Saturday, July 15, 2006

Brief Thoughts on three films I saw at the Cinema this week…

Because if I don’t, people might forget that this is actually a film site.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
It opened with a sequence of ran, fogginess and Keira Knightley looking bland. Quite an apt introduction to the entire film, I think, which has described by the friend I saw it with as “like The Matrix Reloaded, but with Pirates.” Yeah, so, it wasn’t overly impressive, although, to be fair to it, like the first, it was thrilling and entertaining at moments. Unlike the first, however, there were absolutely no laughs, and I seriously thought we were entering Bridget Jones II like territory when Depp said the line, “Why is the rum always gone,” because everyone in the audience looked at each other shiftily and groaned. Whilst we’re comparing it to other films, it was also a little like King Kong in how it tried to use any opportunity to show off what the creators could do with a computer, and as a result, the film was more a VFX spectacle than a proper movie. The script (which was co-penned by Collateral writer Stuart Beattie) was all over the place, and there was absolutely zero sense of pacing, character development or plot. Depp was good in his role, but we’d all been there, done that, with the first movie. Knightley and Bloom were terribly bland. The score was decent, but used many of the great tunes from the first, so there was not even an originality. And the final scene? I predicted it as soon as I heard the third was a follow on from second. Sloppy, sloppy filmmaking, and a desperate attempt to get bums on seats.

Banlieue 13
Now here was a film I liked! The plot was ludicrous, but unlike Pirates of the Caribbean, I was hooked for every minute of this crazy adrenaline-rushed ride. Violent and visceral, the film begins with a group of drug lord people coming to retrieve some stolen cocaine, only to find it has been flushed down the bath. Fighting, swearing and a bleak cliffhanger ensues. Then we’re sixth months into the future, where a cop has an assignment of getting into District 13 (the slums), and retrieving a stolen bomb. But he needs the help of someone. Anyway, not much point going into details of the plot (primarily because there isn’t one), this is a fun, brainless action movie with stunning martial arts sequences like they don’t make anymore. The ending surprised me (because it was happy, and the general film was rather bleak). Overall, a thumbs up from me. B+.

Thank You for Smoking
I’ve seen this one before. It’s a viciously amusing, amoral take on the world of spin, featuring Aaron Eckhart as the slimy spokesperson for cigarettes. Basically… that’s it, but there are an array of amusing supporting players, from Maria Bello’s “Mother Burgundy” (M.O.D. squad member: alcohol), Katie Holmes’ sly reporter and Rob Lowe’s Hollywood exec. This film takes us into the minds of those who work in spin, and we see what they do, how they do it and why they do it. Things pan out a little too conveniently to be completely believed (come on, this is a film), but overall, this is funny stuff. B.

10 comments:

Drogballs said...

so Pirates is not worth the money? hahaha :D

RC said...

wow...pirates 2 was much better than Matrix 2 if you ask me...but that says more about Matrix 2 to me....blahh.

i really liked thank you for smoking, i thought it was a whole lot of fun and certainly different than the normal spring movie fair.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

So... you like Peter Crouch a bit, eh?

Anonymous said...

Anyway. Over a year on, a treat for you:

Crouch proves talents are not to be sniffed at


Paul Wilson at Anfield
Sunday April 1, 2007
The Observer


Peter Crouch has returned from his rhinoplasty operation with a new nose for goal. Apologies for the quality of that pun, but you have to make an effort on April Fool's Day. It is better than the alternative - that Crouch put Kolo Toure and Jens Lehmann's noses out of joint, which he did.
Making his first start since having his face rearranged against Sheffield United at the end of February, Crouch collected his first hat-trick in club football with aplomb. His first two goals in particular showed the striker's timing and finishing power he has often been accused of lacking and, although he looks unconvincingly gangling in general play, his scoring statistics stack up impressively. In addition to hat-tricks for England and Liverpool in the past 12 months, Crouch has 16 goals in 24 club starts this season, to go with his none-too-shabby record of 11 in 17 for England.


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Several of those international goals came against teams of the stature of Andorra and Jamaica, but any centre-forward would be proud of hitting three against Arsenal, especially as Crouch scored with his left foot, right foot and head and beat the highly rated Toure hands down each time. 'It's a special moment for me, but the team deserves the credit,' Crouch said. 'Sometimes playing up front you can be isolated and feel out of touch, but I got great service today. My team-mates got around me."
Perhaps even more valuable to Crouch than the match ball was glowing praise from Arsene Wenger, even though the striker had just helped to inflict Arsenal's heaviest defeat for six years. 'Crouch made a big difference, we couldn't handle him,' said the Arsenal manager. 'He was superb - technically intelligent and hard to play against. He has skill as well as size and we gave him too much room.'

