to the bewildered tone in Debra Koons Garcia’s voice during the Q&A
which took place after the screening of this film, which is apart of the
four-city inFact documentary showcase, allowed me to hear her passion,
her radicalism. Garcia’s film, The Future of Food, explores all
things concerning genetically engineered food: the supposed corporate
greed in America, small town farmers, and the controversy surrounding
organism-patenting. The premise is intriguing enough. However, Garcia
misdirects her malice towards the genetically engineered food industry,
in the faith of patronage to the liberal party. What could’ve been an
enlightening experience, once again, has turned out to be a one-sided,
politically shallow piece of propaganda.
GMOs stock the
shelves of American Grocery stores, mostly because food corporations are
able to patent organisms, putting small-scale farmers out of business.
Monsanto Corp., who has created a formula to immunize their crops from
their RoundUp product, is the main company that Garcia criticizes in
The Future of Food. In essence, she would like GMOs to be labeled.
While I think this would ultimately simply postpone the giant-scale
effect that the genetically engineered products may have on consumers,
and would cost an unreasonable amount of government-money to monitor,
Garcia’s thesis is not really the problem. Just like Michael Moore with
Fahrenheit 9/11, it’s how she comes to her conclusions that
proves to be dangerous.
ever acknowledge the fact that the real problem is that this
organism-patenting bill was passed, in the first place? She barely even
touches it. Why? Because it was mandated under a liberal administration.
Would she ever even think to blame her own, corrupt league of fellow
Democrats? Of course not. As if that wasn’t enough, when it was time for
the Q&A, she matter-of-factly mentioned that John Kerry supports
labeling GMOs and will do whatever he can to fill their labels in
blatancies. This made me want to take a shower. I was in a room full of
liberals who wanted to ask questions about “evil” corporations for
nearly an hour. The Future of Food was far more logical than any
of its viewers in the screening were, and that’s truly saying something.
If I wanted
one-sidedness, I would turn on my radio and kick back to Conservative
Talk Show A. At least Republicans manage to be interesting. Debra Koons
Garcia can be credited for plodding along at her own measly pace,
writing sentence after sentence of a boring political essay, visually.
She leaves the stones that she would like to cover up unturned, and
pretends to be creating some kind of truthful exposé. But, the real
truth is: even if a writer/director/producer finds countless sad and
wannabe-insightful subjects and captures them on film, their
“documentary” does not instantly become “good”. Garcia tells me that she
was a filmmaker before taking up her whole liberal shtick. I was tempted
to recommend, to her face, that she go back to making movies about
whatever the hell it was she did, before The Future of Food.
represents one of the few times in which I had to remind myself that the
cinema was created, first and foremost, to generate fun. This movie
pushes every cliché in the book to the umpteenth level, forcing itself
to reach an utterly foreseeable conclusion. Most sensible audience
members will find themselves gagging at its average and unoriginal
contents. Yes, I may have enjoyed Bernie Mac’s outlandish mannerisms and
the passionate way in which director Charles Stone III treated some of
the scenes involving the game of baseball in Mr. 3000, but, for
the most part, it is a complete and unabashed dud. If this motion
picture isn’t a valid reason to boycott mainstream, throwaway cinematic
garbage, I don’t know what is.
In Mr. 3000,
Mac plays Stan, a retired baseball player who has schemed multiple
businesses, over the years, using his 3,000-hit-career as a means of
marketing. But, when Stan’s statistics are reevaluated, it is discovered
that he was mistakenly credited for three hits. In order to keep his Mr.
3000 nickname alive, he has to come back to the major leagues, now
chubby and old, to whack a few more balls and reach a few more bases. A
2,997-hit career seems, frankly, unacceptable. It does, of course, prove
harder than he expected. Stan’s former one-night-stand, reporter Mo
(Angela Bassett), is added into the mix when she interviews him for an
exclusive television special. And, as if the story wasn’t unoriginal
enough, the execution is, for the most part, even blander.
