Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movie time!

I've fallen a bit behind with film reviews (such as they are) lately, and I've got a bit of a backlog, so without further ado, let's get on with them.

From Hell
I approached this film with caution, since I know it's been disowned by comic-book legend Alan Moore, who wrote the original graphic novel on which it is based. He was also the man behind The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta, and he has also disowned those two films too. So it's safe to say that this man believes film-makers are doing a disservice to his stories. That said, I am a sucker for Johnny Depp films, even ones in which he adopts dodgy Cockney accents. At least his Cockney wasn't as bad as Heather Graham's Irish attempt. Who knew we had travelled such a short distance from the days of Dick Van Dyke as the chimney sweep? I like Jack the Ripper tales, though, and as it happens I don't think this was too bad. Opium wasn't Depp's only addiction, and when he fell for Graham's whore, I couldn't help but wonder whether absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. This one gets a throat-slashing 62 points.

Hercules in New York
It would be unfair to score this since I really saw only 20 minutes or so over lunch the other day. This is Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie role, and he is so fresh-faced that it's hard to believe that he had even started shaving. This is unmissable if you get the chance. So terribly bad that it's great. In the scenes I saw, Arnie, playing Greek god Hercules, demonstrated his all-round prowess to a New York athletics team, before going off for a horse-and-carriage ride through Central Park with the daughter of the team's coach. Meanwhile, a European brown bear escapes from the zoo and finds its way into the park, whereupon Arnie wrestles and boxes the beats to the ground, thankfully subduing rather than killing it (not like that cunt from Metallica, who goes shooting bears in Russia for fun). The great thing about the bear scene, which takes place after dinner one autumn evening, is that it moves from dead-of-night-darkness to midday daylight. Fucking insane! This fish-out-of-water tale is really the forerunner of Borat, but 30 years earlier. Not scored.

Historias Mínimas (Minimal Stories)
From the maker of Bombón El Perro comes another wonderful little flick. I enjoyed this much more than Bombón because I wasn't expecting danger at every turn. It's a story of three folk from the same small Patagonian town heading to the city, some 200 miles away, for various reasons. There's barely a word more suitable for this than just "delightful". In the best possible way. Not much happens really for us as viewers; the journey here is all about the characters. I can't say fairer than 75 for this one.

Night Watch
This is currently in rotation on Film 4 in the UK, so if vampires are your thing, why not check it out? It's a Russian movie, apparently the first in a trilogy, and it was actually quite enjoyable. Not wholly original, though, since it clearly draws a lot of influence from both the Blade and Highlander franchises. What I will say, though, is that it is über-fucking-stylish. Also, I watch quite a lot of subtitled movies, and this one absolutely takes the cake for its subtitling. The humble text at the bottom of the screen almost becomes a character in its own right: coloured red it shifts in the water like the blood flowing from a child's nose; when a computer geek talks, the letters appear on screen one word at a time, as though being typed; when someone shouts, the words grow to half the size of the screen; when a character gasps, the words shimmer and flutter. They also sit on a plane somewhere within the action, so a person might walk past and wipe the words away as they move. The subtitling in this movie is great. And the movie's okay, too. A blood-sucking 64 out of 100.

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Blogger Tanya said...

I watched From Hell on Friday night on telly. I like Johnny Depp movies. Heather Graham was a bit of a let down, I must say. The accent. Her acting. The fact that she was the only one out of the prostitutes who was pretty, when in reality they were all plain.

28 November, 2006 14:36  
Blogger Sheamus the... said...

From Hell i watched in unstable veiwing environment so my taste might be tainted. NIght Watch I really enjoyed. A dear friend of mine who lives in Serbia loved this one and highly recommended it to me. I think I lean towards your review but I am looking forward to the sequels and American remake.

28 November, 2006 15:27  
Blogger Kate said...

I liked From Hell, but agree about Heather Graham's accent. It wasn't until her origins were referred to that I realisd she was supposed to be Irish.

28 November, 2006 16:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must see Night Watch now just for the subtitles.

Never even heard of AS's Hercules in New York. Conan, yes. Loved ?conana.

I am a mega-fan of From Hell. Love it love it love it. One of my very favourites. Love the sets, didn't notice accents at all. I am a bit of a Ripperologist at least when I was a kid, who wasn't?

I think the extras on this dvd, a whole extra dvd in my set...are worth the purchase alone. The dvd extras get 100 out of 100. Several interviews with ripperologists, make up tours, the brothers discussing why they would make a movie about urban violence, hos and corruption, and a short on the possibilities that the Ripper was an abortionist from Montreal Canada.

