Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Terminator Salvation

10 minutes into T4 I found myself pondering a very important question: exactly why do robots need a dirty and wet sewer under a computer core?

Methinks that perhaps the set designers felt that sewers were an underused cinematic feature lately monopolized by the video games industry.

Terminator Salvation is a dumb action movie that is crippled by the flaw of a ropey script and music by Danny Elfman, but I'll insult him later.

I can understand completely that in the post-apocalyptic future people are going to be a bit cynical, especially when there are wandering death machines everywhere, but some people act like complete douchebags for no reason whatsoever, including the mighty John Conner (praise be to him). Strangely, for all the cynicism portrayed it seems that the people of Earth are quite ready to accept John Conner as the next Jesus if the opening text scrawl is anything to be believed. Well, almost everyone. The military commanders of course don't like his foreknowledge, and since Michael Ironside says that John Conner needs to learn his place it must be so because he is Michael Fucking Ironside.

I was disappointed that we weren't treated to the original infiltrator units, the ones with the rubber skin, instead jumping from skeletal anthropomorphic personifications of death to Arnold Schwarzenegger's penis. Except depressingly T4 is a '12' rating and therefore contains no real gore, no real swearing, and no real penis.

For some unknown reason the robots never really leave the cities, and I can't for the life of me figure out why since they don't need supplies and they are powered by nuclear fuel cells. It's not like the harsh wilderness poses any kind of threat to a thing with no concept of death, and is in fact designed to kill until either there is nothing left to kill or it is killed itself. Indeed even the smaller Terminators have no fear about shooting off their own feet if it allows them to continue the murder.

Yes, there are plenty of desert fights, but "what are they doing out here? They never venture this far." Apparently Kyle Reese's big monologue in the first Terminator, "It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pain, it doesn't feel pity or fear, and it will not stop ever until you are dead." doesn't apply if you are outside the city limits.

One moment I did like was when Reese and Marcus pull up outside the same gas station/7 Eleven that Sarah had her picture taken outside away back in 1984, it was a nice touch. Then Christian Bale said "I'll be back," and I groaned, and then he played 'You Could Be Mine' on a stereo to attract one of the bike terminators, and I groaned. And both moments happened in quick succession. So, so cheesy and out of place.

I hate what Danny Elfman has done to the Terminator theme, but then the last time that he wrote an iconic theme was the opening intro to The Simpsons.

So, having said all that, Terminator Salvation is actually pretty decent as an action movie, most of what I have said can be forgiven so long as you don't read too much into the Terminator franchise. If you want to watch something get blown up then there is worse that you can do, but I wouldn't blame you if afterwards you took out the disk and used it to scrape up your dog's poo.

Rating: C

Monday, 23 November 2009

Far Cry

Hey look, it almost worked.

The above statement could be used to describe the gist of:-

A) Dr Krieger's twisted supersoldier experiments, or say it like it is, Übermensch (we know what you're at Uwe, you mad German). The soldiers almost worked except for being insane apart from the one guy who conveniently had love in his heart or some nonsense and so had a vague sense of being a plot device.

B) The tropical island... oh wait.

C) The mood. Far Cry almost has a sense of threat, except for the fact that at no point do any of the characters/victims have enough depth or development time for you to feel any kind of concern or sympathy whatsoever. There aren't even enough comical deaths to give any sense of morbid amusement.

D) The romance subplot. It almost worked, because Jack Carver is horny, and then he gets some. There might be a few lines of dialogue still lying on the cutting room floor that actually explain how Jack got from A to Vagina, but they mustn't have been very good to warrant exclusion from this masterpiece.

E) Michael Paré. He almost worked, well he got a wage for it anyway. It's been a long time since The Philadelphia Experiment.

F) The Script. The script almost worked, except that it was bad. But it was bad in that classic kind of way, as in if this shit had a lower budget the filmmakers would have been forced to use all kinds of fancy camera tricks and simple drum and cello music then it might have been really atmospheric and brooding. Too bad really.

So, Far Cry then.

It's shit.

Rating: U

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Bottle Shock

This is a movie about wine.

And long story short, it's about the Americans proclaiming that they are better than the French... because they inherited that particular trait from their English ancestors.

It's also a very good movie... and not just because the new Captain Kirk is the lead or that I would like to do nasty things to Rachel Taylor.

Alan Rickman delivers an 'as expected' performance, balanced against a 'very American' performance by the other most prominent leads (I don't mean that as derogatory but more stereotypical, grass roots hicks, that sort of thing). But it works, though Bill Pullman hasn't aged well... or maybe I just can't get Spaceballs out of my head.

Bottle Shock is humorous, sharp, is laced with real emotion, and is an enjoyable movie to watch. It's hard to find anything worth stating that would detract from this movie.

If you want to watch a decent movie with your girlfriend, or a few mates who don't fancy another 40 heads exploding from spray and pray gunfire, then Bottle Shock will go down well.

I recommend a nice Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc to go along with it.

Rating: A