Hannibal Rising

The only thing more gag inducing than sitting down to watch a movie that you know includes cannibalism is seeing ‘The Weinstein Company’ as the first slide in the opening credits.

That being said, Hannibal Rising is somewhat of a boring slog, although I don’t know if I would be felt the same way if I had seen it soon after release. See, the TV show Hannibal ruined me. Bryan Miller’s rich imagery and characterization is like an onion – so many layers. There are no layers to Hannibal Rising…the character of Hannibal jumps directly from traumatized child to hand-stabbing lunatic. There’s no mystery, Hannibal’s inner monologue is missing. I feel that Hannibal’s voice is the most compelling part of the book, while the film views Hannibal coldly, in the third person. (Thomas Harris wrote the novel and screenplay simultaneously, in order to avoid the studio handing the project off to another writer.) Both the book and the screenplay were from the same writer, during the same time period, so I’ve got to shift blame to the Director, Peter Webber. Sorry, Peter.

Casting, however, was masterful. Gaspard Ulliel’s chiseled features were perfect for young Hannibal – imagine if Crispin Glover and Andy Samberg had a love child. Gong Li (or Li Gong?) is as lovely as she was 16 years earlier in Raise the Red Lantern. She is suitably sympathetic as Lady Murasaki, although I have to admit, it’s a bit annoying to watch a Chinese actress cast as a Japanese character. Ugh.

For most of the film, I thought that Kolnas was played by Tony Goldwyn and I was rooting for his death. (Residual grudge from Ghost – I always root for Tony Goldwyn’s death now.) But It wasn’t Goldwyn, it was Kevin McKidd! Tommy in Trainspotting! I swear, this has happened before…but cannot remember when.

As I alluded to earlier, the film was visually boring, but my standards are admittedly high. It wasn’t that I wanted more gore – I just wanted more creative gore. I feel like more attention should have been paid to the scenes that Hannibal was creating, and the crimes themselves.

Now I just need to watch Red Dragon, which has probably also been ruined for me!

X-Men: Apocalypse

While I agree with Jean Grey that the third one’s always the worst, X-Men: Apocalypse isn’t a bad movie. It merely suffers in that it wasn’t as good as the first two. (I think we can all agree that Last Stand was much stinkier than Apocalypse ever dreamt of being.)

Sure, it was a bit preachy…but how can a movie with a villain that’s trying to be a God NOT be preachy? Even with all the good mutants vs. bad mutants drama, it was still less preachy than Batman v Superman. I was left scratching my head over Apocalypse’s motivation, though. What was he going to do with all that power once he had it. Just hang out with the 4 Horsemen while the planet smolders?

I am shook to the core that Poe Dameron played Apocalypse. I’d never even heard of Oscar Isaac’s before The Force Awakens, and BAM – he’s everywhere now. (Eventually, I’ll finish my review of Force and pontificate on the sex appeal of Poe Dameron.)

I wish I liked the actress picked for Jean Grey more. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so I’ve never seen this girl before. She doesn’t have the presence and appeal of Famke Janssen…and I admit, I’m biased. I’ve been wanting to be her since Goldeneye. Even so, this girl just doesn’t seem to have much personality. I’m hoping she comes out of her shell, as I’m expecting another full X-Men trilogy over the next decade.

Even James McAvoy is growing on me as Professor X. I admit, I thought he was a pussy in First Class. But after his struggles in Future Passed , he’s grown up and found himself.

Again, the best scene in the film was the Quicksilver scene. Another amazing song choice and another eye-popping slow-motion scene. PLEASE, can we get a standalone Quicksilver film? Maybe a film centered around him getting the balls to confront his father? And throw in Nightcrawler, so he can confront his mother…let’s go full Maury. (Magneto or Azazel, which one is it???)

