Why is this movie called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? It must be referring to when the planes hit the towers or something. The problem is: with a title like that, I expected it to be one of those annoying indie movies about couples having issues that never really go anywhere. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer that I got interested in seeing it. With the boy hunting down a mystery left by his dead dad, it seems like this movie could be what I was hoping Hugo would be. It’s got a bit of a Billy Elliot feel to it (makes sense – same director) so I’ve got my fingers crossed. I think I’ll like it. That would be (almost) a first – me agreeing with the real critics!
This movie looks like it was supposed to come out during that glut of action movies from two summers ago where spec ops soldiers kept getting betrayed. It has the exact same premise as The Losers, The A-Team, and The Expendables, and if we look forward, the GI: Joe sequel. Were all these movies part of a class assignment or something? You would think that somewhere along the line secret organizations would learn not to try and kill highly trained agents. It never ends well. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother with this movie at all – been there, seen that – especially since everything (fights, dialogue, etc) seems so laconic. BUT it’s got three people from my awesome list in it (Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum) so it gets a triple free pass. So I don’t know if I’ll review it (maybe I just did) but I have to see it. It’s the Awesome Law.
Here’s another movie that’s straddling the line between interest and disinterest for me. On the pro side, there’s fighter planes, World War II, and it’s made by Lucasfilm. On the con side, it’s basically just Tuskegee Airmen with CGI added to it. Lawrence Fishburne was in Tuskegee Airmen. You just can’t improve on Lawrence Fishburne (sorry, Cuba Gooding Jr.) This is the kind of movie you just need to see, though, especially if you haven’t seen Tuskegee Airmen. Too many war movies are all “yay happy war time heroes!” and gloss over the fact that these same heroes were telling other potential heroes (black people, women, etc) to take a long walk off a short pier. Plus: fighter planes!!
Though I prefer the “predator” genre of vampire stories to the “shiny sparkle” genre, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never seen any of the Underworld movies. Maybe it’s because the wolves are so ugly. Why can’t they look wolfier? I’d make up for it by seeing this one, but a) there are three other better movies also coming out this week that I’d rather see. And b) it looks a little too much like the Resident Evil movies, which are of course abominable. She was captured for only twelve years and that was enough time for the entire world to change so much that she doesn’t even recognize it? Get real. I know it’s the technology age and everything but things don’t change that fast. Also: “where is Michael?” more like “who is Michael!”
Everyone’s all atwitter about this movie because apparently you get to see Michael Fassbender’s junk, but that’s not why I’m going to be really incredibly uncomfortable watching it. It’s because it’s I find it painful to watch people embarrass themselves, and people with addictions are always pushed into embarrassing themselves in movies. Maybe that’s why I don’t like addiction movies. (In case you didn’t figure it out from the trailer, Michael Fassbender’s character has a sex addiction). Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, Michael Fassbender is awesome, so I have to see all of his movies. Even ones that make me uncomfortable and contain his junk (it’s none of my business what your junk looks like, Michael Fassbender!) At least I won’t have to see it in theaters. Ours will never get it since it’s rated NC-17.
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
At one point, I tried to read the John LeCarre novel this movie was based on. It was so boring I couldn’t even finish it. My friend Angella claims it was so boring she couldn’t even START it. This does not bode well for the film version. Don’t be fooled by the mention of a mole and the tense music in the trailer. This movie will bore you to tears. You see, John LeCarre writes “realistic” spy novels, which means that three quarters of the story is taken up by writing reports and letters and people having conversations. No amount of famous people (this movie has Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, and Ciaran Hinds) can save a movie in which nothing really happens. My dad will like it, but you won’t.
It’s the New Year, which means all of the movie sites are slapping together “Best of” lists and starting their Oscar predictions. I don’t bother with Oscar predictions (that would require caring about the Oscars) but I do like to put together a Top 5/Bottom 5 just in case you missed something good or want to revisit a terrible movie and make fun of it some more. Only movies that I’ve seen count, so there are about 65 movies in contention out of the six million or so that were released in 2011. My criteria for winners and losers are rather nebulous – it all boils down to how I feel about it rather than acting or the directing or the effects or whatever.
Wondering if I picked what you’d pick? Click below to find out!
Since it’s the holidays and I have more spare time on my hands, I actually saw several movies this week: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (totally fun and awesome), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (totally disturbing and awesome), and The Adventures of Tintin. I wasn’t sure which to review at first, but then I decided to do the one most suited to a family trip to the movies during the holiday season. And that movie is The Adventures of Tintin. The plotline is taken from one of Herge’s original Tintin comic books:
An intrepid reporter and his dog team up with a cursed sea captain to uncover the mystery behind a treasure filled ship that disappeared a hundred years ago.
