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Posted on 1/01/13 06:19 PM
Ever since "The Sound of Music" or "Singin' in the Rain," sweeping, soaring epic photography and numbers have been essentials for the common film musical. I can tell you that I prefer the clean-cut and "stabilized" shots instead of handheld ones. I understand that this type of style is supposed to emulate a grittier, sourer atmosphere. In a post-modern age, we strive to innovate or at least, resurface different and interesting film techniques, such as the versatile green screen or the breathtaking IMAX. But for things as complex as 3D or as straightforward as the "shaky cam," I can't really reason with my headaches or my dizziness.
This all changes (or at least, I have found my one, rare exclusion) with Tom Hooper's "Les Misèrables." This film adaptation takes advantage of the quick and frenzy Dutch shots, handheld shootings, and the furious close-ups. Honest to God, Hooper has reinvented the musical genre, which has been sugarcoated since "Moulin Rouge" and dead since 2007's "Hairspray." We can't connect with lip-synching or random breakouts of songs, anymore. That was yesteryear, and Hooper realizes this. So, any viewer can comprehend this "Les Miz" remake as a crossover between the YouTube generation and the Golden Age of cinema: the film, even its flaws, are both seriously personal and breathtakingly epic.
"Les Miz" begins with Jean Valjean's (Hugh Jackman) quest not for revenge against the obsessive Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), but for moral redemption. A good-hearted father figure, Valjean decides to adopt Cosette (an older Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried), from the disgustingly funny Thénardiers (Sacha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter). What makes the story so classic is the cast of characters, familiar to the theatre geeks and overwhelming to the average moviegoer.
We are immediately captivated by the struggles many of these characters endure mainly because we are forced to watch their emotions. Sometimes it epically works, and sometimes it epically fails. For instance, the Thènardiers' "Master of the House," even though the film needed comic relief, felt out of place, and almost anachronistic. "Les Miz" felt awkward at places, and such musical numbers with the Thénardiers had to have better flow. There was yin and yang, and for the theatre it worked, but for film, it can't.
Hooper's radical take on "Les Miz" also carries some questionable baggage. Live singing certainly makes the experience so much more real, but for me, it was not Crowe's or Seyfried's singing that made my head tilt. It was Jackmans'. Even though I could count the number of sweat drops his forehead had, his voice drowned underneath other more powerful voices.
But these flaws do not outweigh the highlights of "Les Miz." Anne Hathaway as Fantine has a show stopping number ("I Dreamed a Dream") that could haunt you throughout the entire film. She isn't in it much, but during those 15 to 20 minutes, Hathaway's bawling and crying are just asking for an Oscar win, and she deserves it. Other enormously emotional performances include Samantha Barks ("On My Own") and Eddie Redmayne ("Empty Seats, Empty Chairs"). These three songs, including Hathaways', proves that the grimy close-ups and down-to-earth live singing can actually work on a visceral and cinematic level.
"Les Miz" starts strongly with Fantine and ends strongly with Èponine and Marius, and then there's this lagging middle. The French Revolution scenes felt extremely claustrophobic and the close-ups never end. So does the singing. It feels tedious and grandiose and overlong during that hour, but for some reason, everything feels right. This type of filming ensures a tedious and grandiose and overlong experience. And for that reason, I respect Hooper and the few talents who define this film.
Posted on 10/02/10 08:38 PM
Languid techno formulas, obnoxious troubleshooting ideas, and revolutionary Friendster cheats flood Mark Zuckerberg?s busy head. Stern looking and strinkingly skinny, Mark has the talent of a mini-Einstein, a ruler of geekdom at Harvard University. Many do not recognize the Rebook-wearing, pajama-stealing and bum-looking student at such prestigious grounds, but many do recognize his creation of the savvy Facebook. In David Fincher?s gloomy and grainy The Social Network, a young billionaire is scrutinzed with an extreme social-based enivorment where outcasts growl for pretty girls and school campuses drool for swashbuckling parties. Socially awkward Mark and his interpretation of power is taint because of his definitions of acceptance, motivation, and sacerfise.
Oastracized and isolated, troubled Mark tries his best to be accepted by programming a virtual network. Ironically, his perception of interacting with others is equivalent to a profile pic and a realtionship status on screen. Beneath an Ivy-leauge and fancy foundation, Harvard dives deeper into the college definition of fitting in. Mark swears himself to be invited in exclusive disco nights and the secretive Pheonix Club. Insufficed with his own idea of interaction, Mark realizes that the only way to open new doors and VIPs is the invention of a revoltuionary idea. Hacking into the school?s system and outlining Facebook?s fate, Mark finds himself into more distance because of his latest creation; still running his mouth about geek-things and robotics, Mark cannot find the answer to the never-ending formula of how to socialize with others. He drives the idea of builidng an empire towards a deadend since the naïve dream of ?distinct and cool and fun and hot invitations?? is much too eager and silly. While he encodes a drainy equation when updating a site about socializing, Mark cannot apply ?liking? and ?tagging? into his own personal wall.
For Mark, the dangerous seedling of motivation grows chatoically. While his Facebook creation goes viral and wild, buisness deals, advertising ideas, and more contracts contribute to his obsessed and claustrophobic nature. Mark is ?in a word, paranoid and blind like a workaholic gone wrong?? because of his feeling to be recognized. His appearance is bright and cunning, but inside, a dissatistication abrupts his success on making the second-most-visited site. The feelings of having to tweak and fix Facebook?s glitches overflows his own social life; soon, his eagerness to become the next popular Bill Gates is struck down because of his monster creation. Throughout his expierences, Mark consistently ignores his mawkish colleagues, meticulous schoolwork and fellow students to dedicate Facebook?s evolutionary process. Absurdity and ridicule suck the film?s style simply because of Mark?s counterpointed beliefs of interacting via web versus via face-to-face.
Once his obsessive rubber band snaps in the cold, Mark narrows his choices of spreading Facebook?s name with selfish sacerfises. His one and only friend, Eduardo constantly massages Mark?s stressful neck with his new ideas of buisness, CEO deals, and programming filters. Though, once Mark encounters womanizer and tycoon Sean Parker, the pathway to a sin-free and happily-ever-after Genesus explodes. Stressed about his co-workers? liability, unsurprisingly Mark pulls a nasty prank on his best bud just to expand Facebook?s global empire. Sean?s swindle skills implant inside Mark?s narrowed mind that simply screams for more smart buisness deals and formal meetings. Inside his love life, Erica dumps Mark because of his inconsistent measures of knowing the line between selfishness and self-image. Just for Facebook?s popularity, Mark costs Eduardo?s CFO position for dirty Sean and loses a clingy crush for ?thinking all for yourself?You?re a nerd, yes, but you?re mostly hated because you?re an asshole.?
Friending someone, tagging one?s photo, and writing on a celeb?s wall is not the universal framework Fincher tries to assay. Inciting and interlocking, Facebook?s creation is part of Mark?s damaged background during the painful process of trying to pull popularity?s strings, being engulfed by an idea that contrasts his own personal life and losing everlasting friends just to replenish a will-be-epheremel phenomanon. Mark may win the big fat lottery, but empires eventually destruct and destroy. For the youngest billionaire, gaining power is merely realized by biased and blashemy components that only revolves around them. But there is always a point of sanity and settlement even for a tangled and egocentric CEO like Mark.
Posted on 8/16/10 02:00 PM
Sorry to say, but family matters added up with media doesn?t smell too yummy. All you gotta do to impress the niche marketing boys is pack up some funny ol? catchphrase (anything that streches the iPhone band or parents stalking their 12 year-old?s best bad friend on Facebook) or trip the siblings into some misleading mischief, in which the mom would jokingly whine about that she?d have a miscarriage. Faster than the comeback an emo kid would applaud to, the children would hug each other, smooch BS kisses on the cheeks, and then, God forbid, there comes the croony awww. Background cues just attempt to smolder on our dandruffs, don?t they? Like that?s how real households act. They?d fire their chimneys, fix their lamps, accidently crash their vases into four shards, and then forgive each other the next minute a tween recieves some text message.
So much for the matter part. Businesses can only be so, oh very predictable with the market crashes and the dungy goers. Hollywood?s pow-wows stood near with the Will Smiths, instead of the nicer olden Cosbys. Hell, even that was more tangible than a faaabulous reniun with a Modern Family network. Really, not everything has to be a go-go type of dinner. Kids don?t always dive that shallow with trouble?s syndrome. Parents aren?t that kewl as Jay Leno?s. With the genre?s feeble-minded backpack, sometimes a woman just gotta slap the man in the face when they?re dealing with touchy papers. Fox Searchlight earned +5 points with the encouragement of a sad family who grew sadder, then +10 for the other little smash hits, all molded into depressing bummers Mayans would?ve teetered. Some peeps have the courage to finger puke the chocoloate chips and leave the bitter biscut as their little boy?s snack.
It quickly bubbled. With indie flicks boiling from healthy, calorie-free broil, to fried underwater carp, the serious shennigans are poked fun by the smart industry. Sideways mothballed happy jokes and the funny woman stomping their feet down on the lazy, incompetent males (PC term for the dumb wangs); Juno started the entire revalation about teen mom?s awesome parents and MTV reality shows. Next up, 27 Dresses with freaking Katherine Heigl as a brided Anne Hathaway, except not a sad Rachel, but uhm, we can only guess, a younger Julia Robert?s corny com? Sundance sure can soften up like mush Jell-O, or it can rock hard, act bad-ass and real crybaby vid, not Miley Cyrus acting as if she ain?t a cash girl or something in one of her floozy dramedies. Loner pictures can either ride high as screwball inteligentes. They can also catch hemorrhoids, anuses flying all over the gross-looking offspring.
The rest is bearable. The whole black comedy idea mustered with the sibling?s album juts home improvement and might work its way up to a TV troupe, one for the kids. Mid-life crisis is another average thing that acts as a smelly curse, a lemon a screenwriter might utilize sour-good for a dying indie playground. Sad weepies can go on for a while, but at least the ones with a couple of wry gags, dry lines and lying secret, squeeze Searchlight?s brim for the festivals. One 45-year-old-something It girl is Tamara Jenkins, not a family name, and far away from marrying crippled Gary Marshall. She writes and directs a fiery funny and hungry hypercarnal docudrama. A gutbucket?s scary relationship sticks up their rude middle fingers, like how real human issues act via face-to-face, not with Skype.
