Posts Tagged ‘Titanic’

Avatar – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Januar 21st, 2010

Review:

How do you judge a movie like Avatar? The answer to that question says probably more about you than about the film. After finally having seen it, there is no doubt in my mind that anyone will (seriously) debate that it is a technological breakthrough. The CGI, the motion capture, the 3D – it’s all very impressive. In the right theatre (i.e. a big screen with digital 3D technology), the film is a joy to watch. But is that really what a film should be judged for? What about story, originality, acting or just a unique world filled with awesome ideas? If those things matter, then Avatar is a horrible film. The story is about as new as a love story between two members of feuding families. The acting in this film would embarrass amateurs. The film is filled with many pretty pictures, but none of them is new, there is nothing that hasn’t been seen before. And that is why I hate myself for actually enjoying the film. Because I care about story and about ideas – and the film had none of that. But it was just so gorram pretty, so much fun to look at. So in a way, this film is a spectacular success. Just don’t ask me to join in with the idiots who call it a great film. Visually, it’s breathtaking, but film is a storytelling medium and there the film, as per usual with Cameron, fails.

Random Observations:

Avatar at the IMDb

James Cameron is a great technical director. He would be great as the SFX director on almost every film. But he is horrible at directing people. Just look at Titanic – there he managed to extract horrible performances from two of the greatest thespians working today – Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Here, he works with far less talented people – and the results are disastrous to behold.

The film may be unique in the history of cinema in that it manages to include every single cliché possible. In fact, the whole film is one big cliché.

I just realized that I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot of the film in my “review”. But seriously, people, you aren’t going to watch it for the plot. Nevertheless, here a one word summary: Pocahontas.

I know, my slights about the film are about as original as the film itself. I’m influenced by my betters, what can I say.

3D is NOT the Future

Sonntag, November 1st, 2009

Listening to Hollywood bigwigs (Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks Animantion, for example) and hot-shot directors like James Cameron, even some critics are falling all over themselves to proclaim that the future of film-making is three dimensional. More and more studios are making more and more films in the “revolutionary new format”, that is going to be as much of a game-changer as sound film and colour film were once. I’m here to tell you that this is all lies.

Let’s face it: 3D is a gimmick. Nothing more, nothing less. It is hardly original. The first major movement for 3D was back in the 1950s and contrary to popular opinion they were neither viewed through those horrible red-green-glasses we all know from amusement parks, nor were only B-movies made that way, but also such classics as Dial M for Murder or Kiss Me Kate.* The technology used was almost identical to the one used today, so all those claims of 3D in the current incarnation being anything new are the first big lie.

The second big lie is that 3D is actually in any way superior to normal, 2D images. All those claims that the world around us is three dimensional and that it would only be natural to have them in film as well are just, to put it bluntly, bullshit. Transferring a three dimensional image onto a two dimensional plane (commonly called a screen) is not natural and actually presents our eyes with problems, because they can’t focus properly. Some people can deal with that, others can’t – through no fault of their own, of course, simply because their eyes refuse to see things that aren’t there.

And to top it all off, they tell us that the days of headache inducing images are over. I wish it were so, I really do. The idea of 3D is fascinating. But even with modern technology, headaches, nausea and all the other side-effects are still prevalent, as this article points out far more eloquently than I ever could. Please read it. Seriously. Right now. Don’t continue reading this until you have finished it.

Now that you have read the Slate article, let me just point out the reason for this stream of consciousness rant. Last night, I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth, one of the few non-animated 3D films released so far. I saw it at home with those silly red-green glasses, so that might impact my opinion somewhat. But in all honesty, it was a surprisingly solid, enjoyable flick that was (almost) completely ruined by 3D.

In December, James Cameron is releasing his newest film, Avatar, the first film he has made since Titanic in 1997, in 3D. Since Cameron films are usually completely devoid of plot, interesting characters or anything resembling good entertainment besides special effects – what is often called the Michael Bay school of film-making – we can expect it to be rather bad, because there is no way the effects are as great, unique and new as Cameron promises. Still, people are going to flock to theatres and there is even a chance I might be among them. But in January, can we please forget about the future and go back to making good films? Because sooner or later, even Hollywood will realize that 3D is not the future.

And if they don’t, I have a problem, because I just can’t see the damn effect. Me and between 10% and 30% of people.

*There is even a non-profit organization working today to find and restore as many of these early 3D movies as possible, dating back to the 1920s. Find out more here.

My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Romeo + Juliet

Sonntag, Juni 22nd, 2008

Review:

Retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet is probably unnecessary – everybody knows the classical Shakespearean tragedy of two star-crossed lovers. The interesting bit is in the delivery of this Baz Luhrmann directed film: While he moves the story to a modern day, fictional Verona, he keeps the original dialogue. It is definitely an interesting experience, but one that does not always work. I can’t help but feel that I should either love or hate this movie, but in the end it left me rather uninterested.

Random Observations:

Romeo + Juliet at imdb.com

Only Pete Postlethwaite, who plays the priest, speaks in iambic pentameters, in which the dialogue is written. This means that his “rhythmic” speech actually sounds the most natural.

This is another movie with an at least decent performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. I disliked him immensely after first seeing Titanic, but seeing his other work has made me realize that he is one of the best actors of his generation. If you haven’t seen them, check out What’s Eating Gilbert Grape for a truly tremendous performance when he was younger or The Departed for his more recent work.