Sunday, January 13, 2008

Glenn Saw Some Movies And Now He's Writing About Them!

I've seen a bunch of movies lately and wanted to write a bit about them! omgyay, right?

The Bourne Ultimatum - WHERE IS THE ULTIMATUM?! I don't believe there was actually an ultimatum anywhere in this movie! Nah, I didn't care. I kind of got confused by this on occasions - it took the frenetic vibe of the Supremacy, my favourite Bourne film - and turned it up even further. Maybe I should have rewatched the second one before watching this? There are some great sequences (the rooftop chase, the Manhattan car chase and the Waterloo sequence come to mind especially - basically the three big parts) and I always love seeing the likes to Joan Allen and David Strathairn. The ending was a bit silly though, right? And while I understand the reason for the editing/photography stuff, could they just, like, settled down for a five minutes. 100 minutes of non-stop intensity was a bit much. Although, I guess, I had just watched Iron Chef before putting this on so it was like excitement overload. B+

One question though - why do they show off Matt Damon's body - in an impressive muscle-hugging shirt - on the DVD cover (left) yet not once through the movie does he seem to take off his jacket?



Would any of us have argued with a bit off Damon sizzle action? Emerging out of the ocean in a tiny blue swimsuit, perhaps...? Or has that already been done?

Breach - Billy Ray has become a director I have grown to admire after only two features. I almost don't want him to branch out from the small-inspired-by-real-but-not-that-well-known niche that's made for himself. This polical espionage thriller (although it's clearly more of a straightforward drama) and the stellar journalistic intrigue of "Shattered Glass" several years ago are two great calling cards for a long career if you ask me. He just seems to weave really interesting stories without the use of grandiose over-directing. Breach is a well-told classy little movie with great performances by Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe plus an amazing turn by The Lovely Laura Linney (who's having an incredible 2007, yet has gotten no awards love at all!) B+

Here's another question - How come Michael Clayton has been getting all the awards love that Breach should be getting? Nothing against Clayton, but I don't think it's still modern classic that people think it is, but it's very much similar to this Breach. Except - oh yeah - it doesn't star George Clooney and didn't open close to the awards season. How could I have been so silly! Duh to me!!!

Cashback - Perhaps I only really liked this movie because it PERFECTLY destilled the life of a supermarket employee, but I really enjoyed this British romantic comedy (of sorts). Visually inventiveness gives it extra panache, but the end lets it down with a major "oh come on!" moment of stupidity. My crush on Shaun Evans remains in tact though! B+

Wow, yet another question - Has anyone seen the original Oscar-nominated short Cashback? That 18-minute short film has actually been incorporated into the feature adaptation. That I can't tell what was made several years ago and what was only made recently can anyone say what was in the short?

Vacancy - Okay, wow, I didn't expect to like this direct-to-dvd horror flick at all (it flopped theatrically in America). I wasn't particularly optimistic after the first ten minutes or so with it's discernible ode to Psycho and it's Saul Bass-inspired opening credits, the obvious "character development" moments and an iffy misjudged dead kid subplot that goes absolutely nowhere. However, once Kate Beckinsale and The Other Wilson Brother get to the hotel it really turns the creep-factor up to 11 and it turns out to actually be scary and I found myself yelling at the TV on occasions. Weird, right?

I've discussed many times before that things like vampires, zombies and werewolves fail to scare me on about 85 per cent of the time because they're so flat out unrelatable. But I (and surely a lot of others too) have been to motels while on long car trips, and the scenario offered up by Nimrod Antal's American debut (he previously made a splash with Kontroll) is much more frightening and terrifyingly organic than mutants stalking soldiers in the desert, ya know?

The film slides back into the silly with a poorly conceived ending, but I can give it that one indulgence of over-the-top violence when I think back and realise - ala the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre - that there is actually almost no gore to speak of whatsoever, thankfully. The scene where the main couple hear the mysterious knocking at their door is far more effective to me than anything we've seen in the "torture porn" cycle of the last several years. The box reads "It's Psycho meets Saw", except for the fact that the characters in Vacancy aren't stunted morons who are about as emotionally involving as a box of tissues. In the end Vacancy is a nifty little chiller that doesn't suffer from it's limitations of set and character and is the best horror flick of 2007, believe it or not. B+

Not a question, but an observation - That horror flicks in 2007 were, let's be honest, quite shithouse (even resident horror guru blog My New Plaid Pants agrees - yet he didn't see Vacancy either from the looks of it), is I'm sure partly to blame for the crummy numbers that greeted Vacancy upon opening weekend, it's disappointing that this could barely eke out more cash than Hostel Part II or The Hitcher.

Needless to say, I've liked the movies I've watched recently! Alas, there's always something that ruins the fun for everybody :(

Black Sheep - I was about half way through this dire New Zealand horror comedy shlockfest when I put it on pause, went to the computer, opened up blogger and typed out a few sentences. Like notes a critic would take during a screening. Black Sheep doesn't deserve cohesive formed sentences so I'm merely going to cut-and-paste what I wrote that night.

The comedy isn't funny, the frights aren't scary, and the bare minimum of the two that it does scrounge up don't cohere together in the slightest. The acting is piss-poor, it reuses the same device of a character turning to see a sheep, trying to shoo them away only to have them attack. Yawn. The comedy is lame and feels like a silly student horror film just with better effects.

So, ya know, D-

No extra thoughts or questions about this one. I've already thought about it waaay too muh.


Joel said...

Im pretty much in agreeance with all of these.
The first half of Vacancy was great, and then it kind of becomes a generic chase movie though. Loved Breach, possibly the most under appreciated film this year.
Though Black Sheep was garbage!

Did you see any of the horror films at MIFF?
The Signal which is getting a cinema release in the US in feb is incredible! Ils (Them) and Joshua were damn good too.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I saw Ils, which I quite liked.

See, I though the chase stuff of Vacancy was still quite good with all the tunnels and such, but it was those last five or so minutes that felt like a different movie altogether.

Joel said...

Yeah and the fact the ***spoiler*** he lay dead all night, and then was miraculously alive anyway. For a film that is quite nasty, that felt like a cop out.

FranklinBluth said...

I enjoyed Ultimatum, but I thought the scene where Bourne and the Asset fought each other was a bit over the top. I mean, how many times can two guys punch each other and smash each other's heads into ceramics, without being even a little bit sore? Come on!

Kamikaze Camel said...

Yeah, the rooftop part of that scene was much better than the fist fight part. Like, did he even have a scratch on him?

Joel - Agreed. So silly.

Adem With An E said...

You know, I watched Black Sheep and, whilst not impressed with it at all, didn't think it was terrible either. The main female pissed me off completely though, I wanted her dead from the get-go, but the lead guy I thought was kind of cute in a faux-Gary Barlow kind of way.