Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Silent Hill, Brick, and The Sentinel. Oh, Movies. I Wish I Knew How to Quit You.

I rented four movies this past weekend and I've seen three of them. Here are the reviews.

1) Silent Hill. It would be very easy to dismiss this movie out of hand because it's a) based on a video game, and b) makes not a lick of sense throughout, but there are some ideas in this movie, some intense moments and nightmarish bits of imagery, that occasionally make this movie if not terrifying, then at least approaching the level of Kinda Scary, which isn't too bad. But when the scares are effective, which usually happens when one of the film's creepy crawlies come staggering or skittering out of the darkness towards the film's heroine (Radha Mitchell, AKA Poor Man's Charlize Theron), the intensity of the scares isn't at all amplified by story or character; these frightening moments are effective only because the imagery exploits our lizard brain's fear of Other, and this is lazy. To attain scares, the filmmakers relied in nearly every instance on excellent character design (which I suspected they lifted entirely from the Konami game), and an impressive sound design. The usual tools best used to make a moment in a movie frightening, like, you know, deft and suspenseful storytelling, were all left unused here. When the bad man in the black iron pyramid helmet and the 1-ton scythe appears, he is terrifying, but he also comes right the hell out of nowhere. Also: only about 50% of this movie makes sense. Not a reccomend, but there are worse ways to spend a couple hours.

2) Brick. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. A film noir of the hardboiled, Raymond Chandler school, Brick is set in the milieu of a southern California high school. Everyone talks in a slangy Hardboiled-ese shorthand that can be kind of hard to follow at times, but the script's brilliant, the acting's good, the dialogue's fantastic, and the set design and direction and cinematography are all top notch. The characters and the sets and the dialogue are all very stylized -- Brick seems more like a depiction of high school kids as they wish to be rather than anything at all like they really are -- but the whole conceit works like gangbusters.

3) The Sentinel. This was a suck movie. It's obvious that everyone involved in the making of this film, from the studio execs down to the extras running away from the sounds of gunfire in the mall scene, were all deathly afraid of doing anything that seemed that might seem too original, so every frame has a palpable "been there, done that" feel to it. I felt like the director mist have looked through the viewfinder hanging around his neck trying to find his shot, and anytime he found a frame that looked like he'd seen it in another movie, it was okay, but if it looked in any way different or interesting, it wouldn't do. Not for his movie. But, even with all of this going against it, I am somewhat ashamed to admit, I was into this movie. I wanted to see what would happen next. I wasn't completely disappointed until the end came and I realized the whole thing had culminated with a tremendous fizzling sound. The Sentinel very much wanted to be the Michael Douglas version of In the Line of Fire, but fails and fails pretty hard. Actually I think I ought to just watch that movie so I can wash the taste of The Sentinel out of my mouth. Also of note: 1) Michael Douglas looks a lot like a old man trying to show he's still a leading man in a bunch of shots, which made me kind of sad. 2) Disappointingly, Kiefer decided to be lazy during last year's summer break and took a paycheck movie that wouldn't require him to do anything but play Jack Bauer some more. He even gets to do some Bauerian angry shouting. 3) If her dramatic work in The Sentinel is any indication of Eva Longoria's acting talent, (and I suspect it is), then her career is on a fast track to J-Lotown. Except without a U-Turn or Out of Sight to give her any street cred whatsoever. Has anyone watched her on Desperate Housewives? Man, she's terrible.

We still have Akeelah and the Bee to watch, and from what I hear that's supposed to be good.


blankfist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
blankfist said...

Dude! What?! Brick is a sucky-suck-suck-dookie-suck-suck movie, dude! Holy be-jew-jews-killed-jesus! I couldn't finish this movie. What a huge turd. First, the acting was more than atrocious, which I'm not sure you could blame completely on the actors in this case, because I felt as if the Director might've been directing his first feature here. And what about that whole scene where the 3rd Rock from the Sun-of-a-effin-why-make-this-movie protagonist meets up with the tweakers at the beginning? That whole part where he's draggin that tweaker guy behind the quickiemart, and just as the tweakers hardened buddies are about to step in the protagonist steps up and says [I paraphrase], "I've eaten more than any of you and slept atleast and extra couple of hourse, so anyone who wants to step up you'll be sorry". What gaity was that?!

