VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: S1m0ne (2002)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: IMDB: 6.1/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars.

Watched this to see the remaining unwatched Andrew Niccol-directed movie, after really loving In Time, The Truman Show, and Gattaca. (Though I liked Lord Of War way less than the other 3.)

What a great post-modern idea: Computer-generated actors becoming popular without the public realizing it — and of course between when the movie came out and now, it’s happened in real life, at least once, specifically in Japan with a pop singer who turned out to be a computer-generated composite of several band members: http://gawker.com/5814822/japans-newest-pop-star-revealed-to-be-computer+generated-fake .

A great idea, but this movie didn’t explore the technosociological implications of the idea as much as I hoped. It was more about Al Pacino getting in over his head (“Say hello to my cgi friend!”), and how crazily the public can be easily manipulated. That made it not quite fulfill my own made-up internalized potential hope for what this movie should be (somethign I always advice against people having in the first place). Carolyn wasn’t bothered by that as much. Maybe I shouldn’t be.

Still a good movie.

Very interesting that Andrew Niccol married the woman who played Simone — who was not originally credited in the credits, leaving people to think she truly was computer-generated in the movie. (They were going to do it, but the Screen Actors’ Guild pressured them into not doing it, for fear that it would be the end of all actors, much like what the movie depicted.) This movie also has Catherine Keener (surprisingly playing a light, non-bitchy, warm person), Winona Ryder, and a way-younger Evan Rachel Wood.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258153/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Lazarus Project (2008)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.0/10.

Redemption.
Forgiveness.
A quite interesting movie that threw us for a loop not once, but twice.

The ultimate message is about if someone involved is in a murder, especially indirectly; It is that Maybe society should just let them get on with their life, instead of punishing them and making them feel the consequences of their crime for the rest of their life, making recidivism very likely by reducing their future choices. If you serve your time, you shouldn’t be forced into a lower caste. You should either get a life sentence, or not.

Also that the death sentence is a savage way to deal with things and not necessarily the best.¬†When your car stops working correctly, you don’t destroy it to keep it from hurting you again–You fix it.

Laws also need to be applied properly. If you didn’t pull the trigger, you’re not the murderer, and shouldn’t be treated as one for the rest of your life. Laws equivocating one action with another are not justice.

Ultimately, forgiveness is the message of this movie — one that’s lost to most of our society. Especially Texas, and especially conservative Christians.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464041/

TiMER (2009)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.2/10
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10
Clint seemed to like this more than Carolyn.
IMDB rating is 6.5/10.

Concept-wise, it’s like taking Sex & Death 101 and In Time and smashing them together!

TiMER may come off as a chick-flick, but is actually really philosophical. The presence of advanced technology {indistinguishable from magic} that doesn’t exist on *our* Earth completely changes the way things work. People get timers that count down to when they meet their true love. But only if they have a timer installed as well.

People hook up and find love in a completely different manner. The opening scene has the main character forcing her boyfriend to get a timer — and when he gets a countdown (while her’s still remains blank, because her true love hasn’t had one installed yet) … It’s instant dump-ville.

Technology taking over peoples’ life decisions is a common thing in our real-life present-day earth, but it’s much worse in this alternate earth!

This is a romantic sci-fi, but not as heavy on the comedy (or mystery/intrigue) as Sex & Death 101.

Destiny vs. freedom vs. technology.

Another movie that springs to mind (besides Sex & Death 101) is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, which also pits technology against love. But the role of fate isn’t nearly as much in the forefront in Eternal Sunshine as it ins in TiMER, although it is still present in Sunshine.

By the way, it’s written, directed, and starring mostly-nobodies — though the main girl was in the Buffy series. And it does NOT play out in a formulaic way. It breaks expectations, thus exceeding them.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1179794/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Audition (1999) (Japan)

3/5 stars from Clint, 2/5 stars from Carolyn.
5/10 from both of us.
7.3/10 from IMDB in general.

“Well… That escalated quickly.”

Not quite as hardcore of a movie as I was expecting from all the talk of this being one of the most traumatizing movies in all of cinema.

It was slow for my taste, and I didn’t care for it too much, except for the final “payoff” scene, which even then was not all that.

Saw, Hostel… You’ve been outdone, Audition. You being Japanese just made you more boring, not more profound.

The fake-out was decent, but only enough to redeem you back up to 5/10.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0235198/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

4/5 stars from both of us.
7.6/10 from Clint (same as IMDB in general!)
8/10 from Carolyn.

Ultimately I was kind of disappointed with this one, given all the hype.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I just felt that the concept held more promise than the execution gave. This is usually true in many movies with unique concepts, but it hurt this for me… More than usual. There wasn’t nearly enough time spent on all the *other* monsters.

It felt rushed. It was too short. This story would have been better if it was fleshed out more: 2.5 hours instead of 1.5 hours. But oh, horror movies always have to be 1.5 hours!

This could have been a deeper story, with more epicness. Still a good movie. Still worth seeing. But I rank this as not as good as Joss Whedon’s average work.

The controlled environment definitely reminded me of The Hunger Games — but The Hunger Games had a much better societal commentary.

This seemed to start out too slow, then finish up too fast.

Pacing.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1259521/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The New Guy (2002)

5.5/10 on IMDB, but we give it 4/5 stars,
with 7/10 from Carolyn, and 7.6/10 from Clint.

“It was funny, but not spectacular,” says Carolyn.

I think this is one of the ultimate nerd-fantasy movies. “A high school senior [DJ Qualls] branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school [to impress girls like Eliza Dushku].”

We also have Zooey Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, and cameos by Tony Hawk, Kool Moe Dee, Vanilla Ice, Tommy Lee, David Hasselhoff, and Henry Rollins.

This is the only movie directed by its director, and the only non-TV movie written by its writer, who wrote for Growing Pains and currently writes Melissa & Joey, whatever that is. So it’s a movie primarily made by relative nobodies. It shows. It does not have a Hollywood sensibility to it.

They go the ridiculous route whenever possible — which is my preference for things. It’s almost cartoonish in its unrealisticness. This high school is about as realistic as Crowley High from Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil.

And that’s good. This story wouldn’t be nearly as funny or endearing if it was contrained by real-world realism. This is an idealists’ movie, and above all a ridiculous coming-of-age comedy: And that’s what helps make it good, and stand out as a unique movie worth seeing.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241760/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: In Time (2011)

5/5 stars from both of us, 9/10 from Clint, 9.6/10 from Carolyn.
6.6/10 on IMDB.

Written & director by the writer/director of The Truman Show and Lord Of War — who also directed Gattaca.

This movie wins based solely on its incredible concept — a world where everyone has a 1-year death-clock countdown starting at age 25, and the only currency used to buy things is time. More time to be alive.

People in the ghetto with one day left to live, struggling to earn another day. Muggers who steal your time. Rich people who have thousands of years of time. There’s a metaphor for Occupy Wall Street in this, and this movie also has some parallels to The Hunger Games: A future, freedom-crushing society that benefits some at the expense of others.

Like the real world. But with a currency based directly on consequences, rather than hiding behind the complication of dollars-and-cents currency.

Also, it’s neat to see Amanda Seyfried as more than just a ditzy blonde… Here she looks like a red-headed girl from Tron. Didn’t even realize it was her. She rocks the medium-red hair!
And Justin Timberlake has slowly become tolerable, which is in itself an utterly amazing feat.

In the end, never in my movie-watching life have I seen so much macroeconomic justice dispensed by two people. Yay.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/