Month: February 2013

The Jacket

Year: 2005
Directed By: John Maybury
Written By: Tom Bleeker, Marc Rocco, and Massy Tadjedin

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a weird movie but when I was in college I saw something in it that I liked.  It does have an interesting story that will keep you guessing but frankly that isn’t really enough now.  This movie has a strange tone to it and an awful music score that creates a mood I’m not able to pinpoint. I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to be sad, scared, confused, or interested at different times throughout the film. There is this one musical note that plays over and over continuously at different stretches throughout the film and it’s just unnerving. When we started this movie I was excited because it had been a long time since we had seen it and I couldn’t remember much about it.  All I remembered was that I liked it enough to buy it and I was looking forward to seeing what it was that I liked about it years ago.

We are now over half way through the movie and I have conceded to Amber.  She has been sitting here the whole time telling me this was a stupid movie and I told her to simply be patient.  She is right, when she’s right she’s right, and in this case I have had to relinquish.  This is a stupid movie, it’s really really stupid.  Yet it has woven a story that I feel compelled to see an end to all the same. Check that, the farther we get into the movie the dumber it all seems.

First of all, despite Back to the Future 2I think the idea of time travel into the future is ridiculous.  The future hasn’t happened yet.  In the already ridiculous idea that time travel exists I think that going forward is totally out of the question.  That’s just a pet peeve and I could be totally wrong about it as well, I’m no physicist. I think that the idea in this movie, that Adrien Brody time travels to the future under the circumstances he is in, is completely ridiculous and I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking when I bought the movie.  The idea of him falling in love with this girl in the future, having sex with her, and then visiting her as a little girl in the present is weird.  In fact that is borderline creepy and possibly toppling over into the full blown pervish zone. This doesn’t even cover all of it but I feel like going deeper would be a waste of my time.  This movie is ridiculous in so many ways that I feel embarrassed and can only chalk it up to ignorance in adolescence as to why we own it.

I have to seriously re-evaluate my opinion of Adrien Brody.  I had reluctantly become a fan over the years but since Splice I just haven’t been sure what to make of him. What is it I came to like about this strange looking guy and the weirdo movie roles he chooses to play? There is a point in this movie when he is talking to Keira Knightley, who plays the adult version of the young girl we met earlier in the film, and he keeps asking her “don’t you remember me?” What he should have been saying was, “look at my nose, you don’t forget one that looks like this, was there any other time in your life you saw an adult male as skinny as me?” How did this guy get into the business of acting anyway and how did he headline so many movies? I will say for the record too, that had Brody not banged the freaky monster in Splice I wouldn’t be so critical of him, or his role in this movie. He has made many films I have enjoyed but I find myself second guessing him now despite his better roles.

As for the rest of the cast I think they all look good on paper but didn’t really fit right in the movie.  I have always only seen Keira Knightley as a poor man’s Natalie Portman.  I was never a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean  movies and outside of that I haven’t seen anything she has done that one would call distinguishing.  She doesn’t do much in this movie distinguishing either simply playing the part of a miserable bitch who had an unfortunate hand dealt her in life.  Kris Kristofferson may have been great as Whistler but otherwise I haven’t been impressed.  In this movie I think he is out of place and has a weird way of doing things as a doctor.  Daniel Craig sure has come a long way in the last eight years from where we saw him in this movie.  I think he was one of the better actors in this movie and I liked his role but he is better than this.  It was early in his transition to an American star and certainly played an important part as a stepping stone for him in that process.  He is a big time actor now and I am a fan of what he has accomplished.  I’m not a fan of his Bond movies but nevertheless think he was a great choice for the role.  Jennifer Jason Leigh plays an important role in the movie and does it well enough but I don’t think she ever really fully reached her potential as an actress.  She was very talented and showed a lot of promise over the years but never really got to the top.  Blink and you will miss him in this movie; Brad Renfro plays a really small but significant part as well.  The boy that America fell in love with after The Client never could really get it together. Unfortunately he died young only a few years after this movie was made.  If I’m not mistaken I think it was a drug overdose that did him in.

This movie gets a relatively high rating on IMDB but take it from me, this is a stupid movie.  If you are reading this as a big fan then by all means leave me an argument in comments and tell me I am wrong.  I at one time too was a fan of this movie so you will find me sympathetic.  If you haven’t seen this movie then don’t waste your time because it’s not worth it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

What. A. Stupid. Movie.

jacket

I hardly even want to write about this poster. I have had a hard time watching anything with Adrien Brody ever since we watched Splice.

