Saturday, March 24, 2012


Tarsem Singh was once known for bringing some unusually gorgeous imagery to the screen with his first two films. Then he stooped a little to make mediocre imagery with Immortals, which looked inferior to an aesthetically similar film called 300. Now he has sunk below banality to make a phony looking digital production with an awful color pallet and a comic take on the Snow White story. This looks nauseating. 

I don't like this franchise. Maybe it's personal because the first movie in the series came out my graduating year of high school and I felt it depicted my generation as shallow and our taste in music to be worse. When I first saw it, I liked it and laughed quite a bit. Then I re-watched it and found that with exception of the father character played by Eugene Levy, the funniness had dissolved away with the expiration that shock-humor often has. It is a very dated movie that, yes, produced good careers for a few then-young actors. I just have no expectation that revisiting their characters will have insights on my generation, or more importantly, be a funny experience. To add to my personal contempt, this entry is coming out on my birthday. 
Whit Stillman is an American auteur who's body of work is eccentrically intellectual and without a doubt, alienating to a general mass audience. His characters are very educated and he makes no apology for their deep discussions on social and political theory. It seems pretty rare that anyone makes films that expect such an advanced audience. Dialogue of his can go over my head quite easily but I, unlike some people, don't throw a tantrum when I'm being challenged. His earlier films were comedies that seemed to be about manners and the question of their relevance through the use of characters of an upper-class world. This one is about girls at a university who are trying to preserve their high standards in spite of the co-ed lifestyle. The female cast lead by Gretta Gerwig seems pretty appealing as well. 

The Cabin in the Woods
Joss Whedon co-writes and produces a film that appears to be a generic horror movie but turns out to have a science fiction twist about a simulated environment. Sounds engaging.

 The Five Year Engagement 
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I hate romantic comedies. My problem is that it is a genre that disappoints way too easily. These movies tend to exist in a safety zone where most of the characters are attractive and well-off. It's escapism. I get it. All I require then, is a little charm and wit, a combination a lot of romcom's think they have but don't. So it helps that Jason Segal and Emily Blunt are starring in a movie together. That's charm. Then there's co-writer/director Nicolas Stoller, who collaborated with Segal on other projects such as Forgetting Sara Marshall and The Muppets. That's wit. Cross your fingers.

A thriller that has nothing to do with the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem it claims to be inspired by? It's been done. This is the first film by James McTeigue since his aesthetically astounding film V for Vendetta. I'm interested.

Sound of My Voice
Cults are creepy. The ambiguity of a crazed person or time traveler worked wonders in 12 Monkeys. I really like the actress/co-writer, Brit Marling, the girl from Another Earth.

The trailer doesn't sell me but I'll see anything Richard Linklater makes.

The Avengers
The combination of different comic-book characters coming together in one movie has a lot of potential for disaster if you ask me. Thankfully this film is in very good hands with Joss Whedon writing and directing the film. This movie is about a team and Whedon is very talented when it comes to ensembles.

Men in Black III
I remember when special effects were still cool. Men in Black came out when the digital era was still blowing audiences away with new tricks that were not possible a short time before. MIB was like the Ghostbusters of the nineties with dark sophisticated special effects and design in the service of comedy. I liked the first Men in Black movie so much, I wouldn't and still haven't seen the second one. It looked like a sequel with nothing new to offer. I had seen enough sequels like that in my life. I see a small chance that the damage may be reversed by this very late third installment. While this is a movie no one asked for, I am a little reassured by the trailer which has the same tone as the original and a time travel plot that transports the story to the early days of the agency in the nineteen sixties where Tommy Lee Jones' character as a young man is perfectly cast with Josh Brolin in the role.

The Dictator
This is Sacha Baron Cohen's first character-comedy to not have an origin on the Da Ali G Show. It doesn't appear to be a mockumentary this time around nor does it appear to be filled with unsuspecting interview vicims to provoke lawsuits. Maybe I'm wrong. It still looks funny.

Tim! Johnny! STOP IT ALREADY! You're wasting our time.

Wow. That looks stupid.

Wes Anderson is one of the few directors who I can say I don't like but I really want to. No matter how annoyed I can be with a movie of his, I'm always back to see his next one. I felt a bit of hope when he ventured into animation with The Fantastic Mr. Fox because he was finally changing it up after spending over a decade making the same looking movie again and again. Mr. Fox was actually a little refreshing but the new environment finally allowed me to deduce my main difficulty with his movies. He is engaging with setup and lousy at payoff. Anderson delivers humorous character exposition for almost everyone and it rarely amounts to anything during the final dead act to most of his films. So here comes Moonrise Kingdom where he's doing something I've wanted him to ever since his wonderful opening scene to The Royal Tenenbaums. He's made a movie about kids. Anderson's body of work has always portrayed children as adventurous and full of adult-like ambition. I find this more entertaining than watching adults who have unresolved childhood issues. This movie also has a slightly different look being shot 16:9 on Super16mm film. The cast, as always, is great. I'll probably be disappointed again but I'd be wrong to not give it a chance.
This musical comprised of songs by Journey, Deff Leopard, etc. is sure to be a hit. It was on broadway. I'm ambivalent. There's a lot of people who are nostalgic about pop-hair metal of the eighties. I'm not. I'm pretty sure that the glorification of the time will render it tame despite cocaine being a big part of it. Adam Shankman made a damn good movie musical for Hairspray, so he'll probably entertain here.

What to Expect When You're Expecting
Are you expecting a baby but too lazy to read a popular book on the subject. Here's the romcom movie version just for you, asshole.

Ridley Scott is returning to science fiction. I hope this movie is as cool as it sounds. It takes place in the same universe as his franchise-launching film, Alien, but it is not about the familiar creatures. I can't anticipate that this film will have the same kind of impact as Alien or Blade Runner because those were works of innovation. I hope he can uphold the same kind of slow-paced suspenseful energy of those two films. His recent style is much more fast-paced and kinetic. I can't see his recent Gladiator/Black Hawk Down-style methods ruining this movie but at the same time they won't set it apart from current science fiction thrillers.

Snow White and the Huntsman
The producers of the eyesore known as Alice in Wonderland bring us another movie that inappropriately tries to imitate the success of the battle-themed Lord of the Rings Trilogy with a classic children's story. I knew it was over the minute I saw a picture of Kristen Stewart in armor. It took the trailer for Mirror Mirror to make this movie look good. The best thing it has going is Charlize Theron as the evil queen.

Piranha 3DD 
Great title!!! This sequel should have a different tone since it is from the team who made the Project Greenlight film, Feast. Can the hilarity of the unexpected tongue-in-cheek sleaze from 2010's remake be matched? Probably not. I don't know if they can go any lower without losing my respect but we'll see.

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