December 19, 2009

Avatar 3D: Amazing visuals, with 1D plot

Posted in Movies tagged , , , at 9:49 am by myrlinn

I haven’t watched movies in a long time. Somehow,lost the interest for it. So, it was fortuitous that a friend offered me a free ticket to see 2012, where I saw the trailer for Avatar. So for the first time in years, I was eagerly anticipating the opening of a movie!!!

And Avatar was just as I expected — visually stunning. The forest, the flora and the native fauna were so beautifully rendered. What a treat. And a lucky thing too that the visuals were so superb, because the plot and characters were 1D, or if you want to be kind, 2D. So predictable, without nuances which is perhaps not so surprising given that the entire movie seems focused towards showcasing 3D. In that, the movie succeeds really well. I was impressed by the fact that the facial expressions of the avatars were almost realistic, rather than cartoonish.

One mistake we made — we decided to go check out the iWerks theatre at Singapore Discovery Centre.  It was not too far from our home, and the price was lower than other theatres ie $7.  But I was not impressed by the theatre. The screen didn’t look 5 storeys high. Must be a VERY short 5 storeys.  And the seats were not that comfortable. The theatre had a rather basic feel to it.

Also, at the end, the staff annoyingly switched on all the lights too early, while the screen was still showing screnes of Pandora together with the closing credits. If  they needed to turn on lights to allow people who are eager to get out, then they should switch on dimmer lights or less lights.

Also not too sure if the 3D is the best, not having been to see the movie in other theatres. But there were points when I felt dizzy, and my brother could tell that the 3D images were not well integrated, so…

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July 20, 2008

So I went to see The Dark Knight yesterday…

Posted in Movies tagged , , , , , , at 9:08 am by myrlinn

So yesterday was one of my very infrequent jaunts to the movies. And The Dark Knight didn’t disappoint – worth a watch if only to watch Heath Ledger as The Joker. The fight scenes were excellent as well, relying on quick action by Batman, rather than on glitzy special effects.

Warning if you haven’t watched the movie, there may be spoilers ahead.

The Great

Heath Ledger as the Joker. He definitely made the show. Ledger made the character real, and therefore believable and much more sinister. This is a role that could easily have been overplayed, but Ledger just managed to toe the line between manic and over-the-top. I like it that the Joker really made the point of the eternal struggle between good and evil that’s such a huge part of what comic book heroes are about.

And I really must commend whoever did the make-up for The Joker. The way the Joker’s face was painted on contributed a lot to the character.

The Good

Aaron Eckhart as Dent. Another good acting performance. He was particularly believeable as the earnest Dent. But the character itself (not Aaron Eckhart’s acting) lost its lustre when Dent turning bad — it happened too fast. My brother told me, though, that in the original comic series, that transformation from the heroic Dent to the demented Two-Face happened much more slowly, caused by the pain of his injuries and the painkillers he was taking for that. That would have made much more sense.

The Disappointing

Christian Bale as Batman. What a disappointment. The way Christian Bale portrayed Bruce Wayne, I thought 007 had stepped into the wrong movie!  I don’t like his interpretation of Batman, all suave and smooth. And his acting did not have emotional depth in key scenes like when he questioned whether Batman who is supposed to eliminate evil, is causing it instead, when Rachel died, and when Dent/Two-Face died. That Darth Vader voice that came out of him in his Batman persona didn’t help either. I understand why he’d want to disguise his voice, but couldn’t his voice just come out just different but still normal. All in all, I felt that in this movie,  with both Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart eclipsing Christian Bale in their acting, Batman/Bruce Wayned came out looking like a supporting role.

March 10, 2008

‘Juno’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’

Posted in Movies tagged , , , at 10:50 am by myrlinn

I hadn’t seen a movie for many, many months now, perhaps even as long as a year or more, so it’s something of a coincidence that I got pulled in to watch two movies in the same week (last week). Incidentally, or coincidentally, I am in the middle of reading book titled Quirkology by Richard Wiseman which touches on… yup, coincidences.

Back to Juno. I loved, loved, loved it.

The main strength of this movie is in its script. Clever and funny dialogue with a very fresh feel. Really well-deserved Oscar for the screenwriter, Diablo Cody, there.

Another plus was the movie’s strong ensemble of characters. People who are fallible, real, while still remaining quirkily charming. Juno especially. Witty, plays to her own beat, yet with such a level head on her shoulders. Makes you want to be like her.

The soundtrack was also a winner. Alternative in style and delivery, it is a great fit for this film.

To top it all off, the film had a feel-good ending (I’m such a sucker for that).

The only weak link was Jennifer Garner. She was so good in Alias the TV series, where she brought just the right blend of toughness and vulnerability to her role. But in this movie, her acting seemed forced, stilted.

No Country for Old Men started off promisingly. The opening scenes were beautifully shot. I was also intrigued by the dialogue/narration, which reminded me of Beckett’s famous play, Waiting on Godot.

By the end, though, I was left with a feeling of disappointment. And it seemed I wasn’t alone. When I got up to leave the cinema, I could hear someone behind me remark to her friends, “I don’t know whether I like this film.” And my brother, who was the one who pulled me along to watch the film, said that it wasn’t as good as he expected it to be.

This may be inconsequential to others, but the plot/character line related to the man (a bounty hunter?) sent to hunt Chigurh was the breaking point for me. He was set up in the film as smart and resourceful. He found Llewellyn Moss in Mexico, and seemed to be able to anticipate Moss’s and Chigurh’s every move. Yet, Chigurh found and killed him so easily.

After that, I really started to feel that the movie was too pretentious, too overdone. It was trying too hard to build an All-Evil persona for Chigurh. And then came the ending. Too abrupt, and in a way, also too predictably open-ended and without hope.