Tag Archive: movie review

I was taking a break from my recent anime binge the other night and decided to see what the capricious Netflix spirits had for me that contained live people.

Thank you, Netflix spirits!

The plot of the film is pretty straight-forward; there’s a beautiful movie star who is getting married to her novelist boyfriend, but they are being hounded by the paparazzi. To avoid the press, the couple flee to a tiny island in the Outer Hebrides where the author’s book was set but they are followed. To throw a persistent paparazzo off the trail when the bride goes missing, a local girl gets roped into standing in as a decoy. Hi-jinks ensue.

The scenery is beautiful, the accents are thick, and I found the dialogue engaging. There’s quite a bit of snippy verbal sparring that was quite humorous and there are a number of running jokes that pop up from time to time, like how nothing in the author’s book matches the island (he Googled everything) and this one adorable old lady who keeps talking about a whale. How can you not love a movie where the two lead characters meet in a public toilet and one of them pretends to be the ghost of a drowned cow?

Yes, the plot is fairly formulaic – anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy can guess what’s going to happen – but it is very well-done. It’s like taking the scenic route to your favorite place; you know the way but you can enjoy the scenery. And who knows, maybe you’ll see the Tenth Doctor dressed as a Scottish Huggy Bear.

This is not a Photoshop – this shit happens. He also plays the bagpipes.


Saturday was pretty drab and gray, so I decided to go to a movie that had just come out that I wanted to see – The Pirates! Band of Misfits. (You can watch the trailer here.)

I’m a fan of stop-motion animation as well as pirates, so I was hoping for a good movie. I was not disappointed.  The movie follows the adventures of a group of pirates (in case the title wasn’t a big enough hint) led by the Pirate Captain. All of the pirate crew are nameless; there’s the Albino Pirate, the Pirate with Gout, the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (who is a woman wearing a beard that looks like a bathmat) and so on. The only competent pirate is the first mate, who can translate the Pirate Captain’s orders such as “Fire those long things that go bang!” into something that makes sense. The entire crew is just thrilled about being pirates, even if they do happen to be the worse pirates on the sea.

A merry band of scurvy dogs. (And one "parrot")

The Pirate Captain desperately wants to win the Pirate of the Year award, despite being the laughingstocks of all the pirates. They go out plundering and meet with a series of failures culminating in an attack on the Beagle, complete with Charles Darwin.

Who, as a bonus, is voiced by David Tennant.

Darwin correctly identifies Polly as a dodo and not the “big-boned parrot” the crew believe her to be and tries to buy her from them. The Pirate Captain initially refuses, but changes his mind when Darwin tells them that the discovery of a live dodo would mean “wealth beyond imagination” but fails to explain that the wealth is not of the shiny sort. Hilarity ensues.

The story is pretty good for a kid’s movie, there are enough things that will entertain an adult but a kid probably wouldn’t catch. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, which is how I judge movies.

Along with about a million other people, many who looked like they were in the same theater as I was, I went to see The Hunger Games.

Ooh, flamey.

Those who are fans of the book will be happy to learn that it stays fairly faithful to the source material and the plot is pretty much the same. There are a few minor tweaks; the pacing is much faster, the training period before the Games is shortened as are the Games themselves, and the history of the mockingjay pin is changed. The most notable changes I saw were Peeta’s injury, (which is much more severe in the book) the absence of the gift of bread from Rue’s district, a shortening of the “prim and pamper” segments, and the lack of Katniss’ brush with severe dehydration. I didn’t miss the “primp and pamper” too much, but the other parts were some of the best parts of the book.

Overall the movie was in many ways better than the book, in my opinion it even works well as a stand-alone movie for people unfamiliar with the book. The scenery was beautiful, but I’m slightly biased as much of the filming occurred in my home state of North Carolina.

On Sunday I went to see the new Green Lantern movie.

I had seen the commercials and I’m familiar with the comics, so I did want to see it but I’m not a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds.

I dig the uniform.

In most of his movies, Ryan Reynolds seems to play the same annoying guy, with the notable exceptions of The Proposal, which was enjoyable, and Buried, which blew my freak’n mind. (If you’ve never seen Buried, you should. It was absolutely fantastic. Made me weep like a child.) So I was apprehensive about the movie, but I still wanted to see it.

I’m so glad I did.

While it follows the predictable formula for a superhero movie; guy gets powers, guy uses powers, guy doesn’t want powers, guy decides to use powers, guy saves the day and gets the love interest, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

The effects were spectacular, the story was not terrific, but decent for an origin movie.

There was foreshadowing a-plenty, so if you pay attention and don’t constantly tweet about how hot Ryan Reynolds’ ass looks like the girl next to me did, you should be able to figure out the ending long before it arrives.

All in all it was an enjoyable way to spend part of an afternoon. Oh, and if you want to know what happened to the yellow ring, stay through the end of the credits to see.