Jenkins surprisingly does get away with her Nia Vardalos? poofy hair and an all too ?90?s ta and cheap attire. Her films ? OK, it?s hard to count with like one hand ? sit at the end of a social latter, way deep and too shallow. Her early ?90?s wonky sunnyside-up Fugitive Love isn?t exactly like Clueless or Say Anything? More parties! More one-liners! More break-ups! She?s great with awesome forgettables like the chicks in The Slums of Beverly Hills, rom com meets a cracked sausage. We can only guess she?s the housewife Palin always wanted to be, the community college graduate cocky soccer mom, or the middle school teacher around the kid?s block. Filming those kinds of fluffy, lean flicks surely won?t let you drive anywhere. Fresh from the lawn drinking her cool lemonade while her husband?s mowing, Jenkins is the unknown gal who?ll stay with alibi. Sadly, she isn?t some Diablo Cody or something. But this time, she cracks down low and pulls down her pants so the whole crowd can see the cheeks. The Savages marks her pooh-pooh territory. If she plops dysentary, it?ll be one for the team.
Here?s her little back up plan. Forget the bigwig?s nametag, listen to the characters; elimante the platitude OMFG moments, and get them to cry like it?s some (melo) graveyard moment with Joel Osteen. Aaaand she wants to make you think. The Savages is advertised as the lone family crop, minus the kids, the pets, the plastic peeves. If that?s modern at all. Cold smirks and burnt cocktails are centerfolds for these major lewds. We meet two siblings who can?t think of ways to set up the dinner table, who keep fighting about who?s the better egghead, who wonder why their lives just freaking stink up the entire apartment. They?re adults. They?re middle-aged. These siblings look like bourgeoisie dead ends. Will be single forever and emo, these American adults will make kids think that the funeral will be there in a quarter till four, while the grannies, well, just wish them luck.
?DO DIET, SO SINGLE
This spreads lots like wildfire with dentures. Philip Seymour Hoffman gults his way down with ten Twinkies and a milkshake, pudgy and sometimes grumpy, Jon Savage, the mellow fellow whoe smart and wicked with words, slow with the whole marriage thing. Vilified research is his stressball; Polish women are karma. His too-normal-looking sister, Wendy (bravo Laura Linney) is almost 40, winding the clocks as an ankle-deep emotional lady with playwriting toppled aloof and med bottles equivalent to the Great Depression. Jon should have had his boy by now, someone that?ll relieve his cholesterol attacks. Wendy should be a mommy by now. (Too bad she?s massaging affiar?s love handle with a 52 year-old-grandpa.) They?re two clumsy armchairs, kids arrested if they acted like mature, bright adults. But they do like to write. He?s the smart professor lecturing until eggs cook by microwave; she?s the freelance writer, trapped in some flimsy cubicle cell.
He and she hear some bad news about their pa. Lenny (dry Philip Barco) is either telling Jesus that he has had enough of white aprons and obnoxious nurses, or he has some serious mental trauma. (For older generations, we can only call it dementia.) He writes crazy stuff on bleached walls, clean cut by the lovely caretakers, with his shit. When Lenny isn?t the dellusional mixed old guy, he?s the crazy mad grandaddy. Jon and Wendy are asked to give some siblings-parent time before he croaks dead. (When his girlfriend went farewell, it?s only fate for him to escape from those damn hopitals.) His wonderful son and daughter both hate their father to the guts mostly because the wonderful fatehr hates them. Ouch. Convos like, ?My boy isn?t a doctor?!? or ?Who?d pay me for you to be so annoying?? hurts sweetie Wendy, and drives Jon to a facepalm. Why, their lives, so cheery.
The chub doesn?t gurgle much attention; Wendy is the swelling mess. Because of a shot self-esteem by bazooka, her yen is craved all the way like it?s locked in a period symptom. Wen ignores the fact that she sips lies like daily coffee, has no running time, and well, it?s sorta gloomy to see such young old woman already wishing to sleep in a red-medicine-smelling death bed. And, ah yes: she?s backstabbing a husband?s wife by sleeping with their precious hubby. Wendy steals medicine from an old patient. She lies through her teeth about work. She?ll do anything to gnaw Jon?s plushy shoulders about who?s the better writer. When she cheats, all her face can do is look stoned while he?s humping away. Lying Wendy! Dying Wendy! Don?t we all. As she woes like her father has never been mad at her, she reminds herself that a wrinkly whore should only deserve zippo. Wendy whipsaws doses as a middle-class nonsense runnerback, a confused woman who thinks she enjoys womanizers, a daughter who thinks the father is like a babysitting chore.
Funeral music doesn?t rerun on their radio. (Although, this does have its winsome share of twinkling depressing cellos.) The bros and sis kinship is yet to be solved until the final death wish. But aren?t all troubled girls and boys stay static? No time for Kleenex weeping, and then, it turns out to be freindship braceles, but soon another foolish fight wrecks it. Jon punches bags like word brawls; Wendy sneaks in the very lying truth. (?Are you having a heartattack??) The two can?t even wash their own pillow cases, so why not throw mad dad at some eldery, sunny, marvelous house?, i.e. a squirt?s worst nightmare, closer to an insane asylum than a POW headquater. Which one: Valley View or Green Meadows ? they all smell the same, and embody toilet seats with the miffing nursery rhymes. Jon bobbles his head and finds the most brutal rehabilitation mall, while his cuckoo sister cusses hysterically. As her brother spits a reminder that all elderly houses encourage grosteque murder, she uses a lie as bait. Jon eats. Wendy cries. Adults when they?re related.
Lenny?s eyebrows would cringe soon enough. But yeah, everything moists up pretty sadly. He?s er, well, less than a nicer grandpa, a bald ?do that would scare a 4 year-old?s toy truck. Taciturn answers means he?s at least content. Or lazy? We can only tell. Something like ?Not bad? or ?Mhmm? gives ease for the Savages like breast cancer was just cured. Then, in the next second, a new epidemic wipes all the buffoons. Daddy shouts at the top of his lungs, curses the freak outta a nursery room, slaps Jon at the back of his free willy neck. You could say he?s quite bipolar. When sunset crawls down to night, rituals, make the guy so ticked off, evil step-fathers would end up as swallowed black widows. His kids have their quirky grabbags like affiar rings, moobs and men. A moving truck full of bon bons left behind, they shouldn?t be complaining. Of course, a wee edginess burns at the side of Lenny?s sketch. He?s the saggy Scrooge, but for Jon and Wendy?s humility, they can only frown.
The family hug is quite ? oh, well, teary. This isn?t exactly a fluffy soap opera whipped cream. You can?t wank off during the crybaby montages. Jokes come and go, Jon gets the fat boy sweetness out of him, Wendy has that doomed voice surely browbeaten and shameful. As huangdog?s lives aren?t so sorely funny, this isn?t a laughing fiasco. Here?s something that?s sit and cry then titter, as you?re half-tickled. Their father sure is cranky, but at least the sideways siblings make some ?do time and figure up their banged-up roads and cut-short abjects. Mad squirts are so in; pricky yuppies live outside with Biden and the rest. (After all, not every adult tends to be moola-making after school.) Family just can?t be Christmas carols anymore. True life tends to be the bitter victim. You have middle-aged losers who can?t marry anyone, gain more weight as book?s mouths fly open, practice more sex while their partner?s wife is on the line, take meds like quick Tic-Tacs, hate fathers, accept mothers as sperm donors. Take a whiff.
Posted on 8/09/10 01:36 PM
First, there was a drink. Then the drugs came. Lastly, the performance started. Unless if you?re a crying BP executive, everybody knows Roman Polanksi, possibly one of our versatlie filmmakers in modern day suck-up reels. But even a guy like that can get such scath. Rewinding all the way back to 1977, Roman disgustingly picked up a young girl ? late in her doll years, early in pre-teen duds and certainly not a prostitute ? drugged, raped and performed a nasty conclusion of oral sex on her. The case pitterpattered all over the place, puke and yeuk. What?s sickening is that Roman pleaded not guilty on banging that tortured kid. Slammed by a psychological mess-up syndrom, he?s begging others that he isn?t a crook, while others are just banging on him. She was just a little girl with a daisy on top of her head. She was 13.
Guilts also have their talents. Aside from being a child molestor and a wanted man in the US, Roman?s had his side of the bang. Embarking from great neo-noir genres to juicy gumpacks full of salty black humor and weirdo rapists, this lad?s been with us for more than 40 years. After Monroe and way before nifty laptops, there were Knife in the Water?s, Break up the Dance?s, The Lamp?s, A Taste for Women?s and other destined-for-Criterion progidies. In the late ?60?s, early ?70?s, he finally stamped his signature in Chinatown ? about a badass Jack Nicholson and some rape case gone mad. (Hmmm, sound familiar?) Earlier, later works include the darker, devilish sprawl in Rosemary?s Baby, infamous for a satanic rape scene, another zipper that should?ve flied right open that something?s a bit messed up about brilliant Roman.
The rest is history. After a wazoo full of five Oscar noms with a couple of wins (modernized kids and gadget freakazoids finally had the chance to meet the crazy gamble in 2001?s Best Director win for The Pianist), an older Roman has his share of trusting no one. You have to get sorta irked out when most of his films document surreal rape fights, warped horny fathers who want to beat up their daughters, and well, incest-titive barf bags who like to take over poor little girls. Sure, he knows how to creep up behind us ominously and use subtle tricks to scrap up a handsome piece of work into an ugly, horrific message. But a freak of nature is inside his FB life: personal but public; sweaty and controversial; zero friends, but a celeb. Yes, Roman can be in for the books and all. Thing is, when you have the ad and the advocate, you have some serious ad-lib amock.
Geniuses are naturally messed-up in minds. (Yeah, this is a lame excuse for Roman.) Long story short: he had his share with a checkered past, some edgy footwear, nasty cologne, dirty duvet sheets. Head over heels, this filmmaker trumps every other on pulling a Bate victim, mama?s boy and dangerous director, if there?s any such trend on Twitter. With glamorous medals on his chest, his left and right are soaked with then-wife Sharon Tate and her grosteque murder in ?69, before her husband?s disgusting crime. Killed by infamous bad guy, Charles Manson, the obligatory interrogation with Roman was cut short suspiciously. His films now range from bitter sad mess, yelling freaks or maybe a middling tsk-tsking of ? sigh, again rape and their bad influence. Shakling off forenic files and the how-to-win obvious court case, Roman woes as low as he can go.
Back gets broken agian. Back in the day, when Roman was at his fullest melancholy stress attacks, claustrophobia was an A for effort obsession. ?68?s Repulsion and other works shot in nippy B&W was that trademark horror he sprawled up in wet dreams. After moving to France to hide from US officials, Hollywood?d scripts and a $650,000+ fine he?s mostly been, er, under the weather. A bit too all-that for his age, he retrieved a lifetime award in Switzerland. He went over his tounge in front of Swiss police. Things like that would only happen to an ironic tragedy-of-the-week dung ? the other stuff arrests the zillionaire criminals who hang out with the behemoths near snail menus. Strings of his earlier works come about as Stone Age juice, but surprisingly, chase back his spine like psyhic?s oujia boards.
