Movie Review thread.

LozHinge the Unhinged

Diabloii.Net Member
It was after the Golden Age of King's initial offerings - Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining, Rage, The Stand, The Long Walk - but it was before the horrible rot truly set in.

Nevertheless, the beginnings of the rot can be seen in It, although that is only apparent when you look back at it over the decades.

Honourable mention goes to The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - although published quite some time after the above-mentioned stories, it represents the earliest of King's writings and contains his original fire. This was when King was writing for himself, expressing his thoughts and ideas, and before he started writing for his fans.
In fact, read The Dark Tower series, which neatly encapsulates King's decline from a writer of originality to populist hack. It's an eye-opener, as an exposé of the slow fall of a promising storyteller.

I haven't read much of any new King material for the past fifteen to twenty years so I do not know too much about his leftist evangelising within his books. My main complaint against King is the quality of plotting, characterisation and insertion of gleeful pedophilia elements.

Author's Note: I was tempted to post Merv's quote and this reply in the What are you reading thread but decided to leave it here. Mea culpa off-topicality
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
I haven't read much of any new King material for the past fifteen to twenty years so I do not know too much about his leftist evangelising within his books.
I was actually thinking of some of the movies he's been involved in, particularly where military or law enforcement are framed as evil for evil's sake as a subtext to the plot. It's almost like he watched "Three Days of the Condor" and decided that was what the 'sheepdogs'** of America truly are - while at the same time embracing the fascist Progressives who look at oppressing the populace as a worthy idea.

**"Sheepdog" if you weren't aware, is unsophisticated parlance referring to those who view their role in society as protection of the masses. It comes from an incident where a Proggy bimbo protested a memorial to WW2 hero "Pappy" Boyington.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Back to topic, since none of you is willing to do your share.

US
Horror
Starring:Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Writer/Director: Jordan Peele
5/10

I didn't like giving this only a "5" but my little IMDB game was off (6.9) so it's understandable. The problem is that the movie is amazing from a stylistic, suspenseful, & cinematic side, while being worse than pedestrian in plotting & story-line.

To explain: This is only the second movie by writer/director Jordan Peele. Peele is far better known as the Oliver Hardy half of the comedy duo "Key & Peele"

One of their more memorable bits here -
Peele plays "Timothy"


So while Key is off making mainstream car commercials, which doubtless yields a tidy profit, Peele is one of those actors who has both the balls & talent to try getting behind the camera and do his best, rather than just expect congratulations to roll in because he's "him".

That being said, Peele's no M. Knight Shamalamadingdong, and in no way like Eastwood (yet). M. Knight might have 'come out of the gate' with The Sixth Sense (his 3rd movie) but he's made quite a few stinkers on the way... Eastwood did better but he's been in the business forever.

Peele's problem, conversely, is that while he's got amazing style & capability, he really kinda sucks when it comes to putting a script together. This is surprising because he's got at least 15 official credits as a writer. It's too soon to say whether Peele will be a flash in the pan, both because he's not got that much officially under his belt and because so far he's sticking with "BLACK!!" interpretation. My wife believes I saw his first movie, Get Out, but I don't think I did.

US doesn't rely on jump-scares and has a great suspenseful tone, both of which automatically go on my 'favorable' side. The acting is very decent; many of these were probably in Black Panther and do perfectly well performing here, particularly the heroine. There are two child actors, and both do fine with what are actually complex roles. My guess is that Peele's skill as a writer is the source of some amazingly well-executed lines, scenes, & even vignettes/non-verbal moments (if you decide to see this, remember the line: "We're Americans!" and you'll realize what I'm saying).

The problem is that style, scenes, & excellently conveyed creepy mood isn't enough to cover up gigantic plot holes & shoddy story execution. It's possible that because he's the writer he figured he didn't need to go through a better drafting & revision process, but that's simply false. There's some absolutely wonderful concepts, including "Hands Across America" & steam tunnels (part of the intro so it's not really a spoiler) but the problem is there's very little done in an effective fashion with them. Likewise, the performances are better than "just fine", but there's too many loose ends left with the motivation behind them. It would perhaps be as if The Terminator spent screen time showing the theory of how time travel works without showing Arnold or Reese (Biehn) actually showing up (Arnie's flex vs. Reese's vagrant-in-pain). That fails as an analogy but I can't think of a better way to convey it.

