Archive for the Movie Reviews Category

Scoop (Woody Allen) 2006

Posted in S, Woody Allen Retrospective on July 4, 2013 by moviemoses

Ugh.

Sorry, I know that’s not helpful. I also know many people find this to be a funny light comedy from Woody Allen as evidenced by its score on IMDb. All I know is I’ve seen this both times. Both of the times I’ve seen it have come after the good comeback of Match Point and both times this has killed the good will that came from that movie. Allen is like an addict to laziness and here he has had a relapse.

Scoop is about an American journalism student named Sondra (Scarlett Johansson). She gets a tip from the ghost of a legendary journalist (played by Ian McShane) that wealthy aristocrat Peter (Hugh Jackman) is a serial killer known as the Tarot Card Killer. Sondra tries to investigate but finds herself falling in love with him.

It is really not a good sign when Allen is seemingly going back to the realm of Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Small Time Crooks. Alright, I’ve been trying to write about this movie and have been sitting in front of my computer for a long time because with all these movies and reviews, I am really struggling to think of things I haven’t said already. How fitting given the fact I am reviewing a director that is struggling to think of things he hasn’t said already.

I have bemoaned several times the laziness of Allen and maybe I need to go into that a bit more. I know several Allen apologists who will mention the fact he has made a movie every year since he started and it wasn’t effecting his quality before. To that, I say we are talking about a different Woody Allen. Younger Allen was energetic and had a million ideas bursting out of him. He was always experimenting with tones and styles and camera work. While he tried at times to emulate directors he loved, he was still trying to do his own thing. So while he made a movie a year, none of them felt lazy because they were earnest attempts at art.

Now it seems like Allen does movies, not from a genuine love of film but because he can’t be retired. It is like the man has no hobbies and no friends to hang out with so doing something like Jade Scorpion is a better thing to do during the work week rather than sitting at home doing nothing. The ideas for his comedies lately have been rejected joke concepts that he keeps in a dresser drawer that he blows the dust off of. It doesn’t help he makes cracks that he only does one take with actors because he would rather be at the Knicks game than doing this.

Younger Woody wouldn’t have made Scoop for the same reason he threw the joke concept in his desk drawer in the first place. It is because there isn’t enough to make a good movie out of it. The jokey premise is that a dead journalist comes back as a ghost to help this useless student crack a massive story but they do nothing humorous with it. The premise is there solely to get the plot moving but Ian McShane is wasted and so is the character. He just shows up every 10 minutes to say something like “You need to figure out who the Tarot Card Killer is.” and then disappear. That’s it.

Really the comedy in this movie is all about the kind of buddy cop-ish dynamic of Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen. First off, Scarlett is just odd in this movie as she is I guess trying to do a Woody Allen impression like Branaugh and Cusack and it so doesn’t work. There are brief moments where Allen throws out a funny quip but for the most part, it seems like scene after scene of bickering that is trying to disguise itself as witty banter. I felt as if this movie was in a loop becuase every five minutes we would get this scene:

Sid: Peter is the Tarot Card Killer
Sondra: That’s crazy Sid! I swear you have a screw loose.
Sid: *stammering* Then how do you explain X.
Sondra: That could come from anywhere. Jesus Sid, how suspicious are you? Peter is a nice guy he couldn’t have done it!
Sid: *stammering* The guy is weird, Joe Stromberg…
Sondra: You’re wrong Sid. Peter wouldn’t hurt a fly! I’m done! You guys are crazy! You have a screw loose!

These scenes go on and on and on and on and on and they recur every couple of minutes. Where is the joke? Where is the witty banter? Yes, I know I’m not quoting verbatim but that is the gist. One person brings up a bit of circumstantial evidence and the other person whines that the other person is crazy. That’s it! By the 50 minute mark I was stupidly yelling at the TV to shut up because all the characters would do is pointlessly bicker at one another.