problematic of all of Mr. 3000’s flaws is that, most of the time,
it’s unbearably boring. The few scenes that actually manage to develop a
certain amount of exhilaration are those that occur on the baseball
diamond, when plays are being made. Nevertheless, had I been watching
the latest game in the Padres’ quest for their division’s wildcard on
ESPN, I would’ve been happier. That way, experiencing the entirely
ho-hum, “romantic”, and “funny” interludes in Mr. 3000 would not
have been necessary. Mac and Bassett have a back-and-forth about sex in
the movie, for example, that could be compared to the interaction of two
random pieces of lint. The entire situation is thoroughly unsurprising,
a forgettable part of a completely predictable picture.
less-than-approving reaction to Mr. 3000, I feel tempted to never
intentionally see a conventional movie again. I suppose the reason I
keep shoving out ticket-money for them is because they usually turn out
to be pleasant, in addition to disposeable. It’s too bad that this film
can rarely boast the former quality, during its tedious 104 minute
running length. What’s even more unfortunate is that the public has
bought into formula again; Mr. 3000 debuted last weekend in the
number two box-office slot, raking in around ten million dollars.
quite genuine and likable, at times. As he recalled baseball-infused
moments from his childhood, I thought of my own, lovingly. But, his
performance also carries a wicked half, just as everything else in
Mr. 3000 does. I would hope that reading the hundreds of words I
have written on it will allow readers to realize that its bad side wins
out. I do not feel like ending this review on an overly cheesy note, by
saying something along the lines of “Mr. 3000 strikes out,” but I
will, however, wrap it up with some simple words of warning. Do. Not.
By. Any. Means. See. This. Movie. Unless. You. Are. Seriously. Bored.
And. I Mean. Seriously. Bored.
The day after Mr. 3000 force-fed me sports-movie clichés,
elegantly served them at me. The likeable Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst
play its two leads with terrific onscreen chemistry, crafting a funny
and involving motion picture together, which actually had me engaged in
convention for its entire running length.
Peter Colt, a tennis player who was once ranked eleventh in the world,
but has now fallen past the one-hundred mark. He is competing in
for the last time, ready to lose and then retire from the sport. This,
unsurprisingly, acts as a queue for Dunst’s Lizzie Bradbury, a thriving
newcomer in the sport, to enter his life. Before Peter’s match-up, he
mistook his hotel room for Lizzie’s, only to find her completely naked
and showering. Afterwards, they see each other again, and sparks fly.
They develop a relationship against Lizzie’s father’s (Sam Neil’s)
wishes; he fears that her attention will drift away from the game, as a
result. And it does, but the romance allows Peter to be in his finest
form. The movie leads up to the championship match at
in which he is in contention for the title.
The plot leaves
much to be desired, but it has no impact on the charm of
fortunately. While writers Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin
stick to normality, in their script, the three come up with some
genuinely amusing dialogue. This is all perfectly delivered by the cast;
does not have a single weak-spot, in terms of acting. Not only is
Bettany a riot and Dunst lovable, but Sam Neill, Jon Favreau, Bernard
Hill, and James McAvoy also put on spectacular shows of their own.
announces itself on the heels of last years Love Actually, in
that it is one of the few good romantic comedies of recent years. Both
confide in their supporting casts, heavily, as a means of spicing their
clichéd premises up. Does this fact and their apparent quality represent
a coincidence? I think not.
knowledge of the game of tennis is crucial to respond to the experience
has to offer, fully. Its tense atmosphere relies a lot on score and
players’ control over their games. Over the last year, I’ve found great
liking in the sport, and perhaps that accounts for much of the reason
why I was so welcoming towards this movie. However, I would still
to those who are novice tennis players; it is a treat even when the
characters are off the court.
I’ve observed a
trend in Hollywood, as of late, in which writers and directors feel the
need to make their mainstream products more complex than necessary. Such
a style, albeit more welcome, in my eyes, than standard, dumbed-down
fare, only results in utter lameness. There is a reason why independent
film exists: to correctly make motion pictures of higher intelligence
levels than those of mainstream appeal. While I would love to attend
more enriching films at my local multiplex than what I am able to, now,
I don’t think it is the big-budget filmmaker’s place to make this
Richard Loncraine, realizes this. As a result, he creates a solid and
enjoyable motion picture, which still has more emotional resonance than
typical fluff. What more can I say? I liked it.
Walking into Sky Captain and the World of
Tomorrow, I was ready for some good, clean fun. It promised to be a
PG-rated movie with an A-list cast and an interesting style. Who thought
that such a concept would lead to a resulting product as atrocious as
this movie turned out being?
