Charlie's Angels

Heard good things about this one the entire time it was showing, but somehow managed to put it off until it came out on video. So, I was looking forward to it. Looking at the posters and other promo stuff, you know its got a few things going for it, namely three really good looking chicks.

Kicked it off and was pretty disappointed for the first 10 or 15 minutes; a collection of really bad sexual innuendo and just general childishness. However, things soon picked up when Bill Murray came in (just seeing him on-screen made it all worthwhile, he’s just funny without even doing anything, and when he does stuff, he’s hilarious!) and the movie started rolling.

Not ever having watched Charlie’s Angels ever before, or knowing anything about it other than the general concept of three chicks doing crimefighting stuff, I ended up sitting back soaking it up. The story was the usual action flick thing: bad guy has stolen something, someone wants it back, etc. In fact, I barely even remember. I remember the first fight scene, which was when I started to think the movie might not totally suck with the sound on, and after that it was pretty decent.

Essentially, it was pretty much a vessel to show off a couple of hot chicks doing ninja stuff. Starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, there’s a good selection of hotties to watch. The fight scenes were pretty decent, with some nice Matrix style action. For some reason the fact that it is all sychronized hot girl action is pretty much the main attraction to this film. In fact, I don’t really remember anything else happening, except the usual bad guys losing.

See this if you just want a simple turn-off-brain action movie with good looking girls. Any further depth in a review of this movie would really waste your time, and mine.

Charlie’s Angels

Heard good things about this one the entire time it was showing, but somehow managed to put it off until it came out on video. So, I was looking forward to it. Looking at the posters and other promo stuff, you know its got a few things going for it, namely three really good looking chicks.

Kicked it off and was pretty disappointed for the first 10 or 15 minutes; a collection of really bad sexual innuendo and just general childishness. However, things soon picked up when Bill Murray came in (just seeing him on-screen made it all worthwhile, he’s just funny without even doing anything, and when he does stuff, he’s hilarious!) and the movie started rolling.

Not ever having watched Charlie’s Angels ever before, or knowing anything about it other than the general concept of three chicks doing crimefighting stuff, I ended up sitting back soaking it up. The story was the usual action flick thing: bad guy has stolen something, someone wants it back, etc. In fact, I barely even remember. I remember the first fight scene, which was when I started to think the movie might not totally suck with the sound on, and after that it was pretty decent.

Essentially, it was pretty much a vessel to show off a couple of hot chicks doing ninja stuff. Starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, there’s a good selection of hotties to watch. The fight scenes were pretty decent, with some nice Matrix style action. For some reason the fact that it is all sychronized hot girl action is pretty much the main attraction to this film. In fact, I don’t really remember anything else happening, except the usual bad guys losing.

See this if you just want a simple turn-off-brain action movie with good looking girls. Any further depth in a review of this movie would really waste your time, and mine.

Joan of Arc

After Luc Besson’s awesome effort in the Fifth Element, one of my all-time favourite films, I was expecting a lot from Joan of Arc. In the US, as I just found out, it was titled The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and it stars Milla Jovovich as Joan, plus a few another noteworthies – Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway and John Malkovich. However, after hearing negative rumours about it, my enthusiasm waned to the point where I saved it for a rainy day, or at least a day where I was bored. That day was yesterday.

In retrospect, it proved a poor relief for boredom. The movie is very lengthy, clocking in at around three hours – a long stretch for even a really awesome movie. Normally, I really enjoy longer movies, because I think it gives directors a much better chance to expand on the plot. Unfortunately, Joan of Arc’s plot wasn’t really expanded, merely stretched.

Milla did a great job as portraying a character who truly believed herself to be a messenger from God. The scenes and settings were pretty impressive – some nice bloody battle scenes. It was just long, and sort of boring. Being a true story, of course, you have a pretty good idea what is going to happen – you can sit there and hope that she’s going to take over all of France as much as you want, but you just know what’s going to happen.

People critical or suspicious of religion will probably take particular note of some of the more theological themes in the movie. The most important of these is, of course, judging Joan from the perspective that she acted solely to pursue an agenda of revenge against the British for the brutal murder of her sister, and then tried to justify her actions by deluding herself into thinking that she was bringing God’s will to Earth. Some people may see this as the entire point of the movie, but I am but a simple person that wanted to see the English get driven out of France and some awesome hack and slash action.

Recommended, if you have nothing better to see. You know how its going to end, though. I’m not exactly a student of European history for that period, so I can’t comment on the authenticity of the story (and quite simply I’m too lazy to research it because the movie just didn’t spark enough interest), and thus I can’t recommend the movie from a historical point of view. There’s no particularly awesome battle scenes, or great lines, but its not too bad.

The Mummy Returns

The sequel to one of my favourite movies of last year sort of snuck in under my early warning movie radar – I only heard about it a few weeks before it was due to come out. This is, of course, a good thing, because it means you’re not sitting there saying, “damn, I just wish this movie would come out already”.