Ok. I don’t like the poster. There is this feathery glow around their faces and then it just cuts to another photograph at the bottom. The transition is rough and doesn’t flow well. And I really hate the typography of the title. I think you can be a little less cliché and still put forth a thriller movie vibe. Bad movie, bad poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Jackie Brown (1997)

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It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Year: 1963
Directed By: Stanley Kramer
Written By: William and Tania Rose

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of the greatest slapstick comedies of all time.  It is perfectly and utterly timeless with a comedic quality that will continue to be funny forever.  It’s a wild story that has been repeated and recreated time after time at this point but in 1963 it was an original and it’s still funny today. This movie sports a cast of many famous people that you’d be hard pressed to find someone knowledgeable of today.  It’s a very old movie and although it has many greats in it most of them don’t have the iconic status of the few from the era that are still widely remembered today.  I.E. Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and the like. Name recognition hardly matters when people are talented though and the cast of forgotten greats in this one can still bring it and have you rolling on the floor in laughter.

For whatever reason I just can’t get rolling with a review for this movie.  All I can think to say it to tell you how funny it is and that it is worth your time.  It’s been a movie I have enjoyed since I was really young and watched it at the encouragement of my mother.  She was born the year the movie was released and has always said she was named after the film’s number one star Spencer Tracy.  For the record my mother’s name it Tracie, not Spencer.  I hadn’t seen the movie for the longest time and came across on television about a year ago. When I couldn’t stop laughing I decided I needed to own the movie for our collection and quickly got onto Amazon to do so.

There is another tangent I would like to go into for this movie.  About fifteen years ago give or take I actually met Buddy Hackett in a local Pet’s Mart.  I happened to be at the store with my mother who recognized him on the spot and we spoke to him for a minute.  I had written something on my arm at school that day and he took my arm to examine what it was thinking it was an actual tattoo. I don’t remember what he said but he had made a joke about it.  We had a nice little back and forth with him before he went on his way and we continued to shop why I tried to figure out who the guy was. He was a really nice man and a really funny guy in this movie as well as others.  I hate to admit this given I actually met him once but despite that and his role in this film I always associate him with a joke Chris Farley once made in Tommy BoyIn the scene after Farley catches David Spade spying the skinny dipping woman Farley asks Spade if he remembers that funny comedian, what was his name? Buddy Wackit? Still think that one is funny today even though it came at the expense of that kindly man I met one day in the store.

All I can say in closing is WATCH THIS MOVIE! Is it worth your time? Without a doubt.  It’s a timeless comedy that will have people laughing for all time.  I feel I haven’t justified this movie in this review but you will just have to see it for yourself.  If you have seen it then by all means leave a comment and let us know what you think about it.  If you haven’t seen it then keep an eye out because it will be on TV sooner or later.

AMBER’S REVIEW

The first time I ever watched this movie, I was in high school and I was in film critique class. I had originally signed up for the class because I knew Ryan loved movies, and I thought it would impress him. But, I fell in love with most of the movies we watched in that class and I think I too fell in love with movies, not only because of Ryan but that class too.

This movie is hilarious. I laugh every time. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to. It is truly a classic comedy.

itsamadmadmadmadworld

I LOVE this poster. I had never seen this before! It came out in 1963. What a GREAT poster. The minimalism quality that was so prevalent back then is beautifully done here. This just looks like a complete vintage beauty. I am truly impressed. I love the colors, the typography. This is one of my favorites, and I would really like to own a copy.

NEXT MOVIE: The Jacket (2005)

The Island

Year: 2005
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, and Robert Orci

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie is pretty much a conglomerate of all Science Fiction movies merged together. Themes upon themes upon themes repeated and taken from other classic films.  Yet despite what many critics think I happen to be a fan of Michael Bay.  His movies may not have a whole lot going on sometimes but they are action packed and this guy has a gift for special effects and action sequences.  It’s why Bad Boys was so cool; it’s why the first Transformers movie was so good.  Yeah the guy is overseeing many remakes of timeless classics and butchering them, but he can make a cool action movie.  This is a stupid movie and a rip off at that, but that doesn’t make it any less cool or exciting does it?