So I'm not pretending to have a solution, but I'm hoping that Peele hires some writers and uses someone else's story. Doing an 'ethnic' horror film was novel, he did a great job of it, but it still doesn't work in the final tally. I think he has great potential and it would be an absolute shame for one of the rare out-of-the-box types to get washed up so early in what could be a great career.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Y'all are such slackers. Fine, here's another one; picked up the DVD in a library sale.

King Arthur
Fantasy
Starring: Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Mads Mikkelsen, Ray Winstone, Keira Knightley, Stellan Skarsgård, Til Schweiger
Director: Jerry Bruckheimer
2/10

I don't know if anyone particularly cares about "my little game" but what the hell - it reassures me that my tastes *(while obscene) aren't terribly off the mark. Plus, I don't know how many people even read these unless I cross-post them on IMDB, and even then it's really nothing but an exercise in self-promotion. At any rate, I'm writing this review, and THEN I'll go fill in the cross-site scripting (during which I'll see IMDB's aggregate rating)

So I imagine this movie is what happens when The Player is real life. Some script peddler had an amazing concept: the REAL King Arthur was not from the French storyline circa 1100 A.D. but rather was contemporary with Rome and had to deal with the Roman Empire's collapse. Let's make him Bravehart for Britain.

One of my preferred authors, Bernard Cornwell, wrote several books on this theme (The Winter King) and I believe there's at least a couple of others. It's not a dry well by any measure.

Soooo, I knew this movie hadn't been a massive box office success, but I still wanted to give it a go. The cast is practically all A-listers, and the director is renowned for churning out cash cow offerings.

However, you won't get 5 minutes in before you realize that this flick stinks on ice. The primary failing is plotting, a secondary is scripting, and a third is cinematography. It speaks quite badly of modern cinema that they can't manage better, but here's a quick synopsis:
  1. Plotting - there's a storyline, & it's not utterly ludicrous to start. The heroes are about to be released, but the evil Catholics demand a suicide mission first. Then it starts to fall apart, because the suicide mission turns out to be the rescue of a corrupt Roman who is torturing people. THEN the Knights (Round Table has already been turned into a cheap political gag) all protect the Romans plus slaves who have been existing for years outside of their operational area & responsibility. <THEN> after they make up with their historical enemies simply on random verbal decision, they throw away their lives simply to stop the random maximum badthing (represented by the Saxons).
  2. Scripting AKA dialogue. It seems very much like the script was a bunch of one- and two-liners literally thrown together without much thought, in order to try to generate a tagline, Twitter quote, or meme along the lines of "This... Is... SPARTA!". Instead, it turned out as a disjointed, random, unsettling pile of garbage quotes & non sequiturs.
  3. Cinematography started out well (you'll remember I was looking for some bleak British fantasy) but it turns to dross quite rapidly. There's a couple of nice out-of-genre tricks, like one of the Knights seeming to mimic Japanese Kendo style, but those few nice bits are overrun by crap-tastic special effects (ice doesn't fall through water like stones, even when viewed from below) and scenes that are drawn out or overemphasized to the point of being ludicrous (Kiera Knightley is utterly unconvincing as a shieldmaiden role, so having her try to bellow a war cry as she charges half-naked against heavy infantry is laughable).
So that's it. I'm still looking for a half-decent Celtic theme fantasy type movie; Rob Roy wasn't terribly good either plus it's too late in the historical setting.

EDIT - Fixed up the missing links; like I said it really was an A-list cast. My 'little game' is way off, because IMDB gives this a 6.3 (Rottten Tomatoes has 31% critics, 59% audience). Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I'm an Arthurian mythology fan for reasons that ought to be obvious. Interestingly enough, Geoffrey Of Monmouth's work was apparently a "best seller" of sorts in 1133 A.D. which was why the frogs, sorry, the French, all tried to make a buck off Arthur.
 