Humble is still here. Based on Robert Harris? bestselling scary politico tale, Polanski?s The Ghost Writer shows how mad a runaway?s nutjob really is. During his pricky plight in hiding, US extradiction, jail time, bigwig?s cash and yet still, a lingering ghost of Sharon, Roman powes an efect, leaves it for a take-5 hiatus, then fast-forwards a couple of tell-all 5 secs, and then resumes stealthy. So we don?t understand where we?re going. All the complicated chess masters around the corner get connected: who?s who, why the guy over there was fishy, why she?s suspicious and why those group of men were actually the good guys, etc. We can only guess what eerie plot holes can still be struck twice by the same ol? Roman. But, hey, doesn?t that title just remind you of sad men who have to impassivley pass mad spirits? Seeing the undead remind us a ton of cringy Romanesque sleaze.
Seriously, there?s nothing too happy about his ghost. Grainy and even wetter, this political shocker has every trace of a poor little innocent. Infamous and accused of bent war crimes, Ex-Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Broson) has that pizzazz and the ba-boom of a good-looking leader with slick coiff, thick eyebrows, and subtle eyes. Mad yuppies, happy voters, and angry soccer moms climb up his shoulders telling him that they hate (or love) his leadership. Like any other cocky dude, Lang wants to ?write? his own autobio about his wonderful, awesome historical journey that?s just too important and awesome and cool ? yeah, whatever. Of course, how could a guy who gets five calls per minute telling him he?s a murderer and have riots eating the guts outta his lims, write all that crap? He calls in The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), a wiser geek who can actually, uhm, write, instead of reciting buffoony one-liners.
LIE ANOTHER DAY
Things get fishier. A wee older than a 20-something, The Ghost, a tweeb who can?t even snap a No. 2 pencil while drafting, discovers he?s a cheechako of a swallowing dirty buisness. He?s stuck in a haunted Minster?s yacht ? polluted shorelines come crashing in while winds go 90 mph against strong glass windows. Reports go flying berserk, helicopter secetaries (one like Kim Cattrall?s Amelia Bly) hover state after state. The Prime Minister?s murky mansion is like the White House gone hemlock. Lang?s leadership fries away from that ?crime? that took place ? no blackmaling crap anymore. This really did happen by the CIA; some mean bogy is under the political prank. And as if something really needed to get even less misty, his earlier Ghost, Mike McAra, was found washed up on shore by booze-driven doom. Drunk, drown, bye-bye. Or so they say. Ruth Lang (Olivia Williams) is sickened to the gut by her husband?s lady tramps, gov?t excuses, bitter and haterish. Seriously, the writer has more important duties than jotting down memories about Lang, his college years, his girlfreinds, etc. The poor writer gets mugged. A car quietly chases him down to a ferry. Someone tries to kill him. What?s a ghost writer suppoused to do?!
A gapped-tooth dork turned 007?d whodunit Holmes isn?t part of Roman?s hobgoblin. The clincher here is that while things go bleep off a bit on the wrong side, emergiencies are wayy too calm and murder guts come off slick and suavee as collar undershirts and white collars. It?s quiet near a pouring Birt?s place. The Ghost shelters in shady motels (only to be caught by some creeper who despises Lang), sleeps with cougar Ruth (only to find out that sneaky Amelia does more jobs than listed for Lang)? et al. There comes a mushy point where this unlucky writer could care freaking less about whistleblowing a politican?s second girlfreind or the grade they got on a big test and the rest of his stupid smart life. All he wants to find out is who murdered McAra, how Lang found himself in a dirty deck, and if he?ll end up in a beer-smellin? shoreline, unconscience or plain dead.
The Ghost needs to hide. Lang?s candid hiding spot in America is probably like Roman?s quaint France: haunted, fancy, huge and way too obvious that something is, ay, curropted. Not only is there a woed lost Ruth (Sharon anyone?!), and eager publishers who receive suspicious slaps in the face, even suspects lock the too naïve citizens, something that a Brit leader wouldn?t chew on. Professor Paul Emmett (Tom Wilkinson, the old guy whose always the suspect) slyly sneaks into every Lang photgraph, a creepy dude who?s on The Ghost?s wanted list, 24/7. ?Take a left, and you get back to the ferry. Take a right,? Emmett slows down, ?and you?ll get lost in the woods, and maybe, nowhere to be found.? Is Emmett behind all this whatever mess? Or is someone else teaming with the naughty CIA? Yikes. You haven?t seen the rest of the sketch bunch.
It?s classic mud. Sure, this Roman can make you sweat bullets with borin-looking convos about Prime Minsters and writers who document Cambridge years and college perfume. But it?s watersheding that chap dare-to-look feel: a dectective who rides on top of wet reflections, curbs that are too soily to ever recognize, things that go running behind him on a very rainy afternoon. While all Jakes and Humphreys are farewell, stuck in TCM attenas, Ewan brings in a classier adroit at guys who look like nobodys, but really are the hot playas. You see something on TV about cops, you get the yesteryear sugar and spice chemistry, the laughs and then right after, a censored sucker punch, and finally, some dinner sequence with flying Fettuchini and grounded gernades. Oh, please. 9/11 terriosm is the main entrée here, not who-hated-who. Conspiracies go afloat in a murky Sunday. Uptight nerds with brown wear vs. the old men with big glasses and gel hairdos, deft gazillion masterminds. Instead of toppling a loaded truck, snapping the evil sidekick?s fingers, or masterin? disguises in a blink, looking sexxxy is the last thng The Ghost wants to do. Yeah, he rides. But with a bike. Not even a motorcycle. Madoff?s skills are quick to microwave and effective: bank numbers, buisness with eggheads, blah blah meetings with the fantod VIPs. The Ethan Hunt flair gets old that quick.
That?s the blam and bullets, right there. With the surrender of a filmmaker who just doesn?t want to go to jail like a man, Lang can?t return to the UK. If he does take that retarded chance of being shot by some religio-kitsh, a memoir floats the boat, and conspiracies touch the chandelier. It?s a pity that some unknown writer has to do all the hard work, solving the drunk jigsaws, jinxed just and then the mayor won?t know a thing about the tweeb. ?Goddamn politics? can go up someone?s butt. But when you have a courtroom that?s too small for a serious no-no from a leader of dampy England, walls go all the way up to streets and you?re in trouble. You have the sense that Roman?s shouting, ?I?m not a crook!? all day long, throughout Lang?s white teeth. When the Ghost gets his ride on, he swaps his notepad and No. 2 pencil, and faces the men in suits and hefty Sperrys, tellin? them that he?s the ninja, and they?re the evil superspies. Less roided out military studs are the Wall Street saviors, and more intelligent gentlemen populate than the gruf guidos in a grainy Brit Friday night. In contrast, all Lang does is snap his fingers twice and a private jet comes all the way from the other side. That?s fine. Act like a good ol? chap as if nothing?s fucked up in your life.
Posted on 7/24/10 01:48 PM
Run this way. No, that way. Now run over there. Ah, the game of the damned seems to be ostracized for tomorrow and then tomorrow. Some think of it as backwards football, just a wee bit more tame, played by cleaner aristocrats. The other half thinks of a reason why the slower international soccer would never get as much recognition as it intended to get. Just as you thought that rugby would rise high, it slumbers way deep, 12 ft. yonder the European silverware. After all, not a lot of Americans put rugby as holy as the most dangerous game, majestic football - or even thriving tennis. Thing is, rugby isn?t a rubbish excuse for more sweat, couple of ripples on your triceps. Heck, even Mr. Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, played these games during smacking law school. He?s like 80. And half of his life was slammed into a squished up jail for a hellish 27 (let?s round up to 30!) painful years.
Nelson?s a fanboy. Apparently, this powerhouse politician loves rugby so much, he?s bequeathing important files and a half bagful of sealed papers. Treaty with some other country can wait. Crime rates are so yesteryear. AIDS is a cliche. OK, maybe he?s not that tangled up with scoreboards and tall men with short convos. But a tad level-three for this workaholic to let go of mammoth coffee sprees, political plane plights should be on the NY Times most confuzled moments. The controversy squabbling over a black man?s cloud leading South Africa into a nicer waterfront reminds us of a Barack Obama lighthouse, center stage. We don?t understand how he won the Nobel Peace Prize! But we do have some idea of how a little dude named Nelson received that prestige. We know lots.
The voice of wisdom still leads a country of ruins. It?s a no-brainer for South Africa?s land to embody some kind of defect even after a smart guy jumps on the same boat. The last thing we heard from our middle school teachers was the policy of apartheid, something that carves out the living detergent out of reps. While crime rates went all the way to kingdom come, Nelson was nearer to the ground, where kids on the left played dirty soccer with raggedy, leftover New Balance shoes, while on the right, the lads showered in Gatorade for rugby. After a whole whopping three decades behind a 2 cm. cell, how could a guy be so calm, laid-back, and yes, a zaftig Confucius? The last thing Africa?s survivors wanted to hear was ?Pride in our country! Play sports! Hurray for that team!? crap. It all seemed like this is coming from an ADHD blobject radio-looking thing.
THE BLIND SIDE
So it turns out (a game of rugby) is the answer. The ?One Team, One Country? campaign sounded like ?Change Can Happen.? Nelson digs up the lamest thing from a meager hole that needed more shovels. With white fear, black hatred and fishy pasts, an uber-shallow Connon O?Brien would?ve steer cleared from poking fun at Africa?s deep line. A ?He can win an election, but can he run a country?? newspaper headline sparked iffy jelly, something Mandela could care less. Ahem. Doesn?t that remind you of Obama?s 2008 triumph? Still, not a lot of countries takes a wonky trail to just make every single damn organism smile. Nelson drank one full Red Bull gallon and shook a triple zipline. A dead nation meeting a revived sport is something far more live-saving that a health-care plan, solving water problems, improving home life, etc, believe it or not. (We don?t believe it.)
To bad the sports genre is already bad bait. With hooks. And blood. You don?t have to be as trippy as Lance Armstrong to notice a rink and a jean chair ain?t some Tour de France. ?80?s action pecks thrived that match with a ?Rocky? that?s tame, cute and all, vs. the real rollin? dirty Scorsese ?Raging Bull.? Between there are the Disney-wanna-be kids? 2PM scrimmage: the 10 other ?Karate Kid? straights, balloon-y skiing sequels, detention-free after school specials, and, ugh, even ?Sandlot? brouhahas. Now, that is the reason why basketball and a nifty camera kills the cat with a nippier and court. But Dirty Harry takes the chance. (One?s gotta know that this man takes no ?no?s? for an answer.) Historical maestro - who wouldn?t think of him as one?!! - Clint Eastwood may be over the hill. But he can still don a bad ass (defeating Viet gangs) and a fur coat (all touchy, mushy with patriotism.) So why can?t he host a game of football - er, uhm, rugby? The South African accents have to be more welcoming than corrupted mayors and neck spikes.