Sky Captain was filmed entirely on blue-screens; the cast
had to envision everything happening around them, as they acted each
scene out. The movie is full of big explosions, action, and adventure.
Its mood is ambitious and director Kerry Conran creates a picturesque
look of a fantasized 1930’s, via CGI. On paper, my description makes
Sky Captain sound like a movie-lover’s dream. Too bad it is so
This all goes without mentioning that the film is a
style-over-substance extravaganza. This technique can work, when done
correctly. Unfortunately, Sky Captain doesn’t have any
interesting sense of style. Yes, gazing at the entrancing, bleak visuals
is breathtaking, for about thirty minutes, but after that, the look and
feel of the movie began to wear on me. It could’ve been saved by a
strong story with interesting characters, but those are two assets that
Conran clearly feels are unnecessary.
Some have compared Sky Captain to some of the Batman
sequels (probably because they share
City as the setting), but I think that would be too generous. I think
that viewing Sky Captain is most similar to the experience of
watching another person play “Star Fox” on Nintendo 64. I heard Conran’s
rumble-pack vibrating during Sky Captain, as he pushed the A and
B buttons rapidly on his controller, but the euphoria he experienced
making it was clearly much more enlightening than any emotion I felt,
when watching it. I can see why it would be fun to plug a CGI robot into
the middle of Gotham City, but I was not enthralled, in the least, by
looking at one doing such.
The very little story that Sky Captain boasts having isn’t
involving. The plot chronicles Sky Captain Joe Sullivan (Jude Law) and
his ex-girlfriend, reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), as they try
Dr. Totenkopf, a
German scientist, from succeeding in his plans of world-domination. And,
then, uh, well, that’s pretty much it. During the first thirty minutes
of the movie, the idea seemed intriguing to me, but Sky Captain
gradually declines, until it hits an abominable low-point at the end of
the second act. Even the apparently fun, nostalgic final fifth seemed
only mildly amusing to me, after enduring the snooze-inducing majority
of the film. Sky Captain may have worked if it was a short-film,
but as a seventy-million-dollar-budgeted “extravaganza,” it stands for
nothing more (and, really, nothing less) than a failed experiment in
I’m not sure if
the clouded visuals, which only lunatics will refer to as “dream-like”,
covered up the emotions of all of the actors, or if the cast’s work is
just plain awful. I can respect leads Paltrow and Law for their
daringness, in playing parts, with no sets or major props surrounding
them, but that does not excuse their lack of energy. The role of Sky
Captain should be an exuberant one; Law barely even manages to change
the tone in his voice, on occasion. Imagine what people would’ve thought
of Star Wars had Luke Skywalker acted as if he did not care about
the outcome of the story. Sky Captain seems like he doesn’t care about
Totenkopf; he is just another aimless soul in Conran’s distorted vision.
Thankfully, this movie doesn’t represent part one of a trilogy, as
Lucas’ masterpiece did. At least supporter Angelina Jolie is able to
muster up some adrenaline in her part, albeit eye-rolling.
When I flipped
on my television two nights ago, I was informed that Sky Captain and
the World of Tomorrow is, currently, the most fun movie of the year.
There are two possible explanations for this comment. (1) The
commercial-narrator needs to be placed in a mental facility or (2) The
film industry is desperately lacking in the fun department. While I
think both are very true, the second seems more accurate. Yawn.
Jessica Martin (Kim Bassinger) is mistakenly kidnapped and left in a
room with only a broken phone to tinker with. She taps and ties the
discombobulated wires together and finally receives a signal, in her
efforts of desperation. She picks up Ryan (Chris Evans) on the line, and
begs him to keep with her, and have the cops try and help her. Jessica’s
son and husband are later abducted too, despite Ryan’s car-crashing,
holdup-inducing strategies to prevent such. When he actually does go to
the police-station, he is unable to get to the floor in which the
homicide detectives work, because he would lose reception in the
staircase. Yes; Cellular is that contrived.
movie relies on improbable event after improbable to get its point
across, but it does bear several nail-biting characteristics. For the
first two-thirds of it, I was quite riveted, caught up in each and every
suspenseful moment Cellular had to offer. With a perfect
soundtrack, swiftly crafted action, and some interesting performances,
it is one hell of a slick thrill-ride. Unfortunately, by the time its
third act commences, Cellular has already become quite
exhausting. The fun that it offers for the majority of its duration
finally catches up with its quality, come the conclusion. I have a
feeling that, if Cellular was twenty minutes shorter, cut to a
short and sweet hour and fifteen minutes, it could’ve been a masterful
slice of cheese. In the end, it remains a serviceable thriller, but that
is not to say that it could’ve been far better.
