13 January 2010

EDITORIAL - 2009 Musings & Looking Forward

School just started back up again, and thankfully, this being the first day and all, I have today and tomorrow (probably) to write and write and write for this blog. Here's hoping that goes over well.

So...2009...well, it was a OK year. More than anything, I would call this "the year of surprises." There were so many films that came out that surprised the frak out of me with how well they were. First and foremost, J.J. Abrams and his Star Trek movie; I freakin' LOVED it (as you can tell from my not very subtle review), and this is coming from a bloke who isn't all that fond of the series, except for three of the other movie installments. And then in August, first time director Neil Blomkamp delivered District 9, a flick shot in documentary style that completely blew me away with stellar performances and jaw-dropping visual effects in the department of fully animated character renderings. The only other movie this year to match that movie's effects would be the years-in-development Avatar. And Push, a superhero movie that made me fall head over shoes in love. The beauty of the visual eye, the actors, etc. all converged to make a fun, absolutely re-watchable action movie.

The horror genre surprised the hell out of me with My Bloody Valentine back in January (while at the same time going over old ground with Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), and Orphan in the summer, a movie that was far more intense and sophisticated than it had any right to be. There were falters (Friday the 13th, Sorority Row, The Fourth Kind; I hear The Unborn was pretty bad, but I still have yet to have the pleasure), as there always are. But overall, it really seemed like studios were trying to improve their products with more intelligent-ish scripts, sorta three-dimensional characters, and impressive direction (the key to any scare in cinematography, which results in atmosphere). And let's not forget, Paranormal Activity, a movie that perfectly echoes the chillingness of The Blair Witch Project...but is better!

2009 brought about a lot of diverse titles, it seems. My top films of the year (thus far) range from fantasy, sci-fi, horror, comedy, and action. There's only one superhero movie on my list (Watchmen), which is surprisingly, but in retrospect, superheroes weren't the craze last year.

There's still a good chunk of movies I need to see from 2009 before I can make official judgments, and the sad part is that, out of necessity, I'm probably going to have to watch 'em online. With the exception of one on this list, none have hit DVD and Imaginarium is the only one in the St. Paul/White Bear area (I hate buses, so there ain't any way I'm going to the Minneapolis Uptown theater).

1. Antichrist
2. The Road
3. The Hurt Locker

4. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

5. A Serious Man

6. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Out of all of them,
Antichrist is the one I'm looking forward to the most; Eric at Cannelton Critic found himself unable to recommend it, but still 'liked it'; and most of the reviews I've read support the general idea that it's a dark movie that will make you think, but disturbing on enough levels you're not sure what you just saw. So, me + movie = excited! The next film on my list of Must Sees is The Road, the long delayed-to-theaters adaptation of said novel. It had a one week theatrical release in my area, and thanks to finals at school, I was never able to catch it, and to hell if I'm waiting for DVD. Next up, a lot of good press for Nic Cage's Bad Lieutenant, so I'm psyched to see it. Doctor Parnassus is a intriguing film on my list, mainly because the premise sounds delicious and, of course, the whole bucketload of obstacles director Terry Gilliam had to overcome - one wants to see the final product. I don't particularly enjoy war movies, but The Hurt Locker has gotten some unanimously positive praise, so I figured that's worth a shot; and finally, never been a fans of the Coens, either, but I wager it's my duty. Oh, and I would also quite like to see the animated flick 9 and Fame before I make a year-end wrap up.

Now that 2009 is behind us, it's time to look to the future, because, after all, "it's where you and I will be living" (Plan 9 from Outer Space). Surprisingly, this year looks like it's going to have plenty of good titles to choose from, which is a nice change of pace from the unspectacular selection this year (aside from Star Trek & District 9, of course). What's coming up in 2010 I'm really super-duper-looking forward to:

The Book of Eli (15 January)
Comes out this Friday, and I will rush from school to see this post-apocalyptic action/adventure starring the always awesome Denzel Washington (Training Day), the drop-dead-gorgeous Mila Kunis (let's forget Max Payne, shall we?), and the spectacularly diverse Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, one of his finest). The premise sounds absolutely enticing: something about a mystical book that holds the key to survival, and only Eli can be in possession of it; Oldman's character doesn't seem to fond of that, and wants it for himself. Awesome, beautiful action ensues. Who doesn't like a good action movie, and furthermore, who doesn't like a film with Mila Kunis (again, Max Payne aside)? Good or bad, review-wise when the movie comes out, this is one ticket that's already been bought, and there ain't anything that's gonna stop me from seeing this beauty.

The Wolfman (12 February)
Poor Wolf Man. This re-imagining, by Jurassic Park III director Joe Johnston has been in post-production Hell for awhile. First reshoots were necessary for key parts of the movie, or character beats, what have you; and then there was a big thing about composer Danny Elfman being replaced by the guy who did the music for Underworld; and then something about editors - one thing after another. But finally - absolutely and truly finally - the movie's getting a release in a month, and I for sure will be one of the (probably few) people in the world who will see it, let alone really extremely excited for it. Granted, the action heavy trailer didn't make me have a viewer orgasm, but I'm still interested enough in this beauty and think it could actually end up being quite good. Or else I'm just a really optimistic person when it comes to monster movies.