I watched the Tintin cartoon avidly as a kid, so while I was excited for the movie, I was also a little worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, like most of the nostalgia driven 90s movies they’ve made in the last few years (Transformers, The Smurfs, The Chipmunks, etc.) But I should have known better. Any movie directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson can’t help but be awesome.
I’ve been really looking forward to this movie, and no, it’s not because of Martin Scorsese. Martin Scorsese is incidental. What’s important is that it’s a cute movie involving a Steampunk mystery that stars a British kid rather than an American (the one who was in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, no less) and features the 30 Seconds to Mars song “Kings and Queens” in the trailer. I frikkin’ love that song. So I can easily forgive it for having a lame cake-wrecking joke in the trailer. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to it so much that I might just burn down our theater if it doesn’t get here pronto. I checked today, and it’s not in the lineup. This is a BIG MOVIE, Empire Theaters in Sydney, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!?
This movie reminds me of something that’s been done before… a combination of the “marginalized Santa family member” plot from Fred Claus and the militarized elves of the E.L.F. Sqad from The Santa Clause perhaps? But still, it’s Aardman/Sony, so that’s a big draw for me. Aardman have been behind several movies I love, including Chicken Run and Flushed Away. James MacAvoy is perfect as Arthur, and that’s a pretty clever jab at the American “no child left behind” education initiative at the end of the trailer there. I think it’s going to be worth seeing, but unfortunately it comes out the same week as Hugo. And you can’t beat Hugo.
When I was a kid, there were some programmes I only watched because they were on. Smurfs fell into that category. And there were others that I loved to pieces, like The Muppets. I still laugh every time I see Statler and Waldorf, and I’ve been a grown up for ten years now. I love the idea of a new muppet movie, but did they really have to put Jason Seigel in it? That guy is like everywhere, and he is not growing on me. I do like Amy Adams, though. And OH MY GOD they play the “munah munah” song. I love that song. I’ve seen the trailer a few times now and I’m still not sure what the plot is supposed to be. They’re putting on a reunion show? Is that the whole plot? Oh well, the whole reason people will be going is to see the nutso looks on the muppet faces as they flail around behind chest-high wall anyway.
I know at least half the world is waiting in line to give George Clooney acting awards, but I just don’t see it. Look at that scene where he’s sitting across from his daughter attempting to have a meaningful conversation. The daughter looks embarrassed and exasperated. Clooney looks blank, just like he looks in every other scene in this trailer. I’m sorry, but if I’m going to watch a character-based drama like this, I need it to star someone who can freaking emote. Even the robot dad from And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird is more lovable than this. I am, therefore, unlikely to see this movie. If I want to watch a dad/child bonding film, I’ll break out my DVD of The Boys are Back, because even Clive Owen can do better than this.
I suppose they’re trying to capitalize on all the Occupy Stuff protestors sitting around outside for various reasons by putting the movie out now, but is this what we really want to see as the Christmas season begins? A depressing movie about the terrible state of the economy? Yes, we like Zachary Quinto and Kevin Spacey and and Paul Bettany and Penn Badgley and Jeremy Irons and Simon Baker and Stanley Tucci, but even all of them combined will not be enough to induce people to subject themselves to a movie that will make them miserable when they want to feel happy. So they will go see Hugo and Arthur Christmas and The Muppets and forget about this until January, when their Christmas credit card bills arrive and they’re looking for someone else to blame it on. That’s my prediction.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
This is a limited release, so I was just going to ignore it until I saw the cast list. Emma Watson and Michelle Williams and Kenneth Brannagh and Dominic Cooper and Judi Dench all in one movie together?? Well I had to check it out. I’m not a big Marilyn Monroe devotee. I think all I’ve ever seen are the posters, which are pretty much a cliché now, so it would be interesting to see more of her life from a more personal perspective. And of course it’s British, so I wouldn’t miss it for that. I wouldn’t have thought of Michelle Williams as looking much like Marilyn Monroe, but I have to say she does pretty well here, from what I can see. I’ll add it to my list of DVDs to see.
This is another limited release, but I feel like I have to talk about it anyway because I talked about the last one. Is this a silent movie about silent movies? I have to admit, I’m intrigued. Some of my favorite episodes of TV shows have been the ones where characters lose the ability to speak and have to rely on their body language and the ambient music to convey emotion. (Check out Buffy the Vampire Slayer 4×10 “Hush” and The Fairly Odd Parents 3×24 “Pipe Down” to see what I mean) Holy cow that hand-in-the-empty-jacket thing is freaky, though! Anyway, it looks totally cool. I definitely want to see it. Sign me up for the DVD.
