Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie Monday

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?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Monday: TRAILERS!

Okay, so the OBVIOUS thing would be to talk about the Harry Potter movie, since of course I went to see it on Friday. I’m really very proud of myself, because I’ve gotten into the habit of saying I want to go see a movie when it comes out, and then not going. Pretty much, I have to see a movie the first weekend, or I lose initiative and end up waiting for the DVD.

On of the reasons is reviews. I hate to read reviews of something I already want to see. One, because objective quality is not always a reliable indicator of my enjoyment of a movie. (See: Ghost Rider, et al.) Two, because once something is pointed out in a review, I can’t NOT see it--good or bad--and it kicks my brain into editorial mode. I start analyzing whether the review was right or not, or justifying why I like the movie anyway.

Fortunately, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was actually a really well made movie in it’s own right. Definitely one of the most objectively awesome in a long time. It was tightly written, atmospheric, emotional (best acting out of the kids in awhile) and truly horrific. Bring a hanky and a jacket. The landscape of the movie is appropriately bleak, and made me physically cold, like I was right there with the heros.

BUT... all that aside! I got my money’s worth out of my ticket before the movie even started, because we had the BEST trailers! I think there were eight, and six of them were movies I can’t wait to see. (Okay, five of them are, and one looked intriguing.)

TRON LEGACY: My brother and I watched this video so much, I think we wore out two or three VHS tapes. So there is a huge nostalgia factor to supplement the UTTER COOLNESS. Expect us to be lining up with all the other 30 something nerds who actually remember when computer generated imaging was a crazy new thing. Not to mention, a movie about a video game??? Dude, that was SO original! (Though later would come The Last Starfighter, which ALSO used early cgi to turn a video game ace into an action hero.)

THE GREEN HORNET: I never watched this TV show, though I’m aware of it’s existence. I just know that the trailer looked funny and very cool.

(NARNIA) VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: I always have a hard time getting past the horribleness of Eustace in this book, but hopefully it will be watered down by the actiony-adventure parts. I’ve enjoyed all of these movies; visually and stylistically, they paint such a vivid picture. I know they have detractors from people who loves the books (and hate the books, who aren’t going to be pleased regardless), but both the previous movies have trilled and transported me. So I’m looking forward to this one.

RED RIDING HOOD: Not sure I’m going to be lining up to see this one, but it certainly LOOKED cool. The trailer made a point of telling me it was from the director of “Twilight” which makes sense. It looks like it will be big on the teen-love-angst and visual imagery (lots and LOTS of shots of red cloak flowing on white snow, etc.). How it holds up on story, I’m not sure.

COWBOYS & ALIENS: Holy crap. Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig and horses and aliens and laser weapons and oh my GAWD I cannot wait for this movie. (I am only leery about Olivia Wilde; her appearance in this trailer looked as wanly boring as Thirteen in House. Maybe she’ll get eaten by aliens early and we can get back to the awesomeness that is Ford and Craig in a movie with COWBOYSANDEFFINGALIENSOMG!!!

YOGI BEAR (in 3D): Not if you paid me. Okay, maybe if you paid me.

KUNG FU PANDA 2: I enjoyed the first movie much more than I thought I would. But not everything needs a sequel.

THE GREEN LANTERN: I’m on a Green Lantern kick right now anyway, by complete coincidence. So I was THRILLED by this trailer, which gets so much of the imagery just right. (Unfortunately, superhero costumes are unavoidably awkward in live action, no matter how ripped (um, very) the actor is. Or is that just me?) So this was another trailer that thrilled me just for being what it was. After Iron Man, I’ve begun to believe again in the coolness of the super hero movie. I’m really looking forward to this one.

(OMG this post is SO LONG. Making up for lost time, I guess. Enjoy!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lizzie Report

I hesitate to post this, because I don’t want to mourn Lizzie before it’s time. But I know that some of you have been following our adventures in vet visits (on Twitter), and a few of you might be wondering why I’ve kind of disappeared off the face of the internet.

Lizzie has been sick, on and off, for almost two months. We’ve had vet dentist visits, and vet ER visits, and yesterday we went to a vet internist for a CT scan and biopsy.

The report isn’t good. Without getting too technical (email me, medical people, if you want the details), there are two possible scenarios, and both aren’t really treatable, not without putting her at huge risk, and through a lot of pain.

The GOOD news is, Lizzie has no idea that she’s so sick. We’ll keep her on medication that will keep her feeling well, and I’ll enjoy her company as long as she’s not in pain or suffering.

I am very sad, but I’m determined not to mourn her until she’s actually gone. That would ruin our time together. (I say this as I’m typing this through my tears--but she’s in the other room, so it’s okay.) Anyway, after the biopsy results next week, we’ll have more of an idea about a time table, I think. Until then, I’m going to try to get back to a normal routine. (Which is hard when all I want to do is curl up on the couch with her.)

Thanks for your good wishes this week. Now my prayers are just that she stay’s comfortable and happy for as long as possible.

Lizzie on one of our trips to Starbucks.