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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tim Burton Street Juggling? "Mars Attacks!" Review

Just like my favorite director Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton has invented his own genre, and same as Quentin the best way to describe the genre is to simply say his name. If I was to describe the movie “Beetlejuice” to someone who hasn’t seen it all I need to say is “It’s a Tim Burton movie”. If I was a famous movie director I would take that as a major compliment but at the same time I would be upset because that would limit me to my own style. I like that Tim has his own style because I know I can count on him to stick to it and if I ever want to see a “Tim Burton” movie I can watch one.

The problem is that the style he has just cannot fit into some genres like he wants them to. “Mars Attacks!” is a terrible mess of a film that means well but fails even on paper. For starters it is a parody film, a genre that has only been done right once with “Airplane”. It then adds embarrassment to it by having such an enormous cast no one would be able to handle. Watching the film is like watching a street performer juggle too many bowling pins, he keeps dropping them and you feel sorry for him because you know he is feeling embarrassed. It is truly a pity that such talents as Jack Nicholson, Jack Black, and Michael J. Fox get wasted in a film that looks like a stupid B movie that should have never existed.

From the opening credits you see that there is an alien invasion with flying saucers. The Martians that attack look too silly even for a parody. In fact I even remember a picture of one of them being in one of my high school textbooks for some reason and when me and my friend first saw it we laughed so hard that our teacher got pissed and kindly asked us to shut the hell up. The plot then slowly evolves into a nonsensical cocktail of uninteresting stories involving the president of the United States, a talk show host falling in love with a scientist but getting her head stuck on the body of a dog, and a message towards the Martians which was either mistranslated or the Martians didn’t care and attacked anyway.

Tim Burton is not particularly known for being clever or witty with his films but he usually doesn’t dumb his movies down either. This time he makes a movie that feels as if prolonged exposure to it might cause a tumor. There might be a true sincerity in it in that Tim honestly wanted to make a good homage to science fiction B movies but it was a wrong choice from a director who I really admire and think that he is capable of doing much better.


Although I am tempted to say “Batman” I think his best film is “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” but what do you think? Do you prefer something more like “Edward Scissorhands”? or perhaps the darker “Sleepy Hollow”? Tell me in the comments below. Remember you can comment whether you have an account or not. Please start leaving me some comments, because they have been scarce.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Movie That Convinced the World it was Real. "The Blair Witch Project" Review.

This is not a horror film; in fact it’s barely even a thriller, and it is not really that good. I believe that this film is one that most people would find bad as well but a lot of people seem to like it and I think I know why. In 2009 when “Paranormal Activity” came to my area I somehow got misinformed and believed that the film was actual found footage. The experience of watching the film thinking it was real was a terrifying experience unlike anything I had ever felt while watching a movie. When I found out that it was actually just a fictional story told in the found footage genre, I did feel a bit disappointed but I didn’t really change my mind that much about the film. I still thought it was a great movie and it was still terrifying when I saw it again. My first impression of the movie has followed me to this day. So by now you might have guessed why people like “The Blair Witch Project” so much; first impressions.  When it came out, people were told that it was a documentary with real teens that got lost in the woods. Creepy right?

But what happens when you watch the movie knowing that it is just a fictional story made as found footage? Then you have a boring movie about 3 annoying people who get lost in the woods. Nothing remotely interesting happens in this movie; NOTHING! All they do is fight about whose fault it was that they got lost, why they went there in the first place, and cry really close to the camera. I think at some point they find a tooth or something but other than that I kid you not, there is absolutely nothing going on.

It is hardly a terrible film. You can do much worse especially since the acting is good enough to convince the entire world that they are for real even though they are full of shit, and it does provide with good buildup, but the entire movie is one big buildup. Imagine if a story was about 3 people hearing a noise in a closet and then discussing what could be behind it for one hour and just when they are about to finally open it to see what it was, the story ends. That’s “The Blair Witch Project”, a long boring buildup to nothing.

I think that anyone watching this film knowing that it is fake will agree with me because it is fundamentally bad filmmaking. So people reading this who saw it thinking it was real must consider the view of someone who was not fooled by the marketing. My rating of this film is pretty generous I think, considering how little this film has going for it but I do appreciate the road it paved for films like “Cloverfield” and “Paranormal Acvitity”.


What is your favorite found footage film? Let me know bellow in the comments. My favorite is “Cloverfield” but a close second is “Chronicle” a film that was on my 2012 best of list.