It doesn’t help that our main character seemingly doesn’t give a fuck about solving the case. Seriously, there is almost nothing in it for her. The story isn’t that Sondra is super motivated to be a journalist. She feels like she was forced to England out of obligation and the story falls in her lap. She doesn’t feel threatened by Peter and falls in love with him. So why should we care? Remember back to a movie called So I Married an Axe Murderer? It was a while ago when Mike Myers had a career. Anyway, that movie is a masterpiece compared to Scoop. The character in that movie is scared for his life and is actively looking for evidence that either confirms or denies his beliefs. Along the way he is put in awkward and sometimes life threatening situations. The story is always moving, the characters are motivated, and most importantly that movie was funny.

Scoop is not funny. Take one of the few recurring jokes of the movie in which Allen, who plays a minor magician called Splendini, wows upper class twits with stupid card tricks. I guess it is a joke that these snooty upper class aristocrats are amused by the same thing that would barely amuse a five year old but they don’t just stop with one time. Allen does that joke another three times during the movie. Or take another “joke” near the end where Sid dies trying to rescue Sondra because he always had trouble remembering to drive on the left side of the road. That joke is barely a joke for one but it is strange that that is seemingly the high point of the humor for this movie. I shouldn’t have to be digging for the jokes in this supposed comedy.

I know I am being a real grinch despite doing this retrospective out of love for Allen. But it is hard going through all of his movies and experiencing the dreadful lows this man has done. I know there are die hards who will disagree vehemently and who will call this a breezy fun comedy. To me Scoop was painful as it is 90 minutes of bickering and extremely forced comedy from someone with whom comedy was effortless at one point in his career. This was a hard movie to sit through this late in the retrospective.

Match Point (Woody Allen) 2005

Posted in M, Woody Allen Retrospective on July 4, 2013 by moviemoses

Match Point is about Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a semi professional tennis player who is now an instructor at a country club. He gets in a relationship with Chloe (Emily Mortimer) and has hopes of marrying into an upper class family. Trouble comes when Chris falls for struggling actress Nola (Scarlet Johansson) who threatens his family life.

Initial reactions toward Match Point probably were more glowing than they should be but I can certainly understand why. Slogging through Allen’s filmography recently has been like eating Ramen noodles for every meal for a month. Your first real meal back will probably seem like Filet Mignon no matter what. In this case, we don’t get Filet Mignon, but a well cooked steak nontheless.

The obvious movie to liken Match Point to is Crimes and Misdemeanors. But it would be unfair to say that even though they share the same themes that they are necessarily trying to do the same thing. While Crimes was trying to be a pure philosophical statement about morality, I think Match Point is settling for being a straight thriller. In Crimes, the murder was simply a means to get to the discussion. In Match Point, follow Chris as we learn all about him and his situation. Our questions are more about what he is going to do and whether he will get away with it or not, rather than musings about justice in a godless universe.

This is where the film really shines. Allen does a great job with creating tension in this movie. All during the crime we are unsure as to what mistakes he will make or whether anyone will see him. After it happens, we are on the edge of our seats during his interviews with the police and whether he will slip up with his story.

There are things that still keep this movie from being as interesteing as Crimes. For one, Chris is a little too cold and calculating to be a lead we can really get invested in. I get that was the point that Chris can think ahead which makes him capable of what he was doing. But in Crimes we could somewhat sympathize (at least a little bit) with Landau’s tortured character and his moral crisis. Chris’ cold demeanor has him come off more sociopathic than anything else.

I also found myself more entertained with the two stories of Crimes than the one in MP. The Allen subplot was a welcome respite from all the heavy material. In Match Point all we have is the one story which make things a little tedious by having it be one note.

Match Point is obviously no Crimes and Misdemeanors but it is still a very good and effective thriller. Allen effectively ramps up the tension when it comes to the third act. While the themes of morality and class are not as strong as in Crimes, they still do elevate the material. This is a refreshing film after the dreadful last couple of films and it doesn’t hurt it feels like Allen actually gives a crap on this one. This is definitely one worth recommending to people.

