cinegab

Cinegab is a blog site devoted to movies or the entertainment industry directly or indirectly. A place where fans of movies and film can discuss the ins and outs of the art form.

26 July 2005

Review: Fantastic Four

Over the last several years there have been many comic book movies and I enjoyed most of them quite well. I grew up reading comic books, so watching the movies is great fun to me and I probably give a lot of leeway on comic movies that I wouldn't give on other movies. While I have enjoyed most of the recent comic movies, this is the one I have really been looking forward too. Most comic fan boys grew up loving the X-Men or Spiderman, but my comic was Fantastic Four.

The weeks leading up to the release of Fantastic Four I became really nervous that the movie was going to fail miserably and therefore I went into the movie expecting trash. Instead, I enjoyed it about as well as any of the recent comic movies expect a select few.

There was nothing particularly great about any of the actors except maybe Michael Chiklis who did a pretty good job of portraying a man that had just become a beast, especially considering he wore a 60 pound suit throughout the movie. I do think that Chris Evans portrayed the Human Torch perfectly. I didn't see anything special about either Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, or Julian McMahon. After watching several episodes of Nip Tuck I expected more out of Julian McMahon, but he played Dr. Doom similarly to his Nip Tuck character.

I wasn't too thrilled about how the movie portrayed Dr. Doom and I think that could have been done much, much better. I loved the dysfunctional family atmosphere that they played up because that is essentially what the Fantastic Four are. The comics have a lot more plots of a cosmic nature and that would have been nice too.

I thought it was a fun summer movie and enjoyed it throughout. I know that it did poorly with most reviewers but as I said before as a comic fan it works for me. To see the combined reviews of The Fantastic Four check here.

3 stars

24 July 2005

Review: The Interpreter

From the first time I saw the trailer of this movie up until the time I actually watched it I was never very enthused about it. Political thrillers don't normally get me excited and I have seen several that I don't like. That's not to say that a politcal thriller can't be a good movie or that I can't like it, rather my tastes in movies generally lie elswhere. Having said all that I really do like Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman as actors and they were top notch again in this movie. I would definitely rank Kidman as one of the top five female actors for film in this generation. Both Kidman and Penn made this movie click.

There was nothing too original about the movie and it followed the same tried-and-true formula for movies today, however it was entertaining and it was fun watching the protaganists work their way through the various conflicts. The movie did do a decent job of hiding who the real antagonist was through much of the movie.

The one thing that I really didn't care for about the movie was it's meaningless ending. (Spoilers Ahead) The movie could have had a perfect ending for the type of movie it was but instead we are treated with a reconciliation / hearfelt resolution between the two main characters. Throughout the entire film the audience is meant to be left wondering weather or not Penn's character and Kidman's character are enemies or not. These characters never really developed a friendship of sorts that lead me to believe they had to meet in the end to discuss the thrill of the journey that they had just encountered. I would have rather seen the movie end after climax ends with the resolution to be insinuated not actually shown.

This movie was directed by Sydney Pollack. Pollack has been a part of many great movies either as director or producer over the years. In no way did he make a movie that wasn't worth being on his resume. In my eyes The Inpterpreter was just an average movie that was entertaining while it lasted but not entertaining enough that I would ever care to see it again.

Sydney Pollack's filmography is here.

2 stars

14 July 2005

Review: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

I had been looking forward to seeing Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for a long time due to the fact that it was filmed entirely on location and against a blue screen. According to this site, it was one of the first movies and maybe even the first movie to do so. While I enjoyed Sky Captain I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had seen it before I had seen Sin City since Sin City also was also filmed entirely against a blue screen. Sin City's digital effects due to the blue screen technique were just much, much better than Sky Captain's were. With that said Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was still a fun movie. The digital effects were superb and enthralling throughout.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow had a comic book feel to it. You know the good guy is going to win in the end but you really enjoy watching the hero save the world from peril. This movie is not only a science fiction movie but an alternate history / science fiction movie. The setting of this movie is in the 1930's with an evil German scientist that has created earth-terrorizing machines to hatch his evil plan.

After doing a little research I learned that Sky Captain plays homage to many of the science fiction movies of the 1930's as well as many other movies of yesteryear. I have always wanted to go back and watch the old movies that paved the way to today but never have, so I couldn't say what is and isn't similar with Sky Captain. This does, however, give me a great reason to go back and watch and gain an appreciation for the older movies before my time.

