Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Movie Update

I started to write the X-Men review as soon as I got home from seeing it, but was way too tired (it was after midnight). Then I tried to finish it over the weekend and couldn't think straight. And now, I've seen a bunch of movies lately, so I thought I'd do a quick thing about all of them. I think the sort of movies people enjoy can say a lot about them.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

It kind of feels as though every movie has to be part of a series these days, doesn't it? Unfortunately, like so many before it, the final(?) installment of this series does not live up to the hype and expectations you have going into it. I put the ? after final because they say it is the third and last X-Men movie, but you don't really come out feeling as though anything is actually resolved, just that they killed and de-mutant-ed enough people that somehow the natural order is restored...

Apparently Halle Berry refused to do this movie unless Storm had a bigger role, and she does, but it just lowers my already low opinion of her acting abilities. Most of the other big names are fabulous, as usual, but that is not due to the script or directing, but simply because they are skilled actors who had already established and then portrayed their characters' internal and external battles. Because I don't think the X-Men movies are really about the big battle between 'good and evil' but more about the battle within each person as to how they should react - something this movie does portray well, I think. This one didn't manage the balance of the two though - there almost wasn't enough action for an action film, if you get my drift - they tried to go all deep and meaningful, but didn't manage to get too deep.

Beauty Shop (2005)

I've always thought pretty highly of Queen Latifah, even though I don't know a lot about her. I love that she's a plus-size (I HATE that term, but can't think of a better one right now) woman who plays leading roles in films and is considered a beauty in her own right. Anyway, this movie was on and we didn't have anything else to do, so I watched it. It was pretty good. True, it was very formulaic and predictable, but it was a nice entertainment for a couple of hours.

Sin City (2005)

This film is confusing and crazy, but its really great too. Its based on a graphic novel (or comic book for grown-ups) and is filmed like one. Filmed primarily in black and white, with the splash of relevant colour to emphasise certain aspects, its very arty-looking. But it also has a cool, twisted plot - one of those ones where everything doesn't really seem to fit together til right near the end. They can be frustrating, but I really like them too, because it makes you think and question what you are watching, as opposed to your average rom-com when you know what will happen before the opening scene is finished.

Domino (2005)

One of our new DVDs, Kiera Knightley stars in this based-on-a-true-story film about Domino Harvey, a privileged English girl who moves too America and becomes a bounty hunter. The story centres around them (Domino and her bounty hunting pals) getting caught up in a plot involving gangsters, casino money and two former cast members of Beverly Hills 90210. It was pretty good, and interesting enough that it inspired us to go looking for more info about the real Domino.

Holes (2003)

When I was doing my second Teaching Prac, we were given desk space to use in the same room as the English Book Store. So, of course, in our spare periods when we had nothing better to do, we read. I would never have read Holes if there hadn't been a class set of copies with attractive covers right behind where I sat. But I thought it was great when I read it and immediately thought it would make an awesome film. Turns out, someone else who read it thought the same thing. I've been wanting to see it for ages, especially since I heard that the novel's author also wrote the screenplay, but haven't been able to get my hands on it - until yesterday when I found it cheap in Woolworths (different to the Woolworths back home, but thats a different post altogether).

The film-makers who work on Harry Potter could learn SO many lessons from the people who made Holes. It is as true to the book as you want it to be and really captures everything that makes the book so great. True, I'm not as attached to this story as I am to HP (and I've only read it once - 2 years ago), so I guess I'm not going to be as critical if they change things, but the fact is, they just didn't change enough to affect the telling of the story. One big reason for this is the use of the author as screenwriter, I guess, but also that the film-makers' vision just seemed more about telling the story and less about lining the pockets of WB.

The story is about a kid who gets accused of stealing some shoes and is sent to a detention camp where they have to dig a 5ft hole every day. I guess its aimed at like young teenagers, but is enjoyable by all ages. Its not going to make your brain hurt with its superior intelligence, or anything, but it is a well-told story with the right mix of humour, action and historical background stories intertwining. So yeah, read Holes, or watch the film, or both - they're all good.

I wonder what that collection of films says about me?

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