Archive | June 2011 RSS for this section

63- Green Lantern [2.5]

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers.

In watching Green Lantern, I was overwhelmed by how much the film got wrong as opposed to getting right. The film is the perfect embodiment of drastically over-budgeted CGI films with not an ounce of soul. Considering the scope of the source material, a large budget would be understandable in creating Oa and all the constructs, but just where did all that money go to? Perhaps Martin Campbell and crew could have used it to spend and additional few weeks getting a bearable performance out of Blake Lively.

I don’t believe Ryan Reynolds is at fault here. He plays what’s given to him with his usually douchey-charisma, and tries his best to make the most out of the script. Unfortunately, the film either got hacked away in editing or there wasn’t a good job done in fleshing out the structure. Characters appear for one scene that are suppose to have some emotional baring and then disappear for the entirety of the film, never to be mentioned again. Mark Sinestro is fantastic with what little he is given as Sinestro. (For some reason, that man was just born to play a villain.) He layers his performance with enough to be worthy of given award just for rising above this crap fest.

There is no conceivable way that Warner Brothers is going to return to this universe. Besides being a certified financial flop, the audiences turned away in droves because the filmmakers didn’t make a coherent, worthwhile film. No matter how hard WB wants a new franchise to replace Harry Potter, perhaps they should focus on the bare minimum requirements for making a good movie before considering multiple ones.

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62- X Men: First Class [7.0]

As the first class discovers, harnesses, and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe.

X Men: First Class succeeds in a fashion that Bryan Singer’s films never did, as the thematic elements that make the comic book characters so interesting are more subtlety dealt with than the manner in which Singer smashed them over your head. Sure, there are characters (literally) uncomfortable in their own skin, saying pride-oriented slogans (“Mutant and proud”), but First Class leans heavier on dealing with the question of superiority or inferiority in relation to a mutated species.

First Class is not without its cheesy moments, but its inherent to the source material. Thankfully, unlike so many other comic book films, the tone is played fairly straight and there isn’t a lot of winking at the audience at some of the more inherently sillier elements. The stand out performances belong to the two leads in Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. The film would collapse on itself without the strength of their dynamic, and thankfully, they manage to elevate the material. (The same can not be said of Zoe Kravitz, who can not act her way out of a box. Or any other object, I’d imagine)

Hopefully, Matthew Vaughn will revisit these characters and take them to a different decade, where other political and social issues could serve as a strong background for future films.

61- Super 8 [5.0]

In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

J.J. Abrams becomes so interested in trying to re-create the feel of 1980s Amblin films that he forgets he has to tell a story and make something of his own. Regardless of whether or not his incessant lens flares bother you, the trademark Abrams flaws are on display in Super 8: all mystery, with nothing to warrant care in the answer to what is being posed.

In a film such as this, a lot of the success or failure also falls on the child actors, and that–for the most part– may be the films saving grace. Both Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning are terrific in their respective roles. Riley Griffiths as Charles is tasked with cursing every few seconds, because we all remember the kid who couldn’t help but curse at every instance.

I count myself as a big fan of Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Perhaps he’s better suited working on projects with established canon instead of trying his hand at pure originals. Super 8 suffers most from not leaning too heavily in either homage or anything new.