Maybe it?s too crazy. It?s a pretty darn sad excuse, but it would?ve bombed with worst results without the A-list stars. Use the guy with a voice from God (Morgan Freeman! And the surprisingly doppelganger look of you know who...) and for the other, Jason Bourne biceps (Matt Damon). (Shh. Morgan is a ton better than Matt!) Sure this is already sounding like the Yellow Book of sorry win-lose games. And it is. Eastwood?s ?Invictus? doesn?t just illustrate the ever more intense European?d 1995 World Cup match. More like tea time with the president than the 4:00pm beer showdown at the bar! Literally, Mr. Clint drew a storyboard that?s taped with the already stitched events. His almost too didactic screenplay dabbles the lines of a somewhat more pro tactic. Based on John Carlin?s sporty book, ?Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation,? (is it just me or does every athletic book have to have that coffee book look?!) retraces the Cup with a philosophical Pup.
This is quite a frumpish mouthful. The underdog team goes all the way up to the skies, tries to stabilize defying gravity, yadda, yadda. But like Mr. Clint?s one-line title, this one?s straight-forward all the way to the other field, a ?Yes sir? order. Surely there can?t be any surprises here whatsoever in its game plan. Rugby captain, Francois Piennar (Damon, blondie) really should retrieve another job; all he can do here is chase his own tail, round and round. In other words, his rugby team stinks up like five year-old mustard. The Springboks, a team with haters and Axis powers behind ?em, still dons that green-gold fab. The faux is a fancy term for apartheid laws, nasty oppression policies. Oh, no. With released Mandela (Freeman) on the front seat, we wouldn?t like to see his unlocked wrists finally burst steam.
Thankfully, his tea his too warm. Francois raises a flag, receives help and remembers why a big-hearted country is as valuable as winning a big ass trophy. It sounds real mature, eh? But with Nelson?s wisecracking Godfather postures, South Africa definitely attempts to open a bucket of stirred paint. With Damon?s squished, squirrley attempt on constructing an African accent, it seems like he?s strangely cutting holes into his outline. We don?t really have any time to understand his hair comb within 2 hrs 14 min of throwing footballs, tackling with short shorts, coded politics. His team starts training for the Cup for a whole year. Sir Clint wants us to learn more of Mandela?s fierce, a kind of MLK marathon. We get it, as if we didn?t even know the Nobel king?s title. But an overnight miracle, and a few homey gym workouts, doesn?t enroll an emotional bandanna. Sure Francois? team are pressured into a foaming spa of stress balls and terse shoulders. But this isn?t a miracle worker?s thing! This is supposed to be that docudrama about a suckish team sweating 360 buckets of long-hard crunches! With the President!
Oh, there?s nothing worst than worrying about that snitch. Here?s a making of a half-score: a lesser than versatile performance by Morgan. Good thing he?s born with the faucet of a grandeur, fatherly voice. You should cover your eyes and open your ears and pretend your listening to MLK?s famous speech on a lil? radio. Unlike the bookworm, supporters at first thought that Nelson was a bit over his head for thinking rugby?s the new peacemaking pinky unwrapped by saint Gandhi. Then over there, we see his diverse bodyguards (more whites than of blacks) playing a sweet game of catch together. Aww, so cooey and croony. Things like that should deserve a spanking from a village of PO?d right-wings. There isn?t any time to confirm a Morgan development. Obviously, there?s time for energy-sucking campaigns. Really, a (sporty) biopic should open the blinds, a story that depicts a dude with messy problems and messier games. There?s a reason why that guy has bruises all over his legs.
Sadly, that?s what refs love to hear these days. Clint, being all dared and ?60?s mad man of all, tries a bit too aggressively with the ?more-than-a-flick? charm. It actually vandalizes the freaking point. You don?t see enough of Mandela?s caricature! Morgan though sure does hatches a PC term for good game. But the rest is a rushed, scarce showdown with hullabaloo cheers. A script that only covers itself with a novel that bite sizes its own lame game, converses the mediocre wonder-dog to a pathetic piece of plastic. How can a bum not know what?ll happen to Francois and his posse? It was a trump real time, now it?s just time to Twitter more spoon-fed nostalgia.
Rugby isn?t all too hunky dory. Besides that it gives us conscience to work our flabs more (sorely, the guys there run every second in the Cups? finale), a Joe should feel - aha! - somewhat good. Clint?s fit enough to realize we?re sick of karate chops and last second touchdowns. Even more to wipe off that really long title into William Ernest Henley?s brooding poem, a hefty hairspray all nifty for Francois? mirror. (I have not winced nor cried aloud/ My head is bloody and unbowed) You gotta admit. Harry would get stumped by.
Clint?s proud like quibble. The lone cowboy, ladies man, gritty dude from your worst nightmare, directs harder than a mytho fob. ?Letters from Iwo Jima,? ?Flags of our Fathers? and even ?Gran Torino? snaps a paycheck full of ceremonial civil care. This one wears an Oscar-look and the ?if I don?t win, go off the plank fool!? puppy-eye look. It looks prettiful. It?s actually mediocre grumble-rumble, technical errors, too. Yeah, there?s some nice camera shots with the player?s magic kingdom and all. But a bird?s eye view makes the indie go all BBQ?d and the dramatic a too cellulite-y slow-mo. Clint is still the real old man. Gladly put him up there with Tom Hanks, another grandiose wrinkly but still flairy actor with books behind his spine and an aging face: a wise, kind power. Go ahead, make his day.
Posted on 7/24/10 11:28 AM
Ever since the economy rumbled up and down and down and up, Hollywood stood still. Ever since Wall Street gained fresh customers and new greenbacks, Hollywood stood still. Ever since the recession erupted from Palin's screech to BP, Hollywood stood still. Long story short: these years, despite the mega movies back in the day (aah, 2008... 2 years ago?!), cinemas were exploding Benjamin Franklin's all over a rat's ass. Blue things swinging over vines and Megan Foxes with a lot of loud racist robots, hot weather and cold Margaritas were a time for car chases, boffo dudes and Survivor reruns. Still, they never did make action pecks like they did, did they?
Sorry, 2010 cruise. But replacement of the zero in the hundredths place, was a big jinx. Avatar was the sheer sign of holy-moly movie moments - a 3D firstie (pretty sure the last) that slaughtered Titanic's arrogant behemoth. A close second caterer was The Dark Knight's $500+ million order. You don't always have to make the Top 10 list to be a locomotive, though. Iron Man, back in '08, was the man cave for more man character, less clanky toy-ish matter. (I.e., protesters who hate Michael Bay's damaging oil spill.) Speaking of some sad, sad manner, you remember this year's Iron Man 2? No? Should've known that the most anticipated May knocker was a DOA treat. Just explains why an era is losing its grip and how directors are dipping their toes into a contaminated shoreline.
Yup, wasn't that a slap-me shocker? Turns out that the hugest production gambles of the summer weren't too risque enough to actually attract a hoard of moviegoers. So it goes that the supposedly no-no was The Karate Kid; wasn't that the movie your neighbor watched with all of their kids?! Prince of Persia should be the last excuse to hit a video game target - you don't whipsaw CGI and a Mac'd CGI visuals like a ham and cheese sandwhich. It's pure Bologna. In other words, summer this year pulled up a red flag of hellish harbingers with one - only one - Angelina Jolie boxing bag releasing and, thank goodness, a single halo for Toy Story 3. But the light ain't so much shining no more. If our last chance (this is the very the last "Save Me" red button) turns out to be a bull's eye for the start of bequeathed blockbusters, the British will be coming .Turns out, soon-to-be-mogul Christopher Nolan's our own English Fabio touchdown.
Hey may not be bigger than Jesus. But you can take down that halo from TS3 and throne it on Nolan's head. TDK laminated that cachet, in which six pack action hunks don't always have to be a PG-13 "aww" flick. Chris is an inspiration who tattoos entertainment as not just buttered popcorn, but a cold, refreshing drink with tang. While he's still learning, he's directed seven holy movies, a standard for a hard working 50 year old man. He's about 30. His films add up to a single digit that's too hard to hold a No.2 pencil. In the late '90's, Following, a streak B&W drama raced up a not-so-titter document about stalkers and creeps. Insomnia was the plank that took the chance to dive deep down: tons of perplexing pieces that were all mumbo-jumbo'd together. Memento flipped another step with Guy Pearce's arm written all over with ink. What a sense of GPS instinct Chris has. A guy that either wants us to trap the characters, or the characters who want to trap us.
Lay back, Chris. In the tradition of bamming up boring stuff, he enters the merry-go-round full of dismal in distresses, muscular guys and un-p.c. blow em' up. But it still suitcases that outsted OMG moment other May-Jul flicks don't trigger. Batman Begins was an experiment that resulted $300 million of more projects and more Bale. The Prestige was all about two cool Hollywood heartthrobs versing each other behind front lines. We all knew about a little thing called TDK. Encroaching that big budget territory again, Chris likes to mash up provoking ideas with hotter paychecks. He's gone through a pillar of comic books, rich guys who kick butt late at night and a couple of sci-fi send ups. Sure none of his flicks are gonna beat TDK's superstar cliffhanger, but there's still chance Chris can regain his cultural phenomenon, an extra pill Spielberg needs to gulp down.
Let's keep this simple. Inception, Chris' latest attempt to tackle the boom to go even more a-boom, is one hell of a mind-fuck. What the heck does "the architecture of the mind, blah, blah, blah" even mean? Or the dreamy stuff and then you sleep and then you plant an idea and then... huh?! Trust Chris. The story's actually not much of a flabbergasted hooligan, an anxious feeling you get after you smoke marijuana. If all possible, this is Inception in a cracking, runaway nutshell: a dream thief attempts to implant an idea in a hotshot businessman to dissimulate the empire's ruling duty...Yes there's more. But take caution, audiences. If you're looking for a rapid, all action Heath Ledger rehearsal, a stress attack might swerve into wretch, to the nth power. Think of this one like some brooding, croaking sudoku: long, difficult and brain draining.