So, at the first available opportunity, I bustled myself off to see The Mummy Returns, to catch Rick and Evelyn O’Connell (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz), comic relief Evelyn’s brother played by John Hannah, and the awesome character Ardeth Bay, played by Oded Fehr. Judging from the title, it is not unreasonable to assume that this movie would also involve some Egyptian Mummy action – which it does.

The movie starts out on location in Egypt, which leads to some pretty cool looking scenery of the pyramids, and lots of sand. Probably helps keep the set costs down, because they can just drop sand over everything. We’re back several squillion years ago, following the exploits of the new character: the Scorpion King, played by It-Doesn’t-Matter-Who-You-Are The Rock (of WWF fame), who does a pretty good job of standing up, yelling loudly, and beating people up, which he is eminently qualified for. The Scorpion King is doing fairly normal early king stuff, wandering around trying to conquer people and generally laying the smack down. However, he is defeated, and sells his soul to the Egyptian god Anubis in return for a few meagre victories.

So his soul is gone, and there’s the usual prophecies that are setting the scene for his return. In the background though, we’ve got a bunch of crazies – people that want to resurrect Imhotep (who we will rememeber as the Billy Zane-looking dude who wreaked havoc in the first movie), so he can challenge the Scorpion King in order to steal his army and, of course, take over the world.

Egyptologist supreme Evelyn is of course mixed up right in the middle of this, and drags in O’Connell and their new son, which results in a few funny scenes, and a few good action scenes. Fortunately for them, Oded Fehr – the cool black robe wearing, sword slinging, tattooed face guardian of the desert. The son is tied up in the conflict, and ends up getting kidnapped, which gives our hero Rick a chance to seriously get involved and lay down the law to these silly old dessicated bodies that keep waking up from the dead and getting in his way.

From there, its a pretty amusing romp around; interspersed with the same sort of funny behaviour of all the characters that you would know from the first one. There’s some exceptionally predictable stuff that happens towards the end of the movie, but it doesn’t ruin it or anything.

Overall, a good fun action romp. My only complaint was a bit of CG at the end where they digitally created and animated The Rock, which made him look pretty cheap and cheesy. Aside from that, the rest of the CG was excellent. Great scenery and backdrops, well created buildings and scenes from ancient Egypt and some top battle scenes. Definitely something to kick back to, turn the brain off, and soak up the gunfire and fisticuffs.

15 Minutes

I got called up out of the blue on one Saturday night and asked at the last minute if I wanted to come along and catch the movie 15 Minutes. Being almost a fully fledged nerd, I wasn’t doing anything that couldn’t be interrupted, and I’m usually ready at a moments notice to do anything, so I jumped at the opportunity to get away from the computer for a few hours (even if it was simply replacing one screen for another).

I basically had no idea what this movie was about – in fact, I hadn’t heard of it at all. As I was walking out the door, I had a brief conversation with my brother about it, and he gave me a quick overview, which turned out to be mostly inaccurate anyway. So, for the first time I can remember, I was going to see a movie that I not only hadn’t seen the trailer for, but I knew more or less nothing about.

The effect this had, I think, turned out to be just as interesting as the movie itself. Not knowing what you’re about to watch in a cinema is a singularly interesting experience – you’ve got no idea where the plot is going, no foresight for particular scenes – nothing. A few days earlier, I had seen Tomcats, a childish comedy movie, for which I had seen a making-of special on Foxtel earlier. This special, of course, contained a lot of the funny scenes and jokes, which gave away not only heaps of the plot, but many of the scenes that would otherwise have been much funnier if I was watching them in the movie.

Anyway, I digress, but needless to say I will be exploring this whole new world I’ve discovered of seeing movies without knowing anything about them. Obviously, if you are interested in pursuing a similar philosophy, I recommend that you stop reading this post… now.

The movie stars Robert De Niro as ye olde hero cop, a tough old schooler that New York knows as a celebrity due to frequent appearances on one of the local COPS/news programs. Edward Burns acts as a gun-toting fire marshall, and we end up with these two guys trying to solve a double homicide. The audience, of course, already knows who is responsible, having seen it all happen at the start of the movie when the two bad guys are introduced – a duo comprised of a Czech, Emil, and a Russian, Oleg, who have come to the USA to try and retrieve their part of a bank heist.

Unfortunately, their old partner who they thought had all the cash has squandered it all, which leads to Emil going into a blind rage, brutally stabbing them to death, and then setting fire to their whole apartment. Oleg, in the meantime, is living out his dream of becoming a big-shot American film producer, and is merrily recording the event on his freshly stolen camcorder, loudly emblazoned with Sony logos. Enter cops, stage left.

What follows is the pursuit of the two perps around the city, the cops always one step behind. A bizarre scene unfolds as the criminals unleash a minor bloodbath, all captured on film by the soon-to-be-Spielberg Oleg. I could go futher into the details of the plot – which I found quite interesting – but I won’t, because you should go and see it.

Essentially though, the focus of the movie is, I thought, a fairly harsh criticism of the American press and legal system. The press get slammed because of its blatant sensationalism of violent crime and the fact that it adds another motive for crazy people to do crazy stuff – so they can get on TV and become famous. And then the legal system, because it makes it too easy for said people to escape with light sentences by claiming insanity.

