Religious Orders

Short-Ass Movie Reviews

Posted: Thursday May 26 2011 @ 7:25am

Religious Order: Movies

Here are a few short movie reviews:

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Very unnecessary sequel. Not as much fun as the first, but much more fun than the second and third. No real plot. Favorite Jack line? In response to You haven't changed!: Implying the need?

I will say that I'm actually getting a little tired of the Jack character. What was fresh and clever 3 movies ago is getting a little tiresome. Apparently Depp's desire for new and challenging roles was limited to finding one that was a major cash cow.

BTW, if you play the Lego game first, it'll spoil some plot points. But, given that there isn't any real plot, it doesn't matter a whole lot. Still, given the choice, I'd watch the movie first. And the Lego game is a blast. One of the best of the series.

Stay through the credits, although it's not the imperative it is for Thor.

Thor

Nearly perfect, for what it is, which is a big-ass superhero movie. The only flaw? The fight scene at the beginning is so much better than any of the fighting in the remainder of the movie. I kept waiting for something to top it. (Okay, having the Warriors Three and Sif show up in New Mexico was jarring, too.)

No, the character development isn't realistic. It's a freakin' superhero movie!

Stay through the credits.

African Cats

Nice film, but too anthropomorphic for my tastes.

Hanna

Hit Girl as a quiet elf who doesn't blend in very well. The fish-out-of-water segments are well-trod territory, but the movie as a whole is a lot of fun.

Source Code

This is really a fun watch, as long as you don't try to fit it into some actual multi-brane physics framework. Don't. Just sit back and enjoy it on its own terms.

It wasn't at all what I was expecting, though. I was expecting more sleuthing and less action. That's not really a ding on the movie. I still liked it. (Plus, I have a bit of a man-crush on Jake.)

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Posted: Saturday March 26 2011 @ 8:58am

Religious Order: Movies

So, we were watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the other day and enjoyed it appropriately. It's fun and I noticed that Inception steals its ending plot twist from Chitty.

And then, as I often do after watching a movie, I looked at the IMDB entry for it. It's always fun to look at theTrivia section. Occasionally, I'll also take a peek at the Goofs section. But sometimes that section just pisses me off. Here are some goofs from CCBB:

Continuity: When Edison the dog breaks free of his leach [sic] during Toot Sweets, he drags the push bike over and across to the steps. Two shots later, when the bunch of dogs are running towards the factory, running up the steps and the bike is neatly upright as before.

Because it's physically impossible for someone in the in-film world to have put the bike back upright while the camera is elsewhere. IMDB is filled with goofs like these in which folks think the in-film world not in immediate view of the camera must remain perfectly static.

Yes, I know it actually is a goof. But, jeez, who obsesses enough about it to add it to IMDB?

Continuity: In the opening scene when the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang race car crashes, it is quite obvious that the radiator is damaged in the fire. In the next scene when the children are playing in the soon to be scrapped car, the radiator is fine.

Same thing here. It's impossible that, in the in-film time between the shots, someone could have fixed or replaced the radiator? Oh, no, the rest of the in-film world must remain perfectly static when the camera isn't pointing at it.

There's a whole shit-load more continuity errors listed for later in the story which completely ignore that the rest of the story is merely a tale being made up on the spot. It's not supposed to be bound by notions of reality.

And then there's crap like this:

Revealing mistakes: The cooking machine heats the plates hot enough to fry the eggs and sausages and then sends them down the ramp to the table. When the plates and metal roller frames arrive at the table, they would still be hot enough to cause burns. However, Mr Potts and the children grab the burning hot plates with their bare hands.

Really? WTF is wrong with these people? I'm tempted to start posting goofs like:

The wings and propeller on the car are insuffient to allow it to fly.

And this is why I shy away from the Goofs section. Because the only thing sadder than obsessing about mistakes in movies is being obsessed with complaining about those obsessed.

