Thursday, December 29, 2005

Movie Review: Nothing

Tagline: "No, seriously... where did everyone go?"

Made by the writer, director, producer, and a significant chunk of the cast of the indue cult favorite "Cube", Nothing heads in the direct opposite direction. Instead of gripping psychodrama and unrelenting tension about a bizarre, inexplicable alien environment, this movie is all about the gripping psychodrama and goofy insanity of a bizarre, inexplicable alien environment. 90% of the movie is simply the two characters, Dave and Andrew, talking back and forth, while wandering through the Nothing, or through Andrew's AWESOME house. Fun fact: no scrap of internal wall is shown in the movie, since EVERY wall surface is covered with SOMETHING.

It would have been hard to make a movie where half the shots take place in a white void, and yet with skillful storyboarding and cinematography, you barely even notice the monotony. You're focusing everything on the two main characters, watching them slowly go crazy, go sane, go crazy, go sane, and then crazy again. As with Cube, the void is never explained. Why they can breathe is never explained. Why the floor of the void is bouncy like Tofu is never explained (although the characters try, with hilarious results).

If you like movies that can just be summed up as "peculiar", and which you're fairly certain most of your friends wouldn't understand, then rent Nothing.

8.75 out of 10. If you like the wierd shit, this is a must-have.

Movie Review: Team America, World Police

My inner child almost pooped himself with this one.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the avant garde of immature high-brow toilet humor, bring us this Supermarionation commentary about the state of American politics. The strange thing is, they don't seem to pick sides. Apart from the World Police faction itself, the movie makes fun of the Right and the Left equally, bashing Republican values, and then bashing Michael Moore. It's refreshing.

The movie itself has a paper-thin plot, but that's ok, because you're not here for the plot. It makes fun of itself almost as much as it makes fun of the world, with great horrible dialogue straight out of 80's pro-America propaganda flicks like "Top Gun". Of course, some parts are slightly modified to include a plethora of oral-sex jokes, and sight gags (namely, the FAR too long, but still HILARIOUS barfing scene).

Kim Jong-Il was by far the best villain of the year, with a great musical number, delightfully evil eyebrows, and awesome lines borrowed right from Eric Cartman. The panthers, the giant sharks, his evil torture room, Tim Robbins... his implements of destruction are varied and hilarious.

If you like America-mockery, Southpark, and hot marionette-on-marionette action, then you need this movie.

7.9 out of 10. Definite rental.

Movie Review: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

First off, I want to say something about Gene Wilder's comments about the movie: He said that there was no reason to remake his film, and it was a shameful attempt on the part of movie studios to capitalize on it's success, capitalize on it's stars, and make some quick cash. You shouldn't say things like that before actually seeing the movie yourself.

Secondly, he was totally right.

This movie was nothing more than a misguided attempt to make money, hidden behind a gigantic plot anvil about how good kids prosper. Every good part of the original movie was carefully excised. Everything that made the original Willy Wonka such a terrific character was expunged, leaving only a slightly off-kilter, effeminate and child-hating developmentally-handicapped chocolatier in purple velvet. In particular:

All of Willy's great dialogue was removed, replaced with, really, just words. Nothing he, the new Willy, said was funny. At all. It was just words. A lot of it felt tacked on. The showpieces of the movie were the Oompa-Loompa songs, which I have to admit, were kind of cool, especially using only one guy for every Oompa-Loompa. It was cheesy, but it was neat.

The boat scene was removed. The fizzy soda scene was removed. Slugworth was removed. Wonka's office was removed. Any sign that Wonka was a human was removed. The parents were reduced to uncaring wooden caricatures. Strangely, as a high point, they found GREAT child actors for every part. Each one was expressive, verbose, emotional, and perfect for their roles (particularly Mike Teevee).

Depp, I guess, needed the money, since he sure didn't get into this movie for the artistic merit.

3.5 / 10. Only rent it if you're a Burton fan.