Category Archives: Reviews

28 Days Later: Brilliant on so many levels

A haunting scene in the deserted London. It gets even more exciting from here.

Once in a while, a movie appears that is so beautiful in its simplicity, so well rounded, so clear, that you simply feel how great it is right after you watch it for the first time. “28 Days Later” is one of those movies.

Movies like this don’t need kick ass budgets to tell its stories. On the other hand, they usually make a good examples of cult films or camp classics (depending on their actual quality).

“28 Days Later” is a great film because it’s actually quite simple, and it touches both of your mind and your heart – just like any good work of art should. It’s not, by any means, the greatest movie ever made, but its somewhat small scale and occasional inconsistencies and errors just make it more realistic as a project.

I am not, by any means, a fan of horror movies (zombies might be the subject I least like), but I like dystopian stories a lot. What I liked about “28 Days Later”, however, was the fact it was neither: it was a story about human nature. That’s why I find all the debates on whether this was a zombie movie fairly irrelevant.

See...

On the other hand, I am not sure if I got some of the symbolism, or if there was any actual symbolism in the stuff such as the title itself, horses or Major’s last name (West). I am not good at interpreting symbolism because I believe that, essentially, there’s no such thing as a global interpretation of a work of art, only personal.

So I don’t really care what authors wanted to say… I know what this movie means to me. Essentially, it’s about humans, and (unlike their later work on “Sunshine”), Boyle and Garland managed to make a good, if surprising, third act that actually makes perfect sense and takes the movie on a different level. (And yes, I know there are people who were disappointed at the whole soldiers subplot, but frankly, I found it to be one of the majors points of the movie).

I also liked characters. A lot. When it comes to movies with any sense of action it’s often difficult to actually care about the characters, but I cared about these. I like Jim’s story arc and the way he disturbingly, explosively transforms himself from a shy courier boy that blushes when a girl kisses him on the cheek into the batshit crazy killing machine full of – ironically? – rage. I also like the way it makes us think about the whole thing.

And I really liked Selena (what girl doesn’t want to be like her?) The character starts in a dangerous territory – as a strong black woman (and when I say “strong black woman”, I don’t mean on a strong woman that is black, but on a harmful stereotype many authors use when dealing with characters who are black females). But we soon learn it’s all just a mask – Selena is a sensitive, emotional person. She says she’ll leave Frank and his daughter behind if they slow her down, but she doesn’t. She says she’ll kill anybody “in a heartbeat” should she suspect they’re infected. But like we find out in the movie’s most climatic (and strangely erotic) scene, she doesn’t. Oh, no, she doesn’t.

... what I mean?

The bad things about the movie? Well, the theatrical ending felt a bit inconsistent with the rest of the story, and I strongly prefer the original (alternate) ending, in which (HUGE SPOILER, Jim dies and is left in the abandoned hospital). I am not quite sure why they opted to change this, since it’s the ending that makes the most sense.

Also, I could not stand Megan Burns (her acting I mean). I know she got an award before, but she was distracting here.

Everything else was good. Definitely one of the best movies of the decade.

The bits

The movie has one of the most haunting opening sequences I’ve ever seen. (Well, not the actual opening scene, but the one in which we meet Jim). The scene in deserted London, with the killer music in the background is perfect in every meaning of the word.

Remember I said “28 Days Later” was beautiful in its simplicity? Some people disagree: they see it as a good example of a mind screw.

28 Days Later: Wild Mass Guessing (Spoilers heavy, of course).

As proven yet again, Americans are scared of naked people. (But not of, say, zombies, blood, or killing people with the machete/bare hands).

Dr House’s (mysterious) appeal

“House M.D.” is one of the most popular TV shows, and probably one of the best shows in the past decade. It’s sure one of my favourites. The thing is, it’s not really good per se: it’s full of repetitive moments, pointless characters and mediocre acting. Just like most of the shows anyway.