I really don’t want to go into the specifics of which movies this one reminds me of because frankly I’m just not in the mood to think that hard.  If you see it yourself and you are a seasoned viewer you will recognize the many recycled Science Fiction themes all throughout the film.  I don’t think any of that matters with this movie because I happen to like it despite all of that.  Like I said, it’s a cool film and sometimes that is all that matters.  I have always been a sucker for special effects and nobody does them quite like Michael Bay.  Michael Bay has this real douche bag aura about him. The type of guy that wants to pretend he is in his 20s forever.  The kind of adult male that goes to a tanning bed and gets his hair done by a professional.  He might have a hand in many movies that make me shake my head in despair but I also think he has a specific talent that works out for him when he gets behind camera. He makes fun and exciting movies plain and simple. So despite his flaws and the movies that make me shake my head (the Friday the 13th remake, or…well Transformers 2……maybe also 3) I still like him and appreciate some of the movies he makes.

I am not particularly a fan of either of the two stars in this film.  Ewan McGregor has always been a solid actor but I haven’t liked many of his movies. Scarlett Johansson was really starting to explode around the time this movie came out but I have never been a big fan of hers either. Despite my opinion of the two stars they aren’t bad in this movie and they work with a fantastic supporting cast. I think Steve Buscemi is awesome and always have.  I have been really happy to see his career only get better and better over the years. I think he is great in Boardwalk Empire and I think he has been awesome in every single movie I have ever seen him in.  I have literally never seen Steve Buscemi in a movie and thought jeez he played an awful part but he is just that damn good.  I also think Sean Bean is awesome, one because he played the part of Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and two because of all the other parts he has played over the years. Michael Clarke Duncan also has a small part and may he rest in peace.  His unfortunate and premature death left the movie industry with a significant loss.  He was a good actor and made many memorable characters over the years, he will be missed.  Djimon Hounsou has a significant role and I really liked him a lot while his star was shining bright. In very small roles are two characters from shows that I love. Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy and Yvette Nicole Brown from Community both play small bit parts and it’s cool to see them in a big time film. I seem to see Coates all the time but this is a rarity as far as Brown goes.

I don’t usually like a movie that is like another movie but I made an exception in this case after first seeing the film.  I realized how cliché it all was but liked it despite that and added it to the collection early on; buying it nearly right after it was released. Watching it now I think the decision was justified, and am glad I chose to get it.  It’s a cool movie that has great effects and an exciting, fast paced story line. Aside from being a sucker for great special effects I am also a big sucker for the elaborate chase scene.  This movie has some great ones and that is probably what swayed my opinion in the end when I first bought the film.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I feel like this is an interesting movie. Wouldn’t it be crazy if that were our insurance policy? A complete clone that is just waiting to help us with whatever ails us or happens to us. I think this film is a really interesting look at a possible future.

theisland

When I searched for this poster, I was honestly expecting the worst. I actually like this poster. The image in the typography is a nice touch and the typography is nice. Although, if I were really, really picky I hate that ESCAPE is on the bottom and it is supposed to be holding the weight of PLAN YOUR. That’s super picky and subjective. The Island typography is cool and futuristic, but it doesn’t really go with the main font very well. It seems I am a little back and forth here. Heh.

NEXT MOVIE: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

Movies By Request

The Trigger Effect

Year: 1996
Directed By: David Koepp
Written By: James Burke, David Koepp

Writing about this one has been on the to-do list for some time now so I will do my best to review it by memory.  This movie was given to me by someone close and when I watched it I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to cry.  It’s probably one of the silliest movies I have ever seen if truth be told but things were different in 1996 I guess.  The plot seemed like it would be interesting because at the time Amber and I were giving the NBC show Revolution a try and for a brief moment thought it was really interesting.  This movie is about a family that struggles to make it when things get crazy during a power outage.  What makes it all so laughable is that in a matter of days these people COMPLETELY lose it.

In this movie we see a typical suburban couple. Weakling Kyle MacLachlan and his far too attractive for him wife, Elisabeth Shue are the two typical people living regular lives and trying to raise their newborn child.  Suddenly when the power goes out everything changes and for the extreme worse.  The power is out and the phones are dead, something that happens frequently during snow storms, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or really any extreme weather.  It is also something that frequently occurs for a number of different reasons that have to do with some kind of technical problem.  There are frequent cases of people being without power for weeks at a time and I can only hope that they don’t fall to pieces the way these people do when something like this happens.

