Gets me more and more excited for the live-action adaptation of “Don’t Wake Daddy” directed by Wes Craven.
Crashing the biannual RIMPAC exercise, a mysterious alien spaceship makes the month-long training event more important than ever before for our naval forces. Unaware of their goals beyond apparent wanton destruction, with a force field keeping what’s out out, and what’s in in, it’s down to a handful of ships and erratic lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) to take down the alien forces and save our world from being turned into dust.
Any person that was even somewhat bummed to hear that Michael Bay was done with the whole Transformers franchise, can only be happy to see that there may be a new franchise brewing. For some odd reason, though, it’s based on a board game that I only played when I was really, really bored. I was a very hyper kid in case you didn’t know.
Instead, taking over duties as director is Peter Berg. Berg is a dude who knows how to do action well even though his scripts may not always be perfect. Case in point, flicks like The Rundown and Hancock, are two films that hit-hard with its action and entertains the hell out of everybody watching even though it may not be winning any awards in its originality department. Still, the guy knows what he’s doing and that’s pretty obvious with this flick too, but it almost seems like he wanted to be more like Bay rather than try to put his own stamp on this soon-to-be movie series.
First of all, before I start to crack down on this film I would like to say that it is pretty fun and action-heavy, if that’s all you want. Berg definitely has a lot of fun with this loud, crazy, and insane atmosphere and story that it almost seems like he has a bit too much fun with all of the havoc but you still can’t help but be entertained watching it all yourself. I will say that the action did hold me over for many parts and I think that’s mainly because the special effects do actually look quite good. Berg’s huge visual FX team definitely makes this film look legit and plenty of the scenes where it’s just the alien’s ships squaring off against the Navy’s ships are actually very realistic. However, that can’t get past everything that is so lame.
I’ve been using that word a lot lately. “Lame”. But that’s exactly what this flick is because as fun and entertaining Berg and his FX team try to make this flick, they continue to get bogged down by the fact that this script is so damn shitty and unoriginal. I get it that I’m not supposed to be going to this flick for witty and powerful writing, but you got to give me something to work with here that can at least hold me over when shit isn’t blowing up. However, this film’s dialogue is so overly cheesy, so obvious, and so ridiculous that whenever there is a moment of everybody being serious, there is tons and tons of laughter, but whenever the film is joking around with us, the film ends up just being stupid and a lame attempt at comedy. It’s also annoying since every single character here seems to have their own witty line, right before they go off and do something heroic or bad-ass. Are lines like “Boom” and ”Mahalo Motherfucker” really needed for a flick like this? Actually, they don’t even say the “F” word, they just cut it off because they didn’t want to lose their fan-friendly PG-13 rating. Lame.
This film isn’t so terrible just because it tries to be funny, plenty of action flicks nowadays try their darn near hardest to do that, but it’s more that there’s nothing new or original really offered here. All of the action revolves around ships trying to blow each other up by constantly tossing missiles at each other and the aliens being able to throw any kind of weird or strange sci-fi shit at the opposite team. It becomes fairly boring and monotonous, that only seems to be used for the sake of keeping our minds off of the fact that this script blows. Probably also didn’t help that all of the action was played with a loud-ass noise constantly blaring through the speakers. Actually, I think one of the speakers in my theater blew out and I was not surprised because my ears are still ringing from all of that loud ruckus. I sound old, I know.
What was also another bummer about this flick was the aliens themselves. Yes, once again in a Summer blockbuster there seems to be aliens as the villains but honestly, who else could pull off such a thing as the villains in this flick? Russians? Arabs? Swedes? Anywho, the explanation for them being on Earth is pretty dumb and sounds like the same reason I heard last Summer in Super 8, and the way they look is terribly unintentionally funny. With their helmets on, they seemed like a bunch of soldiers from the cancelled Halo movie, and when they take them off, they all look like evil Goblins and seem way too silly to be considered a bunch of evil and menacing pack of aliens. They seem more like the ones you want to cuddle with, or save from the government. Not throw out in the open and have them killed.
As far as the cast in concerned, everybody tries but they aren’t given much to do with this material. Taylor Kitsch plays Alex, a slacker who joins the Navy, and within weeks is the senior officer on the big, bad naval ship, being allowed to call all of the shots. This didn’t make any sense but Kitsch definitely tries with this character, even though the guy comes off very bland and does too much of the “Christian Bale Batman’s voice”, but I think he obviously has talent, just needs the right movies to show it off. Maybe that’s what Savages will be for. Brooklyn Decker isn’t as convincing as the military physical therapist, but she definitely is easy on the eyes.
