For those of you interested in reading the Tool review I slapped together for the Des Moines Register, they’ve already archived the story on their web site. You can find it here.
So if you’re like the rest of the free world, you probably saw X-Men 2: X-Men United over the weekend. And if there is a cooler movie suffering from a lamer subtitle, I haven’t heard it.
Never the less, the movie most assuredly handed my ass to me and with a polite grin and a nod said, “See this? This is your ass. Thank you.”
Did you hear the story about X-2 being the 4th highest grossing opening of all time? $85 million in three days. Not too shabby.
Frankly, though, I’m not sure if this is something we need to celebrate. And, if you keep it within context, is not as big of an achievement as you may think.
X-2 had the advantage of the one of the largest roll-outs in Hollywood history. Over 93 countries simultaneously and nearly 3,800 screens in this country. Yet, it couldn’t break the figures of the three highest opening weekend earners Spider-Man and the first two Harry Potter movies.
In fact, X-2 did almost $30 LESS business than Spider-Man did at this same time last year. Incidentally, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the previous screen record holder with 3,682.
But forget the figures. What about the movie! Excellent on all counts and delivered right where it counts. I got to see a lot of the stuff I wanted to see versus the first movie which I always felt like it was on a short leash.
When the school is attacked and Colossus armors up from flesh to steel, it has got to be one of the most cathartic movie moments in recent memory. Even if it was only a fraction of a second – to see it sent chills up my spine.
Of course, if you couldn’t tell from today’s comic, I thought Nightcrawler stole the show. He’s gets the best effect sequence right at the start of the movie. I won’t spoil it, but it sets things off in a good direction.
I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t given much to do during the middle of the film. He only got his 10 minutes at the start and then was kept handy in the last 5. I wish they used him more.
Same for Iceman. It was if he only got to use his powers twice, and he never did the trick where he covers his whole body in ice. Maybe they’re saving that for X-3.
A really great moment in the movie is when Magneto escapes from prison. Again, I won’t spoil it, but it’s very clever. And anyone who is familiar with the comics will get the reference to what he does to the guard.
By the way, did anyone else notice that they stuck in Dr. Hank McCoy (AKA – The Beast) as a commentator on a TV talk show running in the background. Sweet!
Obviously I could go on and on, but I won’t. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you’d better get moving. After all, The Matrix Reloaded is only two weeks away. We wouldn’t want you to fall behind!
“I’ve got the Dungeon Master’s Guide / I’ve got a 12-sided die / I’ve got Kitty Pryde / and Nightcrawler too / Waiting there for me / Yes I do, I do” Weezer
So X-men 2 was pretty cool. My faith in comic book movies is restored. I really didn’t think the first movie was all that great, but I definitely liked this one. Though still slow in places due to multiple storyline, the good parts of this movie definitely made me forget about that.
Nightcrawler was awesome. The “invincible” Alan Cumming proved his worth. With the little bit I know about his character, plus Iceman’s developing story, I am compelled to go stand in line for X-3. Well as long as they play The Matrix Reloaded for me whilst I wait.
The weekend I also saw The Pianist. It was absolutely great. I am glad that Adrien Brody won an Oscar for it. It was well deserved.
So before you start freaking out and wondering who Patti is, let me just clear the air and inform everyone. Patti is Jared’s wife and a very nice person to boot. I don’t draw her in the comics often because… hey, man. That’s my best friend’s WIFE!
Seriously though it more likely because I would hate to have her speak a line of dialogue she found offensive or make her the butt of any jokes. Even though I know she would be good-natured about such things.
As is such, today’s strip was an honest-to-goodness real life declaration on Patti’s part. I thought it insightful enough to put into cartoon form.
It’s true that when we went to see The Matrix Reloaded, we were forced to sit in the second row. And for the entire running time of the film, we were subjected to a distorted picture due to our proximity. When it was over, my back was stiff from looking up for so long. I honestly don’t remember some parts of the movie because, at that low of a perspective, the quick cuts were even MORE of a blur.