A Couple of Dicks (26 February)
I refuse to call it Cop Out; I dig the title, but this is A Couple of Dicks, and it's meant to be that. Truth be told, the movie doesn't interest me that much. The very mention of Tracy Morgan irritates me, and when coupled with the audio clipping of his excruciatingly obnoxious voice, I trimmer. But this is also a Kevin Smith movie, and I'm a loyal fan to whatever he writes or directs (I even own Jersey Girl, mates), so my ticket was sold the moment his named was attached as director. Besides, it's also worth seeing to see how Smith as grown over the last 15 years or so as a director. And if nothing else, the almighty Bruce Willis (Live Free or Die Hard) is quite capable of delivering hilarious dialogue perfectly, so he'd, at least, be entertaining. (Trailer)

Piranha 3-D (19 March)
Looks like a blast. Honestly, it does. Plus, I'm starting to really get into this whole 3-D gimmick. My Bloody Valentine 3-D was extremely fun, and the 3-D was well utilized; The Final Destination was a horrid movie and the three dimensional effects majorly sucked; Avatar, well - unparalleled as far as 3-D technology is concerned. The movie looks like corny, slapstick fun; Airplane but with Piranhas. And additionally, how can any bloke in the world possibly deny seeing all the beautiful bikini-clad ladies onscreen - in 3 freakin' D? Richard Dreyfuss, famous for Jaws but not-so-famous for Poseidon, appears in this flick with a bunch of other unknowns, so that's a plus. Honestly, not much to say, other than that it looks like fun, and the final moments of the trailer are just horribly fan-freakin'tastic. So, yeah, I'll be in attendance. (Trailer)

Clash of the Titans (26 March)
Most anticipated movie of the year, by far. There's been about three trailers released, and every single one of 'em look amazing. Throw the everywhere-I-look-there-you-are Sam Worthington into the mix, and you're assured at least decent acting and kickassery. And then the massive amounts of monsters and battles that make up most of the trailers...boy gee wizz, do I feel like a kid in a candy store. I blame Avatar; my thrist to see giant monsters back on the big screen getting their desturctive habits displayed in the giant silver screen is just reaching gigantic proportions. For all I know, this might be extremely lame and boast a crappy story with crappy characters and its sole existence is to display above average visual effects, a la 10,000 B.C. But I don't think this. It looks like it has something resembling a half-decent story, and the action scenes look as awesome as every exhilerating moment of Live Free or Die Hard. Plus, this just might make make Greek myths cool again (at least moreso than Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief), and generate more interest not only in the old Harry Hamlin Clash of the Titans but mythology as well.

Iron Man 2 (7 May)
"I am Iron Man." Totally didn't expect that coming. Anyone else see that? No. Well, ladies and gents, that's some amazing writing. Co-written by director Favreau, and apparently actor Robert Downey, Iron Man 2 follows Tony Stark in the public eye after his shocking announcement, to the praise and the lawsuits that come with it. Meanwhile, there's a unpleasant Russian by the name of Whiplash (the overpraised Mickey Rourke) who is going to cause some trouble for Tony. In truth, I enjoyed Iron Man, but it doesn't lend itself for repeat viewings as well as other flicks, I believe - which is weird, because it was exceptionally written, directed, and acted. So I'm approaching Iron Man 2 with interest and respect (because of the first), but I simultaneously have trepidations that it may follow 'sequelitis' and be kinda crappy. I guess we'll see how it goes...

Robin Hood (14 May)
There's been plenty of Robin Hood movies, plenty of interpretations, and even a three-series run as a BBC show with moderate success. Now Ridley Scott & Russel Crowe are teaming up (again) to (hopefully) breath new life into the franchise, and make the definitive Robin Hood flick. I'm guessing no, but it's worth the hope.

The Last Airbender (2 July)
M. Night taking a crack at a production he not only didn't write himself, but is also a existing, established mega franchise. Kudos to the man, 'cuz he's got balls. I can't recall the specific movie, but sometime during the summer a trailer for The Last Airbender was attached (probably Revenge of the Fallen), and I can tell you right then, I was salivating. I needed to see this movie. It was so epic in scope. The music was awesome and got you pumped up. And then the long single shot coming from inside the little hut of his, going outside, and revealing the battalion of battleships firing on the monastery with a bunch of guys climbing the mountain. Simple in trailer presentation, but that little thinger made me fall in love instantaneously. I sure as hell will be seeing this gem on its first day of release. Looks freakin' awesome. And M. Night might be able to redeem himself for the piss-poor script & direction of The Happening.

Inception (16 July)
Christopher Nolan's follow up to The Dark Knight is shaping to be his next masterpiece. Tons of really cool sci-fi moments in the trailer, Leonardo DiCaprio looking as intense as he ever has, and really cool shots of a hallway fight that sorta reminds me of Neo vs. Smith in the first Matrix back in '99. Neither heaven or hell will prevent me from attending the midnight screening for this baby, which is really, really shrouded in secrecy. The details of Dark Knight and Revenge of the Sith were more forthcoming than this. I honestly haven't a clue what to expect. But I think this is going to be gargantuan. Let's just hope I have the necessary brain cells to understand what Nolan is saying with this flick.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (20 November)
I've followed the Potter franchise since it's inception in the U.S., from book to screen, and there's no way in freakin' Hell that I would skip/possibly miss out on this first installment of Harry's final adventure. Deathly Hallows, the book, was spectacular; especially the last 200 pages or so - and I can't wait to see how it's translated to screen. I'm still unsure of the 2-movie split; it makes sense, but at the same time, it sorta doesn't feel right. Perhaps the dramatic momentum will deplete - if not a lot, then it will, at least, impede a little bit. And after Half-Blood Prince, my faith in writer Steven Kloves has been shaken; it's hardly a secret that Order of the Phoenix (the movie) is arguably the best written installment of the franchise, and that featured a different writer. I understand that Kloves has written 7/8 of the Potter films, but if Half-Blood was any indication of what he chooses to be worthwhile plots and insignificant plots, than Deathly Hallows just might be in trouble. Nevertheless, I'll be there opening night.

1 comment:

連絡 said...