Speaking of Magneto, my poor son is fixated on the disconnect between how old Magneto and Professor X look and how old they should be. (He is SO MUCH my son.) He wants to know how this Magneto turns into Ian McKellen in just 17 years. It wasn’t that far off actually, McKellen was born in ’39, so was about 61 during the first film. Fassbender just turned 40 (’77), so let’s pretend he’s looking a bit younger in this movie than his character. To keep with the time line of WWII, Magneto was born in the mid to late 30s, which would necessitate him being in his late 40s – early 50s. I think my son might have been assuming that McKellen was older than his 60s…probably thought him to be in his 70s? The time line isn’t all that bad, although Moira is the one who looks far younger than she should…

Worth watching on HBO, I don’t feel bad for missing it in the theater. So much more excited about Logan after his brief cameo!

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I’ve been MIA for quite a while, haven’t I? I’ve been watching movies, but most haven’t left me with anything to say. I’ve got half written reviews of the 2nd Hobbit movie and The Winter Soldier…and I couldn’t even get started on Thor 2. Well, Days of Future Past gave me a lot to think about…

The first thing I was given to think about was Hugh Jackman’s bare ass. Thank you, Bryan Singer, for showing us the #1 ass to come out of Australia since The Crocodile Hunter. Before I even saw the rest of the movie, I loudly proclaimed that the movie already has 4 BOBs, to my husband’s great amusement.

(NOTE: Since I watched this on HBO, I’m going to assume the rest of world has already seen it. If you care about obvious spoilers, stop reading now.) So…the second thing I’ve been gnawing on after watching Days of Future Past is how the events basically erased the first three films, plus the two Wolverines. (My husband gave me a thesis last night on how this storyline affected the comics when it came out and the rioting in the streets that followed.) Where does the X-Men saga go from here? I guess well find out next year in X-Men: Apocalypse. I hope we get to find out how Xavier went bald, because James McAvoy’s 70s hair was glorious. I’ve gotta say, this storyline is a better way to reboot the franchise smoothly – it seems like the other recent reboots were a bit more clumsy.

Thirdly, for half the movie, I thought the kid who played Hank was the same kid playing Edward Nigma on Gotham, but imDB proved me wrong.

The 4th thing…there was not enough Quicksilver! I loved finally seeing Evan Peters outside of the AHS universe. Can he get his own movie, please? Plus, one of my favorite Alice Cooper songs was playing as his character was introduced – Hello Hooray. The soundtrack is mostly the score, only including the Roberta Flack and Jim Croce songs. Bummer.

And lastly…what is poor Rogue going to do when she finds out that Iceman is gay???

Oz the Great and Powerful

So did anyone else notice that Oz the Great and Powerful basically has the same plot as Army of Darkness? No? Just me?

Think about it. A man is whisked away by a cyclone/swirling vortex and transported to another time and place. The locals immediately recognize the newcomer as their prophesied Savior. At first, the newcomer is only in it for the chicks and other benefits…but as he gets to know the locals, he decides to fight the evil that is threatening them. The newcomer rallies their defenses and trains the locals using his otherworldly technology. After a fierce fight, the newcomer defeats the evil and saves the day, ending with a kiss…that’s BOTH films in a nutshell. Of course, that’s an oversimplification of both films, but you see what I’m getting at…I couldn’t stop paralleling them right there in the theater as I was watching.

Now for the $64,000 question – did I love the film? To quote every Romantic Comedy ever made, I loved the film, but I’m not IN love with the film. I’m IN LOVE with The Wizard of Oz and there can never be another. That being said, I did enjoy Oz the Great and Powerful, liked it and will probably buy the DVD. It might not be better than Return to Oz, but then again, it might be. Nostalgia fuzzes my mind and I have to remind myself that I’m not IN love with every film I loved as a kid. (Howard the Duck, I’m looking at you.)

I loved almost everything about the film though. I loved starting off the film in black and white like the original, but totally dispensing with the “it was all a dream” nonsense, which has always annoyed me. I liked Raimi’s not-so-subtle nods to his past films – “You’re all going to die!” and those rather rapey trees…and of course, Bruce himself. I liked the cast. Michelle Williams was underwhelming, but Mila Kunis was good enough to make up for it. Although she’s no Natalie Portman, I would totally have a girlcrush on her…if not for her exasperatingly disgusting taste in men. In fact, there was only one thing that sent a colossal bug up my ass…the romance. Denouement driven by romance sends me over the edge into bugshit nuts territory. Unless it’s The Princess Bride, I absolutely do NOT want to see a film ending with a…I’ll stop before I get carried away and say too much.