You telling me that's part of that brilliant script? That's not brilliant, that's horrible.

And the story spiralled out of the realm of decent into the land of boring, slow and utter BS right after that scene. I gave it a chance, but, dude, I didn't feel like wasting another hour watching this horrible piece of doo.

I really have to question your taste in film... oh wait... you liked WaterWorld and hated Pirates of the Carribean. I win, one to nothing! Woohoo!

And now insert BOC's comment "He likes Popeye, dude. Popeye. Popeye." now.

Craig Moorhead said...

I haven't seen a single one of these movies, though I've wanted to see all of them since before they came out (a portion of 'The Sentinel' was shot in a hotel across the street from me and I really want to see inside that hotel).

This sucks.

Brian O'Malley said...

I bet Papa doesn't realize The LA Times editorializes this morning “Just a few months after 9/11, Osama bin Laden boasted that the attacks had 'hit hard the American economy at its heart and its core.' If they did, the effect was transitory. In all the commemorations and assessments on the anniversary of 9/11, the resilience of the U.S. economy has attracted less notice than it deserves. … Then Americans enjoyed five years of strong productivity and corporate profits, a booming real estate market and rising trade volumes. It's tempting, and to some degree justified, to chalk up the apparent success to some inherent superiority of the U.S. economy. A recession was already underway on 9/11, but Fed policy and tax cuts fueled a strong recovery."

Anonymous said...


...I smell one named O'Malley.

Why don't you post your links dude or are you pulling them out of your gestapo ass?

Brian O'Malley said...

Sure thing, lost liberal. Here's the La Times article and here's a place for all misguided liberals to begin their inevitable road to forgiveness.

And remember, be sure to protect our borders and even make helpful lists of incentives for immigrants to retreat back to their country. Maybe make a nonthreatening suggestion that they might be missing their own country, or if they're religous, possibly entice them by mentioning our country was founded by Christians and there god may be angry with them for moving into a place outside of their worship. Keep up the great work and keep believing.

Anonymous said...

O'Malley, are you snorting the candle wax from your church hall?

I asked you to give me a direct link to your researched facts, not some biased campaign site for a Republican nominee/cadaver running for office! You are truly a bonehead.

I hope you pray, pray hard that your commander-in-thief doesn't get us all killed.

BTW - I really hope you are rich, because if not you are a fool for following these people.

Or, you are a naive conformist that believes all of this anti-immigrant bullshit coming out of the media, think tanks and the rest of the subtle political organs at corporate america's disposal. Of course, they have to stew hatred in the likes of you and the American working class in order to divide and conquer.

Just imagine how scared your followers or rather "fat controllers" would be if the poor/middle class blacks, hispanics and whites got together and kicked your asses!


Brian O'Malley said...

Papa, you have to get past your aggressive hatred for the winning party. We won. Don't be a bad sport about it. Be a man. Can you be a man, Papa, or will you be like a child who whines when he doesn't get his way? We won, and I cannot think of anything more American than taking our land back from the immigrant insurgency that has infected our country for years. If you weren't born here, then you are an enemy of the State.

Anonymous said...

You never won!

Your leader was selected by the Supreme Court and then - through proven voter fraud in Ohio, was handed the election versus Kerry.

You didn't win shit.


PS - I hope your sending your kids to fight in Iraq since you are so obviously racist against foreign people.

Brian O'Malley said...

But, my leader is in office and yours is not, so I think that technically makes me the winner and you the loser, Papa. Right? And by your tone, you sound like a silly immigrant yourself.

blankfist said...

Stop hatin' O'Malley. Give it a rest.

Speck said...

Hey Heath and all your alter egos...

I just started a two week shoot for infiniti....and the clients are......your old pals at the designery...and they havent forgotten you....

blankfist said...

How could they forget me?! Hahah... so, who're you working with?

Brian O'Malley said...

For anyone who is lucky enough to go back and re-read the comments on this older post, you get to learn that the "Brian O'Malley" who posts comments on this blog is NOT the real Brian O'Malley. The one who posts on this blog is HEATH/blankfist. The REAL Brian O'Malley is a motivational speaker, who you can google to find out more about. You will notice that the name and the pictures match up, but that's because Heath lacks creativity and respect for other human beings with real lives and possibly even careers to protect.