Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

Archive for July, 2009

#31 – He’s Just Not That Into You

Posted by Dan on July 26, 2009

hes_just_not_that_into_youOkay, so I didn’t intend on watching this movie. No, really. It was showing on the plane trip home from the UK, so I had near 24 hours to kill. The only thing more embarrassing about this movie being on my list, is that I actually enjoyed this movie.

The movie stars– well, it doesn’t seem to star any single actor in particular, which is kind of nice. It really is the quintessential “ensemble cast” movie. Each of the names on the poster seems to get their own equal amount of screen time. It opens up and starts to briefly explain each of the characters to set the scene. All of the storylines have their own little link – there’s always one person that knows another person involved in the next sub-plot. Unfortunately though, as the movie goes on, the whole six-degrees thing seemed to fade away and they become their own little storyline.

Each of the situations are just as different as the next, yet the same archetypal behaviour is still there too – there’s always one person who’s more into the other person and it ends up badly. There’s no real good guy and there’s no real bad guy either, each of the characters are almost completely flawed, but in that flaw is where the film hits gold with their intended audience, because you get that feeling of familiarity. You ask anyone you know who’s seen the movie, and during their description, they’ll tell you that “and she reminds me SO much of a friend of mine...”. But that’s what makes a good chick flick, right?

Now, ladies, you can skip this next paragraph, because I need to convince the guys why they should see it:

I can only imagine that Bradley Cooper did this part for free, because his character gets to nail both Jennifer Connolly and then Scarlett Johansson in the space of about 5 minutes. There’s plenty to perve on here (I did mention Scarlett Johansson, right?), so even if your missus does rope you into watching it, there’s plenty of great scenery for you to take in – just ignore the dialogue and after the movie’s over, just agree with everything she says and tell her that all the guys in the movie are idiots.

The movie very much follows the self-help-ness of the book, and throughout the movie, it explains the number of situations in which you’ll find that he’s just not that into you. They do a couple of vox-pop type moments to make it look unscripted, but these bits just come off as disjointed and don’t really fit the flow of the movie. The rest of the movie seems to flow on rather nicely, although as predicted, nearly all of the girls get their happy ending, which is rather unfortunate, because the whole movie isn’t exactly told in the typical rom-com style, so I was kinda hoping that someone would end their story a little open-endedly, but it was not quite to be.

While this is a romantic comedy aimed squarely at the ladies, there’s still enough to the stories to get the guys to follow along with it, perhaps even be midly entertained as well. It doesn’t always follow the usual formula, and it’s all the better for it. And hell, if there isn’t enough for the guys, then they can just listen to their iPod while watching Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Anniston and Scarlett Johansson flick their salon-perfect hair and flaunt their push-up-bra perfect boobs on the screen for 2 hours.

I give He’s Just Not That Into You 3 out of 5 one night stands

Alex: Hey, Kelli Ann. Uh, did I get any calls?
Kelli Ann: Since you asked me 11 mins ago, no, not a lot of phone traffic.
Alex: [obsessively checks phone for signal]
Kelli Ann: Oh, my God.
Alex: What?
Kelli Ann: What’s her name?
Alex: Who?
Kelli Ann: The girl… Alex.
Alex: There’s no girl.
Kelli Ann: You can’t hide it, man. I know strung out, and YOU are strung out.
Alex: Please.
Kelli Ann: This is amazing. You can’t focus. Right? Jumping every time your phone rings. Checking your e-mail a hundred times a day. Wishing you could write songs.
Alex: [laughs]
Kelli Ann: No. Feeling the need to bring up her name in random conversations. It’s always the same and it has happened to you, my friend.
Alex: Shit.
Kelli Ann: Welcome to my world, asshole. Let me get the door.

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#30 – The Watchmen

Posted by Dan on July 26, 2009

watchmen-final-posterOkay, now let me first of all say that I have not read the comic of this (please stop calling them “graphic novels”. People who call them that are just too embrrassed to admit that they’re a grown adult who reads comic books. Let your freak flag fly, people!), and I had very little knowledge going in. And nearly 3 hours later, I kinda wished I had gone in a little more prepared.

So for those that haven’t seen it either, we’re in 1985, Richard Nixon is still President of the USA, and the world’s apparently on the brink of nuclear war. There’s also a bunch of superheroes around and everyone knows about them, but thanks to some government crack-down, they’ve all gone into hiding and live like regular people. But then one day, one of them is brutally attacked and murdered in his own home. So then one by one, the rest of the superheroes then rally together to work out what the fuck is going on, and they uncover some gritty plot bigger than they expected. Oh, and there’s a big blue guy who likes to strut around naked, showing his wang to the world.

