Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some thoughts on Spielberg's War of the Worlds



As was obvious to everyone from its opening day onwards, the 2005 "War of the Worlds" is a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda, as the cliche yet accurate observation goes, turned Hollywood action movies into reality by toppling the towers, and Spielberg, for whatever reason, decided to respond by turning that reality back into a Hollywood movie.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

OneRepublic's sophomore album Waking Up: pretty good!


 First, let me say that I hardly ever *get* popular music. I've tried listening to albums such as Coldplay's Viva La Vida, which many called one of the best of 2008, and apart from one or two decent tracks , was befuddled by the general mishmash of sound. I tried the Black Keys' album Brothers, and the songs, while quite listenable, were virtually indistinguishable. The AV Club gave British Sea Power's latest a B+, so I gave that a spin, but heard very little beyond ultra-loud screeching.

Because I don't much watch TV or listen to the radio, I was vaguely aware of OneRepublic's "Apologize", but didn't think much on it. Then, a while back, I heard their "All the Right Moves" in a Safeway (I know, I know, I'm super-uncool, music-wise), and thought it was pretty good, so I gave the album a try. And while it's full of the same sort of musical wanderings as Viva La Vida, and thus took me a couple spins to really get into... well, I did get into it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How I'd Handle... Ghostbusters III

Being a recurring feature in which I tell Tinseltown how to do the jobs it seems to be at a loss for - pro bono! Hollywood, steal this blog!



A lot of the Ghosbusters III discussion has centered upon Bill Murray, and how big a role (if any) he'd consent to playing. But assuming that any prospective threequel would launch a "next generation" of 'Busters, it strikes me as if anyone should appear in the movie, it'd be Ramis. Wasn't Egon the most knowledgeable and supernatural-obsessed of the four? I see him in a Master Splinter-type part, chuckling at the antics of the new gang.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ranking the Tintin series


Of the twenty-three completed Tintin adventures, I don't think any are outright bad, but some are obviously better then others. Here's my ranking from best to worst, with the chronological ordering in parentheses.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Visual palettes again: Superman I and II vs. Superman Returns

The following image, I think, about says it all:

(click to enlarge)

The Richard Donner-designed 1978 and '80 films Superman and Superman II both had bright, cheery, colorful visual palettes ideally suited to movies about the smiling, good-natured Man of Tomorrow. Bryan Singer's 2006 Superman Returns, on the other hand, had a more elegant and polished but also much darker, grimmer and brownish tone - indeed, the red on his Superman's suit isn't even red so much as maroon, and the whole movie looks as though it was shot through mud-colored nylon stockings. (That's the family-friendly metaphor, at any rate. You might imagine some other, equally fit ones.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The very un-Indy-like visuals of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


Firstly, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a terrible title; for the same (mediocre) movie, Indiana Jones and the Secret of Akator would have been leagues better. This post, however, examines KOTCS through the lens of its visual palette. It was inspired by a particularly astute quote from one JacksonArcher on the message board TrekBBS.com:
What I liked most about Raiders of the Lost Ark was that rough-around-the-edges, gritty type of sensibility that has gradually dissolved throughout the series.... Plus, I think a big factor in separation from the rugged quality of Raiders to the quality of Crystal Skull was that everything seemed too polished and neat. The cinematography was way too polished and clean for an Indiana Jones movie. Even the locations and sets and special effects had this very pristine quality that felt totally out-of-place.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ebert and the ending to Seven


Quoth The Dean:
Good as it is, Seven misses greatness by not quite finding the right way to end. All of the pieces are in place, all of the characters are in position, and then - I think the way the story ends is too easy. Satisfying, perhaps. But not worthy of what has gone before.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Core: a damn fine fun, underrated flick‏


In honor of Jules Verne's Feb. 8 birthday, here's a tribute to the vaguely Verne-ish disaster flick The Core. Why do I love it so?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why the Matrix sequels lacked that certain kick


First movie, made help of machines, argue against enslavement to machines. Fun movie. Make million dollars.

W brothers realize: buy more machines, make bigger movies, make bazillion dollars. Tie in video games, make majillion dollars!

Small problem: how to argue against being machine-slave when selling machine games?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quote the Critics: Fight Club

Being a recurring feature in which, rather than compose our own, fresh thoughts on certain films, we quote professional critics who've already had those same thoughts, and whose prose are largely unimprovable.


Roger Ebert:
Although sensible people know that if you hit someone with an ungloved hand hard enough, you're going to end up with broken bones, the guys in "Fight Club" have fists of steel, and hammer one another while the sound effects guys beat the hell out of Naugahyde sofas with Ping-Pong paddles.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Atonement: iffy title, silly story, awful posters. Also, Great Film.

I recently saw Atonement after several years of avoidance. Why the hesitation, you ask, for a story about Brits and WWII, which received glowing reviews? There were three main reasons:

- The title. Unique, aye, but ponderous-sounding. This reason, however, takes a back seat to...
- The story. Girl falsely accuses young man, who is then thrust into WWII, but remains fixated on getting back to his beloved? Not too promising. But the biggest factor in my avoiding it was...
- The Poster. Being in London at the time, I only saw the UK poster, which I now present to you:


Friday, January 14, 2011

For Pete's sake, people, Iron Man 2 is a Good Movie

(Just a little rant inspired by all sorts of disses I've read online, notably including io9's placement of IM2 on their "worst of the year" sci-fi list, while Predators, of all things, made the "best".)


Why is IM2 a good movie? Glad you asked...

Why Dead Man's Chest is the best and, so far, only *good* Pirates of the Caribbean

This scene alone is more fun than all those of AWE.


Oh, yeah, I just went there. Pourquoi? Read on...

Thursday, January 13, 2011