Archive for the V Category

Vacancy (Nimrod Antel) 2007

Posted in V on May 19, 2010 by moviemoses

Nimrod eh?  Okay.  Damn my desire for passable horror movies.  Alright, passive aggressive David (Luke Wilson) and annoying c*nt Amy (Kate Beckinsale) are on a road trip while their marriage is on the rocks.  In Wrong Turn fashion their car breaks down and are directed by a very friendly gas attendant *evil* to a nice hotel *cough abattoir cough*.  In this hotel though, things are not as they seem.  I don’t know why I’m telling you this or why I expected any scares.  THE FRIGGIN TRAILER SPOILED EVERY SURPRISE OR PLOT TWIST!!!

Lets talk about the characters and the acting.  Both suck.  Why do writers think we enjoy our protagonists being insufferable a**holes?  Its not entertaining at all.  Also Luke Wilson is terrible casting as a dick.  I like Luke Wilson and he is usually a funny guy, but that’s the problem.  He is a cool guy, he is not a dick.  Him playing this guy is like Jimmy Stewart playing Jake LaMotta.

The plot is also crap.  I know this is the same genre with killer zombies and unstoppable slashers and wisecracking nightmare demons.  But here, we are given NO explanations.  NONE!!!  We are just supposed to believe that a gas station owner, a hotel owner, and several truckers who all live close to each other and all happen to be murdering sadists decide to fuck around with passing motorists.  Seriously!?  And why are they doing this?  I have no freaking clue.  It can’t be for money, some sick religious purposes, or even some weird sexual pleasure.  I mean why?  Its all so random.

Just give me something: killer trolls, a zombie getting revenge on his dead mother, ANYTHING!

The ending also sucks.  After everything has been so slow and calculated things take a sharp twist. In the last five minutes Amy becomes Ellen friggin Ripley and takes everyone down single handedly.  OKAY?  Where did that come from?  I guess these guys aren’t the hardened killers I thought they were.

This movie is not horrible, but its aggressively mediocre and bland.  For every creepy thing they do, there are three bad things they do.  Skip it.

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Valkyrie (Bryan Singer) 2008

Posted in V on April 27, 2010 by moviemoses

Based on the actual assassination attempt on Hitler by several high level politicians and military officers.  If its one thing I can give Singer credit for its that we know that the attempt fails and yet there is still a glimmer of hope that it could have succeeded.  Valkyrie is set up like a heist thriller where most of the movie is the planning and the build up of tension and the eventual execution of the plan.

One of the problems might be that all there is to Valkyrie is planning.  I learn absolutely nothing about Stauffenberg or any of the other collaborators.  We bypass everything about how these people found each other or what these people are really like.  Its just “We need to kill Hitler!” and off we go.  I can understand a need to streamline the running time, but I need just a tad more than that.

The plot is well done and has a good amount of tension, but I feel Singer dropped the ball in one regard.  There should be an overwhelming feeling of paranoia of being discovered by the SS.  There should be a feeling that anyone could betray the whole team or that there are spies everywhere.  Yet it seems like Stauffenberg could go anywhere and talk with anyone about wanting to blow up Hitler.  In fact one scene, Stauffenberg begins a conversation with a Lieutenant he just meets that he is a traitor and is planning a coup and asks him if he feels the same way.  You’re lucky Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS wasn’t listening.

I’m not going to jump on the bash Tom bandwagon for this movie.  He does an alright job as Stauffenberg although all he really has to do is stand there and look determined.  There aren’t many scenes that require him to really act that much.  The ensemble cast works rather well together and is one of the good points.

On the whole, Valkyrie is an okay thriller but is rather forgettable.  Especially in December, there are plenty of better movies that are worth your time and attention.  It might be more suitable for a rental.  Its aiight, but nothing more.

VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA (2008) Woody Allen

Posted in V on April 10, 2010 by moviemoses

A more appropriate title for this movie would be “Javier Bardem is the luckiest bastard on the face of the Earth”.  Not as snappy, I know.

Being a Woody Allen fan is kind of like the cinematic equivalent of being in an abusive relationship.  At first, you are swept off your feet by the guy who did Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Take the Money and Run.  Then the honeymoon is over, and the guy shows his dark side.  He bitch slaps you at first with something like a Small Time Crooks, then apologizes with a Crimes and Misdemeanors.  Then he chains you to a radiator and beats you with Scoop and treats you to roses and candy with Match Point.  I know I am skipping all around the Woody Allen chronology but FU, I’m trying to make a point here.  For every Hannah and her Sisters which makes us like the deadbeat there is a Curse of the Jade Scorpion that smacks us in face and asks “Where’s my Turkey Pot Pie BITCH!”

So is VCB the loving Woody, or the abusive Woody?  Sadly it is more the latter.  The story is about Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Christina (Scarlett Johansson) going on a trip to Barcelona.  Vicky is practical woman (who is engaged to the blandest man on the face of the Earth) who thinks love should be dependable, safe, and without complications (kind of like a truck).  Christina is passionate and believes in being adventurous with love.  One night, painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) approaches them out of the clear blue and asks them to go away with him to have good food, good wine, and lots and lots o’ sex.  They agree cause, well, its Javier f*cking Bardem and every woman (if not some men) would jump at the chance for a little love in the time of Cholera.  There are also complications because besides boning Vicky and Christina, Juan is also having an on and off relationship with a fiery ex played by Penelope Cruz.  Before any of you guys rush off to see universe shattering awesomeness of seeing a three way with Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz, keep in mind the movie is PG-13 and you will never ever see it.

My first problem with VCB is it works against Woody’s strong point which is dialog.  Half the movie has no dialog but is instead a dry voice over explaining the action on screen which is almost always redundant.  “Vicky and Juan Antonio then had dinner while Christina stayed in her room” while we see Vicky and Juan Antionio sitting at a table eating dinner.  I mean, what is the f*cking point of telling me if you are going to show it anyway!  The voice over also explains characters motivations like “Vicky is a prude and Christina is passionate”.  But even that is redundant as we learn all this from beginning conversations between the two.  The whole affair smacks of laziness that Woody could get these points across if he decided to spend a little more time with the character interactions.  But it feels like Woody was saying “Aw f*ck it! I’m close to death anyway and I don’t want to spend a few more weeks polishing the writing so I will have lazy voice over explain everyone’s actions.”  When we do get actual dialog it is witty an enjoyable.  Rebecca Hall, Bardem and Cruz are the strong performers in the film.  Cruz especially shows how great an actress she really is when she is not forcing her way through English dialog.

The movie just feels like it is a million miles away from Woody’s usual stuff and that is not a compliment.  All of the characters here are impossibly perfect: they are gorgeous, rich, artistic, funny, intelligent, witty, sparkling, and use 50 other adjectives to show how wonderful they really are.  They are so perfect that we as the audience really don’t feel like we have a connection with them.  We also therefore don’t really feel sympathy for these character’s problems.  It is such a departure from Woody’s lovable loser intellectual persona dealing with more grounded relationship problems and issues.  The ultimate message for the film seems to be that marriage is a prison and sex with Javier Bardem is the solution to your problems (and I already knew that).  As with many movies that aim high but fail in execution, the message is either incredibly simple or really muddled in poor writing.  I’m just not sure if Woody was really saying anything more than we need passion in our lives.

This isn’t horrible, but it is not the return to form many are proclaiming it to be.  The problem I have always thought with Allen is he rushes his product and never really spends the time to refine his movies.  So instead of getting great movies we get good movies instead.  VCB just smacks of laziness all around is yet another bad movie from Woody Allen.