Category: Action

Sucker Punch: To Zach Snyder’s career

4/10

Zac Snyder’s new geek-aimed film, Sucker Punch, first released with the motto that it was “for woman’s rights”. Well, it lost everyone elses in the process, including the girls, through exploitation and depictions of innocent stupidity. However true, it is nowhere near a plus for woman’s rights. The film evokes a feeling of a silent movie, where the prospect of said films sounds riveting, with action progressing through pounding soundtracks in a synthetic, natural linearity. However, this is not the case here; Snyder has tried to copy and paste the feel of a graphic novel onto the screen with terrible dialogue and an uninvolved plot.

The plot surrounds a girl in a psych-unit, who escapes the dreary world through unexplained dreams of epic-fighting and Japanese like dodging. The movie feels like a long music video for a dubstep song, with never ending swirls of noirish imagery and girls’ hips. Blue Jones, played by Oscar Isaac, is a pimp for the backstage girls; he releases his angers through pretensious directing, like wincing with his eyes closed before putting his head up to make his frustrated point. He has a thin-mustache and tries to act seductive, which nastiness would be right for the character, but the actor doesn’t play the role to good effect. The girls are depicted as far too innocent and indecisive; they are in a psyche unit, I would image they would be a little more on the fringe.

As the director of Watchmen, some say he ruined a masterpiece. He no doubt has a knack for wild special effects, but what he does with them is what makes his reputation drown. Sucker Punch stars  Emily Browning as Babydoll, sent to an old fashioned psychiatric unit by her father; the whole institution is filled with prostitutes;the costumer designer definitely makes them look like one, but doesn’t draw the line for who isn’t, maybe everyone; a great thing to look at for a couple hours, no doubt, but once again, Woman’s rights?

The film is redundantly paced and childishly made, featuring Nazi zombies and ninja skirt-wearing ninja girls. The effects become tiring in the noirish swirls of uninspired terror and fear, and even the girl’s pottiness gets tiring,  the actresses effortlessly sad that their director didn’t supply them with a more justified reason to be balling their eyes out. Sucker Punch drags and brings nothing new but an army of red-eyed nazi zombies, a big misfire for effects-director Zac Snyder.

Thor

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston.
Runtime: 115m

You would think that the man behind the camera of such excellent period-pieces as Hamlet and Macbeth would have done better with the Norse-material; sadly, Kenneth Branagh turns it into a simplistic Cain and Abel combat of spoiled and expectant demi-god brothers. The only character who deserved anything was Odin, a well-cast Anthony Hopkins, but he already is the king, nigh for his heir to replace him.

The voices of the Gods and of Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, are near as bad as Batman’s voice-overs in 2010’s The Dark Knight. The surface-pounding omnipotence of it all is appealing at first, but by the time the battle finally rings onto the screen, the whole ‘this hammer breaks all’ ordeal becomes tiring, and Thor just plain isn’t cool or catchy enough to cheer on, besides his daunting look, bright-red cape flowing in the wind and muscles like that of Hulk on estrogen-pills.

The Asgaardian portal and special effects are nonetheless dazzling and should be looked at separately from the rather weak storytelling. The Human-acquaintances, played by Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard, are a bit forcefully touching, but still remain well-fitting in the overall breakdown of Thor and his personality; he Is sympathetic, or rather needs to be while involving himself with his brother, and shows that Earth Is not at all alien to him. I suppose the psyche of the superhero is a bit reversed in ‘Thor’; we are used to the under-appreciated, poor or disaster-stricken hero like Spider-Man and the parent-less Superman, not a God ready for the throne to defend and judge the righteousness of his rebellious younger brother, Loki.

The Dark Knight

8/10

The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, is a despairing door into a city of madness and corruption; The Joker, played with enigmatic gesture by Heath Ledger, has one thing planned only: To turn Gotham city into crumbling dust. Christian Bale returns from the earlier entry, Batman Begins, as the Knight, and lives up to his corporate splendor as he did during his role in American Psycho, though they are very opposite. The film is an amazing feat in special effects and cinematic action, featuring some enthralling shots filmed in a Chicago-based tunnel and a philosophical tone.

Maggie Gyhlennal plays Rachael, who is split between her love of Harvey Dent, the intelligent district attorney, or her old friend Bruce Wayne. The relationship has the strained essence through out, and it’s conclusion is expressed in a way by the hands of the joker. Christopher Nolan and his brother Johnathan, a co-scriptwriter, packed the Dark Knight with philosophical dimensions: throughout the movie, the joker pokes at Batman by demanding he remove the mask, and when people die because Batman refuses, he feels it is his fault; yet, the wise Alfred reassures with the fact that he would kill people anyways. It’s in their nature and we must only focus on our own and its benefits.

Their is a mysterious, gangster-like element to the film, also: the five Italian crime families are introduced, and Batman goes to them to find information on the joker. The use of sub-plots makes a great effect, the gangsters, Rachael and Harvey, Jim Gordon, and even more, similar to Scorsese’s The Departed. It balances it all perfectly, each consequence of a character leading to another, good or bad. We live by our choices, Batman must know, and his choices need to be above himself and for the sake of Gotham; because if we sit down and look at personal choices, they are self-interested, neurotic (the joker), and disillusioned (Harvey Dent).  Though it all swings in accord with the Batman mythology, I did find The Joker’s ease in persuading Harvey Dent onto his side rather unrealistic; Dent, above all people, would be hard to pull onto one’s side: he is a defense-lawyer.  Why would he bend over a few dark sentiments from The Joker?

The Dark Knight is a huge bang in the blockbuster genre: It virtually re-defined the comic-book genre almost to the point of not calling it one: Noirish, cinematic, philosophical, and intelligent, The Dark Knight is an entertaining benchmark in dark science-fiction.

Minority Report – Film Review

Although I’m not a surging fan of Spielberg’s movies, “Minority Report” is an overlooked gem in his filmography. It features a super sci-fi atmosphere and a universe as special as it is bizarrely complex.

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

Tom Cruise leads as  John Anderton, traversing the viewer through a journey of corporate corruption. The film poses a complicated narrative about the various contradictions within the concept of free will. The movie is based off of a short-story/novella by Philip K. Dick, an author who specialized in dissecting the legitimicy of our reality.

Their is a gloomy, closet-light sort of decor to the whole film. It isn’t a romance sci-fi, or even a extremely flashy science fiction movie, but a dark, sometimes depressing outlook on loss; in parts it reminds one of Ridley Scott’s noirish Blade Runner.

In this world, in 2054 A.D., government has the ability to predict future murders and stop them in their mind-dwelling tracks; It’s called the Pre-cog program, and involves three telepathic visionaries of the future outputting  information to the agency.

The troops flee out and arrive at the potential murder area to conflict with the violence. Chief Anderton is the best at his job: Spielberg confidently shows Anderton’s confidence with full frontal views of him moving his arms with virtual information, swinging it, and looking for clues on the motherboard.

The staging is excellent in the way it takes the plot with the utmost sense of importance, even if most of the film is frantic getaways. I don’t think its much of a criticism to say it consisted only of getaways, because each pit-stop is revealing of the times; he’s not hiding behind garbage cans, but getting his eye-removed so he can re-enter his past-employed  building, or finding an elderly women with an odd love for botany.

It reveals the society’s technology all at the same time: Much of this was of Spielberg and crew’s own invention, since Philip K. Dick’s story has little explanation of devices used, and was never one to bother on such descriptivism anyway, being a writer concerned mostly with character and plot.

The film is a masterpiece of super-detective science fiction, wildly synced action sequences and incredible art and concept design. The actors fill out their characters skillfully, including Max von Sydow as the president of the pre-cog program and Collin Farell as a snoopy investigator.

Film Review: Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence

The ghost in the shell 2 lacks the linearity and overall stand-on-its own quality of the first film. I feel like Mamoru pieced it together with his signature intelligence, but was compulsive and sought immediate sparks of “Oh-Wow” and not a film as a whole. It’s as if the director sub misses himself to the grandeur of his first film, and accepts that this is an afterword. And on that, it does well.

It takes off where the first left off in the sense that the major is not involved in the start and we assume is in the cyber grid in her new form. Batou takes the helm as the protagonist, sustaining the internal dread of major not being by his side.  The story, like all the critics mention, is a bit scattered and unfocused. The ‘Kim’ scene I found to be really cool, although I’ll be honest and went for the rewind-button in a thought-the-technology skipped stupor. The characters, it seems, have come to such a sterile point with their society that the way of their self-expression, emotion or disbelief, is through probing their vast minds and memories for philosophical quotes. At least that’s my justification for how many are thrown off throughout and in fact, they didn’t bother me and I always tried to understand them in their delivery and context.  I didn’t like the soundtrack as compared to the first. It didn’t have the immediacy to it, more like an afterword feeling like I said before. An ‘after the war’ solitude. There are sporadic references to the first, like Batou quietly saying he knew a girl who loved to swim, a deep murmur that us as devoted viewers understand and remember.

  I enjoyed the movie very much, especially the second half and the scene with the dolls dropping down by their wired-sinews. The animation was top-notch and has a sort of hip-like magnificence that is reminiscent of what George Lucas did to star wars in the later movies. That moment, when the doll we so telepathically want returned to action and her friend Batau; It generally runs as an ode to characters, like a television show, where their is no possible way you want be excited by them. All in all, If you saw and loved the first film, there’s no reason why you won’t like this one too. If you check it out without any expectations or hopes, you might just be amused.