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jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Y'all lazy. Go see something, let me rest.

Joker
Superhero Origin Story/Crime Drama? Nah.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen, Frances Conroy
Director Todd Phillips
8.5/10

Yes, it's that good. My 'little game' was pretty close; IMDB score is 8.9.

Jeez, what to say about this movie? It's sure as hell not a "Superhero Origin Story", nor is it a crime drama. Like "13 Hours", this is a movie that totally surprised me, considering the only work I knew of by the director was, "The Hangover". I saw it in theatre so I'll have to forgo anything beyond what I noticed (and I missed the start, seeing as I went to the wrong viewing). I'll make references to other movies which touch on similar themes.

Unfortunately, this movie has been loaded with political import. Stupid f'ing Progressives wanted it loaded with anti-gun & anti-violence propaganda which was a ludicrous concept; it's an inherently violent, unhappy film. Kudos to Phillips & the producers for actually trying to avoid politics, rather than grovel to political correctness. As Joker himself says, he's not political; Wayne sounds like every fat cat who ever proclaimed concern about the poor, & the violent protestors have "eat the rich" & "RESIST" signs in abundance.

The plot is surprisingly straight-line, once you really understand it. It's an undeserved descent into madness of what ought to have been a relatively gentle soul. Couldn't help but think of "Network" and the lesser "Falling Down" while watching it. You're in an uncomfortable position of seeing horrific acts of violence while understanding and even sympathizing with the insane perpetrator. "Yes!!", you find yourself almost thinking as a yuppie is hunted down and shot in the back.

I read one review which had an excellent suggestion: the plot is really revealed in this cartoon monologue about "one bad day" referred to in Batman canon as "The Killing Joke". The exception is that instead of Batman as the audience, <you> are who is being spoken to. The 'punchline' as delivered in the movie is, "What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? You get what you f**kin' deserve!"

There's some amazing intricacy in the plot though, which is best considered along the lines of "Jacob's Ladder". I'm not going to get into the fanbois guesswork about what is 'truly happening' in the story & what is the hero's psychosis, but it's beyond speculative that not everything you witness on screen is intended to represent the actual happenings. Beetz' character as the pretty neighbor & some of the protagonist's imaginings of audience response easily proves that a significant portion of the story is messed up stuff going on in the protagonist's brain.

Feel free to tell me I'm an arch-villain who ought to turn himself into the authorities.
I already know this, of course. Joke's on you; I AM the authorities!
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Footnote to my review of Joker - in addition to Falling Down & Network, apparently DeNiro's character is an allusion to a movie called The King of Comedy. Starring DeNiro & Jerry Lewis, it's about a poor quality comedian who kidnaps a talk-show host he's obsessed with.
 

Dredd

D3 Off Topic Moderator
There's a little Taxi Driver in that film's DNA as well.

Joker was okay. Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely mesmerizing and his performance elevates what is otherwise, in my opinion, a fairly average story. 3.5/5.
 

Leopold Stotch

Diabloii.Net Member
Back to topic, since none of you is willing to do your share.
Y'all are such slackers.
Y'all lazy. Go see something, let me rest.
Jesus, Merv, lol! Thanks for all your hard work. Here-- it's a gold star and fifty cents. "dOn'T sPEnD iT aLL In oNe pLaCe." /Grandma croaky voice
I've actually been watching a lot of shows on Netflix and Hulu, some cooking videos from some people on YouTube.. Right now, I'm on my second run of Bob's Burgers on Hulu; Explained, The Family, Hilda, and a couple other shows on NF.

I saw Us in theaters. I really enjoyed it. If I could give it a rating.... Uh, I guess a 7.9, maybe 8? I haven't seen Get Out, this was my frist Peele movie and you're right about the creepiness. Thought that was done really well. I think the last movie I saw in theaters was John Wick 3 and 10/10 for kickass action, 10/10 for enjoyment, 10/10 for continuning a story about seeking... vengence, lol.

