31 May 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men The Last Straw

Ratner can't hold the weight set forth by fellow director Singer. In this last chapter, so many things were wrong. I loved the comics growing up. All the violations to the comics worked both for and against the film. Since it seemed as though they had no regard for the comic books, they saw fit to make up story lines that didn't work. In the comic world, there are so many great story lines. There are very few deaths to actual characters. Killing so many characters was tough for a comic nerd like me to watch. I had a hard time when they killed Joker in the original Batman movie. I wish they would have killed Mr. Freeze, but why go there. The Last Stand suffered from too much action and not enough plot. The first two films had a great balance. I felt that Beast was not as bad as everyone made him seem. The cure, Leech, I hate Cameron Bright. He has haunted my dreams for a very long time.

There were so many original story lines, that they forgot some of the most intriguing story lines from the comics. Most basically, Juggernaut is Xavier's brother. At the beginning of the film, we see X and Eric Magnus walking. WALKING! They never got into how Xavier became crippled.

Juggernaut. He really is not a true mutant. His powers are mystical, kinda.

Jean Grey. Pheonix had nothing to do with Jean being a level 5 mutant, whatever that means. I thought she was a tornado when I heard level 5, V5, whatever. It again, was a mystical power from space. Had they actually used the flame pheonix bird behind her, I might have been more impressed.

Rogue. Rogue and the cure, no way. Rogue could fly and was superstrong in the comics. In the movies, a little whiney girl. She had the wrong accent, and why woud she want Bobby when Remy could have been in the fourth movie.

Beast. He should have been explained. His mutant power is dexterity. He had large hands and feet in the comics. He was not blue and furry until a science experiment went bad.

Iceman. I did, however, love the shot of the real true blue Iceman.

Angel. At the beginning, they show Warren Worthington III. He doesn't do much during the movie. He should have had a bigger role. I liked how they used him to give the cure a background, but he still have had a larger role.

Pyro. How did he become so important? He wasn't in the comics. He really wasn't in the second film. Whatever happened to Sabretooth and Toad?

Magneto. Good old Ian gave a great performance, I thought. He was great. His character was great. His story line was simple, destroy humanity that stands in the way of mutants taking over.

Professor X. Well, I try not to give a lot of spoilers, so I can only say, stay for the end of the credits. His character was great, but I hated what happened to him. Again, why is he crippled.

Storm. All that money, and she still had a terrible wig. She didn't do much. She never does.

Colossus. Why not give him a Russian accent? Why violate simple things from the comics? He was decent. I didn't mind the visual of him turning steel.

Kitty. Well, she was ok. I think that she proves the point that they bring in only X-Men that they want to do one thing for the plot. In the last film, it was Colossus turning steel to help the kids get out. In this, it was Kitty to play with Juggernaut.

Multiple Man. Not a bad use for him. I can't remember though, I thought he was a good guy.

Random Mutants. Why were they dressed like Rosario out of Sin City? Wrong comic book, Brett.

And finally, WOLVERINE, my personal favorite. Through the trilogy, you have seen him grow as a mutant and a person. In this film, his transformation continues. His struggle with is passion and love for Jean was a shining star in this drab film. Again, they use of him is similar to the end of the first film, but who cares? I can't wait for the spin-off.

Verdict: All in all, worth the $10. This movie violated the comics, but that was kinda nice. It kept me guessing what was going on. I would have preferred that they kept to the comics, but it wasn't that bad. This may be the last in the this trilogy, but I would be surpised if they don't make any more. Maybe wait a few years, then come back with Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, or the like.

Poseidon

Who gets on this boat?

I am a big fan of the origanal. I, of course, did not see it in theaters, but I imagine that this must have been what it felt like. Back in the 1974, the SFX used to make The Poseidon Adventure were top of the line. I have to say, the ones in this remake were great, too. I did, however, wonder, why did they remake this movie? Was there a great need for this? They just had a TV movie, that I have not seen...yet, that nobody watched. Why spend over $150 million to make this?

Secondly, why would anyone get on a boat named Poseidon? That would be like getting on a boat named Titanic. Or an airplane named Hindenberg. What did the characters expect to happen?

