the movie as well, depending on what she has to do at the time…certainly no woman in the eighth month CARRYING TWINS would be sprinting sveltely across the landing pad to confront her husband…she’d be leaning in the doorway of the spaceship, one hand on her lower back, screaming imprecations at him, and hoping she didn’t have to go down that ramp, because she’d never get back up it…and she certainly was nothing like large enough for those two HUGE BABIES to come out of her. Maybe a Jedi womb warp…

But back to what passes for a plot…everything goes wrong, the Emperor sucks out Christensen’s soul (but not his acting ability, since there was none of that there to start with) and Darth Vader is born. And still shows absolutely no emotion. Oh, but his eyes glow wierdly when he’s evil, that’s how you know. But his jedi sword is still blue, I thought the bad guys all had red swords, that’s how you KNOW they’re bad guys, right, like the robots in I, Robot? No, his sword stays blue. Very odd.

Of course there had to be a cute animal sidekick, McGregor got it, a wonderful riding lizard, the only touch of humor in the movie…sigh. And it was a long damn movie, take it from me. But there was one other part I really liked: General Grievous’ little gyroscopic roadster, made me think of the line from Batman, where the Joker stares after Batman, shakes his head, and says, “Where DOES he get his toys?”…it was COOL. Sad when the computer animations are WAY more interesting than the actors…

And that was about the end of cool, for the rest of the movie. Four jedi masters go to confront the evil Chancellor Palpatine, none of them is in the next movie (the REAL Star Wars) so we know they’re toast. Senator Organa shows up, we know he’ll be ok. All the other Jedi Masters are killed, but of course Yoda and Obi Wan survive. And then…the big duel scene!

Yoda (who THOROUGHLY kicks butt in this one, yessirree!) fights the evil Chancellor (now Emperor, I think) Palpatine. Obi Wan fights the newly christened Darth Vader. (who is almost instantly also called Lord Vader, even without official recognition of his rank. Huh?) But the fights. Ho hum. Nobody’s gonna die. Nobody but Darth is gonna be seriously hurt. At this point, we all know EXACTLY what’s going to happen, and the only thing we’re sticking around to see is how Darth Vader gets so thrashed that it’s body suit time for him.

And after a long fight over the lava where they seem to be evenly matched…Darth Vader jumps over Obi Wan at the EXACTLY PERFECT angle to let him cut off one hand (the one he had already lost, luckily) and BOTH LEGS. And then he falls in the ash/lava mix at the edge of the boiling lava lake and yells and writhes a lot. And Obi Wan…turns and walks away? without pushing him in? without shooting him through the head? No light saber to the heart? No, of course not, because HE CAN’T. He has to be UNBELIEVEABLY STUPID (and it was unbelieveable, this is a guy that Obi Wan KNEW killed a bunch of CHILDREN back in the Jedi Temple) because Darth Vader has to live, and everyone IN THE WHOLE WORLD knows it.

And what is this thing Lucas has for cutting off everyone’s hands? It was a great plot point and a huge shock when Luke loses his hand…it was less shocking when it happened to Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones, but everyone said, okay, he’s riffing on that movie. Now, in this one, there were at least SEVEN INCIDENTS of people or droids having hands/limbs cut off in battle. Are the choreographers just getting bored? are they tired of finding other things for people to do with light sabers? or do the special effects guys just like doing stumps? By the time it happens to THREE of Christensen’s limbs at the end, it’s kind of like, been there, done that…wierd.

And then…he puts on the suit. And of course his last line in the movie is dubbed by James Earl Jones, the Voice of Darth Vader (jeez, I hope he is getting MEGABUCKS for that, that voice has always been so perfectly scary). And I don’t know how much they modified that big, threatening black costume, and how much of it was just knowing that it was awful Hayden Christensen inside…but he was really not impressive. AS DARTH FRIGGIN’ VADER HIMSELF. Not impressive. And that was the saddest thing of all. Thanks so much, George Lucas, for turning the scariest villain in all of movie history into a SULKING WHINYBOY in our heads. May you burn in hell forever for that one.

Well. Anyway. Of course the twins are born and named and farmed out, and everything is in place for the next/first/best Star Wars movie.

Thank God that’s over. Supposedly Lucas has done the Star Wars thing and will not be making episodes 7, 8, and 9, to which a grateful public can only say Huzzah! and hope that he means it.


