False Advertising

Finally, a normal day.  5 for the price of 1.  Although one was a repeat.

I suppose this constitutes a changing of my mind.  It may, in fact, be easier to steal movies with someone else.  Easier to wait out the time inbetween, obviously, but I try to completely eliminate that when I’m by myself.  But also easier to look like you belong when moving to the next theater.  Although I suppose it makes you more easily indentified.  But clearly that doesn’t seem to matter.

Spider-Man 3 – By now you’re heard all about how idiotic this movie is.  At least I hope you have.  If you’re saying you haven’t or that you don’t believe it or that I’m just plain wrong, I feel I’m obligated to tell you you are in denial.  Just like the people that love Heroes and the Star Wars prequels.  There is no other explanation.  This is by far one of the dumbest (amnesia), laziest (meteors), non-sensical (dancing) movies to come along in a really long time.

At one point, I said, “I can’t wait for Topher Grace to become Venom.”  Thinking, since Topher Grace is the one watchable character in this movie (besides Mageina Tovah‘s Ursula, of course, but she has like two lines), the only one acting somewhat logically and being funny, that once he became relevant to the story, he might begin to redeem the movie as a whole.  First of all, silly me for thinking anything could be relevant to the “story” of Spider-Man 3, but worse yet, when he does become Venom (by complete, indefensible and unmotivated coincidence by the way – there’s apparently only one church in New York City and every character with no prior established religious proclivities worships there in off peak hours) all trace of the character Topher Grace had been playing, is lost.   And as such, any chance of Spider-Man 3 being any good at all.

The Invisible – Whoever put together the trailer for The Invisible decided to trick us into thinking we were going to know the plot of it beforehand so we could be at least marginally surprised once we got there.  And it is that initial disorientation that gives the illusion that maybe the movie isn’t terrible.  Eventually, that’s going to wear off, of course, but still it should be commended.

See, in the trailer, Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) is, according to the text, a son, a friend, a boyfriend… before he gets killed by mysterious people in a mysterious car.  And then we are led to believe, mostly by way of an old, ostensibly blind, guy (who is the only one who can see the ghost of Nick – get it?) that Nick can live again if he can figure out who did the the killing.  Thus the awkward ad line: How can you solve a murder, when the victim is you?

In the movie, Nick is only two of those three things the text tells us he is, which wouldn’t be such a big deal, if the girl to whom the trailer leads us to believe he is the boyfriend (Margarita Levieva) wasn’t the one who killed him.  And now, of course, you think I’ve given this away.  But no!  You know that the whole time.  And so does Nick.  And Nick’s friend (the usually much better than this Chris Marquette.)  And Nick’s mother (the always better than this because this is one of the worst performances ever, Marcia Gay Harden.)  And everyone else in the movie for that matter because she’s a fugitive the whole time.  Which means, of course, that that blind guy was totally wrong about Nick getting to live again, right?  Technically, no!  Because he never shows up.  He made a trailer cameo.  It’s a new SAG category.  Plus, Nick’s not dead.  It’s a Just Like Heaven situation.  And actually, I just ruined Just Like Heaven for you more than I have The Invisible.

Anyway, once you’ve gone through an hour of the main character talking to himself, any goodwill this trickery may have built in you (which might just make you angry anyway) is gone.  It then becomes the drab, sludgy art movie masquerading as pseudo-thriller it always was. 

The Flying Scotsman –  Is boring worse than being awful?  That’s something that comes up a lot.  Because you can at least laugh at something like Spider-Man 3, whereas something like The Flying Scotsman isn’t nearly as bad, isn’t even bad at all, really, but it plays like something that twenty years ago would have been quite at home on Masterpiece Theater.

