Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Watched two more horror-type flicks last night. One -- El Orfanato, or The Orphanage in English -- was presented (but neither written, directed, nor produced) by Guillermo del Toro. The other -- The Invisible -- starred the guy who's gonna play Goku in the travesty of a DragonBall movie.

First things first, my opinion of Justin Chatwin as an actor has gone up, which definitely isn't a bad thing. I'd only seen him in War of the Worlds, and I was too irritated by his character to really gauge his acting skills. I dunno if he'll be able to pull off a plausible Goku, but it really doesn't matter. Even if he nails it -- the possibility of which I'm now willing to acknowledge -- I can't see how they're going to get around the fundamental failure of a plot in which Goku...innocent, naïve, uneducated Goku...is in high school.

Huge. Plot. Hole. A gaping chasm, really. But, oh well.

The Orphanage, though...now that's some fascinating stuff. No fantastical beasts. Just ghosts. Just heavy atmosphere and a grippingly grievous plot twist that, even if you accept the unexplained, catches you so off-guard. Not a trick, just...so very sad.

I also watched a rather bewildering and plot-hole-bedizened The Marsh. I so admire Forest Whitaker's acting, and he didn't particularly disappoint in this flick, but the flick itself was just so...silly. It's like they lead you to certain conclusions, but then don't follow through with them. You're supposed to make certain assumptions, but they leave it so open that you could easily tone down those assumptions to something a little less...yuck. So...I dunno.

If nothing else, it wasn't remotely creepy. The Orphanage has an atmosphere like a wet blanket -- suffocating, close, clinging, claustrophobic. The Marsh? Well, it had some pretty scenery and some quickmud, but that's about it.

And back to The Invisible? Meh. Interesting plot idea, but the follow-through came across as almost tedious after so much of it. Chatwin did a great job of conveying his inability to change his environment, both as a carnate being and as an incarnate one. But it just didn't do anything for me. Those last 20-30 minutes are supposed to be so tense and finger-gnawing, but I just found myself wanting to fast-forward.

It was interesting to watch him affect his environment while in a rage, only to turn around and see that he'd changed nothing. He could swipe everything off a desk, turn around to catch his breath, turn back, and see everything perfectly in place. As if he'd never touched it. As if he didn't exist to make such changes. That was pretty neat to contemplate.

But that was about all it was worth -- contemplation. Some good character moments, some nifty posits of thought, and some great acting. But in all, just meh. It wasn't a horror movie so much as a...a thinking movie. A "what if?" movie. Not bad, but definitely not an October kind of flick.

However, I have one more rental to watch this weekend. The Cave. I'm pretty sure it's gonna suck pond water, but I can't help liking a good creature feature. Heheh.

Oh, yeah! Forgot to mention that I just got back from watching Max Payne. Not bad. Decent entertainment. Had some pretty awesome special effects. But overall, it didn't blow me out of the water. One of the trailers did, though.

Rock-n-rolla. A new Guy Ritchie flick. British gangstas. It's gonna be awesome. Even got Gerard Butler of Dracula 2000 and 300 fame in there. Should be a riot to watch.

To me, it looked like a cross between Snatch and Smokin' Aces. I don't know that you can beat a combination like that. Woo-hoo!

My only complaint? No Ryan Reynolds. Guess I'll just have to wait for Deadpool in the new Wolverine movie. Sweeeeeet.

Of course, there was no DragonBall trailer. That's been pushed back another couple of months. Surprise, surprise. The leaked trailer was...pretty meh. They're trying to put together a more wowie one. Good luck with that, guys. I really mean that.

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