You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth
Meat Loaf
Bat Out Of Hell
  • Boy:On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
  • Girl:Will he offer me his mouth?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:Will he offer me his teeth?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:Will he offer me his jaws?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:Will he offer me his hunger?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:Again, will he offer me his hunger?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:And will he starve without me?
  • Boy:Yes!
  • Girl:And does he love me?
  • Boy:Yes
  • Girl:Yes
  • Boy:On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
  • Girl:Yes
  • Boy:I bet you say that to all the boys…


For the Dancing and Dreaming
Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson and Mary Jane Wells
How To Train Your Dragon 2

GET GERRY & CATE (AND CRAIG) TO THE OSCARS!


fetusjack:

Happy 15th Birthday Enema of the State

fetusjack:

Happy 15th Birthday Enema of the State

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

(Matt Reeves, 2014)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the reboot/prequel to the legendary Apes franchise was one of my favourite movies of the past few years. It was essentially a remake of 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, but I think it was a general improvement on that movie on all fronts. The production values were obviously a few hundred steps forward on the tackiness that plagued the original Apes sequels, but the real key to the whole thing was that the screenplay went so much deeper psychologically, did so much better work with the characters, with the themes in general, and mixed all that dark psychology, and character development in with a generally riotously entertaining time at the movies.

Now this movie, a reworking of 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes seeks to repeat the formula, and for me… It failed. First you look at the fact that though the writers of the previous film (Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver) have returned to pen this sequel, two other writers have since rewritten the thing. I don’t want to lay the blame in any specific place without knowing what was done by whom, but for me while Rise developed the film it was remaking further, this one has kind of regressed. I think it’s dumbed the psychology of the characters down, it’s sidestepped the potential destructiveness that can be born out of true moral dilemma for misunderstandings, and deviousness, and has almost nothing in the way of an arc. We are at the end of this film in a not too dissimilar place to where we were at the end of the previous one.

That’s not to say it’s a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. I do think it’s very entertaining, I think it’s incredibly well acted by Jason Clarke, and Andy Serkis in particular (for him I’d say this is probably his best motion capture work to date), and I think it does early on at least set things up in so interesting a way that they could have easily taken off in their own direction, and developed beautifully. I just think that half way through they abandon it in favour of more typical and cliched tragic plot developments lifted out of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, but reworked in such a way that frankly makes it less powerful.

I do think there is interesting stuff pondered on still, certainly in the parallels drawn with 21st century society, something this franchise always did so well in the era it was originally made. Manipulation of the masses with lies, a tower targeted in an act of vengeance/attempted liberation, but generally I feel like it’s all very much a movie of two halves, and the second really doesn’t build on the very good work done in the first. I think it dilutes things too much, whittles great action down to overly simplistic origins, and proves a great disappointment based on what might have been.


Boyhood

(Richard Linklater, 2014)

This movie is constructed around a great gimmick, but it is very much to its credit that it never once puts any great emphasis on that gimmick. While it may have shot the same few actors over a 12 year period, it just moves quietly, unfussily along without calling any attention to that fact, without announcing each jump through time without anything in the way of fanfare.

Boyhood instead leaves the viewer to see the changes for themselves, to see a boy grow, a man and woman age, we witness a kid going from staring across rooms at girls, to talking about them, to talking to them. It’s not a documentary, but there’s nothing in the way of plot either; all we do is watch a boy grow up, and it’s the small details in the chronicling of that dozen year span that make it the experience that it is. The whole thing rings of truth, the actors are faultless (Well, almost. I think there’s one or two questionable scenes, but nothing too damaging), they work so well, with such intimate familiarity with one another, their conversations are not movie conversations, they’re the sort you might have had, or you may soon have, or may have heard others have.

It probably sounds boring reading about it, but in spite of the fact that it’s 165 minutes long I just found the whole experience so riveting. It doesn’t move especially quickly, but I think it’s so compelling the whole way through, there’s no dud period, no down time, and it’s all executed so well on all fronts that you just get so caught up in watching, and want to see more, and more. You might say it’s almost more novel like than anything we see in the movies, but I think it’s watching these people grow, physically, emotionally, watching the untheatrical way in which Linklater captures a journey from infancy to the cusp of adulthood with such effortlessness that makes the experience special.

