Category Archives: movies

reviews/releases/etc.

Snakes on a Plane

My friends and I had been looking forward to Snakes on a Plane for many months. I can’t remember which one of us spotted it first (I think I saw something about it early this year at Ain’t It Cool), but SoaP Fever quickly spread amongst the clan. I honestly don’t remember the movie too much, but I will tell you this: it does not disappoint. It was easily the best movie-going experience of my entire life. If every movie was as fun as this movie, I would gladly pay $20 for a ticket. Why was this movie so thoroughly excellent? Two words: audience participation. The movie itself was not good, but the reactions it drew out of the crowd were hilariously entertaining. I believe I was laughing almost the whole movie. For example, the moment Samuel L. Jackson walked on screen, the theater immediately erupted in cheering and a standing ovation (by some). All during the movie there was at least some type of audience reaction: quiet scenes were drowned out by the entire crowd hissing, exaggerated screams were made during gruesome deaths, sage advice was shouted out to the doomed characters, and always laughter.

If you love campy B-movies and love audience participation, go see this movie immediately before SoaP fever dies off.

Pros: Samuel L. Jackson, the other movie goers, Snakes. on. a. plane.
Cons: None.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

The third installment in the X-Men franchise is easily the worst of the three, but did anybody really expect it to get any better? Both of the previous installments were probably significantly better than most expectations. I know the second was definitely better than what I expected it to be. However, even though it is the worst, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s just not that great. It’s a pretty forgettable but entertaining movie.

I don’t have too much to say about it. There are some startling new developments in Mutant Land, and I’m guessing this movie had better really be the true last stand because the X Men are almost made into the X Man. I’m guessing there was a conversation like the following during the planning stages:

[Movie exec 1]: The first two movies rocked. The movies were good, the fans were happy, and we made money hand over fist. I think we should kill the franchise off with this one. Go out on a high note, you know? That whole Seinfeld thing. Leave a good taste in people’s mouth.
[Movie exec 2]: Sounds good. Let’s do that. Make it so, Mr. Scriptwriter.
[Mr. Scriptwriter]: Okay.

Later, when the movie was wrapping up there was another conversation that went like this:
[Movie exec 2]: Hrrrmmm. . .I’m not so sure if we should end the franchise yet. We could probably milk this for 10 more installments. We could go to made for TV even.
[Movie exec 1]: Yeah, I’m getting cold feet about this. Let’s keep it going, you know, just in case.
[Mr. Scriptwriter]: But everybody is dead or powerless.
[Movie exec 2]: So?
[Mr. Scriptwriter]: Should we at least change the title to something like “The Last Stand. . .Maybe”?
[Movie exec 1]: No. “The Last Stand” will make people think we are going to end the franchise and come see how it ends. A brilliant marketing movie I must say!
[Movie exec 2]: Yeah! And X Men 4 can be “The End of the Mutants” or something equally apocolyptic.
[Movie exec 1]: Brilliant!
[Mr. Scriptwriter]: Whatever.

What results is a hint at the very end of the movie that the X Men will be back much to our dismay.

If you like action movies and the previous X Men, I’d say this is at least worth a matinee. It’s got a lot of fun mutant action and fights. Though it is pretty creepy with a hot woman goes berzerk and destroys everything. Women. . .

Pros: Mutant action, Wolverine, Ian McKellen, Halle Barry, destruction
Cons: Not as good as the first two, bad script

Mission: Impossible 3

Mission: Impossible 3 is pretty much what I expected it to be: Tom Cruise does action, Tom Cruise does romance, Tom Cruise does serious, Tom Cruise does tough guy, Tom Cruise does masks, and Tom Cruise does looking-good-in-black. M:I 3 is better than M:I 2, but M:I 1 is still the best of the lot. I guess that’s all you need to know, but I can ramble on for a bit about it.

As Jeremiah mentions, the plot is thin. Indeed, it’s a mere skeleton on which a capable cast hangs fascinating action ornaments. I’m a sucker for action sequences, so of course I found these ornaments fun to watch. The harebrained schemes remind me a lot of the plots in Knight Rider: no matter how crazy it sounds, the good guys can always pull it off (but if it does fail, the good guys will come up with an equally crazy plot that will succeed). Clearly, Team Impossible has a lot of luck and/or God is most definitely in their corner. Many times I was thinking, “Oh Tom is going to be seen for sure lying right there in the open” or “Well, Tom’s definitely doing to snap his neck now” or “There’s no way Tom will get there on time.” I was always wrong, but that’s good otherwise the movie would have been awfully short and Ethan Hunt wouldn’t be the legendary super-agent that he is. I’m all for suspending copius amounts of reality for the sake of a good action plot.

Turning to the acting, I wished they had used Laurence Fishburne more than they did. I think he’s a superb actor, and I enjoy seeing him on the screen. Unfortunately, for this role he only had a few lines, and half the time I didn’t like him as the pushy boss. Ving Rhames does a good job as the technical catalyst for Tom’s brilliant schemes, but he’s given some lame, predictable lines. Simon Pegg (the dude from Shaun of the Dead) delivers a fun performance that adds the bit of comedy relief, allowing the audience a chance to catch it’s breath. According to the IMDB trivia page, Ricky Gervais was supposed to play Pegg’s character. That would have been hilarious. Tom himself gets his job done quite well, in my opinion. It’s a typical Cruise performance, and I hope he counts his lucky stars that his only schtick looks good on the big screen. Personally, his real world antics are easily forgotten when I see him on screen, so I think I’m less Tommed-out than most others. The real star of the show is Philip Seymour Hoffman, but this was to be expected. Hoffman is a fantastic actor and pulls off the vicious, cunning, coldly calculating villian fantastically. His final scene is great. It hits the audience like a speeding truck, leaving them stunned, looking around in disbelief, and muttering, “Did I just see that?!”

Final recommendation: It’s worth a matinee for sure, and it’s a winner for the action flick crowd.

Pros: fun movie, crrraaaazzy schemes, Tom Cruise, really sweet bullet noises,
Cons: Tom Cruise, good actors used little, not enough explosions, really thin plot, destruction of killer cars

Augh

Double augh. Now I have to plunk down an “attractive” amount of money to get the original version of Star Wars, the true Star Wars that takes place in the universe in which Han does indeed shoot first. Mr. Lucas is lucky I’m not the violent type. Very lucky.