Friday, January 27, 2006

The Matador

Pierce Brosnan is funny. It’s been so many years since Remington Steele that I had forgotten how funny he could be. If The Tailor of Panama was a realistic take on his Bond character The Matador is the comedic take. Brosnan owns the screen in this nice little gem.

Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear) is a struggling businessman who has traveled to Mexico with his business partner to try and put together a deal to save his livelihood. In the hotel bar one night he meets Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) an interesting but rather uncouth gentleman who buys him a drink. Aganist his better judgement Danny spends some time with Julian and learns what he does for a living. Julian is a hitman, though one who is beginning to lose his edge.

Time passes and Julian has botched another job so badly that his bosses have put a hit out on the hitman. With nowhere else to go he goes to stay with Danny and his wife Bean (Hope Davis) hoping to guilt Danny into helping to get him out of this mess and remind Danny of the favor he owes.

Brosnan is terrific as the friendless lone gunman who doesn’t really know how to act with people (his comments to Danny in the bar are hysterical!) Kinnear works well as a straight man to Brosnan’s antics and Davis, who I normally don’t like, is well cast as Danny’s wife. There are many small characters but the film rests on the odd couple relationship between Danny and Julian who aren’t quite friends but something more than strangers.

The movie skips around a little too much and could use one last edit as the film is slightly uneven in its tone. I also wasn’t a fan of the large full screen fonts in presenting a new location or story transition.

The Matador is a good comedy that allows Brosnan to go full out and give one hell of a performance. Though not great, I’d put this at the top of pretty good comedies of the year such as Waiting…, Cassanova, and The Weather Man, it’s definately worth checking out for a very different type of comedy than the usual Hollywood fare.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Underworld Evolution

I dislike movies where as an audience member I spend more thought on the story than the writers, closer attention to the dialogue than the actors, and a keener eye on storytelling than the director. Underworld Evolution is just such a movie.

The movie begins with the back story explaining how the first vampire (Brian Steele) and the first werewolf were twin brothers and they were both imprisoned in order to halt the war between the vampires and werewolves. William (the vamp) allows himself to be imprisoned so Viktor (Bill Nighy) won’t kill his brother, just imprison him. Wow, lots of backstory we didn’t get in the first movie (probably because they hadn’t written it yet) and get ready to sit and listen to it be explained to you by Steven Mackintosh‘s character whose sole purpose in the film is to try and fill over the HUGE @#%*! plot holes in the barest cosmetic way.

We move back into present time as only minutes have passed since Lucian (Michael Sheen) has died and Selene (Kate Beckinsale) has killed Vicktor and fled with the hybrid werewolf/vampire thing Michael (Scott Speedman). William escapes confinement in the mansion and kills everybody on both sides when he’s not to busy flying around on his humongous bat-wings (Why does he have bat-wings you ask? Good question, and the movie doesn’t really have an answer except that he may be a hybrid…but Selene tells Michael he is the first hybrid, but then she says William is one….maybe it’s because he’s the first vampire…wait a minute why is his father still alive? AGGGGHHHHH!!! The whole movie is like a mind puzzle created by someone whose fourth language is English and they only speak one language).

Anyway William wants to kill Selene even though she killed their mutual enemy Vicktor so he can take the pretty necklace of her werewolf boy-toy and open the cage of his brother who despite not eating anything for over six-hundred years is in perfect health and extremely strong and grumpy about his imprisonment. In walks Alexander Corvinus (Derek Jacobi) grandsire to Michael and father to both brothers who has lived for centuries unknown to everyone. He lets himself be killed and allows Selene to suck his dying blood to find the knowledge (and evidently superior strength and other amazing abilities) to stop William. Wait a minute, Corvinus is a just a guy who’s sons became the first vampire and werewolf when they were bitten…so why is he still alive and so full of vim and vigor yet so willing to let William kill him? AGGHHHHH!!!

The entire story runs like this and the absence of logic finds its way into all aspects of the film. Beckingsale’s skin-tight rubber suit gets gashed and torn in her battles, yet in the next scene it somehow miraculously heals just as she does (wow, vampire rubber!). Michael never feeds except through Selene when he gets his clock cleaned yet he is full of strength and vitality to kick ass when called upon to do so. And don’t even get me started on the sex scene which Speedman and Beckinsale awkwardly have sex while he is standing about a foot and a half too far above and away from her making what the film implies physically impossible. That and an unsurprising surprise ending including more AGGGHHHHH moments make this film just torturous to watch and impossible to enjoy.

This is just sheer crapolla folks; the film makes little to no sense and is filled with constant quick-cut fights to try and mask the fact that it reads like it was written by Carrot Top’s retarded kid brother. An early favorite for worst film of 2006 and just a sad, pathetic, stupid film.