What some of their powers are sometimes isn’t always explained, which is a surprise because the movie goes for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Visually, the movie is wonderful to watch, it really is quite stunning. A lot of the plot are very film noir in it’s feel, and the character archetypes reflect this wonderfully – the character of Rorschach is one of the best character performances you’ll see all year. But, given the amazing source material, it was always going to be hard to make a bad Watchmen movie. From the opening sequence, you’re transfixed into this amazing world that will have comic nerds and crime-novel geeks wetting their pants.

However at the end of the day, I just found the movie so incredibly boring. A lot of the dialogue scenes go on for way too long, and everything it stretched out far too long, except the ending, which appears quite rushed and over very suddenly. While a lot of the characters were portrayed very well, there’s still a few roles that were pretty much phoned in the day before. It’s kind of weird, because I really don’t know what I think of this movie. For everything I didn’t like about it, there was also something I did like about it. I think it’s definitely a flick that’s going to need a few Watchings (hahaha, see what I did there?) to really understand what the fuck is going on. Make sure you’re settled though, because it’s a movie that needs demands all of your attention.

So, this review (of sorts) isn’t really going to pass judgement. Go and see it for yourself and make up your own mind. If you can, because I know I haven’t yet.

I give ‘The Watchmen’ 2 and a half glowing blue wangs out of 5.

Rorschach’s Journal. October 12th, 1985: Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll whisper “no.”

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#29 Taken

Posted by Dan on July 4, 2009

TakenOkay, okay, so it’s taken me a while to post again. I’ve been on holidays since the start of June, and I only just got back from Scotland after spending time visiting my beautiful and amazing girlfriend (she’s spending 6 months over there and I went to visit at the half-way mark of her trip – don’t worry, this is not some crazy internet-dating thing where I fly around the world for a woman I’ve never met. I’ve totally met this woman before. I’ve even see her naked! SCORE!) But anyway, even on the plane I managed to catch a few movies. One or two of them I’m not really proud of, but hey, sometimes you gotta play the cards you’re dealt, right? Right!

So, let’s at least start off with a good flick, shall we? Taken is, in a nutshell, a story about a retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, who’s daughter is travelling overseas with a friend, until they get kidnapped by the Albanian mob. It’s nothing personal, his daughter just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. See, the Albanian’s kidnap young girls, then turn them into heroin addicts and make them do prostitution. This is something that obviously doesn’t sit well with Bryan (go figure). He then decides to go and get her himself, because he’s some amazingly terrific CIA agent will loads of skills. But not like in that lame Napoleon Dynamite kinda way, but more in a “I know 4 places on your body that I can kill you with one strike of my fist” kinda way.

Now, I’d say that the majority of people would probably know Liam Neeson for being a loveable kind of guy. I asked a few female friends recently, while talking about this movie, what the last movie was that they saw him in, and every single one of them said ‘Love, Actually‘. But for those of you that have seen Batman Begins, you’ll be well aware that Liam Neeson is one bad-ass motherfucker and Taken is just another example of this. Forget about The Wu-Tang Clan, Liam Neeson aint nothin’ to fuck with.

This is pretty much a solo effort by Liam. There’s a nice little ensemble cast, but they’re easily forgettable when in contrast to Neeson. The action is swift and efficient, and for a retired agent, Neeson is certainly in good shape. There’s a few fairly unconvincing moments, as well as a fair bit of “assumed prior-knowledge” with the movie, which sometimes makes it harder to judge who’s a good guy, who’s a bad guy, and what does one consider good or bad to be? Sometimes this can be negative (like the dinner scene at Jean-Claude’s house), but for the majority, it’s just a good little pop-corn flick that I’ll let things like that slide in favour of it’s great fight scenes.

When I watched this, it was a few days before my girlfriend and another female friend of hers take off to Brussels for about a week, so I must say that I’m feeling slightly nervous at this stage after watching that movie. But on the upside, if those two do get captured, I know immediately who I’m gonna call.

Taken is a thoroughly enjoying action flick with enough suspension and action to satisfy just about everyone. It’s all-over a fairly well balanced film with a fast yet stable pace. Highly recommended.

I given Taken 3 and a half unconvincing French accents out of 5

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money… but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it – I will not look for you, I will not pursue you… but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
-Bryan, talking to some Albanian mobster on the phone

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