Sunday, April 25, 2010

Super Half Assed Triple Review Time!

After a veritable long time drought of posts here, it looks as if it’s time to do yet another super-condensed quickie reviews.

Most of these movies have been out for quite a while though, so I won’t drag things out or use too many details since you guys probably know all about them by now. All I’m going to do here is just dedicate a paragraph to each movie, with each one just relaying my opinion.

Tonight’s movies are Up In The Air, Shutter Island, and How To Train Your Dragon.

With Up In The Air, there really isn’t much wrong here. It seems like Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner have churned out a very relevant, well written flick here. I think a lot of people will definitely be able to relate to the subject matter, and I found the ending to have a bit of a depressing bite to it, it really drove the point of the story home. I won’t spoil too much, but the goals that Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) had hoped to accomplish early on in the film end up seeming really shallow in the end. I’m not sure if it was entirely intentional, but I did kind of notice an overarching theme of how one shouldn’t automatically be so sure about the goals one sets in life, and how one should always prepare for any calamities that may occur, which I thought blended nicely with the premise of the film. As for the acting, I greatly enjoyed the snark of both Clooney’s and Vera Farminga’s characters, and this film also served as a great introduction to Anna Kendrick. She really portrayed her character’s naiveté well, and had some fantastic chemistry with Clooney. I don’t have too many gripes about this film, aside from the second half dragging a little and the utterly soul-crushing conclusion, which had me leaving the theater feeling a little down (although, like I’ve said about this kind of thing before, this was probably intentional). I actually think this can be counted as one of Reitman’s best.

I wish I could say the same about Scorsese’s Shutter Island, but I really think him and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis could have done better with the execution for such an interesting idea.

There were some parts where they were clearly going for horror, but too much of this movie just seems like stuff that everyone has seen before done way better. The story and plot were also looking pretty good in the previews, but I felt like there were some parts where the themes of the movie were laid on a little too thick, especially the part where they are interviewing inmates of the asylum about the whereabouts and characteristics of the escaped patient, Rachel Solando. The run-up to the climax of the film is sort of weird and off-putting, it becomes a little confusing, and then when we arrive at the conclusion for some reason it just seems all too obvious. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that way about the end of a mystery story before, but judging from other opinions about the movie that I’ve heard from friends and reviewers, I’m at least not alone in thinking that things got kind of confusing. It could be the way it was written, or the way Scorsese had it pan out, but I don’t know, maybe it was just me. Leo DiCaprio isn’t too bad as Teddy Daniels, but I found his fake Boston accent a little irritating, just like I did when he used it in the Departed. If he’s going to do another movie set in New England, I honestly think a voice coach wouldn’t be a bad idea. Michelle Williams was a little chilling in her role as his wife Dolores, and I liked Ben Kingsley a whole lot too. In short, I liked the movie for what it was meant to be, but it could have been written a bit better.

Now on to the most recent flick, Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon. I really, really liked this film, it seems like Dreamworks made a super solid effort to not have the movie’s humor rely entirely on dated pop-culture references and gross “adult” jokes, which is pretty commendable for them. I loved Gerard Butler as the Viking lord Stoick, and Jay Baruchel brings some wonderfully smart assed-ness (ugh, I don’t even know if that’s a word or not, but whatever) to his role as the hero of the film, Hiccup. Yes, that’s his name, but trust me, he’s awesome. I’ll admit, I liked Astrid (America Ferrara) at first, but in the second half of the film she was kind of degenerated to the role of sidekick a little too quickly. I understand she was meant to be a secondary character in the first place, but I still found it a tiny bit off-putting regardless. The Viking kid who was a D&D nerd-type character (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was kind of annoying. Also, it was really odd that the adult Vikings had brash Scottish accents, while the young’ins sounded like American kids (what makes this even odder was that real Vikings weren’t Scottish or American), but that’s kind of a minor gripe. Everything else though, the 3-D effects, the cinematography, the story, everything down to the extremely well crafted fantasy world, was done great. This film could serve as a good model for Dreamworks’ future films. Also, Toothless was wicked adorable, although that’s not surprising since he was designed by the same artist that did Stitch.

OK, that’s all settled at least. Sorry about it being so half-assed, but there you go.

I’m actually kind of proud that I’ve been able to keep this going for about a year (well, OK, sort of). In the meantime, though, I need to get really serious about forming a regular update schedule for this blog, because there are a lot of good-looking movies coming out this summer, and the window of time to talk about them in a relevant manner is shrinking.

Heck, Iron Man 2 is due in a couple of weeks, and between Mickey Rourke laser whipping racecars Crimson Dynamo style, and Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow, there’s no shortage of stuff to be excited about. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to review it.

Enjoy the pictures here, I got them from The Vine, Daemon's Movies, and Dreamworks. Sorry, I'm too tired for captions.