The charcaters were fresh. They were not from the original. They did have aspects from them. Some of the characters were not well explained and most had little to no back story given. The actors should have done something else. Peterson and company should have hired all no name actors like the TV movie and kept the budget down in hopes to turn a profit. Josh Lucas has yet to show me that he is a credible actor, yet, they keep selling him like one. Kurt Russell hasn't had a good movie since Miracle, and before that....... It was nice to Mia Maestro in a movie. I was saddened that it was this and not M:I3 with Abrahms also from Alias fame.

I saw this on the IMAX, so, it was louder and bigger than it should have been. That means, I LOVED IT THAT MUCH MORE.

Verdict: If you want to spend you $10, do it. If not, see it at home. If not, don't see it at all. With this movie, it doesn't really matter.

22 May 2006

Down in the Valley

Way Down Yonder in the Valley

Let me preface this review by saying, I am not much into the art house type films. I do not watch a bunch of "independent films." My fiance is the reason that I saw this movie. So, take this review with a grain of salt if you so desire.

In an interview, Norton stated that this movie was one of his favorites. He would put this up with American History X, Fight Club, and 25th Hour. For those of us who enjoyed his performances in these movies, this sounded good. Let me note, I did not like 25th Hour. I was expecting a breathtaking role and performance from Norton based on his own words. I was let down. The role of Harlan (Norton), could have been played by anyone, not just Norton. His girlfriend Tobe (Wood), was no better. Though I am told, that she is "big" in the independent movie world. I personally cannot confirm that. Lonnie, played by poor little Rory Culkin was the EXACT same character that he was in Signs.

The only role that stood out to me was that of David Morse as the unapproving father.The story itself was nothing new. Dad does not approve of daughter's choice in men. Daughter decides to defy parent. Boyfriend "loves" daughter. Conflict ensues at every turn. This movie showed me nothing new. I was bored for most of it. The final gun battle was, well, more of a water pistol fight. The scenery was nice and beautiful. It reminded me a lot of the Brokeback-type scenery.

The only scene in which I was deeply impressed was a scene in the woods in the middle of the night. Harlan was creepy, Lonnie was scared, and the shadows, music, and camera work helped to enhance all of this.I did, however, enjoy seeing John Diehl on the big screen, but that is just the Miami Vice in me talking.

Verdict: All in all, I would advice renting this movie as opposed to spending the $10 to see it in theaters.

The DaVinci Code

Da Vinci not Da Bomb

I hate to have to preface this movie as I did my last review, but I feel I must let you know, I read the book before seeing the movie. With that said, here we go.

Where to begin with this movie is hard to decide. I am having a hard time finding something good about this movie. I got it! The previews were great. The Casino Royale, 21st Bond movie if you don't know, and Miami Vice were the preshow entertainment, and sadly, the only entertainment.

This movie had a budget in excess of $125 million. With all that, they could not have found the money to make Silas's eyes red? It was all over the book about how he was creepy with his red eyes. Unfogivable.

Akiva Goldsman, Academy Award winner for A Beautiful Mind, wrote a script based on a well-written book. Why not use the lines in the book? Something that flowed? I do have a grudge against him though, he wrote Batman & Robin, which killed the franchise until a real writer, Christopher Nolan, revived it years later. So, maybe I just look for reasons to hate him. Yet, he also did not follow the story layed out in the book. Unforgivable.

Ron Howard, Academy Award winner for A Beautiful Mind as well, is a decent director. I read a review on www.pajiba.com that stated that he has no gimmic, no Howard signature thing. I guess that it why I like him. He does not have the crane shot (Fincher) or the doves (Woo). But I was deeply saddened that his brother Clint was not in this film. With the mood that this movie failed to decide on, Clint could not have hurt it.

Tom Hanks, Academy Award winner for multiple roles, really did not portray Langdon as he was in the book. I stomached him, but was not impressed. He was not as bad as some say he was.

Ian McKellen, Academt Award nominee for LOTR: FOTR, should stick to Magneto and Gandolf. He again was OK, but should have been much better.

