Monday, May 31, 2010

Movie: The Vintner's Luck (2/5 stars) (2009)

How would your life be different if an angel took interest in you and your passions, your desires?

Not that different apparently, except maybe you'd get involved in a gay relationship with said angel.

There were bits of brilliance, but overall, this movie is a lot of failure and very little success.

Things they did well:
- casting, the angel is creepy and androgynous, Sobran is a convincing, passionate wine maker, and many of the supporting roles are well done.
- some of the reveals about the angel were interesting
- ah... nothing else I can think of...

Things they did badly:
- While I'm a fan of Keisha Castle Hughes, I thought she was one of the weaker casts and was out of place the entire time
- The sex scenes were incredibly random. Rather than have a conversation, Sobran would just flip over, climb on top and pump away - not very sexy at all
- I kept expecting the angel's wings to just fall off
- The "sex scene" between Sobran and the angle was just dumb
- there is always the feeling that if the camera panned just 1 cm to the right or left, you would see some stage hand picking his nose. It felt quite shallow and fragile the entire time.

The most telling sign that this movie was dull? I kept wandering off to the kitchen for something to eat or drink without bothering to pause it. I sat through all of "Sunshine" with Ralph Fiennes. Believe me, I have patience.

I feel bad for Elizabeth Knox, the Wellington writer who wrote the original novel. She can't have been happy with this effort.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

TV Show: Lost (3/5 stars) (2004)

I have been a fan of lost since the beginning and I saw final episode this week. Lost has been there for so long, you know all the characters and they become like friends you look forward to running into each week. They won't be there any more.

At the same time, there is probably no way for the writers to successfully wrap up such a complex mess of mysteries and layers, backstabbing and lofty, noble enigmatic goals. I can vouch for that - they just didn't succeed. I'm sure there is a writer sitting back saying, "There. All done. All the mysteries explained.", but he would be wrong. They pretty much did not explain anything.

First of all - what the hell was the island? If you can't answer that, you've failed miserably. Does it exist in the real world? Can everyday, ordinary people actually get there? What was the smoke monster? What is the light at the centre of the island? Who was Jacob's mother? Where did she come from?

Too many loose threads for a successful ending. There is a bit of closure, in that you know where everyone is at the end and they are all happy and there's a warm, fuzzy feeling, but seriously, if you think that even a single mystery of the last six seasons was answered, then you are delusional.

Overall - fail. I'm sure the studio made a ton of cash on it though.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TV series: V (2/5) 2009

Everyone remembers the original "V" with the lizard aliens and eating the guinea pigs with their gaping mouths etc.. etc...

The new series isn't a re-telling of the original. That's good, since you get a new experience out of it.

My overall impressions:

- I like the actors, both V and human are well played and well directed. Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliette from "Lost") plays Erica Evans, an FBI agent, Morena Baccarin (Inara from "Serenity"/"Firefly", and Adria from "Stargate SG-1") plays Anna, the alien leader. In many ways, the rest of the story is incidental and the story is one of mother against mother.

- The story is pretty interesting, i.e. forming a resistance against an overwhelming enemy

- The special effects, specifically the background shots on the mothership are really bad - laughably so. Very obviously fake

- For a resistance cell led by an FBI agent and a former special ops guy, they are incredibly incompetent, made worse by the incompetence of the aliens to let them get away with it. They are regularly meeting in public places, saying each others names over their cell phones also in public places, including the FBI office!, getting caught on camera and the list goes on. I would be scared letting these people head a resistance. Fortunately, it's all fiction and I'm sure it will work out in the end.

While I'm hopeful that the series will get better, I'm not holding my breath and I think season one was, at best, a mediocre start.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Movie: Iron Man 2 (3/5 stars) 2010

Robert Downey Jr. again plays playboy billionaire Tony Stark with the usual host of problems - what to do with his billions, the government wants to steal his stuff (the way-cool iron man suit), too many HOT chicks (Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow - both smoldering in this movie), the technology that is keeping him alive is killing him and some crazy Russian physics genius (Mickey Rourke) wants him dead to name a few.

I was quite worried at the beginning of this movie, with completely over the top death scene of the crazy Russian's dad, including the skyward scream (do they really do that any more?), but it slowly settled in and I enjoyed snappy dialog and a few laughs while watching super-tech (the iron man suit inside the attache case was probably the coolest) on display in the best do-it-yourself way.

The special effects were slick and well applied. It was certainly a guy movie (says my wife who actually loves guy movies), but then, lots of people are going just for that.

Not as good as the first - just more of the same really, but fun enough for a cheap night.