Saturday, July 07, 2007
Summer Sucks (for the most part)
The summer of ’07 is shaping up to be pretty damned bad. So far there have been several disappointments and only one real standout. I know its only July but so far the offerings at the Cineplex have sucked out loud.
SPIDERMAN 3- Everyone else has already beat this one to death so I’ll just jump in to say that if they hadn’t wedged Venom into the story it could have been great. That would have eliminated the worst sequences in the story and shaved the running time back to a manageable length. More Sandman- Less Venom. One of the neatest things about Raimi’s Spidey films so far have been the playfulness of the way the characters are treated but here he and his co-writers completely blew it. The asinine ‘Saturday Night Fever’ sequence and the ridiculous dance scene are embarrassing. So bad that I pray somehow they get left out of any DVD release to spare others from having to see them. Rarely have I felt so dumbfounded by a filmmaker’s choices. Stupid barely begins to cover it. And why introduce Gwen Stacey now? And after saving Gwen from falling what about the wildly swinging crane, Spidey? And why hire such a good actor to play Gwen’s father if you’re going to give him nothing to do? And the Venom meteor crashes about 100 feet from Parker? And Brock is in the church as Spidey rips off the black suit? And where was that Osborn butler in the first two movies? And why didn’t he set Harry straight before now? And why can’t Spider Man keep his damned mask on? And tying Sandman to Uncle Ben’s death was brain dead. A mess. There are good things in the film but the crap overwhelms them.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBEAN: AT WORLD’S END- Wow! Another mess. I loved the first two of this series but they seriously lost focus several times here. I still enjoyed it but there were too many times when they obviously lost control of the story and were just flailing about. The film would have been a good deal better without the Singapore section and the entire Goddess subplot. A simpler straight line plot that got us to the final sea battle would have been a much sharper way to go. But even with the sloppiness there’s a lot here to like. Depp is fun, the action scenes are entertaining and the double and triple crosses are just as fun as before. I even liked the neat little THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY moment which recalled the brilliant but understated three way standoff from the first movie. For the first time with these movies I feel the way others have with the earlier ones- Shorter would have been better. Fun overall and the sequence with Depp and the crabs was amazing but it’s a shame to have ended the series with a thud.
MR. BROOKS- Words cannot express how shocked I was at how much I enjoyed this film. Smart, funny, tense, well acted by a great cast and with more than a few surprises this is one damned good movie. I have no idea why it was decided to release it in the summer but it is so far the only bright spot in a pitch black field of terrible sequels. Every few years Kevin Costner makes a truly great movie with the last one being the also criminally under seen OPEN RANGE. This is a movie that people will be discovering on video for years to come and wondering why they never heard of it. As the story unfolded I at first thought they were trying to cram in too much plot but by the last 20 minutes they wrapped everything into a nice neat ball that left a satisfied smile on my face. Smart scripting and a willingness to be nasty help this jump into my top movies of 2007 so far. I can’t recommend this one strongly enough. Of course, I’m sure it bombed at the box office.