Movie Review: Spiderman 3

It’s 01:30, and I just got back from watching the 10:30 show of Spiderman 3.

Here are my no-plot-spoiler (though it’s hard not to know the plot if you’ve seen all the entertainment shows fighting for their 10 second exclusives) comments:

  • Plenty of action
  • Scary bits that warrant the PG (or 12A in UK)
  • Sam Raimi still can’t pace romance scenes (and they make crappy endings for these movies) – the audience giggled or groaned in all the emotional pieces, but what the hell – it’s an action/comic movie – at least there’s plenty of action padding it
  • Tobey Maguire grinned far too much for contrast effect in the first part of the movie, but he still fits the part well and did show more versatility
  • For all the money spent, some of the tumbling scenes had poor lighting on the computer graphics such that the characters didn’t blend in correctly
  • J K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson got the best laughs though the last Chris Tucker line in the trailer for Rush Hour 3 got a far better audience laugh
  • The movie could have been shorter
  • Don’t expect true-to-comic storylines
  • If there’s a forth one then make it an original bad guy (not from the comics); bring in a fresh director, no matter what Kirsten (at least I wasn’t grinning all the time) Dunst said in an interview; spidey could do with a better love-interest; in fact let’s lose the Joey Potter/Lana Lang efforts shall we?
  • Keep Tobey Maguire for financial and character continunity reasons; make him cockier still but not a grinning idiot
  • It was still a good spidey movie

Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz is the movie that everyone should go to see if they like good entertainment, comedy and action movies. It has all three, but only for those who are 14 and over. The film does feature some choice comedic use of swear words, including in writing :)! When one of the biggest cheers from the audience occurs when an old woman is hit, you should get the idea that this movie has some outrageous moments. Also, when an audience in a small theatre is cheering, you know the movie carries some clout. I should point out that there were probably 14, 41 and 61 year olds in the audience and they all seemed to have a good time. The pace reaches pure brilliance in the last 15 minutes of the movie, and isn’t too shabby starting up either. My only negative comment was that the ex-girlfriend story was redundant.

It’s clear these guys did watch many movies (as the trailer claims) to master the technique of grabbing the audience’s attention and then getting the laughs by bringing on the absurd or non-PC. It’s just a shame this movie didn’t have a bigger marketing budget.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star with a collection of other great supporting actors in this fantastically entertaining British movie. And I’m not just saying that because I’m British – any bias is totally drowned out by actual quality entertainment.

Did I mention that while is has no nudity, sex or drugs (other than beer), it pulls off its achievements with comedy, action, violence, smut, beer, cranberry juice, profanity, buddy humour, murder, mystery, and a dark comedy twist?

Movie Review: Fracture

Fracture brings together Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling in a battle of legal/life wits.

The best aspect about this movie is Anthony’s acting and character (Ted Crawford), the worst is that it was quite predictable – it was practically obvious from the start, how the gun thing was done.

The arrogant brilliance of Ted Crawford seemed worth rooting for, vs. the naive arrogance of Ryan’s Willy Beachum. Anthony does play this in a way that is distinct from Hannibal Lecture, but then he is a great actor who seems to effortlessly deliver the part.

Perhaps the lack of a soundtrack in parts made the movie about 15 minutes longer that he should have been. I don’t regret seeing it and I was entertained, but mostly just by the pleasure of watching great acting when Anthony was on screen.

Watch out for Fiona Shaw, more popularly seen as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies.

Like Hannibal Lecture in Silence of the Lambs, will Ted Crawford walk away scott-free from a homicide?

Movie Review: Disturbia

Disturbia stars Shia LaBeouf as a teenager under house arrest who begins to suspect that his neighbour may be a serial killer.

The only unpredictable element in this movie is discovering how the lead character ends up in trouble.

The movie was spoiled by two things, both of which had the audience laughing and pointing during story-building elements, though one of which was a local screening issue. Boom mics (of various flavours) kept bobbing into the shots (during the scenes in the lead’s bedroom). Fortunately this only occured during the first half of the movie. It is amazing that this made it into print. I can only assume that budget constraints and bad monitoring of the framing caused the issue. Also, the film was being scratched up and residue was collecting at the bottom of the frame, to the point where the movie was stopped at one by the management in an failed attempt to clean up the mess. The problem was that the build up looked like some kind of hair which got everyone tittering somewhat.

The movie was entertaining enough and the audience yelped at the right moments in the final scenes. However it was a total waste of talent from David Morse and Carrie-Anne Moss, and not much of a talent showcase for Shia.

Movie Review: The Grindhouse

There is certainly an element of self-indulgence in these two movies (Planet Terror and Death Proof that make up The Grindhouse double-feature bonanza) and I believe there’s enough old-style cheesiness in the trailers to make most teenagers stay away which is good because, frankly, they’d be disappointed. There was enough cheesiness for me to give it a try though.

