A break from work meant that much of the previous few weeks were spent glued to my laptop screen, enjoying the wonderful art world of movies. Another inspiration is preparation for the upcoming 2010 movie review.
Jack Nicholson's The Joker (Batman) has been given much praise, and on revisiting, I'm left wondering what the fuck they were drinking/smoking. Sure, this version of the character was meant to be humorous, but it's hard to ignore how far he pales in comparison to the Heath Ledger's more recent portrayal.
I was gladly surprised by how enjoyable Superman is. It's generally a piece of shit (bad and childish dialogue, campy direction, shitty character development, bad script) but I fell in love with Lois, the love interest of Superman. She's is so god-damn sexually suggestive (highlight is the interview scene). The comic sidekick of Lex Luther (archvillain) is also fun to watch, sometimes. The guy playing Superman in his teens is pretty good too, making for a better actor the fully-grown Superman. And the time-reversal moment is ludicrous. WTF! As a sidenote, it was interesting to find that the movie's director got someone to re-write the script due to it being too campy.
Superman II had some (very) unbearably stupid moments, but it was fun watching the evil trio exploring the world, especially the inquisitive woman, and the power-hungry general. The whole was even campier than the first movie, and the script is pure trash, more of a curiosity than something to be taken seriusly.
I really love the editing of The Kite Runner, and how smooth the camera switches from one view/scene to another. The movie itself is an excellent epic, full of profound/touching/painful moments. The point of it all, however, escapes me. Sure it exposes the darkness that is oppression (sexual, economic, military, racial), while also portraying moments of heroism, but the main idea was lost to me. One other thing is, if one accepts the movie as some form of (very mild) fantasy, it makes a few of the movie's moments easier to swallow (e.g. the servant boy is rather too courageous, and his admirable character is stuff of fairy tales).
The free-spirited, laid-back parents of the lead character of Easy A are given superb performances by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Lisa Kudrow also lends a notable performance, playing a troubled guidance teacher. The movie itself is quite well-made, especially considering that it's a teen romantic comedy. The end is unfortunately shitty, as is usual of the genre.
I found a revisit of Inception terribly disturbing, a fact not helped by excessive violence and intense emotion (the wife thing). The main concept is very attrative, and the idea of shifting gravity was well-executed (see the battle on the hallway). The conman is given a wonderful performance.
Halo Legends is a collection of animated short films set in the Halo universe (equivalent of The Animatrix). I was not going to mention it here, until I got massively impressed by the superb action direction on it's last short, The Package. It's intense and well-animated, and what makes it even nicer is that all participants are the heroic, hyper-powered Spartans. Rocks! As a sidenote, I spent an untold number of hours playing and loving the game series, most especially the first one... among the most significant of gaming experiences in my life.
Life is Beautiful helped me shed a few tears, due to the touching efforts of a man creating a make-believe world for his son, with whom he's imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. It's a beautiful fantasy, and is driven very well by Roberto Benigni (both the movie's director and the father character), as well as the boy playing the son.
Human Nature has moments which make me wanna call it a masterpiece, but it loses steam along the way. Patricia Arquette makes me wanna fuck a hairy woman, and the ape boy is given a very entertaining performance.
Another movie that runs out of steam, though rather too soon, and also becomes unbearably dull and lame is Shane (1953), which I watched only because I once read the novel it's based on some time ago. It's too rare to have movies this old satisfying. Luckily, the beginning was warm and charming.
Centurion has excellent battle direction, but screwed up by plot holes and under-developed female leads (the unconvincing tracker and the too-convenient caretaking love interest).
Gritty, decent action is offset by some real bad casting in the stale Takers. Far superior, and one of the best movies I've seen this year is Brookly's Finest, an edgy thriller that more than makes up for it's lack of originality with superb execution and nice acting. The ending would be even better if the fates of the three lead characters were treated consistently. It seems to me that someone fucked with the original story. One favorite moment of mine is the brief but powerful relationship between our suicidal cop and the (god-damn-gorgeous) prostitute. Nearly made me drop a tear. This cop's my hero for treating her like that... his queen.
Pistol Opera was rather too experimental for my liking. It's excessively unconventional style was rather unbearable, and is barely helped by the attractive storyline of pretty assassin who kills without flinching.
It's amazing how little (none) chemistry exists between the 4 lead characters of A-Team. Liam Neeson and the agent lady are badly miscast; the guy plating B-A lacks the charisma that Mr T. had in the TV series, even if he's a better actor.