Sunday, April 04, 2004

A Fistful of Reviews

I've put off reviewing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for good reason.
It's rather difficult to quantify. Or to expalin in simple terms.
Under Michel Gondry's direction, Charlie Kaufman's script breathes vibrant life into the inner turmoil we feel when a relationship goes awry. From there, it takes us on a journey through memory and perception to reveal truths about the human condition and what love really is.
Joel Barrish (Jim Carrey, looking sad, disheveled and trod upon) is coming off a bad relationship and heads out to the frozen beaches of Montauk in a fit of desperation. There, he meets Clementine (Kate Winslet), a free spirited girl with day-glo hair. The two of them strike up a conversation, kind of sort of maybe hit it off, and in a roundabout way end up falling in love.

Cut to a year later, and things aren't so good. Clementine and Joel had a fight, and Joel finds out she's had all of her memories of him erased at a business called Lacuna, Inc. Joel decides he wants Clementine out of his head, but changes his mind mid-procedure and can't wake up. So, he decides to hide his love for her deep in his memory where the Lacuna technicians can't find it.
If this sounds like a load of horseshit, you're really missing out on one of the most insightful movies I've ever seen. To explain any more would give too much away. Dammit, like I's hard to quantify this movie.

Touching the Void was really sold to me on the strength of its sparse, tense trailer. I'd never read the book, knew next to nothing about the story and really didn't know what to expect.
Needless to say, Hollywood cannot come up with a story this wild, fraught with peril or amazing. No one would ever believe it.

Two English mountain climbers set out to conquer an untouched peak in Peru. Bad things happened. Really, really bad things.
Director Kevin MacDonald mixes interview footage with the real participants along with dramatic recreations filmed both on the actual mountain the climbers travelled to and on location in the alps. Nature is a mean, nasty bitch and there's a reason why I don't climb up mountains.

This film is one of the most harrowing tales of survival I've been exposed to, and I know for a fact that my ass would NOT have gotten off that mountain alive. If you don't get a chance to see it in the theater, get out and rent it June 15. And prepare to cringe.

If you look at any movie news sites at all, chances are you've seen gushing hype about Hellboy. Everyone at CHUD loved it. AICN seems eager to collectively suckle on Guillermo del Toro's manmeat. There's so much damn love for this movie, you'd think it would immediately set records.
Well, it's good, but it's not THAT damn good.

Based on the quirky indy horror comics by Mike Mignola, super genius, Hellboy manages to capture most of the essence of the comic without being able to match its stark, chiaroscuro artwork.

The titular hero is a demon captured by Allied forces at the close of World War II and raised by a super-secret governemnt agency called the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Joined by a number of highly trained government operatives (read: cannon fodder) and a pair of fellow freaks, Abe Sapien (a fishlike humanoid played by Doug Jones and voiced by David Hyde Pierce) and Liz Sherman (a pyrokinetic, angst-ridden girl played by Selma Blair).

Once you wrap your mind around that, you have to accept the plot: Nazi holdovers from WWII and Rasputin are attempting to summon demonic tentacley things to earth to lay waste to mankind. Hey, it's based on a comic book. Just accept it and move on.

Honestly, this movie begs for a sequel. If not only to flesh out the characters, to flesh out the universe they inhabit. You're forced to take a lot on face value, and it's gonna be difficult for the majority of the moviegoing public to get it all. Fanboys, on the other hand, might have trouble controlling themselves...much like the dorktron who was sitting to my right at the showing I went to.
So, get on it, Hollywood. Sequel. Yesterday even!

Walking Tall is not a movie for people who think. Or expect plot. Or care about acting.

It's a loose remake of the hicksploitation classic. With the Rock.
If you need to know more, this ain't the movie for you.

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