When are theater owners going to realize that packing in their audiences like sardines diminishes the movie going experience? It’s more than likely I’ll have to see The Matrix Reloaded again just so I can have another crack at understanding it all.
And now THIS is the part where I segue into my opinions of the film (WARNING: SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN)…
I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t think Reloaded would have split the fan base so severely into the camps that adored it and the camps that loathed it. But after thinking about it over the weekend, I’ve come to determine neither of them are right. It is not the end all, be all of sci-fi nor should it be the focus of your utter contempt.
I think the source material is great and the concept of The Matrix is top-shelf. But the execution this time around was average.
My complaints are similar to a lot of the others you’ve probably read. I felt many of the fights scenes didn’t serve to push the story, but were mere exercises in “Lookie what we can do!”
The 100 Agent Smiths fight was impressive and I liked the way they kept ratcheting up the insanity. But, inevitably, it wore out it’s welcome.
I wasn’t impressed with Zion. I felt it looked a little too CG. Actually, it looked a little to Attack of the Clones for my tastes. Especially when the hoverships were docking.
I REALLY had a negative reaction to Morpheous’ speech to the masses and that weird rave they threw in celebration. The sex scene they threw in also felt out of place.
And speaking of sex, that whole scene with the smarmy French guy and the piece of “Coded Cake” was just – icky. It didn’t prove anything. It just creeped me out.
But to be far, after that scene, the movie really started picking up for me and there were several scenes that I enjoyed.
Obviously the freeway chase scene is a classic and they’ll be figuring out ways to outdo it for years to come. I got a real sense of danger from what was going on during that chase – the hallmark of any great action sequence is when they can get you to think people are under the real threat of death.
I also enjoyed the fight between Morpheous and the agent on top of the 18 wheeler. When he does that handstand on the edge of the trailer… Wow!
I liked the twins. I thought they were interesting villains and was curious how their whole intangibility trick worked.
And I really, REALLY enjoyed the scene where Neo makes it to The Source and converses with The Architect. The way the explained how “The One” came to be and how they’ve already destroyed Zion 6 times coaxed a very Keanu “Whoa” out of me. Did anyone else notice how The Architect was dressed and groomed in a manner similar to that of Sigmond Freud?
As time goes on and I think about the movie more and more, I realize how much I liked it. I probably liked it more than I originally thought I did. I’ll probably see it again if anything to correct the distorted experience I had the first time around. This time I want to make sure I’m seeing EVERYTHING.
I’m not expecting a hell of a lot of traffic today, what with it being Memorial Day and all. So this next message is for our fans outside of the U.S.
Gee, you’re cool!
That being the case, do you think you could extend a little vote love my way so Monday isn’t a total bust? Thanks.
Gotta give props to my friend Nick who pointed out the plot hole in question from Bruce Almighty. Nick had a much more fervently negative reaction to the film than I did. I enjoyed the film, so I guess I got snowed.
Well, actually. That’s not entirely true. I really only liked the second act. The rest of the movie was crap.
Basically, the first act is all set up explaining why Jim Carrey hates God. He’s getting passed over at work. He gets stuck in traffic. He gets beaten up by a gang of Latino toughs. Typical “God is picking on me” kind of stuff. But Carrey complains so often and so LOUDLY, it’s becomes very annoying to listen to him whine for a half hour.
The second act is much more satisfying because we actually get to see Carrey use God’s powers in some imaginative ways. When he forces a co-worker who stole his position as anchor at the TV station he works for to speak in tongues, it’s hilarious. When he causes a meteor to slam into the planet only yards away from where he is covering a chili cook-off dressed as Mark Twain, it’s genius. Really, it’s all just an excuse to get Carrey to ad lib for an hour or so.
But the third act is totally lame. Realizing that he can’t handle the awesome burden of being God, Carrey learns A VALUABLE LESSON(tm) to “be the miracle” instead of bugging God to solve all of his problems. Yech!
