Monday, May 14, 2007

Spider-Man 3

In a Nutshell: Quite good, definitely worth seeing. I liked it better than DH, who read the comics growing up. To him, Spidey 2 is far superior; I thought this one was only slightly less good.

Quick Plot: Peter is riding high on the public's love for Spider-Man, but his fame attracts unwanted attention from not one, but three villains, while simultaneously alienating the people he loves most.

In Detail: As I said, quite a good movie. Though packed with action, it was lacking in some originality that the first two had. They also moved a little more away from the "rules" they set for themselves in the first two films. I'm all good with willing suspension of disbelief, as long as you follow the rules that you lay down, and that was missing some here. Spider-Man is not invincible. He smashes into a wall, he's going to hurt and bleed and break something, not walk away with barely a scratch (no matter which suit he's wearing). And what happened to spider-sense? That seemed to be missing (yes, I know about Venom not triggering it in the comics, but Peter seemed not to have it at all in this film no matter who he is fighting).

I did like that the story was more personal, less about an outside foe and more about things happening close to home and heart. But I think they were trying too hard with Sandman. I actually could have done without that whole storyline. Given that the movie did have three villains, I think they juggled all of the various story lines admirably well. But in the end, it was just too much to handle. Just cut one (or two) and make another movie! I did love some other aspects of the movie, such as them finally getting to have some fun with each other on screen. It did add some unnecessary length to the film, but it was hilarious! There was another thing that I thought was excellent that I wish they had done more of, but I can't tell you because it would ruin a plot point. If you've seen it and you're dying to know, email me and I'll tell you. And I have to give credit to Topher Grace. This was not his usual role, and he clearly relished it!

As you may recall from my review of Spider-Man 2, I loved each of the piece-parts of the movie (villain, Peter and Harry, Peter and MJ, etc), but I thought the whole didn't quite work together as well as it should have. For Spider-Man 3, unlike most of the critics, I felt that the pieces worked and flowed much better here, though each of those pieces was generally not as good as Spider-Man 2. Weird, I know. It doesn't make sense to me either, but that's how it stands IMO. Definitely see it, though! Oh, and there's no coda at the end, so no reason to sit through all of the credits if you don't want.

Will I Buy It? Most likely, unless DH truly objects.

Chicken Little

In a Nutshell: Cute little movie, though it was a bit light on plot. Not nearly as bad as the critics lead me to believe. This is the first Disney movie I ever missed seeing in the theaters, and now I'm a bit sorry I did. Far from great, but also far from terrible.

Quick Plot: After an embarrassing incident claiming the sky was falling, Chicken Little is working to repair the damage to his reputation and his relationship with his father. Just as he begins to make headway winning respect and affection, history repeats itself as a piece of the sky falls into his life.

In Detail: I was looking for something very light to watch one evening last week, and this definitely fit the bill. In fact, it was almost too light. It was as though they stretched each scene by 10-20% to make a full length feature. Some song filler is fine, but it does not make a whole film. The stuff they had was good stuff! I just wish they had expanded on it a bit. There were also some great zingers in there just for the adults that will be lost on the kidos. The beginning of the film is the best part, especially for those folks readily familiar with the full body of Disney feature animation. Too funny! I bet it was amazing in 3-D! (My brother says it was.) Worth seeing or renting, especially for children.

Will I Buy It? Don't know. In our pre-child days, I don't think I would have bought it just for DH and me. I might let my son see it on TV to see if he likes it before deciding. Goodness knows, we could use some new films for him to watch over and over (and over and over and....).

Addendum: We did finally buy this movie, and at least for age 3-4, it is one of our son's favorite movies! It has grown on us a lot, too.

The Bridge

In a Nutshell: I stumbled on this one late night on IFC (dangerous, I know; that is the Independent Film Channel, for those unfamiliar), just moments after it started. It really was like an accident, you just can't not look once you start watching. Very powerful, and very unsettling.

Quick Plot: Taken directly from IMDb, because I couldn't have said it better. "This is a documentary exploration of the mythic beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular suicide destination in the world, and those drawn by its call. Steel and his crew filmed the bridge during daylight hours from two separate locations for all of 2004, recording most of the two dozen deaths in that year (and preventing several others). They also taped interviews with friends, families and witnesses, who recount in sorrowful detail stories of struggles with depression, substance abuse and mental illness."

In Detail: I really wasn't sure I wanted to watch this. In fact, I'm still not. I thought it was going to be awful, and it was very emotional, but it was also fascinating. Listening to how differently each person felt about what had happened to the person they knew; it was an amazing study of human nature, grieving, family, and friendship. I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well. I'm not sure I can. And I absolutely cannot recommend this film to everyone. You have to decide if it is something you think you can handle; I know not everyone can. I won't lie, it is hard to watch. But I'm not sorry I did, and it is one of those things that has stuck with me far more than I thought it would. Very haunting.

Will I Buy It? No. I don't care to see it again.


In a Nutshell: A good no-brainer type film. I like Nic Cage in this type of roll, I like Julianne Moore, and it is based on a Phillip K. Dick story. Makes you think a little, but don't think too much or you won't have any fun!

Quick Plot: Cris Johnson can see about 2 minutes into the future, and the government is "requesting" his help in finding a nuclear bomb that has been smuggled onto US soil. Cris is only interested in finding "her," the only thing he has been able to see farther away than 2 minutes.

In Detail: A nice popcorn flick, mostly forgettable after you walk out of the theater. Still, it was a perfectly pleasant diversion for an afternoon after the spring drought at the movies. Certainly was the most promising thing out at the time! And we really did enjoy it. Just don't over-think it. The plot holes are huge, and even the logic starts to unravel if you try and use your brain too much. Just hop on and enjoy the ride. Nicolas Cage excels at these straight but slightly off-beat characters, and Julianne Moore is her usual serious but excellent self (but if she's going to continue being in action movies, the woman has *got* to learn how to run! LOL). For Jessica Biel, who has recently stated that she wants to be taken more seriously in Hollywood, this is a step in the right direction (certainly better than "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"!), but she needs rolls with more meat and less, er, flesh (no, no nudity, just a lot of looking at her and not much doing on her part).

Will I Buy It? Probably not. We have other movies of this type (including others by Phillip K. Dick) that we prefer. This was not a stand out in any aspect. Worth catching on television or DVD, but don't go out of your way.