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/

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: 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/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Hunger Games (2012)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native rating: 7.4/10.

…. That was Elizabeth Banks?!?
The same director as Pleasantville?

Anyway, this movie was pretty awesome. I thought it was just going to be Battale Royale (with cheese), but it was more like the movie Live! (2007) combined with Battle Royale (2000), both of which I rate 8/10.  Combine the two together, and we have a 9/10 movie.

Battle Royale lacked the societal commentary & relevancy, and Live! lacked the awesome technology-driven futuristic deathmatch. This combined both.

Glad to see it’s a trilogy… Not having read the books, it’s cool to wonder what will happen next. It’s not cool to have to wait years, though.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Three Stooges (2012) [The 3 Stooges remake]

5/5 stars, 9/10 from both of us.

Native rating was much lower: 5.3/10, 3.5/5 stars (3.7 Netflix-guess for us).

This is THE surprise of the year for us.

Two conditions helped create this situation:
1) We lack the hate everyone else has for remakes. Remakes are a way to get more, a way to see things through another view point. They’re no more objectionable than cover songs (and I own many tributes albums).
2) We love the Three Stooges. Even Carolyn. Yes. She’s a girl who loves Three Stooges.

It helps that this was by “Made In Georgia” (georgia.org). That explains the level of awesome here.  They also did American Reunion, Archer, Zombieland, The Walking Dead, Ugly Americans, Wanderlust, Footloose (remake), Due Date, Dumb And Dumberer, Road Trip, Ron Ronnie Run, Scream 2, Camilla, The Signal, & Contagion.

But to be fair, they also did X-Men:The Last Stand, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Van Wilder 3 (which I think is actually #0, the prequel)..
Our first thought was: LOW expectations, this is going to be awful, especially the actor they picked for Moe.

BUT WAIT! LARRY DAVID as Sister Mary-Mengele, the bitchy nun?

Ridiculously-hot Sophia Vergara as the main female character?

Brian Doyle-Murray (Captain K’Nuckles from Flapjack, also in Motorcity) — finally getting to see his face after hearing all of his voice work.

The Jersey Shore cast? ANOTHER UNEXPECTED! They actually made the movie better!. Seriously — who the fuck could predict this shit in a million years? The main way they make it get better is you get to see Moe slap the shit out of all the annoying Jersey Shore people.

We had thought slapstick was pretty much bottomed out by these guys, sent off to die in a manner similar to the demise of vaudeville & the like. Glad to see it can still be done, and done well.

The backstory of them as babies & as 10 year olds was great!

The orphanage plot that drove the movie may as well have been straight out of the Nintendo game (which I loved, and was one of my favorite Nintendo games as a teen, and it had speech, which was rare for Nintendo).

All in all, it was extremely faithful to the original, and every bit as funny. And it was updated to the modern era without the many sacrifices that often happen when this is done (for example with the 2012ish Smurfs movie).

The only other person we know who saw this also agrees: It’s the funniest movie this year besides Wanderlust. Yes, I laughed way harder than during American Reunion, which was also great.

Go figure. SURPRISE OF THE YEAR.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383010/