Posts Tagged ‘2001’

Josie and the Pussycats – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Juni 14th, 2010

Review:

Reviled by critics and ignored by audiences, this adaptation of characters from the Archie comics is actually a clever satire of pop music and teenage culture. It’s hilariously over-the-top in almost every way, features surprisingly good (and delightfully silly) music and the most unpaid product placement in film history, all in order to parody the world we used to live in back in the good old days 0f 2001 – not that much has changed. After boy group Du Jour catch onto the fact that their music features subliminal messages to get teenage fans to part with their allowance, the “Chevy is taken to the levy” and svengali Alan Cumming quickly has to find a new band, finding aspiring rock musicians Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid (in the best performance of her lifetime, even if she wasn’t in on the joke) who jump at the chance to become superstars. The film deteriorates a bit in the second half when the satire has to make way for some silly plot, but overall it’s a vastly underrated and clever film.

Random Observations:

Josie and the Pussycats at the IMDb

The first scenes with Du Jour, starring Breckin Meyer and Seth Green, are amongst the funniest in the film, perfectly setting the tone for what is to come. Their hit song “Backdoor Lover” is also quite hilarious. And yes, it’s about exactly what you think it is about.

I don’t really know, but I’m fairly certain that apart from character names, the film has nothing to do with it’s comic book origins.

I think the problem many critics had with the film was that they could not spot that in order to satire certain things, the film actually had to do them. On the other hand, I would like to believe that professional film critics are smart enough to realize that having the logos of 73 companies featured prominently throughout the film (including the McDonalds logo on a shower wall) is not product placement, but satire thereof.

The Mummy Returns – Minute Movie Review

Montag, März 22nd, 2010

Review:

Ten years after the events of The Mummy, the two heroes, now married and with a son, are at it again. Once more, the destruction of the world is threatened and once more they save the day. And that is basically all the film is: more of the same. There is nothing original here, which means that aside from the typical sequel offerings (i.e. sillier villains, stupid mythology, unaccounted changes, sillier set-pieces) the film is still just entertaining enough to be passable. The CGI here is horrible, but if you can see beyond that and the other shortcomings, you will be able to watch the film without expressing either anger or sadly much joy.

Random Observations:

The Mummy Returns at the IMDb

The main characters are supposed to have matured significantly since the last film, which in the case of female lead Rachel Weisz mostly means opting for much more revealing outfits.

Films like these always border on being completely campy and silly. But despite the fact that the film crossed the border repeatedly, I was still able to enjoy a good portion of it. I guess the viewer’s mood really decides the matter here.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, September 26th, 2009

Review:

In this distinctly unusual rock musical, Hedwig and her band are playing in small restaurants at the same places where rock superstar Tommy Gnosis tours, telling the audience that she wrote his songs and the viewers the whole back story. Born as a boy in East Berlin, she had a botched sex change operation to marry an American soldier, came to the US, met Tommy, fell in love, and so on. The film, based on the extremely popular Off-Broadway musical, is carried by strong performances and great music, especially when the story gets decidedly odder in the second half and finally convolutes in a ending that left quite a few people, including me, scratching their head. But nevertheless, it’s an interesting film that tells its tale in a calm way, without judging either way.

Random Observations:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the IMDb

The few sentences in German are hilarious, not just for the obvious American accents, but also for the mistakes and dubious subtitle translations.

Especially nice performance by Michael Pitt, who is always a joy to see.

I was very surprised to see that Hedwig’s second band leader (or whatever you might want to call him) was actually played by a woman. The beard hid her features very well.

On a personal note, this is the 300th Minute Movie Review I’ve written. I feel like celebrations are in order.

Minute Movie Review – Zoolander

Samstag, April 25th, 2009

Review:

Set in the high-powered world of international male modeling, “Zoolander” is an absurdist comedy that works best when taking shots at the image of celebrity and the crazy world of haute couture. Directed by and starring Ben Stiller, the film teeters on the edge between inspired parody and silly comedy, but ultimately manages the balance, being genuinely funny and entertaining.

Random Observations:

Zoolander at imdb.com

Yes, the film has a plot, but it is so incredibly silly and stupid and contributed so little to my enjoyment of the film that I refuse to mention it.

Quite possibly the movie with the most people appearing as themselves. Just check the IMDB cast list.

I might buy Ben Stiller as a male supermodel, but there is no way Owen Wilson could ever be one. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Wilson’s work immensely and he is quite good in the film, he just doesn’t look the part.

Incredibly simple, if not downright stupid, characters often offer the most insight into the world. I guess with comedy it is the same as with science: to be really brilliant, you need to be able to boil it down to the simplest way possible.