28 November, 2006 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen 'From Hell' I liked it. Prob b/c I too am a sap for Depp!

28 November, 2006 17:55  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Tanya: Yeah, that's when I saw it, too. Heather was a bit of a letdown, but then she's no great actor, let's be fair. She's had her moments -- namely Boogie Nights and those few episodes of Scrubs; anything else of any value is a bonus, I guess. Surprised you didn't mentione whether or not you've seen Night Watch. i know you have a thing for vampires...

Sheamus: Not another bloody American remake, surely to God?!?!?!?! Oh, well, I guess it had to happen.

Kate: I know! I didn't realize she was Irish, and then you'd get this occasional brogue, and you'd go, "Huh?"

Candy: You really must. It's great for the subtitling. I mean, it's not all the time like that, obviously, cos that would be too distracting, but it's enough to be a really cool element that's integral to the film. You love From Hell, huh? I guess we Brits can spot those dodgy English accents, just as you North Americans can spot a Brit pretender. The extras sound really interesting. It's definitely a brilliant subject, which seems almost impossible to fuck up.

28 November, 2006 17:57  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

LDBug: I used to think Depp being in a film was a sure sign it would be worth a couple of hours. I don't think that's quite so true now, but it's still a better bet than most other actors' work!

28 November, 2006 17:58  
Blogger Will said...

Saw Nightwatch on Sunday - you're right about the subtitling, it's goddamn awesome.

28 November, 2006 18:29  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i really want to see nightwatch and now i'm sold

and you know how i love johnny depp... adding that to my netflix as we speak... as well as bombon and historias minimas

thanks for the great reviews!

28 November, 2006 19:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I'm pissed you get to watch so many movies. Second of all I'm pissed I missed the fortune cookie thing.

I'm pissed!

29 November, 2006 04:07  
Blogger Tanya said...

Haven't seen Night Watch so I have placed it on my DVD list!!!

29 November, 2006 09:20  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Will: I know. It's great to see a director take control of even that part of the film-making process.

Martha: How long is your Netflix queue, just out of interest?

Lee: I love watching movies, what can I tell ya? I might be able to rustle up a fortune if you want one...

Tanya: Excellent. Or just watch it on Film 4 on Thursday night...

29 November, 2006 11:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a fortune please...if it's a good one that is. And if it ain't, make one up. ;)

29 November, 2006 14:29  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Lee: Yours is cool, I think. It says, "Success is a journey, not a destination." No lucky numbers, though, sorry.

29 November, 2006 14:35  
Blogger Tanya said...

My Film 4 went on the fraz once when I scanned the freeview jobbie. It still hasn't come back.

29 November, 2006 14:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh beauty! Thanks!

29 November, 2006 15:32  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Tanya: A-ha! That's not good, is it?

Lee: Glad you liked it, pet.

29 November, 2006 15:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you gave me a suggestion for an art piece not too long ago...do you remember what it was?

29 November, 2006 15:35  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Lee: umm, a badger's arse? That's the only one I remember...

29 November, 2006 15:48  
Blogger Milla said...

I loved Nightwatch. I like the dark, moody Russian and Eastern European cement-like faces of the actors, even the kid.

29 November, 2006 15:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh right...i'm a crackhead...gotta go reread that post.

BTW, as a fellow tattooed person, you might enjoy this. Too funny!

29 November, 2006 15:51  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Milla: That kid was spooky, wasn't he? It was a good, fun movie, for sure, if perhaps a little empty.

Lee: I guess that wasn't the answer you expected... Funny cartoon, though, thanks.

29 November, 2006 16:02  
Blogger Tanya said...

No. it's not good. *sigh*

29 November, 2006 16:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, nope...that was it. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. ;)

29 November, 2006 18:28  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Tanya: Guess it gets added to the films-to-rent list then.

Lee: I'm all shivery with anticipation now. Will we get to see it?

29 November, 2006 18:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I started to look for your post and quickly realized I had no idea what the original post was about...can you help me out with a link? I'm retarded.

29 November, 2006 19:09  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

my netflix que has a little more than a hundred it in it now... so i need to get on the ball


29 November, 2006 22:16  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Lee: Here it is, pet. Hope you enjoy revisiting it!

Martha: Omigod! Ours has, like, 23, which I fear is why they've slowed down a bit of sending stuff out. Not enough choice for them. But the recommended minimum is 20, so we're above that.

30 November, 2006 07:48  

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