Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie Review - Fortress (1985)

This delightful little tale is a class example of a story that inspires children. As a parent, this movie is for you if you want to:

*Have scenes with the teacher disrobing in front of her student to swim in a cave.

*Have repeated double entendres from the teacher and others involving the use of spears.

*Teach that children and teachers should lie to law enforcement.

*It is an acceptable form of revenge to cut the beating heart out of your kidnapper and display it in a pickle jar at the back of your classroom.

However, aside from the terrible acting, terrible script, terrible characters and supremely predictable plot, there are some very nice shots of Australia.

Oh. Right. I should say something about what the movie is about. A teacher and 9 students are kidnapped by four insane guys who bring them to a cave and leave them down there alone while they slide a rock into the cave. They light a magic fire that runs on magic fuel while Teacher and Author Avatar Young Boy go to find a way out. Teacher disrobes in front of student who does not seem to mind him not looking away (not reacting at all really) and then swims out. They traipse through the wilderness and get to civilization where the bad guys are waiting. The bad guys then foolishly lock them alone again in a barn, only now they send in one guard who is trapped and accidentally shot. The kids then go to the wilderness and create a fortress with sharp sticks. In a brief struggle, the bad guys end up dead. At the end, the students and teacher are singing songs (there are a LOT of songs in this movie) and the police ask about irregularities in the body. The teacher says, "are you arresting us?" The police inspector says, "No." "Then shut up and mind your own business!"

The movie ends showing a human heart in a pickle jar.

It does, however, have a nice lord of the flies scene in which small children, big children and teacher are spearing a bad guy to death and enjoying it.

Fun for the whole family really.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Movie: The Fantastic Mr. Fox

This movie is based on a 40 page book by Roald Dahl.. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The basic plot is about a fox that lives with his family and promises to 'go straight' when they have kids. He does that for a while but decides to take on last job where he robs three farmers. This causes problems for all of the animals and the farmers psychotically try to kill them all. Mr. Fox must get them out of trouble.

The thing about the animation and the script is the general feel of the movie. It is unique and a thorough pleasure to watch. The dialog is well written as is the pacing. Small children and adults should enjoy this. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Movie: 2012

2012 was a mess, but it wasn’t as bad of a mess as I expected. Normally I would not have seen this movie in the first place, both from the bad reviews I read of it and because of the “Killer Ice” in “The Day After Tomorrow” by the same director. When Ice chases people down corridors it is pretty ridiculous. So obviously I am not unbiased on this. This is actually worse; since I’m not really a fan of the Disaster Genre, or a fan of movies that exist for Special Effects. I mean, what’s the point? Do you want pretty things on screen or explosions? Well sure, I like explosions but its generally the context of the explosions and the story that matters to me. After all an explosion affecting a children’s hospital is a lot different than the evil alien spaceship.

The reason I don’t generally like disaster movies is because to me they’re the same thing as those people who slow down in the opposite lane of traffic to rubber neck at an accident. I HATE those people. How, exactly, does hoards and hoards of people dying constitute something artful and uplifting? Indeed, you could make more of an argument that horror decries the dangers of evil more than a disaster flick. Of course, the trope of a disaster movie is that it tries to show the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. I admit, I like this, a lot. And in that context, 2012 has some interesting things to say.

As a fit of destruction over and over again, it is utter rubbish. As a profound statement on the greed and disgusting behavior that humanity often exhibits, it is excellent. Thus, while I despise the genre, and the marketed purpose of the movie, it managed to have some winning points in spite of itself.

The basic premise of the movie is that secret Killer Nutrino Particles are heating up the Earth’s core to the point that it moves things around. The director decided to one up himself even more by pretending that science doesn’t even matter (like it ‘kind of did’ in the Day after tomorrow) and just say that India and China can move 2300 miles in one minute…just cause. Lots of people die. The heroes scatter from place to place trying to not die. They go to the secret location of the arcs and get on board. IE, pretty much the plot of Independence Day + Day After Tomorrow. This is their bastard step child.

The thing I like about the movie, however, is that the ‘lottery’ that takes place in Deep Impact is shown as the farce that it is. There is no lottery. There is no ‘best and the brightest’. They sold seats on the Humanity Gets to Survive boat…to rich people. Now, the movie brings up an interesting point. You can’t fund a multi trillion dollar project secretly using public funds. See, there are these things called laws, and you can’t move large amounts of money secretly without people noticing. Private people can. I find it interesting that they get the finance aspect right and the science so totally wrong and ridiculous.

But whatever.