Friday, July 27, 2007

Zodiac (2007)

I've had a fascination with the "Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius" for years. The fact that so many cults, serial killers, whackos, sickos, and twisted degenerates appeared in the late Sixties and the Seventies is pretty interesting. One of these loonies was the Zodiac Killer. They never tried anyone for the murders. Spooooooky.

David Fincher used to be one of my favorite directors - Alien3 is my second favorite of the series and Se7en is...well Se7en. After that well...I'm not a fan. I wasn't particularly interested in seeing Zodiac. I'm not a fan of Fincher, Jake Gyllenhall, or Robert Downey Jr. but hey it was something to watch.

It was a pretty solid movie all around but it really didn't instill a sense of purpose or meaning. The movie revolves more around Gyllenhall's character - a Boy Scout cartoonist who becomes obsessed with the Zodiac and lets his life go to shit and eventually writes the book that became the basis of the movie. There are some moments of tension in the movie but since we know nothing is going to happen to any of the characters we aren't that involved. There's not really any extended family melodrama showing what an unhealthy obesession will do to a home life. Yes, that's something we've seen before but Zodiac definitely could have used it.

The best parts of the movie are clustered in the first half of the movie when Zodiac is on the rampage. The kills are pretty grisly though most of the gore takes place off screen. Effective use is made of the sense of dread and knowing that real people were put in unimaginably horrible situations. Hey honey let's go to the lake and have a nice picnic. Oh shit, here comes a psycho with a knife.

The soundtrack is pretty much what you would expect - there's pretty solid and genuinely creepy use of Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man. David Shire - composer of The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three's amazing score - did the score for Zodiac but I'm not particularly sure where.

All in all I give the movie a 6.5. You not missing much if you don't see it but you won't be too disapponted either.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ratatouille (2007)

I love Pixar Movies, you love Pixar movies, we all love Pixar movies. Just go see the new Pixar movie.

Not much of a review I know but everything I can say about Ratatouille is good. Sure I could gripe about the standard Pixar/80s-esque storyline: oddball against all odds goes his own way, meets other oddballs, team effort against the mainstream/square/corporate bad guys, heart warming sniffly learn a life lesson even the coldest heart can melt ending, and acceptance of oddball and friends by bullies/family/nay sayers in a party/reunion setting. You know what? I like it. Hell I love it. While Ratatouille didn't have the emotional family dynamic punch that The Incredibles had it was almost better because it was about cooking and the love of food. Hell I got sniffly just because the protagonist, Remy, was so passionate about food and cooking. What The Incredibles was to superheroes, Ratatouille is to gastronomy.

Oh yeah and Peter O'Toole's villianous Anton Ego, restaurant critic, is now my favorite animated movie villian.

Plus the animated short before the movie - Lifted - completely turned around the bad mood I've been in for weeks.

Michael Giacchino's score was good, playful and French, but not something I would actively seek out unless I needed something to put on random with the Amelie score.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Day Watch

Night Watch was pretty good - an unexpected and welcome change of pace from Russia sci-fi. Day Watch is the second part in the trilogy and I was pretty unimpressed. I was pretty bored and by the end I didn't care about what was going on. Yep there's a bunch of strobe lights and Russians having a party and the witch from the first movie and...

Both the book and the movie fizzled out in the last third. Meh.


1408 (2007) dir. Mikael Hafstrom

John Cusack was John Cusack, Sam Jackson wore a nice suit, and Room 1408 was haunted.

Not much of a review but 1408 is exactly what it is - a haunted house movie with John Cusack in it. I knew what I was getting and got exactly what I was expecting. Some of the movie was spooky, a few jump scares, John Cusack says something cocky, Stephen King's "man dealing with fallout of family crisis" storyline, decent direction and cinematography, some neat spooky sound design, and a fairly forgettable score with a Carpenter's song as the "uh oh" trigger. I wasn't disappointed nor was I blown away.

1408 is a solid creepy ghost story/haunted house movie that moves a little slow at times - I think the audience we saw it with was bored most of the time. Worth seeing at a matinee if you can sneak off and hide one afternoon during the week.

Humourous sidenotes:

I accidentally wore my "Steven King Rules" Monster Squad shirt to the movie. Spoooooky! I still felt ashamed when I realized what I did. At least I wasn't the lady who wore a Serenity shirt to Slither.

The next day Amanda and I were having dinner at the diner next to our house and that Carpenters song came on! Spooooooky!