The Godfather Trilogy:
I'd seen the first two once-a-piece (a long time ago), and had never seen the third. So I figured it was about time I had another gander, mainly inspired to give the second another run-through for the first time in years and to really see if I thought it was "better than the first".
Part II is certainly very grand, and has a strong plot - but I do feel it's overblown and dragged out. Not enough happens, which damages some of the very strong themes in the film, such as Michael's descent in himself as a result of being consumed by this lifestyle which has been hoisted upon him as a result of Vito Corleone's death in Part I.
Part III is, well, pretty dull. I struggled to follow all this stuff about business and different families and the church ... in fact, I do struggle with these sorts of films in general. There's a lot of people, often looking somewhat similar to each other, with names I can't remember, and then all of a sudden someone has another killed - but I'm not sure why. They've betrayed them somehow, but it feels like I missed a reel of the movie or something.
Anyway, Part III isn't much cop, it really does feel like "one and two together ... and then three on it's own in the corner" ... and, yep, I couldn't do with Sophia Coppola's performance either - she's much better suited behind the camera (with The Virgin Suicides, and the excellent Lost In Translation, for example).
Part I though, is the best of the lot I think. It's grand and lengthy, but not too much - Part II is definitely 20 or 30 minutes too long, and certainly too wordy. Part I lets you see what happens in this world - stuff actually happens. I don't want it to be like Crank 2, it's not that kind of film of course, but something does have to happen to propel the plot along ... otherwise it's three hours of people with confusing names and similar faces talking to each other and not letting the viewer get a toe-hold on what the fuck is going on.
But then again, like I said, I've never been so good with these kind of movies. I get lost by them quite easily.
So yeah - Part I all the way - that's the best one in my view. Part II may have stronger themes, but Part I tells the story more convincingly and efficiently. Part II - while very good - is definitely too drawn-out and too wordy. Part III is mostly pish, but it does have a few good bits in it, but to be honest, it shouldn't have really happened.
Someone was talking about this flick on Homepage of the Dead the other day, and I remembered I have a copy that's remained unwatched until now.
Immediately when I saw that it was 101 minutes long, I knew that was too long for this film - and I found it to be very much the case. This movie needed to be 90 minutes max, and preferably 80 minutes. It also needed better pacing and a tighter script - characters come and go, they mumble around in circles about nothing in particular and occasionally we get to see a kick arse 'meltdown' sequence - something which pretty much disappears during the second act of the movie - a second act which drags on unmercifully, it has to be said.
It's cheap and tacky, and that's part of the point, but it simply needed to be far leaner and meaner. I've seen it now, and that's enough for me personally.
I'm a big Sam Raimi fan, but there are a few of his films that I haven't gotten around to - until recently, Darkman was one of these films. I kept missing it on TV, and didn't bother getting the bare bones DVD - then I spotted it on Sky Movies, so I recorded it and checked it out.
It's a fun flick. Not Raimi's best work, but you can see a lot of things in it that fed into the Spider-Man films a number of years later, and many stylish flourishes which have been somewhat diluted by the same Spider-Man films. It does make you yearn for Evil Dead 4, but at least we got the almost-full Raimi festival with the excellent Drag Me To Hell (which would have only been improved by not being a PG-13 ... that said, it scared the crap out of me, and grossed out the entire audience - so it really pushed the PG-13 barrier, I thought).
Anyway - Liam Neeson - you can't go wrong with him ... the running time was lean, the pace efficient ... overall, it's a rather good Raimi flick, and although not his best work, it still exhibits all the gusto that Sam Raimi typifies.
Ace Ventura 1 & 2:
The other week I came back from the cinema, sat down with a "naught-to-tasty" microwave burger, bunged on the telly and starting at that moment was the first Ace Ventura movie. I hadn't seen it in years, and it's still as gloriously stupid and downright funny as it always was. A solid plot and plenty of room for Carrey to go insane makes for a solid, very enjoyable movie. Plus, it was a great moment of nostalgia for me.
The same can't be said of the sequel, which - naturally, came a year later - feels rushed and like a pilot for the kid's cartoon more than a proper sequel. The plot is naff and all about a bunch of stereotypical Hollywood "tribes people", and even Carrey seems like he's left dangling in the wind. That said, there are a few great chuckles to be had, but it just can't live up to the sheer fun of the first movie.
Well there you have it, a few flicks I've barged through of late, as I'm in a bit of a creative lull at the moment ... will pick up again soon though, so I might as well make the most of it.