Archive | 11:59 pm

Pirates of The Caribbean 2: 2 Long, 2 blah

7 Nov

from July 12, 2006

I saw the first Pirates film when it came out and I liked it. That said, that movie must have left zero lasting impression on me because, when viewing the sequel, I had a bad case of the “huhs?”, as in “Huh? Who is that guy?” and “Huh? Should this be important?” and “Huh? Where’s my bag of gummi bears?”

Role call:
Orlando Bloom. (To save time, I’ll just call him Legolas because that was a much better role in a much better film.) Legolas spent a lot of this film dripping wet. Not in a gay “look at his chest” way but in a “jeez, he looks uncomfortable” way. That man needed a towel.

Keira Knightley. I’ll call her Tomboy becuase she looked much more believable as a flat-chested boy than as a sexy woman. I personally know women much hotter than her. (Check my friends.) I’d have preferred it if she spent the film dripping wet.

Bill Nighy. The squid-guy. They should have just cast some unknown guy in the mask and paid him bare minimum, because putting a real actor inside of a get-up like that is just a waste of money. I bet Bill Nighy wasn’t even in the movie. They just put his name on the credits to snare some British boxoffice. Who could tell the difference?

Johnny Depp. I’ll deal with him in due time.

The plot. As far as I could tell, Legolas and Tomboy were arrested for helping Captain Depp escape prison in the first film. That was apparantly not the escape we see at the same time, when Capt. Depp floats out of prison in a coffin. Did you know that they actually made a toy of that? It’s true. Go to TRU and check it out. It’s Depp in a coffin rowing with a leg bone. No wonder the youth of today are screwed up.

Legolas is offered a deal- get the supernatural compass from Depp and and he can go free. He takes the deal. Meanwhile, Tomboy attempts her own escape.

Depp went through the dreaded Nautical Ass-Rape Prison just to get a sketch of key. It was sketched on a piece of real human foreskin, which shows you how tough the prison is.

The British dude and Depp are really both after the same thing- the key to Davy Jones Locker Room. If you can get into the locker room, not only will you get control of Davy Jones’ beating heart but you’ll also be able to peep into the women’s locker room, giving every pirate on the all-male pirate ship a reason to go on. Really, it isn’t such a good life on a ship. the pirates are all A- filthy and B- all men, as I said, so it’s either exercise iron will, rape the prettiest guy, or jack off. Obviously, the key to Davy Jones Locker Room is a hot commodity.

There’s also a pardon signed by the King that some scurvy guy from the first film is eager to get. So to get up to speed, at various times, people in the film are after:
1- the compass
2- the key
3- the chest
4- the pardon
5- the Tomboy
6- the Captain’s hat

Meanwhile, there was a pointless excursion to an island of cannibals where the crew played atlasphere. Remember American Gladiators? Atlasphere was the event where a guy was placed into a giant sphere and he had to race another guy, all the while bumping him away from the target. It is a noted historical fact that pirates invented atlasphere and I was very glad that Gore Verbinski went for accuaracy here.

Legolas runs into his father, Buccaneer Bob, who is slowly turning into a sea anemone.

Davy Jones unleashes the kracken, a giant squid. It is worth pointing out that this is not the same Davy Jones whom Marcia Brady had a crush on and invited to the school prom. I wish someone had told me. I was looking forward to hearing him sing “Daydream Believer” on the big screen. Anyway, we never really see the squid, just lots and lots of tentacles. This is the same technique employed by Ed Wood in Bride of the Monster. Big budget my eye.

The film just went on. Like the Disney ride, it just moved from one big sequence to another. The “plot” (and I’m streching here) didn’t really matter. Need a voodoo preistess? Throw one in. Want to see a swordfight on a rolling wheel? OK! How about lots of dead amphibian sailors? Do it!

It got to the point where I forgot who wanted what, and I didn’t really care. The kracken was disappointing, the action was blah, and I didn’t really care for any of the characters.

To be fair, I wasn’t bored and I liked parts of it. Nothing in the movie was bad, but there was nothing in it that required me to turn my brain on. Typical Jerry Bruckheimer summer filler.

OK, time to deal with Depp. He was the main reason why the film flopped for me. How  could you like him? He was not likeable in any way. He always acted cowardly, drunk, or like a cowardly drunk. At times he seemed stoned, other times you wish he was. He walked like one of Jerry’s Kids and talked like he had a mouth full of seaweed. He did nothing to inspire confidence, and it honestly pissed me off that Tomboy could actually have feelings for him. Him? If Johnny Depp actually acted that way in real life he would have had the crap kicked out of him in the parking lot behind Stuckey’s down in Alabama a long time ago. The rednecks down there don’t fool around.