On day one with no power, weakling Kyle MacLachlan panics and resorts to stealing from a pharmacy to provide his infant child with medicine.  On day two they link up with his long time friend played by Dermot Mulroney and then things get really interesting.  During day two they buy a gun at a ridiculous price, they begin drinking and take smoking back up, Elisabeth Shue strongly considers adultery with Mulroney, and before the night is over they have killed someone in the street.  What’s particularly funny about this last thing is that when the cops arrive MacLachlan specifically ask them “how’s it going out there?” and the cop doesn’t seem to know what in the world he is talking about.  Yet panic still has a firm grip on these people.  In the morning of day three they pack up and head for the hills with as much gas as they can get into one of their vehicles. On the road they run across a car parked on the side of the road and when they stop to steal gas from it an incident takes place with Michael Rooker.  During the incident Mulroney is shot and their car is stolen by Rooker. Nobody will stop to help them and it is MacLachlan who has to stop being such a pussy and buck up.  He travels to the closest house they passed along the way. There he proceeds to hold a father and son hostage at gun point and tries to steal their car.  This is the moment of clarity in the movie where MacLachlan realizes what life has come to (in a matter of only three days).  The movie has about ten minutes left and as it ends the power is back on with no explanation and they are going back along their normal lives.

Now let’s review.  These people lose power for A WEEKEND and they resort to theft, murder, drinking, smoking, carjacking, arms bearing, fleeing their home, and far too close for comfort to adultery.  That’s about the most pathetic thing I have ever heard of and I can’t be quite sure what to make of this film.  As I said, I was interested because we had been watching Revolution but it was nothing like that at all.  These people would be in serious trouble if a blizzard hit town because they seriously can’t handle themselves.  I would say if nothing else the movie might be worth seeing because at one point Elizabeth Shue is wearing a see-through bra.  Shue may have been one of the most attractive women to ever grace the big screen but never really made any significant impact as an actress.  Yet seeing her in that bra did make sitting through this movie worth it if nothing else.

As to NBC’s Revolution I would like to say a couple of things.  We almost got into this show because it was an interesting story but one night we sat down to watch an episode Amber had already seen and everything changed.  I had seen maybe five minutes of the episode when Amber told me there was a surprise at the end and I called it immediately.  I simply said the most obvious thing that could happen and that turned out to be exactly what the surprise in the end was. I didn’t want to see it any longer after that, when a show is that predictable it isn’t worth our time and we were already on the fence about it.  To all this I simply want to say that NBC is like Busch league when it comes to television dramas and this is why we steer clear of them.  NBC, FOX, CBS, and ABC don’t have the balls or creative capacity to make a decent drama series.  They had a foothold early on when TV started getting so good but they seriously fail in comparison to networks like AMC, FX, and HBO.  I will still stand by the comedies that come on these networks but when it comes to putting together a big time serious series they just can’t get it right.  Fox had a hit with 24 over ten years ago but everything they have done since has simply seemed to be rehashing the story lines we saw there.  If you are looking for good dramas take your chances on something FX has to offer or just watch anything that comes on AMC.  They are so far superior that they don’t even compare.

The Walking Dead is Back!

The Walking Dead has finally returned and just in time.  I made it through the season three break by reading all of The Walking Dead comics and now I am really psyched about the show’s return.  The comic is incredible although very different from the show.  The show has become awesome in its own way now and I will be eagerly waiting Sunday nights every week for the next couple of months.

DARYL AND MERLE

I thought the new episode this past Sunday was great although not a whole lot happened.  I am glad the group didn’t just accept Merle into the fold but really hate that Daryl chose his brother over them.  Daryl and Merle are both original characters on the show so there is no telling where they will go from here.  I think Daryl is one of the best characters on the show and I’m confident he will be brought back into the fold soon.  Obviously from the next week’s preview we will continue to see what he and his brother are doing away from the group.  Merle is an interesting character and I have always liked Michael Rooker.  Although the guy is such an ass.  It annoys me to no end that they go in there and rescue him only for him to immediately start talking shit as soon as they are away.  I wonder if this is something that will begin to get on Daryl’s nerves.  He is loyal to his brother but it has been some time since they were acquainted and things can change over time.  I think the previews for next week indicate that Rick will leave the group in search of Daryl.  He needs his badass point man and knows it.  I don’t know if he will find them or not but I think we will eventually see Daryl return to the group regardless, with Merle or not.  I think the show wants to keep Michael Rooker around so I doubt we will see his demise and most likely the group will find a place for him.  He may get on my nerves a bit but that bayonet arm is just so awesome.

