Greetings from (a snowy) Halifax this morning.
Here are four films I’ve seen in the past little while and finally had time to write quick reviews for:
The Quiet American
Based on the Graham Greene novel and directed by Philip Noyce, The Quiet American is an excellent study of Vietnam and Saigon circa 1952 when the French were the colonial masters while the Americans played a covert game of cat and mouse in what was the prelude to the Vietnam War. London Times correspondent Thomas Fowler (played with Oscar-nominated panache by Michael Caine) reports on the day-to-day turmoil and intrigue until all is thrown into a tizzy with the arrival of the quiet American, Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) who quickly challenges Fowler for his Vietnamese mistress Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen). In this mix, Fowler’s eyes are opened to the real work of Pyle and faces the moral quagmire of having to chose a side which ultimately leads to murder. A super film to watch unfold with a great ending and one of a few rare examples of an excellent novel turned into as good a movie. My rating 8 out of 10.
Not all Stephen King’s short stories translate well to the big screen and if you want one example, look no further than 1408. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom and starring John Cusack, it tells the story a skeptical haunted house chronicler’s run-in with ‘real’ ghosts in the notorious Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York City. It’s too smart by half and too long by, well, an hour (scary itself when it only runs 104 mins; 112 in the directors cut version). Noting I was actually watching this movie in a hotel (W-Montreal), I was neither scared nor entertained. That said, the film would have made a great Twilight Zone episode. My rating 4 out of 10.
Based on the wildly successful line of action figures, show and comic book series, Transformers is directed by Michael Bay and stars Shia LeBeouf (doing the formulamatic acting that is his style) Megan Fox and John Voight. It pits the good Autobots against the nasty Decepticons (a race of intelligent aliens who can morph into pretty much anything you want). I’ll spare you the story here … a convoluted adventure involving Shia’s character’s grandfather digging up bad Transformer Megatron and a hunt for the Allspark. Read the comics instead. As to the movie though, I liked this silly flick. And while it certainly is too long by 30 minutes, I had fun on the ride and laughed out loud several times. If you suspend reality going in, you’ll enjoy the transformation. My rating 7 out of 10.
Sure it starred Steve Carrol and Morgan Freemen (as God, for heaven’s sake) but not even God could save this embarrassing example of Hollywood schlock. Miserably stupid and thoroughly bad, it is a waste of everyone’s time and energy. Being kind to God and the cutesy animals in the flick, my rating 1 out of 10.
I abhor Facebook, and continue to rail against the Facebook-ization of Xanga, but keep your eye on this one: VerveEarth. If you’ve not heard about it yet … you will. Mark my words. Though reading their privacy statement does make me wonder – all neatness aside – if it is not simply a marketing setup to sell email/blog lists if (read: when) Microsoft or another computer giant buys up this startup.
Combining Google Earth mapping with a geography-based interface, it does have some interesting potential, and I will continue to explore this site as it grows in beta mode. I’ve never been an early adopter, so despite the email sent to me by VerveEarth CEO Clayton to list my AppsScraps Movie Reviews blog here, I shall hold off a bit.