29 July 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sweeden) (2009)

19. Watch 10 non-English language foreign films

So I recently read 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.'  Fun fact, the original Sweedish title translates to 'Men Who Hate Women.'

But, I'll save further discussion on the book until I read the other two and do a post dedicated to the entire trilogy.

As there is an American version of the film coming out in December, and in an effort to remain as spoiler free as possible, this will be a short review.

Character Portrayals
I thought that Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander) and Michael Nyqvist (Mikel Bloomkvist) played their respective parts really well.  The rest of the cast was good, but this movie clearly focused on these two characters.  I look forward to watching these two in the remaining movies in the trilogy.

Stayed fairly close to the book, but the changes made were understandable.  Very tight 'locked room' style mystery.  I really enjoyed it.

I'm not sure that reading the book first is needed.  I think they are both similar enough and different enough that one can get equal enjoyment from them both.

And as a bonus, this fills the first spot on my quest to watch 10 non-English speaking films.  I already have three others lined up, the second two in this trilogy being two of them.

27 July 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Abraham Erskine: Why someone weak?  Because a weak man knows the value of strength, the value of power...


Oh, you wanted something more?

Well, why didn't you ask?

Captain America tells the story of Steve Rogers, a kid from Brooklyn who is... less than physically fit according to the standards of the US Army Draft Board.

He gets injected with some serious human growth hormone, and becomes Captain America.  Turns out however that he is not alone.  The leader of Hydra, Red Skull, became said crimson bone assembly when an injection of same human growth hormone went... wrong.

So now that we have our crazy, power mad villain, lets get with the ass whoopin!  Sorry Cap, first you have to go raise money by singing and dancing.  And slugging ole' Adolf. (see first cover ever of Cap comics).  Actually, I rather enjoyed this sequence as it worked in some of the earlier Cap costumes.  Cap gets mad, and wants to do something.  After spitting out a piece of scenery that got stuck in his teeth, Tommy Lee Jones tells him to stay out of the way.  Does Cap?  Hell no!  He goes and rescues Bucky Barnes and the rest of the Howling Commandos.

More ass whoopins ensue, and Cap gets trapped in ice.  Movie begins and ends with the discovery of Cap in the ice.  Sam 'BMF' Jackson shows up as Nick Fury (or Nick Fury showed up as Sammy J... not sure about that) and says to Cap: 'You're not in Kansas anymore' (1)

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie.  It felt a lot like Thor in that its a back story movie, so we don't have to waste time on said back stories in The Avengers.  I rate this right at the same level as Thor.  For some reason, nothing has topped Iron Man/Iron Man  2 in my super hero movie list yet.  A fun romp that stuck fairly close to the source material, its a good standalone movie, and a hell of a lead up to The Avengers in 2012.

Appropriately awesome post credits sequence gave me nerd tingles for 2012.

(1) This is NOT what Nick Fury said, but it sounded cool in my head

20 July 2011

Trailer for 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Now, I know that this trailer has been out for a bit, but I just decided to give it a look now that I'm about halfway through the book.

Holy Crap.  Don't know if its due to Fincher's direction or the Trent Reznor penned cover of "Immigrant Song", but this movie looks  amazing.  I'm going to see the original Sweedish film first, but I can't wait for December.

17 July 2011

Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

Hobo: Put the knife away, kid... or I'll use it to cut welfare checks from your rotten skin!

Here we have a film done in the vein of 70's grind house flick. Kinda like Death Proof and Machete.

It wasn't as good.

It had its moments to be sure, some very creative ways to kill, but I think that it didn't work quite as well as recent grind house homages.

Rutger Hauer playes the titular hobo, who goes on a blood soaked rampage of justice.

Its worth a watch.  Fans of this genre will not be disappointed.

I give it 8/13 shotgun shells.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Commander Spock: Any show of resistance would be futile, Captain.

A film that has divided many a Star Trek fan, this is the film that brought Kirk and company to the big screen.

Now, this is only the third time I've seen this movie.  Can you believe that?  I can even remember all the times I've seen it.  But I digress.

I'm not going to bury the lead.  I enjoyed this far more than I ever did the last two times I watched it.

That being said, there is at least one thing about this movie that makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

Those fucking uniforms.

Those of you who have seen it know of what I speak.  Those of you that haven't... I envy you.

Otherwise, this movie holds up better than I expected.  The music and visual effects were well done.  Plot wise, it starts strong, but ends a bit weaker than I would have liked.

