Archive for November, 2005

Elektra (2005)

ElektraTwo and a Half Stars

I saw this, nervous that it would be stupid, but wanting to keep my streak together of seeing all new comic book related movies. It wasn’t bad for the reasons I thought it would be, but for different ones.

These were the reasons I thought it would be stupid. I didn’t think they would give a very good reason for how Elektra came back from the dead after the Daredevil movie. Reason 2, I don’t tend to like overly tough female leads in movies, infallible (etc etc). Reason 3, the previews made the special effects look stupid and unrelated. Reason 4, the previews made it look as if she was going to train some little girl to fight for some unexplained reason.

This is how the movie was good in those areas. Reason 1, they didn’t dwell on how she came back, they didn’t refer back to Daredevil, probably to scared to even be associated with it. You just have to believe in asian magic is all. Reason 2, Elektra was humble, lost, and imperfect. Almost too much, and I will get to that. Reason 3, The special effects were perfect actually. The Hand, a force of ninja fighter type people from the comic book, made a perfect transition. They weren’t feared as much for their fighting skills like they were in comic books, but for their special powers over disease, speed, and animals. The effects helped support this perfectly with the whole movie using sparring cable tricks. Reason 4, the girl actually is the whole focus of the movie, with special powers in and of herself. She is already trained. The girl is obnoxious and her father is the token love interest, but it is better than training her.

The main reasons that I didn’t like this movie that much, was that Elektra was a bit of a crying baby, almost too lost I thought, too vulnerable. I never thought I would say that, but she was really tough at most times, but it seemed like the unsure bit was only there to support an already weak premise. What would be a good premise that would resonate with today’s audience? That I can’t answer, it certainly couldn’t be what was in the comics, but I am not sure this worked either. And that was the other reason I didn’t like it and wouldn’t watch it again, the story didn’t hold me. I wasn’t involved in the character, and I can’t explain that any more, than I just wasn’t engaged.

If you are into comic books see it. Even though Jennifer Garner is more “athletic” looking than Elektra, all girls in comics have an unrealistic chest and to see her in a great translation of the actual costume is pretty cool. But otherwise, I don’t think anyone else will care that this movie even came out.

Stay (2005)

Rothe Blog StayThree Stars

The general feeling I left this movie with was, something was missing. This was a short movie by today’s standards, only 99 minutes. I thought about The Sixth Sense while I watching it, there was a similar feel. Death always lingering around the corner but never manifested, a psychiatrist in bad clothing and a patient that is barely coherent, with a huge reveal at the end. However, there is such a lack of storytelling that in the end, as much as one may guess to understand, there are so many things that still don’t make sense and you leave feeling unfulfilled.

My initial reaction was to give this a much lower rating. The whole movie literally comes about in the last five minutes of the show. Starring a good cast of Ryan Gosling, Naomi Watts, and Ewan MacGregor, the movie revolves around a young man (Gosling) who comes for help from a pyschiatrist named Sam Foster (MacGregor). Gosling declares he is going to kill himself on Saturday at 12 pm, and the drama begins. MacGregor becomes obsessed with this patient, and their lives become inseperable in this dreamscape of an environment.

My conclusion, that in the end, we see that as (Spoiler) Gosling is dying we realize the whole first part of the movie is the mind’s logical explanation for what is happening as he is dying, trying to grasp what is happening and making a more worthy cause of death then the present one. The effects in the movie are cool, they probably don’t add much to it, but for a visual person I enjoyed them a lot. But again, you leave without any true traditional storytelling, more with a gimic of trying to confuse you and nothing more, and you want some more truths.

If you want to be challenged, you may enjoy this. I would have given this a higher rating if I thought I would ever watch it again. I like it for being different, I just wish it would have been just a touch more traditional.

The Shipping News (2001)

Rothe Blog Shipping NewsTwo Stars

Starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and briefly Kate Blanchette, this is another doozie Sarah rented from the library. I must admit, I am starting to get this sick curiosity about the strange movies she digs up, and with such a cast so recently that I had never heard of.

I was into this movie at parts. It starts off pretty bad, Kevin Spacey gets it on with this woman (Blanchett) who obviously knows how to work a man to meet her needs. They have a child, and then she runs off and drowns when her boyfriend drives them off a bridge into the water.

Spacey is kind of a loser, a cross here between is role in Usual Suspects and American Beauty, less confidence, more limp. Spacey then has an unexpected visitor right at that time, an aunt he never knew who is coming to grieve his dad, her brother. Or so it seems.

They move to escape their past, and all sorts of weird things happen in the little podunk town they end up in. A family history of piracy, incest, and a house that is held down by steel rope. Right in the middle it starts to get good, Spacey seems more like someone who has finally found his way, he is interested in Moore, and he gets a job that gives him confidence. But then the movie takes an artistic turn, and ends with a blown over house, and some cheesey parrallel between a local newspaper and their lives.

Pass on this one. It isn’t even worth it if you really like Spacey. It is especially hard to watch the old aunt, (from the James Bond movies) as this bitter old confused woman.

The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

Rothe Blog Movies 40 Year Old VirginFour Stars

Steve Carell in his first starring role, and he knocks it out of the park. Don’t know if he can pull it off again, but I suspect he can. I will say, for the raunchy, stupid, guy humor in this movie, he made me believe that he was a 40 year old virgin. His antics, his personality, which was different from him and what he did on the Daily Show, it was a very funny movie.

We were so pumped to have seen two very funny movies so close together. This is very close to the same line as Wedding Crashers, but I do think a little less raunchy. The supporting cast of guys is really great, especially the guy with the beard, as well as all of the other little neurotic people he encounters, from the horny Borders girl (Elizabeth Banks) to the strange female floor manager that wants to become his “friends with benefits”. The pakistani co-workers were highly cliche however, and even though this was really funny, they did take advantage of some of the cliche’s to help make this successful. But hopefully, he will continue to try to do off the wall stuff and stray more from that.

If you see Wedding Crashers, see this. Very funny, somewhat touching and real, and an interesting commentary on women’s complexities and how a man believes he can exploit them.

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Rothe Blog Wedding CrashesFour and a Half Stars

Most of the time, I can take or leave Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. More so Owen Wilson, and that is true with this movie about Wilson at least, without Vaughn, you couldn’t have this movie. Wilson will never be able to carry something. But, my review is not bad, but good. Great as a matter of a fact.

I was nervous about this movie because of my feelings on those two. But what a hilarious movie. This movie did not depend on whether you found the two of them funny, but was a lot about situations. For whatever reason, I keep thinking about Meet the Parents. There are hardly any similarities, maybe a little bit in how you just feel for the guys and the terrible situations they get into, into some girl’s parents house.

But from the buckshot in the butt, the gay artistic brother, and the super cliche but somehow different jock boyfriend that sleeps around, this was a good love story, and a little bit of a coming of age story for these two guys. They get to see themselves for what they are, and there is even a guest spot by Wil Ferrell, which always makes for some awkwardly crazy moment. In this case, Ferrell is a guy who picks up grieving women at funerals.

Funny, not as raunchy as I would have pictured, but take that with a grain of salt as I am numb to most of that. Not something my parents or sister would ever find funny, but if you like this cast in these type of situations, it is just a little bit funnier because it is about weddings and that is a little more of a grown up concept. Vince Vaughn’s girl, very believable as the perfect freaky match for him.