Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Step Brothers Haiku Review

Ferrell and Reilly
Hate then learn to tolerate
Much laughter ensues.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Dark Knight Haiku Review

Batman, Joker, Dent
Good and Evil push and pull
Viewer is left pleased.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fdot responds to panta924

This is basically a continuation of my Revolutionary Road review and the comments left by panta924.

I purposely left out technical considerations of the film. Being a screening, we will given the typical caveat that color correction and sound still needed to be completed; and indeed, the first few establishing shots of the film were so dark that it was difficult to discern what they were. I assume those will be fixed up in time for the general release. Addressing the mentioned areas:

Cinematography: It's certainly serviceable, but nothing that truly stood out from the film. A large percentage of the film takes place indoors during the daytime, so there is a lot of typical indoor office and house lighting. The cinematographer is Roger Deakins, so I was hoping for a bit more. It's not disappointing by any means, just not amazing.

Such: The music was bad. This is not one of Thomas Newman's better scores. It was either too dramatic for the scene, or didn't fit the mood the scene.

Screenplay: This is the film's major flaw. The screenplay is the major reason I gave the film a C-. Revolutionary Road is not a bad film, it's a dull film. The decision to start the film with a major argument and continue after the opening credits with more marital strife never allows the audience to develop a relationship with the characters. You just don't really care what happens to them. The decision to movie to Paris is milked for a few laughs, but the decision is made right after another major argument. One scene is Frank and April yelling at each other, the next scene is April playing the doting wife and coming up with this plan. The way that Winslet plays April gives the audience a sense that there is some sort of mental imbalance within her, but the film doesn't spend 1 second exploring that possibility, so April just comes off as an incredibly strange character. I don't need everything explained to me in a movie, but dropping no clues can leave one confused. Mental Issue? Suburban Malaise? Who knows? The ending of the film also falls short (I haven't read the book, so I don't know if it matches up). It's telegraphed well in advance, so it's not much of a shock, then it's followed by a strange coda of two scenes featuring the secondary characters of the movie (a neighbor couple and Kathy Bates' real estate agent). The film just presents Frank and April as miserable for so much of the running time, that it just wears you down.

Leo: Well, I like Leo, so I'm happy to say that he does do a good job in the film. However, he isn't given that much to do. Apart from the arguments with April and an argument with Michael Shannon's character, he is largely reactionary. His character arc is very small and undramatic, so he has nothing big to sink his acting chops into. He pulls off what he has to do well, but I wish there was more for him to do.


Yes, I did it, I killed Yvette. I hated her, so much... That... it... it... flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, heaving... breath - , heaving breaths. Heaving breath...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

FDot breaks down "Revolutionary Road"

N.B. I saw Revolutionary Road at a test screening this past Wednesday. Obviously, there will be some changes made to it before the final version is released later this year.

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Written by: Justin Haythe based on the Richard Yates' novel.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon

The Short of it: A depressing slog through a disintegrating marriage that not even test screenings can save.

The Long of it: Obviously, reviewing a test screening comes with it's own set of issues; the least of which is that the version I saw will no doubt have some changes made to it before the final release. However, with a running time of 1:51, there's not a whole lot to work with.

The story is actually quite simple; in 1955, Frank and April Wheeler (DiCaprio and Winslet) are a young married couple (with 2 children) in the suburbs. They both suffer from a superiority complex, believing they are more important then the other rubes who live in the suburbs, and both feeling that they don't have the lives they were meant to live: April wanted to be an actress and Frank just doesn't want to be doing his job. On a whim, they decide that a move to Paris will be beneficial to both.

This plot device is where the problems with the movie start. The film opens with a major fight between Frank and April, so it's hard to develop any feelings for the characters. Then, even though April was majorly annoyed with Frank, suddenly on a dime, she proposes this Paris trip. She'll work as a secretary while Frank just does stuff (seriously, the idea is for him to lay about and read). A good chunk of time is spent watching every secondary character's reaction to this news. Obviously, complications ensue, with Frank in his professional life and April in her personal life. Unfortunately, the movie continues on a slog through fight after fight and depressing scene after depressing scene until the very end of the film.

Here are my main issues with Revolutionary Road.

1. The obvious comic relief. The Wheeler's real estate agent (Kathy Bates) asks the Wheeler's if they would be willing to entertain her son (Michael Shannon) for an afternoon, while he is on a furlough from the local psychiatric ward. Shannon is a breath of fresh air in the proceedings, and is supposed to be the one character who can see through the facade of happiness that the Wheeler's put up, but his character is so odd and tic-y, that it becomes obvious he was needed solely to relieve the film of it's dour tone and liven up the screen for a moment. There are no laughs to be found in the film when Shannon is not on the screen. So while the character is enjoyable to watch, he feels a touch shoehorned in.

2. April Wheeler. This is where the film truly lost it. The character of April obviously suffers from some sort of mental imbalance. In one scene, she will be having a major fight with Frank, telling him that she hates him, never wants to see him again, yet in the next scene, she is playing the perfect housewife. There must be some sort of disorder going on, but the film's major flaw is that it never even remotely delves into examining this idea. The viewer is left with the possibility that either she does have some sort of imbalance, or else she is suffering from the worst case of suburban ennui ever recorded. Winslet overacts slightly in the role, making it even more frustrating that the film ignores this tack.

3. The tone. The film is just depressing. Save for Michael Shannon's two scenes, all the rest of the scenes tend to be fights or discussions about how unhappy they are. I have nothing against a film that wants to be bleak, but Revolutionary Road is such a downer, you can't catch your breath.

4. The ending. I can't imagine that it will be left alone. It's just bad. It's set up so boldly that it comes as no surprise to the viewer when it happens. Worse, it's a bit of an abrupt end, then strangely followed by two scenes with the secondary characters discussing the Wheelers.

The Sum Up: Again, this was a test screening, so the final product will be somewhat different. With a running time already under 2 hours, I'm not sure what can be done with the film. It's just a depressing movie with no surprises that doesn't examine the issues it should. Lightning has not struck twice for DiCaprio and Winslet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Again, Off Again

Well, I arrived home late Tuesday night, just in time to do all my laundry, catch up on my internet sites and pack my suitcases once again. I'm off to Chicago for the 17-22. Then I'll be back for 9 days and it's off to NJ. Aftetr that, I'll be around for a while. Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Going to L.A.

Or somewhat close by. I'll be hitting Pasadena this weekend to spend some time with my 95 year old grandfather. (Cue the AWWWW'S) Quick trip. Leave Friday, return Monday, perfect amount of time. Then I'll be home for 2 days before taking a week in Chicago to visit even more family. Hopefully, I'll remember to take some pictures to bore everyone here with.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Journey's End

GRAH! Saturday needs to get here tomorrow so I can bittorrent this.

Janko Out....Marat In!

Ok, so Janko flamed out the other day.....hopefully he'll be at the US Open so I can stalk....uh....watch him. For now though, an old favorite is somehow still in the mix at Wimbledon. Marat Safin! No idea how he's managed to keep himself composed to get to the quarterfinals, but I've always enjoyed watching him play, and I've got to have someone to root for, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a semifinal berth for Marat!