To cheat like malingerer, you gotta fold a secret paper airplane, cut out bobble heads with scissors, make sure you don't merely follow didactic sentences and take off. Usually, summer flicks act like PowerPoint presentations without the info, cups that contain Diet Coke or sugarcoated lemonade. For this one, everything's in between a horizontal wet willy thinker, no certain answers provided. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio - a guy who has a little baby's face, but tries his hardest to perform like an agonized Rourke lad) steals things. Things like uber confidential info. From dreams. His job is easy to follow: storm into money makin' Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) so Saito (Ken Wantanabe) has his own kingdom all over Fischer's skin and bone face. The sommersaulting posse leads another Extractor, Arthur (Joeseph Gordon Levitt, a Ledger look-alike), an Architect, Ariadne (Ellen Page! Juno!) and a Forger (Tom Hardy.) The main dish is thick steak, raw and bloody. Cobb needs the tycoon to be dead alive so he can revisit your average "broken" family. Save the flowers. This flick's over-the-haul with emotion. The main dish is thick steak, raw and bloody.
Here's a problem. With every dream or dream-within-a-dream or dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream, a banshee pops up. Mal (Marion Collitard, a wiser Jolie with giant round eyeballs) is Cobb's torture, the one love he tries to resist. Out of all suspects, Cobb is suspected for killing his engraved girl. We're not so sure if Mal's here for vengeance or trying to press a wake up call that Cobb is a drugged dreamer. (After all, her name is in Latin for evil.) All she has on her mind is that sappy "Come with me, Come with me" plead. Oh, please. Weird thing is, we actually believe 3/4 of it. It's touchy, mushy and sometimes a bit of a phony, but hey, we're there for that deceased bombshell. Yet Shutter Island, an early vandalizing memory, floods back. Leo is blamed for bulldozing his wife's temple. Leo is mad. Leo's girl is all sketch. Mad men, expensive grave dresses, emo suicide, frowny faces, etc.
Sometimes same is good. Old Leo turns out to always grab the role for the moody guy with a checkered past. For others, like charming Joseph and shrewed Ellen, their career line graphes are just bumping all the way to the top. Arthur not only is the fittest but the coolest coif out of the bunch. Leo is here for the all too hunky dory lovey crap. Some of it's tearful, some of it's dung. But Arthur likes to keep things x + y mode. If he doesn't like your attitude, he'll beat you up. If he doesn't know you, he'll beat you up. Now this is no Matrix formula. You won't see any of the gang's guys and one gal with leather jackets, rectangular sunglasses or sun dried hairdos. They do it professionally. Really. In a zero-G fist to fist scene, Arthur flies high as hotel hallways turn sideways, and a kick is a whole lot of dizzy work. Other dreamer, Ellen's stuck in a woman's body with a man's gut. She literally folds Paris in half like a big fat 0. She also dodges all subconscience bullets, passes all exams. Guess the baby fat is gone.
So what if the belly buttons are pushing too hard. Here's a mainstream flick that's all too prettiful to not look away from the screen, ignoring a cartoonish Cameron castle. Somehow, the dream world Cobb and co. strikes up, reeks such impact that silly Earth isn't all that grotty. Inception acts like a living room with booby trapped carpets, stealthy couches, heist mirrors and Plan A or Plan B? tile pattern. Spoon-feeding is scarce around here; thinking takes twice the amount of brain power than figuring out a Chem equation. Chris makes perfect sense since it is about time to use our brain after we've watched a ton of Jay Leno and ate chips, smoked ham at the beach. This is a 3D mind riddle without (thank the Lord!) 3D effects. There you go, Cameron. A film without corny lines (OK, death and romance here doesn't count) and no extra dimension needed for the sick brouhahas, willy nilly. In substitution with the "save the whales" message, Chris shines a Buddha philosophy Confucius would turn sideways.
If that doesn't make any sense, Chris minus well give us slick hints. Dipping into reality's deep end, chlorine fills way up to the top, and ripples sting the thieves' eyes. Ariadne might be an A+ college gal. But her skeptic fizzes up on par with ours': "Wait. Whose sumbconscience are we in, anyway?" Join the club! And we thought we were alone on believing that the "go dream and we'll steal" is part of some wacky conspiracy or some dumb Facebook hack. Instead, it's quite a showy trip. Cobb's crew travel to the UK, France, Morocco, Canada, Tokyo, London, California, England, and where else has the plane not entered.
Whew. It sure does show that piecing Chris' multi-packaged screenplay took quite a while. 10 years to be exact. And we thought understanding the story would take long enough for Chris to file a divorce. Like no other summer insane lane, you can't just float your boat by just sucking your thumb for 2 1/2 hours and mock like a douche, that you've understood every single damn thing Chris filmed. Seeing it twice in theaters might cost more, but at least you can stomp into a gold mine full of origami tips. One could say that at the end of the maze, Chris decided that sometimes it's better to blindfold your way through inside a locked plan. A day at Europe, Paris, Canada gone smashing within the membranes of a snoozy sloth. If you're looking for a plain ol' Schmoe movie and not a ticking Big Brother bomb, go look at Tom Cruise. Other wise, Chris warns that you might puke at the ride's last loop, cut black. Feel free to read Wikipedia.
Posted on 7/24/10 11:27 AM
In reality, the sea is a dark, creepy and radical place. You've seen the ads for Shark Week, the commercials about how scuba divers lose their legs and why sharks mistake humans as wee little turtles. It's become a metaphor for a Titanic sinking scene and a live tank filled with some hungry giant fishes. Hollywood likes these turbulent, nasty sea creatures, because they, in fact, attract all gorehounds and all action/scare-fri junkies. Apparently, with a little epic scale and a myriad of waves and claws and blood at sea, a day at the ocean, is corny, a Jaws copycat and a Bahamas tango gone wrong.
Disney and amigos love the sea, too. Only better. Animators from all different countries worldwide rely on the pretty mermaids and the crazy-looking octopuses to win cash and hearts. The ocean for them is like what Paris Hilton wants to sun tan somewhere deep and blue: large, crystalline castes, fancy shrimp and caviar eggs that won't get eaten by other ravenous breeds. Finding Nemo, the gateway for Pixar fans to go from 4 year olds to 40 year olds, is one of the few peewee products of this; A Shark Tale, with Smith and purrty kitten Jolie is also another wow result; etc... Just think of all the ones made by DreamWorks/Pixar/some other CGI-ed co. that loves camp fish and eccentric whales. Oozing out with some Visuals of Tomorrow, water films are more significant, important and deadly. See the pattern?
Even Pixar's best man is irked. John Lassester the King of Kids, is the ideal babysitter for a big box called a TV. He's daftly playing with toys from Sheriff Woody and Lightyear's buzz ups to the shenanigans of Mike and Sully. He's also an advocator for 3D vs. 2D and how 2D is just as yesteryear as sexting. The Princess and The Frog was the first hand-drawn Disney sweetheart for as long as we remember Aladdin or the crappy Lion King television specials. Now he's joining forces with the King of Anime, Hayao Miyazaki. The King of Anime meets the King of Kids. How ironic! The man that handles with CGI and robots and WALL-E gimmicrackery is also the US director of a real foreign film with a Japanese son's definition of an authentic, dainty kid's royal treat.
Hayao is a changer. With the clanky master, he also decides to reverse the rep sea creatures and Hollywood tried to clash in with each other. While Lassester depends on the clunky, loud, high techno universe a junkie robot lives on or a flying house would land on, Hayao revels in the kingdom down yonder the sea, the palace of anime and old-fashioned playing cards. His work spans from a kid witch's corridor to a fat balloon shaped creature named Totoro. He's shaped the Burtonian works of Alice in Wonderland into a dreamier world with trippier drugs. Most important, he has discovered Japanese mustered into American cinema, to the nth power. Actually, Hayao is the Steven Spielberg/ George Lucas of Japan, the old guy with a kid's heart. (Spirited Away toppled Titanic in its box office. This time: good B.O.) You don't have to have to be a Nintendo freak or an Asian kid that loves sushi to support Hayao's community.
You don't even have to like fish. Hayao, being the 50 year old wonder boy, grows a white, fluffy beard and dons a black, bold pair of glasses that mirrors a nerdy man, but a respected, essential one, too. His works are quite the polar opposites of him. They're cuddly, coco-y and suave -- in censored form! From Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle and his first ever PG-13 film, Princess Monomoke are, well, let's just say they're part of a foreign culture that firecrackers celebration and monumental animation achievement. He's back now with his latest, Ponyo, about a cute little goldfish that isn't even gold, and how she transforms into a cuter (and more annoying) little girl. It's a fairy tale that's 10 pounds lighter than Spirited Away, more mature than Totoro and the same 5-gram weight as Kiki. In other words: more singing! More laughing! More cuteness! The awes and the coos don't get better than this.
But here, moviegoers shake their head. Each anime film (or let's just say any Hayao film) goes all boffo and glam in Japan, making its way like what The Dark Knight did or what Avatar did. Here, it's the (extremely!) little film that couldn't. Only it's different. Unlike many $$$ films, this one has the critics turning wild and blue, while the kids feel like they're being forced in a fishnet attached to a litter can. Usually, it only happens with American citizens, people who just don't understand why big eyes and little bodies with crazy colorful hair dominate Japan. Most of the population in American cinema gagas over explosions, cute dogs, and wisecracking owls. Hayao, with his creatively all shtick and guffaw, thinks about change. This may not be Japan's first US bank and will probably be its 100th bankrupt crisis, but at least his gusher is flowing well.
FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD
Just don't expect another Hayao fiesta. This one is still a whimsical charm unraveled from Hayao's sparkly sleeves. But its notes are several octaves lower than his other Japanese masterpieces. He just gives us ½ of the wondrous pieces, and divides it into bitsy bubbles that are both chubby and perky. Ponyo though still encodes the foxy tradition of sketchy movements, rusty outlines and giant naïve eyeballs. It's cute. It's adorable. It's sweet. Imagine Hayao as a kid crossed over with a -- oh my, is this really true?! -- better, pondering talent of Walt Disney. Yes, Disney! America has its own 2D drawing talent, same with Japan. But Japan likes this conservative, kept, pure and free from technical errors and technology buzz. That's not always a bad thing.
This one's happy from the beginning, even happier till the end. Hayao's fairy tale is bleeding smiles and really warm bittersweetness, with an even bigger Band-Aid. Ponyo's tail is colored with a tamed Narnia-herioc atmosphere into this decade's tangy Little Mermaid. (This, at least, should've been called The Little Merfish.) Hayao's magic tale unwinds the biggest cliché you can think about a fish versus a human being, but that's the trick. You think a Japanese Disney wise guy would pull something off, for all Princess, all Prince Charmings. But it's the same, only with a distinct wasabi sauce, spicy, green and eyeful. Ponyo (Noah Cyrus, the little sis of bratty Miley Cyrus) is a loud-mouthed rebel but a cute one. She's the risky, risqué 16 year old whose smart enough to not drive late but foolish enough to run away with the crowd. Ponyo's just a goldfish, though. Her flippers shade in a skirt, the tummy is pink red while the head looks like a big ol' bonnet.