Liam Neeson is one of the big draws of this flick, but he’s barely in it and whenever he does show up, he’s the absolute man and steals the show away from everyone around him. Shame the dude didn’t get more screen-time but he was probably off doing 10 other flicks around the filming of this one and hell, I don’t blame him for leaving. I would have too. Alexander Skarsgård also isn’t around that much either but that’s for reasons I can’t say, even though I am so damn tempted to. Oh yeah, and we also have pop singer Rihanna making her feature-film role debut and is absolutely terrible. She plays one of those bad-ass female roles that’s usually made for and done a lot better by Michelle Rodriguez, but she can’t even do any of that right. Honestly, Berg should have just called me up, told me to get a slight tan, cut my gonads, and get a butch-looking wig, and I could have honestly done a better job than whatever the hell this chick does here. Rihanna, you’re a great singer but stay away from movies and closer to Chris Brown’s hands. Oh yeah!
Consensus: Battleship definitely thrills with it’s loud explosions and fun direction from Peter Berg, but the script takes away from everything else with its overt silliness, lines that seem like they are jokes in and of itself, and characters that don’t make any sense but are just here to give us people to care about and root on to win the good fight. Michael Bay will be back people, get ready.
Those Mississippi rednecks are so much more vicious than those ones from England. Well that’s if there are such things as rednecks from England.
David Sumner (James Marsden), a Hollywood screenwriter moves with his newly wedded wife, Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth), to her hometown of Blackwater, Mississippi. During their stay they meet with Amy’s former high school sweet heart Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) and his red neck friends. Of course hunting is in season and jealousy arises pushing everyone to their breaking point.
Having been a fan of the original Sam Peckinpah film, I went into this with very high expectations even though I knew everything that was going to happen. However, when it comes to remaking classics, I will never trust writer/director Rod Lurie ever again.
The original is all about the idea of non-violence and how far that idea will go until somebody eventually snaps and decides to take violence into their own hands. This film does not really express that idea one bit, instead, it just wants to be over-the-top. There is no subtlety here at all with this flick as we find out what the meaning for the term “Straw Dogs” means, seeing that all of the rednecks are basically one-note villains the whole time who do barbaric things such as hunting when it’s not hunting season or cutting the antlers of deers, and having a random sub-plot with a mentally-challenged kid, played by Dominic Purcell, that eventually leads into the grand-finale.
The film is very obvious with many parts that have David just looking terribly out-of-place. I mean the guy has the fancy Jaguar, listens to the orchestrated music, has a problem with people coming into his house and talking to him, and puts on a robe and slippers just to go out onto the ladder to talk to the guys working on his roof. I mean I got it that he was a nerd, but to constantly hit me over the head telling me what he is, was just annoying.
Where Lurie messed up with this film is that he spells way too many things out and where he could have actually developed characters and made their relationships understandable, he just focuses on trying to build up tension. Building up tension is fine in many cases, but here, we need something for us to actually be able to root for these characters and understand why they are the way they are and why these people are doing the things that they do.
However, I can bag on Lurie too much considering there good elements to this film as well. There are moments where the film will just focus on the couple of David and Amy, where you think it will just be them expressing their love and trying to be all cute but instead you get some pretty interesting moments. One moment is when Amy is running around in barely anything and is mad that the guys are looking at her (but come on, could you blame them?!?) but David then replies by telling her that she should have wore bra. This pisses her off and for once we see David looked at into a negative-light from Amy’s point-of-view which I thought was very intelligently handled because you don’t get to see much of that with any film that has a married couple, let alone couple, actually talking or being like that with one another in a very well-handled way. Lurie has many moments where he shines but others he just drops the ball.
If you have already seen the original then it’s basically known that the infamous rape scene is in here and it is used in a different way then it was in the original which is not a very bad thing because it was still used for great effect. Lurie makes this rape scene seem very graphic and very hard-to-watch which it should have been even if it was handled in a “tasteful way”. After this happens, the film starts to pick up some steam. Lurie creates some very good tension with many of these scenes including the end where the shit practically hits the fan. This was used a lot better in the original, but I still found myself behind this couple and cheering every time something cruel happened to the bad-guys.
However, my problem with the last act is the fact that I think it happens way too quickly and suddenly for it to actually make any real sense. I mean everybody gets real pissed, real quick and it almost seems like this violence was just something they always resort to when they don’t get their way. The ending is also way too abrupt where I was kind of hoping for some sort of epilogue or resolution to where we see David and Amy all happy that they got past all of these rednecks. It was a great build-up for Lurie but in the end of the film, he actually just loses it which was a tad disappointing.
Having James Marsden fill the shoes of a role that was originally played by Dustin Hoffman is like going from Pepsi to Max Cola, but I think this is the best I’ve seen him yet. Marsden is playing this sensitive and very soft guy that is trying so hard to prove to his hot, new, and young wife that he’s got what it takes to be “one of the guys” even though he doesn’t want anything to do with hunting or getting sweaty. When Marsden goes crazy at the end of the film, you feel the tension and anger coming off of his character and that works a whole lot considering that this character needed that psycho look in him.
Kate Bosworth is also a pretty good choice as Amy because she is both sexy and flirtatious at the beginning of the film, but then soon becomes very damaged and scared by the end of the flick. This is probably the best I’ve seen Bosworth, which isn’t saying much but she still is good here with the transitioning of her character. Her real-life boy-toy Alexander Skarsgård plays the main bad-guy Charlie who is staring intently about 50% of the whole film but is still pretty good. I thought that James Woods was completely over-the-top in his scenery-chewing role as the ex-football coach who starts almost all of this shit every time he’s on screen and just kept making me wonder on whether or not I should have laughed or taken his role seriously.