And in other news, the Cape Breton Film Series is showing a cool looking documentary called The Interrupters, which is about people who try to fight urban violence like it’s an infectious disease. Click here to see the trailer and decide for yourself. The show is at 7pm on Thursday at the Empire Theaters in Sydney.
Since I’ll be away at Hal-Con this weekend, I decided to replace this week’s in depth movie review with an overview of films you might want to watch for Remembrance Day.
For most people, Remembrance Day means wearing a poppy on their coat for a week or so, and maybe even going to a ceremony. It’s rote. It’s what they’re supposed to do, at least on the surface. But you’re still missing the point unless you’re really thinking about and appreciating our soldiers, sailors and air men/women. If you don’t find that speeches and documentaries have really helped you understand what our military men and women have and are going through on our behalf, these movies may help. They’re fictitious, but they’re all based on true stories and they have that sense of immediacy that documentaries lack.
I’ve endeavored to include a broad spectrum of viewpoints and experiences, not just US Army ones, so please don’t message me asking where Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are.
I’m a sucker for underdogs, World War II, science fiction, and airplanes, so I loved Captain America. It’s the last Marvel comic book movie before The Avengers and it follows a shrimpy but determined soldier as he gets artificially pumped up and takes on an evil Nazi science division. It’s got the same sort of tone as the movies from that period, but with more depth of character and of course, humor. Rent it. Now. You can read my full review for confirmation of its awesomeness and pictures of Chris Evans in tights.
A lot of older cartoon franchises have been rebooted so they can incorporate modern CGI and 3D and pop culture references (Transformers, Smurfs, Ninja Turtles, etc.) but thankfully Disney resisted the urge to go that route with Winnie the Pooh. The animation is still 2D and the tone is the same. They went back to the original books for the story, which features Pooh and friends having a contest to replace Eyore’s lost tail. This one is good choice for young kids or nostalgic adults, or both.
Attack the Block is like a cross between Alien vs Predator Requiem and Home Alone. In it, a bunch of London teenagers pit their gang against a horde of invading fangy dog type aliens in the ultimate “turf war.” It’s produced by the people who did Shaun of the Dead, so it’s a good choice if you like that dry, British approach to blood and comedy… and you’re a teenager. Their accents are pretty thick, though, so if you’re North American you may find yourself watching it with the subtitles on.
This is another one of those movies where the sequels (or prequels in this case) are more like remakes, since generally speaking no one other than the villain is left alive at the end of any given outing. To continue the story, replace the characters and possibly the setting and repeat. In this one, they changed the vehicle, characters, and season. A group of friends get lost on snowmobiles and take shelter in an abandoned sanatorium (I think I’d rather freeze). Naturally, they are set upon and killed. For horror fans only.
“From the writers of Taken” they say. “Consisting wholly of people being punched in the throat” is what I think. This time it’s Zoe Saldana on a rampage instead Liam Neeson because her parents were killed instead of her kid being kidnapped (sorry Zoe, but you are way less scary than Liam Neeson). They’re also in Columbia (I think) instead of Europe and she has sex with Michael Vaugh from Alias. Oh, and some guy says “never forget where you came from” with annoying frequency (you think it’s annoying now – wait until the full feature!). Other than that it’s the exact same movie. Trauma. Anger. Rampage. Killing. The end. Been there, seen that, don’t need to spend another $11.50.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
The first thing I thought of when I heard the title for this one was Are You Afraid of the Dark?, that show from YTV where a bunch of kids would tell each other scary stories around a campfire. It was campy and fun and that’s not what this is at all. This is more Guillermo del Torro crazy weirdness. It’s like if all the things you were scared of as a kid are true. Things under the bed. Noises in the dark. I was creeped out until they went and showed the things right there in the trailer. Showing things too much makes them less scary, so I hope that the trailer guy just didn’t get the memo. This movie could be pretty scary if they manage to hide the creatures behind darkness and flashes of movement like in the rest of the scenes.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER
Paul Rudd has always had an endearingly idiotic quality about him. He looks a bit like a perv with scraggly hair and a beard, but I think he’s still charming enough to pull of this movie. He’s a bit like Sally Hawkins’ character in Happy Go Lucky in that he’s blithely happy and seemingly oblivious to the effects he has on other people, but even she wasn’t dumb enough to sell weed to cops. It’s far from the only “unwanted dysfunctional family member screwing up my life” movie out there, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will turn out to be one of the funnier ones. Though I have to admit – they usually seem funnier in the trailers than they are in reality.