Short synopsis:
Kirk wants the Enterprise back to stop a threat to all of Earth in the form of V'ger.  He gets the Enterprise back, and saves the day.  Anyone surprised by this?

While this is not a movie to be used to introduce one to Star Trek, I think that it is required viewing for any serious fan.  It contains elements of the failed Star Trek: Phase II tv show, and really, just whets our appetite for Star Trek II.

13 July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Sentinel Prime: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Short form: Robots beat the shite out of other robots.  Lord Zupka walks away satisfied.

Slightly longer form:  Its not a bad movie.  It improved greatly on the story issues of the second one.  Yes, it was long but I thought the story was pretty tight.

Things went boom.  A lot.  Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he does movies like this well.  I loved it.

11 July 2011

Lost In Space (1998)

Will Robinson: Relax, Robot.  I'm going to build you a new body.  Mom always said I should make new friends.

Based on the television series of the same name, here we have the adventure of the Robinson family as they leave Earth for Alpha Prime in order to start a new colony.  The shit goes down and they get sidetracked.  Heart warming story about family follows; ends with sequel potential.

Overall, the movie was not bad.  I can see where it could get a bad name, but it was fun.  Yes it was full of cheese, but it was good mindless fun.  A gateway movie to sci-fi if you will.

04 July 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Jack Sparrow: There should be a "Captain" in there somewhere.

'Captain Jack will get you by tonight'.... no?  Anybody?  Well, you are right, this is not a review of the Billy Joel song 'Captain Jack'.  This do be a right and proper review of the moving picture, 'On Stranger Tides.'

I'm gonna just put it right out there.  This movie was awesome.  The series did have a bit of a stigma attached to it after the last two installments, or at least the interwebs led you to believe.  Yes, the last two movies had their problems, but what movie is perfect?

So, we have here a (mostly) stand alone movie detailing an adventure of Captain Jack Sparrow.  As the movie opens we are in London, where Jack is... recruited as a member of Blackbeard's crew.  Side not, I particularly enjoyed how they made Blackbeard into some sort of sorcerer.  Moving on...

So, we learn that a prior acquaintance of Jack's, Angelica, is also the daughter of said Blackbeard.  Who has motives of her own.  And Blackbeard has motives of his own.  As does Jack. Oh, and Barbossa has motives of his own as well.

Aside from everybody having their own motives, which may or may not line up with the motives of others, there is the relatively unimportant religious figure who is there just to get a mermaid to cry.

So, the goal of the story is to gain access to the Fountain of Youth, which looked a little like the Guardian of Forever. (Star Trek fans will know of what I speak)  Oh, the Spanish have a part to play, but its pretty much an unneeded one.

To sum it up, I liked to movie.  It was a worthy successor to the first one, and in large part the second two are not required viewing to enjoy this one.  Fans of the series will enjoy this movie.

02 July 2011

The Wrestler (2008)

Randy "The Ram" Robinson: The only place I get hurt is out there.  The world don't give a shit about me.

To start with, I almost didn't want to see this movie.  I have a HUGE Aronofsky hurdle.  I'm 0-2 with his movies.  Both Pi and Black Swan.  Both of which I was not a fan of.

Side note, until now I did not realize that Aronofsky was a producer on Below, one of my favorite movies.  But that does not factor in, because we are talking his directorial efforts.  And by efforts, I mean my efforts to get through them.

However, last night I decided to finally give The Wrestler a try.

And I'm glad that I did.

The Wrestler tells the story of Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, an elder statesmen in the world of wrestling who is trying to make ends meet by doing day work at a grocery store during the week, and small town wrestling gigs on the weekends.  A legend in the ring, its hard to see just how far he's fallen.  Aches, pains and drugs are all standard operating procedure for the Randy.  When he's not in the ring, he is spending time at a strip club, trying to get to know Cassidy (Marissa Tomei).  We also learn that Randy has a daughter, who he abandoned at a young age.

The movie follows Randy as he decides to give up the ring after an event which led to a hospital stay.  Only problem is, without the ring, Randy gets bored.  He finally returns to the ring for one last match, where (spoilers) he dies as he performs his signature move.

Or at least I think he dies.  Going by Pi and Black Swan, both of which had main characters die at the end, the set up here was all to familiar.

I really enjoyed this movie.  The acting and pacing was perfect.  I'm glad that I decided to see this.