Happy new year – crappy movies

We rented a few last weekend, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly (make that the crappy, the fun and the long).

Hard Cash
Hey look!  An action movie with Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Daryl Hannah and William Forsythe.  Paula, Mark and I looked at each other, shrugged and rented it.  Don’t you make this same mistake.  I now understand why this stinker went straight to video.  It starts off crappy and low-budget and then… well, it sucked so bad we turned it off.  I got my good deed for the year out of the way early… I took the bullet for you on this film. 2005 is looking great already (it certainly can’t get any worse).

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
The Christian Slater stinker left a bad taste in our mouth, a little mindless fun in the form of a sequel to a movie based off a video game was in order.  The Cradle of Life is a fun, fast action flick with a likable cast of characters headed up by the smart-Alec, butt-kicking Croft (played by the first lady of lips, Angelina Jolie).  Okay, I’ve gotten over that she used to carry around Billy Bob Thorton’s blood in a locket and it no longer creeps me out to look at her.  The acting is great across the board and the great cast does what they can with a mediocre script.  Don’t expect a detailed thriller and you won’t be disappointed.

The Return of the King (Extended version)
Make sure you set aside more than four hours to watch this fluffed up version of Peter Jackson’s final installment.  Either add the extra time or get a mini-fridge and a catheter for your TV room.  Though it is long, it is a fun watch (and given the choice, I’d rather sit through this than Gandhi).  The added scenes don’t add significant plot points from the book but merely suggest them (e.g. there are some added scenes with Eowyn and Faramir in the Houses of the Healing, enough to remind book fans of the romance between the two but not enough to give people who haven’t read the books an idea of what happened).  My major complaint remains that Peter Jackson changed some significant and not so significant story-lines that I thought did add to the books.  In particular I was disappointed by his handling of the Saruman sub-plot and when the undead army appeared (the whole point in the book was the suspense of the pirate fleet landing… the movie tells you in advance that the pirate fleet is friendly).  One big plus of the extended DVD:  they’ve extended the scene of Peter Jackson getting stuck through the chest with one of Legolas’s arrows… it’s a cathartic (but as far as directors screwing stuff up goes, I still think George Lucas is more evil).  

Movies Software

Took a break yesterday

Click for a larger version.


This week’s contest at b3ta is to add one word to a movie title. I needed a break and couldn’t resist (Turns out shortly after taking the Harry met Sally picture she bumped into him and he took a swing at her).

Movies Weird

That’s no moon!

With the release of the Star Wars DVDs last week everyone has the classic films on the brain.  And what goes better with classic films than classic rock?

Mad props to the_man361… whoever you are.


Epic story… epically bad screen writing

If you were a geeky kid who spent a lot of time reading Greek adventures as a kid you’ll be able to keep up with this movie, if not you’ll likely miss a good chunk of Troy.  The movie is more notable for what it lacks than what it has.  I do give the movie high marks for production values, acting, and cinematography but too little was spent on the screen writer and the score (though it could be argued the music tried valiantly to pick up the fumbled script).

Troy attempts to condense Homer’s Iliad down to an audience-digestible length of 165 minutes.  Perhaps out of fear of looking too much like The Clash of the Titans the storyline is given a more realistic angle by eliminating the very big plot point of the gods.  After doing away with the magic the writers also decided to dispense with character development since the audience would know the big names like Achilles, Odysseus and Ajax (let’s take a leap of faith and assume today’s movie going audience also has a taste for 2800 year-old Greek epic poems).  There are so many characters in this movie that the screen writers found it easier to simply pigeon-hole them into action movie stereotypes than to detail the motivation and conflicts.  Granted, there wasn’t a lot of time but you just can’t squeeze an Epic into a two-plus hour movie simply by calling it an Epic movie.  Even condensing the nine year siege of Troy down to 14 days left them with no room to fit in the scale of this massive story.

On the plus side the movie has more than a few entertaining combat sequences, even though they were a little higher on the splatter-factor than needed (not quite Tarantino gore, but lacking the absurdity to temper it).  The action was fast paced but the violence detracted from it (sure, violence is bad, but please keep the reality out of my escapism).  Particularly cringe-worthy was the drawn out scene where you get to watch a character gurgle and choke, dying from a gaping, bubbling throat wound.  Yummy.  Parents, this movie is violent, well deserving of its ‘R’ rating.

The movie also features the maximum amount of beefcake allowable by law.  So if you intend this as a date movie be forewarned: you’ll either look like a sicko for taking your date to see the violence or you’ll look like a fat putz compared to the well muscled (and extremely well oiled) bodies of Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana.

All said, this movie is definitely worth a rental.  It’s quite well filmed so you’d do well to take the rental over to the house of your friend with the really big TV and bitchin’ sound setup.  If you really want to see it on the big screen, please don’t pay full price.  I paid ten bucks and am still steamed 24hrs later.

Rating: Rental


Directors: slow motion does not enhance the plot

I’ll tolerate a lot for some mindless entertainment… so when Out for a Kill was on USA network last night I had MCE record it.  It only took 10 minutes for me to write off this movie.  What a piece of crap!  You can’t spend the first 30 minutes of a Stephen Segal movie with no action… it’s just painful.  Yes, after 10 minutes I decided the movie sucked and I waited an additional 20 minutes to see some action (guess what? the action sucked too).

My advice: do not see this movie.  In fact, go out of your way to not see this movie.  If a network broadcasts this movie, call up your cable/satellite provider and demand that network be removed from their lineup.

The only positive thing this movie did was remind me to post a notice to directors and aspiring directors: please, for the sake of all that is holy, stop using slow motion in an attempt to make your movie look cool.  The money you spent by running your cameras faster would have been better spent on a script writer.


Awesome movie archive

Ah, the good old days.

Remember why they were good? If not, let the Prelinger Archives refresh your memory.