This MESSAGE wouldn’t have been so unbearable if the filmmakers hadn’t chosen to beat us over the head with it repeatedly during the course of the movie’s last 30 minutes.
Of course, there are a million inconsistencies between being all-powerful and just plain uncreative. Within the structure of the story, Carrey isn’t allowed to screw with free will, but pretty much everything else is fair game.
When Carrey mistakenly causes a riot by granting everyone’s prayers, he could easily clean the whole thing up with a snap of his fingers. But does he do that? No! Instead he runs looking for Morgan Freeman not unlike Jimmy Stewart looking for Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s no coincidence that they reference it blatantly in a couple of scenes.
Of course, the movie wouldn’t have been very interesting if Carrey had a totally free ride. But you can’t expect the powers that allow the moon to be pulled out of orbit to be ignored by the audience when Carrey runs out of the way of a falling billboard as if he were mortal.
I kind of feel sorry for Jim Carrey at this point. He’s caught between being the funnyman everyone wants him to be and the “serious actor” he sees himself as. He’s pushing 40, folks. He can’t keep up his brand of physical comedy forever. My fear is that he’ll get stuck between genres and end up with nothing.
And that would be a shame.
This may be tedious, but it is my duty to talk about the movies I have recently watched. It has been awhile, but here it goes!
Bend It Like Beckham I was in a great mood when I saw this film in Uptown Minneapolis while visiting some friends. The movie kept me in a great mood. At first it teetered on the edge of becoming another Big Fat Ethnic Farse, but the movie turned out to be enjoyable. There were a few moments and concepts that I couldn’t quite believe, but my wife explained my questions with a simple answer it’s because they were in love. Whatever. Anyway, Keira Knightley should be enough for any guy to want to watch this film.
Finding Nemo Great film. Go see it. Great for the whole family, even if your whole family consists of two twenty somethings.
One Hour Photo Cool film. Good story and a nice visual style. I was really uncomfortable during the trespassing scenes, which is good. I like it when I can become involved in a movie.
Serendipity I did not want to watch this. I thought it was a girl movie. Either I was wrong or I am a girl, because I really enjoyed this. Kate Beckinsale was great, as well as the rest of the cast.
Down with Love Clever. I liked this movie, and thought Ewan McGregor was great. It was interesting how they picked up the style of the early 60’s and roasted them at the same time. Like the movies of the time, it is light and carefree. Definitely not a thinker.
Men in Black 2 Fun. I found this Blockbuster to be quite you guessed it enjoyable. (I’ll try to stop saying that about every movie.)
Joe’s Apartment I didn’t see it before and now I remember why. The House of Large Sizes T-shirt was the highlight of the movie. House is a band from my college town that I have seen maybe 11 or 12 times.
To Die For Someone should tell me what happens at the end, because I fell asleep. It wasn’t bad, just past my bedtime.
Just Married Great movie. Being just married myself, (less than a year ago) I found many of the situations very familiar. Ashton Kutcher is awesome and Brittany Murphy actually looked good.
Punch Drunk Love I hated this movie while watching it. I keep randomly thinking about it though, and now I have convinced myself that it is a really good film.
Pinero If I had watched this film two years ago, I would have loved it. My life has changed enough to not feel the empathy I used to with the type of characters in this film.
They Pretty scary. The alternate ending is the one I prefer.
Darkness Falls Very similar to They. It was only 75 minutes long. What’s up with that? I thought the story should have been more developed. The documentary on the dvd about the real story is spooky.
That’s all for now. To all the Americans out there have a great holiday. I’d like to thank the Brits for yet another day off from work. Cheers!
A medicine cabinet. In the dining room. Why? Were the previous owners of my house insane?
When my wife and I took possession of the house we thought “Oh, they left that ugly mirror.” Well, as it turns out, the ugly mirror is a freaking medicine cabinet.
This weekend was very, very long. I am due to pick up my wife from the airport tonight. Hopefully she did not stray from the beaten path and become ambushed by backwoods pot farmers.
(Note to Kentuckians: I have been to your state several times. It is very nice. I am not trying to make fun of it. Please give my wife back.)
