29 June 2010

Toy Story 3

21 June 2010

Jonah Hex


When I first heard about this movie, I was excited. I love westerns. John Malkovich is a great villain. Megan Fox is hot. Josh Brolin is a solid actor. It is a comic book adaptation.

Well, it failed….epically. Jonah Hex might be one of the worst movies I have had the displeasure to have sat through in theaters, ever. Nothing worked. I should have been warned. I did not dig into this movie as I do normally. I would have found out a few things that could have sent up red flags. Would they have stopped me from seeing it? No. But, they would have at least lowered my expectations. Will Arnett is in this as a soldier, and the role is serious. The writers were the same guys that brought us Crank, Crank 2: High Voltage, and Gamer. I love Crank, refused to sit through the sequel, and was let down heavily by Gamer. I feel that they were a one trick-pony. Now, I hear that they are working on the Ghost Rider sequel. It sounded like they tried to write jokes every five or ten lines, and they went over like a lead balloon. And the last red flag, it was only listed at 80 minutes.

As I mentioned above, nothing worked. The story was hard to follow. It just jumped from scene to scene. I am still not sure why Quentin Turnbull (Malkovich) hates Jonah Hex (Brolin). There was something to do with Hex causing the death of his son, Jeb. Jeb was played by an uncredited Jeffery Dean Morgan marking his third comic book adaptation, all of which bombed at the box office. Then there is the character of Lila. Megan Fox looked so out of place in this movie it hurt. As a whore in the old west, I would never picture Megan Fox. Never. Will Arnett was a caricature of a soldier. I am not sure what his point was. He was a good guy that didn’t believe in hiring the bad guy, Hex, to hunt down the other bad guy Turnbull. Why? Who cares? I could write and entire 5 pages on why the story was bad and did not work, but why bother?

I love musical scores. I have not heard one as misplaced since the unfortunate Public Enemies score last summer. The duo of Marco Beltrami and John Powell gave us the old twang of guitars meets Godsmack. And it was down harshly and rough. Twang-twang-twang-BUMP-BUMP-BANG-BANG-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP! Awful.

And finally, what caused the biggest problem? The bad story and screenplay is one thing. The actors can only work with what they have. The music was terrible. But, this was supposed to be a western based on a comic book. I would have thought there would have been some awesome action. I was wrong. The director did not know what he was doing, and it showed. This was his first live action movie to direct, and only his second movie to direct. Before this, he did Horton Hears a Who and worked as an animator at Pixar. Who would have thought he could do this? Apparently, Warner Bros.

Verdict: I cannot stress this enough, do not waste your time. It was awful. If you don’t believe me, it was at a 12% on Rottentomatoes, and it opened with just over $5 million. The one thing I liked, Tom Wopat! Go Luke Duke!

04 June 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Well, this was my first outing to a movie with our book club. Last month, we read the novel by Stieg Larsson. It was amazing to say the least. The local art house theater still had the movie playing, so we set a date to go see it. As I usually do, I dug into the movie and its key players. Being a foreign film, I did not know anything that any of them had done. I did, however, learn that the film is the highest grossing Swedish film of all time. I am no stranger to foreign films, and I have no problem with subtitles. Some of the people in the book club were worried about it, but they all seemed to be fine with it in the end.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the more neutral translation. The book is actually titled, Men Who Hate Women. After reading the book and watching the movie, the original title fits perfectly. The movie follows the basic outline of the story very faithfully. The problem with a movie of a 590 page book is, they have to leave things out and change things enough to meet budget and time restraints. The basic story and plot are still intact.

The story focuses on Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced investigative journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker with autism. The movie doesn’t focus as much on her autism or Aspergers syndrome, yet the book does. It does focus on the relationship between her and her guardian, Nils Bjurman. That is a dark storyline.’

The story opens with Blomkvist being found guilty of libel, and having to leave his post at his newspaper, Millenium. Blomkvist is then hired by the elderly Henrik Vanger to look into the disappearance and murder of his granddaughter Harriet. The catch, she went missing 40 years ago, and the suspects are all part of the Vanger family. They all live on an island with one way on, and it is the same island where Harriet went missing. As the mystery unfolds, Blomkvist hires Salander to help in solving the crime. I do not want to give anything away, so I will leave it at that.

Being a foreign film, it is hard for me to rate the acting. I thought the casting was a bit odd. Noomi Rapace was an excellent choice for Libeth Salander. Bjurman was well cast. I would have chosen someone a little frailer for Henrik. The ladies from the book club thought that Blomkvist should have had more sex appeal. Anyway, the direction was solid. The score was neither good nor bad. The tension was palpable. I love it when all of the elements come together to make you feel uncomfortable.

As for the differences from the novel to the film, the only one I did not care for was the fact that the last 120-175 pages was condensed to about 10 minutes of screen. That part was very interesting and entertaining to me. They cut out a lot of the storyline of the magazine, the Vanger Group, and what really happened with Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Some of these elements bother me because the book is the first in a trilogy, but a planned ten book series until the untimely death of the author. I have only read the first book, but I cannot see how they are going to ignore these storylines in the future films. All three books have been filmed in Sweden. David Fincher has signed on to direct an American remake of all three films. The casting rumors are fun to read, but I do not understand the need for this remake.

In the end, I have to say, read the book. It is amazing. The movie is good. It did seem to have some overlap with the future books, which bothered me a little since I have not read them. But, oh well. I did enjoy it. As a warning, it is 148 minutes long. I kind of lied to the wife about that so she would accompany me. Oops!

01 June 2010

The Rest of May and the Start of June

Nothing else this month interested me enough to go see it in theaters. I will rent Robin Hood and Shrek Forever After, but the rest I will likely pass on. June does bring a few more interesting movies. I will definitely be seeing Toy Story 3, The A-Team and The Karate Kid. I might see Knight & Day, Killers and possibly Jonah Hex. You’ll just have to check back to see.