The Black Pearl was destroyed in what was suppossed to be a big emotional scene. It wasn’t. When they blew up the Enterprise in Star Trek III it was a big deal- that ship was around for 40 years. The Black Pearl was around for one film and did nothing special. It didn’t defeat the Romulans in the Neutral Zone. The Black Pearl didn’t beat the Klingons on 19 different occassions. The Black Pearl never traveled back in time and changed Earth history. And Captain Kirk could beat Jack Sparrow with his wig tied behind his back.

Mostly, I just wanted Depp to act like a man! He was a girly-man at the center of a semi-action flick. Legolas is too much of  a pretty-boy to pick up the slack. This film needed Russel Crowe’s character from Master and Commander to show up and sort things out.

Bottom line: This film made a crap-load of money. Why?

My take on Superman Returns (almost as long as the film)

7 Nov

from July 2006

Saw Superman Returns tonight.

Lets go over the actors. Brandon Roush (Routh, Rude, whatever) is very very good. As Clark, he was just like Chris Reeve. Funny and nerdy, really like a totally different person. No wonder nobody (but the kid) can see the resemblance.

Lois Lane, whoever the actress was, I can never remember her name. While I don’t think  she was a tough enough reporter, she was lightyears ahead of Margot Kidder, who, besides being fugly, was so annoying that I can’t believe that Supes never used his Super-vision to see what a scud she was. This new Lois was actually pretty good.

Kevy Kev Spacey- very Gene Hackman-like. Hackman was a little more comedic, Spacey a little darker, but I could believe that they were the same person.

Jimmy Olsen- good. Liked him. Ditto for Perry White, and James (Cyclops) Marsden was perfectly adequate as Richard.

Good to see Marlon Brando back on the screen. Glad to see he’s not letting a little thing like being dead hold back his career.

Was that Kumar as Lex’s Henchman?

Lotsa cameos- Noel  Neil, Jack Larsen, and Richard Bransen. Bransen? WTF was he doing there?

Before I get into the film, one thing I must mention- SPIDER-MAN 3 TRAILER!!!!!!!!! Awesome- Sandman,  Goblin, and the alien symbiote and Eddie Brock! If you knew the comic story they’re doing, you’d be excited too- VENOM IS ON THE WAY!!!!!!!! Oh yeah, Clerks 2. Kevin Smith has just given up, hasn’t he?

OK, so we got the actors out of the way.

I saw this at Sheepshead Bay. At the big theaters, the best seat is the top row, middle seat. You are looking straight at the screen, no looking up or down at it. In the center, you are perfectly seated for all the action no matter where. It puts you right in the movie. Well, I didn’t get that seat. Some tool was already sitting there. We were like the 18th and 19th in line, and when they let us in I zipped around most of the people and rushed up the steps, and the guy who was number one in line beat me to it. I sat two seats to the right of center, not bad. Too bad I had to knock over some old lady to get there. Ah well, such is life.

BTW- $16 dollars for a large popcorn and two drinks. If we wanted candy I would have had to sell my car.

The theater was packed and we ended up seated with two very quiet children on either side of us, and in front of us was a very small middle aged couple who never even looked at each other the whole time we were there. There were a lot of kids in the place, but there was a very nice oasis of quiet around us and I just lucked out.

Trailers ended, movie starts up, classic Superman music and credits! OK, I marked out here, but I was set up for this. I felt like a kid again- until I remembered that I paid full price. (OK, enough carping about prices.)

Luthor is swindling an old lady out of her fortune, and she says that he “gave her pleasure like she never experienced before” giving rise to the unpleasant question “did Lex sleep with that brittle mummy?” Ewwwwww, that’s pure evil, Lex.

Supes comes back to Earth and here I was very pleased that the ship was faithful to both the original film and the current comics. In fact, DC just ended a story with Supes and Luthor that was very similar to the movie in some places. Very cool.

Flashback to Clark’s days on the farm, and if I had his powers in high school, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be spending time in the wheat field, if you know what I mean. In high school I pretty much hung out with the same two or three guys and did pretty much nothing but keep to myself. Kind of like me in high school now. Now imagine me able to see through things and move at super speed. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Or not. Whatever.

Clark goes back to the Daily Planet and sees Lois Lane again. Now, there’s a lot I could say about the Clark-Lois “relationship” but I won’t since it was all too painful to watch. Poor Clark, watching the woman he loves all the time, working with her, being with her just an arm’s length away, lust in his eyes, watching her every move, longing for- but really, I just can’t relate to him. What a strange man.

Jimmy, though, that’s another story. Clearly, director Bryan Singer left a lot on the cutting room floor. All we got to see were the glances, the hints, the bare bones of the homosexual love that Jimmy Olsen has for Clark Kent. As Richard (Dick) said, “Jimmy couldn’t stop talking about you.” I think that Singer must have had something more in mind than just making Jimmy Clark’s “pal.” This was a man, a boy really, who both looked up to and desired Kent. More than just a mentor, Jimmy wanted a man to teach him the ways of man to man physicality. I think that when the director’s cut comes out there will be a lot more to their “relationship.” It really is no coincidence that Jimmy fondles his camera with the long lens throughout the film. Olsen has clearly sublimated his desire for men here.

