July 19, 2009

#032: Bruno

Sacha Baron Cohen follows up Borat with another controversial comedy. This time starring Bruno, a flamboyant Austrian fashionista with an appetite for the spotlight. I saw Borat in the theater, but I had no intention of rushing out to the theater to see Bruno. I was willing to wait for it to come out on DVD. However, I read a couple articles describing scenes that were filmed here in Arkansas, and it piqued my curiosity enough to go watch it on opening night with some friends. Yes, that makes 3 trips to the theater in 3 weeks... this is unprecedented. There really isn't a good reason to see this movie in the theater other than to be one of the "cool" kids that can talk about it later.

Bruno is a very funny movie. It made me laugh a lot. However, it is one of those movies that seems awesome right when you watch it, but the more you think about it the more it loses that appeal. This movie uses its shock value to get laughs, but doesn't have anything substantial behind it. It definitely focuses on our society's desire for fame, and points out some of the lengths people are willing to go to in order to obtain said fame. It is almost more about being famous than being gay. While some scenes are shocking... it felt more like a reality show rather than a movie. Bruno actually didn't feel much like a movie at all. It has the same format as Borat. The star conducts real interviews with unknowing "victims" and they are loosely strung together by a fictional plot. I felt the fictional plot in Borat was distracting and actually took away from the interview segments. I think Bruno's plot is just as stupid, but it didn't take me out of the flow nearly as much as Borat's did. The one thing you really have to appreciate about this movie is the performance of Sacha Baron Cohen. He only has one take to do most of these scenes and if he screws it up, they can't use it. He does an awesome job of never breaking character in all kinds of situations. I am not sure how much of it was actually "real", but most of it seemed pretty genuine. I really enjoy watching his style of comedy, but I am not sure movies are the best medium for him to bring it to us. In summary, Bruno is a comedy that was created to make me laugh and it definitely succeeded at that. It also got nasty a few times, but it never offended me. I say wait for it to come out on DVD so you can rent it and watch it with your parents.

July 10, 2009

#031: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

Of all the summer blockbusters, I was most excited about seeing the second installment of the Transformers series in the theater. I am not really sure why I wanted to see it so bad. I wasn't blown away by the first one, but I definitely thought the second one would be better. I saw a trailer for Revenge Of The Fallen months ago and it looked epic. That experience got me all fired up to check this movie out on the big screen.
First off, this movie was visually awesome. There were tons of transformers and the attention to detail was amazing. Every nut, bolt and hydraulic piston was rendered beautifully. The robots looks very realistic and just the whole scale of them on screen was really neat to see. The transformation sequences were totally bad-ass. I could probably watch Optimus and Bumble-Bee transform back and forth for the full duration of the movie. The sad thing is, that may have made for a more interesting and coherent film than what they actually put out there. In true Michael Bay style the action sequences were messy and confusing. Most of the time it was hard to tell exactly what was going on. There was no flow or continuity, it was just a bunch of disjointed kicks and punches. That is fine, and almost expected, but it does get old after a while. I felt really bad for the people who had to sit close to the screen.

The plot of this movie is a total mess. It is amazing to me the film studio can pay all these computer artists to render these great images, but they can't find a few creative people to come up with a compelling storyline, and decent dialog. I understand the movie isn't about plot, but you have to have something. I enjoyed watching most of the action sequences, but the storyline was so tedious. I never felt like I understood the significance of what was going on. But more importantly, I never really cared. Towards the end I was so ready for the movie to be over. It was long and it just wore me out. This is one of the few movies where I can honestly say I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I felt no emotion, positive or negative, for any of them. At least the first movie made me feel sorry for Bumble-Bee.

If I were in anyway responsible for coming up with some of these characters, I would be embarrassed. The creators seemed to have total freedom to create awesome autobots or decepticons, and the offerings are very weak in my opinion. There were a few cool robots, but overall I was disappointed. I found the twin autobots stupid and annoying. Whoever made the decision to put them in the movie was a total butt-hole. This movie introduced us to tons of decepticons, but I can only remember a couple of them. Spoiler alert!... one decepticon can transform into a human. Since when in that allowed? If the only reason these alien lifeforms are transforming in the first place is to hide amongst humans, why don't they all just transform into humans? As for Shia, he does a fine job. He is a funny actor and I like him. He has made enough money now and I wish he would take on some more challenging roles.

In closing, I will probably never watch this movie again. It was nice to see on the big-screen, but it totally will not translate to the small screen. If you want to see this movie, just pay the money and go to the theater. If you miss it in the theater, don't even bother renting it. I feel that you will be very disappointed.