Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Madness

The recent proliferation of available cinematic features has given me a lot to watch. Here's a quick round up of my take on some recent films:

3 of 5 Stars
A less than stellar script and distracting caricatures cap off some adult skewed gags and a collection of every bad sci-fi joke that can be concocted. While Seth Rogan is a breath of fresh air amidst some boring dialogue and mismatched voice work, he's not enough to overcome a lack of heart and appealing characters.

4 of 5 Stars
Sitting through the first hour of the film is a toll to be paid for the privilege of seeing the second half. While the story is built well in the beginning of the movie, it drags quite a bit, especially when your anticipating what's being dangled in front of you. Some superb action sequences coupled with juicy tidbits of story from various characters in the franchise are a big pay off. The conclusion however tosses a wet blanket on that fun pretty quickly.

5 of 5 Stars
They found a way to build a new story on familiar characters without being tied to the cannon of Trek time lines and development. This freedom grants the viewer an ability to quickly accept unexpected story divergence and embrace it with new fervor for the characters they know well. The film pulled emotions from me I hadn't expected to find in a Trek movie and impressed me with the melding of a franchise stuck in the 60's with the flair of 21st century film making.

4 of 5 Stars
This is the mystery/thriller one should expect from Brian Grazier and Ron Howard. Stripping excessive ties to dogma while retaining all the important connections to Catholicisim and it's history and art is exactly what was needed to create a good murder mystery. Hanks sheds the aggravating character traits of his role in DaVinci Code in favor of a straight forward performance that better fits him and the film. Rome was captured in stunning fashion and what sets were built fit seamlessly into the cavalcade of Roman architecture. The National Treasure films look like Nancy Drew novels compared to this movie.

4 of 5 Stars
I finally got what I had been wanting since I first laid eyes on a Terminator film: lot and lots of robots! Not the cyborgs, but the fleshless terrifying machines teased at in each of the first three films. The action sequences were exquisite to watch and the effects were dazzling. The film quickly became intense and lacked none of the scary "pop up" moments which Cameron and subsequent directors utilized so well.

2 of 5 Stars
The original film captured imaginations and entertained adequately in exchange for a suspension of disbelief and a willingness to accept a few bad jokes. The sequel asks for all of this plus a willingness to tolerate actors that offer painful performances and an obvious attempt to get away with a lack of genuine story telling through a gratuitous use of flashy effects in return for absolutely no pay off. In fact the comedy is so disingenuous that it is not just a bitter pill to swallow, it is a jagged poison filled capsule force fed to you with a whitless smile.

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