Iron Man 3 (Shane Black) NO SPOILERS

Posted in I on May 7, 2013 by moviemoses

If you will permit, I have a bit of a tangent to talk about but I promise this will eventually relate to my thoughts on Iron Man 3. I am not huge into comic books anymore. It is not that I don’t love the characters because I do. It is not that I don’t love the adventure; I do. It is because comic culture has this neurotic fear of change. This is something that is shared by both the makers and the buyers. Now I can understand why from both sides. From the comic book company perspective you want to keep things as static as possible to keep the run going as long as possible to sell the most books. After all, if Batman for examples conquers his demons then that would kind of be it. There would be nothing left for his character to do. From the public perspective we kind of dislike things that are different and prefer the safe norm. Much like fast food we know what we are getting and are fine with the same but fulfilling formula.

But there just reaches a point where it all gets ridiculous. Nothing changes. Okay, I take it back. Things eventually change, but evolution is more observable than character changes in comics. It took what: 60 years for Superman to marry Lois Lane? People still go into full blown freak outs at Superman Returns’ sub plot that Superman and Lois had a kid. Spider-Man even made A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL in order to bring the comics back to the status quo. It reaches damn near comedic levels at times. Batman has either reached self parody or is doing its closest modern interpretation of Sisyphus. Instead of being destined to pushing a boulder uphill for all eternity, Batman has to catch the Joker again and again and again to the end of time.

That is why I am loving the current crop of comic movies. The Nolan Batman trilogy is perfect to me. We have Bruce Wayne who is broken in the beginning, he becomes Batman to try to fix things, he gets into adventures which are fun, but ultimately realizes the flaws in his character and overcomes them. And when it is over it is done. Over. Finished. You have no idea the sigh of relief I gave when we actually had a finished story arc and the balls it took Nolan for him to finish that way. Because I know, the movies being like the comics, we would have Bruce Wayne cloning himself to fight clone Joker in the year 5054. People wanted to complain about how little Batman there was and how Bane wasn’t quite like the comic and blah blah blah. Need I remind people that Ra’s al Ghoul wasn’t the same in the movies as he was in the comics nor was the Joker the same. I know I’m going to get nerd essays coming down the pipe about how wrong I am. Yes, I know we had some brief one offs with psycho Joker like in The Killing Joke, but for the most part Joker was always portrayed as this buffoonish, well, clown. It was only really at The Dark Knight when we get this anarchist punk rocker who believes in chaos…thing. My point is this Batman was different as told through Nolan’s vision and it was fine.

This leads me to Iron Man 3. Finally. The reviews for Iron Man 3 were for the most part overwhelmingly positive. But then you have the small percentage who want to label it the worst thing ever. Now I’m sure many will accuse me of straw manning but I tried reading as many people’s negative comments to see where they were coming from and they all pretty much amounted to this.

There are plot holes and bad writing! This isn’t like the comics. That character isn’t like that in the comics. The suit doesn’t do that in the comics. That character wouldn’t do that. Unfaithful!

To which I have to remind you just because something is different from the source material doesn’t mean it is a plot hole or bad writing. And just because it is different doesn’t mean its bad or the worst thing ever. The Iron Man of the movies is different from the Iron Man of the comics. It’s as simple as that. Yes, characters and aspects are changed but it is done in service of telling a story. For the longest time as a kid I listed Batman & Robin as my worst movie of all time and now I’ll come clean and say I was a moron for saying that. Schumaker intentionally made B&R like the Batman show of the 60’s. It was his artistic decision to make it campy and goofy and I cannot fault him for the simple fact he didn’t make the Batman movie I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like B&R, but it is for other reasons.

The point is during the movie, I could pin point several moments and scenes where I noted to myself „This is where the comic book Iron Man fan just yelled out ‘Betrayal!!!!!!!’ in the theater.“ But this was also the point where I tell people to loosen up. The movie and plot works in its own right and just because something is changed doesn’t mean things are ruined forever. It works in the same way we have 60’s Batman and the animated Batman and the comic Batman, and the Burton Batman, and the Nolan Batman.

I really liked Iron Man 3. Shane Black does a great job of playing to Downey’s strengths of his charisma, while at the same time mixing that with some intense scenes. In other people’s hands, the tonal shifts would be jarring. But Black has enough experience in just Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang alone to show he has the talent to juggle those elements.

