Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Oldboy - Sure, an Americanized remake of this movie is completely unnecessary. I still tried to watch this movie with a "blank slate" attitude; judging it for what it is, instead of instantly hating it like some people (ahem). For the most part, I enjoyed it. Josh Brolin and the rest of the cast give really strong performances, it moves really quickly and it holds up the level of intensity that the original has. However, there are parts that are really poorly done - like the long tracking shot fight scene. This scene from the original movie is among the best long tracking shots in the history of film-making; choreographed to perfection. Lee's version is over choreographed, not very well (there are several punches that didn't even come close to landing), and the pacing is completely off. It's embarrassingly bad. Plus, the end is such a crazy twist, but if you already know it, then it just sort of lands with a thud. I wouldn't really recommend it, unless you absolutely refuse to read subtitles, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

2. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - I'm not really a fan of biopics - probably my least favorite type of movies (along with documentaries). There have been a few that really stick out in my mind (Milk, for example), but otherwise I usually find them dull. This movie is a typical biopic - I felt like I could have just read Nelson Mandela's Wikipedia page and I would have learned the exact same information. It's a remarkable story about a remarkable man, so it shouldn't be that boring. The story did, however, peak my interest in Winnie Mandela. Her story is interesting and their relationship (and gender dynamic) is fascinating. I love Idris Elba, but I didn't love him in this role. He really looks nothing like Mandela, but that's not the biggest problem. I don't think he did a good job of embodying his spirit at all, and I'm not sure if that's really his fault. It's rare to find a picture of Mandela without a smile on his face ("Appearances matter - and remember to smile"), but Elba let the serious nature of the story show too much in his expressions. He barely smiled at all; instead he seemed muted and detached. Just look at the poster! Nothing about it reminds me of Mandela. Also, that U2 song is shit.

3. Rush - The trailer for this movie made it seem like the dumbest movie ever (and seemed to show the entire story), but I read a ton of good things about it  - words like "exhilarating" and "emotional", some citing it as one of the best of 2013. I thought that maybe it was just a case of a bad trailer, so I actually convinced myself to get excited for it. I don't understand the praise at all. It's exactly what I was originally expecting (and, yes, the whole movie is in the trailer). I admit, I'm not a car racing type of person - watching a bunch of cars speed around in a circle is not my idea of entertainment. I fully believe that you can tell everything you want to know about a guy, by how he drives a car, and "fast" is not something I look for...*cough*, so I don't see the sex appeal of these characters at all (I also don't think Chris Hemsworth is hot; I mean, he's traditionally "hot" but he's just soooo boooooring). For me, the movie is just about two assholes trying to out-asshole each other. Also, even though Natalie Dormer has a very small role in this film, I will take this time to declare how much I hate her. I think she is a terrible actress, and I don't find her attractive at all.

4. Passion - I was looking forward to some Brian De Palma trashiness, but this movie is just a little too silly and not nearly as fun as it should be. The story is nothing better than Lifetime material, and it is completely miscast. Flipping the actresses would have helped the movie tremendously. Noomi Rapace is not meek or pathetic in any way; and I don't buy Rachel McAdams as a high-powered backstabbing bitch - she just does a grown up version of her Mean Girls character, but it doesn't work at all. The story is twisty, but none of the twists are worthy of the build-up they receive. There is an incredible amount of foreshadowing; so none of it is very surprising if you pay attention to obvious plot points (like the scarf, or her twin sister story). The story is horrendously anti-feminist (see this is exactly why women don't get paid the same as men; because they are catty, backstabbing, unprofessional bitches...), but for the most part, it's just dumb. Side note: the poster for Rush and the poster for Passion are practically identical.

5. The Big Wedding - After the first scene, I knew I was in for a terrible movie. It just gets worse and worse. Aside from the fact that the movie is about a wedding (ugh...weddings), it's also about people bickering and lying to each other. The plot is outlandish and contrived; the characters are hard to relate to because they make decisions that make no sense - like Jared (Topher Grace), who is a 30 year old virgin (okay...), but he suddenly decides that he wants to have sex with someone he just met (and spends the whole movie trying to woo her). Did I mention that this woman is his adopted brother's sister? Yeah...that's how bad this movie is. I didn't like anyone in this movie; I didn't root for any of the couples; I didn't care what happened to any of them. The most troubling thing is that it's supposed to be a romantic comedy!! I didn't even realize until I looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes (I was curious to see how low it scored on the Tomatometer), and it is described as an "uproarious romantic comedy". Hahaha....what?!? There is absolutely nothing funny about it...and what was supposed to be romantic? The plot of the movie is basically stating that everybody cheats. I mean, it's true, but I certainly wouldn't call it "romantic".  The nicest thing I can say about this movie is that Katherine Heigl isn't the worst part of it.

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