Hellboy 2: Golden Army

Kitt and I went to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and it wasn’t too bad. At least of the same level as the first one and with enough pace that you didn’t feel like it was a long move (it runs for about 2 hours). There’s humour, great special effects and a gritty, bizare feel to the alternative world of the non-humans. In fact, scenes in the alternative world were sort of like Harry Potter meets Star Wars (Mos Eisley) with a bit of Total Recall (the scenes in the Martian ghettos).

All up its a fun movie that’s worth seeing. What I wouldn’t recommend, however, is going to Hoyts at Chadstone – the cinema was old and ratty, the sound was hollow (and not very surround-sound) and the toilets were a complete mess. We’ve not had a lot of luck with Hoyts cinemas and generally tend to avoid them these days. Sadly, they were the only ones showing the movie. Oh well.

Still Mo Movies

Yet another movie experience today and yet again at the Astor Theatre near home. They were showing The Dark Knight and we’ve been hanging to go and see it. Nykolai had seen it before but was very happy to go again, so we wound up with one of his friends and family as well as us.

All up, a great movie and well worth seeing. Some have said that there was too much packed into it and yes, it did feel almost like two movies rolled into one. Perhaps that had to do with having both The Joker and Two Face in it. I didn’t find it too over the top and felt that the pace, action and story were great. Heath Ledger as The Joker was amazing, mixing some aspects of Jack Nicholson’s portrayal from Tim Burton’s Batman movie with his own version of a complete psycho. It’s worth it just for him alone.

Definitely a keeper and soon to be appearing in our collection, I’d say.

Mo Movies

Last night we took Nykolai and one of his friends to the Astor to see Kung Fu Panda. So glad we did as it was a great movie and we haven’t laughed so much in ages. We’ll definitely be picking up this one on DVD.

I’ve also realised I’d forgotten to list a few other movies we’ve seen lately, including:

Prince Caspian:
While a fun movie, it wasn’t anything super spectacular and was about on par with the first Narnia movie. If anything, it was not quite as good as the first. Still, worth seeing and maybe one day we’ll buy both of them on DVD.

Spiderwick Chronicles:
This was also a fun movie but, once again, nothing amazing or worth writing home about. Not in any real hurry to see it again but I’d probably get it on DVD.

Iron Man:
This was a great movie and we really enjoyed seeing this one. We went Gold Class to see it and I’d quite happily go and see it again in the cinemas. Definitely one for the DVD collection.

Night Watch and Day Watch:
A pair of Russian movies that are very grainy and raw – a good pair of movies that tell a story that spans them both. Based on the books of the same name, the movies a similar but with a few plot twists and changes. They’re not the usual Hollywood style movie having a dirty, disjoint and off-center feel to them. Oh yeah, and they’re in Russian with subtitles. While we enjoyed the movies and may very well wind up with them in the DVD collection, I have to say I preferred the books more. There’s a third book called Twighlight Watch that I’m about to start reading. It’s apparently going to be made into a movie as well so we’ll see how that all hangs together next year when it’s due.

Indiana Jones – Crystal Skull:
Returning to the adventure of the first movie, this one substituted religious mysticism for science fiction as the driving force behind the search & discovery. A good story with the usual larger-than-life action stunts that kept your attention right through it. Definitely a keeper.

Die Hard with a RedBull

We had another “Movie Marathon” session with friends last night. We haven’t done one in ages and this time we figured we’d watch all four Die Hard movies. The plan was to watch them all, one after the other. Yes, we’re crazy :)

It was fun to watch the original Die Hard again – it’s been years since I last saw it. Amazing to see Alan Rickman playing the part of Hans Gruber – from terrorist to Professor Snape with a bit of Marvin the Paranoid Android along the way. It was also most amusing to see Bruce Willis with real hair…

I found it was easy to suspend my disbelief during Die Hard and Die Hard: With a Vengeance (aka #3) as they were just fun, impossible scenario action movies. You sit back, plug into the adventure and enjoy the ride. Sadly, I just couldn’t switch off on Die Hard 2 as the whole aviation aspect was just too close for me. Like, gee, terrorists take over the airport and shut down air traffic control, leaving a whole lot of aircraft orbiting waiting for news. Ummmm, no, they’d all be heading to their alternative destinations. If the airport was also the home of the TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Controllers) meaning that the aircraft would have no ATC to talk to as they worked their way into the airport, they would switch to “guard” (VHF 121.5MHz – the emergency channel) for comms.