GHOST LORI

I will be really disappointed if the show goes too far with this.  I like the initial shot and image simply as a message that Rick is seriously losing it.  He is going crazy and will get even crazier but they all will.  The world these people live in now isn’t for the sane any longer and nobody will keep a firm grasp on their sanity, or don’t in the comics anyway. I think Lori has a really sexy silhouette but I do not want to see her enter into a speaking part or anything like that.  It’s just a bit too out there.  I guess it could work if they are making Rick crazy to that extent but I think they should just stick with “reality” and go back to the phone that Rick talked to her on months ago.  That is how it happened in the comic and I am more accepting of that.  I put reality in quotations because this is a world filled with zombies, but I feel like adding a ghost into the mix is a bit of a stretch and too much like True Blood. One way or another there is no going back from it at this point so I will simply hope they don’t get weird with it.

JUDITH-LORI’S BABY

One of the most frequently searched questions that bring people to this blog is about who the father of the baby is.  I covered that extensively in our last post about The Walking Dead which you can read here. It is implied but never specifically said in both the show and the comic that the baby is Shane’s.  When Rick held the baby in the last episode he obviously looked uncomfortable and this is another way the show is telling us that he has his doubts.  As silly as it is, I kind of wished that when the camera panned around to the baby’s face it had shown us an image of Shane’s face over the baby’s crying like we would see in a stupid comedy.  The fact that so many people are out there seeking an answer to this question though is what really makes me nervous about Ghost Lori.  If there is an episode this season when Ghost Lori tells Rick that the baby is Shane’s I will be really disappointed because it would be really stupid, and a bit of a sell-out.

TYRESE

Tyrese is one of my favorite characters from the comic and I really look forward to seeing what the show does with him.  He is coming in much later in the story line than he did in the comic so there is no telling what will happen.  Tyrese is Rick’s number one person in the comic so it does make me fear a bit about what his emergence in the show will mean for Daryl’s character. One way or another I think we will soon see him and his group join Rick’s group at the prison pretty soon and I look forward to that.

THE GOVERNOR

I really look forward to what is to come with him.  He really isn’t even close to being as sadistic as he was in the comic but that’s not a bad thing.  I think he still holds plenty of possibility for creating mayhem on the show.  It sort of annoyed me in this last episode how people were freaking out over the guy that was bitten in Woodbury and how they reacted to the Governor simply walking out and shooting him.  How long have these people lived in this world? Are they unaware at this point that there is no saving that man once he has been bitten? That woman was shouting at Andrea to do something but what exactly did she think there was to be done? It’s just a pet peeve kind of thing but it annoyed me a bit.  Over a year after the dead started rising and eating the living people just shouldn’t be so stupid or weak.  Only the strong survive this situation and they don’t start running for their lives the minute something goes wrong.  All those people at the gate screaming “it isn’t safe here” are so stupid.  What do they think the world outside of those walls has to offer them?

Nevertheless I am really excited about this weekend’s upcoming episode and can’t wait till Sunday.  If you have read this far feel free to leave a comment and get a discussion going.  After all, we have to do something to pass the time while we wait for the next episode.

Iron Man

Year: 2008
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Written By: Many for screenplay and character creation both, most notably Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is where The Avengers started, it’s where is all began and it got things kick started with a bang.  The Avengers was such an incredible movie because it was the culmination of something many films had already built over many years.  This was the first one, the first movie about one of the characters, and the first one to feature Samuel L Jackson in role of Nick Fury. This one was the right one to get things started.  Plenty of superhero films crash and burn but this one is rock and roll. It was incredibly successful because it was the real deal. It’s a cool movie and it tells an interesting and exciting introductory story.