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Paul

Posted: Wednesday March 23 2011 @ 6:52am

Religious Order: Movies

We saw Paul last night. Despite it being the product of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, I went into the movie with some trepidation. Frankly, it just didn't look all that funny in the trailers. Luckily, that was more a problem with the trailers than the movie.

The movie isn't deep, of course. But it is very funny and kept my interest the whole way. So, I highly recommend it for an evening of laughs.

But, is it as good as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz? Well, no, it's not and here's why. Shaun of the Dead is, of course, a drop-dead (heh) funny take on zombie movies. Hot Fuzz ups the ante, riffing off of quaint English countryside comedies, then switching, literally in minutes, into a wonderful take on cop buddy movies. (Here's my short review of Hot Fuzz.)

Paul seems like it could be sort of the same thing, only taking inspiration from sci-fi and Seth Rogen stoner comedies. But it really doesn't do that. Instead, it basically is a Seth Rogen stoner comedy, in a sci-fi setting. And there's nothing wrong with that.

In a way, it reminds me of the last two Replacements albums. They're good albums, but you can't help but look a little wistfully at the earlier stuff.

Honestly, was there really any chance of these guys pulling off a third movie as great as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz? No, there really wasn't and we shouldn't hold that against them or against Paul.

I do have two complaints. My first is that the movie falls to a couple cliches at the end that I would have much rather they subverted in some way. Sticking with the cliches was just lazy.

My second complaint is about the theater itself. They made me watch a fucking Justin Bieber video! Up until last night, I didn't know what the twerp sounded like. Fuck you, Regal Theaters!

It reminded me of how I had avoided listening to Don't Worry, Be Happy for years, until it came on the radio while I was in the chair at the dentist. At least it made the dental work seem less painful in comparison.

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TRON: It's Pretty

Posted: Tuesday February 08 2011 @ 6:58pm

Religious Order: Movies

Finally saw TRON: Legacy a couple weekends back. My thoughts? Well, it's pretty.

Honestly, that's about it.

Well, okay, Olivia Wilde looks really good with those bangs.

There, that's it. It's pretty.

The problem is that we can now create pretty much any visual we want these days. So, really, swanky CGI effects don't a movie make anymore.

(Still haven't seen Avatar. I saw the preview in 3D. What more does the full movie add?)

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Serious Movies

Posted: Tuesday August 24 2010 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

I've been to several serious intellectually fulfilling movies recently.

The Other Guys

This is your basic Will Ferrell vehicle. But I mean that in a good way. If you like Ferrell movies, you'll like this one. If you don't, well then, you won't. It's really as simple as that.

Plus, The Rock continues mining the gold vein of playing an outsized version of himself, much like he did in Get Smart. And that's always fun to watch.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

It's a comic book just thrown up on the screen. But I mean that in a good way.

I'm a little older than the target audience for this. And I've never read the comic. (Although I do read comics. It's just that I tend towards superhero comics.)

Still, I loved the movie. Yes, the Ramona character is thinly sketched. Yes, the ending is muddled. Still, the damn thing sizzles and pops with energy. The comic book world works better than I would have imagined.

And I'll watch nearly anything with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Although, she looks skinnier, which I don't like. Also, frankly, Alison Pill looks hotter in the movie. (I'm a sucker for a freckled nose.)

Pirahna 3D

Boobs + gore + cheesy 3D effects = WIN.

It's a big cheese-ball of a movie. But I mean that in a good way. Check your brains at the door and just enjoy.

There's blood and guts galore. And they're not coy about it.

Plenty of boobs on view, but don't expect sexy. It doesn't work that way. There's an extended underwater nude scene that I think is supposed to be sexy. Instead, I giggled all the way through it.

The 3D consists of jabbing things at your face, which is exactly what it should be in a film like this.

Plus, there are several homages to Jaws.

How can you go wrong?