*I am informed by my friend and colleague La Cuerva that <retch> Jar Jar Binks</retch> is indeed in the movie, in the last scene, walking behind Padme’s coffin…but at least he NEVER SAYS ANYTHING.

Now my Dragon-In-Law has pointed out that he was actually in THREE SCENES and in one says ‘Excuse me’ when someone pushes by him. Lucas probably had a contract with the poor schmuck who signed on to do Jar Jar that he’d get a speaking role in each movie so he could be paid…but I have to say, I totally blanked him out, there was a Jar Jar Binks sized hole in the screen all three times he showed up, and I am eternally grateful for it.


Star Trek: Nemesis

December 12, 2012

nemesis

The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

Sigh. This one had some good special effects, but if I had a cliche meter, it would have seriously redlined. Pretty much everything that usually happens in a Star Trek episode, new or old, with the exception of the captain smooching up the alien chick, happened in this one.

Mostly, it just doesn’t work. You know that nothing is going to happen to Picard, and (surely you can’t care enough about this one to mind me telling you this) even though Data is theoretically destroyed, his memories are basically in his duplicate, so it evens out…fake pathos is the worst, this was totally Spielbergesque. There were a couple of good scenes, but the reality police were swarming all over this one:

realpolOK, the name Romulan was coined in the first shows in the 60s…but a sister planet named Remus? Give me a break, how incredibly stupid. Why on earth would even a scriptwriter make that up?

realpolIn the futuristic federation, the supercool landing craft have…off road vehicles with rubber tires and automobile suspension for land work? I don’t think so. Laughable.

realpolAnd they didn’t figure out that the pieces of robot were a trap? I did, as soon as they found the first one. How come the federation is full of people who are dumber than me? Do I want to go to this future???

realpolAnd the kid who’s supposed to be Picard’s clone…sure, they beat him up some in the mines. That’s why he looks nothing like Patrick Stewart, even to the point of actually having lips, but everyone SAYS they look alike, so it must be true. The magic of Hollywood.

realpolAnd speaking of which, we are supposed to think Picard and this kid look alike…because the kid ALSO HAS NO HAIR! Are we to believe that Jean-Luc went completely bald at, what, nineteen? I don’t think so.

realpolAnd because the genetic voodoo that was supposed to make him age quickly to look like Picard didn’t happen, something wierd is happening to his body…ok, makes sense. But what is this ‘procedure’ they keep trying to get him to do all about? can’t be the aging thing, they said the time for that was over…so what was going on there?

realpolAnd then they blow up the spaceship with the evil radiation, just before it fires the radiation at the Enterprise. DIDN’T THAT SPREAD THE EVIL RADIATION EVERYWHERE? Evidently not. Hah!

realpolAnd finally, my all time favorite, brought back from the hated and reviled Generations movie: a big hole is blown in a spaceship, and all the air rushes out into space…and all that happens to the people in that room is that the air leaving the ship pulls them toward the hole. No explosive decompression. No eyeballs popping out of their heads. No lungs coming up through their throats. Nobody’s skin starts leaking blood from exploding capillaries. The hole in the side of the ship doesn’t expand to the size of the room. And then the hole is covered (by what? their shields are down) and everything is fine.

realpolAnd why, when they divert all energy from life support to the engines, do they still have air, heat and light???

 

I could go on, but I don’t think I need to…you get the picture.

Patrick Stewart is a serious honey, but the rest of the STTNG crowd is getting a little, um, well…porky is the word that comes to mind, actually. Hope they’re smart enough to stop making movies before they become as pathetic as the 60s group…

DO NOT pay for this in a theatre, no matter how much you like STTNG or special effects. It just ain’t worth it, folks.


Spider-Man 3

December 11, 2012

spidey3

The Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins      Movie Reviews

Oh yeah, Spidey done got himself in a lot of trouble this time, what’s gonna happen?

The third in the Spider-man oeuvre, and one I had eagerly anticipated, although not enough to see it in the theater last summer when it came out. I had recently seen the first of these three movies, and Mr. Otter and I watched the second and this one back-to-back (the movies, not us, of course…)

Well, you know what they say about sequels. Although 2 was excellent, I thought that this one was kind of a letdown; they really couldn’t think of any more character development to do so they threw in some extra villains instead. And they were good, and the special effects were good, and the story was true to the comics (which I don’t read, I had to look Venom up to be sure they hadn’t weenied out; I got the impression that the only way to get rid of it was posthumously…but no.)

