Fate is… Vaguely kind?

I saw The Adjustment Bureau this weekend. Light spoilers follow:

Acting? Superb. Everyone was well cast.

Plot premise? Excellent.

Execution? Horribly disappointing. My biggest problem with the movie (and its a doozie) there are no bad guys. The movie goes out of its way to make the Agents of Fate likable. Just doing a tough job, nothing personal.

Nothing interesting, either. What could have been an amazing movie falls short due to an obvious unwillingness on the part of the film’s makers to take any real chances or piss anybody off by following through on the many implications the plot throws out, but then leaves by the wayside.

 

Conclusion: Flawed, enjoyable enough, but flawed.

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Gives Us Buckets of Blood

I saw the new Jason Statham flick, The Mechanic, this weekend. I’ve liked Statham since Snatch though some of his movies are definitely hit or miss.

Mechanic wasn’t the greatest modern action flick I’ve seen, but the fact that it was a straight-up ballsy R with some serious ultra-violence along with a touch of sex made it quite charming… well, from my point of view at any rate.

How I curse the rise of the PG-13 action flick. Admittedly, Nolan showed the new way with Dark Knight but still, I like proper weapon play. One of my favorite action films of the last decade (and believe it or not inspirado for you budding Far West fans) is John Singleton’s Four Brothers. Four Brothers is basically a classic revenge western set in modern Detroit and yeah, it is definitely an R. Greatly underrated, it helped continue to establish Mark Wahlberg as a contender, showed Tyrese Gibson to a wider audience, and introduced Garrett Hedlund (who just played Sam Flynn in Tron: Legacy).

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 8:05 PM  Leave a Comment  
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My Toy Story Story

So we turn the way-back machine to the summer of ’95. My friend Patrick and I went to see an early Saturday matinee of the film from a relatively new little studio called Pixar. We had both seen the short of the bouncing light along with “Tin Toy” before. It was the first weekend and the theatre was absolutely packed with children.

I think we were about 30 minutes in when a sense that something was off in the theatre struck me… I couldn’t put my finger on what it might be for another 20 minutes or so until I suddenly realized what it was. I’m a big fan of all forms of animation, be it Miyazaki or Disney or what-have-you I see it in the theatre, often at a matinee and kids, even the best behaved kids, make a lot of noise at the movies…

There was no sound from the audience; no sound at all. I mean, there was popcorn munching, and frequent laughter at appropriate moments, but otherwise, no sound from the kids. I turned and looked back into the darkened theatre and all I could see was little faces staring up in rapture, eyes wide open, mouths agape. The whole theatre was soundless, speechless, utterly captivated. I caught the eye of a few Moms and Dads and grinned. They grinned right back.

It was magical.

I’ll be damned if it didn’t happen again last Saturday afternoon.

Soundless, mouths agape.

Magic.

I love you, Pixar – thanks for my Father’s Day present.

Published in: on June 20, 2010 at 4:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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There Is No Plan B

So, like many scions of the 80s, I loved me some A-Team. I can’t say I was obsessive, but I did know the Intro by heart and secretly hoped that one day, maybe, I could hire the A-Team. To do what, I have no idea. Probably eliminate corrupt administrators at my school… not that the A-Team ever actually, you know, “eliminated” anybody…

So it is reasonable, I’ll go out on a limb here and say not very spoilery at all, to tell you that the A-Team does a 100% more eliminating in their new film than they did in their previous TV incarnation. The critics have been pretty squarely mixed, presently sporting a 52% at Rottentomatoes. Screw ’em. I had no expectations whatsoever – correspondingly, it was an absolute blast. Lots of them, in fact. Big damn explosions every 10 minutes or so like clockwork.

It was fun and I got my money’s worth.

Standout performance: Sharlto Copley. I thought he was awesome in District 9, but Holy S@#@! Keep an eye on that one, I predict a long and character-filled career for that man. He was absolutely flawless as Howling Mad Murdock, smoothly striding along the edge of Crazy-Like-A-Fox and believably genuinely having lost-the-plot.

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 7:53 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Prince of Pers…eh

So took the family to see Prince of Persia this weekend. It was vaguely entertaining, but lacked passion. The coolest character in the movie wasn’t in the video game (that would be the African master of throwing blades by the by. FYI – his tri-bladed throwing weapons are real.)

Ultimately, disappointing, but I wasn’t really expecting much.

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 6:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Did you get Lost?

The 6 year ride comes to an end and it sounds like the fan community doesn’t know quite what to think. I’ve seen love and hatred in equal buckets across the web.

So where do I stand? Well, I was never a big devotee of the show, I watched here and there but never with any regularity. I thought the ending was sweet.

That said, I always looked at Lost as a morality play embracing the struggle not just of good and evil, but science versus religion, faith versus cynicism, etc. Faith clearly won out in the end, which I imagine has pissed off a lot of the more rationally inclined fans who were pulling for science.

As for all the Dharma Initiative questions? Please, me and any of my RPG designer mates could give you all the answers you would want with five minutes of riffing on the subject.

Here, not even trying very hard:

The unusual electro-magnetic properties of the island put it on the scientific community’s raider sometime during WWII when radio communications were strangely effected in proximity to it.

The Dharma Initiative came in to study the phenomenae.

Some of the DI folks were above board and only went in for scientifically sound and humane experiments. A select group did not, and kept their tests secret from the rest. Example: they brought in a polar bear to study the effects of a specific energy stream on a living creature. The stream in question was running through the underground of the island, causing freezing cold temperatures where it passed. To conduct the experiment, they needed a massive endotherm inured to cold.

There, decent answers to three questions.

Published in: on May 24, 2010 at 12:41 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Are you READY?

Disney gets it right at last. As the Father of a rather girly-girl Disney’s disconcerting habit of having every princess exist only for the day that a prince will rescue her is fairly lame. In Disney’s latest, The Princess & the Frog the heroine Tiana is told by her loving Father that, “wishing on a star may get you half way there, but your own hard work is what will make your dreams come true.”

Wooo-hoo!

Plus, Keith David as Dr. Facilier – Voodoo Witch Doctor (read Bokor) Extraordinare – and Mama (that’s actually Mambo chere) Odie.

Note I use the Hollywood “voodoo” spelling as opposed to Vodun on purpose as Disney obviously went with the sensationalized version that everybody expects “voodoo dolls” and all; however, and this is a very big however, somebody clearly did real research into vodun.

All the b.s. stuff is wrapped about with the real trappings of vodun, from accurate ververs to the blind Mama Odie’s Simbi marked “seeing-eye” snake Juju. Get this – Mama Odie lives in a boat that’s atop a bayou tree – a boat that is a dead ringer for Agwe’s vessel. I gasped aloud during Mama Odie’s wonderful song “Dig a Little Deeper” as she takes the characters up to the top of her home, where a garden of glass bottles of different shapes and sizes hang from the branches of the trees soaking in the light… and other things if you know your vodun. It was awesome – I firmly recommend it.

Published in: on May 9, 2010 at 7:22 PM  Leave a Comment