Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Interstellar Velvet of the Five Armies

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday’s movie extravaganza started with “Interstellar” which starred Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace & Matt Damon. It’s also directed by Christopher Nolan whose famous for “Memento” & the latest Batman trilogy among others. Basically this movie is set in the near future (like 30-40 years or so I think) when the world’s agriculture is dying at an alarming rate… and it’s up to a corn farmer who was once a NASA pilot (McConaughey) to miraculously stumble upon a message from gravity delivering him coordinates using a dust storm to… NASA’s secret base. What’s that? You think I messed up something by saying that gravity delivered him coordinates AND he noticed it AND followed it? Oh no… that’s one of the many premises that you’ll just have to kinda glance over in order to enjoy this movie. Okay, so he gets to NASA’s secret base… and there’s a legion of scientists who have sent TEN TEAMS of scientists over the last decade through a wormhole to check planetary bodies in other universes for a habitable world… and they may have found some prime candidates… but they basically need this astronaut farmer (wasn’t that another movie with Billy Bob?) and him alone to fly this mission and save humanity… even though he wasn’t involved AT ALL until a few days prior to launch & they didn’t even think to be like “Hey buddy, you wanna help save the planet? You’re the best and all but… you know… we ugh… you have kind of a big mouth.” I assume that’s why he wasn’t involved. Anyway, you can polish that premise up all you want Hollywood… but that’s basically the nuts & bolts of it. From there, the adventure begins into space, through wormholes, and delving into complete random ass horse hucky.
That being said… not a horrible movie… the special effects are decent, acting is okay, tension is built well in proper areas… it was “a fast three hours” but I just cannot for the life of me see why people absolutely LOVED this movie. I’m glad that I didn’t see this movie in a theatre because A) I would’ve been out like $40-50 with tickets, parking and optional snacks… B) I would’ve been openly laughing at just about every aspect of the plot & causing quite the scene while other people were… apparently having some sort of religious experience watching this movie. Yes, it has good aspects… but Best Picture nominee? Eh… they did have like ten of them nominated… but yeah, kind of a weird mix of “The Astronaut Farmer” & “2001: A Space Odyssey” but… I did not care for it. Would I recommend it? Sigh… it’s tough… but I’d say pass on it maybe. Unless you’re really hell bent on check it out… it’s visual stimulating & raises interesting questions about this & that but… yeah… pass.
Now, we watched another Best Picture nominee from last year, which was “Whiplash” starring Miles Teller & J.K. Simmons. What’s the movie about? What do you think based on the title? Lion tamers? Two individuals involved in a minor car crash and the ensuing lawsuit? Close… it’s about a young drummer named Andrew (Teller) who’s going to the nation’s penultimate school for music… and wants nothing more than to be the best jazz drummer in the world… of all time… like Buddy Rich of the new millennium. Money? Fame? Pussy? Jazz Jedi craves not these things… he only wants to be a great jazz musician… so unemployable but well respected in his community. Sorry, diverging a bit. So yes, he wants to be the best… and the man who can help him is the lead jazz band director (Simmons) who is… basically a gruff, berating asshole who basically “tortures” Andrew and manipulates him and pushes him to his limits and beyond. Andrew is stubborn though… and he will do ANYTHING to be the best… and he kinda drives himself mad in doing so… but basically from there… you’ll have to watch the movie. The story, storytelling, pacing, character conflict, all of that, expertly done. Fun fact: The writer-director Damien Chazelle is only 30 years old… and this may be a passion project of his for many years as he seems to have a real love & expertise to it (and really no other movie to his credit yet) but it’s well done. I absolutely suggest that you rent it & check it out. Great acting, great story, mildly disturbing, but not overly disgusting or crass or anything. Great flick! Check it out!