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Twitter Meme

Posted: Saturday October 24 2009 @ 6:56pm

Religious Order: Movies

Twitter erupted with a fun meme this weekend. Called #oneletteroffmovies, it's simply goofy film titles that result from adding or removing a letter from an existing title.

Here are my contributions, in reverse chronological order:

I think this one took off because it was a perfect combination of easy and funny.

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Toy Stories

Posted: Monday October 05 2009 @ 6:25am

Religious Order: Movies

Went to see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D over the weekend. It was loads of fun. It's a limited engagement, so go next weekend or you'll have missed your shot.

Both films work great in 3D. The rendering technology was still fairly new at the time, so they engage in plenty of sweet perspective shots.

It is a little strange to see how, well, primitive Toy Story looks in comparison to generated animation today.

Toy Story is notable in that it doesn't retread the same old Pixar plot. Maybe because Pixar hadn't yet got stuck in the same old plot yet.

What? Same plot? Yeah. Most Pixar movies adhere to a set plot. They're supposed to be about the secret lives of X, but are really about the value of friendship.

But Toy Story 2 is about actually playing with toys instead of storing them away in boxes or displaying them mint in box.

Of course, it does this while wrapping it in the value of friendship between kids and their toys.

So, Toy Story 2 is supposed to be about the value of friendship, but is really about playing with your damn toys!

A nice touch for this double feature is a 10 minute intermission between the movies. The time is filled with trivia and a few scenes from the movies. It's perfectly pitched so that you're decently entertained for the 10 minutes, but you haven't really missed anything if you leave to pee.

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Atragon!

Posted: Monday September 07 2009 @ 9:53am

Religious Order: Movies

I've been watching some classic old Japanese SciFi movies lately. The most recent was Atragon. It's about the Mu Empire trying to take over the world. Defending the world, reluctantly, is a submarine that can also fly and drill through the earth.

It starts out great, with some sweet shots of the Mu Empire. Then the middle drags horribly. In the last 25 minutes, things pick up. An absolutely stunning model of Tokyo is destroyed. Crap is blown up. And the world is saved!

One question, though: If the Mu Empire is so advanced, then why does it arm its soldiers with nothing more than spears. They don't even get shirts, much less any body armor.

And, yes, there's a monster in it. Japanese SciFi directors at the time were often forced to insert monsters in what would otherwise be straight SciFi.

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Burn It Down

Posted: Saturday August 29 2009 @ 3:11pm

Religious Order: Movies

Watched Fahrenheit 451 a bit ago. Definitely a flawed movie. Julie Christie can't act. (So they let her have two roles.) Oskar Werner can sorta act, but it's a really weird sort of acting. (If they hadn't given Christie two roles, they could have had Terence Stamp.) And Truffaut can't write English dialog.

Still, the film has lots to recommend it. It has a great look to it, with nice use of color and a combination of retro and modern technology. (I'd love a model of the firetruck.) Cyril Cusack does it a nice turn as the Firehouse Captain. And the soundtrack is great. The DVD also has some interesting bonus features.

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Hormones and Wands

Posted: Saturday August 29 2009 @ 2:53pm

Religious Order: Movies

Well, it was awhile ago, but I did see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was fun but strange. Basically, the first two-thirds of the movie was a teen romance comedy. And I liked that part lots. While I don't think that Rowling writes this kind of stuff well, the actors in the movie handled it just fine. It made for a fun time.

And then the movie switches gears and the last third is all dark. The transition doesn't work well. I know they have to include this section because it's in the book and it bridges to the final book. But it just didn't thrill me. I would have been happier with this as just a magic-based teen romance comedy.

One complaint I had with the final book in the series is that it blows off characters developed in the sixth book, specifically Ginny. She becomes a major character in book 6 and then disappears in book 7, coming in at the end to do little more than sigh Oh Harry! I hope Bonnie Wright gets better treatment.

And let's have more Evanna Lynch, too!

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