Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Movie Review: "The Prestige" (2006)

Chistopher Nolan's interesting style is always a treat for me. In The Prestige,he noticeably goes back home to his Batman Begins frame of mind in terms of visual style. The dark brooding atmosphere accentuates the darkness of the times they were in. He also goes home to his Memento days with his trademark non-linear storytelling style.

Two rival magicians Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale)outwit each other by sabotaging each other's shows and stealing each other's secrets. Eventually this rivalry had very innocent roots as that they were former calleagues with dreams of making it big as the best magician in England.
In this charade of one-upping each other Angier decides to do some further research by retiring for a couble of years to visit the famed scientist Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) who Angiers reputes to have assisted Borden with his act. The obsessive Tesla creates the machine that Angiers funds him to build for his act not knowing what dangers lay ahead for him. All this sacrifice, all this effort to be the greatest magician ever.

The movie has it's strong points as well as weak ones. The best part of the movie is the way the one-upping of each magician is so brilliantly paced by the non-linear storytelling. You can hardly tell up to the very end who will one-up who. Who was smarter than the other. Who, in the end will prevail.

David Bowie as Nikola Tesla is awesome. His charisma in this role is unprecedented since his role in Labyrinth, I was a kid when I saw that and I can still remember him as the wizard with the cool crystal balls. His entrance in one of the scenes one of the coolest I've seen in a long time. From the darkness, he walks across a platform to appear in the fore ground while bolts of electricity from his large electromagnet streak across his body from above into the floor.

One of the weak points is kind of a spoiler, so I'll skip that. The film kind of feels akin to Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Oldboy (notice I compare almost everyhting to Oldboy). Michael Caine just breezed throug this movie like a belch, by the way Scarlett Johannsen was weak in this movie. She contributed almost nothing to the plot. I would have preferred seeing more of Piper Perabo.

Anyway's, it's a good film to watch, just watch it with a smarter person, or someone who won't bug you with questions while easily getting lost in the story.

Rocketboy's Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Movie Review: The Departed (2006)

Martin Scorsese is a force in the film world that cannot be denied. Almost every young filmmaker out there has been influenced by his work. He is a definite hollywood legend and The Departed is proof of this.

He has received a lot of criticism for choosing to adapt a very successful Hong Kong cop thriller Infernal Affairs to be his next project with Leonardo Di Caprio. Perhaps he's run out of ideas, they say. That may be true. But as I saw the movie, I began to understand why he chose this route rather than use an original story. It was probably the mafia story each hollywood filmmaker wanted to make, the chinamen just beat them to the punch.

Im just going to throw in a few bulletpoints to make it easier on both of us.

> It has Scorsese's trademark fast scene sequences. You'll see what I mean.
> The movie is surprisingly funny. A lot of funny one liners courtesy of Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg (yes, he was actually funny in this movie)
> The soundtrack is to die for. I was walking to the office today with the song Comfotably Numb in my head.
> I expected more from Matt Damon. Vera Farmiga was a miscast.
> Leo is the man. He outshone Damon for sure.
> A lot of violence, but not as violent as Casino or Goodfellas, some of Scorsese's trademark movies. The story is the hero here.
> In terms of loyalty to the original. Very loyal. More loyal than I expected. I was expecting Scorsese to make it his own. Surprisingly he did stay loyal to the original while making it his own. I remember some key scenes such as the hand cast scene and the climax as very close to Andrew Lau's Infernal Affairs.

>Some trivia. In Sullivan's (Matt Damon) new apartment, when his girlfriend (Vera Farmiga) movies in with her boxes of stuff, you can clearly see what he was watching in the widescreen TV on the background...Takashi Miike's shocker Audition!

All in all, a great time at the movies and a great time for cynics. I for one am a very happy camper. Go see it.

Rocketboy's Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

News Today...Gone Tomorrow

Teaser for Im a Cyborg, And It's OK

To those who care. A new teaser trailer for Chan Wook Park's new romance comedy with a twist I'm A Cyborg, And That's Ok has been doing regular rotations over the web. Personally I'm excited to see how Park is going to do around the romance-comedy genre. For sure there is going to be a lot of twists and turns with the storytelling and the visual style and that it's not going to be just your typical run of the mill Korean romcom.
It stars Im So Jung of and A Tale Of Two Sisters and Rain (Bi), a popular recording artist in Korea and star of the hugely popular (here in the Philly at least) Full House.

Click here for the streaming trailer.

Robert Downey Jr is Iron man

Robert Downey Jr is cast as the damamged superhero Iron Man. Personally, I like it. And good for him! He matches the profile of Tony Stark as being a generally good person with a bad addiction. His reputation for being a junkie gives him kind of a dangerous yet likeble charm, because he is indeed very talented. If you've seen Heart and Souls you know what I mean. Anyways, this is cool and has added to my anticipation for the Iron Man movie.