Sunday, January 29, 2006

Underworld: Evolution

Rating: B-

While better than the first Underworld, this one doesn't quite cut it. There's more Kate Beckinsale in tight tight leather/vinyl/spandex/who cares she's really hot as Selene, the vampire who is still fighting the Lycans (werewolves). This time around, she's fighting not only the Lycans, but now she has to deal with an ancient vampire named Marcus, who is bent on winning the war and taking over the world.

The action is good. There is an abundence of blood and gore. Heads roll, arms go flying, and blood throughly coats well, everything. Selene again has her guns, but they aren't as effective against vampires as they were against the Lycans in the first one.

Selene travels around with Scott Speedman, her half-man, half-lycan boyfriend/pet trying to uncover the origins of she species and the conspiricy involved with them all. Sounds great, but it gets a little lost in the gun play and soft core sex, as it should be.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

King Kong

Rating: B-

King Kong is the realization of Peter Jackson's lifelong dream. Finally, after the huge success of the Lord of the Rings movies, he had the money and technology to bring his vision of Kong to life. Too bad he didn't dream a little longer.

Overall, it's not a bad movie. It's a tad long at 3+ hours, but for the most part, the time doesn't play a factor. The first hour is spent in 1930's New York City where we see struggling, moral-less filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) and his crew fleeing the city to make a movie that is not approved by the studio. He snags Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a down on her luck actress and playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) and heads off to the mysterious Skull Island. The second hour is spent in a breathless race to escape from said island. Watts is kidnapped by the natives and offered to Kong. The others go after her, and hilarity insues. The last bit is spent back in good old New York showing off the beast, his subsequent escape and rampage, and at the end, Kong's last stand atop the Empire State Building.

Jackson uses the same motion capture technology that he used for Gollom for Kong, and believe me it works great. Every detail of the big ape down to his fur is perfect. Andy Serkis reprises is role as the creature de joir as he straps into the motion suit for Kong. What I thought was especially interesting was how Kong was portrayed. He isn't some character that walks around and acts like any other actor. He's a giant gorilla. He acts like a monkey, walks like a monkey, sounds like a monkey. It's awesome.

The relationship between Kong and Watts is more believeable than the one between her and Brody. It seems rather strained and sudden and without a lot of passion. He really feel for the big guy when he meets is ultimate fate. Black is fine as the scummy movie person.

Sometimes the special effects were surperb (see Kong), but other times they were a little *too* good. When things are too clear or too perfect, one's mind starts to wonder if it is real. The ariel views of 1930's New York are inspiring. The dinosaurs for the most part slam the door on Jurassic Park.

I enjoyed this movie. It wasn't as good as I had hoped, but it is a fine followup to the Lord of the Rings movies. The film after a giant success is always scrutinized. Now if Jackson will only go and make the Hobbitt. I will forgive a delay in that project, since Jackson's next project is producing Halo. If you've got about 4 hours to kill this new year, check it out. It's worth seeing on the big screen. If you don't have time, be sure to get the DVD. Rumor has it, there are even more cut scenes that Jackson will be adding in to the DVD. Mmmmmm...more Kong.....