After all these years.
After all these viewings.
It still reigns. Not as the best of its own franchise, not as the best film of the genre. But as something that will never fade.
In addition to sporting some of the greatest sci-fi scenery in ages, Fifth Element excels in its costumes. Over the top and very varied.
In treading through the old Movie Monday assignments, I draw a complete blank in trying to recall any truly annoying title sequences.
Movie Monday #82: Annoying Title Sequence.
Hollywood is so stuck to tradition that something revolutionary along the lines of best viral advertising campaign would be dead weight.
Hence I would settle for “best individual scene”. Where a good candidate for the lifetime achievement award would be the Walken / Hopper meeting in True Romance.
Movie Monday #81: New Oscar category.
With the announcement of Finding Dory, Pixar relies on yet another franchise. My bet is on Cars 3 for the next film. Or the one after that, there’s plenty of originals in the pipeline, still.
This week’s movie monday challenge is about death, a shocking death scene in a film.
For me nothing beats Boromir’s fall in the Fellowship of the Ring.
But I still vote for the utterly surprising death scene in William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A..
Boromir’s fate was sealed in the book, but the twist in the Los Angeles tale in was a shock indeed.
Movie Monday #79: Death
Middle-Earth, without a doubt. Preferably after the fall of Sauron, or with a couple of dunedain in the crew to take care of restless natives.
Movie Monday #78: Holiday destination.
(OK, I seem to have answered this challenge twice – the Las Vegas one was a better pick, but I won’t delete this entry either.)
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Even if nothing but Fear and Loathing happen.
Been there once, but the action didn’t reach the lofty heights of what Raoul Duke and his lawyer achieved.
I turned out to be wrong, First Class turned out to be a good movie on its own and a return to the form in the franchise.
First Class is indeed a prequel – it is set in 1962, and it cover the inception of the superhero team known as X-Men.
Despite the era this is not a Mad Men / X-Men- mashup. Casual sex and smoking are not part of the plot.
And neither does the film have that much to do with the comic book origins of the group. This is a stealthy reboot, as most viewers (including me) had no real idea how the team got started.
But despite the rewritten plot strands, there’s plenty that’s familiar and expected: Magneto cannot be a good guy, Xavier needs to end up in a wheelchair and the seeds of distrust between mutants and humans need to be sowed.
First Class accomplishes those tasks, and plenty more. This is far more than Marvel history by the numbers.
A lot of the weight is borne by the leads in the cast, and both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender execute themselves well. But the cast is much larger – and a lot of characters barely have a blip on screen. One of those blips is the one of the greatest cameos ever – a totally unexpected visit by a short-tempered canadian mutant.
But it’s not perfect, far from it. The family relationship between Xavier and Mystique doesn’t work at all, and while Kevin Bacon puts on a nice display of villainship as Sebastian Shaw the character feels like a spare Bond supervillain.
But it’s a huge improvement over Wolverine’s solo movie, nonetheless.
The more I think about the fourth Indiana Jones film, the more convinced I am that I originally rated it far too high, and that the movie would have been better left unmade.
Even though it retains a lot of old magic and injects new elements into the saga, there’s so many things wrong with the film, that it clearly is a severe lapse in Spielberg’s judgment to let this through.
The worst offense is ridiculous jungle chase towards the end of the film. And whoever OK’d it clearly has so significant issues with old Tarzan movies that he should have been recused from the creative team.
I seem to have completely missed the announcement of Before Midnight, the unexpected third volume of Richard Linklater’s continuing storyline.
Liked the two first installments a lot. And having been a Linklater-fanboy ever since Dazed & Confused, this film just zoomed into the top of my “most wanted in 2013″.
Lucasfilm has confirmed the rumours: J.J. Abrams will direct episode VII of the Star Wars series.
No doubt he turns to the Star Wreck franchise, after all, with the experience from Star Trek and Star Wars, he’d do an excellent job commanding Pirk around.
This week’s Movie Monday challenges us to nominate the worst of the bad remakes.
My nomination is Shawn Levy’s atrocious Pink Panther from 2006 that lost to the Blake Edwards original on pretty much every feasible scale. Its sequel is even worse, but I do not considered it a remake.
While Steve Martin is not completely terrible as Clouseau 2.0, Kevin Kline’s take on inspector Dreyfus is just a pale imitation of Herbert Lom’s original. Martin’s take on Clouseau is a lot meaner than Sellers’ – while the detective from sixties was a bumbling and slow-witted policeman with very limited skills, the new one is a vain idiot with no redeeming features whatsoever.
The age of Blake Edwards’ movie is most visible in its pacing – it’s at times slow and meandering, whereas this baby ticks along with ADHD speed. Here the jokes vary wildly in quality, but very few of them cross the threshold of laughter.
Movie Monday #76: Better left un-re-made.
While I haven’t seen many movies since Elmo was born, the interval since the previous movie review is ridiculous.
So, let’s continue and hope for a tighter pacing in the future.
Like the preceding movie review, this is also of a norwegian film.
Though apart from a word in its title Trollhunter is quite far removed from Headhunters.
It’s yet another found footage film, firmly in the genre revived by Blair Witch Project a decade ago.
Though the movie is best seen without any knowledge of it, its name pretty much gives away the big plot device. Fortunately there’s significantly more to the script than just a reveal – there’s a real story that ties into the protagonists’ discovery of the hidden creatures.
The film is on the dour side, the story is definitely not played for laughs, and an undertone of a poorly hidden menace definitely colours the plot. But it’s not all serious either – there are a couple of great in-jokes (like the goat on the bridge) and the characters behave more or less rationally in the face of unknown and fear. In comparison to Rare Exports this is an adult film, not an elaborately jokey tale of heroics.
While the budget is nowhere near the biggest found footage films (like Cloverfield), the visuals are great. The trolls vary in shape, behaviour and especially size and are very impressively realized.
Heavily recommended – and I’ll certainly try to keep an eye out on whatever this crew tries next.
This week’s Movie Monday is a tough challenge: “have you ever been attracted to an actor or a movie character of the inappropriate sex”.
Can’t say that I have.
Either I’m so deep in the closet that I need a transcontinental expedition to find my way out, or I just don’t swing that way.
Based on the 40+ years worth of evidence, my bet is on the latter option.
Movie Monday #75: Baby, it’s you.
I’m not much for deriving power from specific movies, but there are a couple that clearly resonate with me.
One of them is Tim Burton’s Big Fish. The intertwining impossible stories, a complicated state of family affairs and a surrealistic tumble through the vast hidden America just hit all the necessary spots for me.
Burton’s fantasy-machine and film-making in general at their very best.
Movie Monday #74: My personal power movie.
Back in 2005, I really liked Shane Black’s debut movie: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.
And now, only eight years later, someone has let him behind the camera again.
Fortunately he’s brought along Robert Downey Jr., whose splendid acting in the film was one of the definite highlights.
The film is one of the ever-continuing and expanding Marvel universe: Iron Man 3.
I haven’t seen any Marvel movies since the original Iron Man, so the premiere of this (probably May in Finland) is a good incentive to pick up the original sextet. Yes, I haven’t yet seen Avengers. Which, to a card-carrying Whedon fanboy is a grave omission indeed.
Would have been even cooler with stop motion, but this is an inspired homage nonetheless.
Thus far Andrew DeGraff’s gallery contains the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies.
Would be very nice indeed on a wall.
Such a thing does not exist what Movie Monday tells us to seek.
There may be slightly less annoying songs, but none qualfies as “best”.
Movie Monday #72: Best Disney Song.