Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Year In Ticket Stubs (thus far)...

January 9th, 2010:

I enjoyed this one, but mostly because of the company I had to see it with. And, poking smot can be quite entertaining.

January 22nd:

I really wanted to like this film, but ultimately there was no satisfaction, particularly with the climax. Felt like a '70s-era hybrid of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME and STIR OF ECHOES. An interesting concept at first, proving tedious along the way, and afterwards, I wondered why I cared about these characters for two hours. Good to see Michael Imperioli in a period film, though. I couldn't quite place what '70s film I could see him in, but DOG DAY AFTERNOON continually went through my mind.

January 23rd:

Fun and highly inventive coming-of-age story. This one deserves another chance, simply because of the non-perky mood I was in that day and the carbon-copy lame duck sitting a few seats away (decked in an oversized suit, David Byrne-wannabe style) who seemed to chuckle annoyingly at nearly every screen direction. Takes the wind out of the sails a bit when I legitimately think something is funny and want to laugh aloud.

February 3rd:

Mel Gibson makes a welcome return to form in this slow burn of an action drama, which could easily round out an unofficial Gibson trilogy with RANSOM and PAYBACK. I was excited about this film once I saw the leaked trailer months ago. With Martin Campbell directing, Gibson's return to the screen couldn't have been in better hands. The opportunist at heart makes me wish there had been a tie-in "got milk" ad campaign featuring Danny Huston.

February 7th:

Traditionally, every Super Bowl Sunday, I take in a showing of some film, knowing the crowd will be virtually non-existent, and also because I care nothing about sports. (Someone asked me that day who I was rooting for, to which I replied, "The Who.") Anyhow, I've always admired Jeff Bridges and I enjoyed this film as much as I thought I would. Bridges gives off that Kristofferson vibe and through all of his character's hang-ups, shines as someone you truly care about. The soundtrack is no slouch either and definitely worth picking up.

February 10th:

When I initially saw the trailer for this film, and later the poster and T.V. spots, I wasn't impressed at all. The title didn't win me over, either. But, for some reason, I felt like seeing it. Maybe because I was in the mood for some type of John Travolta fix or maybe it was because I also like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, or, maybe, just maybe, it had more to do with the fact that I was willing to switch my mind off and settle in for a balls-to-the-wall action film. I'm glad I decided to see this film. I really enjoyed it, perhaps because I truly didn't have big expectations for it. In any case, the film works due to Travolta's performance. He's having so much fun on-screen that the vibe seems infectious. The blink-and-you-might-miss-it pseudo-cameo of Kelly Preston sitting in the background in one scene and, also, Travolta's PULP FICTION reference (think Europe) were nice touches.

February 12th (and 17th):

Anyone who knows me knows I've always been obsessed by movie monsters and it all started with the Universal monsters of yesteryear. While I'm not generally a fan of remakes, films like this make me giddy like a 5-year-old kid. Once I read an interview with Rick Baker mentioning how he signed on because it was important to him that the werewolf not be some CG-rendered creature, I was already sold. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is one of my all-time faves and this felt like a nod in that direction, in addition to paying tribute to the original WOLF MAN. Of course, I'm a bit biased when it comes to werewolf fare (the practical effects variety) and it doesn't take much more to persuade me once I know that Baker is in his element and two actors that I'm obsessed with (Benecio Del Toro and the growl-inducing Emily Blunt) are in tow. I will admit that I wasn't crazy with the plot changes from the original, sort of takes the focus away from THE wolf man that this film is about, but I really can't complain. The film reminded me a lot of John Badham's DRACULA, including Danny Elfman's music, which seemed to echo the underrated John Williams score. Nice also to catch Baker's cameo in addition to a brief appearance by another AMERICAN WEREWOLF alum, David Schofield. Hugo Weaving brought great scene-chewing flair to his role and he came off here reminding me very much of Sam Neill (and that's a good thing). It took a long time getting here but, to me, THE WOLFMAN was worth the wait.

March 3rd:

When James Cameron made the speech at the Golden Globes, something to the effect of "If you haven't seen AVATAR already, you must be the only one," I felt as if he was speaking directly to me. Okay, so I waited to see this one for a good while, simply because it didn't interest me. But, after learning more about the film (i.e. Giovanni Ribisi is in it), I felt like maybe I was missing out. The mystery was there and it seemed like anyone who told me about it, spouted nothing other than "You've just got to see it. It's amazing." I usually don't lean towards the hype, in fact, such constant accolade makes me wait even longer to see something, and also, an empty theater never hurts. On the eve of another big-scale 3-D film's release (Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND), I figured I should finally see AVATAR in 3-D before it's too late. I'm not one to bash films, at least in review form, since I feel it's a waste of my time to speak about something I don't care for, but I really tried to like AVATAR. Honest, I did. But, I just couldn't. Maybe it's because I'm so anti-CG, but with Cameron's films, that has never been a problem since his work has always been devoted to furthering the creative form. I really like Sam Worthington and I found the human story intriguing, but I couldn't sustain my interest beyond that. I'd liken it to a fireworks display. Most people love them, because of the "ooh and ahhh" factor, but I've never been big on flash alone. The film is certainly a visual feast, which is beautiful to look at, but after a while, I just didn't care anymore. And, if I don't care about that story, then it's going to be a long, long road to closing in on that approximate 160 minute running time. No disrespect to Cameron as the film is obviously well-made, but it just wasn't my bag. I made it to the 2-hour mark, went to the restroom and never went back. Sorry, folks. I realize it's me against the world on this one, but I'm quite used to that.


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