Monthly Archives: May 2011

107. A Fish Called Wanda

I’ve never really been able to pick a “favorite” of anything. I’m not decisive enough for starters. That and when it comes to things like films there are so many movies I like that picking one is hard. After seeing A Fish Called Wanda again it is high enough up on my favorite list that I don’t have a problem listing it as a favorite.

A Fish Called Wanda is a heist film mashed with a dark rom-com. That’s very basic and doesn’t nearly do this film justice. John Cleese is behind the movie (and in it) so if you don’t like any of the Monty Python humor you are probably more likely not to care for this film. It’s not a Python film, but you can see the parallels between what Cleese has written for them in this movie. The movie has a unique brand of comedy that some people just don’t get. My mum for one just thinks all Python stuff is just bizarre and thus stupid. Others share a similar belief and they are kinda right to an extent. The comedy is bizarre.

A wealth of comedic moments. You really should be laughing throughout the entire film. A lot of this has to do with the cast (though I can’t praise Cleese enough). Of course John Cleese is in here and plays a typical role for him. I was yearning for Basil Fawlty to burst out a couple of times when he got ansi, but to no avail. Michael Palin is another Python bloke whom you may recognize and problem should. He does a great job with Ken and his role is probably the closest to any of the Python sketches/films. The movies ending gets most of its laughs from his performance. Jamie Lee Curtis is gorgeous and does an excellent part as the she-devil femme fatal kinda role. Of course Kevin Kline steals the show. This movie cements why I think he is an amazing actor. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor so I have backup here. For complains about him being very theatrical, this is where that works amazingly. His character is a ball of energy that is all of the place and Kline is excellent at it. It also helps that while Kline’s character, Otto, is rather stupid and just rambles on with the most insane things.  He actually consists of quite a few negative stereotypes of Americans and it works wonderfully. One of my favorite scenes of his is when he is lip-singing to an opera during some foreplay with Jamie Lee Curtis. He does this thing where he starts sniffing his armpits and from that moment on it becomes a thing in the movie. Other characters fiddle with their armpits as well.

Basically it’s an amazing movie that everyone needs to see.

 

I also watched No Way Out. It’s a really nice thriller and I sort of liked the ending, but after I started thinking about what to write here, I realised it was nothing special.

The movie is essentially about trying to cover up a Defense Secretary accidentally murdering his mistress, who is in a relationship with the Secretary’s assistant and is placed in charge of covering things up. It’s nothing special and really a good portion of that plot is Kevin Kostner trying to delaying things. Not much happens, but you don’t notice it. Despite how boring the movie should be I didn’t catch on. I was engaged enough to keep watching to see how things would play out. The ending is really unpredictable and I’d love to honestly see someone figure it out early on. I actually feel like the ending is actually a cheap shot in some ways. They put something so off the wall at the end so that you would sit back and go, well that was different. Makes you forget about the rest of the movie and it stands out.

Gene Hackman was decent. Nothing special. Kevin Kostner was dull. He pretty much was a static character the whole time and you don’t get much emotion from him. At times this fits the character, but overall he doesn’t do much other than deliver lines. Will Patton though is pretty good. He’s a great actor and he does an amazing job in this movie. He actually kind of scarred the crap out of me. Part of it was the makeup used in some scenes. THey darkened his eyes. If nothing else the movie is worth watching to see him.

Torchwood Series 2

I just finished series two of Torchwood. Overall I liked it better than series one. The one thing that was disappointing was the darkness of some of the episodes. Series 1 was more hit and miss, but it had same great episodes that benefited from some creepy shit. Series two just didn’t have that.

I didn’t care for all the callbacks to earlier episodes either. They weren’t that riveting. THe whole thing with Owen was a let down as well.

Some of the episodes in the series, while interesting, were just dull. The one were we see how everyone joined Torchwood for example. Neat. Five information to actually learn and see, but it didn’t provide much to the series, especially that late.

On the whole it was better. The problems with series two were little things and to me were mainly some little changes for the worse from the first series.

I have to say that the finale was much better this time around. I hated how they had a great cliffhanger ready last series and instead of just leaving it, they wrapped it up in five minutes. It was lame.

One more series to go now and it’s a short one. They are making a series 4 though, but it’s not out yet.

106. Real Time

So I watched Real Time today (or yesterday once by the time this is posted) this because of Jay Baruchel. I forgot Mr. Rand Quaid was in the movie.

