Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie Mini-Reviews 30-01-12

It was pointed out to me this week that I hadn't yet reviewed The Thing [the 2011 prequel]. I was sure I had, so I claimed I did. In reality I hadn't actually finished this post and must publicly apologise to Sith Master and submit the following:

In Time

In Time is a high-concept hard-science fiction tale from Andrew The Truman Show Niccol. Set in a world where you are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, you are given a year to live before you die - unless you obtain extra time elsewhere. The only currency here is time itself and it can be transferred from one person to another by touch. As a result, the poor live day to day on borrowed time while the rich are practically immortal.

Justin Timberlake flexes his acting muscles yet again to take the lead in this his first major action role, he plays Will Salas a commoner from the workers district who only ever has hours on his clock and must work constantly to earn time to live. He meets Hamilton, a wealthy man with a century on his clock whom he saves from a brutal fate. Hamilton has death wish and fulfills it but not before bestowing Salas with his century. After failing to save his mother [Olivia Tron: Legacy Wilde] from “timing out” he travels to the wealthy district where he falls foul of a relentless timekeeper Raymond Leon [Cilian Inception Murphy], but befriends a feisty rich-kid Sylvia [Amanda Red Riding Hood Sigfried] who is disillusioned with her lot in life and they begin an incredible futuristic Bonnie & Clyde meets Robin Hood campaign to bring time to the masses.

This was an excellent alternate-universe chase-move and possibly one of the most original movies of the past ten years. The writer Harlan Ellison was at one time under the impression that this movie was based on "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman his 1965 short-story, but after seeing In Time, he promptly dropped his lawsuit and didn't even demand a credit - such was the movie's sheer originality. I want more of this please.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

The Thing

When you have the audacity to make a prequel to such a perfect piece of art like John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece The Thing. The least you can do is not actually call it The Thing again. This makes it very confusing as if you now say The Thing without specification, then it's not immediately clear if your referring to to the original movie or this extremely lame turd.

The Thing 2011 which I chose to now refer to it as, is a fascinating study in ill-conceived movie making. Starring Mary Elizabeth Scott Pilgrim Winstead, Joel Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones Edgerton, Ulrich Centurion Thomsen, Eric Christian NCIS: Los Angeles Olsen and a whole host of unknown Scandinavians who sound like The Swedish Chef. They basically all plod around running from unconvincing CGI monsters that pale in comparison to grotesque creations of Rob Bottin for just over an hour and a half under the incompetent direction of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. who had made nothing before this other than commercials and a Dutch short-film - and boy does it show.

I beseech you all not to waste your time with this laughably-shit sci-fi horror, one of the most pointless prequels ever created that fails to add anything to its progenitor.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

I'll admit I didn't hold out much hope for a fourth installment of this ageing series despite J.J. Abrams delivering an adequate sequel [M:I-3] to John Woo's sublime masterpiece [M:I-2] - itself a superior sequel to a by-the numbers original Mission: Impossible from Brian DePalma back in 1996. This was because DePalma, Woo and Abrams had proved themselves to me before their M:I movies appeared but Brad Bird's only claim to my DVD shelf was The Incredibles a great movie but a CGI animated one,. Animation is a very different kettle of fish to the world of live-action movie making, certainly one as intense as I'd imagine an M:I shoot to be.

I needn't have worried at all, Bird took the reigns of this phenomenal beast and made it his own. He melded an excellent cast of Tom Cruise, Jeremey Hurt Locker Renner, newcomer Paula Patton and made fantastic use of Simon Star Trek Pegg forming the best IMF team of the franchise. The situation that the team find themselves in is far from ideal and they must complete their impossible mission with little support and with sharpened wits as opposed to audacious technology. Spectacular stunts, exotic locales and intense thrills have been the series hallmarks and this movie seems to have the most of the lot.

Absolutely outstanding, I almost died from adrenaline poisoning. You'd be an idiot to miss it.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****+


Not being a fan of  Steven Soderbergh didn't compel me to go and see this, but as his most recent effort Contagion wasn't all that bad and Haywire sounded somewhat interesting I said I'd give it a shot and my decision paid off. I won't sit here and tell you that because of this, Soderbergh deserves a place in the top 100 action-directors of all time, but this is certainly an adequate action-thriller worthy of some attention.

Soderbergh's usual ensemble cast was led by former mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano as Mallory Kane who took to acting like a duck to water and fared far better then your average wrestler/sport-star turning their hand at acting despite needing to work less on her own stunts and more on her charisma. To assist her however, Soderbergh gave her such co-stars as Channing G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra Tatum, Micheal X-Men: First Class Fassbender, Ewan Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith McGregor, Antonio Desperado Banderas, Bill Aliens Paxton  and the venerable Micheal Douglas himself.

Kane works for a private mercenary contractor Kenneth [McGregor] who sends her on a rescue mission to Barcelona and later a milk-run to Dublin of all places where she realised she's been betrayed and goes on the run leaving a trail of corpses in her wake to clear her name. While the plot is extreamly contrived and full of holes, it's nonetheless an enjoyable thriller despite a lot of it being set in that shithole Dublin, an iffy misjudged score doesn't help and features an annoying performance from Banderas who shouldn't really be doing his Puss in Boots voice in a serious production. 

Nevertheless, I think now that he is done with the Ocean's sequels, Soderbergh could do worse than develop this as a franchise - just do better next time.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2


Civilian Overseer said...

one of the most pointless prequels ever created that fails to add anything to its progenitor.

Colonel, If only you had given such sage advice when The Phantom Menance was released unto an unsuspecting public. ;)

vaughan said...

Sorry Civvy but the Phantom Menace is a shakesperean masterpiece compared to the utter crud that is Thing 2011

Civilian Overseer said...

Mr.V, Gott in Himmel!, surely nothing could be that bad.

Former Grunt said...

You are a brave one Overseer. To speal ill of the "sacred moving pictures" and expect to remain alive...

Civilian Overseer said...

Grunt, you were right up until your first full stop. Then you kinda lost it. ;)

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

Nay, 'tis blasphemy you speak against The Phantom Menace.

Well OK fair enough, it's certainly the least beloved chapter but ask one of them Lord-fearin' types their favourite book in the bible and none will say Genesis.

Every story has a beginning an if God had chosen I, II, III instead of IV, V and VI to begin with then we'd not be having this converstion, because I doubt there'd be an Internet.

We'll see again how "poor" The Phatom Menace is now that it's been 3D-ified. Can it beat it's own record of $431m?

Civilian Overseer said...

It's not blasphemy, Great Lucas or George to his friends, anyways, George himself has decided to retcon the Phantom Menace out of existence if the rumors about the new tv series, StarWars:Underworld are to be believed.

The premise is that proto-rebels obtain time travel capability and decide to stop Darth Vader from ever being borne. Don't believe me?, look up my friend Harry's website.

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

Heh, if I thought you believed everything you saw written on the Internet, I'd be far more creative here...

Civilian Overseer said...

Colonel, Au contrair, mon ami, people do it all the time with the bible. ;)

Constance said...

Well I thought the "Thing" was one of the funniest movies I saw in theaters in 2011! It had jokes, crazy dialogue set ups, sight gags, a "spot the continuity error" game....