Jonny Lee Miller and Brian Cox are great actors, and do not disappoint.  Billy Boyd seems like a pretty annoying actor and yet he doesn’t really make enough of an impact to further that impression.  But there’s just nothing going on.  Jonny Lee Miller is Graeme Obree, a cyclist who “reinvented the wheel.”  Really, he pretty much just reinvented the handlebars.  And then went on to barely break a world record or two.  Which is great and all, but if I’m supposed to believe this new handlebar setup is so revolutionary, then why isn’t he beating records by minutes (and/or kilometers as the case may be)?  Does that mean the handlebars aren’t all that great or does it mean he’s just not that great a cyclist?  Neither is addressed, which is probably fine since the last thing this movie needs is a Physics interlude.

Anyway, the part that makes Obree’s story worth a movie, it seems, is that he’s kind of crazy.  Manic depressive maybe?  Because he gets sad after a race (or whatever it’s called when you ride a bicycle by youself to beat a previously established time) which is kind of a problem for his wife (Laura Fraser), except only once in awhile.  Usually she understands and even keeps Billy Boyd away from him at such down times.  Which is nice of her, since we’ve established how annoying Billy Boyd appears to be. 

Next – I had a choice.  Of what to see a second time.  The downside of not being by oneself.  But it was obvious, the answer.  Still, I didn’t want to build it up too much and thus ruin the surprise of Next being good.  And I didn’t.  Which means, I suppose, that I have been validated somehow.

So it still holds up.   It might have even seemed better the second time.  Which may have a lot to do with the fact that the theater was somewhat crowded (it was not last time, it was 11am.)  I can’t say I noticed any interesting details I missed the first time, which might mean that director Lee Tamahori was not concerned with such minutae.  But that’s fine.  I have a feeling any extraneous stuff would only have led to some kind of hole in the future-telling area.

Fracture – There’s really only one thing I feel like talking about here.  But I feel as if that’s a disservice.  To the movie.  Because it’s okay.  And here again, another benefit of not being by yourself: I would not have stayed for this.  Although, I suppose I wouldn’t have seen Next again either.  So maybe that’s moot.

Right.  So the movie.  It’s pretty silly.  It’s weird when they make a movie out of a story that you could just as easily see (or have seen) on Law & Order or The Practice.  That might have been fine in the 80’s when maybe they couldn’t do pretty much anything they wanted on television, but now, it seems kind of obsolete.

Which is why, and here’s the thing worth talking about, I guess, they turn it into an acting showcase for the leads.  Anthony Hopkins is doing what we all apparently want him to do, a Hannibal Lecter facsimilie where his bloodlust is simply limited to two specific people, his wife (Embeth Davidtz) and her hostage negotiator lover (Billy Burke.)  Why he has no problem retreading on old roles, iconic or not, is baffling to me, but I suppose there are only so many Human Stains and Bad Companys one can do.  He really has had a terrible career.  Why is it we celebrate him so much?

Back on track.  Fracture.  Right.  So, okay, the real reason Fracture is more than just a dumb rote legal thriller with an ending we can see coming an hour before the supposed genius villain can, is Ryan Gosling.  Much like Shia LaBouef in Disturbia, it probably seems like a waste of talent, but both of them need something like this right now so they can become the household names they deserve to be.  But besides that, they can serve to elevate these otherwise standard movies to something else.  Something watchable anyway.  Because this guy is incredible.  At certain points, I felt like maybe he was taking it too far.  Touching his face (or whatever other tic he was manufacturing) too much.  But I’m over it now.  Because whatever methodisms he may have gone too far with, he more than made up for in reduction of awful dialogue.  Ryan Gosling is so good in Fracture, he made so many of the terrible, expository or character-building lines that so often make you groan, completely unnecessary.  He could get it all across with his face or his body or both.  When a distraught Billy Burke offers him access to the evidence room, he doesn’t have to yell or give some speech to tell us how moral he is, he just turns around and walks back to his house.  And we don’t need anything else.  It’s what we should be getting all the time, so I suppose I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of this, but if we had more actors like this, perhaps we’d have less awful scripts to deal with.  I can pretend anyway.

Might not see much this weekend, as it will be difficult to steal much of anything, having seen more than 60% of what will be out there.  But you’re not worried.  I know.


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