Archive for ‘Movies’

04/24/2013

Still is the story told, / How well Horatius kept the bridge / In the brave days of old.

by wfgodbold

Macaulay may be no Kipling, but Horatius at the Bridge is still amazing.

Oblivion makes great use of a stanza from Horatius (not, obviously, the lines quoted in this post’s title). Much like The Dude’s rug, it really ties the film together.

Yes, it does star Tom Cruise. Yes, it is in a bleak, blue-filtered post-apocalyptic future.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great story.

04/17/2013

What is best in life?

by wfgodbold

To crush your enemies.

See them driven before you.

And hear the lamentations of the women.

Thanks to all who called their congressmen to read them the riot act. Of course, just because gun control was defeated today doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, etc.

03/30/2013

A month’s worth of movie reviews

by wfgodbold

In reverse chronological order:

GI Joe: Retaliation was pretty good, if a bit light on plot (but hey, it’s GI Joe; just be glad the last half of the movie doesn’t teach you a moral lesson), and a bit ham-fisted with how it deals with characters from the first movie. Overall, though, I’d say it was better than the first movie, and should make enough money for Hasbro to keep the series going (whether that’s good or bad I leave up to you, gentle reader).

Olympus Has Fallen is a rah-rah kill ‘em all kind of movie, and Gerard Butler takes a turn as a Secret Service agent who has to save the president from an army of terrorists. He does so, of course, with much violence and more headshots than seems probable (look, if you’re fighting an army of mooks, it makes zero sense to shoot them all with a handgun when you’ve got a perfectly serviceable carbine SLUNG ACROSS YOUR BACK). *ahem* Anyway, aside from one scene (where I think the director was trying to hard to give us an American version of Fabrizio Quattrocchi‘s “I will show you how an Italian dies!”), it’s a good action movie. Even if the president kept making terrible decisions (I suppose they needed realism there to make up for the headshots).

Jack the Giant Slayer is an entertaining . . .

No. Just no. I can’t do this. It’s terrible. Not even Ian McShane, Ewan MacGregor, and Bill Nighy are enough to salvage this monstrosity. This does not fill me with hope for Bryan Singer’s return to the helm of the X-Men franchise.

A Good Day to Die Hard, on the other hand, is everything we’ve come to expect from a Die Hard movie. Gunfights, explosions, duplicity, John McClane complaining about absolutely everything, and general mayhem. Would definitely see again.

I had meant to write these up individually, but I kept finding some reason to procrastinate. I shall endeavor to do better, gentle reader. Until next time, enjoy the trailers for RED 2 and The Wolverine:

02/13/2013

Jack Reacher, or the exception to the rule that adaptations are worse than the novel source material

by wfgodbold

The Jack Reacher novels suck.

The action is okay, but the plots are predictable, and Lee Child’s ignorance of firearms is staggering.

If you’re reading a Reacher novel, prepare to be lectured about shotgun cones of death, how a .22 to the back of the head will take a person’s face off, and how FBI special agents are issued long-barreled revolvers.

You can’t escape the ignorance–Reacher was an Army MP, and any time someone is shot or he handles a gun, he inflicts on the reader his munificent experience (as distorted by the British author). Especially glaring is the constant reference to 12 bore shotguns (here in the US, we say gauge, not bore).

The Jack Reacher movie, on the other hand, focuses on the action and plot, and Tom Cruise does not narrate incorrect firearm information.

I wouldn’t have read the first Reacher book if I hadn’t seen the movie first; if I had read the book first, I wouldn’t have seen the movie, and it wouldn’t have been because Cruise doesn’t match Child’s description of Reacher.

It would have been because no book that bad could have been adapted into a movie of any worth at all.

As it is, the Jack Reacher film is a solid action movie, and the books are suitable for leveling that table that has one uneven length leg.

02/04/2013

Movie review bonanza

by wfgodbold

I know I said I would post a review of Wreck-It Ralph, but I got distracted by the new semester. And also by a few other movies. I also forgot to review Jack Reacher after I saw it in December, so I’ll get to it in a future post. Probably.

First, Wreck-It Ralph: it’s good (of course it’s good; it’s Pixar). John C. Reilly is funny, Sarah Silverman manages not to annoy, but Jane Lynch and the rest of the Halo-knockoff characters make the movie. My only complaint was that far too much of the story was set in the sickeningly pink girly-girly kart racing game instead of one of the other games. Disney also played the excellent short film Paperman before the movie, which would have almost been worth the price of admission alone (assuming you got tickets for really cheap, and not at standard ticket prices).