Yes, there are some more fantastical elements in this movie, but in a universe where just one movie ago we had Stark fighting alien dragons along side a Thunder God and a Hulk, can we really throw up the realism flag? Yes, there is more emphasis on Stark instead of Iron Man and I like it. As I said, I prefer engaging stories and good character arcs. It ends on a note that leaves a sour taste in some people’s mouths but I like there is resolution. I think there is more tension when it is Stark who has to deal with problems outside of his suit and the absence of the suit makes the times when it does show up even better.

This is not a perfect movie at all. While I like the emphasis on Stark, I think it is at a loss to side characters like Rhodes and Pepper Potts. Favreau handled things better to where Stark and Potts were good foils to each other where here she is severely downplayed. The writing can also be sloppy at times. It is hard to really delve when I am not giving spoilers. Also keep in mind I don’t think any of the Iron Man movies are totally perfect. For example the first one had a third act problem where the writers all of a sudden realized they needed a villain and rushed Jeff Bridges out. I enjoyed this one about as much as the first one at least the first time through. Maybe things will be different on repeat viewings. I think for fans of the Iron Man movies there is plenty to enjoy and is a great entry in the series. For those that are heavily tied to the comics I can only suggest you come in with a thicker skin and check your expectations down a few notches. This is an Iron Man for the Marvel movie fans, not necessarily for the fan fans.

Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen) 1997

Posted in D, Woody Allen Retrospective on March 5, 2013 by moviemoses

Harry Block (Woody Allen) is suffering from writers block.  Block is known for writing stories based on his real life which upsets all the people who know him.  We follow Block as he is going to be honored at a college.  During the trip in which he brings his son and a prostitute, he is haunted by characters and stories from his past.

After about 15 minutes of watching Deconstructing Harry I let out a sigh.  It wasn’t a sign of boredom or exhaustion but of relief.  I had been waiting for this Woody Allen for a long time.  After seeing many of what I consider to be lazy efforts, this felt like the first time in a long time where Allen got his edge back.

The plot is similar to a Bergman film called Wild Strawberries.  But with the dreamy elements and for those not familiar with Bergman, the better comparison is with Allen’s own Stardust Memories.  Stardust was Allen essentially copying Fellini’s 8 ½.  I was left a little cold with Stardust because it felt too much like Allen was straight up emulating Fellini.  What I love about Deconstructing Harry is that this feels like a truly Allen style interpretation of 8 ½.  This is not Fellini’s voice but Allen’s.

The humor in this movie kind of reminded me of a Monty Python movie.  Holy Grail for example seemed to be several knight related sketches they corralled together under a loose main plot.  Deconstructing Harry seems like several joke concepts Allen had written out about writers and sex and creativity all tied around the main plot of Harry Block having writers block.  For example, Block is explaining his writers block to his shrink and he relates it to a skit about an actor (played by Robin Williams) who is literally out of focus in the world so he walks around as this fuzzy blob.  Another skit involves Harry going to hell to get back his girlfriend from the devil played by Billy Crystal.

There is some debate as to who this movie is about.  Some argue this is partially about Allen while others say this is critical of Phillip Roth.  I’ll plead ignorance on this one cause while I know some about Allen, I know absolutely nothing about Roth.  I do see some merit in the comparisons to Allen.  I am not someone who believes Allen’s films are strictly biographical but I do think loosely based.  I don’t think we are seeing real life Woody events on film but Allen’s thoughts on creativity, philosophy, and love reflect his real attitudes.   So I don’t think his girlfriends are shrews or any of the crazy stuff happened, I do think the underlying nugget is that Allen recognizes he has done some crappy things in his life.

Like I alluded to before, I love the fact Allen is going all out on this one.  While before, he might make a single movie out of a joke concept, here it is rapid fire skits.  Allen is going full on adult humor and his witty rapid fire dialog returns.  It may be argued that the movie is hard to get into because Block is unlikable but I don’t see a problem.  For one, the movie isn’t asking you to side with him on everything and I find that for all the crap Block dishes out, the world gives it back in equal measure.  Block acts like a juvenile and gets treated as one by the people around him.  Allen has always been his best critic and the self deprecating humor is especially biting.  The ending also doesn’t feel sugar coated and seems somewhat optimistic while not being rose colored.

