I recently took out a Netflix subscription, and have been catching up on movies and stuff that everyone else saw years ago.
Impressions of various superannuated movies & stuff: (may include spoilers)
Hellboy: Not bad. When this was in theaters, most of my flist seemed to enjoy it. I agree. Decent sfx, cinematography, music, pacing. Plot, so-so, but adequate. And any movie is improved by a zombie android clockwork ninja Nazi. But what made this movie shine was Ron Perlman. Perfect for the character, great hard-boiled presence. I wasn't familiar with Perlman, and his IMDB profile shows a lot of what I would consider minor films. But he's great. The guy's in late middle age. Where has he been all these years? He's made a lot of movies, apparently, but why hasn't he been a staaaaar?
Van Helsing: Ick. I like the concept, I hate the execution. Secret society within the Vatican to fight supernatural monsters? Great! Its scientists produce an automatic crossbow which the hero fires randomly around like a Nerf gun, not hitting anything? Ick. Car chases, only with carriages, but the carriages still catch fire when they crash! Ick. Finale with most of the cast swinging around a CG castle on immensely long ropes. The hell? Please, make it stop! Even Kate Beckinsale in a leather bustier, which ought to be enough to perk up any movie, couldn't save this bow-wow.
Clerks, the Cartoon: I was expecting to like this. I loved the movie, I heard that the TV series was a gem that had been canned too soon, I had seen that 'Bear is driving' icon all over LJ... Uh. What a disappointment. This show sucks. The humor is lame and derivative, the art lifeless, the acting... I can't listen to it without getting a vivid image of a couple of guys sitting around a table in a sound studio reading off the script in bored voices. I got the full six episodes from Netflix, watched three, and couldn't continue. Sorry, guys, but Clerks the Cartoon richly deserved its fate. This time, the TV execs and the Nielson households were right.
Monsters, Inc.: See, I said old. Great movie, though. Good acting, writing, timing, CG. Pixar is just overflowing with talent. The story structure is interesting, how active scenes are pivoted against quiet scenes, and at regular intervals the writers will turn over the whole world and throw something unexpected at the viewer. I've been thinking about story structure lately, and this movie is making things coalesce for me. I want to go through it with pen and paper, mark the pivot points, and time everything.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: A tour de force, but what's the point? After half an hour, my eyes get tired of sepia, soft focus, and desaturated color. Despite that, SCatWoT coulda been a star, if only Jude Law or Gwyneth Paltrow could act. They can't. There is zero erotic electricity between them. Bai Ling did okay, and was even wearing clothes, and Angelina Jolie wasn't bad, but neither they nor the special effects were enough to breathe life into this movie.
Constantine: My flist and the critics didn't like this one, but I thought I'd chance it, because I liked the concept: modern day hipster sorcerer and exorcist vs. the powers of Hell. See, I'm a sucker for supernatural horror within a religious universe. The Omen. Dogma. That Hideous Strength. The Seventh Seal. Okay, some of those don't qualify as 'horror', but I also liked John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, which the critics loathed. And you know what? I loved Constantine. Wonderfully textured noir world, understated acting, great cinematography, quirky, morally ambivalent characters. Sweet plot twist at the end. (I do wish writers would give up on the Spear of Longinus, though, for cryin' out loud, it's so tired.)
So I went and bought two of the bound volumes of the Vertigo comic on which the movie is based. Ack. So disappointed. The comic Constantine is nothing like the movie character. He whines as much as an Anne Rice character. The stories are plotless and generally pointless, and drag on, and on. The art is ugly. Tell me again, why do people read this thing?
I'm running longer than expected. More movies capsule crits tomorrow.
恒心 == koushin == (noun)
|Left radical is one of the radical versions of 'heart/feelings'. Right radical was originally a pictograph showing the fixed trajectory of the moon, and in combination with the heart radical meant 'fidelity/constancy'. Henshall suggests remembering the current right radical as 'day' (日) between 'two' (二), and as a mnemonic: 'Feelings constant over two days.'|