Posts Tagged sci-fi


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This movie blew my fucking mind, which is clearly exactly what it wanted to do. You have no choice but to go see it multiple times. Unlike Memento or The Sixth Sense, other mind-blowy movies, you don’t just watch this movie and you get the “a-ha!” ending and you go home and you’re done. You keep going back and peeling back the layers, trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. And the answer is there, you just know it, you just have to pay close enough attention to all the little excruciating details. If only you can knock the rust off your brain, surely you’ll puzzle it all out.

Christopher Nolan continues to do what he does best: admire and respect his audience enough to not spell it all out for them. Christopher Nolan knows you don’t need the whole thing exposited to you; Christopher Nolan knows you’re smart.

Another thing he does exceptionally well is have beautiful people do amazing physical stunts in nifty environments. These people, they are beautiful. I think the person-candy element to this movie is glossed over too often in other reviews. There is something for everyone, and each member of the cast is totally delicious in their own special way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt wears the hell out of a vest while defying gravity, for crissakes. Marion Cotillard is carved from marble. Ken Watanabe just gets improbably hotter with age. All of them: gorgeous. All of them: sharply intelligent.Christopher Nolan does not suffer fools, and would never ask you to.

I’ve read some reviews that accuse this movie of not having enough emotion to it, but I am not sure what movie those reviewers have been watching, because the one I saw abounded with sorrow, devotion, anguish, love and pain. There’s quite a lot of pain in all of Christopher Nolan’s movies, isn’t there? Christopher Nolan knows pain is the common human denominator. His characters can’t sit back and wail about their pain; they have work to do, saving each other and saving themselves. Christopher Nolan believes you can keep up.

This movie fills the brain-puzzles-with-hot-people hole in my heart that was left by the departure of Lost, except it fills it with 14 karat gold and chocolate and puppies. In its daydreams, Lost wants to be Inception when Lost grows up.

Repo Men

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This movie blows. It makes very little sense, and although its tone and pacing are consistent throughout (at least it isn’t choppy), it is slow and boring. I started spacing out like a 3rd grader in church – DURING A FIGHT SCENE. The “twists” are obvious and mostly lame. Most of the characters’ motivations are totally opaque – I have to wonder how much of this is poor filmmaking, and how much is crap source material. Jude Law is an artificial organ reposesser, until an accident lands him with an overpriced artificial ticker and he has a CHANGE of HEART – literally!!  HA HA HA! GET IT?!   It feels like it’s an adaptation of a terrible pulp sci-fi novel ripped off from Philip K. Dick – I liked this movie better when it was called Minority Report and was coherent and compelling.  Jesus Christ, this movie is an insult.

Alice Braga is pretty good, and I’m interested in seeing her in the new Predator reboot, and that is pretty much all the good I have to say about this movie.

Ghost Dog, how could you?!


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I’ve been trying to figure out what went wrong with this movie…it’s almost like the script was translated from the French by Babelfish. The story is fairly simple, and should be almost foolproof, yet somehow everything comes out wrong. Important pieces of information are glossed over or omitted, and almost all of the “twists” are easy to figure out when they give you 2 hours with not much else happening to think on it. When it’s all over, if you pick out the plot, it’s not bad at all. The implementation, the direction, needed a much stronger hand. I believe what they were going for was the terror of being in space and not knowing what’s going on, but they couldn’t strike the right balance between giving enough information so that the audience can give a crap and follow your narrative, and giving so much that your scenes lose forward momentum.

The makeup and sets are top-notch. The Scary Monsters are each very unique and realistic, and if perhaps the creature design is really derivative, I’m willing to grant a pass for doing it well.  The sets are nice, too – I like a spaceship that looks more like a fishing freighter than a Mac Genius Bar. Really, the whole thing is like a fucked-up homage to Alien, which I didn’t mind a bit.

The cast, tiny though it is, is largely phenomenal. Ben Foster, holy crap…this guy eats tin cans and bleeds orphan’s tears in every damn movie he’s in. He is amazing. Dennis Quaid is sadly cast rather beyond his reach here, but you get the sense that his role was trimmed down to just the essentials so they could get back to more Ben Foster. The rest of the Red Shirts are much more natural and compelling than they really need to be and really class up the joint.

