Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Some Movies I've Seen Lately

Here are some brief (hopefully) reviews of some movies I've seen lately:

Man of Steel
I actually started to write a full review of this film after I saw it a few weeks ago (whenever it came out. Not opening weekend, but that following Monday), but it turned into some huge manifesto and I got tired writing it and realized most people would never even read it. Imagine that opening sentence, only longer and more pointless. Someday I'll do a full review of this movie, because it really warrants a full, in depth analysis.

But for now, here's my main thought on this film: It's a really cool Superman movie made by and for people who don't know anything about Superman. I'd even go so far as to say it was made by people embarrassed to be making a film about Superman, or even about superheroes in general. That's why the costume isn't the one from the comics or the previous movies or TV shows... hell, the costume doesn't even look like the one from the radio show, and I don't even know how that's possible. That's why there's no Superman in the title of the film, and that name is only used once, and kind of as a punchline to a joke. Oh, and that's also why the Superman in this movie doesn't act like Superman, or even like a hero at all. He just punches lots of people and seems uncaring or unaware of the destruction he leaves in his wake.

He's just not a hero, he's never seen talking to any normal people who aren't his mother, reporters, or people in the military. And all the destruction caused by the villains in this film was as much his fault as it was theirs.

But the action was awesome, the entire opening section on Krypton was amazing, and I liked a lot of the acting performances.  So I say check it out if you want to watch a big, dumb movie about aliens punching each other, but just don't go in thinking it's about Superman.

Evil Dead
I actually liked this one.

I'm a huge fan of the original The Evil Dead and its sequels. In fact, I'd go so far as to call The Evil Dead 2 a masterpiece that ranks as one of the finest films ever made, and I'm not even joking. So I didn't see the point of a remake, since the original is such a cult classic, but I wasn't angry about it either. It's not a bad choice to get remade, since even though most people probably haven't seen it, it's got great name recognition, and -- I have to admit -- it's got some flaws. Any fans of the film know that the flaws are what gave it its charm, of course, since it was a super low budget movie made by then newcomers Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.

But anyway, I was talking about the remake. I liked it. It was fine. Maybe it was even good, as far as these things go. That is to say, it was a good movie about demons possessing and then killing a small group of people in a cabin in the middle of the woods. I don't know if it was scary since it's been years since I've found any movie scary, but this was certainly thrilling and deliciously gory. This is one of the bloodiest, most disgusting films I've seen in a long time... and I mean that in a good way. I'm not a fan of torture porn movies like Saw or Hostel, but I do like fun gore that is clever and well done. This had a lot of fun special effects, a lot of which looked practical and not CG, which is awesome.

It was also kind of boring in places and mostly mediocre, if only because it had no real cast to speak of and all that characters were boring. The original film became a cult classic not only because it was clever and well directed by Sam Raimi, but because it starred Bruce Campbell. This movie has no Bruce Campbell, which is a shame and kept me from really caring all that much, but it was fun. Check it out if you like this kind of shit.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence
I liked this one too!

In fact, in some ways I loved this one, and this from the guy who turned off the first Ghost Rider film after about fifteen minutes because it was unwatchable. But while that film was awful because it was so dry and boring and pretentious, this one is just balls to the wall, campy fun. That's because the first Ghost Rider movie was directed by the guy who did Daredevil and Simon Birch, while this sequel was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who did Gamer and the two Crank films. I liked those three films so much I actually rented this one because of their involvement. And it didn't disappoint.

Don't get me wrong... this isn't a great movie, but if you liked Crank and wondered what that film would be like starring Ghost Rider instead of Chev Chelios, this is a pretty good approximation. This isn't quite as manic or over the top as the Crank films, but it's still really funny and has some amazing action sequences.

Just rent it. It's good fun.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Not great, but not the worst. This film had a neat concept... sorta... with a nice look and cool action set pieces, but Jeremy Renner and what's her name just suck. This is the kind of film I'd recommend checking out if it comes on HBO and it's raining out, but don't pay for it like I did.

Dark Shadows
I actually watched this one on HBO, but I can't remember if it was raining out. Anyway, this is that Tim Burton movie where Johnny Depp plays a colonial vampire who wakes up centuries later in the 1970s. Or something. It's supposedly based on the old TV show, but it's really not other than the name of the movie and some of the characters.

Anyway... it was fun. I'm not a Tim Burton fan and this was certainly more of the same, but at least it was funny and clever. I enjoyed the look of it and thought Johnny Depp was very funny. I'm not going to recommend it, but don't avoid it either. It's ok.

1 comment:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

None of these is on Netflix streaming. Oh well. I would definitely give that Ghost Rider movie a chance knowing who directed it. I actually did make it through the entirety of the first Ghost Rider film, and it was seriously probably the worst film I've seen in the past...I dunno...five years. I thought the sequel was going to be more of the same, that's why I didn't even investigate it at all.

You know, I think, how I felt about Man of Steel. Like you, I didn't find it very representative of the Superman I enjoy. Only thing I will say is I was fine with the costume. That never really bothers me too much. As long as it's blue with an S on the chest and red cape, I'm fine.