Movie vs. Moving

Well, no movie review this week, faithful readers (if we have any). Our weekend was spent moving my sister and brother-in-law from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to good ole Lafayette, IN. An exhausting experience from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon, it left me too pooped to sit in a theater. I did watch School for Scoundrels on DVD from the couch, however I cannot recommend that movie in any possible way. The ending was a total dud, so I was excited to see that the DVD special features contained an alternate ending. Hoping for a little more entertainment and much better writing, I began to watch ending #2 and wanted to drill into my brain by the end because it was so horrible. It also didn't help this weekend that there wasn't any movie of any real worth opening near us. I don't expect that to be the case in two weeks with 3:10 to Yuma (hopefully they don't butcher Elmore Leonard like the last few movies based on his novels), however this weekend is limited to Balls of Fury, which, I'm guessing since it was supposed to originally released much earlier in the summer, isn't as good as it could be. Then again, who needs movies when Purdue football kicks off this Saturday?!


Movie #3--that pesky Potter

Continuing our trend of short movie reviews (see last post for Bourne and Becoming Jane), it's time to address Harry Potter #5--Order of the Phoenix. Now, I know many big Harry fans, and I have seen all the movies so far and actually read the first two books. I have not read this book, however, so I am writing this critique purely of the film, as if the book was never written (although I suspect a fairly high percentage of film goers read the book). Why am I prefacing this review with so many boring disclaimers? Because, overall, the movie was pretty average, if not poor. The film had some amazing and well-done visuals, and the fight scenes were very cool, however the plot was horribly under-developed. I expect that the book, which I understand to be a long one, had the opportunity to provide so much more support that was lacking in this film version. Even the subtitle namesake organization, the "Order of the Phoenix," was nothing of particular interest to the story as of now (my guess is it will play a larger role later). The first 30 minutes of the film are incredibly dull, with little going on to pull the moviegoer in. Oh, scary, Harry may get expelled! Who cares, we all know that isn't going to happen and we never fear for his well being either since we know there are more films to come. It appears that this movie moved the Harry plot along and gave some decent back story, which should make #6 and #7 great, but it did little to add to the excitement of this film and made it very disappointing. I really couldn't recommend the movie to anyone that hadn't already read the book. I do like how the films have gotten darker and more mature as Harry himself has matured. I did enjoy disliking Dolores Umbridge in her pink perverseness, and the actress did a superb job of making her incredibly annoying. I also am hoping Helena Bonham Carter's crazy Azkaban-escapee makes a future appearance because she was horribly underutilized (despite getting to kill Harry's godfather). Also, the film left me with many questions since things were awkwardly used: if the other children couldn't see the flying horse/dragon things because they hadn't seen death yet, then how the heck did they ride them to London? A simple shot of Ron riding one where it was invisible to him would have been cool and solved that problem. When Sirius is killed, he get sucked into some gate...what is that thing (never explained)? And can we get a little better CG for when the kids are standing on the awkward sky bridge at Hogwart's? Those scenes look as real and seamless as the comical green screen shots of Conan O'Brien driving his late-night desk through New York City. Overall, 140 minutes spent for only about an hour of decent movie, and the weakest Harry film to date.


Movie Days

Since we have had some stressful days (or weeks) while waiting to hear back from these organizations on a job, we have decided that each week we are still here we will go to the movies as a treat! Garage sales are winding down, and Lynne is a little scared of having to downsize when we move so buying things (even used and cheap) isn't as appealing. Previously, we would go to the theater about two or three times per year since normally our movies come free from the library! So, we are going to let you all know what we have seen and do our own short reviews (Kirk used to be so into films that he could write serious academic reviews of these movies, but who wants to read that, and who has time to write them when looking for a job?). Hopefully our list will not be too long since we would still like to get jobs and move!

8/4--Bourne Ultimatum: A-

(full disclosure: Kirk owns Bourne Identity and loves it but has not read the Ludlum books)

This is what we missed for so long by not going to the theater. A movie like this is made to be enjoyed on the large screen. Amazing action scenes that leave you breathless, jaw-dropped, and cheering for more (or in Kirk's, laughing at the coolness of it all). The plot was pretty good, the acting was also excellent for an action movie. I'll be sad to see someone else take Matt Damon's place if they make more (ala Bond, as Damon has confirmed this was his last Bourne movie), but this was a great note to go out on. Overall, superior to Bourne #2 and on par with the wonderful Bourne #1. Warning: don't sit too close to the screen. All the extreme editing and quick camera angle jumps can lead to motion sickness.

8/11--Becoming Jane: B
Yes, Kirk got roped into seeing this ultimate chick flick, but despite what some guys may think, this movie is far more entertaining than a tradition romantic comedy. If you are looking for a great biopic about Jane Austen, this may not be the movie for you. Instead, the film takes a 20-something Jane and fictionalizes most of her life and events that could/would lead to her becoming the famed author that could write so poignantly. The story combines elements of her novels (especially Pride and Prejudice), and it does so very well. Even Kirk is a fan of her work, so it made for a fun yet interesting film. The cinematography and settings/costumes were very well done, and the dialogue was clever and never forced. The acting however was only average, especially when compared to some of the film adaptations of her novels that have a superior cast.