Alex Proyas’ newest movie Knowing is a textbook case of an intelligent, thoughtful idea that never amounts to anything. Thumbs up to him for trying something with a little more meat than your usual Hollywood thriller yet that’s about the only positive comment to give as the movie itself is a plodding, incomprehensible disaster that rams so many red herrings and story elements together that it resembles a cooking recipe gone horribly wrong. Instead of something that piques your taste buds this is like chomping down on soup that has congealed due to too many wrong ingredients.
I have always been more enamored by movies than I have been with television series. This is not a new admission as my friends have known this for years nor is it based on some sort of elitist mentality that somehow puts cinematic fare on a pedestal while relegating TV programs to the scrap heap. It is just merely a desire of mine to digest a narrative that has closure within a relatively terse two hour time span as compared to a serial that is broadcast over many months. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate an intricately woven story that weaves its magic over a longer period of time but just an observation of mine that what usually occurs to sustain such a show are a series of increasingly fantastical plot devices coupled with a copious amount of filler material that is so often undesirable.
Comic book origin movies are all the rage these days as moviegoers just seem to lap up tales that chronicle how events and moral dilemmas have shaped our heroes into the stalwart upholders of justice we’ve come to know. Just look at films such as Spiderman, Batman Begins, X-Men, and Iron Man for immediate examples but this list also includes long running franchises that have gone back to the beginning for inspiration such as James Bond in Casino Royale and even Star Trek. That is not to say all origin movies are big blockbusters as some completely miss the mark and botch up the narrative like Ang Lee’s Hulk that took what should have been a character with tremendously explosive rage and boxed him in to a film that had a ponderous moody pace that sucked all life out of the project.
As comedies go, Anna Faris’ new vehicle, The House Bunny, is as lightweight as you can get. The initial opening scenes establish Anna’s character, Shelley, as being an orphan who finds a family with good old Hugh Hefner and grows up as your consummate Playboy bunny living in The Mansion. One can only dream how skewed this girl’s life is going to be being raised in such an environment but alas this is a comedy not some sociological study into such an experiment. Shelley has her own dreams of finally becoming a Playboy centerfold but the day after her 27th birthday she finds herself kicked out of the Mansion since, “27 is 59 in bunny years.”
Tokyo Boy (Tokyo Shonen) is a rather minimalist yet emotionally heartfelt psychological/thriller/romance that once again displays young rising starlet Maki Horikita’s impressive acting repertoire this time in a dual role as a girl who is suffering from split personalities.
Gimmick – noun – an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, esp. one designed to attract attention or increase appeal. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gimmick).
Rashomon – A film by Akira Kurosawa showing a crime from four contradictory points of view.
Vantage Point, the new thriller headlined by Dennis Quaid, attempts to tell the tale of the apparent shooting of the President of the United States while on a state visit to Salamanca, Spain to give a speech highlighting a new potential counter-terrorism agreement. The gimmick employed here by director Pete Travis is to segment the narrative into eight fragments, each dedicated to showing a different point of view of the event. While modern audiences might find this as a novel approach to film making, others more versed in cinema will undoubtedly be reminded of Akira Kurosawa’s seminal movie, Rashomon. Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately – Vantage Point is no Rashomon. Not even close.
One of the side effects that has arisen with the release of both the Nintendo DS and the Apple iPhone is the re-emergence of the long lost adventure game. Not since the heady days of Sierra’s Quest game catalogue have there been so many games released in this genre. That is not to say that the quality is there yet but at least adventure gaming has made a comeback.