I was shocked by the remarkable restraint in marketing tie-ins with the film. I actually only noticed two – World Market sent me a few emails referencing a contest and my absolute favorite make-up – Urban Decay – released Glinda and Theodora themed eye shadow sets. WANT!

Of course my kids loved it, although the five year old had a bit of a problem keeping her 3D glasses on for the whole film. She made it about halfway through. The 3D effects were pretty to look at – especially the paper-cut style opening credits, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks on the TV at home. I’m guessing it will hit cable by the end of the summer? Oh…and they already announced a sequel. Hmmmm…where can they go with this story?

  

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I’m torn by this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it…but I don’t know that it absolutely HAD to be made.

Let me be clear, I don’t remember much shit from reading The Hobbit. I remember Gollum and I remember big fucking spiders. I do remember that half the dwarves die, so I am not looking forward to how upset my son will be when we take him to see the next film. At first, I was puzzled by all the musical numbers. Then I remembered one thing about reading The Hobbit…I remembered pages and pages of poems and songs that I skipped because I thought they were dumb and boring. Heh. Even in 3D, the songs were still dumb and boring.

Most of the reviews and articles I read about The Hobbit were negative, which was surprising to me. Then I realized that most of the articles were likely written by movie critics…a person who is paid the same amount to review The Hobbit as to review silly twatter like Twilight movies and Oscar contenders like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty might not have a neat box in their head to fit The Hobbit into. It’s not likely to win as many Oscars as Return of the King, but it’s not silly shit like Twilight, either. I cannot even figure out how to categorize it. Is it fantasy? Sure, but it’s also a book adaptation and an adventure story and a film by one of my favorite directors and also a remake of something from my childhood. Is it for kids or adults? It’s PG-13, but I didn’t think twice about bringing my 7 year old. It’s got eye popping special effects, but also odd musical numbers. So I can’t knock that some critics would be annoyed that they have to sit through The Hobbit, a mere decade after sitting through the long, long, long Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s also possible that seeing every 3D movie that comes out takes away the newness of the technology. The Hobbit is only the second 3D movie I’ve gotten to see. My 7 year old has seen more 3D movies than I have. Maybe I’m not yet jaded by the fact that EVERY film that comes out now is available in 3D?

So ultimately, I enjoyed the film, although a few moments had me annoyed. The one reservation I have is whether there is really enough story to make into 3 films. (Note that I said “story”, not special effects. I have no doubt there are enough special effects for a dozen more movies.) My son absolutely loved it, so I had him write a review for it. He was super pissed that he is going to have to wait a whole ‘nother year to see the next one.

Martin Freeman was made to be a hobbit. He looked so much like the cartoon version of The Hobbit, it was disturbing. After playing Arthur Dent, he has cemented his status as a nerd icon. Even so, I still have a hard time seeing him as anyone other than Tim Canterbury.

Is it creepy that I found Thorin Oakenshield sexy? I’m thinking it’s because he looked a little like Rob Zombie. That’s the only explanation I could come up with, because his character was kind of a dick. The rest of the dwarves were not sexy…not even a little bit.

Back in 2003, I predicted that The Hobbit would come out in 2009. That was a long shot timeframe…and I was still off by three years. Should I throw out a date for The Simarillion? 2020?

  

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The hobit was a 5 star production. It was a kind of scary movie. But I loved it. I think you should go see it. Now don’t get me wrong but the hobit is 60 years before Lord of the Rings. There are 3 wizards and their names are Sayramon, Gandalf and Rajagast. There are also 2 wizards that aren’t in the movie that are blue. I don’t know their names.

  

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Someone over in Hollywood must be reading my reviews, because they got rid of Selene and made a prequel all about Lucien.

That being said, Rise of the Lycans was still fucking boring. I was able to paint my toenails and load the dishwasher without really missing anything. There wasn’t much of a plot; Vampire enslaves werewolf, werewolf fucks the shit out of the vampire’s daughter, vampires fuck shit up and then werewolves fuck even more shit up.

I am intrigued by the concept of Werewolves that tunnel through the ground like gophers. Why??? That makes no fucking sense at all.

