Monday, October 16, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Still recycling summer movies... or more precisely "Snatch" meets "GoT" = "King Arthur"... or even more precisely that was the wishful thinking, but unfortunately was neither of the two...

When I heard that there's a new release of Camelot related stuff directed by Guy Ritchie my hopes went high. After watching the movie (or actually while watching it) I realized that the fantasy ground is not that easily mergeable with his style of directing and even worse for the screenwriting, at least compared to the ground line of a classic crime story as was "Sherlock Holmes". It just doesn't work. The context doesn't get well along with the specific short witty lines, the London ghetto feeling, the alert editing filled with short cuts and frequent flashbacks and there are also others. The story itself is ok. Arthur loses his parents at a very young age following the eternal battle for the crown and gets to be raised in a London brothel. In peace and harmony. Until he reaches the age where he can be a problem for his evil uncle (a Jude Law who doesn't seem to age ... probably the dark magic effect). The rest is more or less like a soap opera, but I don't want to give extra spoilers.

It's obviously far from the original writings, but in the end is ok as an adaptation, a quite dark one and which wants to be more settled in the real world. At least it is comparing with John Boorman's "Excalibur", which probably remains the main reference in the "knights of the round table" niche. The problem is with the mise en scene as I was saying, which is bit too chaotic and looses a lot on impact due to this. You don't get to sympathize or to hate any character. There's not enough for this. I won't get to the absurd scenes or to the fighting that bypasses the limits of a swordfighting marathon. I'll stick to my own reference.. which is not "Excalibur" (too metaphorical, completely opposed to this actually), but the TV mini-series "Merlin" starring Sam Neill. The last 10 minutes in that worth watching more than all we have here...

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Monday, October 9, 2017

Trapped (2017)

To let it go or not to let it go?... that is the question. That's not about "Trapped", which is just another movie recycled from what I managed to see earlier this year, but about the blog... But since I'm struggling with one more entry it's probably "not to let it go" yet...

So "Trapped"... I think it's the only Indian movie that I had the patience to watch in the last 10 years. Without having any surprise of (spoiler alert!) somebody starting to dance between two scenes. So for who's allergic to musicals, and even more to the Bollywood version, don't worry, you're safe. The story: we have love at first sight between a guy and a girl working in the same company, with the problem that him seems struggling with the money and her having an already arranged marriage (well... we have some sort of typical Indian setup). In any case, he manages somehow to convince her having second thoughts about the marriage by trying to find a new home for them. Which home, given the budget, is a rent on the black market on the top of a barely finished tower of flats, completely empty, that was not given into use. Just that he doesn't get to tell here anymore... Because after the first visit for arranging the new place he somehow manages to get stuck in the apartment. No neighbors. No phone battery. No electricity. No water. No food. Up in the sky. With just a sort of building guard, half deaf and completely absent sleeping all day at the ground floor. There you have it... The perfect setup for a catchy movie. Unfortunately the result, although not bad, was a bit below what I expected. Well, that's all about it, until next time...

Rating: 3 out of 5

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chasing Rabbits ... 2017 ... or whatever year edition

I don't remember if I wrote or not a "Chasing Rabbits" entry last year. What I recall is that I wrote one in 2015, in the same hotel near Otopeni airport where I'm now, also having a flight scheduled next early morning and few hours to sleep, but not having much sleep... I don't know what I wrote back then, but I know that this time I'll try something maybe a bit more concise than in the previous.

Fact: some (apparently random) stuff happening in life can be really stupid and maybe unfair.
Idea: fix that.
Tool: time machine.

We can go on forever talking about "playing God" or "messing with the karma". I said concise - and to be concise... karma has its way to get stuff balanced. So, if "the fact" + "the idea" are not fair enough when they're put to work... karma will hit back... at least that's what I think will happen. Now, let's chase the main rabbit = "the tool" ...

I could start rambling about the few tiny bits of physics that I know, but I would probably stop not too far, and no matter how quick that might be I would probably put out still enough bollocks to make this entry really stupid. So, instead of "how to build it", let's try approaching it from the other side. For the sake of argument: let's suppose that tha "the time machine" already exists (that's why is a time machine, right? should abstract away the time around it). Just that I didn't hear anybody reporting any "Terminator" coming from the future through a magic electricity bubble. So, if it exists, its mechanism is probably a bit more... discreet.

There are some options here - depends on how rich is your imagination :) ... But let's just take one: let's put an equal sign between "time travel" and "send a message". In this context "time travel to the future" is something trivial, and enough well developed: from a letter, to an e-mail, and so on. There's still the question about the past. How could you do it at least at a minimal level. 1 bit. An electrical impulse generated at time t that can be interpreted at t-1. If you solve this, as limited as it might be as expressiveness/efficiency, there would be enough to have the "time travel to the past" part = there's "the time machine".

How can you do it?... Don't know :) If I would, life might have been more fair - at least in my eyes. What I know is that I wasn't really in the mood for movies this week, but yesterday at some hour and x minutes, browsing the TV channels I stumbled on "Deja Vu" and a line said by Denzel referring some hour and the ... same x minutes. Now, browsing again some TV channels I stumble upon "Timecop", probably Van Damme's movie that left me the strongest impression when I was a kid. Coincidences can be funny :)... Anyway, what I also know, is that's enough food for thought until the next rabbit chase, whatever year edition might that be...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

American Made (2017)

"The man who always delivers" (or something like that) keeps repeating in various lines of "American Made". And I guess it's somehow also a reason why the story seemed depressing in the end, but I wouldn't elaborate on that here... Barry Seal was a real character, an airline pilot who in the beginning of the '80s ended up working for both CIA and Medellin cartel trafficking weapons and drugs respectively. What we have in the movie is a slightly romanticized version of the real deal, but catchy enough to make lose an extra 5-10 minutes to quickly parse the Wikipedia article and a couple of external links for finding more (= where the conclusion of "romanticized" came from actually). Spoiler alert: don't do this before watching the movie! In brief, what we see here is how our main character advances from a TWA pilot position to owning a local airport and a little airplanes fleet for keeping his business running. Which business makes enough money to draw the attention simultaneously of FBI, DEA, ATF and the state police. But you'll get more details in the movie... where I must say that details count a lot. From the tiny different threads of an almost incredible story, the style of delivering it which emphasizes clearly the idea of keeping your sense of humor in the worst situations, up to technical details as the pale-yellow filters that sort of bring a documentary tint to the camera work. All these keep somehow a generally relaxed feeling - I can't think on anything else than "Wolf on the Wall Street" now as comparison, which might not be the best. All in all the way the story unrolls is quite enjoyable to watch. And still, the ending comes a bit like a cold shower that makes you think... does it really worth to always deliver?...

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dave Made a Maze (2017)

Dave is jobless. Dave was bored. Dave made a maze. In a weekend. From cardboards. In the living room. And he's stuck in the labyrinth. Which is larger on the inside... Dave's girlfriend + some of his buddies try to get him out. Complicated ordeal, because the labyrinth has traps. Some die. Some escape. That's pretty much what we have in this movie: 90% of it is completely absurd. Unfortunately it's a repetitive type of absurd, which gets boring. Besides, it also tries to throw from time to time towards the viewer also some metaphors on which provides also most often the direct interpretation (now, what's the best way to ruin a metaphor?...). To wrap this up - if the trailer gives you a vague impression that you'll get something close to "Cube", well... that's a wrong impression. More likely, the feeling you get after the end credits is closer to the most sloppy movie made by Terry Gilliam (let's pick "Tideland") to which we can add some puerile comic note. And even so, I think the result on that combination might end up better than what we have here...

Rating: 1.5 out of 5