Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"What If?"

Considering the fact that this movie has a tendency to attract bad ratings, I'm probably going to get some raised eyebrows on this one. Full disclaimer: I haven't seen the 1960s Time Machine. I haven't read H.G. Wells' novel. And I definitely did not go into this one expecting some full-on, H.G. Wells intellectualism. I just wanted to see a good, sci-fi movie. And I got exactly what I came for. I'm aware that this movie was made in 2002, but to me, it still carries all the innocence and charm of a good, pre-2000s adventure movie. When adventure movies were full of adventure rather than dead cat skins filled with a CGI stuffing. The good guys are good. The bad guys are bad. And there's just something very genuine about the whole film, a certain kind of honest simply hasn't existed in the past decade or so. 

Maybe the special effects weren't always all that great, but everything was much more organic. It was more believable because the actors were able to act with physical people wearing animatronic masks, rather than trying to respond to black dots on a green screen. Not to mention, there's a sense of wonder about it. Nowadays, characters have a tendency to stride onto another planet with a been there, done that attitude. But audiences remember the wonder they felt as they watched the beast of the Brachiosaurus lumber across the screen in Jurassic Park. They remember the awe of the prized artifacts Indiana Jones dug up from the dirt. Now, The Time Machine is in no way comparable to those two classics, but it carries with it that same, unpolished curiosity as we travel through time and get to experience flashes of the world at different times. And since I am a sap and apparently completely nostalgic for a good, solid adventure movie: four stars to you, Time Machine.

As for the content itself, it's just a fun movie. There isn't actually a whole heck of a lot of plot, more like a starting point, some random stuff in between and an ending point. That said, the acting is all on point. Guy Pearce plays a great, obsessed scientist. With a time machine. Orlando Jones is incredibly likable as a hologram librarian. Jeremy Irons is an crazy albino Legolas. Everyone was exactly what they needed to be and pulled together an engaging, creative movie. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"He Doesn't Want Us To Cut Through Our Chains."

SAW (2004)
So here's the thing. I actually avoided this one when it came out. I couldn't tell you why. Probably because it was around the time when the theaters were infested with plotless gore and I was over it. I was getting sick and tired of the same "rotting" green filter and the same heavy breathing in the microphone. So I skipped this one. For much too long. Finally, I sat down to see it. And I'll be the first to say it: I was wrong. 

The brilliance of Saw is that it's just a straight-up good movie. There's a good deal of gore, sure, but that's nothing compared to the mindfuck that this movie puts you through every time Jigsaw gets another victim under his grasp. We have our killer, our hero, we even have the obsessive cop with a chip on his shoulder. It's all the makings of a good, physiological thriller. The acting is, for the most part, pretty solid, and it helps that Ben makes an appearance. It puts a lot of twists on what you expect from a horror film and constantly ups the ante. Case in point: tired of the one man fumbling through his dark apartment to avoid a hidden assailant? Try a photographer fumbling through his apartment, constantly flashing pictures to give himself some makeshift light. Brilliant. The music is epic, the pacing is great, I really have no complaints with the movie as it is. 

Of course, one of my favorite things about Saw is how simple it is. The majority of the movie just focuses on two guys in a filthy room. It was created by two film students straight out of school who wanted to make something low-budget and brilliant. Honestly, it doesn't get better than that. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a Cinderella story that ends in a jaw-splitting torture helmet. 

I'm probably the last person on earth to see this movie, so I highly doubt I have to recommend this one to anyone. Onto the rest of the series!