Monthly Archives: March 2011

Nic At The Movies

So I used to have a blog called “Nic at the Movies” that I created for a class. The class ended and I moved to my account here. My reason for doing so was to not associate myself to the college, since really hosting from their is intended more course use.

I’m going to try and start doing posts like I used to there. Granted those were prompted slightly by a professor, but for the most part it was all me. Personally I thought they were quite good. So I’d like to get back to that kind of writing. I’m still doing the 365 days this so I probably wont make intense posts for those, but every week at least I want to do one.

Since I am at a new site I figure I’ll start re-posting those old posts here, partly because I can. Basically trying to change things up a bit between just doing little blerbs and doing more in-depth looks or whatever it was exactly I had been doing before.

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45. Girl Walks into a Bar

So now that I just posted by snippet for yesterday, let’s get to the movie I just watched on Youtube. Yes I watched it on YouTube because Girl Walks Into a Bar was released on the internet and you can legally watch it for free on YouTube.

So not a great movie. A great cast with some good performances, but the story kinda screwed it over. I understand it being episodic. That didn’t bother me. What got me was the lack of connection. They do all connect at some point, but a few of them just don’t really have any point. They don’t add anything and are just kinda crap, acting and witty dialogue aside.

Personally I feel like I missed something somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s the way the film is constructed or that they genuinely left out a number of connecting details, because while I understood what went on for the most part, by the end I was lost. The story at the beginning is resolved maybe half way through (guessing). The rest of the film doesn’t have any importance.

Overall though it is good and since it’s only 80mins(1:20) it’s worth watching. It’s also free so you are spending any money (other than for internet access). The acting is well done (though Josh Hartnett/his character seemed really out of place). There are also some really good dialogue exchanges. Just don’t expect the story to be amazing and tough it out through the slow spots (which happen sporadically).

44. Saving Grace

 

Well I fucked up. I forgot to post this review yesterday. I did watch it though! For whatever reason I just didn’t go back on here and write my little snippet.

So I enjoyed State of Grace. Nice good film with a hell of a cast. Defiantly worth checking it out.

43. Hannah and Her Sisters

I don’t really get Woody Allen’s films. I’ve just never been all that fond of them or thought that they were amazing pieces. Maybe I’m missing something or just need to re-watch them. They aren’t bad, it’s just they don’t seem to strike a chord for me.

The casting and acting are good. The story is good. Something just doesn’t click for me with Hannah and Her Sisters or for any other Woody Allen film I’ve seen (which isn’t many).

Granted I was distracted while I was watching this, so that’s going to be my excuse. I’ll give it another watching sometime, but from past experiences with Allen’s film’s I don’t know if I’ll like it better.

I guess people either love Woody Allen or not so much. I seem to fall into the Not So Much category. I get where it’s good, but it’s just not for me. If you like the man than go for it. If you’ve never seen him than give this a try as well as some other of his films.

42. The Madness of King George

The Madness of King George has a nice cast. Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Nigel Hawthorne, Rupert Everett and a number of others in smaller roles. It’s one of the greatest aspects of this film. The cast is headed by some great performers and the supporting cast is just as good leading to excellent performances all around.

The movie is a period piece. Some people like them others hate them. Some only like a select few. As good as this is I don’t think someone who doesn’t like these type of films will enjoy it. It has enough humor though that it might sway some people. Personally I didn’t really know anything about the historical topic at hand. While the film didn’t bother explaining everything to set the viewer up, enough was given that you could figure it out. I tend to look stuff up on the Google anyways so that usually isn’t an issue for me. Still, it’s another notch against the movie if you aren’t a fan of the period pieces.

The humor is great though. In some respects it’s almost a dark comedy since a good deal of these moments revolve around the suffering of King George. I guess dark comedy wouldn’t be right, but the humor is darker if you think about what you are chuckling at. The flip-side is that things do get serious and depressing at points, which just reinforces how diverse the film is.

I liked it, but I’m also a fan of a number of “foreign” actors and films that come from the UK, particularly the comedies.

I wanted to like this movie more than I did. It seemed like it would be better, especially with the cast, but it wasn’t. Maybe my expectations were to high.