Anyway. Decent plot, interesting, good effects, but I’m glad it’s the last one, it wasn’t nearly as good as the first two and another would have been even worse. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were excellent, it was fun finding Bruce Campbell’s cameo, it wasn’t a waste of time…just not quite as good.

realpolReality police: no way that the theater producers wouldn’t have known that Mary Jane had a weak voice, and if they had been stupid enough to hire her anyway, there is no way the unions would have let them lay her off after one show like that. More unbelieveable than the superheroes. Silly.


Spider-Man

December 11, 2012

spidey

The Internet Movie Database
CinemaSins      Movie Reviews

From the comic book of the same name. A geeky student is transformed into a super hero, and saves the city from the bad guy.

What a great movie! Now, I have never, to my knowledge, read a Spider-Man comic in my life; however, he is such a part of pop culture that I do know a little about him, and the milieu in which he operates, and just like Batman captured the brooding, dark feeling of Gotham City and the Batman series, Spider-man is a perfect expression of a more light-hearted kind of story…the scene of him flinging himself down the street, yelling “Ya-HOO!” was priceless.

The special effects were very good, of course, but the real winner here is Tobey Maguire. Not only perfect as the ordinary guy turned superhero, but imagine if you will an action movie with real character development taking place…boggles the mind. And Willem Dafoe, as the psychotic bad guy, was also excellent, way over the top.

Definitely worth the entrance fee, and Maguire, although a little too young to be a serious honey, is certainly a contender. Check back in 10 years.

realpol
Reality police: Give me a break. Mary Jane Watson is a redhead…and wears THOSE COLORS? Red and lavender? I don’t think so. Should be the fashion police instead, and the costumer should be dragged away kicking and screaming.


Something’s Gotta Give

December 11, 2012

somegive

The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

OK, I hated Sleepless in Seattle (yes, I’m the only female in the whole world who thought it was stupid instead of romantic) and this is just SiS for people who are 20 or 30 years older.

And it’s really not much better than that. There are some good plot twists, like the play. It’s watchable, but not anything to see twice, that’s for sure.

And there are real problems with the cast. Sure, Frances McDormand and Amanda Peet are here, and they’re really good (and go a long way toward rendering this one actually watchable) but the three main characters are played by Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson and (get ready) Keanu Reeves.

Yes, you read it right. Keanu “I’ll never smile because my face might crack and they’ll find out I can’t act my way out of a paper bag and make me give back all the money” Reeves.

Sigh. So here you have a love story. With Diane Keaton spending most of the movie like this: Wah! Wah! Wah! Wave hands in the air! Nervous! Compulsive! Wah! (20 seconds of normal behavior) <Repeat>

She falls in love with Jack Nicholson. Now, I guess that wouldn’t be so unbelieveable…I mean, they are presented in this movie as being of un certain age, ok, no problem there. But how do they meet? Because Nicholson is dating her thirty year old daughter (Peet). Huh? What on EARTH would a cutie like Peet see in Nicholson? He is just not (and I’m sure that many women will heap scorn and loathing on my head for saying this) repeat NOT SEXY. He just isn’t. An excellent actor, interesting to watch, plays in a wonderful variety of roles…but he just doesn’t have the kind of charm a man like that would need. Now, if it were Sean Connery playing that part, disbelief would be bobbing happily about four hundred feet above our heads, floating gently out to space…but not Jack Nicholson.

And then there’s the other problem: Keaton’s other love interest is (I kid you not) Keanu Reeves. This is unbelieveable for many reasons, the biggest being that it’s hard to believe that Reeves has any emotions at all, since he certainly doesn’t SHOW any…and Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicholson are both in love with Diane Keaton. And she’s HAPPY about this? it doesn’t make her want to scream and bathe in lysol to get the taint off? hah.

realpol
Reality police: look at the cover of the DVD. Is this creative airbrushing or what? Diane Keaton is 57, and ol’ Jack is pushing 70, but here they look like they’re not a day over 30.

What a crock. Make a movie for the baby boomers but put younger faces on the cover so people won’t think it’s about (shudder) OLD PEOPLE. This is akin to the travesty of going to a large-size store that uses thin mannequins and pins the sample clothes back so they don’t look so big (I’m not kidding, pisses me off!)

Mildly amusing, but no great shakes. Don’t go out of your way to see it, it won’t change your life if you don’t…and certainly won’t make it any better if you do.