Monday, July 11, 2011

The Week In Movies 4/7/11 - 10/7/11

OK. Lets knock this one out. I need to go to work. Dammit! What did I watch this week? A lot considering how busy things are.

Two films from the previously viewed archives, The Mighty Ducks or The Mighty Ducks Are The Champions or Champions The Mighty Ducks, whatever they are calling where you are or on whichever format it's released on, it's that Emilio Estevez movie about ice hockey playing kids. Disney really did change it's name a few times too. I think I've watched three copies of it in my life and each of them have had a different title. I used to love this movie, watched it all the time as a kid. How excited I got when Pacey scored the winning goal (do they still call them goals in ice hockey?) And it hasn't aged too badly either, it's not quite as ridiculous as some kids movies are when you grow up. It relies on cliches and stereotypes to tell it's story and there's a meaningless romance for The Breakfast Clubber but it's great fun and includes a poop joke for the kids.

Grumpy Old Men, it's a movie that surely wouldn't get made in Hollywood these days but what can you say about the quality of Jack Lemon and Walther Matthau that could dispute the fact that they deserved to be making this movie? Their rapport and comic timing leaves me chuckling away at the slightest little things that ordinarily wouldn't even be funny or worse an obvious cliche. I shall watch the sequel this week as I remember it being funnier.

Three old movies that I watched for the first time, Dark Blue starring Kurt Russell and Ving Rhames was written by David Ayer (Street Kings, training Day, S.W.A.T - yeah even the cops dial 911, that guy) based on a story by the godfather of crime fiction James Ellroy. Ellroy has his own unique style of writing, most of his work is set in L.A. of the 50's and 60's and I think his voice suits that time, when people were called hopheads or whatever yet this film was set in 1991 (I think) and whilst the dialogue is modernised a little it just didn't sit right. Other than that it was an OK movie apart from Scott Speedman who has a face I hate looking at, whenever I notice him in a movie i groan because he bugs me for some reason. It was a little slow, a little obvious but did have some good work from Madeye Moody and a pretty cool scene set during the Rodney King riots.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger continued my catching up with recent Woody Allen movies that I had never even heard of. Set in London, something I usually enjoy seeing but then almost instantly grow to hate as the cliches and fictions increase, and starring an American, an Australian, a Welshman and that girl from Slumdog Millionaire the premise of two married couples struggling with their relationships sounded like pretty common Allen fare and it pretty much was. I was mostly bored and occasionally enraged at how Allen imprinted his idea of New York lifestyle on to Londoners and generally I just didn't care about any of it. Lucy Punch was particularly grating but then that was because she was completely and totally accurate in her portrayal of English girls. I still haven't seen Vicky Christina Barcelona, I always meant to. Soon perhaps. It's amazing how Woody Allen has people lining up to invest in his films when it seems like there's a 1 in 4 chance of breaking even. He does make a lot of stuff that goes ignored doesn't he.

And there was Basic Instinct. I managed to go the last 20 years without seeing this iconic film, it just never really appealed for whatever reason, perhaps the constant talk of the leg crossing scene made me just go blah at it. But the research of the (fingers crossed) upcoming noirathon led me to think it might be worth a shot even if it doesn't make the list of modern noir films. Paul Verhoeven, famed for his bloody violence certainly didn't miss a chance to include it in this one. It's quite a bit more subtle than Starship Troopers for example. But really it's quite a sexy movie. I was surprised at myself. The overly absurd filmic ideal of passionate orgasmic sex is a real turn off but it is the performance of Sharon Stone primarily, less so Michael Douglas (even though he is excellent in the role,) that brings sex to the film. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the movie actually, the best bit is that it doesn't pretend to be something that it's not, a staple of all Verhoeven movies. An enjoyable thriller packed with sexual tension, I wouldn't say amazing but I'd swing to a 7 out of 10 if pushed and recommend a viewing if you haven't already seen it. Oh yeah, the leg crossing scene, what the hell was the big deal? It's like that moment in Dirty Dancing when Swayze says "nobody puts baby in the corner" you hear so much about it and it's just some tiny thing that barely registers.

And now the new release, blockbuster, first time viewing of X-Men: First Class. I would invite you to read Alex over at Film Forager as her review says so much more about my feelings for this particular film than I have time for right now. We seem to be in the minority too. The gushing that occurred in the blogosphere when this was released was overwhelming, I thought I actually really wanted to watch this film but I am so glad I paid no money for this piece of dull action cinema.
Key points:
Yes it was better than X3 and Wolverine but that doesn't mean it's good.
I got tired of seeing James MacAvoy touch his head when he was using his powers after the first time let alone EVERY SINGLE TIME.
These characters all seemed to be towards the low end of the mutant spectrum, silly powers etc.
Kevin Bacon? Really?
The entire movie was a series of plot points with no story telling. I think I was 80 minutes in and still waiting for the scene setting to stop so we could get on with the movie.

OK enough for today, leave some blahs below, until next time movie watchers.


  1. Good mix this week! I grew up with the MIGHTY DUCKS films since my little brother was obsessed with them, and they're still a nice source of nostalgia. Gotta love Emilio.

    I still have to see GRUMPY OLD MEN since I've always dug the Lemmon/Malthau pairing plus it features Donald O'Connor, my favorite classic musical actor. Good to hear it's fun!

    As for X-MEN, thank goodness you agree! It's ridiculous how many people really enjoyed it and don't see where I'm coming from, so I'll take all the support I can get! And thank you for the linkage!

  2. Whoops nevermind about the Donald O'Connor comment- just realized I confused GRUMPY OLD MEN with OUT TO SEA, another mid-90's Lemmon/Malthau film.

  3. I was surprised when I got around to Basic Instict, because I kept waiting for there to be MORE sex, because it caused such a kerfluffle here when it came out.

    You must not be a fan of the X-Men comics. Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) was a major bad guy player back in the 80s and early 90s, I think. But there were a few of the characters I could have done without (Angel and Darwin to name two).

  4. alan - the kevin bacon point was totally seperate to the pointless characters, he was quite ludicrous all on his own. but yeah angel and darwin, thems the ones that initially spring to mind. i wasn't a comic book fan this much is true however.

    alex - just typing the name emilio makes me think of a night at the roxbury and the emilio estevez story they tell 18 times. emilioooooo! i do not know this movie out to sea, i may have to check it out after odd couple 2.

    addendum to the post: i must have been confused, which film does a pet bunny get boiled in? i could've sworn it was basic instinct but it never happened.

  5. Great stuff Toby.

    I need to see "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" ..

    "X-Men" was meh ... entertaining but forgettable.

    Keep up the good work.