I actually watched Apostle today on Netflix. It came out last year and I put it on my list only to forget it. :silly: It started out strong for me and then... maybe tapered off? I feel like the last 30-40 minutes felt... weak but I'm not sure why? I'll probably watch it again when I have time (it's about 2.5 hours long) but 7/10 for enjoyment, 9/10 for creepy religious zealots. The only "big name" I know of is Micheal Sheen.

I know this is not a TV show thread, but don't watch Another Life on NF. It's awful. I usually don't watch sci-fi stuff, but this was ****ing terrible. A lot of the actions of the characters make you scream at your tv (or maybe it's just me), roll your eyes, say outloud, "WHY??", etc. etc. If you love terribad shit, then this show is for you.
 

LozHinge the Unhinged

Diabloii.Net Member
Jesus, Merv, lol! Thanks for all your hard work. Here-- it's a gold star and fifty cents. "dOn'T sPEnD iT aLL In oNe pLaCe." /Grandma croaky voice
I've actually been watching a lot of shows on Netflix and Hulu, some cooking videos from some people on YouTube.. Right now, I'm on my second run of Bob's Burgers on Hulu; Explained, The Family, Hilda, and a couple other shows on NF.

I saw Us in theaters. I really enjoyed it. If I could give it a rating.... Uh, I guess a 7.9, maybe 8? I haven't seen Get Out, this was my frist Peele movie and you're right about the creepiness. Thought that was done really well. I think the last movie I saw in theaters was John Wick 3 and 10/10 for kickass action, 10/10 for enjoyment, 10/10 for continuning a story about seeking... vengence, lol.

I actually watched Apostle today on Netflix. It came out last year and I put it on my list only to forget it. :silly: It started out strong for me and then... maybe tapered off? I feel like the last 30-40 minutes felt... weak but I'm not sure why? I'll probably watch it again when I have time (it's about 2.5 hours long) but 7/10 for enjoyment, 9/10 for creepy religious zealots. The only "big name" I know of is Micheal Sheen.

I know this is not a TV show thread, but don't watch Another Life on NF. It's awful. I usually don't watch sci-fi stuff, but this was ****ing terrible. A lot of the actions of the characters make you scream at your tv (or maybe it's just me), roll your eyes, say outloud, "WHY??", etc. etc. If you love terribad shit, then this show is for you.
The crazed female is correct - Another Life is horrifying. Nearly as horrifying as this new Forum skin where if you highlight text you have typed into the Reply Box in order to italicize or embolden it, you cannot tell what you have selected.

Yep - Another Life is that bad.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Jesus, Merv, lol! Thanks for all your hard work. Here-- it's a gold star and fifty cents. "dOn'T sPEnD iT aLL In oNe pLaCe." /Grandma croaky voice
You're welcome. But where's the $0.50?
I've actually been watching a lot of shows on Netflix and Hulu, some cooking videos from some people on YouTube..
Nothing wrong with reviewing what used to be considered miniseries; I'd draw the line at GoT or Better Call Saul.

Deadpool 2
Superhero/Comedy
Director: Tim Miller ooops, no, David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds , Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, & lots of cameos
7/10

I'm off by a smidgeon from IMDB (7.7/10) but substantially from Rotten Tomatoes (84% reviewer/85% audience).

So it turns out there's some ugly backstory here. The original director was Tim Miller, who left after 'creative differences' with Ryan Reynolds. Those differences had nothing whatsoever to do with #MeToo staining everything in H'wood, I'm sure... considering the *other* Miller, "T.J." who plays the bartender was (fashionably rather than credibly) accused of rape & assault. We'll never know for sure, but Leitch was behind Atomic Blonde which I pretty much thought sucked railroad sidings - Charlize Theron in hot lezbo action notwithstanding.

So the movie is smothered in Social Justice Warrior dogma to a degree that is nearly - but not quite - off-putting. Christians are the inadvertent villains of the piece because they're responsible for a tubby junior mutant potentially evolving into a supervillain: one of the two plot core components. The role reprise of the fancifully titled Negasonic Teenage Warhead isn't just angsty teen, but full-bore butch dyke with a anime-quality oriental girlfriend. The incessant jokes are all heavily anti-morality, so for example there's a lot of homosexual inference 'jokes', but a lot less traditional humor.

