Archive for category Film

Quantum of Solace : really hyperactive cameras

I was going to put a review here (and that’s actually what this kind of is) but a full “in retrospect” is a tad too long when I generally just blitz my way through by focusing on particular aspects.

Anyway, Quantum of Solace, Craig as James Bond, part two. Personally, I was satisfied with the balance of action and drama in Casino Royale, but if you wanted more dakka, it’s all here; guns and limbs and sharp objects – including a memorable fists-versus-fireaxe backdropped by mass gouts of flame – but all of it whips by like so many epileptic flashes that sometimes it’s hard to know what’s going on. Which is sort of the opposite of The Dark Knight‘s problem, I guess, as Quantum of Solace is over-exposed with far too many angle changes, each rarely lasting beyond a third of a second. Whereas it actually has a feeling of fluidity in, say, The Bourne Supremacy, here it just makes the scene overly tense but highly disorienting.

Aside from that minor quib, the movie is quite good, especially since it carries directly over from Casino Royale, building very strongly on Bond’s character. The story is interesting, if hurried, and the climax is abrupt, leaving a trailing ending and epilogue, far too long for its own good. Overall, though, “Decent.”

PS: Ironically, despite the breathless action sequences, the initial Quantum of Solace teaser with Bond walking up a desert slope UMP in hand does not actually occur. As usual, Bond never seems to handles anything larger than a pistol.

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The Call of Cthulhu : a throwback to the past

I’m not a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, and it’s been eons since I’ve read anything from the Mythos. My last contact with the terrible bunch of Great Baffling Indescribable Ones was Dark Corners of the Earth, an under-appreciated first person shooter game. So yeah.

In any case, the film itself is, as advertised, a silent black-and-white intended to replicate the feel of the 1920s-era movie – when The Call of Cthulhu was first published. It requires pretty much no previous experience with the Cthulhu Mythos to watch, which is a plus.

I mean, if you can stomach a bland and silent text-fest, then this film should at least keep you interested. The music is absolutely great (obviously, as it had better been) and the lack of speaking parts sets a pretty bleak mood, relying on the audience’s ability to focus on the unfolding events. The slowly unraveling mystery is well-paced and terse.

All in all, definitely solid and watchable, and at an hour long, it doesn’t drag its haunches. Moving the opening text to the end was pretty good, actually, because it fully captures the theme after the events have been shown.

Everyone all together now:

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die.

Colour me purple, but I’m somewhat looking forward to the next production now. Too bad that At the Mountains of Madness wasn’t a film…

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Wanted : a magical ballistic orgasm of utter failure

Despite my tradition of long rants on bad films and doing blurbs on good ones, Wanted is sufficiently a train wreck that I’m not sure whether I should praise its hilarity or sigh at its pointlessness.

In any case, this movie takes The Matrix, replaced the titular network with secret societies, and vaguely explains the wire-fu with adrenalin instead of bending the rules of physics – oh wait, Wanted kind of does that too. Accordingly, binary existed thousands of years ago in the pattern weaved on fabric – apparently God decided to be really cryptic about communications (Noah got off easy).

Let me get this very clear and out of the way. Wanted is a superhero/self-empowerment fantasy aimed solidly at the “holy shit” audience with zero redeeming quality whatsoever. Now, it is fun to watch, with very good special effects, and it does have Angeline Jolie, but if you at least somewhat understand that bullets are little lumps of metal propelled by little explosions, this movie will let you express your greatest facepalm. The mindless usage of profanity comes off as the classic ‘let’s be adults and sprinkle “fuck” everywhere’ approach.

In fact, I hear that “BURVE THE CULLET” and variants, like “brb, curvin bullets round my cat”, are already popular and annoying memes on /k/.

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WALL-E – Ahnimayshion? Guud?!

Second movie of the month, WALL-E. As it was a fairly good film, I’ll do the usual and not say much (despite my rather long The Dark Knight entry where I made the same assurance).

When I said that,

it was a fairly good film

no doubt some will dismiss the thought of Disney/Pixar doing anything right these days as impossible. Romps like Finding Nemo were good for a watch or two, but hardly new and exciting ventures; maybe a brief tingle of heartwarming, but no more.

WALL-E is, in fact, very similar to those lines. The same for-the-whole-family approach, the similar type of humour, et cetera. What really redeemed the whole ordeal was the lack of actual voices throughout most of the film, instead using body language to communicate; the soundtrack worked as a decent punctuation as well.

The themes were somewhat ironic in that it presented the evils of abusing technology, megacorporations, and globalizations with an iron fist, typical of how the Disney – or more popularly, DI$NEY – has the tendency to break their own Aesop by being a large, world-spanning empire.

But in any case, it is still a watchable film and at the very least, a good distraction from the dearth of adrenalin-fueled escapades that no doubt plague the summer theatres at the moment.

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The Dark Knight : defining a hero

(tl;dr? Very watchable.)

After I watched Jumper a while back, I said that I don’t give my thoughts on decent films because no matter what I say it’s either going to be accentuating the positive or picking out the negative. Which is why I’ll be keeping this short.

So, in short. The Dark Knight already had a very good head-start in the way of Batman Begins, a successful film that reinstated Batman’s anti-hero status. As expected, Christopher Nolan’s series did not attract Sequelitis just yet, as The Dark Knight is very, very good.

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Next : in which Nicolas Cage dodges bullets

There’s a fundamental problem to all Nicolas Cage films these days; it’s his image. It’s not really his acting – far better than Keanu Reeves – or his physical appearance – sort of a bumbling man in mid-life crisis – but the ‘feel’ he gives that sometimes makes it hard to take him seriously. I mean, it’s not like he can’t do action films, since he’s usually a meek character who will use brains instead of brawn, which fits him well.

Despite all this bias I have against him (see the National Treasure entry from a while back), this time he really has nothing to do with it. That last statement should tell you how I felt about Next.

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National Treasure 2 : American conspiracies for the whole family

Note: I can’t believe I got through that entire movie without realizing that a) it’s a sequel b) it’s a sequel to a film I watched before.

So, on the last day of the year, we watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets. To give a fairly short answer: it takes cliches and tropes to such extremes that it actually wraps around and gets funny again. Don’t expect an action movie (it has Nicholas Cage, for Christ’s sake) but expect a fairly fun time… until you leave the theatre and bemoan the two hours lost.

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