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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weekend Movies

We're going to stray away from my artist evaluation binge for a moment to discuss the movies of the weekend. First, I saw Alice in Wonderland on the big screen today. As a sidenote, I actually held the reels of film for this movie the other day, as they are transported via UPS. That's one semi-interesting thing to come out of that job. Anyways, I was not totally convinced by the trailers and Rotten Tomatoes' review that this would be a good film. Turns out I was completely spot on. My instincts strike again. As per usual, Tim Burton cast two of his favorite actors in some of the leading roles: Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham-Carter as the Queen of Hearts. This proves to be one of the many downfalls of this movie. They both come across as completely average. Johnny Depp can't seem to decide if his character is Jack Sparrow with a lisp or a Scotsman. This could be(and probably is) part of what makes the Mad Hatter mad, but it is never made clear. For all we know it could be piss-poor acting. A similar problem occurs with HBC's character. Sometimes her "r"s are Elmer Fudded and sometimes they aren't. I wonder if Tim Burtons affinity for these two has detracted from his ability to direct them. The actress who plays Alice is pretty ok. She has mastered the "I'm British and confused/irritated" look, and it does well here. I'm not sure if another actress could save the role, so nothing to complain about.
All the critics seemed to agree that the visual affects are stunning, but they seem average when the plot is so boring. It seems that people assume that effects are a good substitute for plot these days. Maybe that works for the average joe, but not this guy. The plot is fairly static and there are no big surprises. Even the big reveal is underplayed. The one thing I was thankful for is that Burton did not portray the regular "human" world as gray and boring. This time he made the imaginary world a bit more gray than the outside, a welcome change. He pokes fun at society (or at least 19th century society) but it's nothing out of the ordinary.
Overall, this movie is very average and isn't quite worth missing, but lacks a lot of what we were all hoping for.

As for Zombieland.....BRILLIANT!!!! In my humble opinion, this movie almost outdoes Shaun of the Dead, but not quite. Jesse Eisenburg is a slightly more masculine Michael Cera, awkward, interesting, and an anti-chick magnet. Eisenburg does a great job, he does what he does best. Woody Harrelson has evolved into a semi-great actor since he stopped taking himself seriously. I honestly could not picture anyone else in the role of Tallahassee. He's obsessed with twinkies and brings a realness to the movie, which is surprising and touching when it happens. Bill Murray even has a cameo, as himself. There are fantastic on-running jokes throughout the movie which also bring continuity. Only a few scenes were unnecessary but are a small set-back to the overall effect of the film. As a general rule, I automatically love movies that have a narrator, especially ones throughout the movie. The narration provided by Eisenburg is brilliant. Without it, I fear the movie would have been half as funny. Fortunately though, my rule stays intact. Zombieland is another great horror/comedy. It is definitely on top of my need to buy list.

1 comment:

  1. Zombieland was definitely good. I'll tell what is also pretty, pretty good - the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMA here in the Rotten Apple. No photography is allowed however, so I have nothing visual to share. The best part was the Mars Attacks! puppets. AAAWWWWKK!!