Ponyo's escape plans work; the fish outta sea after all doesn't turn out to be stuck in a chef's skillet. Instead, the ideal little boy Sosuke (Frankie Jonas, the Jonas Bro's uhm, other little bro) finds Ponyo's bonnet head stuck in a booty bottle. Sosuke yanks her giant scoped face out, awes at a goldfish that's red and fluffy, spills blood and... Oh no. The fish licks it, tastes it, and the wound is gone. Already this sounds like a cheap fish tale with the Disney Channel snobs. Yeah, yeah, yeah... the fish turns human, and Sosuke and Ponyo get married and live on grassy tops. Sound familiar? Hayao turns borrring Hans Christian tradition and gulps it up into a holy mackerel! ship. Ponyo does attempt to evolve into a little girl with a bow tie on her hair, while Sosuke is confused but delighted at her marvels and magic tricks. It turns out that Sosuke has a crush on Ponyo. A huge, huge crush. But as a human from the origins of a scaly fish? Hayao does a WTFish job well done with the fantasy's inhabitants and the environment within them. Even the dull, platitude adults get some spicy soy sauce smothered on them: Lisa (funnywoman Tina Fey) is the mother of Sosuke, both feisty, fiasco causer and extremely generous. In Hayao's world, no one, not even the PC's, ask why a girl is turned into a fish.
Well, that is, mostly because she's Ponyo. She's the mermaid of this small-scale fable, the whip-smart fish that's also immature and a funny show to watch. But she does stir some waves and inky blob. Ponyo kissing a little boy's blood stream is a no-no from the balance of sea, i.e. the King underwater, the gaunt, druggie-looking Fujimoto (the grand Liam Neeson), the rock star of the underworld. He's a bit OCD about Ponyo's fate turning fins to human feet. And well, let's just say he's fishy. The pure Queen of the Sea is goddess Gran Mamara (luscious Cate Blanchett), who tries to calm down the clams Ponyo scared and the hurricanes her breathing depends on. Water and land clash, boy and girl meet, King and Queen dissemble, the Afterlife and the aftertaste of naughty, adorable fishies smirk up a plan to help Ponyo. Let's just say, it may not be as intense as Shark Weeks or Tina's 30 Rock 'dos, but it hatches into an end and beginning of a kid's chastity.
Ponyo's bubbly fish skills are that of a magicians'. Same with Hayaos'. His presto pockets roll into place with the cartoonish animators and the dreamy visuals that zzz's into a pretty lullaby. It's not damp beach boredom; it's content with its own harmful doggie paddle. While Hayao's lens focus into the more fantastical arenas, the scurry-to is also shiny stuff, a kid's best friend. Ponyo's entailment is more than good, queer fun; it's like what ham is to Ponyo's growling tummy. It's better than most kid's films these days (especially those aggravating family flicks with Eddie Murphy), and for Ponyo, better than seaweed. Awwwww! Better than 3D! Hayoa's reviving mind makes this sea myth of all sketches and family fishnets.
Once Ponyo takes a sip, everything goes natural. Hayao's stanza and margin in foreign theaters crossed over with American cinema is a shaky, trepid take on what makes the fishies and white washed viewers hear about media. Ponyo's lost at sea, the blurry line of wanting to be a 3 inch fish vs. a 36 inch little girl. Sosuke is the Hayao Japanese savior, the kid who invites a whole-hearted creature and allows them to feed off some blood. Ponyo deserves a recognition that Japan is not just for the sushi lovers or Tokyo working class men. Ponyo's cravings come from Raman, which might me better than algae. For us, a blast from the past doesn't always have to be painful jailbait. Sometimes you just have to eat raw fish other than California Rolls. We will always be hungry, happily ever after.
Posted on 7/24/10 11:25 AM
Man, this guy's seen everything. Well, it makes more sense if you'd say that he'd directed almost anything. From the nitty-gritty blocks of NY, to the ghettos of Chicago, from a naughty playboy Rocky to an OCD's cockpit from the back streets of 1940 gangstas... well, you get the point. Martin "Marty" Scorsese is easily one of the dandiest and controversial whiffs of modern cinema's big sleepy hookah. It's his trifle that we plug into. It's his wide black glasses we always look through, whether it's another Marty A- or Marty, uhm, B+. If that even makes a difference! Thing is, this Hollywood dude's filmography has every sense o' arrogance that is just as significant as the invention of sliced bread or Thomas Edison's The Great Train Robbery. He carries a 10 ft. cane of a moving picture's industry. You know, this guy, he's just out there.
We don't blame him. Scorsese deserves the throne as one of the grandiose ATM pow-wows of Hollywood. In the hood genre, he's up there with castle boulder Francis Ford Coppola, (and maybe with Al Pacino, way before he turned 40) both royal treatment and royal pain. In the dramas, Marty's the protestor of wishy-washy soap operas and blondies fallin' in love with brunettes. With the sports genre (yes, even the sports genre) there's something a bit more than Stallone's big KO and small IQ or a Beckham kick and swag. And you know the crime tapes; it's all over Scorsese paintings. If Hollywood's kingdom come in 2012 actually cracks, the volcanoes and Mayan skulls shouldn't touch Scorsese and the other kings. They may not always receive a perfect score on tests. But their diverse crowns do.
Now, if he can just find another vehicle. Scorsese doesn't want to prove some smart alek wrong (again) about his focus and zoom. There's intensity in his projects, something that yearns more than a couple 100 million dollars or a Roger Ebert rave. Which other genre has he not yet touched with some dirt... ah! Comedy? Well, Scorsese does have his share with black jokes and vandalized humor. But he is not a man of gags, teen romp, and Sandra Bullocks. How about... horror?! After Eli Roth and the pangs of Jap-Ame remakes, it minus well be another pathetic green blob of guts and slutty girls. Seriously, the only thing we learned from this kind of genre is that it's just for gorehounds. But Scorsese, even by the standards of a capricious weirdo, shoots the hangover category. The creepy Asian girl and Saw XXX need some skyrocket to show that horror isn't just splatter or testereone stimulator.
How ironic. The coolest modern filmmaker today gets a chance to reprimand (or slaughter) the worst dead genre. We're not so sure if these crazy gambles will either DOA or get stuck between sixes and sevens. We just hope that the bone of contention doesn't always have to be about weird eyelids or really long, black hair. Those jeepers creepers are the ones that are crapshoots to a bunch of B.O. news and bombs. But they're still financed by major pooh-poohers. With an outré profile of a constant gardener of ho-hum to groundbreaking genre form, this thrilling arena is about to be spiced up. Even better, this one should be (well we hope) the distinctive flick in the calorie-packed months of Jan-Feb. You know what that means. More blood! More cheap thrills! More screaming chicks! Scorsese just has to avoid being constipated.
Scorsese isn't an all-out Daredevil. He's taking wee 12 easy-bite puzzle pieces that'll fix some Level 1 enigma. Then some shocking strife will splatter on screen on the 13th. Based on Dennis Lehan's best-selling scare-fri novel (author of Mystic River) this is no "horror" that'll raise a hormone-feeding screen. Scorsese wrecks a Schmoe's highway bridge and builds a man-made trial, a mix of creepy strangers and baggy stalkers. Frequent player of Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, to name a few. Coming up next: Pilots at ATL!) returns yet again in some Scorsese risk. Leo's churned from the insides of his best granddaddy buddy. He's gained about 50 lbs. from cute boy's skinny cheekbones in Titanic to obese dude, whenever he ain't working.
In other words, this one's got the whole package. An adapted novel, Leo's pudginess, an entirely new genre for a director to poke some (serious) fun. Hell, this one's got the advertisement's truth: a flick about psychos. Does this ring a bell? A Scorsese bell?! Shutter Island is located in one madcap of evil criminals, creepers, and frenzy murderers who give you the smirky "look." It's the sixth sense that divulges a haptic touch of eeriness. Detectives search the hellish haunted house to search for a missing patient, Rachel Solando, a crazy who drowned her three children. They find damned notes and try to pretend there's absolutely nothing sick in this place. Within the same month, The Crazies should've paid debt to Shutter with its criss-crossing mind plays, a movie that was a surprisingly fragmented freak of nature.
But, ahem, this one's not scary at all. Not one inch does Shutter really give us the trite no-man cue of regular Friday night screwballs. U.S. Marshals, Edward "Teddy" Daniels (Leo) and partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo, from Zodiac to Shutter), find fishnets at the Island. Eliminate "Shutter" and you'd think of something near the coastline full of blue and salt. It ain't near the Bahamas or Hawaii. Maybe somewhere close to the Transylvania coastline or the ghetto-y side of Jekyll Island. We know, we know, the curtains already look torn up with the daily plot twists at the end. It seems a bit, you know, dungy when some creepy old lady eyes Teddy and whispers a "shhh." Oh, c'mon. Really? But give it a second chance. Let's just say that this island's full of mad people, the mentally ill, wives that killed husbands (with an ax!) and men who bombed schools.
Teddy's gone fishing with some dangerous bait. He should've called the NYPD to come with him, too. It seems that Chuck is just, well, too vulnerable amid this sordid mess. A victim from fighting against the stinking Nazis, Teddy's envisioning something a tad different about a mental hospital. It's not "just" an island but also more of a concentration camp. It makes some sense since there are barbed wires and suspicious security guards roaming the molded walls, the dimmed down closed doors. The entrance creepily reads, "Remember us for we too have lived, laughed and loved." Oh, gosh. This isn't a good sign; one ominous crust that'll make us pee as Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear made us cringe. As one inmate worker in Shutter murmured, "A storm's coming." Right then, thunder and lightning erupts. Rain + creepy place = we're screwed.
Teddy tries to unscrew. He's become much more obsessive about what's lurking behind Shutter. One inmate desperately snatches his notebook and writes... yeah, you've guessed it: RUN. Run?! Teddy, go, go, go! We're rooting for him even if he shan't make it since Leo did gain a few more rounds and chubs. With his foreshadowing rococo, Teddy's also a bit haunted by Dolores (Michelle Williams). His ghost of wife's past is dreggy, always soaking wet, dirty blonde and has an eyeful of anxiety like she's on some psychopathic drug. She's urging Teddy to stop gulping the Advil pill of horror. He's hearing voices behind the back of his filled ear, the paranoia that rips up sweating bullets every single time a drum roll beats. Teddy's intensity rewinds the works of Taxi Driver's dirty redemption and a Goodfella's messed up gluttony. The bevy of it is hatched delusion and vertigo nonsense in the middle of nowhere.