Everyone understands, in a general sense, that Wall Street is dirty, and that they’re responsible for the fact that no one (apart from the people who work on Wall Street) seems to have any money anymore. Some people know that Bernie Madoff was the mastermind behind the great ripoff. But hardly anyone knows what went on behind the scenes that brought his scam to light. It’s like Watergate, and this movie is like All the President’s Men… except for the fact that it’s a documentary and not a feature film. I really want to see this movie. It looks tense and intelligent and I can’t wait to suck up the facts it contains like a little sponge. Unfortunately like Waiting for Superman and Inside Job, I won’t get a chance until it comes out on DVD.
I’m not sure whether this is a promotional/propaganda video or a real documentary, but it somehow managed to make it into IMAX theaters despite only being 45 minutes long. With IMAX tickets so much more expensive than regular tickets, there’s no way it would be worth it to go to this movie, even though it’s in 3D, and it looks fascinating and I love helicopters and the Canadian Forces are in it. I’d watch it if it was on TV for sure, and I’d probably pay to get in if they paired it with another shortish documentary. I might even pay the weekday fee to see it in a regular theater. But at that price? At that length? No way.
Whenever critics stack up Pixar’s movies, Cars usually ends up on the bottom. Racecars with eyeballs on their windshields living in an all-car world freaked some people out, but I always liked it. I think it’s better than Monsters Inc. and Ratatouille and definitely better than A Bug’s Life. When I saw the trailer for the sequel, though, I wasn’t so thrilled, given that it departed quite a lot from the storyline of the first Cars, which was about a narcissistic racecar learning to make friends:
A rusty tow truck gets a chance to shine when he’s mistaken for an international spy while accompanying his racecar best friend on a world grand prix tour.
But of course I went to see it anyway, because I always think that Pixar stories aren’t going to work when I see them in trailer form and then I end up loving them after seeing the movie. I had doubts about Cars, Toy Story 3, and even Up, so I was prepared to be wrong about Cars 2. Sadly, it turned out that I wasn’t.
The Green Lantern was not a superhero I was familiar with as a child. When I thought about him at all, I often got him confused with Green Hornet, so that the picture I had in my head was of a guy in a black car with a green ring that worked sort of like the ones on Captain Planet and the Planeteers. This year’s crop of superhero movies cleared up the confusion for me. I never would’ve guessed that the actual story for Green Lantern went more like this:
A test pilot receives a ring from a dying alien that gives him the power to create anything he sees in his mind and the duty to fight alongside a corps of galactic guardians against a massive amorphous being powered by fear.
I was unsure of what to expect from the film after I saw the trailers, because there were some promising jokes that made light of the alien/superhero angle but also a super lame, ultra serious poem/oath that sounded like it was written by a fifth grader. I had high hopes, given that there were fighter planes involved, but sadly now that I’ve seen the movie I have to report that Green Lantern isn’t even the best superhero movie I’ve seen this month.
I think you’re a pretty good movie. It was pretty cute how Anna Paquin plays a little girl with a dead mum who bonds with abandoned geese. I’m impressed that you actually got real geese to act in you. That can’t be easy, what with all the honking and pooping. And Jeff Daniels made a pretty cool dad. I can even almost forget that he was in Dumb and Dumber. I would have loved to fly across the continent in an ultralight with my dad when I was fourteen.
hell, I’d do it now!
It’s just that, when we get to the part were they’re flying across Lake Ontario, and they show up on the Americans’ radar (you know the part I mean) you start to get a little ridiculous. I mean, the radar operators at the Air Force base look at a screen that looks like this:
some v-shaped radar blips
….and immediately go “it’s that girl and her geese!” I know you only did it to move the story along faster and skip a bunch of steps of officials calling officials and people with binoculars reporting to other people with binoculars. But you and I both know that they wouldn’t really say that, and here’s why:
Geese are not made of metal. Just FYI.
Ergo geese do not show up on radar, since radars are designed to send out waves that bounce off of metallic objects and metallic objects only. This is a good thing, because otherwise radar screens all over North America would look like this from September to January:
a whole lotta blips!
During such a situation the Air Force would not think: “Oh how cute, that little girl’s geese all had little geese babies and now they’re all coming to visit us for Christmas.” They would think: “Oh dear God! We’re being invaded! Launch everything we have!!” The result would be:
total geese annihilation
Just between you and me, Fly Away Home, I might not mind if there were a FEW less geese to poop in my yard. But total geese annihilation? That’s going a little too far. And that’s the scenario you’re setting up in the Fly Away Homeworld, if you establish that geese show up on radar. So you might want to find another way to clue the Air Force in to the presence of guided geese next time. Just in case you want to make a sequel fifteen years after the original (hey, it happens! Look at Star Wars!)
Remember, I’m only saying this because I like you, and I want you to be the best movie you can be. Geesespeed, my friend.