I filled the loneliness of the weekend with movies. As promised, I will quickly recount the list.
Picnic at Hanging Rock: Overall, I have enjoyed the Peter Weir films I have seen. Gallipoli is a favorite and one of the few things that can make me burst into tears. They all have one thing in common, however. They move very slooowwwly. Though it captured the essence of a 1900 Australian school for girls very well, the story lacked punch. Since it is based on a true story, all the things you want to occur to make it a nice little movie do not happen, because life doesn’t work like it does in the movies.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: I loved the book. I wish I could say the same for the movie. Watching this movie was like listening to Vogon poetry. I had to watch it in about four sittings, because this BBC produced mini-series was quite boring. The animations are good and script is obviously well written, as it draws directly from the text, but the rest is terrible. I can get past the Red Dwarf budget, but the camera shots are wholly uninteresting. The acting is forced and sometimes seems like the actors do not know their lines. I think I could have read the second book in the time it took to sleep through this one, and I know I would have been better off.
Heart of Darkness: This made for cable movie draws from the same source as Apocalypse Now. Set in Africa, ship Captain Marlow is hired to restore the link to a remote ivory trading post and find out what the deal is with the leader of the outpost, Mr. Kurtz. Tim Roth is great as Marlow and John Malkovich does well as Kurtz. The whole movie is somewhat spoiled by the fact that I’ve seen Apocalypse Now and therefore was not shocked or surprised by any of the plot points. It is worth watching though.
Roman Polanski’s Pirates: This is a well done film which has a spirit that mostly makes up for the lack of story. Walter Matthau is great as the pirate.
The Celebration (Festen) : What starts out as an odd look at a fairly un-likeable family gathering for a reunion degenerates into a deeper look at the family’s extraordinary dysfunctions. The movie is a bit boring at first but turns into a car accident from which you can not look away. Don’t watch this one with your family.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl: Very good. Fun, exciting. The special effects are very well done. It doesn’t have the “HEY WE ARE GOING TO DO SOME SPECIAL EFFECTS NOW, LOOK!” that some other films have. Johnny Depp is awesome. I wish I would have stayed in the theater after the credits, because there is an additional scene. This movie stands with Finding Nemo as the best movies I’ve seen this year.
That’s all for now. Video Warehouse is calling to my movie loving soul, so I’ll probably pick up more films soon.
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|Sep 17, 2003||UNDERTHERE|
I’m looking forward to this weekend a lot. I’ll tell you why on Monday.
I am very disappointed that I did not get to see Following. I rented it, but ran out of time. I guess I’ll rent it again next week.
I did get to see two other movies though.
Neighbors: This John Belushi / Dan Aykroyd flick is pretty funny at times. Over all, it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s fun to see these guys together again. It seems that this was Belushi’s last film.
Little Nicky: I had not seen this before, having heard many different opinions like “I love it blah blah” or I hate it blah blah.” I finally got around to seeing for myself what this movie really was. I like it quite a bit. It is definitely not Sandler’s best film, but it’s not Anger Management either. Though VERY strange at times, I would definitely watch this again.
I thought today’s strip was especially well done. Let’s give a hand to Tom for his increasingly detailed art.
:: drops severed hand into envelope ::
Last week, I watched Pootie Tang and Johnny Suede. The former was an okay Chris Rock movie and the later was an odd Brad Pitt flick. I liked Johnny Suede more after my wife explained the ending to me. I don’t know if I’d recommend it, but if you take a peek, you can catch Sam Jackson as a bass player.
“What are you guys doing after the show? Nothing? Okay.”
This week I have watched Following and White Heat. Following is a film by the makers of Memento. I really liked it. White Heat is also a winner. James Cagney rules!
Last night I watched Repulsion, a Roman Polanski film about a young girl who cracks up. She is a virgin who is intrigued by men but also utterly repulsed by them. I planned to watch this in two parts, but was unable to stop watching after I began. This strange movie is worth a gander.