The Good Night really isn’t anything special. Vanilla Sky and Abre Los Ojos among others come to mind when I saw this. It didn’t help that Penelope Cruz was in this as well. The film held its own though with an interesting enough premise even if it didn’t seem original. The humor was consistent and good enough that it was another plus. The cast was good, but not anything new or special. Really the film just didn’t seem to rise to the occasion. I didn’t feel like there was much of a build up and things just kinda stayed pretty static.

I guess this is an example where the cast let me down since I put too much weight on them. Gwyenth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz really didn’t get much screen time to build their characters. Simon Pegg was in a similar boat and really he was just kinda there to add some jokes it seemed. Danny DeVito was good, but again the lack of screen time didn’t really allow for us to get much out of his appearances. Martin Freeman gets the screen time and the possibility of development, but his character doesn’t really do much, which might be the point of the whole film.

Dunno. Nice to sit back and watch if you are bored, but the film isn’t thrilling, so it might just make things worse.

41. The Tourist

Obviously I watched The Tourist. I had low expectations. The trailers really didn’t make me feel like this would be anything good. I was wrong.

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp do well in the film, though it’s not their best. It was nice to see Paul Bettany (still love him in A Knights Tale) and Timothy Dalton (he was great in Doctor Who) make appearances. Steven Berkoff was another nice addition. I kept thinking he was an old Bond villain from Connery’s era, but I was wrong. He was in Octopussy, but what I really remembered him from was Beverly Hills Cop. Nowhere near that performance, but still good.

I didn’t feel like there was anything outstanding about the movie. It was cute. It was also funny, but very subtly. I can understand placing it in the Comedy section for Golden Globes now that I’ve sen it since it does have quite a bit of humor and fits that more than Drama.

It’s worth watching if you want to sit back and enjoy a nice easy flick. Don’t get to worked up over it, because it’s not meant to be complicated and it really isn’t.

40. Sucker Punch

I saw Sucker Punch last night with some friends and that’s the only reason I went. Personally the movie was crap and didn’t exceed my expectations.

Zack Snyder is known for 300 and Watchmen, both of which were movies that i just didn’t like. I’ve never gotten the fascination with 300 and I understood the hype for Watchmen, but both movies just sucked. If you’ve seen both or one of those films you’ve seen Sucker Punch.

Snyder over uses slow-motion. The opening sequence is ten minutes at least (guestimate) and is pretty much entirely down in slow motion. Every action/dream sequence has slow-motion, some of which utilize it to the point where the entire fight scene is in slow-motion. That or he’ll occasionally speed things up for five seconds.

Like previous films he takes good music and remixes it. In this case and with Watchmen some really good songs were trashed. They are usually slowed down and made to seem “eerie” which usually doesn’t actually fit with the song. I love the Pixies “Where is My Mind,” it’s one of my favorites songs, and it was fucked up in here.

He also uses a lot of CGI and other computer effects to create his visual look of the film. There’s a lot of cleaning up to the point where nothing looks realistic at all. The people could easily be CGI with the amount of touch up work done to make them look flawless. It’s overdone and isn’t impressive the third time around.

There are a number of other repeat trademarks of Snyder that show up and aren’t anything special to me. I didn’t hate the movie though. The premise for the film was actually interesting. Troubled girls coping with their issues (very VERY loose idea). The visuals and action though nullify this though as well as with their really being much of a story. The one friend I was with had it right; it’s a video game. It would actually make a good video game and that is EXACTLY how it looks when you are watching the movie, especially with the way the action sequences are set up where you fight a “Boss” in each one.

Some of the CGI was cool. I liked how the Samurai thingys looked and the Orcish creatures were pretty cool as well as the steampunk Germans. Other than that it didn’t seem like anything special.

The dialog was crap all around. I mean the action sequences were the best examples of this. They essentially never talked and when they did it was just shite. Scott Glenn plays a “Wise Man” and essentially says the same thing over and over. Even in the “sub-reality” the dialogue is nothing special.

That’s another thing to explain. The movie will remind you of Inception. There’s the three levels:

1. Reality. And this doesn’t ever really exist. The first ten and last ten minutes and that’s about it.

2. Alternate Reality. The Asylum becomes a Brothel essentially and is what most of the film is set in besides the dreams.