But it’s still numerous times better than the other shows, all because of it’s captivating antihero. HE is what makes “House” good. Well, at least 85% of the time. The remaining 15% goes on clever idea to make an unique adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. And let’s abmit that’s what “House” basically is: a new reading of Holmes. But it would be all worth nothing without Dr Gregory House being the way he is. He’s incredible beyond words, for the reasons that are not always clear.

So, what makes Dr House one of the best TV characters of all time?

Hugh Laurie

No placebos for him. We’ll use real medicine.

He is played by Hugh Laurie, and Hugh Laurie kicks ass. No other way to put it.

Greg House againIt was shocking for me to learn many Americans never heard of him before the show started. Nobody watched “Blackadder”? (If nothing else).

It’s the guy who practically made his career playing stupid Brits in comedies… Until he started playing a genius American in a medical drama. The fact he’s convincing in both proves how amazing Hugh Laurie truly is.

But there must be other reasons.

The appeal

I’m not deflecting because I’m avoiding something deep. I’m deflecting because I’m avoiding something shallow.

Dr House is fascinating because he’s unique- and unique characters draw attention. He’s not a nice or a polite human being, but that just makes him look more honest. He value truth above anything else, and he doesn’t let unimportant things, such as social norms, get in the way of it.

He is miserable most of the time, but he still manages to be a bit of a hedonist: he does what he feels like in the moment, he gets high, he collects pornography, he plays piano, he solves medical puzzles.

People want to be like him

It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.

Well, people don’t really want to be like him. Only a little. But they want it because everybody wants to be the smartest guy in the room who doesn’t care about what others think. And while people usually believe they ARE the smartest person in the room or that they don’t care about what others think, deep down, they know it’s a lie.

So in a way, House is everybody’s fantasy. He goes too far, but he often makes steps that we all want to make but never do, because- unlike him- we do care about social norms and other people’s feelings. Or maybe we’re just not genius enough to be that arrogant.

That’s a catchy diagnosis, you could dance to that

Hugh Laurie

You know me. Hostility makes me shrink up like a- I can’t think of a non-sexual metaphor.

All in all, what people like about Dr House is that he acts the way we all want to act sometimes, in the most egoistic, unfair, superiority-complex kind of way.

We all know it’s wrong, and most of us don’t do it, but there’s something appealing about being completely confident and not caring about what others think. And that’s what makes Dr House such an irresistible character.

Or maybe it’s just the fact he’s played by Hugh Laurie? And as we all know, the guy is fucking awesome.

“Eclipse” movie: Crap or Camp?

Scene from EclipseTo be honest, I can’t make up my mind about “Twilight” movies (or books for that matter). “Too bad it’s hilarious” or just “too bad”?

To be honest, I must admit “Eclipse” movie was a slight improvement. Directing was better, script fas a bit more coherent, and even (even!) acting was a little less horrible. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was bad, messy and embarrassing. But it was more watchable than the previous instalments. Now that’s something, isn’t it?

“Eclipse” has its wonderful, campy, narmy moments, but there are not enough of them to make up for nonexistent story, empty dialogue and overall pointlessness of the movie. There’s also the issue of music- along with indie songs there is a serious (way tooo serious) and “epic” score. Such music is accompanied by trashy dialogue and scenes in which absolutely nothing happens. It tries (badly) to tell us meaningless dialogue along the lines of “Jacob is my friend, I want to see him” is extremely important, but it fails. The effect is somewhat amusing, thought, and it does approach the “trash gem” line.

As for the actors, I must say Kristen Stewart blinked a little less so she was less annoying, but she still looks completely bored (I don’t blame her). Robert Pattinson manages to be strangely absent and unnoticeable, which is a gift, given the fact he’s always there. He is there, but we just don’t see him. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s a good thing, because he still acts like he really, really needs to go to the bathroom every second he’s on screen. Young Taylor Lautner looks a bit older here, so his abs match his face a little better. His acting, which was almost unwatcheable in the previous movie, is a bit better- but only a bit.

