Being a teacher is incredibly time consuming so blogging has kind of stopped happening, again.
Rather than continue to put off writing a bunch of posts for movies I've seen I have decided to just write a bunch of short little blahs about said films in one post, so here goes.
EXPECTATIONS: I haven't seen the original film or read the novel that True Grit is based on, but the Coen brothers are ridiculously trustworthy at making great films so this should be fantastic.
REALITY: This is fantastic; from start to finish a solid tale of loyalties in a vast and beautiful desert landscape. The performances are all solid, the soundtrack sets the tone perfectly, and this is yet another great Coen brothers film.
EXPECTATIONS: Danny Boyle proved that he could make interesting but poorly constructed films that everyone goes nuts over for some reason with Slumdog Millionaire. I assume this will be the same. James Franco is pretty great though, so maybe that will save this film.
REALITY: Franco tries his hardest and his performance is very believable, but Danny Boyle's insistence on using awful, tacky editing techniques (every time Franco takes a photo we hear a loud camera noise and a cheap and nasty looking photo wipe effect), and poorly executed inner turmoil dream sequences makes the whole thing fall into an icky heap. The film kept my interest for its entirety, which is an achievement considering it mostly involves a guy with his arm stuck under a rock, but it all plays out in an awful, film student fashion which is pretty crap really.
EXPECTATIONS: I enjoy watching pop stars tank on film (see: Cool As Ice, Glitter) and I hope to see it happen again.
REALITY: I was not ready to enjoy this as much as I did. Within the first couple of minutes Christina Aguilera starts singing and it was tough to not be impressed. She can belt it out in an old school way, restraining herself from diva-ing it up all over the place. Also she's smoking hot.
Aguilera leaves her dead end job to move to the city, looking for stardom. She walks into a burlesque club and her whole world changes. The song and dance numbers are all fantastic, and they take place on stage and not in some strange musical reality where people sing what they're saying. I know this isn't a big deal for some people but for me it makes the whole thing much more stomachable.
Cher looks like Skeletor, but thankfully only sings a couple of songs, and even through her awful surgical nightmare of a face, her performance as the fairy godmother type character is nice enough.
There is a little drama and a little conflict, but it's all minimal and fixable. The focus is on the tunes and the girls. I also loved how the one romantic interest in the film is a guy who wears eye-liner and is a total pushover. The focus is on Aguilera doing what she wants and being a strong, sexy woman. It was great to see a film where the romantic interest wasn't the focus and the female lead needs to sing on stage for herself and doesn't feel the need to live up to some guy's expectations.
The film also has a timeless quality to it. Some of the closing numbers are very much a product of 2011 pop music, but the costumes, setting and storyline aren't concreted in 2011 at all.
Anyway, I'm getting a little gushy and ranty and messy about all of this. The girls are sexy, the dancers can dance, the singers can sing, and the whole thing doesn't feel like sexist garbage. I was really into it.
THE KING'S SPEECH
EXPECTATIONS: This cast is solid, so I expect a quaint film with a solid cast and I'd be surprised if this wasn't enjoyable.
REALITY: The King's Speech is a buddy film with the King as the lead. I won't go on about it too long because you've more than likely seen it or read about it a lot before now. Geoffrey Rush, the speech therapist from the working class, makes a connection with the King with a stutter and they become close friends. That's it. The performances are solid, the design of the film is very muted and gray, Helena Bonham-Carter is a great Queen, Guy Pearce is a great King's brother; it's kind of ridiculous how good this film is. The script, the cast, the set; all the pieces were put in place to make a solid film and it was solid. No surprises really.
EXPECTATIONS: I expect Rachel McAdams to be all pretty and charming, and I expect Harrison Ford to be old. This looks like a movie released in the 1980s and hopefully that's a plus.
REALITY: This was overly silly in places, but McAdams pulls it off. The focal relationship of the film is between McAdams and Ford in father/daughter type roles. It's cheesy and the use of slow motion running without irony should be outlawed, but I enjoyed this a lot.
HOW DO YOU KNOW
EXPECTATIONS: Kind of an odd cast to put together, but I think Paul Rudd has the potential to be good, so here goes.
REALITY: This is the worst. I thought that perhaps I would get a predictable but fun romantic comedy, but this film doesn't play by the rules at all. What we get is an overly convoluted plot with a bunch of unlikable characters that I don't care about. Reese Witherspoon is a total self obsessed bitch, neurotic but not in a fun way; Owen Wilson is a dick but it's not funny; Jack Nicholson looks like he's asleep; and then there's poor old Paul Rudd.
Paul Rudd has the potential to be the new "boring but funny every day guy" of Hollywood, but instead he gets cast in strange films like Dinner for Schmucks and this, where he gets little moments of nice guy that are shat all over by strange asshole moments.
How Do You Know = unwatchable.
EXPECTATIONS: I expect to get creeped out. A creepy thriller with a good cast, this could be great.
REALITY: Meh. This is definitely worth a watch and there are moments of tension throughout, but maybe I've just seen this kind of thing too many times before. It's not badly made at all, and the performances are all decent (how great is it that Christopher Lee is still acting!) but by the end I kind of felt like I should be on the edge of my seat more than I was. If you don't watch many horror films then perhaps this will be the scare fest that it promises to be, but for me it was just a semi-interesting but well made average thriller.
THE GREEN HORNET
EXPECTATIONS: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is still one of my all time favourite films, and everything Michel Gondry has done since has at least been aesthetically pleasing to me; his crafty, hand-made look is unlike any other film maker's working in Hollywood. Can he make a superhero film with Seth Rogen in it? I have no idea.
REALITY: This was kind of a mixed bag film. The drama of Rogen and his father is handled well, the action scenes are fantastic and shot in an interesting way, some of the 3D effects were quite cool and unlike what other 3D films have been doing, and some of the comedy is hilarious, but as a whole I think it's a film that needs some harsh editing to iron out the creases and change from a mixed bag into a solid whole.
The subplot where Rogen and his buddy Kato argue over the love of Cameron Diaz was just stupid and messy; the first Bloodnofsky scene where the villian is unsure of what his persona should be was funny, but then we saw almost the same exact scene another couple of times in mildly different scenarios and it lost all of its umph. I think the strengths of the film were the friendship between the Hornet and Kato and the action, so they should have been the focus, leaving behind all the bits that didn't work.
Apologies for yet another convoluted rant. In a nutshell, I'm saying this had the potential to be really great, but it wasn't.
TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN
EXPECTATIONS: Tsukamoto is like David Lynch crossed with Roger Corman crossed with the high over-dramatic style of anime and Japanese cinema. I love Shinya Tsukamoto as much as I love David Lynch, meaning I will watch this film with rose coloured glasses on and love it. This may make my review/rant of the film utterly pointless but I don't care.
REALITY: A third and fantastic addition to the Tetsuo films. Out of the three, Bullet Man actually has a bit more of a narrative structure. All the punk/industrial elements are still there, but now there is a bit more of an origin tale added to the mix.
Trent Reznor did the soundtrack for this film, and the pairing of Tsukamoto and Reznor is an obvious natural fit.
Just watch the damn thing and enjoy
That's that. Will I post more regularly now, or will you get another long rant like this in 2 or 3 months? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading.