Archive for April, 2014

The Host (Andrew Niccol) 2013

Posted in H on April 26, 2014 by moviemoses


Production Budget: $40 million
Worldwide Gross: $48 million

The Host is about an alien species that comes to Earth and takes over humans like pod people. Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) nearly dies during the bonding so there is a complication. The alien Wanda, still has control, but Melanie is able to talk to her. Wanda/Melanie make their way to the resistance where a love triangle develops between her Melanie’s lover and a new man.

Now, it is no secret that I am not a fan of the Twilight series. Like many critics, I’m sure I could write a book on just about everything that I plain don’t like about the books/movies. But make no mistake, this is not about me being a guy and not being part of the target demographic. True I am not a teenage girl or a middle aged housewife, but I can certainly understand romance and escapism. At the end of the day, when you cut through all the bullshit, I just plain don’t like any of the characters. At best they are merely hollow shells by which the unimaginative audience can project themselves in and at worst Bella is a despicable excuse for a human and the two male leads not much better.

So why watch The Host? Well, because it bombed. And I don’t know what it says about my taste that of all the Stephanie Meyer films I have seen this is the best. Now, that still doesn’t make The Host a good movie, it just means it rises to the level of merely bad. Compared to Twilight, the protagonist of Wanda/Melanie is far more compelling and there is a reason for the love triangle. Two people are sharing a body and each has fallen in love with another person. Oh it’s silly and having Saoirse Ronan doing internal commentary of how icky it is she is kissing another man can be quite comical. However the issue is one of a real conflict and not because our protagonist is a selfish manipulator.

Also, unlike Twilight, there is a clear conflict going on. In The Host, aliens are hunting down Wanda and the remaining humans to completely conquer the world. In each of the Twilight movies, the conflicts seem to be of the pulled out their ass variety. I have seen every Twilight movie, and I honestly cannot tell you why for example, why vampires wanted to fight the Cullens in the first one. Now again, that doesn’t make The Host’s plot any good. Most of the time the humans aren’t really fighting the aliens as much as they are milling about their secret base doing nothing. This movie is dull more than anything else. Not much happens in the conflict between humans and aliens and not all that much is done with the love triangle.

It is kind of pointless to talk about the direction. As evidenced by the Twilight movies, it doesn’t matter how good a director you have attached to the project, they still have to work with the material of Stephanie Meyer. I love Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca and Lord of War. And while he adds an interesting visual flair to the movie, he can’t do anything to make the script any more interesting.

Maybe I caught this in a good mood, but I didn’t hate The Host. It is mostly dull and at times the premise and the hamfisted dialog can lead to very hammy exchanges with the actors. But I can at least appreciate that the fact I didn’t want to murder the main characters. Would I recommend it? Oh hell no. I’m just saying I can admit this is not the worst thing ever.

The Big Wedding (Justin Zackham) 2013

Posted in B on April 25, 2014 by moviemoses


Production Budget: $35 million
Worldwide Gross: $21 million

The Big Wedding is about Alejandro (Ben Barnes) who is getting married to Missy (Amanda Seyfried). Alejandro’s mother is coming to the wedding from Columbia and she is an ultra conservative Christian. Alejandro believes if his mother finds out his adoptive parents are divorced, she will not give her consent to the wedding. So Alejandro lies and tells her his adoptive parents Don (Robert DeNiro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) are married. They must now pretend to like each other until the wedding concludes.

Doesn’t the plot of this come off as severely outdated? It is especially weird as this isn’t about how Alejandro or Missy appear to their parents but how Alejandro’s adoptive parents seem to Alejandro’s mother. You could maybe, MAYBE do a movie where the mother disapproves of Missy’s religion or portray her a crazy free spirit as opposed to the mother’s ultra conservative views on what a wife would be. Pardon my language in advance, but who gives a flying fuck what Alejandro’s mother thinks about his adoptive American parents?

Nothing about this plot really resonates with or is relatable to the audience. The comedy is especially toothless as nothing is really done with it. Yeah, you heard me. The writers don’t really do anything with the main plot of the movie. You see, the mother speaks only Spanish, so our characters don’t even have to pretend very hard to like one another to fool mommie dearest. All they do is give a fake smile and mutter curse words at one another. So there isn’t really any comic potential where there is not a chance in hell she is going to find out Don and Ellie are not married.

But I don’t want to give the impression the Don, Ellie, and mother storyline is the only one working here. This is kind of an ensemble piece so there are several subplots I guess to show how crazy weddings can be and other such crap. Jared (Topher Grace) is a virgin who is saving himself in yet another strangely outdated character trait. Anyway, Madonna (Alejandro’s mother) brought his daugther Nuria as a translator and she is something of a flirt. Hilarity supposedly ensues as she will, for example, go skinny dipping and we see Topher Grace try to conceal a boner. When you are being upstaged by Two and a Half Men on purile sex humor, you are doing something wrong.

What else do we have. Don is a recovering alcoholic who is being driven to drink by the wedding. Wait, that’s not funny. Okay, well we have Lyla (Katherine Heigl) who is separated from her spouse because she can’t have kids. That’s not funny either. Oh, we have Bebe (Susan Sarandon) who is Don’s current girlfriend who is kicked out of the house when Don has to pretend to be married to Ellie. This provides no real conflict and Sarandon is out of the picture for long stretches of the film.

This movie is supposed to be absurdity after absurdity in the quest of keeping Madonna in the dark, culminating in the wedding when the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. But there are no big set pieces and the jokes are what you would get from the weakest episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I would mention the acting, but it doesn’t matter. You have very good veteran actors who try their best but they can’t do anything with this flat material. It is clear to see why this bombed. Why spend good money on a comedy that is less inspired and less funny than stuff you can get on free TV?