Kevin (erf_) wrote,

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unsolicited movie reviews!

I'm back from Hawaii. I'm going to forego the usual 2000-word essay on What I Did This Summer because most of my conversations for the past six months have gone like this:

Me: You know, I saw something like this just last week...
Other person: Yeah, I read about it in your journal.
Me: The thing with the horse?
Other person: The dead one, yeah.

I will tell you, however, that my parents and I had a good time and it was well worth the money. My parents have been smothering themselves in the misery of their existence on this little island, so it was very refreshing for them to visit a prettier little island for a while. If you want more details, talk to me. I get lonely.

Have some reviews of movies I saw on the airplane:

Robots: Man, I really, really wanted to like this movie. The art was fantastic, the directing was fantastic, the voice acting was fantastic, the script was meh. What could have been a beautiful, poignant story about the power of innovation over corporate greed was utterly ruined by aggressively cloying attempts to be geeky. I don't know who was responsible for making nearly every line of dialogue a gratuitous and cringeworthily painful pop culture reference, but that person deserves a kick in the face. Having a character break into Britney's "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" during a big fight scene is not comedy gold. Furthermore, many of the supporting characters suffer from Jar Jar syndrome in that they try so hard to be funny or silly or cute that they come off as extremely annoying. (Exhibit A: a five-inch-tall dog-like robot that puts its hands on its hips, waves its upper body appendage, and says, "Talk to the hand, girlfriend!") It's quite a shame, because underneath all that crap Robots is actually a really good movie. The main characters are very likable--the protagonist reminds me of something the bastard lovechild of Isaac Asimov and Norman Rockwell would put together--the crazy Rube Goldberg mass-transit system is a delight to watch, and the villains are genuinely chilling. I'm not sure I'd be willing to watch it again, though.

Three stars.

Fear of Intimacy (追蹤眼前人): Now this is a good film. Puts the drama in drama. With the jump cuts, the achronological plot, and the abundance of sex scenes, it seems director Vincent Chui has a hard-on for New Wave legend Jean-Luc Goddard, but he sticks it in all the right places. (For all I know, this film could be a Goddard remake. Alas, when it comes to modern Chinese cinema, I am an ignorant buffoon.) The plot will confuse the hell out of you at first, but things slowly and beautifully come together with its masterful use of repeated flashbacks. The actors--well, Tony Leung is Tony Leung, as charmingly brazen as he is in any of his gangster flicks,and the girls are rawrrrrr. This is possibly the first and only Hong Kong film I have ever seen where the women are droolworthy. 雪兒 (Michelle Cheng, pictured at right) especially has rejuvenated my faith in the ability of my people to propagate itself. She looks damn cute in that ponytail.

Four stars.

Man of the House: The only witnesses to the murder of a man scheduled to testify against a crime lord are...the cheerleading team for the Texas Longhorns! And the only man who can protect them is...Tommy Lee Jones, Texas Ranger! An utterly terrible concept, but a surprisingly decent movie. The cheerleaders are impressive dancers and make for even more impressive ass candy (they're half-naked for more than half the film), but the real star of the show is Tommy Lee Jones. His blunt, deadpan delivery is perfect for the role, and he gets some absolutely fantastic lines:

Blonde cheerleader (coyly): Oh, admit it. You really like me, don't you?
Tommy Lee Jones: No.

The film would still have been unwatchable if the cheerleaders had been the usual Hollywood cariactures of their profession, but the scriptwriters did a pretty decent job of humanizing them. They were still pretty ditzy, though.

Three and a half stars. Plus another half because I have a cheerleader fetish and a thing for Southern accents. (Just kidding.)

Pokemon Jirachi: Wish Maker / Pokemon: Advance Generation - Wishing Star of the Seven Nights(in Japanese, with Chinese subtitles): I'll admit it--by the part with the birds in the end credits, I was bawling. Yes, I cried after a Pokemon movie. You can stop making fun of me now.

Seriously, this movie is fantastic. It's about the starlike Pokemon Jirachi, who turns from crystal to flesh every thousand years to enjoy seven days of life before returning to crystal to sleep for another thousand years, and his tender friendship with a little boy. The relationship between the boy and Jirachi is poignantly bittersweet, as both of them know they only have seven days together before Jirachi returns to his thousand-year slumber. None of the overblown, toy-mongering Britney Spears/Jpop bullshit that characterized the first few Pokemon films, just a beautifully understated, Miyazaki-esque story about short-lived friendship and the beauty of nature (with some ridiculous CG and some heavy-handed environmentalist preaching thrown in for good measure). Full of the gentle warmth and innocent wonder that made the Pokemon cartoons more than just a cheap spinoff of a video game. Watch this one subtitled; the voice acting is incredible. The perfect movie to watch with a terminally ill friend.

Four and a half stars.

Currently reading Life of Pi. I'll have a more complete opinion of it when I finish it, but trust me when I say that book is absolutely gorgeous.
Tags: movies
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