All one can say about supporting characters is “blah”. Humans are not important, vampires don’t look like vampires, wolf pack is one huge fan service. Dakota Fanning and Jackson Rathbone are the only one who deserve a mention, and not for the same reason. Fanning can act, and she’s good- as good as you can get here (which is not far). She is the only one who managed to turn an extremely weak material into something “ok”, which means the girl is really, really talented. As for Rathbone, we all know he can’t act, but somehow he does look unnatural enough to pass for a vampire. The “I’m about to crap” face works better on him than Pattinson, that’s for sure.

The worst things

Another scene from Eclipse

Special effects were embarrassing to watch. Wolf pack, I’m looking at you. But there were other trashy effects so if laughing at those is your thing, “Eclipse” won’t disappoint. And I do admit, they were a bit better than “New Moon”, but still highly cringeworthy.

Also: makeup. It’s bad beyond words. Edward, who is supposed to be the most gorgeous guy on Earth, looks like a drag queen on a bad day (nothing against drag queens, but I don’t think that’s the look they wanted to achieve.)

The plot. Strictly speaking, it’s not filmmakers fault. We all know what was the source material. Simply put: it was boring. All they did in the movie was talking. And since we all know how uninspiring characters are, listening their endless dialogue was not a highly amusing thing to do.

The best things

The best things were the above mentioned narmy moments. No words to describe such scenes as “Edward, I promise, I’ll go to college and I’ll let you buy me an expensive car, and I’ll marry you, just please, fuck me!”. The legend of the third wife is also a gem, and so is homoerotic tent scene. Another good thing was the infamous scene in which Bella orders Jacob to kiss her under the fake mountains, with “epic” music in the background.

Dakota Fanning’s portrayal is the only non-narmy thing that was good in this movie.

The Verdict?

All in all, “Eclipse” is not clever, or ironic enough to pass for camp. It still takes itself way too seriously. It’s not even trashy enough to be “too bad it’s good” in a narmy way. But there’s certainly a potential.

Not to mention, the best is yet to come: “Breaking Dawn”, the ultimate wonder of trash literature, is going to be adapted in not one, but two movies. With a good attitude and inspired crew, we might be having a camp classic on the way.

Rating: ** jefflions out of *****

See also

“Eclipse”: The logic behind a boring mess (my book review)
“New Moon” movie: Not worth the LULZ
… and other “Twilight” spittings

I’m in my Jeff Bridges phase now

Jeff Bridges in Crazy HeartYou know, I have these phases, in which I explore a work of one artist. It can be addictive and annoying to people around me, because- let’s face it- not everybody likes to watch one actor’s full filmography, or listen certain albums and songs over and over again. Oh well.

I’m in my Jeff Bridges phase right now. I don’t know how it started, probably after his Oscar win, but the real reason that I’ve been sick and had to rest, and what’s better than watching the movies in your collection (or, in this case, my husband’s collection).

I really liked Bridges before, but I haven’t seen many of his films. Well, that’s something that needed to be changed.

Jeff Bridges was never really a huge movie star, despite being a good actor and getting a few Oscar nominations early in his career. Plus, it’s not that he was unpleasant to look at. In his 20s and especially 30s, he was reasonably attractive: at 6′ 2” and slim, he made many women swoon after him, despite the fact that, definitely, he was never what is called “conventionally handsome”. But there’s something incredibly sweet and charming and almost innocent about him, something in his eyes, maybe, and those are one of the rare things, things that make people look like good beings.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, manLater, he gained weight and embraced The Dude in him- and became even more awesome than he was before. And he kept sweetness and innocence in his eyes. Truly a rare gift.

Older, chubby Jeff was even more loved and appreciated among fans- and critics liked him too: even if reviews of a movie were bad, most of them praised his acting skills. We all know I am not crazy about the Oscars, but I am happy he won this year.

Unforgettable

Some of the memorable performances I like the most.

First, often forgotten “American Heart”. The movie is not for everybody, but I liked it, and Jeff was amazing, so the fact nobody knows about this movie makes me a bit angry. In case you want to know, this is where one of the most popular Jeff’s images comes from.

