The Popular Kids

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New content coming soon. Feel free to check out past reviews.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Ward = Shutter Island - gravitas & atmosphere + hot actress shower scenes?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Devil Is In the Details Or Maybe In An Elevator in Philly.

2010 cannot be described as a good year for M. Night Shyamalan. The negative reaction to "The Last Airbender" was immediate and scathing. It went so far as to become an act of revisionist history with some critics dissecting his entire career and declaring it retroactively over after the phenomenal success of "The Sixth Sense".  So, I just had to check out "Devil", released a mere three months after "The Last Airbender", and thanks to some ITunes gift cards from Christmas, I could do so without risking my own money.
"Devil" opens with a suicide and details the story of five people trapped in a high rise elevator in downtown Philadelphia, who experience events that can only be explained by the supernatural. The "devil" aspect comes into play through a guard in the building whose mother puts Brothers Grim to shame. She told him bedtime stories as a child about the devil taking human form to trap, torture and kill those who will eventually end up in his(or her?) domain anyway. It's a bit of a locked room mystery with a police detective working the suicide who tries to decipher what is happening in the elevator via security cameras.
I'll start with my likes which are mostly about mood. The camera work, including opening credits over the upside down city, is excellent with sweeps and mirror perspective shots that keep the viewer constantly askew. The music, also key to the mood, is heavy handed enough to cue an edge or your seat tension throughout. I didn't have any problem with the acting but the characters are all like those found in a hour long Twilight Zone type show. You know, played by vaguely familiar actors and fleshed out just enough to make us pay attention for an hour minus commercials. 
My dislikes? The ending does have a few "twists" people expect from Shyamalan's work but they are fairly tepid.  The narrator is a mildly annoying piece of work also. His "my mama told me" declarations  about the devil are at best awkward exposition and at worst silly.  Why insert an otherwise rational character who earnestly expects everyone to shake their heads and say "yep it's the Devil, that's for sure"?
Verdict?  The reports of M. Knight Shyamalan's career suicide are premature and he will make more movies to love or hate I'm sure. "Devil" probably would have been viewed as C grade work but a minor hiccup if it had not come out after "The Last Airbender".

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Love and Other Disasters

To call a movie cute often equals a death sentence in that it evokes fluff and a lack of substance. I just watched 'Love and Other Disasters" and cannot escape the dreaded word "cute".  Fortunately "clever" also comes into play. This movie which references romantic movies past and present does so in a way that is smart, hip and stylish.  Brittany Murphy who left the world stage too early excelled at playing two types of roles - troubled and damaged or wispy and flirty. Here we are treated to the lighter side with intentional nods to Audrey Hepburn. I had not heard of this movie before tonight and thought I would share.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Always Show Up In Time to See the Trailers, It's the polite thing to do..

Random thoughts on the trailers I saw before "Tron: Legacy".

-"The Eagle" - starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. Looks ok but only ok. I'm a big fan of Billy who did the "bally" all grown up but can take Channing Tatum or leave him in the acting department. The trailer wasn't interesting enough to keep my over active mind from renaming this movie "When the Blue Man Group Attacks!!"

-"Rio" - I'm really over self-referencing, hip, animated talking animal movies. Jessie Eisenberg seems to be channeling just about every other Jessie Eisenberg character, just animated this time. The 3D trailer was cool though when the Christ the Redeemer statue reached off the screen and practically slapped me in the face.

-"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - What to say? The first in this franchise was light, fun and even original. The 2cd and the 3rd were loaded down with too many characters, too many special effects and too many plot points. Is this scaled back? toned down? They've obviously jettisoned two important characters to give us more Depp, Depp and Depp but it does not look like a film franchise going back to it's roots.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thor teaser trailer!!

I like it! Dark, moody, nods to the classic but updates the look, Natalie Portman (never a bad idea)  = success (?). I sure hope so.