Robert Downey Jr.’s career certainly has had its ups and downs but I think he got his game back with this role. He has always been a great actor but when he became Tony Stark he became Tony Stark.  Today’s Robert Downey Jr. isn’t the guy we saw back in the early 90s. He is an altogether entertainer that has blossomed into this really likeable guy much like Alec Baldwin or well Samuel L Jackson for that matter.  These guys are just super cool and suddenly have more charisma than anyone would have ever imagined.  Alec Baldwin once starred in Thomas and the Magic Railroad for crying out loud.  Robert Downey Jr. is now one of those guys.  He has played this character so many times now and so well that he is that guy.  Just as Jon Hamm will always be Don Draper and James Gandolfini will always be Tony Soprano.  I think it’s a good thing because I think he is great as Tony Stark and I couldn’t imagine anybody else doing it now. He may have done some great things in his career before but I think it’s obvious that this was the role he was made for.

As for the rest of the cast I don’t know that anyone was really stellar by any means.  I am a big Jeff Bridges fan but come on, The Dude does no harm.  Whose idea was it to cast him as a bad guy? He did well with it but I don’t think it was an exceptional performance or anything. I think Gwyneth Paltrow is great but this doesn’t seem like the right role for her.  It seems like a strange thing to say given how much I like the movie but I think the role of Pepper Potts is beneath her.  I think she is too good to play this kind of part in a movie like this. I am a big fan of Paul Bettany as well but I would never know he was the voice of Jarvis if it wasn’t listed in the credits.  However, I will say that the computer he personifies is really badass and I wish I had one. Terrance Howard did OK with his role as well but given he was replaced in the sequel his role means very little now.  If I remember correctly I read somewhere that he was really difficult to work with on this film and was not asked back the second time around.  I do not know enough about what happened though to be honest. Samuel L Jackson is awesome per usual but his role is so small and after the credits; it hardly matters when speaking about the cast.

I had really high hopes for Iron Man 2 but walked away feeling really disappointed.  It was too much of set up for The Avengers and I thought the Iron Man part of the storyline was really lame.  I know the character of Tony Stark has problems with consumption and that in the comics it sometimes gets out of hand. I think the writers probably had plenty of storylines to pick from though and one along those lines is lame.  I thought they could have created a more powerful Tony Stark instead of one that was dying and desperate. When he peed in the Iron Man suit I had given up on the film.  We do not own the sequel to this film because I really didn’t like it but the third film is set to be released this summer and I have high hopes. It looks really good and I am looking forward to it.  You can see a trailer here.

I don’t think this movie rivals the original Spiderman in the genre but it is high up on the list of Marvel Comics best movies.  I mean of course the films based on their characters and not simply films produced by the studio. We muct not forget about the greats aside from Spiderman was must keep X2, and Blade in mind.  This was a good movie and that is what is most important to keep in mind.  I would find it weird if you hadn’t seen this movie given its immense popularity but if you haven’t then it’s time you’ve seen it.  This movie is worth your time and I would give it my stamp of approval.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I was really surprised by this movie. I went into it thinking that I probably wouldn’t like it, and it proved me completely wrong. I don’t really know anything about the comics of Iron Man so it was fun to go into without any preconceptions.

ironman

Oh look, another one! They tried to pack in every single person in the movie. I have to say though, I don’t really think the designer is at fault. This had to be like a contract thing or a “client demands” situation. I think this poster would have been a lot cooler if it was a straight-on shot of Downey and then Downy in the suit. Split it down the middle and show half of each, but the center glows out of both. It would look a lot cooler than this one.

NEXT MOVIE: The Island (2005)

Hulk

Year: 2003
Directed By: Ang Lee
Written By: James Schamus, John Turman, Michael France. Honorary credits for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve wanted to watch this movie for a while now, since we reviewed the most recent Hulk movie. I specifically wanted to try to pinpoint why this movie was such a failure.  I remembered how much it bombed when it was released but didn’t think it was that bad of a movie.  Well, I was being too generous to the film.  Having watched it now I can verify that it is that bad.  It’s an awful movie to go along with a character that films should not be made about.  There are things I do like about this movie, good ideas from the director and casting coordinator, but they couldn’t do enough to help this hopeless film.

