Friday, May 15, 2009

Midaisle Critic: Summer Movie Review: Angels and Demons

"Faith is a gift I have not yet been given"- Robert Langdon
"I asked if you believe in God, not if you believe in man's interpretation of God"-Patrick McKenna

"Angels and Demons", the latest Robert Langdon thriller directed by Ron Howard, attempts to set itself apart from its predecessor, "The DaVinci Code", by focusing its attentions more traditional thriller "guideposts", and does so without feeling overused or undettered.
The film itself deals with a legitimate threat to the Vatican, after the death of the Pope, as four key Cardinals are kidnapped, a bomb is announced, and Prof. Robert Langdon is brought in to uncover the connection.
The film resembles "The DaVinci Code" in style, yet transcends it narratively. The film does not daly within the "pillars" of Christian theology, but rather removes itself from a central issue (such as Christ, as seen in "The DaVinci Code"), and focuses on the expansive questions of faith and man. Ewan MacGregor gives a wonderful performance as Patrick, the Carmelengo of the Vatican, and portrays himself as a man of pure, anti-discouragement seeking faith.
"Angels and Demons" provides another backdrop for Langdon's symbology-driven investigations, and does so while personifying multiple understandings of faith. Surprisingly, "Angels and Demons" actually does something unexpected, in that, it allows for multiple interpretations concerning the actions of faith, as well as displaying many of the downfalls surrounding these ideals.
The film used its locations to the very best of its advantage; although it seems that the careful placement of symbols, seen in the "DaVinci Code", was farther and fewer between. Ron Howard is an interesting director, in that, he utilizes the entire screen to draw your attention to one central fact. However, this also means that the film (at times) may not seem expansive enough, but overall it is the belief of this critic, that the utilization of various pieces of art, created a culture for the film to thrive against. However the film is not perfect, and many of the flaws seem to revolve around certain key scenes in the film. Howard seems to have lost the filter for his camera, as many of his shots seem rather grainy, and bland looking.
It is good to see Tom Hanks in the movies again. Having grown up seeing him in such films as: "Forest Gump", and "Castaway", it is sad to see his name on so few billings these days. Hanks brings to Robert Langdon, a calm deameanor, which at times showcases Hanks' ability to blend into the films he stars in. However, it seems that several times in the film, Hanks seems to be "freewheeling" his role as Langdon, and we don't see the kind of energy that Hanks has usually brought to his formidable characters. It did seem a bit odd how rushed some elements of the film came about, but that might have just been to give the allusion of time as a forboding enemy. All in all, I feel that the positives outweigh the negatives, and thus the film stands at a much better place than "The DaVinci Code."
In personal taste, the scenes between Ewan MacGregor's character 'Patrick', and Landon; as well as the the scene between the head Cardinal, and Langdon, are essential to the films discussions on faith. I will not spoil their speeches any more than I have, but rather I will reiterate the notion that this film is not "The DaVinci Code", and therefore should be judged on its own accord.
Overall, the film was an enjoyable thriller, set in the backdrop of the beautiful Vatican City, and the films multi-perspective view on faith, and its role in the world, is quite interesting in the times that we live within. The action/thriller aspect was beefed up much from the first film, and I think that as a summer blockbuster, "Angels and Demons" will do well in the general market. But we shall see if the stain of "The DaVinci Code" outweighs it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Midnight Showings are my life!!!

Me and My brother are going to go see "Angels and Demons" at midnight...

and we are dressing up as Tom Hanks...

oh yes...

I wish we had mullet wigs :(

but we do have nice coats!!! :D

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'til Kingdom Come (part i)

I heard this song for the first time in awhile... It stirred something up in me... Not sure what... but I felt it...

"Steal my heart and hold my tongue
I feel my time, my time has come
Let me in, unlock the door
I've never felt this way before

And the wheels just keep on turning
The drummer begins to drum
I don't know which way I'm going
I don't know which way I've come

Hold my head inside your hands
I need someone who understands
I need someone, someone who hears
For you, I've waited all these years

For you I'd wait 'til kingdom come
Until my day, my day is done
And say you'll come and set me free
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me

In your tears and in your blood
In your fire and in your flood
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing
I wouldn't change a single thing

And the wheels just keep on turning
The drummers begin to drum
I don't know which way I'm going
I don't know what I'll become

For you I'd wait 'til kingdom come
Until my days, my days are done
And say you'll come and set me free
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.

Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.

"- Chris Martin

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Middleaisle Critic: Summer Movie Review 2009: Star Trek

I know this is a bit late, but I haven't had time to sit down and write an actual review for this film.
So here it is, almost a week later, but rest assured I saw it twice (so it is still fresh in my brain).

Star Trek (2009) Directed by J.J. Abrams, Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Eric Bana.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

I was purely amazed by the presentation that J.J. Abrams took to this Re imagined "Trek-Verse". The film acts a sort of 'bridge' between hardcore trekkies, and average folk (such as myself). I really enjoyed the simplicity taken in bringing about a "re imagining", as so many times it seems that films either dumb down the source material, or overexpose the limits of the material. This film allowed for all viewers to understand the basis behind Star Trek, as well as understanding its distinctiveness. Now, it could have gone more philosophical (as the tv show did), or more political (as the new Star Wars trilogy did), but instead this film focused on the exciting elements of the Star Trek mythology. This was not a perfect film (by any means), and in fact there were moments of the film that seemed a bit too "Mtvish" (in just how characters interacted, and in how resolutions were conducted), but overall J.J. Abrams has done what few thought he could do, that is to resurrect Star Trek to new levels of excitement, for a new audience, in a new age.
If he can continue this trend, I foresee sequels coming out in the next couple years.
It was great to see Abrams utilize lesser known actors as well. Eric Bana did a great job as the Romulan Nero, and I wonder why more directors don't use him. Karl Urban does a fantastic McCoy rendition, which added some real legitimacy to the "adaption of the original cast". Simon Pegg as Scotty was well done, except he wasn't given enough screen time. Zoe Salada (o'Hurra) did a good job, except I felt as though she was presented strongly independent at the begining, and by the end, it seems, she becomes a mere romantic interest. Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine had good chemistry together, and their interactions were meant to be the crux of most of the conflict. It seems that by the end of the film, Pine is finally allowed to settle into his "kirk persona", and we see that this new rendition of Star Trek will be a continual process.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film, and in my mind, Abrams has scored another hit.