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.

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…