Consensus: The cast does a fine job with their roles and the tension builds up very well in the last half, but Straw Dogs is a remake that suffers from being too obvious, glorifying its violence to the point of where it seems almost forced, and moments where Rod Lurie loses his ideas of what he’s trying to say and instead just leaves them hanging without any real explanation as to why they were in the film in the first place. Stick with the original.
Just put a freakin’ smile on for Christ’s sakes.
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, the planet, Melancholia, is heading towards Earth.
Lars von Trier is a very hard director to watch, especially if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into with him. Trier always seem very hell-bent on making just about every single hope and dream that anybody has ever had and basically throwing them away in our faces. The hope and dream in this film is the planet Earth.
This film is a very hard pill to swallow because it starts off so slow and depressing that it’s almost way too hard to even stick with it and just “enjoy” it. Trier isn’t all about having us be enjoyed, but he’s more about just letting us see the world from a certain persons point-of-view and letting us understand these people for what they are, not what we want them to be.
Basically what he is trying to say here is that everything you know and love, will all someday come to an end and die. It’s sort of like that song “Do You Realize??” from The Flaming Lips, but instead of a 4-minute alternative rock song, we have a 2-hour long film that stretches this idea pretty plainly and simply but the visuals is where it is taken to a whole ‘nother level.
Right from the beginning of the film, von Trier gives us these slow-mo shots of leaves falling, people yelling, horses collapsing, and the world we all know and love, basically disintegrating right before our own eyes. Trier is able to bring some real-life beauty to the whole “end of the world” idea but I almost forgot about that sometimes because of his visuals. The location that this film is shot on, is just about perfect for this film because it’s big, secluded, and can also get very glum and dark which is where this film really starts to hit its mood in. Trier has a vision that he’s not afraid to show off and that’s something I can easily say I have to give him props for.
Despite some beautiful visuals, von Trier sort of falls down when it comes to the actual “story” aspect of this film. Seeing that this is a very personal script for von Trier, since he did go through depression, it’s almost a no-brainer that he hits the nail on the head when it comes to making us feel the depressed and sad atmosphere that he probably felt for a long time but the whole story feels a like nothing is really happening and not really going anywhere. The film starts off focusing on Justine a lot with her depression and whatnot, but then the film focuses on her sister Claire, which is where I think the film kind of forgot about Justine’s problem and never fully resolved it. This felt messy to me and almost like von Trier was trying to branch-out both sissies but in a way it just didn’t work here.
Another problem I had with this film was the fact that Justine is not a very likable or enjoyable character to have your film centered around most of the time. She over-does the whole “I’m sad” act way too much throughout this film and is sort of just left there just hanging around, looking like she could be pushed over and not even care. Just having your character stand there and be depressed for some odd reason and never explain, doesn’t make your character compelling or dynamic, it just makes that person seem more and more like a distraction from all of the other good elements of the film. I don’t know why she didn’t do a lot of the things that she did, especially by the end, but to be honest, I couldn’t say I cared all that much.
Although her character isn’t very strong, Kirsten Dunst is still very good at selling this character and does a great job with what she is given. Most von Trier female leads have to endure it all, which is what Dunst kind of has to do as well, but it’s more about focusing on how well Dunst can put act on one emotion and make that all seem believable and well-rounded. I think she was able to do that here and provide a more dramatic center for this film. Also, for anybody wanting to see some of Maryjane Watson’s boobies, you’ll get to see them as she lies naked for a good 3 minutes. MY spidey sense is tingling! Ohhh owwwww!
The rest of the cast is pretty good too. Charlotte Gainsbourg starts off as a total bitch sister as Claire, but then soon starts to warm up as shit really starts to hit the fan, and this is something that Gainsbourg is able to pull-off real well; Keifer Sutherland is great as Claire’s husband, and provides that dirty charm that he always has; and Alexander Skarsgård is also nice to watch as Justine’s hubby who basically is always push to the side. My man should have known what he was getting himself into.
Even though the film really didn’t do much for me in the beginning, it picked up a lot by the end when everything really starts to get chaotic and I think this was what won me over. The way these people act seems so real and so genuine that if I was put in this situation, I think I would do the same exact thing. I’m not saying that all humans think like me but when it comes to the end of all humanity, I think that there is just a time when you have to act and almost give up. I didn’t feel cheated by the ending and I think it was the perfect way to end a film that really wanted to build-up to its last shot, which is something it does masterfully.
Consensus: The narrative may be a bit off, and things sure as hell don’t really pick-up for the longest time, but Melancholia is a show-case of Kirsten Dunst’s acting skills as a female lead, and von Trier’s brilliant ways of creating beautiful visuals and having them add another layer to the emotion’s of his films.