So I had high hopes for this. Good ratings. Two nice comedic leads. I was bored. I just couldn’t get into the movie. There were some great little funny bits, but nothing sustaining. The plot wasn’t engaging to me and neither Quaid or Baruchel’s characters were anyone I cared about or wanted to watch for any length of time. What’s worse is that the film is only 77 minutes long.

Maybe the premise of a young degenerate gambler being given a “last chance” to “review his life” before being killed sounded horrible. The plot line was introduced early on and I just didn’t give a shit what was going to happen. Unless the little lesson learning was going to be really interesting and unique, it wasn’t worth seeing and I didn’t find it worth seeing.

The laughs I got were great, but there weren’t enough. The only other good thing about the movie really to me was Quaid’s acting. Sort of. For some bizarre reason he has an Australian or New Zealand accent. I kinda got distracted later in the movie because I was bored so maybe I missed the explanation, but I don’t recall any reason for his accent. The movie is set in some city (Hamilton I guess) in Canada. However odd his having an accent is he seemed to do a great job with it. I’m not a great judge at that though since I am in fact a Yank and don’t study accents. It sounded like it was from Down Under, but not in a stereotypical over the top way one of your mates does the accent in and you all think it is spot on. It was softer. It sounded more legit.

I’m assuming the title is referring to the fact that the movie takes place in “real time.” Think the t.v. show 24 I guess. I believe he is given an hour to “ponder,” so the movie may actually be shot in “real time,” but I didn’t think so. Again I didn’t study it that closely though.

I didn’t care for the film. Others seem to really like it though so I feel like I should always give these movies another shot. I don’t always get around to it, but maybe I will. For now though I could care less about seeing it again.

105. Cashback

After spending numerous hours watching Torchwood yesterday (or technically two days ago now I guess) I watched Cashback. It seemed interesting, but I didn’t have high hopes.

The movie, if I’m understanding things right, is a short film that has been turned into a feature-length film by adding more footage and of course editing. I’d like to see the original short just to see what exactly was added, but oh well.

The movie is slow. It’s not long and it didn’t quite drag for me, but it’s slow. It’s not a fast-moving film and there’s a lot of down time. The main character freezes time to deal with boredom (among other things) and those scenes surpassingly drag slightly. You are supposed to think some fancy larger questions.

The movie is not as artsy fartsy as it may sound there. There is actually a good bit of humor spread throughout which is its saving grace really. If it weren’t for the humor to pick things up, the movie would have been dreadfully boring I think.

The movie is a bit erotic, but really only at a few certain points. It’s basically just still “photos” of some lovely ladies exposing their bosom. It’s done tastefully I suppose.

I liked it. It may help that I used to work in a grocery store, but any “dull”job would fit. There are enough things that most people should be familiar with that allows a wide audience to connect to various themes. Crushes for example. Another plus of the film now that I think of it.

The movie is a bit surreal. Can’t think of how else to describe it. It’s not bizarre though. Interesting movie to check out basically.

Torchwood Series 1

So sweaty and in my underoos in a bean bag chair in my dorm room I finished the first series of Torchwood. Initially I was nonplussed with Torchwood, particularly due to the less than pleasant visual components of the early episodes. That and the wanna be cop character and plot development at that point. It just didn’t work for me.

I’ve come around though. I think part of it is I just got used to some things. There are still a number of long lingering shots with corny music that is unnecessary, but it’s toned down. The visual style of the show improved as well. It doesn’t look like a miserable soap anymore.

Even the stories improved. I have to say things got pretty intense as things progressed. The middle episodes were the best, because by the end things started getting a bit lax somehow. They weren’t as riveting.

The characters got a bit dull as well. Gwen is boring as shit to be honest and really that’s my biggest problem with the show I think. There isn’t any real character development. So Owen falls in “love.” It doesn’t really change him much. The only thing it does is act as a plot device to cause mayhem for a finale. Same with the other characters. Owen and Gwen fall apart and it’s just left at that. It’s a huge deal early on and then nothing. Tosh’s little fling basically goes ignored as well.

I’m also disappointed in the lack of Jack Harkness in the show. It’s my impression that Torchwood was created for him to get more screen time since he is a popular character. The result however has been a lot of focus on the other characters to the point that a number of episodes are devoted to trying to develop the other team members. Jack is just there. It’s all a bit disappointing really since he’d be a great character to develop on par with the Doctor. I don’t know why they don’t treat them similarly. The Doctor is constantly being chipped away at so why not do it with Jack. He can still be the lead and do shit.

