Monday, November 12, 2007


To say this movie caused me heart pounding anxiety and grief is an understatement. I'm not usually down with Mel's movies, (except Braveheart), and I'm certainly not going to watch "The Passion" but Apocolypto offered a history that has always interested me. I like learning about ancient native cultures. On impulse I grabbed it off the shelf at the movie store.

What annoys me is my recent trend of watching movies with a "pregnant woman in danger." I was so upset after watching Children of Men that the review still sits in my draft posts. I couldn't sleep that night. And here I was again looking at the poor woman's face and thinking about the baby in her belly. Whew.

Apocolypto was so grand and brutal I spent most of my time on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding as hard as the ones sacrificed. The movie is extremely fast paced and I didn't notice I was reading subtitles. The actors use so much of their facial expression to convey emotion it makes watching the latest reality TV show even more shallow and ridiculous.

The story begins simply with a small group of mayan hunters nabbing a tapir, and preparing it to bring home to their village. A disturbing incident occurs and oddly enough, only our intrepid hero, Jaguar Paw, takes it to heart. The story unfolds in the abovementioned breakneck fashion with some serious action. It does not disappoint although it may crush you at times.

I was visually amazed at the detail to all the makeup and bodywork. Since folks were mostly naked in the warm climate they had a lot of exposed skin to decorate. And they did. I was interested enough to watch the bonus material which discussed the costumes and makeup and was duly impressed.

It's pretty obvious that I recommend this movie. Try to forget it's a Mel movie and go for the action with a pretty good story. You won't be bogged down with annoying dialog and stupid characters. That's pretty tight here. There is a little surprise at the end that I wasn't sure felt right but I decided I could let it go. Just take some deep breaths during the scary parts. It's what I do.

Monday, March 12, 2007

300: Small name, big movie

I must admit I was enamored of this movie long before it came out. I enjoy tales of epic battles with brave kings and strong willed queens. The marketing of 300 was genius, becoming my "friend" on myspace and feeding me exclusive trailers and clips in advance of the film. In fact, I was even able to link back to the trailer from my own myspace page, sharing it with everyone who cared to click on it. Such cleverness tickles me to no end. I watched it over an over, until I could speak with Leonidas, "tonight! We dine! in HELL!" That line still gives me goosebumps.

Going to see the movie in the theater gave me a bit of worry. Separating myself from $8.50 on a Sunday evening is a big thing. I thought I might have over-hyped myself like I did with X-Men 3, which left me angry at the end. Many critics hacked on the comic-book feel to the movie, saying it was over-CGI'd (to CGI, verb, to use a computer instead of a camera to make a movie, usually with crappy results). I agree that the sepia-tones used gave 300 an old time feel. At one point I was reminded of the 1963 movie (thank you, imdb) Jason and the Argonauts which had a similar fake feel to it. But 300 did not disappoint.

300 could have become a hopeless B-movie had it used lessor actors. But folks like Gerard Butler (Leonidas), Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes) and Lena Headey (Gorgo) took their roles seriously enough to act in front of blue screens, imparting the appropriate passion to deliver their lines with conviction. The fighting was cool, too. Oddly enough, my friend remarked that the CGI rendered the blood spatter less graphic than that of Braveheart, for example, making it easier for the delicate lady to handle.

I consider myself to be the perfect demographic for this sort of movie: I like battles, men, guts and glory. I like strong women characters pitted against the evilest of bad guys. I don't know enough about history to be annoyed with imperfect retellings. And a good sword fight, well that floats my boat. If that sounds like you then I would definitely recommend 300. It's sexy. You'll dig it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Brothers Grimm: Completely unwatchable

It would be my guess that out of all the movies ever made about these famous German brothers this most recent one, starring Heath Ledger and Matt Damon, has them doing spins in their respective graves.
I thought the idea was clever: mixing in the lives of the Grimm Brothers with their stories into a quasi-action movie. Heath plays Jacob, the dreamer and fool, who also seems to be a drunk. Matt plays Wilhelm, the smarter brother, whose role it is to keep his brother out of trouble and be the brains of the duo. I think there is a sidekick or two in there but I didn't watch long enough to find out.
I really should have watched the whole thing before writing about it but I just couldn't. After about 20 minutes of enduring the opening scenes I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this:
Me: "Dude. This movie, like, blows."
Husband: "Shut it off."
M: "I can't, I got it from Netflix"
H: "Who cares? Just send it back and get another one."
M: "But I'm supposed to watch the whole thing before I blog it."
H: "Dude..."
M: "O.k."
I stopped suffering soon after that. I know those dudes got paid to make this movie. I just hope they had fun hanging out in Prague while they were doing so.