There is also “The Fisher King” and again, it’s not for everybody, and it’s made in a distinctive style, and I liked it and I loved Jeff’s performance. Some focus on Robin Williams, but to me, Jeff’s portrayal was the key. It was subtle (while not appearing as such), and complex. There’s a scene early in the movie, when he hears a terrible news on TV. The focus is on his face, and his eyes are terrified, and he speaks with us with just his eyes; and we can read all the fear and all the shock and all the emotions in them. Simply unforgettable.

And of course, there is Dude, legendary Dude- and don’t say you didn’t expect this. He virtually lived the Dude and I am sure this one doesn’t need an explanation. But as much as I love “The Big Lebowski” and Jeff as the Dude, there is one performance and one movie I like more.

Starman“Starman” stole my heart, so to speak, with its innocence and unforgettable characters. The story of a gentle alien who clones himself into a young widow’s husband is not original, and the film itself has a B-movie touch. But this is a fairytale, a road movie fairytale, and it’s so touching, poignant and nostalgic that it makes you forget about all the imperfections in the film.

It’s about the characters, and Jeff and Karen Allen made such a strong and believable couple, one of the best I’ve seen. But more than anything, this movie owes its quality to Jeff’s acting. He is simply incredible here, no other words to describe it. His take on alien who is adjusting to his new body and new environment is so believable, it’s impossible to even imagine there’s anything but an alien in the body that resembles young Jeff Bridges. He really deserved his Oscar nomination and, while there are many other great roles, and more legendary ones (read: The Dude), this is definitely my favourite.

While watching this film, you can only admire his acting… And then forget about the acting and you connect to the characters strongly, and in the end the movie gives you hope and fills you with sweet nostalgia and even makes you remember some dear moments you thought you forgot a long time ago. Definitely my favourite Jeff’s film.

Random (but important) bits

Jeff Bridges’ official site is the most original official site I’ve seen, full of doodles, amazing photographs and random stuff. Truly unique.

The Dude’s “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man” gotta be one of the strongest inspirational quotes in movie history.

I never payed attention before, but now I see there are tons of Jeff fans in Serbia. Female fans, if you know what I mean. I knew he was loved as an actor, but I had no idea so many Serbian girls and women had a thing for him. Yes, even now, and he’s in his 60s.

He is Jeff and this website has a special love for all Jeffs that rule. Edit: I just found out his full name is Jeffrey Leon. I’m shocked and amazed!

Links

JeffBridges.com – Dude’s website.

Jeff and Karen Allen singing “All I Have To Do Is Dream” from “Starman”.
– Some people say it’s the most embarrassing music video ever made (and it’s not like I don’t see their point), but I think it’s sweet.

The Top 10 Jeff Bridges Performances – A very good list, even without some memorable performances. But generally I agree with the list (top places especially).

5 For the Day: Jeff Bridges – One of the most beautiful things ever written about Jeff Bridges.

New Twilight book: April Fools joke?

Please, tell me this is an early April Fools joke!

“Before “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” hits theaters on June 30, “Twilight” fans will be treated to a new glimpse into author Stephenie Meyer’s vampire universe.

On June 5, the 36-year-old multimillionaire author will release “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner,” a novella that takes place concurrently with the events in the third “Twilight” book, “Eclipse.”

Source: Stephenie Meyer’s New ‘Twilight’ Book

WTF?!?!

Shit! Fuck! Crap! Shit!

Ok, now let me rephrase that: What the fuck is this woman doing? Why don’t people stop her?!? This is insane. I mean: insane. There are so many talented writers who actually spend time researching, writing, trying to find a published, struggling, caring, trying to do their best (for example: me :D), and this talentless… individual recycles her wet dream cash cow novel over and over and over again. And people are actually interested in this?

Please, tell me it’s an April Fools joke.

Related:
“Eclipse”: The logic behind a boring mess
“New Moon” movie: Not worth the LULZ
25 things I learned reading “Twilight”
… and other “Twilight” spittings.