Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Night Movie Review 7

We might have missed this last week, but by crikey did we make up for it this week. We collectively watched movies until our eyes bled, all so that you can make better entertainment choices thanks to our insightful mini movie reviews.

To learn about what we've been enduring this week, join us after this ominous jump!


Priest (2011)
When did action blockbusters get so boring? And just how does Paul Bettany manage to keep starring in them? (He seems like a great, funny guy in interviews, I just don't know how he became an action movie actor?) While Legion was dumb and pretty boring, Priest took it to a whole new level.

Based on a Korean comic that I've never read, Priest is set in a world where vampires (who are not human-like, but these grotesque, poor-mans-Guillermo Del-Toro-y creatures) have been at war with humans for centuries. That old chestnut.

The war has pretty well turned the Earth into a wasteland. But the humans have come out on top because The Church trains Priests to be badass-vampire-killing-mother-fuckers. Only they were TOO badass, and The Church feared what they had created, and disbanded The Priest program and took Totalitarian control of the cities.

Then for some reason they put all of the humans transformed by vampires onto reservations because that won't come back to bite them in the ass. And then one guy is bad and has fangs and is mysterious and I doubt the twist will be that he's a vampire.

Boring fight fight fight and futuristic-motorcycles driving through the desert and it turns out that one guys is a new kind of humanoid vampire! ONLY THAT IS THE DUMBEST TWIST EVER BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF VAMPIRE WE ARE ALL USED TO AND ALSO EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT AS SOON AS THEY SAW HIS FANGS RIGHT AT THE START OF THE MOVIE SO FUCK OFF.


Across the Universe (2007)
I've seen "Across the Universe" before of course. Several times. However, with my recent Blu-Ray purchase I had to buy it again to both see and hear it in HD for the first time. What can I say?  It's beautiful, man!  Such a stunning, moving movie, and a MUSICAL at that. A musical that is NOT annoying to watch, that has a serious and heartfelt story line and uses Beatles songs to tell help this story. Seriously if you haven't seen this movie I don't know what you're waiting for. Check it out, preferably in HD. It's well worth it.  I can't imagine anyone NOT liking this stunning movie. 

Oh fine if you need a synopsis more than a rave, it's about a young British man who comes to America in search of his father, and quickly makes friends with some American siblings and their rather interesting friends. They have to deal with their own relationships and feelings in the midst of the draft and the Vietnam war, race riots and whisky soaked idealism. Oh and there's a lesbian and Bono of U2 fame makes an appearance.  It's just superb. My kind of movie. Go see it!

J. Tagmire:   

Hesher (2011)
Hesher is a story about TJ, a young kid who lost his mother, gets picked on in school, and suddenly this intense metal dude named Hesher forces his way into his house and starts living with him and his family. Nobody knows him, and he just sits around in his underwear, makes a mess, watches porn, eats their food, follows them around, beats them up, and causes many more problems in their already problematic lives. And they have no clue who he is, or why he's even there.

It's an extreme concept, but you don't really question it. The movie moves along so quickly and so intensely that you don't have a second to question it. And part of me thinks that Hesher doesn't really exist at all, and is just formed within TJ's imagination as a way to escape from his messed up, young life.

It's a dark, heavy film. There are a few jokes, but mostly within the characters. And there are a few really dark moments. And each of these moments is shot wonderfully. The film has a grimy, and ugly look, that's captured beautifully on film. It's not over-stylized, but a dark and dirty view of the tortured world these characters live in.

So in the end, I absolutely loved this film. It reminds me of a much more intense (there is no better word for this film) Welcome to the Dollhouse. The performances were top notch. Devin Brochu is amazing as TJ, and he could only have been like 12 years old at the time this was shot. Natalie Portman's character softens the film and brings us back to reality, but she's tortured as well. Rainn Wilson plays TJ's depressed Dad, a welcome contrast to what I've seen him in. And Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Hesher as such an asshole with no regard for anyone around him, yet he won't leave them alone. This film might not be for everyone, but it was definitely for me.

Mike Wickliff:

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Let’s just call it like it is right here upfront: If you need me to tell you that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is a good movie, there may be something wrong with your soul. It was practically required viewing for any of us that are now in the “over 30” crowd, and for good reason. IT’S A GOOD MOVIE! I feel like I may have said that a couple times now… I’m not being too subtle, am I?

But seriously, on the off chance you haven’t seen the movie, it centers around the character of Pee-Wee Herman, who one fine day finds that his bike has been stolen right out from under his very nose! (gasp) Since it is the very best bike in the world, and the only thing that really means anything to Pee-Wee, he goes on a quest to retrieve it. One full of escaped convicts, motorcycle gangs, dinosaurs, and the one and only “Large Marge”. I’m not sure I’ve ever met another person my age who doesn’t know who Large Marge is.

There’s a more important reason that Pee-Wee is an…important movie, though. It gave the world not only Tim Burton, in his feature film directorial debut, but it also gave us Danny Elfman, who up to that point had done some stuff with Oingo-Boingo (I still have a copy of Dead Man’s Party someplace), but Pee-Wee was his FIRST movie score. It could be said that without Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the Michael Keaton version of Batman would likely never have existed. Which means no Batman: The Animated Series.  This movie is geek HISTORY.

I may be overselling it a bit.  But still, it’s an awesome movie, and as of this past week, is available on Blu-Ray! I purchased a copy, and was quite relieved to see that it still holds up, and the Blu-Ray transfer looks excellent. There’s not a ton in the way of extras: some deleted scenes, and commentaries with Paul Reubens & Tim Burton, and a music only commentary with Danny Elfman that I’m really looking forward to!  Other than that, it’s just the trailer and some production sketches…but it’s still totally worth it.

So yes, I'm a complete and total fanboy, that doesn’t make the movie any less great.  I highly recommend it!


Green Hornet (2011)
Do you like the classic Green Hornet character? Do you like Seth Rogan's oafish antics? How did you feel about Pineapple Express?

If you're answers to the above questions were: no, yes, pretty good actually, then surprise, surprise! You may actually enjoy Green Hornet!

Personally, I have zero attachment to any previous incarnation of the character and had no interest in seeing this film when it was first released. In fact I thought it looked pretty horrible and had trouble imagining how gravel-voiced stoner Seth Rogan would cope in a superhero action movie. It turns out he copes fine - as long as you're willing to accept that this is really a remake of the aforementioned Pineapple Express, with endearing/annoying loser Seth being enthusiastically thrown into high-stakes action sequences populated by quirky, but sinister villains. In that sense, it's almost everything you'd expect, but thanks to director Michel Gondrey, it's also displays some innovative techniques that perhaps you won't see coming.

Sidekick Kato is kickass and great, and I liked Rogan far more than I thought I would and found myself laughing in spite of myself. It's an enjoyable romp and a pleasant lazy stay-at-home-and-watch-a-film film. It had me at the brilliant scene where an uncredited James Franco squares off against a curious Christoph Waltz. And hey! At least it's not Green Lantern!

1 comment:

  1. I like Seth Rogen but Green Hornet was DIRE. He was so hideously miscast, just a vanity casting.

    And now I must go and get hold of Pee Wee's Big Adventure as I have not watched that in years!