3. Dreams/Escape. The place where all the odd actions sequences take place.

None of this is explained, it just jumps right in and you’re expected to follow. I was aware of this before the movie started, but I can see where it would be jarring for most. At least Inception explained things.

Crap movie, could have been cool, and should be a good video game, but probably won’t be. The separate “dream fight” sequences could be cool movies. The steampunk Germans in WWI for example is a simple enough idea that would be cool expanded. Modern technology fighting dragons and Orcs is cool, though Reign of Fire exists all ready.

Basically if you want to watch a two-hour video game go for it. That or you want to see girls pushing their almost exposed breasts up and wearing extremely skimpy clothing then this is your movie. Otherwise, and I recommend it, don’t bother. It really isn’t worth the ticket price, even for a matinee. Maybe watch it on DVD. Better off watching it for free somehow (legally since I suppose I shouldn’t endorse pirating) if at all. Nothing being missed.

PS: John Hamm has a very small role, so don’t get to worked up about seeing him.

39. $5 a Day

I love Christopher Walken. I have not seen everyone one of his movies or most of them. This is mainly because he is in everything. Hopefully before I die I will have seen all of his movies.

Walken is the reason to watch $5 a Day. There are other reasons, but really all you need to know is that he is in this flick and it is a comedy, which means it’s great. It’s a different film and it’s kind of subtle to a certain degree.

Alessandro Nivola is pretty good (watch the Goal! movies) and Sharon Stone has a nice brief appearance (she’s still got it). Still though, it’s Walken who carries the film and really he’s all you need. The other actors could have been crap and he would have made the film work.

The movie is really nice though. I really enjoyed the end actually and I feel like the movie improves the further you get into it. Defiantly worth watching and especially if you like Walken.

38. Middle Men

The list if movies I want to watch is incredibly enormous and Middle Men is simply another film that was on that list. I heard about it when Kevin Pollack mentioned it during his Podcast, the Kevin Pollack Chat Show, which is quite good though I don’t regularly listen. I tend to just download them and pop them on at random times.

Anyways, the film. It’s got an interesting premise that immediately got my intention. The internet and porn. It’s not the greatest film, however it’s not crap. I actually quite liked it mostly. I think it did a good job for the most part at putting in some comedy, though it could have used a bit more maybe. Something at least to pick a few slow spots up.

The cast is what pulls it through though, which doesn’t sound spectacular coming from me. I’m an actor whore. None of the performances are stellar, but they help prevent the movie from being crap. Rade Serbedzija is fucking awesome and I love that man. He’s just so badass and I feel like he would be great in some comedies. Luke Wilson does a decent job, but I’ve never been a fan. Giovanni Ribisi is another actor who is really good. He has nice range, though he usually plays more “trashy/weird/pathetic” kinda roles. Don’t really know quite how to describe it. There are a number of good actors in very small supporting roles or cameos which are always a treat to see, especially in this case as they don’t take anything away from the film.

Worth watching, but nothing spectacular. Could have been better if it went more towards comedy or dark comedy or crime drama/thriller thing. Floated a bit too much in between really.

37. The China Syndrome

My parents have The China Syndrome on VHS and I’ve always wanted to watch it, but never have. It finally went on Instant on Netflix so I got a chance to see it. It’s great.

To start with the premise of a nuclear power plant having issues is a good enough plot, especially for back in ’79. Now these plants are more widespread and with the events in Japan this film has actually been referenced a few times. Anyways the story is really good, although the idea of the business men being greedy bastards isn’t new. Defiantly something that fit the era.

The cast is also excellent. Jack Lemon, Jane Fonda, and Michael Douglas. Shit they carry quite a bit of wait alone, let alone together. All of them were excellent, especially Jack Lemon.

One thing I liked about this film, which I didn’t notice right away, is the lack of a score. There’s music, but it takes place within the film, ie: diegetic sound. The only exception is the opening. Even the credits are silent. When they are in the plant it really works because you get to here the plant. You hear all of those lovely mechanical whirrs and groans and it works. It’s also a testament to how good the film is. You don’t need the score to help influence your emotions as is usually the case. Most people tend not to really actively think about the score, but if you remove it you notice. This film is able to succeed without that subtle push.

Obviously I advise watching it.

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