Sunday, June 6, 2010

What's up Netflix!

Splice- 4 stars- Vincenzo Natali is best known to me as the writer/director of one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time, "Cube". His first feature film was a gripping psychological exploration of human behavior and relationships. It was damned scary too! "Splice" follows many of the same themes that "Cube" first brought up- experimentation, observation, human destruction and relationships.

Sarah Polley (LOVE!) and Adrien Brody (super LOVE!) star as rock star scientists working to splice multiple animal DNAs together to produce antibiotics for livestock. The question quickly surfaces: If we can splice animals, why not humans? The creation born of their god complex is Dren, half human, half something else. What follows is at times predictable, but you never lose interest. Natali works to seamlessly blend humor with horror. I laughed several times, sometimes uncomfortably. My hand stayed over my mouth of at least half the film. I won't ruin the surprise for you (though if you saw Brody on Jimmy Kimmel it's already ruined), but I will say there is a scene that will divide audiences immediately. A collective groan of horror swept through the theatre we were in. Polley's acting is a bit rusty but very reminiscent of the work she's done with Hal Hartley. Brody proves why he's an Oscar winner- his eyes betray every emotion, as if he can see through you. The FX (led by genius Greg Nicotero) effortlessly blend practical makeup and CGI. Splice is a beautifully shot by C├ęsar winning cinematographer Tetsuo Nagata ("Ma vie en rose"). A must see for horror/sci-fi fans. It is rated R for a reason- nudity and sexual situations.

Leap Year- 3 stars- I have to admit right off that I haven't finished watching this movie yet. I was so bored the other night I turned it off and went to bed. The only reason it gets 3 stars instead of 2 is because it stars one of my secret boyfriend Matthew Goode. Leap year is about Amy Adams following her boyfriend (the wonderful Adam Scott) to Ireland to propose to him on leap day (when tradition says a woman can ask a man). Along the way she meets Goode who serves as her guide/chauffer/confusing love interest along the way. The biggest problem with this premise is Adams. Her character is so unlikeable, domineering, tight assed, that it's a wonder anyone can stand being around her for more than a minute. Why would laid back Goode fall for her? Where does she demonstrate anything worthy of attraction? I wanted to smack her in the face and say, "Snap out of it!" [side note: seriously, just rent "Moonstruck". It's so much better.]

Pirate Radio- 3 stars- I totally understand why so many of my friends (mostly male) loved this movie. The music rocks, the actors are great, and the clothes are far out. Unfortunately, what should have been an amazing story was only so-so. Set in England in the 60s, "Pirate Radio" tells the story of outlaw radio when rock was banned and DJ's were forced to take to the high seas to broadcast their music. Except it doesn't, not really. What we're left with instead are a bunch of questions: Why was rock banned? Who banned it? What was played on the radio? Who were these DJ's and how did they get boats? How did British teens learn about these stations and music? The whole story was 2-dimensional and left little for anyone to do except drink and dance and look stern (in the case of Kenneth Branagh who may make the best stern face in history). These guys were rock stars it seems, but why? I didn't really get it. If you're looking for a history of rock music in the UK in the 60s, this is not the movie for you. If you like listening to classic rock, bopping your head, and don't care much about story, you'll love this. If you're indifferent, as I was, I'd just rent "High Fidelity" or "Almost Famous" instead.

4 comments:

  1. The film is very loosely fact-based. The real story, yet to be told, is much more interesting.

    Between 1964 and 67 a number of stations sprung up on ships and WWII forts outside territorial waters, circumventing legislation which licensed only the BBC to broadcast to the UK. The Musicians' Union restricted the hours of recorded music permitted to be heard on the BBC, arguing that playing records took work from its members. Bands had to play live on pop programmes Saturday Club and Easybeat, while much of the permitted BBC 'needle time' went to the weekly 'Pick of the Pops' chart run-down.

    The fictitious Radio Rock amalgamates several ship-based stations, the most popular of which were Radio London and Radio Caroline. Caroline was first to air, but Radio London sailed in from Miami at the end of 1964, bringing the US Top Forty format and jingles, which very quickly cornered the listener market. By 1966 (when the film is supposed set) most of the stations were Top Forty-based. It's unfortunate that the film-makers didn't stick to the music of that year for their soundtrack.

    Mary Payne, Radio London Webmaster

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  2. Wow, thanks for the info Mary! I would have much prefered to see that in the movie. Perhaps it could follow Radio London's journey from Miami and showcase more of how music was distributed to fans.

    Thanks again!

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  3. Splice isn't out on Netflix yet!

    Also, did you really like it? I'm so confused because the trailers made it look sort of ridiculous. But the guy who reviewed it for Red Carpet Crash loved it, too!

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  4. shine- yea, you caught me. I just included it hear since I watched less Netflix than I thought I did this week.

    I really liked Splice. It's a bit ridiculous and you'll figure it out pretty quickly, but it will also get you talking. See it in the theatre when the crowd reactions give you something further to snicker at!

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