That said, the execution is far less deft than that of the first movie. If anyone doesn't watch this expecting shock-value, grotesque, over-the-top offensive humor, they simply aren't well informed. There's far less tangible sexxay going on (the role of gorgeous & fairly talented Morena Baccarin is drastically reduced, for reasons that become apparent within the first act). Some of the physical gags are a little lame as well.

Breaking the 'Fourth Wall' (separation of audience from actors) was a gag in the first movie, and it's taken much further here, but what allows it to work is incorporating decent material in the process. Remember when I reviewed Logan? Lots of jokes at Jackman's expense; both he & Professor Xavier are mentioned as dead even though I don't think the timeline supports it, and a tongue-in-cheek recognition of how badly some of the X-Men films sucked occasionally stands out. In fact, there's a fun monologue by Deadpool discussing how the X-Men barely even acknowledge him, which includes a cut-scene from the disastrous Dark Phoenix of the X-Men closing the door while he unwittingly rants. They actually filmed the cut-scene on the Dark Phoenix set & shipped it over to Deadpool 2!

This helps keep Deadpool 2 from grating; there are numerous cameos & sight gags which are handled with finesse. An invisible character named 'Vanisher' on the "X-Force" JV team which Deadpool assembles is briefly visible at the moment of his death... and it's Brad Pitt. Other un-billed or cameo appearances include Bill Skarsgård (IT), Rob Delaney, Terry Crews, Alan Tudyk, Matt Damon, Fred Savage , Nicholas Hoult, and James McAvoy.

Bottom line: I didn't bother seeing it in theatre, but it was fun enough that I'll probably pick it up in the Wal-Mart bargain bin.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
While I'm waiting for my $0.50 from Leo, I watched this for Veteran's Day:

Hacksaw Ridge
War
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Andrew Garfield
10-ish out of 10

I didn't see this in theatre; when I make a mistake I admit it. Can't believe this masterpiece is already in the discount bin, but it's somewhat of an unpopular subject in a stupid way: movies stuffed with mindless violence get attention, while movies that espouse traditional Christian & moral themes aren't. My rating is 2 points higher than IMDB's but it scores 85% critic 91% audience on RottenTomatoes

This is the semi-factual account of PFC Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. The movie takes artistic liberties with timeline &c. - most notably that the actual assault on the Madea Escarpment AKA Hacksaw Ridge is inferred as being the first enemy action for Doss' unit when in reality he'd won two Bronze Star w/ "V" device already. One reference asserts that Mel Gibson decided to tone down some of the actual incident because it would have been unbelievable.

I also wasn't able to get much greater clarity on the influence of his father William, portrayed by Hugo Weaving as a WW1 Marine Corps veteran suffering PTSD & 'self-medicating' as many of us do. However, one web site indicates that young Desmond did not pull a gun on his father but was told to hide the gun lest William shoot his uncle (unclear). What's soft-pedaled in the movie but still quite clear is that Desmond was a devout 7th Day Adventist, the tenets including keeping the traditional Sabbath (Saturday) holy and non-violence. Gibson does a great job of showing PFC Doss' devout, humble, very human nature - he died in 2006 so I don't know if Gibson actually used him as a resource, but he was a direct resource for an earlier documentary.