There is one lone thing that I think does make this movie exceptional and I don’t know why it hasn’t been tried by any other comic film as of yet.  Ang Lee used an interesting technique when editing the film in which he split the screen to have different footage playing simultaneously at one time. I think this gave the movie a real comic book look and feel to it. It was an excellent idea, and probably the best thing the movie has to offer.  This Hulk movie came out early in the era of Marvel character movies and I thought it was a really clever touch to set it apart from others. In the dozen or so comic book movies that have come out over the last ten years I am surprised I haven’t seen this effect again. It very well could be that nobody would do anything that was done in this movie again simply because it was such a disaster of a film.

I also thought the special effects and action in this movie were good.  This is something Lee excels at as we have seen from his prior work. However while his movies may sport great and exciting action they are never short of long and boring retarding points usually peppered with long shots of scenery and horizon shots. I have never really been a fan of Ang Lee but he isn’t a bad filmmaker.  When this movie came out I was familiar with him from his film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon so I knew what to expect when the movie was being made.  Great action, long stretches of boredom.  At the time in 2003 Lee had been up for two directing jobs, this movie or Terminator 3. I was glad he chose to do this one because I felt he would ruin the Terminator franchise by directing the long-awaited third film. Lee got behind the camera on this one with lots of buzz from his successful foreign film that had been a hit in the US (Crouching Tiger) but he pretty much destroyed all his credibility with this movie.  You could argue that he got it back with Brokeback Mountain, but I never saw the film and can’t get behind that idea.  I have high hopes for Life of Pi and look forward to the opportunity to see it.

For the most part I liked the cast of this movie and felt they all fit their roles appropriately.  I am not an Eric Bana fan and don’t think he really captured the character well here but I do think he looked the part.  He looked much like I had expected Bruce Banner to when I was young and reading the comics.  Although I really think his performance was campy and I think both Ed Norton and Mark Ruffalo played the part better.  I think Sam Elliott was great as General Thunderbolt.  I really think when they rebooted the franchise they should have had him stay on board and play the part in both films. Jennifer Connelly was a good choice for Betty Ross and I think she played the part better than Liv Tyler did in the reboot.  I think the writing of Bruce Banner’s father was a bad idea and I think Nick Nolte did an awful job playing the part.  It’s not Nolte’s fault mind you, the role was ridiculous, but he didn’t do anything to justify the character.  I think Josh Lucas’s character was stupid as well and brought the movie down a notch.  When you stand next to a stick of dynamite you don’t light matches, why this guy kept trying to pick a fight with Bruce Banner and the Hulk is beyond me. It was just another stupid thing in a stupid movie.

This movie failed most miserably in establishing a real villain and by centering the story around Bruce Banner’s father.  Not only was Nolte bad as a villain but I thought his mutant dogs were really stupid.  Maybe if they were just giant pit bulls I could have been accepting to a degree but the poodle sealed it, it was a stupid idea.  Josh Lucas’s puny human sub-villain was unnecessary and poorly written. I think when you make a movie about a famous comic character it is important to stay true to the roots of the character.  You are making a film about a character that everybody already knows and loves.  You make the movie about him the way it is supposed to be made; you don’t screw around with what people already know about the character.  Making Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk as a direct result of his father’s scientific experiments on him was a bad idea. They kept the Gamma radiation accident as part of the story but in this film it is only what triggers the transformation and not what started it.  During the whole film the movie alludes to this back story that Bruce remembers and is supposed to explain how everything happened but by the time you get to it you are already bored.

The real problem here is simply that it is difficult to make a movie about the Hulk character.  The Hulk is different from other Marvel characters in that he is not a hero, he is a monster.  Bruce Banner is a brilliant and innocent man who is cursed with this monster he turns into.  It goes against the basic elements of all super hero films.  The movie centers on the hero as he tries to stop the dangerous villain threatening the world or something personal to him. The Hulk doesn’t think and he doesn’t save.  He simply destroys, he is fueled by rage and when he gets going he is going to leave a path of destruction behind him.  Despite all this the jolly green character has always been popular so studios are always going to try to bank on the name recognition.  This only makes for a difficult task for the writers, although the others have been much better.  The reboot was fantastic and I really like how the Hulk was incorporated into The Avengers movie.

This movie however, is not worth your time and I strongly suggest you don’t waste any watching it.  The movie may have moments here and there but overall it is a waste. The reboot too is practically insignificant now that The Avengers has come out but it is still a much better movie than this one.  I think I have sufficiently covered why this movie was such a failure but if I missed anything by all means leave a comment and add to the story.