Overall, I found it a pretty good movie; as mentioned it was an extremely refreshing way for me to see a movie, without knowing anything about it. Additionally, it was an interesting storyline, which was well executed by the actors, and one that brought up some important points about issues that cause a lot of strife all over the world.

Comments!

Thanks to cold, the Triumph ninja of uberness, I’ve figured out how to add in comment support to this site. It won’t work in the normal AusGamers forum manner in that its not going to be a forum – ie, you can’t start new threads. Basically, its limited to discussing posts that are already here. There’s plenty of other forums out there, and I don’t feel another will benefit anyone. Hopefully though we’ll get some interesting chats happening here. Please note that this will be closely moderated and is not intended for chatting – the QGL forum is the place to go for that slaw.

General Updates

A long time has passed since the last update – pretty slack, eh! A lot has happened since then; I’ve seen many things that deserve writing about; maybe I’ll get around to it, maybe I won’t. Probably the most important thing is that I have finished working at WebCentral and have moved onto AusGamers work full-time. This is due primarily to the takeover of the Wireplay services, Wireplay of course being Telstra’s gaming division. This promises to be fun, exciting, and a lot of hard work.

Something else that has occured since was CPL Pacific, the biggest and most expensive gaming event to happen on Australian shores. This was a pseudo-success, most gamers had a blast but there were a few issues that cropped up that caused some grief to some people. All a learning experience for LAN organisers of Australia though.

I’ve just made a few updates to the site; cleaned out a lot of extraneous pictures from my SF trip and uploaded a few other interesting tidbits around the place. More content will be forthcoming shortly!

The Watcher

The Watcher, starring Keanu Reeves, James Spader, Marisa Tomei, and Ernie Hudson. I was a bit dubious about it and only saw it due to external outside influences (stagrrr).

The plot opens in a massively cliched style, ye olde burnt-out cop living life on the edge, all alone in a dirty apartement, his only friend a gun. He’s not alcoholic, BUT is addicted to painkillers or migraine pills or something, so basically, he’s just like every other burnt out cop, except not cool like Bruce Willis or Arnie.

Of course, he can’t be a burnt-out suicidal cop without something in his life that had gone horribly wrong. Extremely predictably, its the old “bad guys killed his girlfriend” plot, which then develops into the “serial killer haunting the one cop” plot. There’s the obligatory deaths of a few characters to throw the cops into a hunting frenzy.

Marisa Tomei, who stars as a Plot Device, is crudely dragged into the movie as the typical New Girlfriend, and as you might expect ends up in danger.

In fact, I thought this movie was so bad, I couldn’t be bothered writing anything else except half-assed little snipes.

Keanu Reeves was pretty boring; his character was shallow and just.. boring – at no time was there any sort of terror inspired by his performance or character. Something else that bugged me was the starting theme with Keanu dancing around with some guns – Dragula, by Rob Zombie. Straight away I got the impression of Matrix-ness, which was further enhanced with Keanu’s frequent black leather trenchcoat appareil and a chase across a dark rooftop.

Overall, the whole thing was just too stupid – my taste in movies is pretty simple and I usually like movies that stick to the same sort of formula, but there was really nothing good at all to say about this. No good effects, no good acting, boring plot, uninspiring and totally unoriginal characters and a weak ending made this pretty much a waste of money.

Men of Honor

Went and saw Men of Honor the other day, mainly because I was bored rather than a genuine desire to actually see this movie.

Starring Robert de Niro (yeh, he’s still alive!) and Cuba Gooding, Jr, Men of Honor is the Hollywood-ised version of the story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American US Navy Diver, and the first black guy to make it to the rank of Master Chief.

It starts out fairly predictably, with Cuba being smacked around in an old-school racist way, a theme which perpetuates throughout the entire movie. Its amazing to see how much bullshit that non-white people had to absorb way back before (most of) humanity evolved to the point where they started treating people equally. I basically spent the first part of the movie going, “man, all these people are racist assholes”, which is obviously what I was supposed to be doing.

The story itself is pretty interesting – considering it iss true, its good testament to the human spirit and how much ass-kicking people can do when they’re motivated, even when they’re surrounded by the harshest of conditions. The US Naval Institute has a brief overview of his life, as well as an excerpt from a book (I think).

Being a true story, its pretty easy to guess how the plot goes. I thought the execution of the story was a little clumsy; it seemed to be a bit disjointed with different bits segmented and glued together. I guess that might have been the aim though; its not really a normal story but rather a type of documentary to cover the more interesting bits of Brashear’s life. If you’ve got Foxtel, you’ll see on the movie channel the dude actually interviewing Brashear, who gives out some tidbits of what he thought of the movie.

If you’re after a good story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, this is a good thing to see. I thought the ‘Men of Honor’ title was somewhat misplaced; at MOST there were three guys in that movie with any sort of honor, the rest of them being portrayed primarily as racist lusers.