Deconstructing Harry had been one of the first Allen movies I had seen.  While I liked it, I had not seen it since that time due to the DVD being discontinued (DVD copies are now rare and expensive).  Seeing it again for this retrospective I forgot how much I absolutely love it.  This was such a relief to see Woody Allen back in stride and this movie easily is one of my favorites from him.

Everyone Says I Love You (Woody Allen) 1996

Posted in E, Woody Allen Retrospective on February 27, 2013 by moviemoses

Without even going into the movie I already have to give Woody Allen some credit.  I spent the last few reviews criticizing him for being lazy and coasting by with his comedies.  I prefer Allen when he is going out on a limb and at the very least you can say that by making a musical comedy.  ESILY doesn’t so much have a central plot so much as several sub plots.  It is mainly about the people in this large upper class New York family finding love.

Musicals are a hard thing to do even with the best of directors.  Scorsese tried with mixed results with New York New York.  It’s not so much to do with skill (although that helps) but a certain mentality/talent.  Woody Allen is one of the best directors ever, and while I think he does an admirable job, there are some problems with this musical.

One thing that isn’t a major problem but more of a nagging thing is the music selection.  The songs are all Cole Porter type numbers from the 30’s.  Allen has a love of that music and musicals from that time.  The nagging part comes in where this movie is set in the 1990’s.  Something tells me he might have set it in the 30’s if he had the budget like in Shadows and Fog but since he doesn’t he just set it in the now.  It might even help if there was something to tie it to the story like if the family were big fans of old musicals and their imaginations constructed these numbers for them.  There isn’t though and there is a slight disconnect when you hear these people sing numbers from your grandfather’s time.

There is a scene in the movie where a couple (played by Drew Barrymore and Edward Norton) are in the hospital cause Barrymore’s character swallowed a wedding ring.  They then launch into a big production of Makin Whoopie.  This song has absolutely nothing to do with anything and has no reason to be in the movie.  I give that example to show my second issue.  The typical rule with musicals are that the songs should advance the plot or characters in some way.  And there are times when the movie does that, however there are other times when it seems like Allen puts a random song in because five minutes have passed and we need a song in there.

I think Allen also made a decision based on the budget by having the actors sing their own songs.  Now I’m not criticizing that.  For one it plays into the comic theme of a musical for an ordinary family.  The songs also help in that they are all low key and don’t stress these non-trained actors too much.  Even Allen can get by with Ooooh-ing through a ballad with no trouble.  The surprisingly best singer was actually Edward Norton, who was actually told not to sing as well as he did.

The musical numbers did grow on me during the course of the film and I found it to be sweet but here comes the “but”.  But I wish Allen engaged in a bit more spectacle.  There is a scene that is actually so great that it made me resent some of the inaction in the rest of the movie.  Probably the most memorable number is when Joe (Allen) and Steffi (Goldie Hawn) are walking along a river in Paris reminiscing over old times.  The two then have a musical number with a waltz beside the river.  Allen is dancing with Hawn and he is able to pick her up and throw her through the air with some wire work.  It is a really magical and sweet scene as you see them having this beautiful dance through the air.  It seems like the inspiration and the reason why Allen wanted to make this movie.  After that I was a little resentful that Allen didn’t use the same imagination when it came to all the other numbers.  Occasionally there is a dance number with a production but the majority of the numbers are cast members sitting around or standing still while softly singing.  Musicals are about the spectacle.  They are escapism and either you wow them with great singing or you give them a spectacle of great artistry or dancing.  Yes these are ordinary people with ordinary voices but who says they can’t be imaginative and engage in elegant dream like fantasies. 

I have talked about the music a lot but that is because that is the thing to notice about this movie.  The plot and the situations are all light and inoffensive.  The situations don’t even rise to Three’s Company level of raunchiness because again, this movie is modeled after old musicals Allen loved.  This is the cinematic equivalent of whipped cream.  It is sweet but has absolutely no density.  Really that’s the whole movie.

