Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Not being a fan of the Twilight books, New Moon was not a terribly exciting film for me to watch. Of course, I'm also not a 14-year-old girl, so I have yet to even pick up one of the Stephenie Meyer penned junior romance novels.
There are a lot of very slow points in the movie and an excessive amount of poorly written dialogue. All three lead actors were clearly chosen for their aesthetic appeal, and not for their acting abilities. Pretty vampire-boy Edward, broodingly pretty werewolf-boy Jacob and the lead actress Bella, whose name means pretty.
The special effects are patchy throughout the movie, with some scenes done well and other scenes feature the wolves. Not more than a handful of shots of the (were)wolves looked like the animation was from this decade.
Hearing cringe-worthy lines pepper the entire story made it almost unbearable at points. Robert Pattinson's Edward delivering lines like, "You're my only reason to stay... alive. If that's what I am," with all of the passion of cold white toast with store-brand margarine makes me wonder how these movies are even making money. But then I realize how unsophisticated teenage audiences are, and it starts to make sense.
With that in mind, the whole movie is not without merit.
The story, when it is actually moving, is enjoyable enough for an escape from reality. Action scenes are well done for the most part, with the exception of the poorly animated wolves. Even some of those fights are fast moving enough to ignore that problem.
My friends who did read the book tell me this movie adaptation sticks closer to the source material than the first Twilight film did, so that is bound to please the fans in their Team Edward or Team Jacob t-shirts. I was looking for my Team Victoria shirt, but probably only because Victoria is the villainous vampire that wants to kill Bella.
Or possibly because she is played by Rachelle Lefevre, the only actress in the movie old enough for me to find attractive without having to register with the county.
I'm going to give New Moon a C- for anyone over 17, but it'll probably be adored by all of the teenage fans.
--John Berry, Online Editor

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pirate Radio

Though it's being eclipsed by the latest disaster flick, there is a great new movie that just hit the theaters this weekend.
Lacking the explosions and carnage might create less furor at the box office, Pirate Radio is bound to have much more value to viewers and will outlive the end of John Cusack's world.
Once upon a time when rock and roll was young and Britain was even more stuffy and oppressive than it is now, sex, drugs and rock were quarantined off shore as pirate stations who defied the government's restriction of the Stones, Beatles, Dead, etc., tunes and gave the kids what they want.
With a goofy premise, abstractly based on real stations that existed in the 60s, it was bound to be a fun movie, if done right.
Early promos had it called "The Boat That Rocked" which led me to believe they were not doing it right.
The story centers on a young kid named Carl (Tom Sturridge) who goes to live amongst the DJs and crazy folk of Radio Rock, anchored in the North Sea.
He arrives and finds an eccentric group of rock-and-rollers who border on cliche, but manage to stop short of going over-the-top.
The ensemble cast includes the ever-impressive Philip Seymour Hoffman and a veritable who's who of the U.K. actors who you know even if you can't always remember their names.
Writer-director Richard Curtis led the production with the same surprising grace that weaved the stories in his previous directorial effort, Love Actually.
One of the best parts of the whole film is the soundtrack, which takes on a larger role than average, which is apt since it is a film about a radio station.
Lots of classic rock binds together the story of the struggling radio station, the government suits trying to shut them down, and the general populace loving the music and the changing times in the world.

Pirate Radio gets an A-