Sunday, April 19, 2009

Recent Movies Taken In

Seen several movies since the year began... figured it was time to talk about 'em...

First... "The Watchmen", a much ballyhooed adaptation of the classic graphic novel from the mid 80s... 1986, I think. The comic was so beloved and heralded, it ushered in a new, darker tone of comics across the board, and still remains the only graphic novel among Time Magazine's 100 Best Books of Like, Ever, or whatever they call the list.

I knew very little about this storyline to begin with, and rather than rush out to Barnes & Noble or Target and buy it for $20, then try to read it and absorb it all in a matter of days, I just figured I'd go see it, storyline unbeknownst. Or at least, not knownst to me. It would make me understand what Harry Potter movie goers go through when they haven't read the book.

The movie was... well, weird. I can understand why people who love the comic maybe wouldn't like it, as its always hard to translate certain things to screen via special effects when you can pretty much make anything happen on paper and make it look good. I can also understand, though, when I hear people say that this movie was about as good as you are going to get when adapting the book itself... I flipped through the graphic novel a few days later, and really, some of the dialogue is exactly the same.

To me, there were two stars of this movie... one was Jeffery Dean Morgan, who became famous for being Denny in "Grey's Anatomy". I always liked the guy in that show, and as the anti-hero The Comedian, he's just awesome. Got just the rough and tumble, careless personality and look that the character seemed to require.

The other bright spot? Jackie Earle Haley, playing Rorschach, the shape-shifting mask wearing guy. His voice is gravely, his words are dark and to me, he ends up being the best part of the entire feature. Also pretty good is Patrick Wilson (The Nite Owl) and Malin Akermin (Silk Spectre II). The names are a little oddball, if anything.

The NOT star of the show? Billy Crudup, who I'll forever know as Russell, the lead singer of Swampwater, plays Dr. Manhattan, and likes to be naked. Alot. I mean alot alot. And he's blue. So there was a whole lot of blue wang going on in this film. Its like a train wreck, really... you can't look at it. But you still end up looking at it, mortified, horrified and bewildered, all at once. Such is "The Watchmen." Totally Rated R for boobage, language, violence and lots of blue wang.

Another film The Lovely Steph Leann and I went to see was "Race to Witch Mountain", starring my boy The Rock. Well, he kinda goes by Dwayne Johnson now, having dropped "The Rock" nickname, but really, who is he kidding? He'll always be The Rock. The movie poster stood behind the box office at The Happiest Place in the Mall for a month, and when guests come in, I'd hear them mention things like, "Have you heard about that Witch Mountain movie?" "What movie?" "You know, the one The Rock is in?"

Never saw the first two, "Escape to Witch Mountain" or "Return from Witch Mountain", and really, until fairly recently, I didn't even know much about what they were about... I guess I kept thinking "Man from Snowy River" and expected horses and cowboys and such... but nay nay, this was all sci-fi.

The plot is simple... two aliens crash to Earth, and are looking for their missing spaceship. The aliens are kids, and are being tracked by a bounty hunter, seeking to stop them from getting what they are after. The kids get into The Rock's cab, cause he's a cab driver, and literally, the race to save the world begins.

This movie is everything you think it would be, and nothing more. Its got action, its got jokes, its got a pretty good story and such... it doesn't think too hard, it doesn't ask you to believe too much or suspend too much disbelief, other than whats already suspended... I liked it alot. It's a silly popcorn movie that was worth the price. Rated PG with nary a trace of language, and only alien violence.

Not the trailer to the movie... but a clip from The Rock's storied WWE career...

A couple of days ago we saw "Sunshine Cleaning". This was one I had been waiting on, as the previews looked wonderful and it helps that I'm in love with Amy Adams. Amy plays Rose Lorkowski, a 30 something woman who's life hasn't turned out like she hoped. Rose is not making much money, her son is a problem child, and she's having an affair with a guy that she knows down deep will never leave his wife. She's a maid for a maid service, and realizes that her life has really hit a wall when she ends up cleaning a house for someone she went to high school with.

Her sister Norah isn't faring much better, having just been fired and spends her nights being lazy and amounting to very little. Rose gets a tip, though, about crime scene cleanups... being the girl that goes in, cleans up the blood and guts after the bodies are removed, and Sunshine Cleaning is born when Norah is pulled in.

Ya know, The Goddess ain't gettin' any younger. It might be sooner than later that Amy Adams ascends to that top spot... she's already becoming one of my favorite actresses, and in a very tiny group of actors that make me say, "I'll go see her next movie, whatever it is."

I loved this movie in every possible way. It was charming, it was fun and there aren't a thousand subplots to try and tie up at the end. Some of the cliched stuff that you think would happen in a movie like this never does, which was refreshing, and Rose is such a lovable character that you root for her the entire time--and its heartbreaking when the major "event" happens that seems to ruin everything late in the movie. You even end up really liking Norah, despite some of the stupid things she does. What I also loved about this movie is it doesnt' feel the need to resolve every little issue with a Hollywood happy ending. Some things are... well, just done when they are done. Rated R for language and some Amy Adams underwear shots.

When The Lovely Steph Leann and I were at the movies Friday night, I commented on silliness of the catch-phrase movie titles... Steven Seagel and Jean-Claude Van Damme were the worst about this... "Hard to Kill" or "Sudden Death" or "Out for Justice" were some examples. I remember when Jenn Mullturp and I went to see "Titanic" together in early 1997, and they showed the previews for this new Christian Slater movie coming out... "Hard Rain". Originally called "The Flood", a far superior title in my estimation, when the title card came up, I thought Jennifer was going to absolutely pass out from laughter. I had to calm her down to keep her from distracting other patrons of the theater.

That being said, "State of Play", despite its stupid title, was excellent. Absolutely excellent. The all star cast was just part of it--Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren--when many times "all star casts" just don't work, especially in political thrillers (See "Lions for Lambs". Or better yet, don't).

Just kicks off immediately with a couple of deaths that seem unrelated, which of course, you know have to be related somehow... but what drives this movie is Crowe, who is great as a reporter who just wants to dig for the truth, no matter where it takes him, including taking him to his friend, Congressman Collins, played by a surprisingly good Affleck. Rachel McAdams is Della Frye, a blogger for Crowe's newpaper and who resists learning from Crowe--but ends up assisting him all the same. And thankfully, there wasn't a "Peacemaker" ending, that being a pretty good movie ruining by a sudden romantic gesture between its two leads when nothing during the movie was leading to that.

The twists kept coming, the dialogue was sharp, the humor was in-line and the plot, though thick, was very, very good. I always look at The Lovely Steph Leann as the credits begin to roll and ask, "How did you like it?" This time, I looked at her, and said, "I really liked that. How about you?" Rated PG-13 for language and violence.

And because its my blog...

This is Goldberg's debut on WWE, after WCW shut down. The spear is fabulous, and The Rock sells it perfectly--he was never a great wrestler, but he was the epitome of an entertainer.

I always thought that The Lovely Steph Leann should have let me have wrestlers entrance music at the wedding. Mikey Nipp could have run down to Motorhead's "The Game", and Wook-Fu could have totally entered in under Goldberg's music, then stood in the smoke and blew smoke out. It would have... well, Rocked.


  1. Thanks for the movie reviews. I too hit up State of Play this wknd and enjoyed it immensely. Though I noticed you didn't mention Jason Bateman. He was a great surprise addition in my opinion and played slick/slimy like a pro.
    Cracked me up with the "blue wang" comments.
    Glad to hear positive things about Sunshine Cleaning. It's on the list, but I might wait for it on DVD.

  2. The Rock AND Goldberg! Be still my beating heart.


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