I would say one might enjoy this movie more if one were drinking, but with the dark blue filter and aimless narrative, you’d be out like a light in the first half hour. Just go rent Sunshine instead, for well-done Creepy Space Mystery With Monsters (although without the awkward happy ending).

The Book Of Eli

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I must admit off the top that I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies – even better if it’s a nasty, dark future of the sort where everyone is constantly filthy and society degrades to a lawless, violent wasteland (clearly also why I realize I like westerns). I think it all goes back to seeing Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome at a formative point in my preteen development, but I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that I will cut certain types of movies slack if they faithfully aim for my pet genres. Vice versa, I fully own up to be extra-critical of, say, weepy chick flicks (fuck you very much in the ear, StepMom).

The shattered society post-apocalypse movie I dislike has yet to be made, as far as I know, and The Book Of Eli is no exception. It plays a lot like a graphic novel/comic adaptation, but isn’t (which is a different sign of the apocalypse to meditate upon). Most of the shots and action sequences are framed like a comic panel, which has good and bad points that for me tend to even out. The story is simple and spare, and this case that’s a very good thing. The simplicity of the plot also convinced me that it must be based on a comic, but there was a subtle feeling that the story was about to tangle its feet in plot details (but never quite did).

The cast is awesome across the board; you really cannot go wrong with Gary Oldman. I had actually forgotten that Oldman was in this movie, so when he appeared  I gesticulated wildly at the screen like I had just won Silent Retard Bingo. I’m sayin’ I really dig Gary Oldman, is what I’m sayin’. As an aside, I once read an article where The Fabulous Oldman expressed bemused shock at his sex symbol status because he says he’s looks like a bald chicken naked. Which of course I think of every time I see Gary Oldman, which means every single time I see him, I think of him naked! Well played, Oldman.

Naked chicken or not, he never phones it in – Gary Oldman is still in fine form. Denzel Washington has fallen out of my favor in recent years, and he can have a tendency to either exist onscreen in body but not in mind or chew the scenery, but here he’s restrained and thoughtful. Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, but he seems to resist the urge to over-emotionalize his character or impart too much depth or gravitas (which would push the entire story firmly into hokey territory). There are aspects of Eli that I initially found faintly unbelievable, but in some subtle way the movie eventually addressed each one to my satisfaction. Mila Kunis is a tiny, beautiful creature that is somehow inhabited by a loud, adorably awkward yet relaxed 8th grader. She does very well here until the denouement – she just isn’t quite able to carry off the dynamic changes her character makes, although that isn’t until the very last minutes of the movie so I’ll give her a pass. The cameos are unexpectedly delicious – Tom Waits, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon, and Frances De La Tour  all pop in for terrific character bits.

The climax involves a twist, which I do love if it’s done well and I don’t see it coming, and this one is quite successful. I enjoy that moment in a movie, after the twist is revealed, where you mentally rewind the movie and play it back at high speed to check for inconsistencies – if you don’t immediately find any in your split-second review, it’s such a satisfying feeling!

All told, I very much enjoyed this movie, but have to say it isn’t very accessible to people who aren’t already hooked on the genre. I expect a certain tone and approach to characters when I see someone shoot a housecat for food with a crossbow while wearing a gasmask in a burned-out landscape, and that’s a positive association for me that I realize the average movie-goer may not have.

*by the way, totally not kidding about the housecat and the crossbow. What the fuck? That whole scene is just so ridiculous and self-consciously arty, most of all because it’s a hairless cat, which ignited my pedantic inner 4th-grader (hairless cats would be the first to go! they have allergies and retain their body heat poorly! not to mention being expensive and therefore pampered cats that I strongly believe would have little in the way of outdoor survival or hunting skills).

Fantastic Four

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this one was lots and lots of fun.

X-Men: The Last Stand

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WHY can they not get these beautiful women to act?! they can act in OTHER movies, why do they stink so hard in these?!!

The Matrix Reloaded

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Aliens 3

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I heard this one wasn’t the feel-good romp that the others are, but I liked it in all its garbage-filter desolation.

Minority Report

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I want to dislike Tom Cruise so badly, but this is good and he’s good in it.

X2: X-Men United

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Pretty good!!