And this was just the first and most obvious bit. Oh well…

As to Live Free or Die Hard (aka #4) I really can’t say. I’ve heard the movie isn’t that good and I still don’t know – I fell asleep within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Ooops. Still, I was the last one to pass out :)

To help get through the long night marathon, we had stocked up with a supply of RedBull drinks – they don’t taste too bad with vodka. Given I don’t have much caffeine in my diet (no coffee or tea and around 0 to 2 cans of coke a week these days) I have to say that this stuff worked – perhaps a little too well. I was buzzed and active despite it being a Friday night after a long, tiring week. While the others were watching, I was back at the table surfing on the laptop, getting drinks & nibbles for everyone and so on. While the others were starting to fade, I was still enjoying the movies. It wasn’t until about 4am that I was getting tired and I passed out around 4:30.

As to the recovery, I don’t know which was worse – the hang over or the after effects of so much sugar, caffeine, taurine and other stuff in those cans :)

10,000 Bad Choices

Kitt and I went to see 10,000 BC the other night. Yes, we went Gold Class again – I’ve definitely created a monster as Kitt’s loving Gold Class. Oh well…

As to the movie, like most of the reviewers, I’m not too impressed. I’m not being as nasty about it as they are and I didn’t fall asleep like some guy did in our cinema (well, there’s a waste of $30+). I am, however, saying that if you haven’t seen this one yet, well, wait for it on DVD. Sure, the visuals will be more impressive on a “big screen” but unless you’re copping a freebie, I don’t think it’s worth the cinema prices.

The visual effects were pretty good (nice kitty!) although the fur on the mammoths didn’t always work out (fur is a real pain to animate at the best of times). Sadly though, this movie once again shows us that great effects do not make up for a “been there, done that” plot and 2nd rate acting. Lets not even go down the path of people with pearly white teeth, waxed chests and well made clothing. Heck, if we did that we might even start to wonder what was up with all the metal stuff during the Stone Age or domesticated horses about 5,000 years too early.

The comment going around about the director of this movie (Roland Emmerich) was “He’s stuffed up the present (Independence Day), he’s ruined the future (Day After Tomorrow) and now he’s going to destroy the past.” He’s definitely got a thing going for ancient Egyptian look n feel as some parts towards the end of this movie were reminiscent of his StarGate movie.

So unless you’ve got money to burn or someone else is paying, wait ’til it’s in the discount pile at the video store and then get it if you really want to see it.

Gold Class Fatboy

To help celebrate Kitt’s birthday, I took her to dinner at Kanpai (a great Japanese restaurant) and then to see Run, Fatboy, Run. Surprisingly, this was Kitt’s first ever time at a Gold Class cinema and I may have created a monster as she’s now hooked (note: we didn’t dress up for it and nor did we see anyone super dressed up – that’s just the adverts)

The movie is the third one from Simon Pegg following on from Shaun of the Dead (brilliant) and Hot Fuzz (hillarious). We’re fans of Simon’s work (remember the UK TV show Spaced?) and were looking forward to checking out his latest offering.

While it’s a good movie, it wasn’t at the same level as the earlier ones. We really like the “out there” humour of Shaun & Fuzz and appreciate the subtle (and not so subtle :) ) references to other movies, shows & issues. Simon’s gone “mainstream” with Fatboy and while it’s a funny movie with moments of hillarity, it’s way more commercial than his other works.

The character “Gordan” (played by Dylan Moran) is great and gives us much to aspire to (no, really! :) ) although I was a tad wierded out by Hank Azaria as “Whit” as I kept waiting to hear him say Dodge, Dive, Dip, Duck n … Dodge (or start doing one of his Simpson’s voices)

There are definitely some magic moments in the movie and it is well worth seeing, although perhaps for some it would be better via DVD or “Tight Arse Tuesday” (movies are usually cheaper on Tuesdays – and now, so is petrol – go figure)

Whoops, forgot one

Whoops – I forgot to include one movie in the previous list:

Oh wow – what a great movie. Having read the book, I was nervous to see what they’d do with it as a movie. I need not have worried – from Robert Di Nero as a closet queen pirate captain to Michelle Pfeifer as a dark witch made young again, the whole thing rocked. The humour ranged from amusingly dead princes to Pfeifer checking out her hot young body, all with the dark under currents that are so obviously from Neil Gaiman. I really enjoyed this movie and we’re looking forward to picking up a copy on DVD.

