Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Aliens and Americans

Four movies to review today, but the first two really differ from the second two as far as cinematic integrity goes.  We have two really average movies followed by two movies that are outstanding works of art so it makes this review quite interesting.  Enjoy!

Movie Review #7 - Alien: Resurrection
The fourth and final movie in the Alien Quadrilogy is not great by any means, but it really isn't a bad movie either.  But after two outstanding movies and one pretty decent third film, the fourth film in the series is a giant letdown and probably shouldn't have been made.  I would say, "Why did this even get made," but we all know the answer is money.  I'm going to be talking about some spoilers from the third and fourth film so if you haven't seen these films and still plan to, you should probably skip to the last paragraph of this movie. 

For people who have seen the third film, we know that Ripley died at the end and yet, she is in the fourth.  How?  Well, Ripley in the fourth film is simply a clone.  And you know what, that sucks.  Ripley is probably my favorite female character in all of film and you can't just kill off a character, bring her back in another form, and expect me to like the character just as much.  And if that wasn't enough, the Ripley clone doesn't even act like the original Ripley.  If they had tried to make the character act exactly the same as the old one, perhaps I would have grown to like this character a little more, but being that she even has a completely different personality, I felt zero connection to her.  It might as well have been an entirely different actress.  So, the main reason for liking the first three films is not even a part of the fourth film despite the actress still being in the film. 

And secondly, the last 15 minutes of the film are just disastrous.  It gets REALLY weird, and downright silly with some convoluted plot about a half alien/half human spawn that thinks of the clone Ripley as some kind of mother figure, blah, blah, blah... it sucks.  When I rewatched this film the other day, I had actually forgotten that the film has some good parts because the ending is what stuck in my head above all else and it just ruined it for me.

But like I said, this film DOES have some redeeming qualities that do make it watchable and at least worth one viewing for fans of the first three films should they desire to give this a shot.  It has some great action scenes that are really well done.  It also has some really cool new characters led by Ron Perlman who is always a baddass.  Warrick from CSI (well, before he got kicked off for being a druggie), also has a pretty cool role.  So maybe give it a try.  It isn't SyFy channel bad, but it doesn't live up to its predecessors.  Two and half cheeseburgers out of five. 

Movie Review #8 - Alien v Predator
Two of my favorite movie monsters in one movie going against each other?  Yes, please.  Ever since the end of Predator 2 when when saw an Alien skeleton, people have asked for a movie combining these two characters, me included.  But it took years to get this off the ground and finally made.  So what is worth wait?  Um, pretty much. 

The film, truthfully, is pretty darn goofy and is just one step above a cheap SyFy movie.  I honestly believe my devotion to these two characters kind of clouds my judgement of this film because deep down, it is really nothing spectacular.  There is some really bad acting, corny lines, ridiculous storyline, and the fact that they made the absolutely horrendous decision to make this film PG-13 instead of R all contribute to it being nothing but silly.  But I got out of the movie what I truly wanted: I get to see Aliens and Predators kicking the crap out of each other.  And when they do that, it is really awesome.  I couldn't give two shits about any of the human characters in this film, but seeing this dream match up is exactly how I wanted it to appear on film.  But truthfully, if you aren't as devoted to the Alien and Predator characters as I am, it probably is best to stay away from this film.  Two out of five cheeseburgers

Oh, and I know that there is another Alien v. Predator film after this one, but I tried to watch it once and only lasted about 45 minutes before I had to turn it off.  So yeah, I don't own that one.

Movie Review #9 - American Beauty
American Beauty is easily one of my favorite films of all time.  I don't think it would crack the Top 10, something very hard to do, but I could see it being in my Top 20.  From the amazing script to the amazing acting, I never get tired of watching this film and feel it has a little something that anyone watching it could relate to.  It definitely deserved the Best Picture Academy Award it won. 

The thing that touches me about this film is that it could happen to anybody.  Hell, anyone you know could be going through the same kinds of things that are going on in this film and it really gives you a lot to think about.  And it really makes you step back and realize that you have to enjoy your life as much as you can.  You never know when things are going to take a turn for the worst so just enjoy what you can for as long as you are here.  Sure, there are many other themes throughout the film, but this is what I take most from it and the thing that affects me the most.  I honestly feel like this movie deserves more of a write up, but honestly, the film renders me speechless.  As it is, it took me a half hour just to write these two paragraphs.  In short, I think it's a perfect movie. 

Movie tidbit - all the overhead views of the neighborhood were filmed here in town!

Five out of five cheeseburgers

Movie Review #10 - American History X
While also a perfect film, in my opinion, I definitely have a lot more to say about this film than the last review.  I'd have a hard time coming up with another film that was more powerful than this.  In fact, one of my lasting memories of this film was when I saw it in the theater.  You know how after a movie, whether good or bad, you hear everyone talking about it on the way out to their cars?  Well, after this movie, it was DEAD silent.  I am sure everyone, including me, was just taking it all in and trying to comprehend the emotional wreck that concluded the film. 

I think the use of black of white for all the scenes in the past was an excellent decision.  It was not only aesthetically pleasing, but a good way to distinguish between the two different parts of Derek's life.  His white supremacist life was a part of his old life and putting it in black and white was a great choice.  And speaking of Derek, Norton is friggin' amazing in this film and truly deserved the Best Actor nomination he got.  He's a great actor, but I am not sure I have ever seen him better than he was in this film.  He is downright scary when he is in his old life and the compassion he shows in his new life it truly believable. 

The movie really makes you think about race and race relations in a way that very few films can.  I think the movies that touch on this subject do their best job when they are making you feel uncomfortable.  If it is making you feel uncomfortable, it is because it is striking a nerve and this a movie that definitely does that.  Why does it do that?  Because we KNOW that things like this go on in every day life.  There IS hate like this that still exists and the movie does not hold back.  And it doesn't blame one side or the other.  It shows everyone is to blame, but that change is always possible.  Of course, you have to do it before it is too late.  This movie is not easy to watch and many people can't see it more than one time.  It's a great film, but not something you just pop in to the DVD player because you feel like watching a good movie again.  It's emotionally draining, but a film that should be seen by all.  Five out of five cheeseburgers


Mom said...

Love your words darling!

laura b. said...

I haven't seen the first two movies, but I totally agree with you about the last two. American Beauty and American History X are both outstanding and memorable pieces of work. Both are disturbing and haunting in their own way.

John said...

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Miss Sassy Pants said...

I haven't seen Alien: Resurrection in forever, as we usually stop before this one. I remember a few things, mainly Warrick carrying a midget on his back while climbing a ladder. It makes me think of Chewie carrying C3PO.

AvP. I remember all the hype. You were like a kid in a candy shop! That was even the first tattoo of your movie themed sleeve!

American Beauty was an amazing film, and I agree that it deserved the Best Picture Oscar it got. And we got to see a sneak peek while in college - another tidbit of trivia for ya!

I can honestly say I haven't seen American History X since the theaters. It's just too powerful, too emotional, too exhausting. It's a brilliant film, absolutely brilliant, but I just can't voluntarily put myself in such a vulnerable position again.