keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Yes, I saw the Twilight movie. No, it wasn't actually that bad--at least, not as bad as I had expected. Some cheesy dialogue, pitch-perfect Meyer; but good pacing and characterization/acting, a few eye-roll moments that nevertheless kept me engaged. I want to reread New Moon now for its shameless emotional manipulation. Bella's entire story is so ridiculous that I sympathize with her, and I am able to enjoy the story without questioning its (purely cliché) moments.

Thoughts, if you've seen the film as well?
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Firefly: Serenity
Directed by Joss Whedon
1 hr 59 min

[oblique spoilers]

I saw about the first half of this at Alpha, but went to bed that night before the film ended. So I finally got around to reserving it at the library and watched the entire thing. And it was amazing. (Hmm, am I the only person who hasn't seen this and is/was going to?)

So, I'll work backwards. The ending was superb, hitting just the right emotional note for me. I confess, at the climax with the Reavers, I got up and walked to the kitchen for a little while. They are scary. Simon surviving is something of a deus ex machina, which annoyed me enough that it doesn't count as a real spoiler. I am mightily annoyed when emotional lows turn out to be unwarranted. I loved River throughout the entire movie, except for her clothes--why did she always wear flimsy/skimpy dresses when everyone else was sensible? Especially on the ice planet--I mean, ice=cold! Some other issues: how exactly did the crew lure the Reavers to fight the battle for them; and if the Reavers are beyond madness, how can they coordinate raids and not kill each other?

Still, the directing and acting were equally beautiful. My first impression of Joss Whedon is certainly favorable--enough that I might reserve the 4 season discs at the library, too. Oh--and Mr. Universe looks really familiar. Is he played by the same guy who plays Charlie in Numb3rs?
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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2 hrs. 18 min.

Saw it this afternoon all by my lonely self, since everyone else had already seen it multiple times. It was a reasonably good adaptation--I only thought wistfully of a cut scene once. Bellatrix Lestrange and Luna Lovegood were beautifully cast, and of course the special effects were great.

I am still (irrationally) annoyed at Cho, though.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
(For ease of typing, and because the captions didn't use them either, I'm omitting accent marks.)

The Count of Monte Cristo
Starring Jim Caviezel & Guy Pearce
131 minutes (2 hrs. 11 min.)
Genre: Film/Adventure/Romance

After reading the novel and seeing the French mini-series, I have to declare this adaptation a complete failure. The plot is revised into a stereotypical swashbuckling adventure and the characters are flat (most of the interesting side characters are gone anyway). The movie is basically a cross between trashy action flick and trashy chick flick. Frankly, I'm disgusted.

Just from the DVD cover and blurb, I could tell that things were unpromising. Let me refer to the changelog: Dantes takes Napoleon's letter because he's a foolish, naïve idiot. Mercedes marries Mondego for an oh-so-convenient reason that keeps her from being a realistic woman who might seek comfort in whoever is available--no, she's a noble saint pretending not to be a foolish, naïve idiot (she also has no will of her own and is played by a terrible actress). Fernand and Mercedes do not have a meaningful relationship; he's unfaithful from the start and doesn't keep it a secret. Fernand Mondego is now Dantes's best friend, yet he thinks nothing of betrayal. Caderousse, Ali, Haydee, Valentine, and Maximilian are all cut. Dantes isn't arrested at his wedding but at a simple celebratory dinner, and instead of engaging in respectable duels, he has long, drawn-out swordfights with Mondego (having found out his friend before entering the Chateau d'If). Let's not forget Luigi Vampa acting double duty as the smuggler camptain, and Jacopo being indistinguishable from Vampa in personality. And the sadistic prison warden who likes whipping prisoners on the anniversary of their imprisonment.


All complexity is painted over with broad strokes of black and white, replaced by cliché character roles and trite dialogue. I'm not even going to go into character motivations, magically dis/reappearing foreign accents, and the usual reunion happy ending. Though it played to the popular crowd, the Bravo mini-series had its merits in faithfulness and memorable characters, with an earned ending. This movie, on the other hand, does not deserve to call itself The Count of Monte Cristo.

A list of related links is on the novel review.
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Perfect Stranger
Starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis
1hr 49min (R)
Genre: Film/Thriller

I thought this was rated PG-13, but apparently not. Hrm. Anyway, I think/thought that Perfect Stranger had a great twist ending and intriguing themes. Then I Googled it for the length and star details, and WOW. No positive reviews at all. Am I just fundamentally weird or something? Because I completely accepted the (admittedly ridiculous) premise and enjoyed the film.

Because I liked how everyone was under suspicion. I liked how the ending surprised me even though I should have known better. I liked the implication that Rowena's story continues after ending credits. I liked this movie and I still like it, despite everyone else in the known universe (AKA Google) hating its guts.

The plot is indeed completely inane, and I find myself confused in attempts to summarize. But I think this film a successful cross between the genres of thriller and artistic (yes, artistic)--if you can suspend disbelief. Vaguely recommended.
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Tristan and Isolde
Starring James Franco and Sophia Myles
Rated PG-13 (2 hrs 5 min)

I've been wanting to see this movie since it came out in theaters a wile back, but somehow I never got around to it. So I ended up watching with a beloved but commentary-prone friend and we giggled a lot at random things rather than luxuriating in romance (though I did tear up at a few parts). My notes are rather sparse and random too. Apologies in advance if you don't like randomness. (The horror!) Without further ado:

There's a character named Mello! Unfortunately, he showed no signs of eating chocolate. Did they even have chocolate in England at the time? I hope so.

My favorite character was Isolde's maid, who's everywhere saving Isolde from certain ruin. Except she's not in the ending scene, which made me sad. You think they could have at least stuck her on the side or something, for consistency. I guess in a way she's the character foil for Isolde because she's sensible and cautious. Hrm.

This film definitely deserves its rating, by the way (implied sex, suggestive nudity, explicit violence). I made the mistake of letting my three-year-old sister watch it with us. Oops.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Pride and Prejudice
Starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen
Rated PG (~2 hrs)

Eee! Such an amazing movie. I love Austen's original novel, and I thoroughly approve of this adaptation. Elizabeth Bennet is played to perfection by Knightley; Mr. Darcy is just as handsome as everyone assured me. Absolutely lovely film, this was.

I knew it would be poignant, but the most touching scenes came when I didn't expect them. Lizzie's father laughing alone in his study after agreeing to her marriage--it illustrated the concept of laughing and crying at the same time without resorting to melodrama. My favorite character was, surprisingly, Charlotte, for her real sacrifice of marrying for comfort, protection, and financial security instead of love. Charlotte is "plain" and therefore not beautiful, or even pretty; she doesn't have Lizzie's prospects of making a good match, and she accepts the poor hand that Fortune has dealt her.

I did have some issues with the ending, however. The climatic panorama shot of Darcy walking in hte rain toward Lizzie was a bit long. Lady Catherine's objection to the marriage was sort of just brushed aside--I would have liked to see more resolution of that subplot. And ending on a kiss is classic chick flick, but I wanted a bit more substance and a bit less fluff for the classic Regency romance.

I still adore this movie though. For once, a book-turned-film hasn't been a terrible disappointment. Huzzah!
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Thanks to this post, I now have a sudden overwhelming urge to watch Tristan and Isolde, if only so I can cry my eyes out. Because that's fun.

I have a bit of an addiction to that painful-heartbreaking-tingly feeling from tragic romances (or even happy romances at tragic moments), like other people have a thing for horror movies.


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011



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