Okay, I wasn't expecting to be any good, but I was at least expecting it to be competent, which it wasn't. Even Halle Berry's costume wasn't as hot as it should have been (although she does wear this white jumpsuit thing that... never mind). This was a lousy production from script to score, with director Pitoff (who was a special effects supervisor on Alien Resurrection - great career, buddy) barely in control of the production. This was a serious mess that not even the copious special effects - all of which look exceedingly cartoonish even on the computer monitor I saw it on at work (you didn't think I'd rent this piece of shit, did you?) - could save.
This was an entertaining but ultimately bland adventure flick. Not having read any of the Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt books, I can't say whether or not Matthew McConaughy fits the bill or not, but I can say that he was constantly being upstaged by his sidekick Steve Zahn. Penélope Cruz is on hand to bring a genuine philanthropic cause to McConaughy and Zahn's treasure hunt, and I found the lengths taken in order to combine the two storylines to be fun, even though it's the sort of thing that annoys most moviegoers. The film doesn't waste time with a Cruz and McConaughy love story, either.
It's the type of film that's pretty bad and you know it's pretty bad while you're watching it, but there is enough humor and action to keep your attention for the running time. The horrific reviews it's been getting are pretty accurate, but it will make a great rental on a night when you're bored but don't want to engage too much.
Clint Mansell's score has some wah-wah trumpets in it for some reason. I couldn't figure out why, but they were one of the more fun elements of the film.
Yeah, I've gotten tired of seeing Nicole Kidman in movies too. She is a good actress, don't get me wrong, she just doesn't have the range for the kind of movie blitz that she represents. I mean, it seems like she's in every second movie that comes out. Luckily, this does not have too detrimental effect on The Interpreter, where she is paired with a much-softened, multiplex-safe Sean Penn.
Sydney Pollack's thriller (he also appears briefly as Penn's boss) is everything big responsible Hollywood product should be. It deals with issues but not in a way that's too cutting. It delves into the characters, but not in a way that's too disturbing. It has interesting locations (in this case the United Nations). It takes place in New York, and it's fun to see what areas are recognizable (there were no blatant geographical errors I could make out), and the suspense is excellent.
The plot is essentially that Kidman overhears something that may be a plot to assassinate a once-idealistic African Prime Minister who has become a butcher. Penn is a Secret Service agent who must protect the Prime Minister and doesn't know whether or not to believe her. Over time, more and more things are revealed about Kidman's past that put her motives into question. Overall, The Interpreter is a well-crafted film, delivering the goods it promises with a few moral wrinkles. It certainly does a great job of ratcheting up tension without cheating (a scene on a bus is a particularly well done set-piece).
Talk about delivering the goods.
Staking out its territory right from the beginning, Stephen Chow's film occupies a place somewhere between the romps of Jackie Chan and the outrageous Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker comedies. It is hysterical, and each sequence becomes more ludicrous than the last (my favorite is a pair of musicians who can use sound as weapons). The film starts out with standard wire-work and whatnot and gradually gets to a Hanna-Barbera level of physical feats.
There are quite a few delicious surprises to be found in this film. I am loathe to say too much more, as the plot of the film is pretty much inconsequential and I don't feel that explaining any of the jokes would do them much justics. Suffice it to say that I nearly busted a gut laughing several times over the course of the film.
Monty Python's Spamalot
No, my life is not perfect, but I doubt that there is any one of you reading this right now that didn't wish you were me last night, as I understand that this play is sold out through the Apocalypse. And even if you can get tickets, you may not get the choice cast we had (Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and David Hyde-Pierce are the stars). It's fucking hysterical.
As everyone knows by now, this is sort of a Broadway adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which explains why the cast was having such a great time. I mean, my family will randomly quote any part of the movie amongst ourselves for free, and these guys are not only getting paid to do it, but an entire auditorium full of people applaud them for it. It's like the perfect job (at one point during the "Nights of Ni" sequence, Azaria lost it for a few moments).
The play uses sequences from Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a springboard, adding additional postmodern elements to that which was already too irreverent to be anything else. I am happy to say that the classic bits have not lost their charm, and the tightening of the play makes this version of the story much more accessible to broader audiences than the film (which many poufs feel peters off towards the end). I must say that if you're not down with Python's particular brand of humor that you probably won't get much out of the play, though.
Oh, and if you do manage to get tickets, make sure you read your Playbill. In typical Python fashion, no chance to squeeze a joke in has not been taken advantage of.