The Doctor is another thing I have an issue with. Granted I’m watching this out of context of what was going on with Doctor Who at the time. I don’t recall specifically what David Tennant was doing as the Doctor during these events, but I felt that he should have shown up at some point. The rift opening up was a fine example of that. Technically he does show up at the finale (not that anything is seen), but his lack of appearance is disconcerting since in his show he always appears at convenient moments. I also think it would be neat if the Doctor randomly appeared. He wouldn’t need to do anything or dominate the episode, just a brief run in.

If everyone else is right and the following series only get increasingly better than I should enjoy them more than this. I feel like if I weren’t a fan of Doctor Who I would have given up on this show a while ago.

104. Police Academy

I watched Police Academy last night. Initially I wanted to try to watch all seven of them. Have a nice little marathon since I’ve only ever seen the first one. Unfortunately that really isn’t possible. I use Netflix and only 1, 5, 6, and 7 are on instant. The rest all require a wait for a DVD which means it would take some time to watch them. Renting elsewhere is not likely and I really would rather not take the time to download them (not that I haven’t done this before). So I figured I’d watch the first one and then 5, 6, and 7 since they were available. I only made it through one and stopped during number 5. I was tired. I may just watch the others today. My ambition to watch them separately though isn’t that high.

Police Academy is once again an example of the amazing comedy films that came out of the late 70s and 80s. They were amazing. They are outrageous and totally implausible and entirely not serious. It’s why they are great. My dream is to be a film director. I wanted to be one since fourth grade. I’d really like to write as well though and that’s were my focus is on a personal level. It’s part of the reason I started this blog. To combine film and writing for practice. I have a bunch of notes written down about certain elements and components of these comedy films. I’ve even written out a few story ideas that could work, but nothing extensive. It’s a pet project of mine that I would love to develop because I just don’t see these kind of comedy films any more. Again I love the comedy films being put out today (some not all. same with other eras though.)

But back to Police Academy. When I started watching it I actually dawned on me that this was kind of like Stripes except instead of the army, the police. There are a lot of differences, but there are also a number of similarities on a structural level. Hell, they both even have the third act where the “cadets” are all plunged into real action. There’s an overweight dude. (though John Candy is superb.) You also have the hitting on fellow female offices/cadets/whatever they are. There’s the hard-ass sergeant/lieutenant and then the dumb-ass head of the academy/base. The music has links as well.

These kind of movies are ones you are either going to like it or you aren’t. It’s a particular brand of comedy and while they may have been popular when they came out I don’t actually know a ton of peers who have seen these movies. Even when some have watched the movies with me they didn’t care for them as much as I did. The absurdity was to off kilter for them for some bizarre reason. They’d rather see Napoleon Dynamite or Superbad.

Still it’s a movie worth watching and even owning. It defiantly has repeat watching quality to it, which is part of what made these kind of films as great as they are. They didn’t really get old.

The Eleventh Doctor is Cool. Bow-ties are cool.

So technically this is my first Doctor Who post, but that is fine. I’ve mentioned it numerous times and just never figured out how I would go about talking about it here. I still haven’t decided so I’ll just post this for now.

So I really like Matt Smith as the Doctor. Maybe the fact that he is younger is part of it. He’s closer to my age now so he is almost more of a peer. That and I like the quirks this Doctor has. I also wear bow-ties instead of ties so it’s just another reason to love this Doctor. Anyways Stephen Moffat is also excellent.

I have to say I love the fifth series, but this new sixth series has been outstanding. The first two episodes were insanely frustrating in a good way. I was so anxious to watch the première that I jumped up and down and ran about my room pulling my hair because I would have to wait a whole week to not only see the conclusion of the two-part opener, but to see more new Doctor Who at all. The team already did an amazing job of setting up the whole  series in their opening. It’s actually kinda what I’ve liked about Doctor Who. When they actually go and link things throughout the series. Moffat seems to have done that more with last the last series and this one.

So far the third episode was the most disappointing, but in a way it was great. Thinking about it now it was actually a really good move since it was a nice relaxing episode. Just an almost random little blurb to help you collect your thoughts and just enjoy some classic Who without intense plot development.

The fourth episode rocked though. The Tardis as a human was amazing! I really wanted House to have been in Alan Rickman’s voice. For a second that’s who I thought it was, but alas nope. He would have been great for it though.

And now of course the fifth and sixth episodes were great, more so now that the sixth episode has left a nice cliffhanger.

Really I just love the whole series so far. There hasn’t been anything truly annoying other than the fact that I have to wait to see what develops.

