recent movies

Some movies I've seen in the last few months:

Code 46:

    I liked this movie a lot. It reminded me a bit of Until the End of the World. It's a weird little detective / love story set in a eugenics-heavy future. The part I liked most about this was how well the science fiction aspects of it were done: there's a ton of backstory and technology in it, but almost no exposition about it. They just dropped you in the middle of this internally consistent future and let you figure out how the world worked as the plot went along. Very well done.


    I liked this a lot. It's a really interesting-looking movie, and it's worth watching for the eye-candy alone. The plot is a little slow, but interesting. The main character is on a sort of quest inside a massively-multiplayer online game, and the division between the game and reality blurs in a Matrix-y way. It's basically a live-action anime, made by a Japanese director in Poland, which adds to its oddness.

Kingdom of Heaven:

    I enjoyed this, but I've already forgotten most of it. I'm sure that by this time next year, this movie, Troy, and Alexander will all be the same movie in my memory (file under "Manly Men With Catapults".)

Crow 3: Salvation:

    In one of my previous movie-review posts, someone commented that, while Crow 2 was horrible, Crow 3 was not bad, and was a decent sequel to the original. Dear whoever-said-that: you're an idiot. This movie was crap.

Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars:

    I was a fan of the Farscape tv series for most of its run, but honestly, I couldn't keep track of half of what was going on in the last couple of seasons. It just got completely incoherent. This ~3 hour miniseries wraps up the cliffhanger and ends the series, but even watching it all at once, I still was halfway between not following the plot, and just not caring. Ok, I was also dozing off a bit, but that's not really a vote in its favor either.

Kung Fu Hustle:

    This was a lot of fun. Goofy slapstick kung-fu. I thought it was a lot funnier than Shaolin Soccer (same director/star).

Revenge of the Sith:

    Utter crap. Less bad than the previous two, I guess. It felt like maybe there was a decent idea or two in there struggling to get out. Maybe ten years after Lucas dies, someone will remake these, and that version won't suck.

Unleashed (aka Danny the Dog):

    This was pretty good. Jet Li plays "innocent simpleton" well. The fights are entertaining, and the comedy's not bad. I kept feeling like I'd seen this movie before, though; "Jet Li, ass-kicking fish-out-of-water in France" is pretty much the same plot as Kiss of the Dragon, isn't it? Maybe I'm thinking of something else.

Batman Begins:

    This was fantastic. It really felt like two movies, back to back: one about Bruce Wayne in the monestary, and then one about Batman. The villains are awesome, and I appreciated the attempts at explaining of where all his toys came from. When Batman dangles a scumbag off a building and asks him a question, he doesn't just grumble at him, he roars. Bale pulls off both roles really well, and the supporting cast are all great (except for the Utterly Forgettable Love Interest who is only there to remind you that yes, the guy in the armor-plated pervert-suit likes girls).

Mr. & Mrs. Smith:

    This was pure fluff, but fun. I've completely forgotten everything happened in it already, but it had the sort of wisecracking relationship that you'd expect in a Cary Grant movie. (Not that it was that good, but that's the kind of target they were aiming for.)

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory:

    This was just a big waste of time. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't interesting at all either. Johnny Depp plays Michael Jackson, and a bunch of kids play clichés. The title character is about as interesting as tap water.

    However, I'd say the worst part about this movie was simply that it reminded me of the original, since I hated the original: I hated the characters, I hated the acting, and most of all I hated the songs. So, in that I don't remember any of the songs from the remake, the remake must be far superior.

The Island:

    This is a remake of Parts: The Clonus Horror, which I remember seeing when it came out. That movie was a terrible, lower-budget rip-off of Logan's Run and Coma, neither of which were very good to begin with, and this remake shows that, much like multiplying fractions, stupid times stupid times stupid equals really, really, really stupid. (Most people who have seen Clonus probably saw the MST3K version. Warning sign.)

    Pretty much every 5 minutes, this movie had me saying, "Oh my god that's SO STUPID!" and every time, they upped the ante. "Why didn't they just... GAAH!" "They aren't really going to... GAAAH!!" It was so stupid I was still reeling from its stupidity the next day. It was the kind of stupid that sticks to your clothing so that people on the street turn around and stare at you with a "what's that smell?" look on their faces.

    The best part is that the studio neglected to buy the rights to Clonus, and thought nobody would notice that it's the same movie. they were wrong.


    This movie is really great looking, and the plot is kind of dumb, which is to be expected, since that's the case with most of Bilal's comic books too. I enjoyed it for the eye candy, but wow, some of the computer animation was so incredibly bad! Half of the characters were live-action and half were computer generated. It probably would have been easier to take if they had done something like: have the humans be humans and the aliens be graphics, but they didn't; for no sensible reason, half the humans were computer generated too, and since they were animated so badly, they seemed more alien than the aliens.

    I wanted to love it (half-naked blue alien chicks! Flying cars! A giant Egyptian pyramid floating over New York!) but it was just so-so.

    It invites comparisons with The Fifth Element: The Fifth Element has better effects and better acting. Immortel has a better plot, and a complete absence of Chris Tucker. Advantage: Immortel.

Kaena: The Prophecy:

    This was a very odd movie. It's fully computer-generated, and has some pretty interesting critters and character design (talking worms with jetpacks!) but is still well into the uncanny v alley. The design of the world is really interesting; some of the bad guys live in this sort of lake of oil. The animators clearly spent a lot of time working on the fluids, and it shows; much of the movie is very trippy looking. The world is basically this giant tree floating in the clouds, with superstitious hunter-gatherer types living in the branches, which reminded me a bit of Niven's "The Integral Trees".

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