The movie is very much like life, moments of time here one minute, and then gone, the whole the thing that ultimately matters, each year just a small step in the journey. Could it have been made without the gimmick? Yes, probably, but I think said gimmick lends the movie the sense of gentle naturalistic ease that makes it the experience that it is.


Transformers: Age of Extinction

(Michael Bay, 2014)

All the hallmarks of this franchise are here. It’s big, loud, long, at times feels nonstop in its relentless momentum and production of noise, and ever elevating CGI destruction, the characters are (almost, though I think not quite without exception) a collection of cliches, there isn’t anything much in the way of characterization going on anywhere, at times the dialogue is almost unbearably laughably bad (“my face is my warrant”), and sometimes you sit there watching it feeling the brain cells dying in your head with each passing minute.

And yet I was never bored for a second, I found it thoroughly entertaining in the same way that I did the first, and third films in the franchise. I thought it sidestepped the offensive, amateur, awfulness of the second movie, I think Mark Wahlberg in spite of being hilariously sort of miscast in his role fills it out quite well, and thankfully gets to do plenty of the comedic stuff that he really is best at. I think the continuing effort to fill the cast out with strong character actors to keep at least some interest on the side of humanity worked very well with Stanley Tucci clearly having the time of his life, and probably the single best thing in the whole film lighting up the latter stages in particular every time he opens his mouth, and though I’ve never heard of Bingbing Li before she works brilliantly in tandem with him each step of the way. There’s also undoubtedly more to Kelsey Grammer’s character here than simplistic villainy, and that’s a nice sort of shade to see added in the penning process.

Honestly, I think it’s a little bit unfair that this franchise gets so much more hate than any other of its kind. I think it’s sad that Transformers has basically become a byword for cinematic crap, because this does plenty well, and does plenty far better than others of its ilk, and it does it without pretending to be anything other than what it is. There isn’t a hint of pretension in the bones of this thing, and yet just like the previous films (certainly the first and third anyway) it finds time to effectively tackle themes that other films get plenty of credit for doing so (I’m looking at you Captain America 2), and yet everybody chooses to overlook and ignore all that (or maybe all the noise just sears it from their memories) when it comes to Bay and his big cyber sentinels.

It’s not going to convert those who hate this kind of thing, and it doesn’t do anything new, but if you’re into this kind of thing then there’s plenty to like here. It is an action spectacular with its roots in everyman, working class, folksy Americana, it is some kind of musing on not being able to trust those that you should be able to, and the dangers of playing God, and though it feels its length, at least for me, this was a case which I guess some might say is similar to sex in that I enjoyed that ride every step of the way… and Optimus Prime is still the almighty. Peter Cullen, please live forever.


How To Train Your Dragon 2

(Dean DeBlois, 2014)

Like its predecessor this movie is visually stunning, and that’s certainly probably the major thing that sets it apart from the pack. It also is 100% earnest in its depiction of its world, in its group of generally comical characters, many of whom tick boxes on the cliche checklist, but who are all brought wonderfully to life by a talented voice cast, that includes talents like Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou, and Kristin Wiig, and whose interactions provide plenty of humour and heart that make it far more watchable than the majority of the animated movie crowd because they do feel like real characters in a real world that matter, rather than simply existing to be comic.

From a writing point of view there isn’t anything all that special about the movies recycling of the most classical, general sort of themes, but I think it’s the execution of that classical, mythological world that makes the whole thing work so well when in context. It feels like a proper modern fairytale constructed with greatest care. Also, while it may be on the simple side thematically the characters really are written well, even the smaller sidekick roles there to primarily provide comic relief have the feeling of everyday human truth to them. This emphasis on character is another major plus this franchise has that so many others in its general sphere do not.

On account of the fact that the characters are so well written and executed it thus continues kicking the whole film up a few notches as again like the first movie, proceedings are surprisingly emotional, and powerful, and get fairly dark now and then, and due to the strength of those with whom we are living this story, through the chronicling of their smallest personal tribulations, and the warmth of their vocal embodiment, said emotion feels earned, it feels super honest. There’s nothing cheap or tacky about anything that goes on here.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 probably helps this franchise surpass the likes of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda as Dreamworks strongest franchise to date, and if Dean DuBlois and his team can continue executing on this level then the third and supposedly final film will be can’t miss stuff. It’s the kind of childrens movie that in spite of a little too much blunt philosophizing is classical, and serious enough in its intent to work superbly well for people of all ages.


adios brasil :(

adios brasil :(