I might just keep posting these random Doctor Who thoughts or I may just try to weekly post how I feel about the latest episode. All depends on how I manage my time and what seems to work best. That and I don’t want to post just to post.

103. Diggers

I watched Diggers last night. It’s one of a number of Paul Rudd movies I added to my Netflix queue to watch.

It was better than I thought it was going to be. I never read what the movie was about ahead of time. It had a three or four stars and Paul Rudd so I watched it. I missed the fact that Maura Tierney, Ken Marino, Ron Eldard, and Josh Hamilton are all in the movie.

So taking place in the late 70s outside of Manhattan we see the lives of clam diggers (hence the title). A big corporation is taking over and making life harsher. That and a father dies at the beginning of the movie. It’s actually almost a coming of age story in a way. None of the characters are really adults mentally. They all kind of act like oversized kids and through the course of the movie they mature to various degrees. A lot of nice character development.

It’s not a hilarious comedy. I think it’s more drama, but there are more than enough funny moments, especially if you consider the time period in some aspects.

The cast is excellent. I love Paul Rudd. He’s a great actor. I’m also a fan of Ken Marino who I know mostly through Veronica Mars and Party Down. Again another great actor and he has more of a straight role here which is nice to see. Ron Eldard was good and a face you may recognize. Same with Josh Hamilton. Of course Maura Tierney is an actress everyone should know. My parents were huge fans of ER and I remember seeing Tierney on that show before anything else. She’s a great actress. And she’s hot, especially in this movie. The other various members of the supporting cast are all great and since the movie is character driven it’s always a good thing to have a well-rounded cast.

I really liked the movie and its own of those films that I feel like I can sit and watch multiple times and it wont necessarily get old.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Glee

One of the things I love about Glee is that it is set in Ohio, where I am from. It’s just one of those little things that is neat.

I never heard of Glee when it started. Some girls at work were talking about it over the summer last year so I checked it out. It was ok back then. Sort of.

Glee can be really good. The stories with the whole misfits and diversity of these stories is remarkable. I love the fact that they go out on a limb sometimes. A lot of the writing on that level is done pretty damn well.

I can’t stand the melodrama though. High school for me was not that drastic, though I’m not expecting realism here. Still I’m just not a fan of melodrama on the screen. That and some of the extreme cheesiness.

I don’t like the character development either. I feel like no one has a clue what where the characters are going. Granted kids in high school are fucked up. For a TV show things need to be a bit more stable. It’s incredibly hard to keep tabs on all of the kids since they all seem bipolar.

Glee tends to draw things out. The whole Rachel – Quinn – Flinn thing is old an annoy by now. Could really care less. Kurt being harassed and expelled sadly got that way to. They kept hitting the same thing over and over. They didn’t change anything with the harassment, which they should’ve. It just got cloned and reused.

The music can be good or extremely crappy. The overuse of things like auto-tune drives me nuts. You can here it in a number of the songs and I don’t know why. The actors surely aren’t that horrible at singing. If they were then just have someone better dub it instead of trying to fix it to perfection. The over processed songs just irritate on me. I’d rather them be raw and gritty. I want the hear the mistakes.

The show is an “ensemble” but it’s not very good at that. There are too many people to keep track of. The show just jumps around from a certain groups stories from time to time and a number of characters are just completely neglected for a couple of weeks completely.

There are other things that stem from what I’ve mentioned. Really I feel like Season Two has just gone down hill. The biggest thing I’ve liked from it is the acting. There have been some amazing opportunities to get to see some fine acting from the cast.

There are some great moments in Glee, but the show could be so much better. I feel like they are easy things to fix and they are similar issues I’ve heard elsewhere. If the next season is a repeat of this one than I’ll probably stop watching.

102. Truth or Consequences, N.M.

Watched Truth or Consequences tonight. It was ok. The movie seemed to borrow pretty heavily from other criminals on the run films. I defiantly got a bit of a Bonnie and Clyde feel as well. It was interesting enough to keep me watching for most of it.

The movie starts of miserably. A long clip showing Ray getting out of prison to a nice ballad. Way to long and it just isn’t needed. Kiefer Sutherland makes up for this (he’s the director) by basically having the heist take place within ten minutes so things start rolling pretty quickly and the pace is nice until the last forty minutes or so. Things get a bit slow and boring. I lost track of what exactly the characters were trying to achieve. Really it seemed like they wanted to make a movie with some crooks on the run and they just didn’t give a shit about everything else in the story. They just threw some shit in to show how they got on the road.

It’s a decent flick. The acting is pretty decent, but I can’t say I’m yearning to see it again.

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