Breaking the Cinematic Drought

Kitt and I have been to the movies a few times lately – mostly to The Astor which is just through the park from our place. We really like the Astor and prefer to support them rather than some mega-corp multiplex, although some days you just have to buckle under to see something while it’s still new.

The Golden Compass
We went to see this at a multiplex on Jan 31st to avoid the scorching 40+ heat outside (great idea Kitt, thanks :). Not a bad yarn, the effects blend seamlessly, the plot & acting are pretty good and it had some great moments. I did feel a bit let down at the end as after the big fight scene it drops back to a “I know we’re going to make it” segway into the next movie. Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt so dumped if I’d known it was the first movie in a series? I didn’t feel dumped with Fellowship of the Ring or Two Towers, just anticipation. I did feel dumped with this one and Eragorn – perhaps it’s the not knowing that leaves you deflated at the end?

Where Final Fantasy was like watching a cut scene on a PS2, Beowulf was like watching a cut scene on a PS3. Way better graphics, but still computerised. This movie used computers to provide a digital version of rotorscoping (animating a movie by tracing over filmed actors) – makes bodies buffer (or fatter :) and lets them put in creatures, amazing backgrounds & scenes, etc. Interesting to see their interpretations of the buff bods of Beowulf and Grendel’s mom (mmmmm, Angelina :) let alone the monstrosities of Grendel and the dragon. Shame about the accents though – once again like 300, Alexander and other Holywood versions of ancient history, they were somewhat grating. It was also wierd to have very Austin Powers influenced “Beowulf’s naked but we’re not going to show you the naughty bit” scenes. Still, it’s a massive adventure with amazing fight scenes and gore – like 300, well worth seeing.

A Scanner Darkly
Here’s another variation of rotorscoping – this time done in an animated/cartoon style (rather than as computer-reality) giving a grainy, disjoint, drug-induced feel to the movie. I really like Phillip K Dick’s stories and this one crossed dark sci-fi near-future with Naked Lunch and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Once again Keanu Reaves worked well as the lead, playing the role of a cop who’s losing his personality due to drugs. Funny how he works best as characters with no personality :)

Scent of a murder

Yet another movie tonight – this time Kitt and I went with friends to see Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Quite an amazing movie – very Burtonesque although it’s Baroque, not Gothic – and there are no funky toys or equipment. A macabre story with some amazing scenes, concepts and developments.

The town-square orgy scene was most amusing (the crowd falls under the influence of the “ultimate perfume”) – especially the “morning after” moments, where everyone can be seen thinking “I drank what????” :)

Through out the movie I felt immersed in the development and it felt true to the period – very much as you might expect Paris and the surrounding country side of the late 1700’s to be.

Having names like Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and John Hurt in it didn’t make the movie better or significantly detract from it, although it was amusing to see the parts they played.

All up, I found it to be a good movie, somewhat odd and captivating through out. Worth seeing, especially if you’re wanting a change from the usual Hollywood fare…

Transform This! :)

While Nykolai was away at Underbank Stud for his first week of school holidays, Kitt and I went to see the Transformers movie. Wow. I was very pleasantly surprised. For once, here’s a Michael Bay movie that’s actually really quite good.

It has some teen angst moments (could have cut about 1/2 of them down in size and still been a good movie), some Herbie Goes Bananas moments and an absolute shitload of action. As Kitt said, if you weren’t laughing at something funny, you were going “Hell yeah!!!!” at the action.

There were some majorly obvious flight-geek faults in the movie, specifically:

  • The Predator UAV they send in to observe a battle zone is going in at dune-top altitude instead 10,000 feet or so
  • When they call in a BlackHawk to medivac the troops, a UH-1 Huey turns up – aside from the naming problem, the US has no Hueys in the desert theatres
  • Despite showing AirForce1 as a 747 in the air, on the ground it has become a 707 (based on the wings, tail & engines shown during “on the ground” scenes)
  • When they summon jets to provide air support, they show the pilots jumping in the aircraft when they’d already be in the air – it takes a while to start up systems, initialise INS/GPS/NAV systems, etc :)

Despite all this, the movie kicks butt and is a lot of fun to see. If there are moments when you think you’d rather be somewhere else, just ride through it and wait ‘cos it’s going to get better real soon. If push comes to shove, the “leading ladies” aren’t bad eye candy, that’s for sure…