We haven't done a movie update for sometime but, don't get us wrong, we've still been hanging out at the cinemas. Here's some potted reviews of a few flicks we've caught over the last month in no particular order:
SNAKES ON A PLANE - Everything you have heard is true. This is badly written, badly acted, (and the cgi aint that great either!) but it is thoroughly entertaining... sort of like a car crash... so bad you just can't help but look, and stare, and look away but keep peeping through your fingers... Samuel L Jackson delivers a truly unique performance and, I guess, the best way I can describe this one is "a pantomime for adults".
MIAMI VICE - After sitting through an extremely confusing and very expensive looking film I felt very dissatisfied. Fair enough, Michael Mann directed the TV series and so he can do what he wants with the movie. Unfortunately, there was no chemistry between the two leads (and wasn't that the key to the success of the series?) and no real anything. A few standard gunfights, chases, lots of confusing (and mumbled) dialogue but why bother calling it Miami Vice? A real non-event as far as I was concerned.
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING - A very clever, altogether too long, jet black comedy. A great satire on the way that things get done in a capitalist society. It's a very well written, well acted, and well made film that you can enjoy but also hate at the same time. (Rob Lowe's character is especially great in this regard). A bit of trivia, even though this film is 100% about smoking, no-one actually smokes in the entire film.
STORMBREAKER - This British junior James Bond is a real gem! We saw it in a little family run cinema in the British town of Keswick and it was thoroughly entertaining, well acted and a perfect film for kids who enjoyed the Spy Kids series, (but it my opinion it's far superior). It's the first film in a series based on the popular 'Alex Rider' books (which I've never heard of before) and it's scheduled to come out here in mid September. Grab some kids and go see this one, I think you'll really enjoy it.
RV - Eddie Williams, Ice Cube, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin have all sold their souls to act in terrible "family comedies" and this Robin Williams effort is just as bad (and just as big a hit at the box office) as all the others. Robin Williams doesn't even appear to try to act in this film. It looks like every time the director yelled "Cut!" Robin said, "Great, let's go straight on to the next shot..." Unbelievably, the budget for this thing was $65,000,000 (twice that of Snakes On A Plane, and a third more than Stormbreaker's $40,000,000). Where did it go? Certainly not on the screen. Maybe little kids like this sort of a film, but I really could live a happy and fulfilling life without having to see and "toilet explodes and contents cover funny man" joke.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 - Brilliant. Even though the Herald-Sun gave this one star out of five, I'd come very close to giving it 5/5. Comedy, charm and non-stop fantasy action. One of the few movies I've seen recently that I'd be happy to see again (and again!) Johnny Depp steals the movie despite their being so many more colorful characters than the first movie. The only fault I can find with this flick is, even though it's 150 minutes, it feels like it's all over too soon. (At $225,000,000 budget, you get a lot more bang for your buck than RV.)
THE LAKE HOUSE - I was really surprised by this one. I truly expected it to be pretty bad but strangely enough I got thoroughly sucked in by it's quirky story. The chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock is excellent, and though it's essentially a chick-flick the "separated by time" device will keep the guys in the audience happy too. There's an especially "buzzy" moment when they take a walk "together" but two years apart (I'm talking about the grafitti). It's a remake of a Korean film Siworae but it's just such a great plot device it was worth remaking.
JINDABYNE - I'll admit, I didn't watch it. Sue-Anne watched it on the plane heading over to FISM. My Mum and Dad saw it while we were away. General consensus: Slow.
THE WRONG MAN - I prefer it's US title 'Lucky Number Slevin' but here in Aus it's called 'The Wrong Man'... how exciting... It's slick, beautifully written, well acted and shot in a very creative way... but the only thing stopping it from being another 'Usual Suspects' or even 'Inside Man' is that it tries too hard to be cool. Definitely worth a look though.
KENNY - This came out of the blue! A low budget Aussie mocumentary about a bloke who delivers porta-loos for a living. It's success rests entirely on the appeal of the title character who is thoroughly loveable. Sue-Anne and I were discussing why most Aussie films are boring to watch, and we came to the conclusion that they mainly featured flawed characters the audience can't get behind. As a result, we don't care if they fail or succeed. Not so with Kenny! When the movie is over, you want to find out what happens to him next. As far as the film itself goes though, it's shot cheaply and looks cheap (well, it's supposed to be a documentary...) but it gets really boring in the middle when there's really nothing happening at all (I think both Sue-Anne and I nodded off at exactly the same time. We still don't know how he ended up on the plane!) But the movie really shines when things start happening and Kenny takes control.
BASIC INSTINCT 2 - Hmmm. Do I really need to say anything here? I watched it on the plane and I just don't understand how so many people (both cast and crew) can get a film so wrong and still have the nerve to inflict it on paying cinema-goers.
16 BLOCKS - Bruce Willis at a completely different pace... and I liked it! A cop thriller with a very original plot that really keeps you on the edge of your seat after a very slow and intentionally dismal opening sequence. Bruce's character really grows on you, even the motor-mouth witness he's protecting (Mos Def) gradually becomes appealling. It's transformations like that that really make a movie worth watching. The other appeal of '16 Blocks' are the many "How are they going to get out that??" situations they get into. A good flick.
THE SENTINEL - Starring Keifer Sutherland as another version of Jack Bauer this isn't that bad. In fact, with it's combination of action and intrigue I found it quite entertaining. Though I have to admit, most episodes of 24 are more exciting...
CANDY - On the plane 'video on demand' is a wonderful thing. I fast forwarded through the first 50 minutes of this thing then I just pressed 'stop' and watched something else.
THE PINK PANTHER - Three words: Why? Why? Why? I can't even remember any of the scenes... or even the plot. All I can remember is that they try so hard to make Steve Martin's character loveable when they really should have made an effort to make him funny instead. Maybe fans of RV might enjoy this? (Steve Martin actually co-wrote the screenplay!)