Cellular, I pondered the concept of fun in film, and found myself
quite fascinated. I think that most would deem it to be validly
entertaining. But, for there to be a general consensus that a movie
about kidnappings, which includes much violence, is likeable, seems a
bit odd. Yes, it is well-made, but couldn’t one reasonably conclude that
the majority of moviegoers find excitement in its material,
rather than its artistry? Sure, the way in which it is handled
makes for a lot of the “fun”, but I think that the attraction to stories
like that of Cellular says something about society. (Mind you
that this is not necessarily something negative.) I do not mean to be
prude, at all; I like films of this sort as much as the next guy. But,
one cannot deny that the fact speaks volumes about humanity.
Part of the
magic of Cellular is that it is played completely straight. Kim
Bassinger operates her character almost entirely in monotone, even with
all of her kicking and screaming. Jason Statham is the classic bad guy,
and Owens the standard hero. I bought into the whole thing, no matter
how many times I said “Wait up!” and “That could never happen!” to
myself. At the end of the day, any logical viewer will realize that
Cellular pushes the idea of bending reality. However, I don’t think
I’d care about this if it wasn’t for the mediocrity of the messy
flaws, Cellular does keep its cool, in all of its
preposterousness and implausibility. I cannot deny the fact that it
represents some of the most thrilling fare to come out of Hollywood, as
of late. Omitting twenty minutes could’ve done wonders, but so the
lengthiness goes. I’ll get over it. I hope.
It wouldn’t be
an understatement to say that I loathe parodies. Take any “great” in the
genre—Mel Brooks, Weird Al, David Zucker—and I’ll tell you why they
don’t represent anything special. Going into Shaun of the Dead,
the latest spoof to hit the American market, I was in the mood for
something awful. While it thrived in its homeland of Britain, and I am a
fan of its source material, my reservations about the group of films it
belongs to tugged on my conscience, as I dashed into the theatre, so I
wouldn’t be a second late for it. Surprisingly, Shaun of the Dead
is a wonderfully human comedy with an abundance in amusing moments. It
worked for me.
moments are few and far between in Shaun of the Dead, but it
sweetly executes at a serviceable pace. I grinned in almost every scene;
the movie has a spirit that reminisces on George A. Romero’s Dead
trilogy with a hypnotically moving sense of nostalgia. The human-side of
Shaun of the Dead is something I’ve never seen in a parody
before, a true rarity. The reason why the movie is so likeable is
because viewers will grow attached to the characters. They are people
who we can embrace and sympathize with. Shaun of the Dead’s humor
is not simply driven by stupid gags which poke fun at Romero’s pictures.
Rather, they treasure them, through a script which carries many of the
same themes that the original films did.
the title-character, Shaun (Simon Pegg), Shaun of the Dead, like
Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Night of the
Living Dead, focuses on the zombie-takeover of a city. This time
around, though, things take place in the United Kingdom. The group of
survivors of the zombie plague end up taking refuge in their local pub.
Shuan; his friend, Ed (Nick Frost); girlfriend (er…ex?), Liz (Kate
Ashfield); two friends; mom; and step-dad are along for the journey.
Some live longer than others and some are funnier than others. But, the
balance between attachment and comedy in Shaun of the Dead, on
the whole, is certainly a winner. Amidst all of the small, wicked
chuckles that the climax has to offer, many will be surprised by how
poignant the whole experience is. I was astounded that I actually grew
to care about the dumb goofball of a protagonist and his crew who were
being bitten by the second.
Shaun of the
Dead’s subtle tone was a huge surprise to me, considering how
obnoxious it could’ve been. Welcoming a zombie movie, under such
circumstances, was not something that I ever expected to do. But, I can
appreciate originality in all forms, and this movie proves such. Who
would’ve known that a motion picture bearing the tagline “A romantic
comedy…With zombies” could be this deep?