Watched a mess of movies over the holiday weekend. A lot of them were old favorites, but these were new to me, and of course I have opinions on them:
IRON MAN 2: Terrific fun to watch, and I loved the involvement of Nick Fury & Shield (and a throwaway Captain America reference, plus the teaser after the credits, which really whet my appetite for an Avengers movie). Scarlet Johannsen is so beautiful, it should be illegal. As in the first movie, I love the interplay between Tony Stark and Pepper Pots (I love Downey & Gwenneth in these roles) but the rapid fire patter that Downey delivers throughout went right up to the edge of Annoying and stared into the Abyss of Asshole. At least the movie gave him a reason for relapsing into Jackass. It was good to see him pull himself up out of the depths. BUT, I was somewhat less sold on the character development arc, which was what really set the first movie apart from the usual smash and ‘splode superhero action movie. They nailed it so perfectly in IRON MAN--without delving into the poor-me-navel-gazing of, say, SPIDERMAN. This was solidly entertaining, worth a rental.
UNDER THE MOUNTAIN: This was a New Zealand kids movie that I picked up because it has Sam Neill in it. (Looking rather rough and shabby in the Kooky Old Man/Wizard Mentor with a Secret role. Shabby and awesome.) I’ve watched some crap movies because of Sam, but this, fortunately, was not one of them. It wasn’t high art, either, but enjoyable. It was shaky on the sci-fi backstory details, but genuinely creepy in places (especially if you’re a kid, or a pansy, like me). I liked the lead, and the story was interesting while I was watching, though I’m not sure it would hold up to close scrutiny. I think my enjoyment may have been also swayed by the setting--it was neat to see a movie that was not set in America, and actually FILMED not in America with not American actors. I’ll bet this one will come on cable; put it on while you’re knitting or something.
PREDATORS: I really wanted to like this movie. A movie doesn’t always have to be well crafted to be enjoyable. Lots of explosions, aliens, guns, shooting, dismemberment, crazy-ass Lawrence Fishburn, Adrian Brody (who must have spent HOURS in the gym). The premise is these people wake up as they’re being air-dropped onto a planet, where they’ll serve as prey for the Predators. Who are also hunting each other. Or something.
Here’s the problem. Besides the one with how, of all the bad ass creatures in the galaxy, the predators would consider humans a challenge. These people, half of them are reprehensible. Which isn’t a deal breaker, because we know most of them are going to get picked off, and we hope it’s the most unpleasant character who will die the most egregious death. Unfortunately, the lead character, who is played as a stone cold, abandon-the-weak-and-injured-if-it-keeps-you-alive type pulls his ending about face too late and too unmotivated for me to give a rat’s ass about him at the end. Well acted (None of these actors was dialing it in.) but there’s a conceptual problem there. I mean, it’s PREDATORS, yeah, but I should at least be happy that the last man standing is someone I don’t want to shoot in the head.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: Yeah. I fell asleep for about 20 minutes in the middle of this movie and missed nothing. Formulaic and all flash, no substance--which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem except that it was full of unpleasant characters I didn’t care about. I cared so little about this movie, that’s all I’ve got to say about it. Sadly. I usually enjoy a fun swashbuckling movie.
So, what have y’all seen lately? Anything good?