Monday, August 2nd, 2004

I haven’t reviewed any movies


I haven’t reviewed any movies in a long while, primarily because being out in the boonies means seeing films at least a month late. But thanks to the world of Bittorrent, I’m not completely in the dark. I grabbed Spidey 2 the day it came out, and watched a crappy looking copy some enterprising fellow recorded for prosperity. But the film finally hit the excellent Oliver theatre (which has the theatre in the Crowsnest Pass beat, let me tells ya), and I finally got to see it as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen. This, by the way, completely invalidates the movie industry’s arguments against piracy, since I went to see the film in the theatre even though it’s sitting on a DVD at home.

Spider-Man 2 (theatre)

The buzz on this movie is that it’s even better than the original. I think that’s doing the original movie a disservice. Spider-Man is for my money the second best superhero ever made, after Superman: the Movie. I’m not sure Spider-Man 2 is better than the first, but it is just as good, which is nothing to cry about.

The nicest thing about Spidey2 is that it continues with the story from the first film, rather than just throw more of the same at a jaded audience. The main reasons everyone liked the first film were a) characters you actually care about, b) a story, and c) fantastic special effects and action. Spidey 2 delivers the same in spades, to my great delight. Plus Sam Raimi manages to throw in some nice homages to the Evil Dead films while still making the movie accessible for everyone.

The only thing that kind of bugs me is the way they took every opportunity possible to unmask Tobey Maguire. I understand how people were a bit perturbed by the “Mask vs. Mask” battles of the first film, but it got a little obvious after a while.

But that’s a minor nitpick; it’s really nice to see Hollywood actually tell a story, and get a superhero film right, twice, after so many terrible failures.

Van Helsing (xvid)

There was no way I was going to pay money to see this film in the theatre. Having now seen it, I’m glad I didn’t pay a dime.
It’s actually fairly entertaining, for free. The conceit of the film revolves around throwing Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman (along with a few others) into the same movie. That’s a fine, if difficult to implement idea. But in the hands of Stephen “The Mummy” Sommers, it quickly turns into an excuse to push as many pixels as possible around on the screen. There are a TON of special effects in this movie, and after a while it just becomes irritating. Many directors, realizing they can pretty much put whatever they want onscreen, decide to take advantage of computer power and massive budgets and hammer the audience over the head with whiz-bangery. George Lucas is the worst sort of pixel-criminal, but Sommers isn’t far behind.

The film goes from mildly entertaining idiocy to cartoonish super-idiocy near the end, with a Dracula/Wolfman-Van Helsing showdown. It’s a complete cheese festival, and by the end, the cheese is rancid.

Still, some sexy demon chicks ease the pain. 🙂

Super-Size Me (xvid)

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Morgan Spurlock, a healthy guy with a vegan girlfriend, decided to document his one-month diet of nothing but McD’s. The results are truly frightening. Within a month he gains about 30 pounds, and his liver just about gives out. Spurlock wisely intersperses the documentary with analysis of the obesity phenomenon in North America, as well as examining how McDonald’s and other fast food magnates target the consumer. It’s not perfect (like Fog of War), but it’s still pretty decent.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

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