In Planet Terror, you can look forward to many people in the audience whispering “That’s Bruce Willis,” and even better… “That’s the guy from Lost”. They are in fact referring to Naveen Andrews who plays Sayid; here he has his English accent on display and for some reason displays a penchant for a ridiculously inexplicable and bizarre trophey that I wont reveal…

Death Proof is for the most part utterly boring and even the eventual stunt-scene (which seems to go on for no apparent reason, although that’s probably deliberate) focuses on largely one stunt for a long time. The end is pure throw-back. Kurt Russell doesn’t seem to do all that much acting – but look for him at a bar stool in the second cafe scene.

Some people will probably say that some of the worst parts of the movies are genius, but if by that they acknowledge that the movies are slow, have no character development to speak of, are boring in most places and offer some awful close up camera angles and what amounts to a not very entertaining movie, they’d be right.

For self-indulgence: Quentin Tarantino gets a cameo in both movies and does in one scene what no man, even in the worst porno, has ever done probably; Robert Rodriguez (apart from probably having the more entertaing movie) of course does every job he can (including the music) except act in it (but has a surname namesake actor do that) or provide catering.

If you’ve ever been to a grind house movie from way back (and clearly these two guys have seen too many) you may enjoy this (and critics may love it for old-style cinema replication qualities) and it did admittedly have some laugh out loud cheesy moments. However, it was not entertaining enough, much of which could be equally attributed to the excessive length.

Movie review: Blades of Glory

Those were some glorious blades…

The laughs kept on coming in Blades of Glory starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder. A couple of male champion figure skaters get into fight and are banned for life from singles figure skating… but not from doubles. That, a love interest, and a hell-bent-on-winning brother-sister doubles skating pair for competition, sets the plot for the rest of the movie, and surprisingly the premise manages to last all the way through. William Fichtner, who seems to be in lots of things these days including Fox’s now-slightly-dragging-on-and-it’s-going-to-be-break-out-Sarah-for-Season-3-it-seems but still entertaining Prison Break.

Fortunately Jon Heder didn’t seem like his usual depressed dork character which was a concern going in. The audience kept on laughing and some gags got a bit of a roll going, but it wasn’t a total gut buster. It was a great unwinder of a movie to see.

I wonder what’s next in Will’s subject-matter trail – Brooms of Bravado? That could be a Curling or a Wizard movie.

Movie review: The shooter

I haven’t settled on a style for post titles but I’m not into wordy/unstructured post titles for reviews – it’s one of the things that makes the Engadget feed harder to skim through; so for now I’ve made it clear that this is a movie review and what the movie is vs. something like “Wahlberg hits the mark from a mile off”.

So The Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg came out this weekend. A military marksman is quickly set up to take the blame for an assasination at a presidential appearance and of course has to work to clear his name while uncovering how high the conspiracy goes…

It also features the now raspy Danny Glover. His character really didn’t ramp up enough on the side he ended on. Mark Wahlberg carried the hero role well enough but didn’t exhibit too much emotional range. The plot resolution was a little unsatisfying but the revenge quotient worked out just fine.

The movie makes a few direct digs about global war and oil. My favourite TV show, Boston Legal, does this fantastically (and with occasional gut busting humour) through the closing arguments of lawyer Alan Shore (played spot on by James Spader). Rhona Mitra is a supporting character in the movie and an ex-cast member of Boston Legal – she was under-used in the movie.

It’s an entertaining enough action movie, though perhaps a little long at 125min.

Movie Review: Fido (Speaking of zombies…)

The movie Fido recently had a wider release.

It’s a black comedy about zombies as house slaves and is quite funny at times. It includes the very funny (with crude humour) Scottish comedian Billy Connolly – he has no dialogue in the movie but still conveys his ‘lines’ well. It also includes Dylan Baker who is very well cast in the 1950s-style era that the movie is set in, Carrie-Anne Moss in a great and far from Matrix-Trinity performance, along with new comer and Culkin-like-expression-maker K’Sun Ray.

A delightfully entertaining and original movie. Includes zombie violence, head shots (of course) and bloody feasting.

Look me in the eye and tell me…

I recently got a SeeEye2Eye; actually I got two after a clerical error on my part. I envisioned something like this some time ago and happily someone went to the trouble of making one. It basically allows you to look in the camera at the same time as looking at the other person in a video conferencing app; put one of these on each end of the conversation and you are looking at each other eye to eye.

In action picture from the product website

It certainly works but you really need the person on the other end to have one. On the downside: it is bulky; it darkens the image; the depth of the unit needed to incorporate the angled one-way mirror means it can’t be arranged well on one side of a large wide-screen monitor; with a bright screen, lines are added to your camera image due to the reflection of the screen on the plastic ridges in the top of the unit.

Windows Live Messenger can’t be positioned quite properly with it because of the hidden windows/menu frame that prevents the conversation window from being flush with the top of the screen, but that’s a WLM issue and not a show stopper.

So I thought of this a few years ago and someone has made it. Now I’m going to wish for a USB 2.0 device that has a screen and camera combined with eye-to-eye alignment that either can be treated as an additional display that I can position the video window on, or has an SDK that is used by apps like WLM so it can be a dedicated desktop eye-to-eye video conference solution – anyone?