Archive for June, 2008

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

On Tuesday we had friends Mike, Sonja, and Mike join us for The Movie Club meeting. We saw the new Futurama movie, The Beast with a Billion Backs, Miles had bought it on his way home from work the day it was released. It continues on the story from the last movie, Bender’s Big Score, so you’ll probably want to see that first, if possible. But at the same time, it adds very little depth to this movie, having seen the first. The movie was comparable to the last one – a little too long. While it had it’s funny parts, just like the TV shows, I was ready for it to be done before it was. Perhaps it’s because it’s been drilled into my mind that Futurama is a 30 minute show (with commercials) and my little mind couldn’t get past it. Though, it *did* seem to take about 45 minutes before the real plot unraveled. I had read the IMDB plot synopsis on it before watching it and for the first half of the movie I kept thinking, “Wow, that plot synopsis was way wrong”. And just when I was ready for it to be over, the plot started.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  Though it seemed a little long, it was still funny and still held up to typical Futurama expectations. And for an added bonus, David Cross (‘s voice) is in it, so you can’t wrong there, right?! For Futurama lovers, it’s not as good as the first movie, but it’s worth buying. For occasional Futurama watchers, rent it. Or pirate it. They don’t care.

Art Auction

I don’t think this has been advertised very well, so I decided to post about it.  Insight Marketing of Sioux Falls had a call for entries in the Art Circulator Show & Sale.  Artists in the area could submit an unlimited number of pieces to be auctioned off until June 29.  I submitted two photos that you’ve likely seen on this blog before.  Fifty percent of the proceeds go to the artist, and the other fifty to Children’s Home Society.  If you’ve got a blank space on your wall begging you to add some culture to it, consider bidding on one of the pieces!  If nothing else, at least check them out.

Charlie Wilson’s War

I need to start this off by saying, “I heart Aaron Sorkin’s TV shows” and I’ve seen every episode of all of them. Because I’ve only seen two of his movies, I can only say, “I heart one of Aaron Sorkin’s movies”. And that one movie I heart, does not share its title with this post.

Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I wanted the fast-paced, witty exchanges between characters. Or maybe it was too fast that I missed everything important. Maybe I wanted more character development. Or maybe I had enough character development and didn’t care for the characters. Luckily, the characters were based upon real people. So it’s not like he came up with their personalities on his own and made them boring. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that maybe any interesting thing about these characters I viewed, Sorkin developed and the events didn’t really happen. Maybe I wanted less lingering shots of women’s butts. Maybe I’m just jealous.

Maybe I expected the war scenes’ visual effects to at least not look like helicopters were shooting lasers instead of bullets – maybe I should have expected it to look like Star Wars instead. Maybe I should be less critical and not expect great effects from a movie that isn’t focused on the action. Maybe the story should have been more interesting and I wouldn’t care about the useless visual effects being sub-par. Maybe I *am* glad that there were a few funny Sorkin-esque moments between characters. Maybe I wish there were more. Maybe I’m longing for Bradley Whitford to show up and save the movie. Maybe he never comes. Maybe no “Sorkin normals” show up to save the movie. Maybe I’m still pissed that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip got canceled. That’s probably it.

Maybe I could have witnessed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s great performance, I kept hearing about – if only I could understand a word he was saying. Maybe I still liked him even though he was talking gibberish. Maybe Julia Roberts could have finally won me over. Probably not. Maybe Tom Hanks did a pretty decent job.

Maybe I felt lost throughout the whole movie. Maybe I didn’t *want* to understand. Maybe I needed subtitles on.

Or maybe I’ll just give this movie 3 out of 5 stars.

Maybe I should wait to post this until morning. Maybe I should sleep on it. Maybe I’ll get rid of some maybes if I wait until tomorrow. But maybe I’d add more. Maybe, I’ll do what I want. It’s my blog, after all.

The Incredible Hulk

The Movie Club decided to see The Hulk on Friday. (This does not replace TMC’s Tuesday meeting.) We were invited, via Twitter , by a former L&S intern and friend of Miles’s (internet friend of mine), Mike Billeter . Since The Movie Club was going to see it anyway, we decided to attend. It’s probably best we saw it with him (and another L&S coworker, Wade) because he’s way into comics. At least, he has been since I’ve known him. (That’s a joke, he has been a comic nerd for much longer.) And he explained a lot of things and kind of gave the movie a bit more depth – though it really didn’t need it. We intended to see it at the Carmike because it has DLP and we’ve decided DLP is the best thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately, they were having technical problems with the hard drive (in the projector?) so we went to the more expensive (and cleaner) Century. We ended up standing in a line while waiting for the previous showing to clear out and have the theater clean. The only other movie I’ve had to wait in a line for was Pirates of the Caribbean 2 . Nice. Turns out, DLP is a lot better than I thought. You probably wouldn’t notice unless you have something to compare it to, but if you ever go to see a movie, especially action, and you have the choice to see it in a DLP theater (and the showtimes are similar) then always always ALWAYS choose the DLP theater. That’s my blurb on that.