To cleanse the palate of animated Disney fare, I saw The Last Stand, Arnold’s post-governator return to moviemaking. The action was decent, but a lot of the film felt like they were just going through the motions–especially Arnold’s cracks about how old he is now. “I’m too old for this shit” jokes weren’t funny when Danny Glover was making them in the Lethal Weapon movies, and they’re still not that funny.

The great thing about Jason Statham movies is that you know exactly what you’re going to see: Jason Statham generally kicking ass and taking names. Parker is no exception. If you’re the kind of person who likes Jason Statham movies, you’ll like Parker. If you like the Parker novels, then I have no idea if you’ll like Parker, because I haven’t read any of them.

Which brings me to the last review for the day, and my favorite of the bunch: Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters. It’s tastefully gory (well, maybe just gory), funny, anachronistic (I have no idea what year they were going for, but they missed–not that there’s anything wrong with that), and action-packed. Hawkeye Jeremy Renner and Io Gemma Arterton are witch hunters, and they get hired to defend the town against the evil witch Jean Grey Famke Janssen, despite the objections of the town sheriff, Lucifer Peter Stormare. It’s everything a movie should be. Rotten Tomatoes puts it at 17% fresh, right in the so bad it’s good sweet spot.

12/22/2012

No one expects the unexpected journey!

by wfgodbold

The first of the Hobbit movies is good–far better than the reviews make it out to be, and on par with Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

That said, it does drag on a bit, and Jackson inserted some scenes to better dovetail the Hobbit with the LOTR movies. Mostly, they work. Radagast particularly seemed forced.

Other additions were welcome–the flashbacks detailing the fall of Erebor and how Thorin Oakenshield got his epithet (which, as a title, seems like it should have been written by Kipling) fit in with the story far better than Radagast’s bumbling.

And though the movie is a bit slow in parts, it does a good job of keeping those slow parts to a minimum and moving the story along. I look forward to the second film, whatever its title may be (I was hoping they would take a page from the 007 movies and follow the credits with “Bilbo Baggins will return in The Desolation of Smaug,” but no such luck).

12/01/2012

You know, aside from the initial suspension of disbelief activation energy…

by wfgodbold

The Red Dawn remake was actually pretty good (and by “suspension of disbelief activation energy,” I mean getting past the idea that the North Koreans could actually take over the Pacific Northwest*).

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but after getting eliminated in the intramural moot court competition this morning, I finally had an afternoon where I didn’t have the specter of a brief/oral argument/note hanging over my head.**

Despite my initial misgivings, the change of the conquerors from the Chinese to the Norks wasn’t completely terrible. I know that sounds like I’m damning the movie with faint praise, but the movie was actually good.

*It’s kind of a spoiler, but the suspension of disbelief was helped along by a revelation later in the film (*cough* HEMP *cough*). No, not that kind.

**Sure, finals are the week after next, but who cares!

10/17/2012

If you liked Taken…

by wfgodbold

You’ll probably like Taken 2.*

It’s the same style of movie – Liam Neeson is the implacable, righteously angry man on a mission to protect his family, and nothing is going to stop him.

Not even an entire Albanian town.

Though I liked it, I didn’t think it was quite as good as the first movie.

I still recommend it, though. It’s worth it just to see how Liam Neeson’s character MacGyvers his way out of captivity.

*I know I said I’d post this last weekend, but I have been incredibly busy. It turns out that those people who said moot court and law review at the same time was too much might have been right.

09/29/2012

When time travel is outlawed …

by wfgodbold

Only outlaws will have time travel!

That’s the premise of Looper, at least – a dystopian near future, where crime syndicates from the less near future send people they want killed. It’s all fun and games until you screw up and let a guy escape.*

The movie is pretty entertaining: it’s got good action scenes and an interesting use of time travel. I suppose I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t.

I will say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Bruce Willis impression was better than Bruce Willis’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt impression. It’s like he wasn’t even trying!

Seriously, though, it’s not a bad movie.

*Why the geniuses in the future don’t just mortally wound the guys and send them back through time bleeding out is never explained. Maybe they have to be able to truthfully say they didn’t kill anyone?

09/15/2012

The funniest bit in Resident Evil: Retribution…

by wfgodbold

Was when Alice (Milla Jovovich) handed another character a gun,* and said “Do you know how to use one of these?”

The response?

“I campaigned for gun control!”

“But do you know how to use it?”

“You don’t understand! I marched against the NRA!”

This conversation, of course, happens in the downtime in between killing zombies and running for their lives.

Once the zombies are at the door, it’s well past time to give up on gun control.

As far as the rest of the movie goes; if you’re the kind of person who watched the other Resident Evil movies, you’re the target audience. And you had better go see it, since Paul W.S. Anderson said that if it does well enough, he’ll make a sixth movie, and that will be the finale!

*KRISS got their money’s worth with their product placement, for sure.

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