The answer is a mind play. Has Teddy gone mad with a flopped mind? Has Chuck given up on the wrong doings Shutter Island insinuates? Or is Dolores really telling the truth, the reason why he should let go a messed up haunted castle? Lots of questions, little answers. That's the main wisenheimer behind Scorsese pics. We never really get to see why Teddy's so anxious and dicey. Heck, Teddy even suspects the planter of Shutter, the fishy, quiet nerd Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley, the great). Teddy suspects the pasts Cawley had with the other disturbed adjuvants, including a Dr. Max von Sydow. Rorschach's Jackie Earle Haley is well, back again with Freddy Kruger looks and grizzly voice as George Noynce, a college amigo of Teddy, who's a victim of Shutter's meltdown. Even clean woman, Patricia Clarkson, gets drag and sag as an inmate survivor who's hiding in some cave. Obviously, they don't have many happy things to say about this place. Teddy wants the answer. Dolores wants to get him the ferry. Put your thinking caps on.
An asylum's corruption is the least important question of the day. Teddy's heterogeneous anxiety, drug-addled pulses and amber-lit accent are a couple of dangerous red flags. Scorsese does a good job well done with crazy people, tortured guys, and betwixt dudes. DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta and others were results of tainted paintings by one smart sicko. Teddy is one more product. He might be the cakewalk to friggin' insanity or the recovery of "oh! So that's what happened!" But the much too hokum caricatures there disapprove Teddy's fine riddle. Leo might tick us off whenever he says "pahtner" or "whutt," but there is a sense of softness above a really confusing conundrum. His paranoia is just one more reason why Dolores is one feisty gal who just won't die and uhm, why Shutter is just so, so sketchy with its Big Brother. Sigh, a man with no control over his cuckoo thoughts.
Its look is savvy, a savant version of a pretty ugly house. Marty's best might not be handling the horror/mystery genre (sorry, but Hitchcock sorta called that chair years ago!) But it takes no Sherlock to figure out why he's just so pro at making Leo crazy looking and the godly CGI super deadpan silent, deep-fried. Leo and Marty are the goodfellas of the 2000's, the reason why we just can't get enough of psychotic ploys and druggy pranks. Vicious and PO'd, Teddy is the fine-looking lad coming out of a cubicle. Call him a prick or shtick if you want to. But those really cool tricks (whether from a cliché dingleberry or a classic Scorsese boo), he's seen Patricia all wet, Max with crazy hair and needles, Ben with the eerie "What are you doing?" stare. And he still has questions. Poor Teddy.
Posted on 7/24/10 11:24 AM
While superdupers, Cameron Diaz, and Obama's BlackBerry are so yesterday, apocalypses are still in style. Unfortunately. You got shape-shifters, pale douches, catty sorceresses and vampires vs. werewolves. Oh goodie! It's Dungeons vs. Dragons all over again, just with some sex teen romp. Muster a six-pack or slick new hairdo and an Average girl-next-door and, well, here it is. It's so much lower than Harry Potter's cliché notepad, not as high as some video-game inspired graphic novel. Stephanie Meyer's crazy-girl'ed magnet quadriliogy has ever sense that we're just too dumb enough to fall for some skinny, white-y vampire. Her books are what girls and some gay, bi-curious crocodile kids think of forbidden love, sappy theories, and why guys just always go for the new, lonely, depressing girl. HP tells girls and -- eek! -- guys why magic is so flipping cool, and a teen romance/bromance doesn't always have to be Days of Our Lives.
Stephanie's career-planting debut was a savior and killer. It was a Jesus halo for other dying authors who just needed a nickel to save a piece of bread, but also a catastrophe to the industry: less kills, lesser thrills, no chills. Lots of soapy bras. This isn't exactly the idea we had for an all-gurl night bedtime story, but that was like a decade ago. Writes don't revive from the grave. Their ideas are on fencing sticks. Like how Boat shoes replaced Birkenstocks, black magic/sexxxy blood wins a battle over medieval castles and stallions. Though while the first Twilight torched an exemplar breakthrough, it's actually a pretty darn good read for a younger's vocabulary. Anyone 12 to 14 years old. Maybe 15. Now you see a horde of screaming tweens (only girls, please) plucking their split ends to see some new hottie added into the novel's VIP list. Anyone older: you either love 'em or hate 'em. Think of a Beilber crossed over a Hermonie ComicCon fan.
Let's have a talk, Steffie. Girls are gaga over your "sexy" novels, but it simply isn't sexellent. Your rep has been stamped with shouting chicks and pissed off dudes (i.e. a very, very bad rep!) Media scampers a loner party into a claustrophobic BBQ, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if an arena is stuffed up with cute werewolves that look like fat foxes, smirky vamps who just reek of pale trash, a snitch loser named Bella Swan, there's a lot of annoyance. Yup, those characters again, the freak of natures who never grow up. The Twilight zeitgeist is made for certain people who are aplomb with hearty camp balls, 4 slices of stinky blue cheese given on a Styrofoam plate. Some kids just stay as spoiled brats. And some -- well, they just party on and gossip all the way into some censored MTV reality show.
Apparently lip balm and hunky guys are attractive hallucinogens. Summit Entertainment snagged the $100 million plunger. Okay girls, let's admit: the first Twilight adaptation (or let's say, "attempt") was, and yes, there's a PC term for it, emo, depressing, forces you to feel like a gray vamp stuck in a wobbly cocoon. Er, New Moon didn't help at all. The same ol' thing: sad excuses for a whatever-works title, gray and black sketches everywhere, rainy, humid days in Washington (more like Transylvania with rich kids) and sex yens. 2 full hours of nearly nothing happening, yo-yoing cultural wake-up calls from media's coffin. Stephanie, congrats. Make the moviegoers, critics, and random screeners feel teary-eyed, shocked by how that Twilight director knew even how to hold a handheld camera! Well, the tweens are getting sweatier by the minute -- hehe, giggle, squeal! Squelch all the hoot. Looks like the sunshine hit too early.
Same situations are replayed over again. It's Twilight fever party times 100. With the rising stardom of a mad, flat actress Kristin Stewart (Okay, she still has some hope. Dakota Fanning can lend a hand) and 12 pack hunk, Taylor Lautner, expect a theater's crowd to be some kind of joke. Girls should woot, laugh, titter and make non-fans (most likely guys) get drugged with tiny dingleberries of piss offs. Aaah, just like any other girl night and girl party and girl manicure and girl fashion and ...
And, guys, get ready with a batch full of tawdry tomatoes. For most, another Twilight flick at theaters means another cultural generation. That doesn't really mean that it'll spark up some new fans and plant new grounds of guys in love with Taylor's packs. Be prepared at opening weekend to see a bunch, bunch of teenagers, soccer moms, angry dads, the in-crowd, and the 7th grade preppy girls who'll laugh at and laugh with Kristin's acting. FAQ's of the night: Don't you admit that Robert Pattinson is just too pale and skinny? Is Kristin's fashion statement drag or fab?!! Nooo way, Taylor has his shirt off! Again!
Expect a ton of Team Jacobs vs. Team Edwards. (And maybe a couple of Team Bellas.) Hey, this flick hatches a whole new vessel of high blood pressure. Bella's stuck in choosing the boys, too. After a year or two knowing 109 year-old vamp (Patty) and a mad-tempered but spuriously ripped werewolf, Jacob Black (Taylor), she's still -- uhm, emo. No doubt that Bella has some serious social issues. She smooches Edward's sparkly (almost bloodish, too) cheekbones; then she'll French Kiss Jacob's machismo ones. But sorry, this high school graduate still is no It girl in our book. Bella's a bit too dull, platitude for a guy to notice her deeper-than-Beiber voice and that pointy nose. She can't choose between a hunky, tanned manly dude or a thin albino. Hmmm... that's one hard, difficult choice.
It just so happens to be one hard, difficult choice. These vamps won't stop. You've guessed it, another fight about a screwed up territory order and a mad revenge scheme. This Twilight flick actually acts like a whodunit mystery. But the answer's too obvious to even think for four seconds. Teen victim Riley (Xavier Samuel) and a slew of others, form a vamp army, not with guns and bullets but yearning suckers and bloodshot eyeballs. Is it formed by the stinkin Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), a redheaded, backstabber, finding vengeance for the death of her boyfriend who's also a satanic creature? Or how about another evilish cult, formed by Jane (Dakota) a blonde puppeteer who looks like she just entered the 8th grade. Amid all this hocus-pocus magic stuff, Bella just wants to vomit at the cauldron. We get to the point that yeah, she's pretty hopeless and that she would die within a second of Victoria (or some other vamp?? Wonder who...) But then again, she's got her boy and boy on her back, gulping her fine pink champagne with a mistletoe on top.
No one cares. Really. America doesn't pay the price for the story or the story's marvel, but only for the storytellers. Girls either wanna see Robert's metro-sexual grin or Taylor's rocky, packtacular mountains on arms. Bella's solely there for the ride. In other words: she's a slut. Not in one freaking Twilight flick or book is Bella content with her two drooling boys. Her hormones never stomp in terra firma, while the two beasts scramble a future honeymoon plan with her. Really, what's so special about Bella? Her loyalty? Her vulnerability? An excuse just to see sharp teeth and cute coyote swagger? She craves for the bunkum centerfold; a middling thong stuck in between two whitie tighties. Seriously, if you wanna create attention, don't play Monkey in the Middle with the champagne. At least give them wee cups showing them what cup size you wear!
Kristin doesn't help much. Her droopy, mope, teary eyes are the prone messages we always have to see. We don't like the idea of a 17 something year old thinking about 2 dudes 24/7. Earlier in the Twilight saga, Bella threatens her own life just to create some stir in Edward's attention. Two words: cliff; jump. Then she slaps Edward for coming back. Then she makes out with Taylor -- I mean, er, Jacob. While Edward's Cullen Klan tries to gnarl outta the way for a new but waned vamp battle, Bella has to pick one out of the two teams. (Yes, only one, Bella. Remember, you're not even finished with high school yet.) She despises Edward for him trying to protect her from Jacob. Then once she does catch an eye of his eyeful buffs, she hates seeing Jacob. Then she loves seeing Jacob. But now she wants to lose her virginity! With old school vamps! Uhm, ew. Edward asks her to marry him with a bonker of a diamond ring. She doesn't know what to do! If you want to have sex, how could that be such a masticating wreck? Then she makes out with Jacob. Oh, c'mon.
