Monday, June 23, 2008

Movie Reviews and More

First off, let me say how saddened I am by the death of two of the best and brightest in the world of entertainment...

George Carlin and Stan Winston
They will both be greatly missed as pioneers in two of my favorite fields, comedy and sci-fi.

Last weekend was the opening of the new Hulk movie as well as the latest from M. Night.  Here are my reviews...


So much of an improvement over the last film (Ang Lee's Hulk in 2003) that it seems like two completely different characters inspired the films.

Perhaps in a way that is true, as the inspiration for the latest incarnation of the great big green guy seems to be almost as much the 80's television show as the comic book.

Sure, Ang Lee's version had a cameo by Lou Ferrigno, this version also had a cameo by Bill Bixby (despite the fact that he's dead) and a "cameo" by the television show's outstanding theme song.  Also, at one point, Bruce Banner uses the alias David B. (on the show, the character was named David Banner).

Sure, it isn't as good a film as Iron Man was, but since Iron Man is clearly the best comic book movie ever made, it seems unfair to compare Hulk too closely with it.  As a comic book movie, it's more then adequate, and it has a lot of Hulk Smashing, and isn't that what we wanted anyway?

Add to that the fact that the CG Hulk doesn't take away from the film the way that it did 5 years ago as realistic CG characters continue to get better and better.

Bottom line is any fan of the old television show will absolutely adore this film, and anyone who just likes to see "Hulk Smash" will be equally excited by it.


I knew going in that Marky Mark's character was a science teacher, so when the movie opened with some horrendously clunky dialogue and bad acting, I naturally thought that Marky Mark was showing some awful biology video or something (after all, we've all seen those videos).

As it continued, however, I had the sinking realization that it wasn't a bad science video, but was actually the beginning of the movie.  Not a good start.

It does get better, although the dialogue stays pretty clunky throughout (although still better then Titanic, I still get chills remembering the dialogue in that movie).  There are some genuinely creepy moments towards the end of the film, very reminiscent in many ways of the Hitchcock classic The Birds.  However it takes way too long to get to those moments and unlike The Birds (or the far superior and scarier The Strangers) it doesn't use the time it takes to get to the scares to really make you care about the characters.  (Again, probably because the dialogue is so unrealistic and the acting not very strong).

Another problem I had with the movie was the cameo by M. Night.  Just like Hitch, Night has been putting himself in each of his films, and the smart audience is conditioned to wonder about when and where he will show up.  Sure, I thought his cameo in this movie was extremely clever (by far his best cameo yet), but it really distracted from the film while you were continuously wondering where and when he would appear.  Hitchcock realized this problem and began putting his cameos very early in the film to get them out of the way and distract as little as possible.  If Shyamalan plans to continue this tradition, perhaps he should think about doing the same thing.

The best parts about The Happening both happened before the movie even began in the form of me getting carded trying to buy a ticket (seriously!  Dude, I'm 30!) and The X-Files: I Want To Believe trailer playing before the movie.  It got no better after that.

Until Next Time, I've been out of town and incommunicado for over a week (hence the lateness of these reviews) and therefore I want to rewatch the BSG mid-season finale one more time before I talk about it, but let me just say....   HOLY CRAP!  AMAZING!!  I totally didn't see that coming.

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