The performances are just fine; Hugo Weaving in particular does a great job - but then again Gibson always seems to get quality from people you don't necessarily expect it from, like Vince Vaughn. The ONLY criticism I had been ready to make was that there is a slightly cartoon-ish feel, most notable at the start, where you can get the sense of essentially watching a play rather than 'live' video. That's probably Gibson's touch - you never saw people in Braveheart going poo; there's gritty realism but it's in small doses & usually encapsulated in the violence. It's nowhere near as cartoon-y as Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket though, which even my wife said looked like it was filmed on a giant diorama. Violence is one thing there's plenty of in Hacksaw Ridge and for obvious reasons; I'm sure that the accusations made against Gibson regarding The Passion of the Christ are equally applicable here. There's gratuitous explosions, gore, viscera, limbs severed, people burning alive, &c. &c. which Gibson uses well to highlight the heroism of PFC Doss.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Saw this in theater a day prior to Hacksaw Ridge:

Midway
War
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, Aaron 'Bjorn' Eckhart
7.5/10

So I recall truly enjoying the original Midway from 1976, which was one of the first movies to incorporate historical footage. I was young but even then I recognized some of its failings (typical massive H'wood blockbuster with great 'star power' but lackluster overall result). I'd heard this was much better, and it is: 1976 Midway rated 6.8/10 and this one only rates 6.9/10 (IMDB) but it's only been out a few days & is killing at the box office.

As with Hacksaw Ridge, this is WW2 'fact-ion' - reinterpreted documentary of sorts - timelines are compressed and characters are probably composites, with the intent of presenting a legitimate picture of what actually occurred but for the modern short-attention-span audience. The actual battle of Midway was far more complex than this 2019 presentation, but one of the failings of the 1976 as I recall was how it got bogged down in the confusing detail. In fact, 2019 spends very little attention on the tactical situation and more on the strategic; emphasis is rightfully placed on the code-breaking efforts and the way that Naval Intelligence was despised for missing Pearl Harbor when in reality it was a command failure. Regarding the tactical side... well, you'd be pardoned if you came away with the impression that 'Dick' Best all but won the battle single-handedly because of how much screen time is devoted to Ed Skrein's face grimacing in dive-bombing runs.

The acting is solid here; Skrein is co-protagonist with Patrick Wilson and they counter-balance each other. Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid give good performances which you wouldn't expect as both are often hammy actors.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Y'all still aren't paying your fair share. Plus no $0.50 yet.

Hulk (2003)
Superhero (origin)
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, (Lou Ferrigno, Stan Lee)
Director: Ang Lee
4/10

So I gave this a lower score than IMDB's 5.6, but it really does suck. RottenTomatoes had a hard time finding it, but when I used Google-fu I discovered it received 62% critic score vs. a whopping 29% audience score. So yeah, it's bad. Really bad.

Some of the problems (I hate calling problems, "issues") were recognizable, like poor dialogue, the lead being wooden (& perhaps miscast), and a far-too-pedestrian plot. Ang Lee is regarded as one of the industry's better filmmakers, and he made this after both Sense & Sensibility and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

However, I think that perhaps two things struck me as unusually poorly thought out...

First, while there's a nod to the beloved TV series with Eric Bana giving smoldering sexy looks at the camera meant to impress on the audience just what an oh-soo-very tortured soul he is, this movie actually departs a bit from what I understand to be 'expected' Hulk canon. He's more of a nature boy, though any conceptual interlink between green skin & chlorophyll isn't explored. Furthermore, he can nearly fly as well as run at close to Flash speed, so it seemed like they decided to "kitchen sink" his superhero capability. Last, he's haunted by repressed childhood trauma which I don't recall being canon at all. I could be wrong, & there's always license given - but it fails to resound here.

Second, and more noticeable / annoying is the storyline & transitions. The attempt was made for the movie emulate a comic strip, almost to the point of 1960's era Batman with the "KAPOWW!" freeze-frame as a punch is thrown. In many ways that would have been preferable, because the framing almost makes it seem like they took the storyboard phase and tried to fit the shots to the board rather than make cohesive transitions. Overlays, frame shifts, frozen frames with moving background (one villain accidentally blows himself up and while his startled expression is frozen on his flying body, you see the explosion proceed apace behind him). It's not done poorly, but the effect is extremely poor.

I didn't understand the thinking behind the second problem, because even in 2003 there had been decent comic adaptations. A lot of the positive reviews on IMDB talk about how Ang Lee's direction was misunderstood by American audiences & that this is an art film rather than a superhero flick, but none of that really explains why it just fails to gel. Joker was an art film. This was pretty much just garbage.
 