I liked Everyone Says I Love You.  I was always interested by what was going on and it never drags.  The music and the earnestness behind it all won me over and in the end I found it sweet.  The music portion is flawed and I wish Allen showed imagination all the way through like he did with the Paris waltz scene.  And the movie never rises to the great homage Woody Allen probably wanted it to be.  But this was a pleasant movie and a nice change of pace for Allen to spark some creativity.

Mighty Aphrodite (Woody Allen) 1995

Posted in M, Woody Allen Retrospective on February 5, 2013 by moviemoses

Mighty Aphrodite is about Lenny (Woody Allen) and Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter) who adopt a child.  The child turns out to be a genius and Lenny decides to track down the mother believing that she too, must be brilliant.  Turns out the woman Linda (Mira Sorvino) is a prostitute and a complete moron.

This is seen as a good time in Woody Allen’s career.  I suppose with this and my Bullets review I am entering controversial territory.  I find these movies to be very lazy for Allen.  Allen has always been a joke writer and he has told how he has a drawer full of jokes, ideas, and concepts.  This is purely speculation and I have next to nothing to back it up.  It just feels like after his debacle involving Mia Farrow and his underage stepdaughter, Allen is perfectly fine by running on cruise control.  Whereas before he was always venturing into new territory and breaking new ground, now he says “fuck it“ and is content playing it safe with his drawer ideas.  What if a mobster became a playwright?  Fuck it, I can stretch that out to 90 minutes and ride things out another year. A Greek tragedy set to banal upper class New Yorkers petty issues?  Fuck it, I don’t feel like doing anything meaningful.

Keep in mind none of this means this is bad.  Mighty Aphrodite works and is charming and makes you chuckle occasionally   But this reminds me of when I was wrapping up college and a term which I believe is ‘senoritis‘.  I would wait until the last minute to do a book report or a paper and then do the absolute bare minimum to get by because screw it, I’m graduating anyway.  I feel like my English teacher handing my paper back going “You can do better“.

I know that Woody knows he can make an entire movie based on his Woody persona which he has done with Aphrodite.  All Mighty Aphrodite is is Mira Sorvino talking lewdly about sex and being a prostitute and Woody getting flustered and nervous.  I can picture the whole movie in my head without even seeing it.  I can picture Sorvino mentioning about how a client likes that she snowballs him and Allen looks nervous and is gesturing wildly with his hands and he stutters something about how he doesn’t want to know how to use Hostess cakes in those ways.  The problem is it doesn’t feel like effort is put into it.  It feels like Allen is on autopilot.  One of Allen’s neurotic tendencies is that he has to be working all the time. His one a year output is not so much that he has all these great movie concepts that are screaming to get out but more about he has nothing better to do with his time off.  It kind of reminds me of my father who will go insane by retirement because he has no other hobbies.  This is Allen on autopilot because he can’t think of anything better to do with his time now that the Knicks aren’t playing.

As I said before there is nothing bad about Aphrodite and I have no problems with people who find it funny.  But for me, I appreciate someone a lot more when he/she  puts it all on the line and fails spectacularly rather than someone shooting for mediocre and achieving it.  This is a film which I have no intention of ever revisiting because there is nothing special that stands out.  I got everything I ever needed out of one viewing and there is no reason to ever go back to it.  Blah.

Omen III: The Final Conflict (Graham Baker) 1981

Posted in O on November 1, 2012 by moviemoses

Going against my usual protocol on this one.  Like my Warlock reviews I like to go through a series to have it all fresh in my head before tackling a sequel.  This is one of *those * movies I always saw as a kid and was interested by but never rented.  I mean come on, it is Sam Neill as the Antichrist all grown up.  He is not some kid protected by Satan anymore but fully grown evil dude who is going to be President of the United States.  I always wanted to know how the story ended.  This was a cinematic itch I needed to scratch.

The story for this movie is Damien (Sam Neill) is the head of Thorn Corporation and is on the fast track to a big political career.  He is about to be unstoppable but Damien sees a prediction that a child will come from England to destroy him.  Damien accepts an ambassadorship in England and sends his minions to kill all the recently born male boys.  Meanwhile, a group of monks find the seven daggers of Meggido (the only weapon that can kill Damien) and go on a mission to assassinate him.

