Holiday Flicks

Thursday, January 12, 2006 | 3:41 pm

Man... bloggin' has fallen behind (along with a lot of other things). Work is crazy busy as some of the companies weaknesses as a software house start to show up in stark reality, and I am left trying to pull it all together with considerable internal resistance. Killin' me with the hours, so the night times are reduced to a little web cruising, a little dinner, and bed. All fine though with the wife actually home for a few weeks!

But, a least a few days off over xmas/ny, the GW in town, and a xmas subscription to Netflix means that I finally caught up on a few movies over the holidays, both at home and in the theatre.

Not too many, after all, I have new Babylon 5 Season 3&4 DVDs to watch, but I am woefully behind in my viewing habits, so here's the ones that stood out:

King Kong - [star][star][star] 1/2
Long, but a great movie event. Perhaps a little dragging in parts, and taking itself a tad too seriously, but the titular creature is truly spectacular, and the love Peter Jackson has for the material is evident everywhere. The shots of old New York are spectacular, and as always with a Jackson film, the quality of actors sets it apart from regular "big ticket" movies. Worth seeing on the big screen, a great ride.
Amelie - [star][star][star][star]
I've actually seen this Jeunet film before, but decided to let Netflix bring it to my wife. It was so worth a second viewing. The main character is excellently conceived and perfectly cast, and the color-soaked style of this French director is always visually impressive. Great movie, but not for those allergic subtitles.
Serenity - [star][star][star] 1/2
I haven't watched all the Firefly's I snagged on DVD yet, but Serenity only requires a passing knowledge of the characters, as it brings you up to date with the main protoganists (the Doctor and his afflicted sister) pretty quickly. Great fun. Smart, and punctuated by Whedon's snappy dialogue throughout, in that whenever you feel a cliche coming, he inevitably surprises you. A must for series fans, but also an enjoyabel adventure movie in that the "science fiction" part of it is not overbearing. The characters are the focus.
The Notebook - [star][star][star][star]
The Netflix was a xmas present for the wife (you know, one of those good ones you both get to use!) so she could order movies while away and have them ready when she got home, so this was the first one I ordered so it would be ther efor her at xmas. Chick-flick, all that, didn't expect to enjoy it. Bawled my eyes out. Not a few subtle tears, but streams of them. Holey crap, this one tore me up.
The Aviator - [star][star] 1/2
Didn't mind it, but it does suffer from the bio-flick problem, in that it starts in the middle of Howard's life, and ends a few years later, making the ending seemed rushed and kind of incomplete. You get a sense for the guy, but it seems you have to find some external material to see how his later years turned out. Not a character I knew much about, so do wonder how much license was taken. Production values are great, and the leading ladies - of Cate Blanchett as Kathryn Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner - give some of the strongest performances in the movie - but I was in lust with the "Cigarette Girl". Not the actress, Josie Maran, but the look they gave her role in the film! All 20 seconds of her.
Munich - [star][star][star][star][star]
Brilliant. This is classic Spielberg storytelling without any of the mush. In fact, you kind of have to remind yourself this is a Spielberg film. No overbearing emotions, and no flights of fantasy or huge set pieces. Just brutally lifelike situations that have you clawing the armrest with pent-up tension. Ignore all the "editorializing" you hear about this movie, it presents neither Palestinians nor Israelis as clear good guys or bad guys. In the world of international politics and terror, every side crosses that grey line in a way it thinks is justified by the cause. But this movie is about the man, not the countries. Aussie comedian Eric Bana does a great and understated job, and an effervescent supporting cast lets you work out who you sympathize for. This is one of those movies that makes you realize how your crappy job is not nearly as crappy as some others out there. I am interested to see how this one will hold up to a second viewing. I don;t think we've seen a year with such great political thrillers since the old 70s Cold-War boom. Syriana was good if a little aimless, and I have yet to see Good Night and Good Luck, but this movie will be hard to beat.

And as a final movie comment, how awesomely crappy is the BloodRayne trailer? My god, I thought it was for one of those SciFi channel "exclusive' movies. Crappy look, crappy acting, crappy trailer. Can't believe they are going to release that around the same time as Underworld. Even if Underworld (expectantly) lacks any plot (likely), at least it looks slick.


At 13/1/06 10:24 pm, Blogger Knetik said...

So it looks like among the bloggers I surf only you and I enjoyed Kong.

And I have to admit I enjoyed it alot.

I also really liked Amelie, so I might have to check out some of hte others on your list

At 16/1/06 2:42 pm, Blogger Mkae said...

Nope, I gave King Kong a great review as well. I didn't see Amelie but Aussie and I agree on how crappy the Bloodrayne trailer looks. I can't believe the posters for that film. They're all over Seattle and the lead looks bloated and fat. Nothing sexy at all.


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