I also enjoyed the acting of this movie quite a bit. Gweneth Paltrow and Jude Law almost always impress me and this movie was no exception. I am also starting to gain a greater appreciation for Giovanni Ribisi who played a supporting role in this movie. The first few times I remember seeing Ribisi was on the well known sitcom Friends where he plays a dopey brother to Phoebe. Needless to say I was not very impressed, but the more and more I see him in various roles I am learning how much talent he really has.

This movie is good but not excellent. The plot is nothing original. It is what it is... It's fun, exciting, full of groundbreaking digital effects, and just all around exciting.

2 and half stars

09 July 2005

Review: War of the Worlds

Ah the destruction movie, and in this case it's aliens demolishing the planet city by city. Sounds just like Independance Day. Actually, sacrasm aside, I went into this movie with the idea that it had a great shot at being a good science fiction movie. It had a lot going for it going in, it's based on one the the most famous science fiction stories of all time written by H.G. Wells, it was directed by Steven Spielberg, and it stars Tom Cruise. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it like I had hoped.

(Light Spoilers Ahead)
Even though Independance Day came out nine years ago in the summer of 1996, and even though War of the Worlds and Independance Day have their differences, I really feel that War of the Worlds was too similar of a movie to Idependance Day. I can really only think of one specific difference that made War of the Worlds much different than Independance Day and that is that this time around the peril and destruction came from the perspective of the civilians rather than the government. Spielberg promised us that he would modernize H.G. Wells's version written in 1898, which he did, but Roland Emmerich's Independance Day did a much better job of modernizing H.G. Wells's novel than Speilberg did - and that was nine years ago. The virus that ended up killing the Aliens in War of the Worlds was used in a more exciting modern way in Independance Day as a computer virus.

Tom Cruise didn't do much for me this time around. In reality, barring his performance in Magnolia I have never considered Cruise that great of an actor. He normally plays one of the same variations of his intense self and he is good at it, and most of time it's entertaining. This time, however, I didn't like him apreciate his performance. Maybe the fact that Tom Cruise has vilified himself in media with his strong opinions about psychiatry ruined my enjoyment of his acting before I even got a chance to see the movie, or maybe it's just that I couldn't relate with the character Cruise played. It's probably a little of both.

While War of the Worlds certainly had it's entertainment value, it really started to lose some steam about half way through. I was really hoping that the movie would get more interesting, but after the initial destruction sequence the movie quickly lost its allure. The climax of the movie was much less thrilling than it should have been considering how the movie started. The movie began with a bang and ended with a crackle.

It seems that I am one of the few that didn't think much of this movie (here is what the critics said at Metactritic), so others might enjoy it better than me. In as much as I was dissapointed by the movie, it wasn't terrible and was at least entertaining enough that three quarters of the way through I still had high hopes for it, but as far as I am concerned Independance Day is a much better movie about the same thing.

2 stars

02 July 2005

Review: The Door In The Floor

This film was sad, funny, disturbing, painful and enjoyable all throughout. I think it's rare that a movie can bring out all of these types of emotions at once which in the end provided a pleasant viewing experience for me. As expected the acting of Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges was marvelous(I don't know if I have seen Bridges in anything I don't like). Jon Foster, an actor I had never seen in a large role before performed quite well too.

At the very beginning the movie introduces a tragedy that had happened years before to its main characters. As the movie goes along there are more and more hints to the tragedy, but as the viewer you have no idea what the tragic event that the characters experienced was. This tragedy obviously sets the tone for the whole movie. The way in which each character reacts to this tragedy years later while not knowing what the tragedy is as the viewer is what makes the movie so enchanting.

Overall I liked it quite a bit. There was not a lot to dislike. It took a little while to get going and for me to get into it, but the factor that bothered me the most at the beginning of the movie ended up being one of the things I liked the most - not knowing the tragedy.

The movie was written and directed by Tod Williams. This is the first movie I have seen of his. His filmography is here. This movie was based on Part 1 of the book A Widow For One Year written by John Irving.

3 stars

01 July 2005

Brocken Flowers Trailer

I just watched a trailer for a movie coming out this fall in limited release called Brocken Flowers. It stars Bill Murry, Jessica Lange, and Sharon Stone among others. It was directed by Jim Jarmusch. I did a quick look of his other work on IMDB and I have yet to see any of his other projects to this point. I was very interesed in Coffee and Cigarettes after I saw the trailer last year but never got around to it and I heard a bad review from a friend. Nonetheless, Brocken Flowers looks like it could be excellent! Take a look for yourself with this trailer.
Here is a link to Jarmusch's Filmogrophy.