Sounds like the potential for awesome for me.  Powerful Antichrist and his legions of minions killing people all over England and monks on a mission to kick ass for the Lord?  Sign me up.  Sadly, what is promised and what is delivered are two completely different things.  Where do I begin?

How about the decision to follow Damien as our lead character.  That’s odd.  I’m not quite sure why we are following the bad guy through the movie.  You might think the writers were trying to add some depth to the character or maybe make him a tragic figure.  You know, make him an unwilling pawn in a cosmic chess match between God and Satan.  But no, Damien is just evil.  He is either giving eeeeeevil prayers to Satan or ordering minions to do evil things.  I don’t even think it’s entertaining evil like Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate.  Neill is giving mass murder orders like he is in some corporate board room telling his subordinates he sent out an email about TPS reports.  Who would have thought Armageddon would be run more like Office Space?

Not like the killer monks story line would have been any more interesting.  I would think if you had one mission in life, that mission being kill the Antichrist or all life dies, you might train a bit.  I would personally move to Asia and only come back when I have in fact become a ninja like Batman.  That being said I do set high goals for myself.  But I would personally be happy if the assassins for Christ were not middle aged fat asses who have gorged on too many communion wafers.  These guys aren’t just out of shape, they are klutzes to boot.  Let me give you an example.  So Damien is getting interviewed on some news program and one of the monks has found a way onto the set.  For some reason the monk thinks he should go on the rafters above the set.  Why?  I guess a thirty foot leap off the balcony with a dagger was a better option than just running up and stabbing Damien but whatever.  While he is up there, he trips, gets his foot caught in some of the rigging and he swings from the rafters.  While this is happening he knocks over some stage lights which set the curtains on fire.  The monk swings around, wraps himself in plastic sheeting, swings over to the burning curtains, then sets himself on fire which simultaneously burns him and shrink wraps him to death.  That had nothing to do with Satan or evil forces; the dude was just a dumbass.  You can see why I don’t exactly have a lot of faith in these guys right?

I remember looking at the timer at one point to see how much longer I had and was surprised I only had ten minutes left.  That is not a testament to how good the writing is, it is because I was genuinely wondering when the climax would come.  It never felt like we were building to Armageddon at all.  Everyone is just going about their business and whole plot lines come and go without much point or resolution.  Let me again go to a few examples.

Damien gets appointed to Ambassador to England because he does the President a favor.  He provides intelligence about a conflict in the Middle East which saves the President media grief.  Later on it is discovered the intelligence was completely false.  Damien’s associates all agree the intel leak in the Middle East must be eliminated before it ties back to Damien but Damien can’t kill him because his powers are diminished.  There are several scenes where they discuss this and everyone is stressing out.  Does it ever get resolved?  Nope, let’s move on.

There is also this subplot where Damien romances a news reporter and makes her son an acolyte of Satan.  I realize this ultimately ties into the climax of the movie but it is a stretch because I don’t get why Damien bothers in the first place.  Why talk to the reporter?   Is it really for romance?  Why think of romance a few weeks away from Armaggeddon?  Why does he think Edward Cullen rape sex is romantic?  Does he romance her to get to the son?  Why?  Does he need a spy?  He’s got thousands of humans who will do his bidding.  Wouldn’t it be dangerous to open up to an investigative reporter when you are trying to keep the whole Antichrist thing a secret?  Wouldn’t making her son an acolyte of Satan make things even more awkward?  Going back to the whole rape thing did he think she wouldn’t take it personally?  Did he think she’d like it?  Why?  Why?  WHY?

This movie both confuses me and bores me.  Despite being a movie about the final conflict between Heaven and Hell it is all waaaaaay too tame.  The action is too slow paced, the writing is borderline laughable, the death scenes are huge steps down from the original Omen, and the plot is poorly paced with many cul de sacs.  On a postscript, I personally find it hilarious there is an Omen IV which is not some prequel but follows after the events of this movie.  I would think that is hard to do since at the end of Omen III Jesus returns, the final conflict between Heaven and Hell is over, and they flatly say peace reigns and no one will know death from that point on.  Kind of hard to hand waive away God coming and stopping death and all that!!!