Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Movies: Whoops!

YIKES I haven’t written about movies in a little bit over a month, so I’m way behind, and I’m gonna cheat a little bit by trying to make these as quick as possible because I think I watched a pretty sizeable amount this past month.

D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994) Sam Weisman
Why didn’t they just get Keenan’s hockey team to play in the Pee-Wee Olympics instead of these selfish dorks from Minnesota?  This is one of those movies that will be near and dear to kids who grew up with this movie and got into Anaheim hockey for like a week because of The Mighty Ducks.

She-Devil (1989) Susan Seidelman
I had no idea this movie existed, but I’m glad I live in a world where there is a movie where Roseanne systematically destroys the life of her ex-husband and Meryl Streep is caught in the crossfire.

Kung-Fu Panda (2008) John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
Any movie where you can get Ian McShane to self-aggrandize for children is tops in my book.  The action sequences were very slick, and I think this movie is hilarious.

Now You See Me (2013) Louis Leterrier
What an entertaining mess!  The movie is structured around this idea that these solo magicians learn to work together as a team, but the entire process of them learning to work together looks to have been left on the cutting room floor as the movie almost immediately jumps from the “they’ve heard of each other and they hate each other” phase to the “we’re a team and nothing’s going to break us apart” phase.  Dave Franco’s character almost seems like a post-production after thought.  His lines are unessential and tacked on, which I guess fits pretty well with Dave Franco.  Heh. Dave.

Magic Mike (2012) Steven Soderberg
I’d seen this one before, but whatever, I love this movie.  This is the one that completely sold me on Channing Tatum.  Soderbergh makes it look like a Soderbergh movie, which I tend to like.  McConaughey is being McConaughey, and when we finally get to see his act, it’s like Soderbergh is doing what McConaughey’s character monologues about in a scene where he’s teaching the new kid how to dance: something about teasing the crowd just the right amount before you thrust your cock at them.  I’m sure that also extends to life and grander things somehow.

Jawbreaker (1999) Darren Stein
This movie is like the halfway point between Heathers and Mean Girls and it’s nowhere near as good as either of those movies.  There are some very funny moments and a great Marilyn Manson appearance, but it mostly felt like a waste.

Thelma and Louise (1991) Ridley Scott
This is one of those movies where I was more familiar with the endless parodies than I was with the actual movie, but man, I really enjoyed this one.  I love that Thelma and Louise are sort of reflections of each other, and I love Thelma’s liberation comes when she realizes she loves doing crimes.  All in all a very manipulative-ass movie, but I was very much along for the ride.

Rollerball (1975) Norman Jewison
I can’t believe anyone felt they needed to update this movie.  It looks so brutal, and I think the idea behind a remake was to give it cool, modern special effects or whatever, but I’d imagine that CG effects would really just make it look less violent somehow.  How many people got injured in filming this thing?  I hope it wasn’t a lot, but I sort of hope a couple of people got hurt because I’m selfish.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Francis Lawrence
I liked the first one, but I liked this one so much more.  It’s bigger, it looks better, the stakes seem higher, and everything looks more dangerous.  My main complaint is that the actual event of the Hunger Games is completely uninteresting to me.  I like this awful dystopia that these teens have to take down through their celebrity, and I felt like the movie just kind of took a boring halt as soon as the games portion started.  I also think Katniss is not very likeable and pretty boring, but it works because the movie acknowledges this in that the movie just sort of happens to her and all of the characters involved know that they have to work around her to get anything done.

Gattaca (1997) Andrew Niccol
This was one of those movies that I really liked in High School, but I also liked a lot of stupid shit in High School, so who knows?  Upon a rewatch, though, I think it held up.  This movie gets by largely on an interesting, if at times traditional, sci-fi premise, but Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, etc. are great.  The look of the movie is that pleasant sort of beige that makes it look like it’s happening in a future that takes place in a really nice hotel lobby, and I think that works for this sort of thing.  Andrew Niccol went on to direct In Time so he’s definitely got a thing for high-concept one-liners, but Gattaca is an actual good use of this one-trick pony.

Slapshot (1977) George Roy Hill
Man, this was a fuckin’ sports movie, and I loved it.  That scene when the Hanson brothers first take the ice is so awe-inspiringly violent and funny.  Paul Newman’s a total creep just like most everyone else in this movie, and it’s great, but I was a bit confused as to who this movie wanted me to side with.  Like, everyone seems so intent on labelling The Chiefs as a bunch of goons, but everyone who’s doing this is also an asshole.  Is everyone an asshole, then?  Safe bet is yes.

Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
Another one where I’m more familiar with the endless parodies, and again another one I enjoyed.  Jimmy Stewart’s sort of a smirking piece of shit, which works because he’s a famous photographer, and I tend to think famous photographers are smirking pieces of shit more often than not.  But that’s just me.  I liked the movie, but I think I was watching it wrong, because I was operating under the assumption that there was no way Jimmy Stewart’s suspicion about his neighbor being a murder could have been right, and with that bias in mind, I started watching this as something more along the lines of an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia than a Hitchcock thriller.  In retrospect it was absolutely foolish of me to think that someone wasn’t murdered in a HITCHCOCK movie.

Nurse 3D (2013) Douglas Aarniokoski
Now this was an amazing trash movie.  It is a movie that is absolutely no good, but it’s so fun to watch.  Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock gives a typically self-serious horror movie performance that you get from hot people who think trash like this is their step up into the next phase of their career (and they’re not always wrong), and Corbin Bleu does a similar thing except maybe the stakes are higher for him because he’s still in that phase of trying to make everybody forget that he was a Disney Channel star?  Whatever, this movie is really just a canvas for Paz De La Huerta to display her, um… idiosyncratic… talents.  Every line is this weird slur of a phrase, ending in a tiny inhale of breath that makes her seem like the worst possible caricature of a Marilyn Monroe impression, BUT IT’S GREAT.  The dialogue is campy and awful, and it comes off sounding like the writer just put in his first draft of a lower-division writing class to impress his peer review group with how edgy and sexual he can be.  The characters curse like high schoolers on a packed train, desperate for you to notice them, and the violence, while not as plentiful as I was expecting, is very much over-the-top and gory, taking full advantage of my favorite use for 3D technology, silly shit getting thrown at your face.  I’ll leave you with the first line of the movie, from Abby’s (Paz De La Huerta) inner monologue: “My name is Abby Russell, and I look like a slut.”  If you don’t hear something like that and get immediately excited for the next hour and twenty-ish minutes of your life, I’m not sure I can do anything for you.

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