Here are a couple of older reviews I wrote that I never put up anywhere.
War of the Worlds: Why does Tom Cruise have to be the best damn whatever-he-is in every friggin' movie? In this movie, he's a dock worker. The best damn dock worker in the world. He's the only one, according to his boss, that can move 40 containers in an hour. Top 1%. Top gun. Then he drives his car to his house, and he makes the best damn left hand turn anyone's ever made. Top 1%. Top gun. Morgan Freeman narrates this movie, which needs an omniscient narrator like it needs a 45 year old housewife trapped in a 10 year old's body. Which brings us to Dakota Fanning. The child inside her is dead, as evidenced by those cold soulless eyes. Good lord those eyes. She is also the most annoying screamer in the whole wide world. Anyway, here is the structure of the movie. Aliens attack. Dakota Fanning screams so loud my teeth hurt. Tom Cruise yells at her to shut up. They find a way to get out and, oh look, they found a safe area. Then aliens attack. Dakota Fanning screams so loud my face hurts. Tom Cruise yells at her to shut up. They run. Repeat until end of movie. The alien tripods look awesome, and some of the individual sequences are cool (the train, the initial attack, the first 75 minutes of the tentacle camera thing) but they don't really add up to anything more. Plus, the movie is bleak and unrelenting. I was shocked by how dark it was (river of corpse, anyone?) but it just felt too oppressive. Also, the Tom Cruise character does something morally repugnant and unredeemable, but the movie doesn't seem to think it's all that big of a deal. Just another decision that parents have to make. Probably because he is morally repugnant in a way that noone has been before. Top 1%. Top gun. Then Dakota Fanning screams.
Batman Begins: The first hour is over-serious and kind of boring. But then Batman fights ninjas, which super redeems everything. "Batman vs. ninjas" has to be in the top five hardest things to mess up, along with grilled cheese and the slam dunk contest. In fact, I can't think of a single movie that would not benefit from a Batman fighting ninjas scene. Casablanca? Great movie. But what if Rick turned out to be Batman and, in the final scene (pre-"hill of beans" speech), had to fight off Nazi ninjas before seeing Ingrid off? It would be head-explodingly good. Batman Begins does fall prey to the Spiderman issue where people say things to the protagonists that they would only say to people who they knew were superheroes. ("Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves up again." Insert masturbatory gesture.) But Gotham City looks awesome and The Scarecrow is really good and the batarangs don't look goofy. And the last scene when Gordon hands Batman the thing-with-the-thing= awesome! Also, Christian Bale is a pretty pretty man.
The Annotated Beukemix, 2017
3 months ago