Minute Movie Review – Jurassic Park III

Sonntag, April 19th, 2009

Review:

In the second Jurassic Park sequel, the story follows another lead from the first film, palaeontologist Sam Neill. He has to go to the second Dinosaur infected island to rescue a boy – only he is lured there under false pretences. The film features the by now usual array of running from dinosaurs, being eaten by dinosaurs, screaming and running from dinosaurs, staying quiet for a minute so the dinosaurs don’t take notice, which would lead to more running from dinosaurs and some running from dinosaurs while panicking. The concept didn’t really work the first two times around and there is no reason it should work this time, so naturally it doesn’t.

Random Observations:

Jurassic Park III at imdb.com

Steven Spielberg didn’t direct this film, instead handing over the reigns to Joe Johnston, mostly known for directing Jumanji.

The film is not based on a novel by Michael Crichton, but on an original screenplay. Alexander Payne was involved in writing it and if I had known that before, I might not have been able to enjoy About Schmidt as much.

I liked how one of the first scenes toys with people who have seen (and enjoyed) the first movie by showing Sam Neill playing with Laura Dern’s children – which (sadly) aren’t his.

Minute Movie Review – Lovely & Amazing

Dienstag, März 17th, 2009

Review:

The film tells the stories of four women with self-image issues. The mother uses liposuction to look and feel better, the young adopted daughter eats without pause, the oldest sister is struggling with an unsuccessful artistic career and the actress sister is a nervous wrack. The movie ties these storylines together somehow and while it is an often cruel yet funny look at reality, it ultimately lacks a leitmotif.

Random Observations:

Lovely & Amazing at imdb.com

Some really nice performances in the film, especially from Catherine Keener and Emily Mortimer, one of my favourite actresses around right now.

Jake Gyllenhaal has a small role – as the teenage lover of the older sister. It reminded me a lot of his Donnie Darko character.

Comic Book Movie July – Ghost World

Dienstag, Juli 8th, 2008

So, Ghost World. Another slightly misleading title. There’s nothing ghostly about this film – except for maybe how mundane everything is. Ghost World is based on Daniel Clowes graphic novel of the same name, which he adapted for the big screen with director Terry Zwigoff (the two also later collaborated in the same way on Art School Confidential). Ghost World tells the story of two teenagers fresh out of high school. Far removed from the usual look at preppy cheerleaders and sport jocks that dominates popular entertainment, the film shows two outsiders trying to make their way in a world they can’t quite understand.

(weiterlesen …)

Comic Book Movie July – From Hell

Freitag, Juli 4th, 2008

From Hell is a strange name for a movie (or a graphic novel, for that matter). One would expect the subject to be something like Hellboy - a character straight from hell, or a hellish story at least. But this is not the case with Alan Moore’s comic book From Hell and naturally also not with the movie based on it. It’s both much simpler and much more horrifying: From Hell was the return address on one of the letters the police and press received during the brutal serial killings of Jack the Ripper, claiming to come from the murderer.

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Artificial Intelligence: AI

Donnerstag, März 13th, 2008

Review:

In the distant future, robots can do anything – except love. AI tells the story of the first robot that is constructed to have real feelings. Adopted by a family whose son is in a coma, he dearly loves his mother – but when her real son returns, he is forced to leave the family. Desperately, he seeks the blue fairy from Pinocchio to become a real boy. Often visually stunning, the plot is somewhat lacking – and the voice-over ending so artificial that only Hollywood could have created it. Originally a Kubrick project, Spielberg took over and tried his best, but Haley Joel Osment in the lead role acts so wooden that he you just wish he would accept his android fate.

Random Observations:

Artificial Intelligence: AI at imdb.com

New York is flooded in this movie due to the polar ice caps melting. Proving that Al Gore wasn’t the first person to make a film about global warming.

The short story the movie is (very loosely) based on is “Supertoys Last All Summer Long”. Apparently, in Sci-Fi changing the name for a book adaptation is regular procedure (see “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”).

Minute Movie Review – Ghost World

Montag, März 3rd, 2008

Review:

Ghost World shows two girls that have just finished high school and are happy to escape the ordinary teenage world of America. Instead of going to college, they want to get jobs and move in together. But of course nothing ever works out the way it is planned and when Enid meets Seymour, a record-obsessed outsider, she realizes that the loser is in fact the only one who doesn’t fit into normal society. Ghost World is not a typical coming-of-age story, but rather a portrait of the outsiders of society and why they also or especially deserve a chance.

Random Observations:

Ghost World at imdb.com

Ghost World is actually a comic book adaptation. Which just proves that you don’t need a $300 million budget to make a comic book movie.

Seymour is played by one of my favourite actors, the always great Steve Buscemi. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the role was written especially for him.