With a touch of self-confessed mischievousness, Rafael Benitez selected Steven Gerrard as Crouch's support striker after he had played so well in the middle for England last week, although the Liverpool captain was tired and off the pace and barely lasted an hour before being withdrawn to rest for the first leg of the Champions League against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday.

Craig Bellamy was missing for the same reason, but it took Crouch less than four minutes to establish he could manage on his own. Neat interplay between Alvaro Arbeloa and Jermaine Pennant on the right resulted in a back-heel pass from the latter to free the former for a low cross and Crouch was across Toure in an instant to get the near-post touch.

Crouch struck again just as Arsenal were pulling themselves back into the game. The visiting team could have been level after half an hour had Julio Baptista threatened Jose Reina's goal rather than the corner flag when Emmanuel Adebayor set him up for a shot from the edge of the area, but Wenger rather understated the matter in saying his players were not sharp and he watched them pay the penalty.

After Toure clattered Crouch to give away a free-kick 10 minutes before half time, Arsenal stood and watched as Xabi Alonso played a quick pass to Fabio Aurelio on the left and the Brazilian's deep cross was met by the sort of purposeful and accurate header that few thought was in Crouch's armoury. Jens Lehmann was booked for protesting that the free kick had been taken too quickly. Replays confirmed there was nothing wrong with it and suggested the goalkeeper's positioning might have been more at fault, as well as weak challenges from Toure and Abou Diaby.

The second half opened with Gerrard presenting Lehmann with an easy save, then watching as the ball was transferred all the way down the pitch for the unlucky Adebayor to strike a post. Even after Daniel Agger had extended Liverpool's lead with a glancing header from Aurelio's free-kick, Adebayor was still trying, bringing a fine save from Reina with a header that the goalkeeper touched on to a post.

Arsenal gained some reward when William Gallas nudged the ball over the line after Toure had headed goalwards from a corner, although their supporters in the Anfield Road end tempted fate by chanting: 'We're going to win 6-3.' That scoreline from the Carling Cup quarter-final defeat by Arsenal had been mentioned by Benitez in the dressing room with the suggestion that it might payback time and Crouch was keen to oblige. When Pennant's cross eluded Dirk Kuyt to reach Crouch nine minutes from the end, he controlled the ball and turned past Toure with a swagger before smashing that ball beyond Lehmann. 'It's a team game, but sometimes a striker needs to be selfish,' Crouch said.

Benitez joked: 'He might play in the next game. As you know, I like to rotate my team 99 times, if possible.'

How Arsenal, now below Liverpool in fourth place but with a game in hand, could do with an injection of enthusiasm. 'We have to pick ourselves up,' Wenger said, just before indicating he fancied Liverpool to progress beyond PSV. 'Liverpool were much more determined. We can't just carry on and expect to finish in a good position; football doesn't work like that. To win you have to be at your best. We have some tough games to play and we need full commitment.'

Man of the match Peter Crouch

Jermaine Pennant looked lively throughout and Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano were quietly effective in midfield, but there is no need to look past the hat-trick man. Crouch's goals won the game and all three were exceptionally well taken. Who says there are no goalscoring centre-forwards in England?

j.l said...

normally I hate spam e-mails, but i saw this and thought of you emz

Die for Love- I sit in the park where i dwell, For
this boy I love so
well.
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free. I see a girl
on
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ran home to cry on
my
>bed, Not a word to mother was said. Father came home
late that night, He
>looked at me from left to right. He saw me hanging
from a rope, He took
his
>knife to cut me down. And on my dress a note was
found: > > > >Dig my
grave,
> > > > >Dig it deep. > > > >Dig my grave, > > >
>From head to feet. > > >
> >And on the top put a dove. And remember this, > >
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>
> > > >Something GOOD will happen to you tonight at
9:22 PM. > > > >This is
>not a joke. > > > >Someone will either call you or
will talk to you online
>and say that they LOVE YOU. > > > >Do not break this
chain. > > > >Send
this
>to 13 people in the next 45 minutes Good luck with
your crush. p.s. don't
>forward this.. copy and paste! >

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