It’s not as bad as Revolver, but it’s not as good as Lucky Number Slevin. This is another gangster movie with pretensions and a twist you’ll spot from the first few minutes. However, the hillbilly assassinsn are mildly amusing and it manages to get a performance from Ben Affleck that doesn’t make you want to slap him- something I previously thought only Kevin Smith could do (see Dogma and Chasing Amy).
Want to try these movies before you buy them? Sign up to Amazon’s DVD rental service.
Kevin Smith’s blog, AKA My Boring Ass Life. It’s typically Smith, a mixture of the mundane and slightly bizarre that’s somehow fascinating.
Mewes drives me to the airport, and I jump on the plane, taking some pics in the terminal with fans who’d been at the Con. On the plane, the dude who played “Fat Albert” (either Keenan or Kel) chats me up, saying he’d seen “Evening With” on cable, and was wondering if I’m a stand-up, and if not, what I do for a living. He’s seated beside the chick from “E.R.” and “The Grid”, and as they seem pretty chummy, I’m assuming they’re heading up to Vancouver to shoot a flick together.
I slap on my headphones and listen to “Freak Me” about thirty times in a row, while playing Gameboy Advance Tetris. Before long, we land, and I shoot through Customs and wait for my bag to come down the carousel. I get to the valet desk, but nobody’s there. I talk to Jen while waiting for half an hour, and then call the main office of the valet joint. Somebody comes down to give me my keys, and even though I’ve been waiting and I’m pissed, I still tip the guy. I’m dumb like that.
Rumors are rife that Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) is being hired to run the new Star Wars TV show (due on air in ’06). Supposedly Lucas wants to step back from the day to day running of the show and wants an independent film maker with writing and directing experience and a connection the fan base to take creative control of the show. Apparently the new show will be set after Return of the Jedi (and occasionally feature Mark Hamill) but earlier parts of the saga will be featured through flashbacks. As a fan-boy in his thirties I think that having a fan-boy in his thirties running the show is a good idea. The only worry is the inevitable appearance of Jason Mews (aka Jay) in the show. Darth Bong?
We’ve been doing the Orange Wednesday thing for a while now, and it’s about time I reviewed some of the movies. These are the ones I can remember, with a couple of non-midweek ones thrown in for good measure.
Van Helsing– The first OW film we went to see, this one set a standard for the others to follow. A very low standard, but that’s life. CGI uber alles, with so many effects shots there was no actual excitement, no “cool stunt” moments. It did have Kate Beckinsale in a corset and leather trousers, but that just wasn’t enough.
Troy– I’ve never read The Iliad, so I couldn’t judge how much this was mangling history. Gorgeous to look at and with special effects properly used- the thousand ships got a “Cool” response rather than “Yeah, but they did it all with computers”. All in all it’s just as silly as the historical epics of the 50s and 60s only this time they have the ability to do the epic scope shots.
Connie and Carla– Some Like It Hot, only with transvestites. A competent comedy adventure in the traditional model. The gayness of the drag queens was mainstreamed a bit- camp but asexual.
Shaun of the Dead– Brilliant. This works on so many levels- geeky, very British, gory and hilarious. We need more movies like this and fewer Notting Hill Wedding, Actually type things.
Dawn of the Dead– The other zombie movie. Not bad, but surprisingly not as gory as Shaun and without the dark satire of the original. The end titles sequence is very effective and creepy in its own right.
Shrek 2– Definitely the film of the year. It deserves repeated viewings just to catch all the visual jokes and homages.
The Day After Tomorrow– A disater movie in the classic style. This does all the characters in extreme peril/ who’s going to die stuff you’d expect from Earthquake etc., though they can’t afford to be quite as all-star as ‘7os movies. Despite sounding ludicrous, the premise for the disaster is based upon an accepted scientific theory- that fresh water melting into the Atlantic would mess with the Gulf Stream and its warming effects on the Northern hemisphere.
Spider-Man 2– A top quality sequel. With characters rather than cardboard cut-outs and believable set ups for the fight sequences it’s possible to watch the obviously animated Spidey swinging between sky scrapers and really care.
King Arthur– Kiera Knightley in a leather bikini and, erm….. swords. Based on “the true story the legend is based on”, the film is full of gaping holes. The Saxons came ashore in Scotland- when Northumbria or even further south would have been more realistic- just so there could be a battle at Hadrian’s Wall. Then Arfur and his k-nigets open the gates and let the Germanic hordes through! What’s the point of having a great big wall if you’re going to do that. And don’t get us started on the accents.
Jersey Girl– Disappointing outing from Kevin Smith. He’s excellent at observation and there are lots of neat little details, but the film just doesn’t work as a whole. The supporting cast are all far better than Affleck’s unlikeable main character. It was brave to take this route after all the fart jokes, but I think Smith went too far into the earnest. Certainly, the rudest character- Liv Tyler’s cheeky, horny video store assistant- is the most interesting.
Donnie Darko– This film does make sense. Sort of. I can think of a few explanations of the plot, but to do so would give the ending away. Is it me, or does romantic lead Jena Malone look like Jodie Foster.
Fahrenheit 9/11– Not as powerful as Bowling for Columbine was for me. I think one of the problems was that little of this was new to me in the way stuff in BFC was. If this film was a revelation to American viewers, then the US media really is as bad, biased and inept as people say. Moore has promised the equivalent of a whole films worth of extra footage for the DVD. You have to hope that the film succeeds in its stated aim of toppling the Bush presidency.
I, Robot– Another example of sfx being used to support the story, rather than just because. A mish mash of Asimov’s robot stories with a plausible use of the Three Laws as a basis. It’s still mostly an excuse for a bunch of action sequences, but it does them well.
The Bourne Supremacy– One of those rare films these days that doesn’t rely on sfx for its action sequences. This takes the style of Bourne Identity and pumps it up. I’m looking forward to the third one already.
Catwoman– The film that toppled Van Helsing off it’s Worst of the Year spot. When you look at the special effects and think the PS2 is almost as good, in real time, then there’s something wrong.
The Chronicles Of Riddick– A passable attempt at space opera, with the fate of the universe hanging on the actions of a dangerous anti-hero. The film doesn’t aim low- it wants to be an epic. Whilst it doesn’t quite reach the heights it aspires to, it’s a damn good try.
I’m certain I’ve forgotten some films. If anyone would like to remind me I’ll add the reviews.
Update– The Terminal. It says something that I saw this film on Wednesday and forgot to put it in a list compiled on Sunday. Like Jersey Girl, this is a disappointing outing from this director with occasional bits that show how much better it could have been. For example, the most interesting subplot- Hanks as romantic go-between whilst trying to get his visa- is poorly handled, then dropped for half an hour before being hurriedly wrapped up. It’s just over two hours, but feels much longer.
The CNN review of Jersey Girl. Personally I’d rather have a flawed Kevin Smith film than any number of other romcoms. And he’s the only director who can get anything approaching a decent job out of Ben Affleck. (And J-Lo dies really early on.)
As Spinneyhead’s resident alpha geek and uber fan-boy it’s my duty to announce that KEVIN SMITH WILL WRITE AND DIRECT THE ‘GREEN HORNET’ MOVIE. Production starts this year for release in August ’05. I think we can officially declare this to be the geek movie of 2005 (displacing Star Wars EPIII from that position). Kevin’s own take on the movie deal can be found here.
BBC NEWS – Lopez and Affleck go digital Kevin Smith has given them an engagement present of their own video game, with J-Lo the heroine. The article doesn’t say what platform the game’s on, and it sounds like there’s only the one level. Can’t see it being competition for Britney’s Dance Beat.