Next up was the 3rd movie in the prequel movie trilogy of Middle Earth, “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” starring… all the same people from the first two movies of the trilogy. You’ve seen them probably… and if you haven’t, you don’t care. This movie is basically the 3rd act of the eight-hour Hobbit movie… and when we left, Smaug, the dragon who has been built up for the first five hours of this mini-series had finally left the Stone Mountain castle that housed his bazillion tons of gold after chasing around a bunch of thieving dwarves… and to show his anger, he’s on his way to burn a nearby city called Laketown. Why? HE’S A F**KING DRAGON!!! That’s why!!! I’m… gonna make you not want to watch this movie with the next sentence. Smaug is dead in the most ridiculous way before the “Battle of the Five Armies” even shows on the screen. Yes, the dragon… dies… in the first four minutes. The next two-plus hours… is basically the story of all of the other kingdoms of Middle Earth showing up to the Stone Mountain castle now occupied by about a dozen midg… er, dwarves… and saying “Hey, we’ve come to take our share of the gold!” and then evil Orc hordes coming in to just kill everybody… and giant worms being used as mass transit system… and the famous Eagles of the Middle Earth showing up to just… save the day & then go away… and elven armies breaking the rules of physics even more than the aforementioned “Interstellar”… ugh… it’s exactly what you expect it to be. You’ve seen the other movies, you’ve seen this one. This is like “Return of the King” but without the Frodo/Sam/Smeegel subplot… just all fight… but nobody important dies. Well, one guy but… ugh… I didn’t care for it. Maybe I’m just over the hobbit movies… this one was just rough to watch… I didn’t care who won… I was actually kinda rooting for the Orcs at one point just to end it quickly. One benefit that it did have over “The Return of the King”, there was only one ending instead of 7-8 or them that took up 45 minutes of slow-mo hobbit groping. Check it out if you want… I won’t be watching it again though. Can’t wait for the inevitable reboot…
Now we switch things up a little bit… and yeah, I think this movie was nominated for some things when it comes out in 1986 but… it’s director David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” starring Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosselini, Laura Dern & Dennis Hopper. The story is about a young teenager (MacLachlan… who I think is supposed to be a teenager but… it’s obviously 27-year old Kyle MacLachlan) who randomly finds an ear on the side of a road… and in investigating it, curiosity leads him to basically stalk a lounge singer (Rosselini), and then find out she’s involved in some kind of twisted family kidnapping where an evil man (Hopper) is basically using the fact that he has her family to pop in for some twisted, violent rape sessions… which the teenager witnesses in her closet. So… you know… basically a pretty standard David Lynch movie. Now… the decisions made by the characters in this movie are just… questionable… but you do feel a genuine sense of discomfort, danger & just constantly trying to figure out what the f**k is going on exactly in this movie. You really have to be wary about a movie where “ritualistic rape scene” is the most famous thing about it… or random horrible lines that Anderson from Film Vault quotes all the time like “Do it for Van Gogh” and “Don’t you f**king look at me!” Like Roger Ebert said in his review (special features on DVD), you really feel sorry for Isabella Rosselini… not necessary her character but… just that her job in this movie is basically to be naked & have little to no character… but aside from that, if you’re into David Lynch craziness… and can handle TWIN PEAKS of violence & “forceful entry” of all sorts… then check it out. If not, I completely understand.
Now for a good off-beat movie… it’s a horror anthology from 1990 called “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” and stars the likes of… Deborah Harry (Blondie), David Johannsen (Buster Poindexter/NY Dolls), James Remar, Christian Slater, Julianne Moore (before she was winning awards), Steve Buscemi (before Reservoir Dogs), and a few other character actors that you’ll recognize from other things… but yeah, I had never heard of this movie… but Izzy told me she used to have it on laserdisc & it was on Netflix so… had to watch it. Basically the story starts out with a witch (Harry) whose about to roast up a child for a dinner party (Matthew Lawrence, boy from “Mrs Doubtfire”) and to stall for time, the boy reads from a book of horror stories that he happens to have… you know, plot device. So then there are three tales of horror about mummies & preppies, artists & gargoyles, and of course… the Cat from Hell vs. Buster “Hitman” Poindexter!!! Now, the movie sounds ridiculous… but it’s really pretty damn entertaining… the special effects are decent for the era & genre… there’s obviously a host of legitimate actors, horror directors (John Harrison, George A. Romero, etc) and writers… it’s going to be a little hammy as most horror flicks of the late 80’s & early 90’s were… but it’s great in the ilk of Tales from the Crypt, Creepshow, Twilight Zone, that kind of movie/show. I say definitely go check it out… and be impressed with the level of actor they got before they blew up & won Academy Awards & Golden Globes.
Anyway, that’s probably good for this entry… five quick movie reviews… and more fun stuff coming up later this week… so until then, have a great day everybody!!!

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