Ticket Stub The opening titles is a very vague sequence that I assume is intended to give back story and catch people up as to where we’re at in the story. For me, it was uber-confusing. Luckily, my questions from what was going on in the sequence were each answered at some point in the movie. I think it’s safe to say that overall, I would have been better off if I knew anything about the comics. In any case, it wasn’t what I would call an action movie. While there *was* "violence", it certainly wasn’t focused on that and that’s what makes these movies interesting. The plot, was really good – which I didn’t expect to be the case, and I was often pleasantly surprised by the turn of events throughout the story. Marvel Studios has their finger on something here and I know Miles and I plan to attend all future Marvel Studios productions. They’ve done a really great job of setting up for future movies and future characters.

The acting was excellent. Edward Norton (playing Bruce Banner/Hulk) was an excellent choice. He seemed so perfect, to a non-comic enthusiast, because he was this small unassuming man, who looks like he can’t hurt a fly. Even to the point right before he transforms, he’s in this very calm state and it was really great to watch him work. Such a different front-man from the former Hulk, Lou Ferrigno who made a special appearance in this movie. (I was proud of myself for recognizing him before Miles. I give thanks to King of Queens for that catch.) While looking up how to spell his name on IMDB , I found he also played the voice of the Hulk. Which reminds me, I wish the Hulks were entirely non-verbal, though Miles did convince me as to why they might conceivably have the dialogue going. I also was a fan of the segmented flashbacks Bruce experiences after transforming back to his normal self.

Liv Tyler did a great job with her character, Betty Ross. I don’t know if this is what she always looks like, but it she often looked like she was on the verge of tears and had chapped lips. I’m not complaining, I liked it, whether intended or not. It gave her sort of a innocence that most 30-something people don’t have. Also, the romance between Ross and Banner was cute, not "sexy" as portrayed in the trailers, which I found to be very refreshing. I enjoyed several scenes between the two characters.

The visual effects could have been better in my opinion. My biggest complaint is that when any of the animated objects (non-human and non-Hulk) were on screen, it looked like video game quality. The Hulks were probably as realistic looking as technology allows right now, but I *know* photo realistic animated helicopters exist in other movies and so I wish they had been better quality. Part of the movie is set in a city in Brazil, which was especially neat, not just because visually the shots of the city were amazing, but because
my sister will be going there in a month and so it made me all jealous inside. I hope she gets to run on rooftops like Edward Norton.

Even though some commercials for the movie are saying "Just as good as Iron Man ", but don’t be fooled, this movie is not "just as good" – see my star rating on both posts for proof! But it’s at a similar level. You can’t compare the two fairly, because the characters are so different, resulting in movies that are entirely different. Tony Stark chooses to become a superhero. And he’s got cool hardware because he’s rich so there’s a lot more things going on that really wouldn’t make sense to do similar things in this movie. Plus Tony Stark’s personality is just fun to observe. Bruce Banner is a different character with different struggles and his flashiness is very minimal if at all, right down to his laptop computer. But his story is just as interesting. He’s more in torment than enjoying himself because what he’s experiencing he didn’t choose.

Overall, if you saw Iron Man , you’ll want to see The Incredible Hulk . If you want to see any future Marvel Studios movies ever made, you’ll want to see both.

I give The Incredible Hulk a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

No Country for Old Men

Because of no great movies coming out last weekend, and wanting to save a little on money, we “rented” No Country for Old Men via Video On Demand. I was president and if you’re thinking “That seems like an odd movie for Holli to choose”, then you’re mostly right. But it’s a movie that got great reviews and I figured I could make it through it. I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t as great as I was hoping for. When it ended it was just like “OK, I’m over” and I was like “this is how they’re ending it?” It wasn’t as bad as the ending to Cast Away (remember that?) but it was on the same level. The rest of the movie I enjoyed, for lack of a better word.

The character Anton Chigurh was very interesting. Miles said it best when he said Chigurh was logical about who he chose to kill. The first good shot we have of him, and his first real dialogue, I just said “Woah, he’s creepy!” He’s the kind of psychopathic killer I’d expect you’d compare to Hannibal, but with the disguise of a character like Keyser Soze. (Though, after watching The Usual Suspects, I was afraid of Soze for like weeks. Still am, in fact.) Sometimes Chigurh looked slightly comical, which took away from the scare factor a little for me. Most of his killings were hard to see making it easier to watch – either not in shot or the shot was far away or his method of killing left little mess.

The plot was suspenseful, often not giving you the answer to your questions clearly, but making you assume beyond a doubt that what you thought might happen probably did. I’m going to keep this short because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it’s definitely worth seeing – probably not worth buying. I’d give this 4 stars out of 5. (I’m going to go back into past posts and give them a rating out of 5 stars as well, to help those wondering if they should watch it. Sometimes my reviews are inconclusive.)