Finally, Paul Bettany, snubbed for an Oscar in A Knight's Tale, I know I stand alone on that thought, was a shimmering hope in this film. I am just horrified about his blue eyes.

Now, on to the movie. The plot from the book is basically there. I say basically because so much was changed that it hurt. They took out all the decoding of the messages. They messed with the heritage of the female lead. The added plots that weren't in the book with Fache and the Bishop. So much was brutalized, that the basics were the only thing left to see. They made Sophie a useless side character. In the books, she is the brains of most of the code breaking. Langdon himself was dumbed down for the film. As said on Pajiba, they made the female lead useless and a sex object in a movie about the Sacred Femenine. Ironic? I think so. So much time was wasted on watching "flashbacks" that didn't need to be flashbacks. So much of the budget seemed to be wasted there, too. The flashback visuals added nothing to the movie but $$$.

So much of the deeply layered plot was left out that the movie became more "religious" than the book ever was. When I finished the book, I could not understand what the religious groups were upset about. I am a religious person, and I was not offended. The book's theory about Christ is based on a bunch of "facts" that cannot be proved. The Last Supper painting "fact" is based on somebody restoring the painting and taking Magdelene out of it. Can anyone prove it? I don't know. I have never heard that before, so, therefore, I call the book fiction, and good fiction at that. The book was an exciting, quick, entertaining read. The movie was not exciting, slow, and not that entertaining.

The music in the movie, by Hans Zimmer, snubbed for an Oscar for Gladiator and at least a nomination for The Last Samurai, was overpowering at parts. It helped set the mood in some scenes and hurt it in others.

My last point in this review that seems to have turned into a ramble, is that there is more humor in this movie than in the book. I think this is where the movie hurts itself. The pace was slow enough, the humor only slowed it more. One good humorous part was when Sophie tried to walk on water. That was a good laugh.

Two and half hours after it started, it finally ended.

Verdict: I would advise again, as I often have here of late, rent this movie and watch it in the privacy of your own home.

12 May 2006

Mission Impossible III

Mission Enjoyed

Let me start off by saying, "I loved this movie!" With that said, it is too bad that the nation is on Tom Cruise overload. This is the best in the M:I series. J.J. Abrahms brought a "fresh" feel to M:I3, but it was just his feel from Alias. I liked Alias for the first 2 seasons, but that is not the subject of this entry. The movie moved and felt like an episode of Alias. There were many references hidden in the movie. The call signs of Outrigger and Pheonix were from Alias as was Greg Grunberg.

This movie once again used the whole mole in the agency approach. In the original De Palma movie, it was Phelps himself. In Woo's dissastrous second installment, it was 006, I mean Sean Ambrose. M:I2 was Goldeneye. It was Tom Cruise trying to be James Bond. In this film, the team, which was nice to see, was trying to find a mole in the agency. I hope that the fourth, if they make it, finds a different approach to a plot. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a fantastic villian. His small amount of screen time was dissappointing, but kept his character more ominous. Ving Rhames reprising his role as Luther was a great thing. His character adds a lot to the movie.

As their search for the mole ensues, they are also trying to locate the "Rabbit's Foot" that many people are mad that they never see, or find out what it is. I think that it was an unnecessary object to see. All we needed to know was that it was bad, and couldn't be allowed to get into the wrong hands.

The action was non-stop and excellent. The sound was great. The directing was great.

I just hope that people will get over Tom Cruise enough to go see this movie, like they want to in the first place, so that the box office numbers will allow for another one to be made, hopefully sooner than 6 years.

05 May 2006

The Sentinel

I thought that this movie had promise. I like Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland. The problem was that Kiefer was Jack Bauer, and Michael Douglas was boring. If the movie had showed more Kiefer shooting and being a bad-ass, then maybe I would have liked it more. I feel that the book was probably infinitely better. I bet the book would have kept you guessing as to who was actually the traitor. I found it easy to see through the "complex" plot. I was bored about 45min into the movie. As far as Eva, her character had potential, but turned out to have no point. Her bilingual ability never came into play, AT ALL. What was the point of it? They never delved into her time with Douglas. They barely hit the connection between Mike and Kiefer. All in all, a great movie to rent, but a waste of money at the box office.