My DVD list is backing up. I don’t know if these films are coming out this month or last month or the month before. But I saw that I had five paragraphs on five movies so I’m going to post it.
I’ve been writing a lot. (about a thousand words a day) It’s not good yet, but it’s a first draft and I like the story, the setting and the characters. Anyway that’s my excuse for not getting my reviews up sooner.
Here are five movie reviews.
Jack The Giant Slayer (New Line)
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Studney & David Dobkin
Jack the Giant Slayer is a surprisingly fun movie. It has a good cast with Ewan McGregor (Young Obi wan Kenobi), Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Stanley Tucci doing much of the heavy lifting but led ably by Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) and Eleanor Tomlinson.
It has a good story, adapted from the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. And it is surprisingly well-directed, by Bryan Singer (X-men, X2 and the upcoming Days of Future Past). Action, Romance, Comedy, a bit with a cat. Not a deep thinking movie but Jack is an over-all well made romantic fantasy adventure film. Not amazing, but very entertaining nonetheless.
The Grandmaster (Block 2 Pictures)
Written & Directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Starring Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Song Hye-kyo & Wang Qingxiang
Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster is a beautiful movie about China in the mid 20th century. It is a film about famous Kung Fu schools and teachers from that time and the grandmasters that carried the traditions and the styles through the war, the Japanese invasion and the transfer of Hong Kong to Britain.
It is an epic film. It is and it isn’t a martial arts film and a history lesson. It is and it isn’t an epic romance and a revenge story. Every battle is a dance. Every frame is a painting. It is gorgeous. Wong Kar-Wai can do no wrong.
I think maybe it peaks a little too soon because the first two Grandmaster battles are so good (One a challenge to break a piece of bread and the other a challenge not to break ANYTHING)
But it is a wonderful journey and a touching and mildly tragic film. And it is… Fantastic.
Rent it (I’m going to Buy it)
Spring Breakers (A24 Films)
Written & Directed by Harmony Korine
Starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine (the director’s wife) & Gucci Mane
Bad movie. Not even titillating. Not even sexy. I knew it would be bad but it wasn’t even good porn. How do they have Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson in bikinis and all they do is show crotch shots and think it’s sexy. It was creepy.
James Franco’s accent was awful. It sounded like an Ivy Leaguer pretending to be from the hood. Oh yeah that’s what it was. And there was no continuity. No linear narrative. Every scene was a montage of intercut earlier scenes so out of whack it was hard to tell what happened when. And the acting… geez.
I knew it would be bad but the script was even worse. It was garbage. No morals. No morality. Love of money. Love of guns. Love of drugs. And no one learns a thing.
And because these actresses look like they need a juice box and a lift home, I don’t see why anyone would watch this shit.
Skip it (even if you think these girls are hot skip it… It’s that bad)
Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
Written by John J. McLaughlin based on Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel & James D’Arcy
Much like “My Week with Marilyn”, Hitchcock is not a biopic but a significant moment in the subjects life. It has an amazing cast. Anthony Hopkins is superb as is his make-up. Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette & Jessica Biel are perfect as the much maligned women who support the director’s mission and his vision.
It’s too bad the movie’s director does not compare to the great man in any way. He at times tries to use the artist’s style, with quick tight cuts in an almost hackneyed homage. These moments are infuriating and corny.
Psycho, the making of which this film is about, is when Alfred Hitchcock, Hitch to his friends, jumped the shark as it were. It is an adventure in successful marketing. Not good filmmaking. I say that knowing that Psycho is better than 99% of all the movies ever made. But to me it is a made for TV suspense tale with one sensational scene (you know the one) and a great twist ending (Mother!!!) but nothing more. I say that, believing in my heart that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the greatest visual storytellers that ever lived. I did not like this film; Hitchcock, deserved better.
I felt the Ed Wood movie did a better job of feeling like an Ed Wood movie than this did feeling like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. This was Hitchcock at the end. The TV presenter. The hack. This movie was about the beginning of that time in his career and it was made in the style of the subject at that time. Again… he deserves better.
Rent it (If you have to but you have been warned… good evening)
Identity Thief (Universal)
Directed by Seth Gordon
Written by Craig Mazin and Jerry Eeten
Starring Jason Bateman & Melissa McCarthy
Listen. Just having the idea of putting two likeable (extremely likeable) actors together in a car for a road trip does not a film make.
The only thing good about this mess are the times when they just turn the camera on Melissa McCarthy and she does her silly slapstick big girl thing while Jason Bateman plays the straight man. These moments are great.
But there was no script, there was no story, there were no characters and the best lines were in the trailer. I didn’t care about these people nor did I think they were in any kind of jeopardy. This was a useless movie. You could have put the two leads on an empty stage and had them do Abbott & Costello’s Who’s On First and it would have been more entertaining.
And now Pitch Meeting Theater:
“Sir, I have an idea for a movie.”
“What is it man? This money is burning a hole in my pocket.”
“Jason Bateman & Melissa McCarthy.”
“… hmm “
“… mm hm”
We need to stop Hollywood from getting away with this lazy ass crap. Do not give these people your money.
Skip it (Skip it Skip it Skip it Skip it)
So to recap:
The Grandmaster was awesome & fantastic and genuinely very good
Jack the Giant Slayer was short of fantastic but still very good
Hitchcock was a fantastic director but this movie is not very good
Identity Thief has a fantastic cast but no script so it’s really not very good
and Spring Breakers… just sucks.