Saturday, September 17, 2011

A bunch of brief movie reviews:

Been watching a shit-ton of movies lately so here's a quick run down:

13 Assassins dir Takahashi Miike.  I wasn't particularly hyped to see this movie until I heard some good things about it from friends.  For one I figured it was a Seven Samurai knock-off and for another Miike directed it.  Don't get me wrong I liked Miike once upon a time when I was all about Japanese cinema but recently I just find his movies kind of boring.  13 Assassins knocked me for a loop though.  It's the best Tokugawa era chambara I have seen in ages, really top-notch quality, excellent filmed, paced, and acted, Miike reigns in his penchant for the absurd and bizarre, and the action is brilliantly done.  One of the things I enjoyed the most about the movie was the camera work - it was steady and captured the action.  I loathe shaky cam and it was extremely refreshing to see hardcore action without it.  Nicely done.  Well worth watching.

Tangled - Disney's latest princess movie based on the Rapunzel story.  Meh, I'll stick with The Princess & the Frog or Mulan.  I just didn't really enjoy most of Tangled - there were a couple of cute jokes and I liked the use of skillets - and I didn't really like Rapunzel for some reason.

True Legend dir Yuen Woo Ping.  This movie is about Su "Beggar" Can who apparently created (?) Drunken Fist wushu during the end of the Qing Dynasty (mid 1800s).  This movie is paint by numbers and actually kind of boring and predictable.  The martial arts is as solid as should be expected from Yuen Woo Ping but except for one fight sequence in the middle of the movie the action is kind of paint by numbers.  If you're still a fan of wire work, wushu, and wuxia then True Legend is pretty solid.  For me I prefer no CGI or wires in my martial arts movies.

Hanna dir Joe Wright.  This is a strange little movie that I want to like but for some reason can't commit to 100%.  It starts strong, keeps a tight pace with action and pulsing score.  The international feel of the movie was engaging.  Saoirse Ronan is pretty bad-ass, actually she's super bad-ass, and she dishes out some ass whuppin.  Eric Bana is cool.  Cate Blanchett is one of my favorite actresses but she had this weird American accent that reminded me of Clarice Starling, it was really distracting.  The action camera was spastic - in a few sequences the camera was jiggly even when there was no action happening.  Tom Hollander was a high point of the movie for me, channeling Taylor Negron and sporting a track suit.

X-Men: First Class dir Matthew Vaughn. X-Men doin X-Men shit in 1962.  Michael Fassbinder's Magneto was kind of the high point of the movie for me though his Irish accent came out near the end of the movie.  X-Men was pretty much what you'd expect from a X-Man movie.  They have powers, some hide their powers, others don't.  Humans are afraid.  Blah blah blah tortured teen drama bullshit.  The best parts of the movie were Magneto before he gets a happy memory unlocked and the team recruitment sequence, oh yeah and Emma Frost's (January Jones') breasts which aren't the best on Mad Men but are the best in this movie.  Meh, I'm just not a huge fan of the X-Men in general.

Thor (2011) dir Kenneth Branagh.  Man, Thor is an asshole.  I guess if you're the God of Thunder you might be a little cocky but damn Thor is just a dick.  I couldn't stop thinking that throughout the entire movie.  Movie wise Thor just felt weak when compared with 2008's The Incredible Hulk and the first Iron Man.  Not sure if Branagh was the best choice as director (though I still enjoy his movies) but then again I don't really think he had much to work with.  Thor just isn't very interesting.  And Nick Fury isn't black.

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