Behold the Knight

It is no surprise to anyone that I loves me some cartoons, but I’ve never really been a fan of anime. My first love is Western animation; I watched a little Sailor Moon in high school, but that was about the extent of my exposure. I have since watched a few, but nothing really grabbed my attention; for someone accustomed to the twenty-odd minute chunks of action-packed stories, sitting through an hour of tedious dubbed dialogue followed by five minutes of stunning acrobatics left me dizzy.

And then 2008 rolled around and Batman: Gotham Knight was released.

Oh, my.

It is very similar to the Batman: the Animated Series that I grew up with and still like to watch and caress and whisper sweet nothings to. (Don’t judge me!), but it is also radically different.

Set outside the canon of the DCAU, it is an animated feature broken down into six distinct segments. While each segment weaves into a coherent story, one borrowing from another, the styles are very, very different, and for good reason. In what I would call an innovative and risky move, each segment is directed by a different director and animated by a different anime studio. The only constants are the voice actors (most notably Kevin Conroy (squeee!), who returns as the Caped Crusader) and certain story elements.

And it works.

Damn, does it work.

Best of all – multiple Batmen.

Pictured: Batman

Also Batman

Actual Batman

Yet more Batman.

I count nine Batmen, each one different. The first segment alone, told in reverse from the viewpoint of three kids, each with their own version of Batman (and the real one shows up, of course) has four.

It is not for kids; Gotham Knight is only the second animated Batman movie to receive a PG-13 rating, mostly for blood and violence (this is  Batman) and it is quite bloody but I did not find it overly so.

The overall story is meant to bridge the gap between  Batman Begins  and The Dark Knight and does a very good job. Both movies are referenced, but if you haven’t seen them yet you can still enjoy this film. I quite enjoyed it, but I’m a touch biased.


Last night I watched Resident Evil, something I have never seen before, right before bed. I know better than that, but I was curious as to what the big deal was with the whole series and I had some time left on my Farmville farm, so I figured “What the hell.”

Such a big mistake.

It’s not that it was scary, I found the makeup and effects to be a bit pedestrian, but it was the inherent flaws in the story that left me pondering in the darkness. And before I get some snippy cinefreak jumping all over me about suspension of disbelief and all that filmtastic junk, let me just say; I don’t care. I love movies and I’m willing to accept a degree of impractical psuedo-science, but this was just too much. It was a bad movie.

Case in point – the T-virus. This is the thing that makes everything else happen. It’s because of the virus’ release that the place is put on lockdown and so forth and so on. As the Red Queen helpfully exposits, the virus works on the idea that the body keeps going after death, that nails and hair continue to grow.

This is an old wives’ tale; the body doesn’t continue to function after death. That’s why you’re dead – you stopped functioning.

In my misguided efforts to try to rationalize the thought processes behind this, all I could come up – it’s for organ harvesting purposes.

Not everyone has an access panel in their tummy.

That kinda makes sense, in the sense that if the body is kept alive through this mojo-magic science, then it would be easier to harvest the organs when you needed them.

But… the organs would be filled with a virulent disease that would turn the recipient into a brainless, ravening monster.

Clearly this wasn’t a well thought out plan. Unless there is an untapped market for corpse-hair and corpse-fingernails that I’m  not aware of.

A good zombie plague could do wonders for the weave industry

This seems counterintuitive, since the Umbrella Corp has stasis devices that could keep their corpsesicles fresh and freezer-burn free for years. The tongue-creature was in such a stasis unit and seemed quite sprightly.

Speaking of the tongue-creature, the Red Queen states that it is the result of the T-virus being injected directly into living tissue. Rain was chock-full of living tissue when she was bitten numerous times. These bites would have injected the virus into her living tissue, and yet it takes two thirds of the movie for her to go zombie. And yet Disposable Male Romantic Interest #2 is only scratched by the tongue-creature and within minutes starts mutating.

I don’t think the writers of Resident Evil have ever heard of science.

And even though there were several scenes of these “monsters” feeding, the bodies were surprisingly intact. This could be because the zombies, while ravenous, lacked the muscle control to bite and swallow their food, or it was simply a dumb-ass movie.

I started thinking, as I so often do, that there seems to be a lot of zombies in the media lately. Zombies and vampires.

This is not a vampire. This is an insult to your brain.

There’s probably some deep psychological reason for this, perhaps tapping into the fear of dead bodies nearly everyone has, or the use of blood-drinking to simulate sexual congress. I’m sure there are many scholarly works on the phenomenon out there. This being the Internet, there’s probably a site devoted to vampire/zombie slashfic, but I ain’t gonna look for it.


It kind of sad that with all the advances in effects and CGI that there are so many bad monster movies being made. I love monster movies, but I haven’t seen a really good new one in years. (I’m not including Hostel or Saw, those are slasher flicks.) I added some of the later Resident Evil movies to my Netflix queue, but I might remove them. I just wasn’t impressed.