Then the airplane sequence hits. Wow! Great! One of the best action sequences I’ve seen in a while. Very realistic, even down to the thin skin of the plane rippling under the pressure. Supes lands the plane, gives his “flying is still the safest way to travel,” strikes a heroic pose, and he’s off! Superman is back! Poor Lois, the fickle woman, passes out from the sheer masculinity of the man. Get in line lady, Jimmy saw him first.

Luthor and Evil Kumar are up to no good. Spacey wears some wigs. Good line from Parker Posey “You act like you’ve been here before.” He was there before- Superman Two. General Zod brought him there! Luthor steals some crystals and watches an old Brando movie, On The Waterfront, I think.  Then it’s off to the Evil Luthor Super Boat that I would give pretty much anything to own. The boat has it all- even a pool table. That’s how you know Lex is evil- he’s outfitted his boat with a game that it is impossible to play on the swaying ocean. Just because he can! I bet he also has a killer Jenga set too.

Supes saves Parker Posey while Lex steals some kryptonite. Oh that wacky Lex! Supes also rescues a man from a fire and kills the leaders of Hamas, just to do Israel a solid. All the while, Lois wants to follow up on the power outage while Perry white, the savvy newspaperman he is, ignores the real news and has Lois do what everyone else in town is doing- try to get an interview with Superman. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, that Perry White. Give Lois some slack- she won a Pulitzer, for god’s sake. “Why the World Doesn’t Need A Superman.” Pretty ballsy from the woman who would have died ten times over if it wasn’t for Superman. I think it was all the influence of Professor X. (Stick with me here.) While Superman has been away, the X-Men have had two blockbuster films. They were directed by Superman director Bryan Singer and starred Superman co-star James Marsten as Cyclops. Now Bryan Singer left the X-Men to do this film, so you know they weren’t happy. Therefore, Professor Xavier was trying to sabotage this movie so the X-Men would continue to rule the superhero genre. (At least until Spider-Man 3 comes out.)

Supes and Lois go flying, and for some reason she still doesn’t leave Richard, even though Superman can like, fly and stuff.

Luthor kidnaps Lois and knows what we all knew an hour earlier- that’s Superboy there! Goofy looking, hippie hair Superboy with asthma. I guess Kal-El doesn’t have the greatest DNA, or Lois’s family tree is just a mess of recessive genes.

Cool part where Supes just lets the bullets bounce off his chest, and eye!

Lex starts his evil scheme to corner the real estate market. When he’s finished, he’ll have high-end casinos and resorts on every inch of beachfront property in the world. No one will be able to go on vacation without Luthor getting a cut. Then he’ll jack up the rent. Along the line billions of people will die. Oh yeah- he laced it with Kryptonite so people from Krypton will be unable to vacation on his island. He’ll have the world’s biggest restricted country club. He’ll let in Jews, but no one from space. He’s an anti-Kryptite, the bald bastard.

Richard does some stuff with a seaplane.

Lex kicks the crap out of a depowered Superman. Without his powers, it turns out the Supes has a glass jaw and can’t take a punch. He curled up like an earthworm while Lex got him with a kryptonite shiv. Of course, you can’t keep Superman down, so we’ll skip to the end.

Superman is down (yeah yeah) and in the hospital. Here is where I think the film dragged and brought the movie down from almost 4 stars to about 31/4. We all knew he wouldn’t die. YOU CAN’T KILL FREAKIN’ SUPERMAN! THERE HAVE TO BE SEQUELS! Just like Jesus, he got stabbed in the side, died for us, and was reborn. Yada yada yada. He got better.

Bottom line, I enjoyed this film, even though I thought that it was a bit heavy handed in places. I really don’t have any major complaints, though I wanted to see more of Lex’s henchman with the camera. He must have an interesting backstory. I think he must have been a Hollywood movie director at some point, who was involved with a DVD pirating operation. He went to jail and met Lex Luthor. Lex saw the potential in him and made him the official cameraman of Lexcorp. Lex does all the evil work and he edits it together into documentaries that he enters in the Sundance Film Festival.

If you like these types of movies, this is the movie for you. It has everything that you want to see in a Superman movie- Superman. If it had Captain Kirk it would not have been a Superman movie, and Warner Brothers would also have a lawsuit on their hands.

Nic Cage plays a firefighter in World Trade Center. UGH! Another 9/11 movie. GAH! What’s the connection? Nic Cage was once almost signed to play Superman in this film. Can you imagine a bald Superman? What’s next- a black JFK?

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