Glad we're not Bella. Reciting over the same old rituals over and over gets tiring. (Vamps hate werewolves. Werewolves hate vamps. Both love Swan. They fight. She fights. She loves. She fights. He loves. She loves. She fights, etc...) The queer thing is, we're picking which one we love not by looks or chunks but by persona. While the World Cup is no tween girl's gold star, we get to root for our own favorite team. The sugar-count is quite a taste. Edward's the indenial shrimpy dude who's got the eyes and the yellow, damned teeth. He's nice. He's gentle. Jacob, a girl's prized savior, is the football leader in school, the guy who sorta acts like a douche lord. He's buff. He's tough. She likes him. No, she likes the other him. Or another him? When Bella's cold, Edward tries to console her with his nice breath; but Jacob has fur, a warm-blooded coat. "I am hotter than you. She just won't admit it." Ouch. Yes, Taylor we get it. But finally! A Twilight flick making fun of its own. Edward's typical response: "Does he own a shirt?" Bella's in a girl's dream.
The apocalypses won't last too long. Forced to being squished together (Breaking Dawn is nearly ready for its last shots), Twilight's legacy is killed with one painful stone. Who else is going to take a stand for new vamp flick(s)? Not many. At least with Eclipse, it's about a mile fresher than Twilights' and New Moons' rotten palette, full of stupid ooze and dim-witted hunkums. But there's still some cutting boards left for slice and diced corny CGI werewolves and hog washed "I Love You" cards. Hell, even the visceral, doll-faced Dakota recites lines like she's borne with some brainwashed hallucination. Robert and Taylor shouldn't be talking either. After attention whore Bella's two bracelets, fights over nights, whirligig rides over Taylor's muscles, and replays of Heidi Montag vs. Spencer Pratt drama, she should be ready for a whipping divorce. This girl sweats too much.
Posted on 7/24/10 11:22 AM
These toys have been with us for almost a decade. Not just Woody and Lightyear's co. but also the engineers that mashed them up. Since the late 1990's, the first CGI-ed animated flick was like the first full-length 2D flick. Okay, so Snow White isn't as classy as the first Toy Story, but both revolutionized why Disney is soo booked up with a crap load of fans. Pixar studio's pooh-bah master, John Lassester, defined what all knickknacks and all trifles are. It doesn't just mean to be the Sheriff of the old west town or to fly all the way to some unknown planet. But it does topple a metaphor for what a kid's flick can be. Or what a kid's flick can't be. Basically, these once frivolous, wee toys go through puberty like never before.
Pixar folks go through that raging stage, too. That means that they grow hair everywhere, girls get prettier (or uglier), and guy's voices lower into drum sets. (Well, hopefully.) It's about time for the wonder children behind that trademark lamp to get some acne patches and a few mood swings. You could say that the first Toy Story's animation was amateurish; sketchy, stretchy graphics are actually quite the polar opposite of what it reeks of. It's a plastic piece of naiveté and jest clog of work. Ostensibly, the TS franchise is indeed -- against all odds -- the most forgotten work of Pixar's line of trinkets, along with few others. Maybe Pixar is just thriving 12 inches, while we're still at 2, vice versa.
Pixar is still the Confucius of all animated king studios. (Stop it, vying Dreamworks. Sure you've hit the bull's eye with some rare good flicks, but Pixar rules this reign.) Still though, the toy's disciples were skeptical for a second round. While they are the nuances of plastics, playthings and other beauties, making another conclusion to Pixar's one and only continuing series is a risqué smuggle. Would it be the TDK of the TS summer? The kid's 2.0 version of another jolly good time? Or will it be the green, yucky ew splat like the 4th Shrek? (Already forgot that one? Good.) Let's just the face the facts. When was the last time you've witnessed a Pixar grenade POW? Or at least, one "underachieving" moola making budget? You can trick and prank semi-lazy Dreamworks that'll sink and fall with yet another sequel or threequel. But you don't f__ with Pixar, the Caesar.
Whoever takes this one, better be lynched or worshipped. The hot spot goes to a dude behind a few other computer-animated flicks we bombast. Lee Unkrich! Introducing the other Pixar sweeper you've probably should've heard about ever since, uhm, Toy Story 2. Unkrich's co-directing skills packed up his own sweet childhood memories that were his fine belongings, which led the road to make yet another grade A flick. To name a few, he's helped around with A Bug's Life, WALL-E, Up and a few other quirky TV prison dramas. Long story short: his smoothie blender is a distinct one with a kid's bouncy freefall and a dude's favorite mental institution. Still, while Unkrich was probably the most OCD of all Pixar customers and salesmen, at least he has some crazy-fun ADHD that's both intense and quibble kind.
The toys should give a lucid thank-you. Old comeback kids return for the final adventure that's a mature whim, both fatuous and chill. That clock is ticking into the fiery pit called growing up and letting go other treasures that made you look like a visceral kid. But Andy's all grown up. His hair is much more wavy, his cheekbones lost its baby fat and his body is trimmed down. He's also become glued to his laptop screen like any other kid to tween that turned 10. Andy's already 18, a young man who already knows how to drive, and hopefully, start talking to the ladies instead of Bo Peep. We don't know if he's going to go to a lower community college or Harvard. But like any other senior graduate who's got a treasure box full of crap, it's time to remember why you thought that piece of junk was so precious. All we know is that those playthings are supposed to be somewhere that ain't so lovely. One thinks that his long gone BFF's are asking if their master is their prisoner, jail breaker or PO'd jailbird living under that nostalgic order.
Contagious, it is. Our olden buddies are back and this time, fresher and more handsome than ever. Yay, CGI! Our best friend since the teddy bear! Visuals improved over the decade and so did Andy's amigos. Not only do they know how to tease a janitor or some mean kid with toy fetish issues, they can actually feel things like tangible Yamaguchis. Woody (Tom Hanks with an older, grander voice) is the Indiana Jones whoopin' cowboy; Buzz (Tim Allen's first auteur film in like, a decade since...TS2...) is the spaceship hero that could've popped out from a censored Heavy Metal mag; Jessie (Joan Cusack) is Buzz's light, Woody's sis, and the modest hyper tough-as-nails gal. The other half of the crew is the same as yesteryear, only with spic and span clarity: Rex, the dummy gentle giant, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and their silly to and fro, Hamm aka, Dr. Evil Porkchop, dumb blond Barbie, etc. Whew! These guys are back with Twitter minds and whip smart gizmos.
Andy can't seem to get enough of it. His conscience says to throw them out -- oh gosh -- into the stinking trash or better, if not worst, the (dark, dark, dark) attic. His sense to take care of the toys all leave, except of course, Woody, because of their special hollow kinship. We guess saving loot in the Wild West is better than zapping a horde of aliens. But these toys aren't worried about jealousy over who can do what. They're scrambling for their own lives whether they can break a leg or two, or pop an eye out. Put it this way: this just isn't the same old "oh no! Get that toy back!" ritual. TS and TS2 reminds us that Woody was always there to save the day, or that Jessie was the angry, feisty dismal in distress. In TS3, all are about to burn up in some fiery oven, DOA. (Hell, the opening of TS3 pows in with an atomic bomb made up of rubbery monkeys.)
There's more pain. This TS flick musters in a sentimental drowsiness but also a screwy switch of awws and sweaty edge of your seat. When Woody's leadership tops a selfish goodie-goodie Andy product, they randomly land in Sunnyside Day Care center. Man, that sounds awesome! Kids, colors, rainbows everywhere and high-pitched children who are about 3 feet tall. This is heaven for all Potato heads and all slim Barbies. Andy's lost toys encounter more of the same wonders that ended up in some cursed cardboard box ("For Sale," "Garbage," "Donations," to name a few.) TS3 takes a risqué gamble to either fly or drop with a 100+ some new characters. Seriously, there's no doubt one person can memorize all these different knickknacks even when they're the obvious Jack in the Box. Toys and trinkets galore all the way to happy land.
Okaay, so that sounds a bit mushy. And crappy. But Pixar meals tend to twig in bit swag into a brand we already know of. Up had it with its touchy realism; WALL-E spiced it up with emotional robot moves and lalas; The Incredibles super-dupers charged a mid-life crisis avalanche that's actually quite depressing even with funny woman Edna. Each Pixar product's specialty has something to do with an adult's gaga over how cool the toy is and how the kids take an advantage of the gold. TS3's gift is the counterpoint of an osticant show. It does have its face of poignancy and a plaything's heart, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's got the ingredients for a fine dry eye gone soakin wet. But that's not why TS3's buzz is more than a Lightyear's worth of training. Let's just say that well, TS3 joined the dark side.
Dark though, doesn't mean it's bad. It just tells us that a kid's flick doesn't always have to act like the innocent flower-y one. The toys undergo a throng of intense cliffhangers that doesn't tame back to crumble down all the way to Hell. TS3 doesn't cut a G-rating. It should have at least -- no wait, it should've nonetheless, been rated PG. A disturbing, eerie kind of spook, Sunnyside isn't all that Paradise Island. The Don of Sunnyside is the pink, fluffy strawberry smelling Lots-o-Huggin' bear, or just Lots. His hicky voice and nice whitewashed Morgan Freeman hug is, well, pretty cute. Except this purple bear has Lots of hate: his adroit minions are pure evil amid the cotton and plastics they're stuffed up with. They act like they're on freaking steroids or LCD! If you think clowns are phobia sensors, look at Big Baby. A doll that twists its own head without moving its body is the moment of a Chucky doppelganger.
This might be the end of a beautiful friendship. But that doesn't mean it's finished with doofy frosting. TS3's naughty characters and gritty dystopian trip realizes the classical love how a Pixar film should grow not just in scope but also in slingshot range. It hatches why goofy humor is the Age of Information. The real star of the show (literally!) is Ken (Michael Keaton), the heartthrob fashion dude who's got an ear for fluxes and an eye for a hottt Barbies. Ken has seen the ugly side of Sunnyside, and is part of the creepy duty. He's also, uhm, gay. Well, maybe bisexual. You don't for sure, until you watch Ken's own fashion show. Homo alert! It's one of the fine TS3 jests that make this one even more up to date with the real toys of the generation. Aim, instant messaging and a Hispanic Buzz Lightyear!
Yeah, this is Disney, but it's still no mainstream. So mainstream 3D glasses won't add much. Even though a pop or a boom could savor the moment to see through walls, this one's better off old fashioned. Ventures for these toys are like the Saturday morning cartoons pumped up with 100 lb. weights, not bulky glasses. While it can get a bit techno Indiana Jones repartee and crybaby relic style, this TS should shoot big at 2010's hemlock, cracked summer. (Ever since SATC 2 bombed, this summer pronounces itself as a failure.) This one has fine hope, not woody or hollow. And there is still time to open the chests of our cheesy gold mines, whether plaything or not. Matured now, Andy is our Walt Disney gone fishing for snazzy CGI compliments who's also an eye opener. The toys are us.