Why is it that Michael Sheen makes a smoking hot, long-haired werewolf, yet in real life, he looks like he drives a Diddler Van? It must be Hollywood magic and special effects.

I was largely indifferent to the exchange of Kate Beckinsale for Rhona Mitra. Rhona has better cheekbones, that’s about the only difference.

Underworld 4 is coming out in 2012…fourth time’s a charm…our planet may finally be free from insomnia for eternity.

    

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I’m back, bitches…did you miss me?

It’s not that I’ve been procrastinating…I really haven’t seen any new movies in the past 3 months…none, nada, zip. My DVR is chock full, but I’ve been watching TV lately…lame excuse, I know…

Hugh Jackman, I totally forgive you for Van Helsing and Viva Laughlin. Come give Knobby a big sloppy hug. Can you take your shirt off first? Thanks. One thing…Ryan Reynolds’ arms are better than yours. You should go hit the gym or something.

I go back and forth on Liev Schreiber – I like him in some things (Scream Trilogy, C.S.I.), but almost everything else he’s been in are the types of films that I actively avoid. Maybe after Wolverine, he’ll start picking better films.

Will.i.am is not a very good actor. Actually, he actively sucked. Errr…Will.i.am, please don’t have your manager hit me in the face for saying that.

Definitely better than the third one. Better than the second one, too. It’s right about on par with the first one. But I’ve gotta rate it lower than the first one, because I still remember how much the first one knocked my socks off…as good as this film was, my mind constantly wandered to inconsistencies in the plot – and how the film fit in with the other X-Men films. I get the amnesia thing, but I thought they sliced him open and grafted admantium onto his skeleton? I appreciated the darker tone of Wolverine, but it’ll be quite a while until the boy gets to see it – I think he’s seen the other X-Men movies already.

Wikipedia says that they’re making a sequel – set in Japan, with Samurais, Ninjas and shit. Could be mega awesome, but also could be mega lame. But it also says that Ryan Reynolds is making a Deadpool movie! I’m going to go change my underwear now…

Batman Begins

I like Michael Keaton and all…but Christian Bale is the BEST. BATMAN. EVER.

I’m dead serious. Bale has the whole Batman thing down. He’s got the furrowed brow, a jaw perfect for poking out of a cowl, a hard body – and best of all…a batsuit without nipples. He even had a great scary Batman voice – you’d never even know that he’s Welsh. I’ll stop gushing now. Reign of Fire. That’ll do it.

I liked Christopher Nolan’s decision to take Batman back to Tim Burton territory. Joel Schumacher effectively ruined the franchise by trying to add the camp of the 60s TV show back into the franchise. Besides, Adam West didn’t even have nipples on his batsuit, although he did have a wicked good camel toe.

Liam Neeson’s facial hair looked stupid.

I had no idea that Cillian Murphy was so pretty. His prettiness made him a damn scary Scarecrow. Why would he cover up his pretty, pretty face with that Elephant Man mask? He can blame it on ‘Jungian archetypes’ all he wants – I think the real reason that Crane chose to be a Scarecrow is that he’s a ‘friend of Dorothy.’

I’m just NOT used to seeing Gary Oldman play the good guy. It’s just freaky and weird. He’s been Sid Vicious, Dracula, Lee Harvey Oswald, Pontius Pilate, that guy with no face in Hannibal and I *think* he was a pretty bad dude in the Harry Potter movies as well. I’m leaving out a bunch of nasty roles, but you get the point. I cannot even think of a role in which Oldman is one of the good guys. Regardless, he made a good (pre) Commissioner Gordon.

I regret that I can only give Batman Begins 3 BOBs, due to the unfortunate presence of Katie Holmes. It’s not that she’s a bad actress (although she is) – she’s just utterly annoying. I wish I could blame her vacant stares and squinty countenance on $cientology, but everyone knows that Batman Begins was made before she entered into a rental agreement with the wee Mr. Cruise. I like the convention of Batman getting a new love interest in every movie, so I’m hoping that Mrs. Cruise is given the old heave ho and we get a new lady in Bruce’s life for the next movie. (Oh yes, according to the imdb they’re already planning another one.)