Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Review: Crash of the Titans

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Zeus is a dick. I saw the movie, and that’s what really jumped out a me. He’s not evil, though he is angry, but man… is he ever a dick. Example: According to the new version of Clash of the Titans, there was once a King named Cassius who led a rebellion against Olympus for reasons unknown. While the other gods wanted to eradicate those pesky human fleas, Zeus advocated an even crueler option: cuckolding. He disguised himself as Cassius’s wife, slept with her, then flew out through the window when he was found out. Presumably the high five with Ares was cut due to time constraints.

The movie follows the trials and tribulations of Perseus, the offspring off the above human-god mating. Twenty years later yet another king has decided that Gods are not Great and that humans will rebel against them to chart their own path, presumably because he wants to be cuckolded. He tears down a statue of Zeus, which results in an angry Hades being sent by Zeus to punish the vandals and then inform Argos that unless beautiful princess is sacrificed, the Krakenwill be unleashed. This would be bad, the Kraken essentially being the the Neutron Bomb of the Mediterranean.

Amid all this furor, Perseus loses his surrogate family to Hades rampage and is informed of his true, divine ancestry, which in turns leads him to join the squad being sent out to search for Anti-Kraken Missiles. He at first refuses to acknowledge his divine birthright, including a glowy sword and a matte black Pegasus (bringing the Sam Worthington Mutated Horse Count up to two), but later learns to embrace his rich daddy while hangout with the poor kids and fighting ‘the man’ (spiritually speaking). It’s almost a grecian version of Richie Rich, except that  Richie’s friends spend their time trying to convince Richie of the true value of money, so maybe its more like Richie Rich as written by Ayn Rand.

Guff but lovable Zeus gives his own kid some help on the sly, and even his full support once he realizes that Hades has been egging him on for Hades own nefarious purposes, and man and god’s faith in each other is restored once again. Zeus even appears to be sorry for the beating he gave humanity in anger, one of the classic signs of a healthy relationship. So that’s alright then.

But we didn’t come to this movie for the story, we came for the sexy, sexy CGI ghoulies and ghosties. My favourite of these are the giant scorpions, who also evoked more pathos for me than any of the humans. The fight scenes are generally spectacular, with the Kraken stealing the show in all its tentacled, Cthulu-ish glory. For clarification, I did see this movie in 3d, and personally found it more enjoyable than Avatar (thought that may be because the film project was focused correctly for once). Also, Gemma Arterton is beautiful, especially in 3D.

All in all, I really did enjoy Clash of Titans. I wanted an action packed monster brawl fest, and thats what I got. Plus, even though the story was pretty dumb, its still proves that Greek priests knew how to put asses in pews. If a god today were to make a Kraken erupt from Lake Ontario, I wouldn’t only worship him (or her. It could be a Kraken-ess too for that matter) I’d give him a high five.

Shudder Island*

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

*Possible Titles: Stutter Island, Strutter Island, and Splutter Island

Shutter Island is decent film; nothing really special but it has a decent story, some good (although fairly disquieting) moments and leaves before wearing out its welcome.

The film is set on an island in the Boston Harbour… that is home to an asylum for the Mentally Isane! (Cue dramatic lightning flash) where some spooky doings are afoot. Two Federal Marshalls (played by actors) arrive to investigate the mysterious dissapearance of an inmate, who appears to have walked right through the wall, past a guard who may or may not have been at his post, and out into the stormy night.

The best part of this movie by far is the island itself. It’s brooding, dark, dank, and dunk in the classic North Eastern U.S way epitomized by American horror authors such as Lovecraft and King. It is properly moody ands bleak, and also seems to be a faintly malevolent force in and of itself, kind of like Silent Hill’s underacheiving slacker of a brother. The storm scenes during the end of the first act are almost worth the price of admission.

Another highlight of the movie are the dream/drugtrip/ghost/craziness sequences. In most movies, the director makes a scene a dream sequence mostly through cinematic trickery: the camera shudders and sways disconcertingly, fog shrounds and obscurres the action, the entire scene is in echoey slow motion,  etc. Scorsese does it slightly differently. The actual filming is as crisp and clean as the rest of the movie (I hate shaking cameras), but the use of dream logic and disjointed time is without peer. People change faces and place, events flow together with dream unlogic, and the sequences help to give genuine insight into the mind of the main character.

My biggest gripe is with the story. Its solid and works well, but it could have been more. The movie deals with themes of identity and subjective reality, but the conclusion of the movie finishes quite cleanly without leaving much ambiguity over what was real and what was not. Even Total Recall, which dealt with the same themes, left some wiggle room for discussion and mental exploration, creating what sci-fi author Larry Niven called ‘Playgrounds of the Mind’. Shutter Island wraps things up in much too neat a package.

Other minor gripes include some of the acting from the minor characters, unnecesary characters that did not seem to be there for any reason at all, and the people sitting next to my friend in the theatre (though I suppose that can’t be helped, or is at least not the fault of the movie). The movie also gets going very quickly, with hardly any build up. This isn’t really a plus or minus, but I found it a bit abrupt. There is also a scene with some rats that is supposed to be horrific, but that rats looked too gosh darned cute to be scary. They looked like pet rats, and I think one was sniffing to see if the shouty man in front of the green wall had any treats.

Overall grade? Not falling into that trap. If you like psychological thrillers, you’ll like this, but only if you can stomach some faintly horror-ish scenes.