I finally Netflixed Smokin' Aces last week, and figured I'd give it a quick review. This is one that I was looking forward to well before it came out, but I somehow never made it to the theater to see it. And it's probably just as well that I didn't.
This movie tries to be eight different kinds of cool, but only achieves moderate success on a few. Coming in to the experience, I was hoping it would be something akin to early Guy Ritchie, and at times, it was just that--a crazy cast of characters all with their own nefarious motives, tied up in a complex plot, and intersecting with each other in a ridiculous blaze of gunfire and yelling and kersplosions. The characters were definitely there--I especially loved the redneck neo-Nazis and Jeremy Piven was great as the magician/wannabe crime boss.
But when I got to the "twist" at the end, my reaction was just, "Oh," when I was really hoping it would be something like, "Holy freakin' crap, that changes everything and now I have to watch the whole thing again!" And really, that's how the whole movie went. Great characters, but none of them gets enough screen time because they're competing with crap like those pointless Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman cameos. A plot that's complex, but not terribly interesting until the end. And a style that's adequate for this kind of film, but doesn't really push any limits or do anything new. So, while I don't feel like it was a waste of my already-paid Netflix bill for the month, I probably would have felt a little cheated if I had shelled out theater money for it.
Except those aren't tokens. They're quarters. And there's a wad of cash in there, too. That's called gambling, Donut Man. And i'm pretty sure it's not legal... It would suck, but i'd still laugh if they got shut down for a gambling violation.
I've decided to watch all of my vampire movies this summer while I'm working on the vampire hunter costume, and I started with one I picked up a few weeks ago, aptly titled Vampires(technically, John Carpenter's Vampires). It's ok, but it's certainly no Escape from New York. I could tell you the whole story without giving anything away, because it's exactly what you'd expect: a guy (Crow) hunts vampires with the sanction and support of the Catholic church, people die gory deaths, the master vampire must be stopped, et cetera, et cetera. Other than James Woods' decent performance in the lead role, the acting sucked pretty hard, as you might imagine in a film that also stars Daniel "I Have a Couple of Brothers Who Are Ok Actors So Somebody Please Give Me Work" Baldwin.
So why don't I hate this movie completely? Well, first of all, since I'm working on my costume anyway, it doesn't have to be great. It just has to make good vampirey background noise. And second, any movie that's set on the fringes of a global Catholic conspiracy (here, hiding vampires from the world) is enough to get me interested. It's the same reason I dig Van Helsing when so many others hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand burning Stephen Sommerses.
Well, I need a score if I'm going to finish out this review, and here it is.
My rating: 5.8/10 IMDb rating:5.6/10
P.S. The rest of my vampire list: Van Helsing, Underworld 1&2,the Blade Trilogy, Interview with the Vampire, and maybe Night Watch. It's not a huge list, just all the movies we have that happen to have vampires in them. I'm sure there are some essential ones I'm missing. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
Ok, so I have a working theory that Peter Jackson takes on the appearance of the characters/actors in whatever movie he's currently working on. Hear me out.
Start with Lord of the Rings. Jackson worked on those movies for like 10 years, and what did he get (besides ungodly amounts of money and respect)? A distinctly hobbit-like appearance: plump, furry, and unshod.
Coincidence? Maybe. But did you notice how his appearance started to change as the LOTR hoopla started dying down and he began work on King Kong? He became, if I may, more Brody-esque in coutenance: thinner, sporting more closely trimmed facial hair, shod (though you can't tell it here), and noticibly less-bespectacled.
I see some of you nodding your heads. I propose to you, then, that if this trend continues (and if the rumors are true), Peter Jackson will begin to look like this when he starts his next movie:
I'm generally a big fan of paleo-futures--basically yesterday's visions of tomorrow (think The Jetsons). But I'm an even bigger fan of what might be termed "meta-paleo-futures" which, I suppose, are today's visions of yesterday's visions of tomorrow (that phrase alone is enough to get me excited). The best example is probably the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, an homage to old matinee serials and comic books and such--all the stuff that was geek before geek even existed. It's a movie that knows its ray guns and giant robots are ridiculous, but it revels in the ridiculosity, as do I.
Nobody's using the term meta-paleo-future that I know of, since, as far as I know, I just made it up, but you might have heard of "steampunk," which I'd consider to be an MPF subset (look, I already have a 3-letter abbreviation for my own silly term!). Steampunk is a type of science fiction, set in a time when everything ran on steam power. If you can summon an image in your mind of a Victorian-era steam-powered rocketship or a clockwork robot (of doom, preferably), you'll have a basic understanding of steampunk.
Now that you have a bit of context, I give you: two cool MPF videos! The first could be called steampunk, and the second is something I came across while I was doing reasearch for my 1950's Literature & Culture class.
We just saw Ocean's 13, so I thought I'd review it before I forget. It was an entertaining movie, and even though it's a sequel, I think it could stand on its own for those who didn't see 11 or 12. A lot of people complain that the "Ocean's" movies are just becoming the "cool actors club," and they're right. But I think it's a good thing. These guys clearly enjoy working together, and lot of the acting in these movies doesn't feel like acting at all.
That said, if you didn't enjoy the first two, you probably won't like this one--it's the same actors in another storyline that involves a heist. And, I have to admit, the "how are we going to get past this security system?" bit is getting a bit stale, but it's by no means enough to ruin the movie. I found it to be, if not an amazing two hours, at least a very amusing two hours, and that's all I ask for my $7.50.
Is it really just a fan film if you can get a dozen "real" actors from all five Star Trek shows to act in it (and one to direct)? Well, after watching the trailer, the answer is: yes, this is still, without a doubt, a fan film. But it looks like a pretty decent one.
Ok, so it finally came out, and while it was just a teaser and didn't show any actual gameplay, it did get me that much more excited for the game, which is due out in Fall 2008--a long time to wait. If you're a fan, you should definitely check it out. I'm still somewhat concerned, as many are, that the gameplay will be "Oblivion with guns" (which wouldn't be that bad, but this game deserves more), but the trailer assured me that they're at least getting the feel right. The archaic radio, the music, the setting, the bottle of Rotgut, the Brother of Steel at the end--everything felt Fallout-y. But Bethesda's best move by far with this trailer was to include a new recording of the now-iconic line, "War...war never changes," delivered by Ron Perlman. I guarantee that elicited a few cheers out there in Fan Land. It got a smile from me.
If that doesn't thrill you the same way it does me, then: 1) You never played Fallout 1 or 2; or 2) you didn't read that right the first time, so here it is again: Only two more days til the teaser for Fallout 3!