LozHinge the Unhinged

Diabloii.Net Member
Y'all still aren't paying your fair share. Plus no $0.50 yet.

Hulk (2003)
Superhero (origin)
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, (Lou Ferrigno, Stan Lee)
Director: Ang Lee
4/10

So I gave this a lower score than IMDB's 5.6, but it really does suck. RottenTomatoes had a hard time finding it, but when I used Google-fu I discovered it received 62% critic score vs. a whopping 29% audience score. So yeah, it's bad. Really bad.

Some of the problems (I hate calling problems, "issues") were recognizable, like poor dialogue, the lead being wooden (& perhaps miscast), and a far-too-pedestrian plot. Ang Lee is regarded as one of the industry's better filmmakers, and he made this after both Sense & Sensibility and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

However, I think that perhaps two things struck me as unusually poorly thought out...

First, while there's a nod to the beloved TV series with Eric Bana giving smoldering sexy looks at the camera meant to impress on the audience just what an oh-soo-very tortured soul he is, this movie actually departs a bit from what I understand to be 'expected' Hulk canon. He's more of a nature boy, though any conceptual interlink between green skin & chlorophyll isn't explored. Furthermore, he can nearly fly as well as run at close to Flash speed, so it seemed like they decided to "kitchen sink" his superhero capability. Last, he's haunted by repressed childhood trauma which I don't recall being canon at all. I could be wrong, & there's always license given - but it fails to resound here.

Second, and more noticeable / annoying is the storyline & transitions. The attempt was made for the movie emulate a comic strip, almost to the point of 1960's era Batman with the "KAPOWW!" freeze-frame as a punch is thrown. In many ways that would have been preferable, because the framing almost makes it seem like they took the storyboard phase and tried to fit the shots to the board rather than make cohesive transitions. Overlays, frame shifts, frozen frames with moving background (one villain accidentally blows himself up and while his startled expression is frozen on his flying body, you see the explosion proceed apace behind him). It's not done poorly, but the effect is extremely poor.

I didn't understand the thinking behind the second problem, because even in 2003 there had been decent comic adaptations. A lot of the positive reviews on IMDB talk about how Ang Lee's direction was misunderstood by American audiences & that this is an art film rather than a superhero flick, but none of that really explains why it just fails to gel. Joker was an art film. This was pretty much just garbage.
This review of Merv's is in one sense very fair, but is in another sense very poopyheaded.

This version of Hulk is not a linear telling of the comic strip tail nor is it the horrific 70s schmaltz, formulaic, Dave-Carradine-Kung-Fu in Green cringe-fest.

Stylistically, it borrows from the underlying look-and-feel of a certain period of comic strip style that is almost Impressionist in effect- I'm thinking particularly, but not exclusively, of the storm-cloud sequence where the lightning reveals tableaux of traditional Hulk poses, as if captured by strobe light.

And I refuse, REFUSE damn you, to condemn a movie that has the courage to create such a demonic Standard Poodle from Hell. The movie succeeds for me, in spite of the wooden and at times vague performances of Bana and Connelly. In the end, the vision of the Director overcomes the shartfalls of the two main actors, who are admittedly, poor/miscast.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
This version of Hulk is not a linear telling of the comic strip tail nor is it the horrific 70s schmaltz, formulaic, Dave-Carradine-Kung-Fu in Green cringe-fest.
*tale {/dondrei}
I figure "shartfalls" was potentially deliberate.

Furthermore, there are a number of movies which use comic-stylistic effects extremely well, such as 300 & Sin City. This wasn't one of those.
 

LozHinge the Unhinged

Diabloii.Net Member
*tale {/dondrei}
I figure "shartfalls" was potentially deliberate.

Furthermore, there are a number of movies which use comic-stylistic effects extremely well, such as 300 & Sin City. This wasn't one of those.
Hulk pre-dates both the exceptional examples you mention.

"Shartfalls" was a happy accident which was left in place when discovered prior to posting. I was delighted that my keyboard knew my intent better than my conscious mind.
 
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