Sunday, May 14, 2006

Double Feature

It's been a while since I got to a movie, so tonight I invoked Mother's Day Weekend priviledges and went to two.


Let's start with the mild disappointment first.

I didn't have high expectations for Poseidon, and it was a good thing. The movie was actually really well done. The effects were nearly seamless, even though I knew most of the disaster was CGI. The tension was consistent, with a few breaks so we could breathe, followed by long sequences of urgency. There were enough deaths that you never knew what was going to happen, and with one exception, the acting was excellent.

Mia Maestro was the exception. Some of you are quite familiar with her as Nadia from Alias. She was even more annoying and worthless in this movie. It was the role she was given, and she played it fine. I just don't care for her, and the role combined with the way she acts was far too grating for me.

The problems with her role really hang on the major problem with the movie as a whole, and that was the writing. I wish big-flick producers, directors, and screenwriters would get that through their stupid heads. All the good acting and expensive effects in the world can't overcome a poor script.

And this one was poor. Every disaster movie cliché was present and accounted for, the biggest being the disapproving dad/defiant daughter/earnest fiancé triangle, which played out so exactly like the same triangle in Armageddon that for a minute I thought Emmy Rossum was Liv Tyler.

Then there were plot devices. The number of explosions got to be a bit much. The reactions of certain characters, particularly Josh Lucas's, over Mia Maestro's death were way unbelievable and out of character. At that point I started rolling my eyes a lot. Jacinda Barrett did a nice job as the single mom, but for some stupid, unexplained reason her son took off--despite clinging to her for the last 45 minutes of film and with no good reason--and got himself into a locked room with no way to get to him, which was totally impossible and ruined the drama of the moment, which again was a total cliché. Put the kid in jeopardy so the hero can be a Hero.

The most courageous performance was given by Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas, who died with smeared, caked, ugly stage makeup that she probably would never ever EVER be seen in if she weren't getting paid for it.

Okay, now on to the good movie.

Have I ever mentioned that I worship at the altar of JJ Abrams?

The man is not without his missteps, of course, he's only human. But I just adore a man who can write kick-ass women so damned well. And believably. When Michelle Monaghan kicks ass at the end of M:I 3 (the first part of my double feature), it's very true to her character. She doesn't suddenly turn into Sydney Bristow.

Who I missed. In the beginning, when they did the frequently used Alias device of starting at the end and jumping backwards, and Tom Cruise was pleading with the bad guy, I longed for Syd's wryness, her "E. M. E. T. I. B. Now reverse it." But I got over it.

I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise. Not for years. But I do like the kinds of movies he does (War of the Worlds being the brightly glaring exception). I see them despite him, and I usually grudgingly admire his performance. He's a good actor who has just gone insane in real life. I can't appreciate his arrogance and stupidity in some of the things he's said and done over the last year, but he did a good job with this film.

M:I 3 was well worth seeing as long as you're not the kind of person who can't ever suspend his or her disbelief. There's a lot in this film that could never happen, but it's not ridiculous stuff. The story as a whole is pretty tight, with no glaring holes or issues. I was surprised by the twists, some more than others, and greatly amused by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ving Rhames. I loved Kerri Russell's role and wished it was bigger. Michelle Monaghan was far too creepily like Katie Holmes, but I got past that, too.

Some random thoughts:

Cool stunts. I want to do them.

Tom Cruise is the most amazing runner I've ever seen. He has this really straight-backed, machine-like movement, with flying arms and legs like pistons. No extraneous movement sideways or up and down. It's all oiled.

Jim, don't read the following paragraph, please, for the sake of our marriage

How hot is Jonathan Rhys Meyers? I'm moving Match Point to the top of my Netflix queue. I loved him in Bend it Like Beckham, with his gorgeous eyes and lilting accent, but he hasn't done much since. In this movie, he's pure melt-in-your-mouth beefcake. He beat Tom in the shirtless contest hands down.

Favorite line: "You did that? Huh." Or wow, or hm, or some innocuous word I can't remember. But it was a very nice touch.

Bottom line: Poseidon, C, save your money and Netflix it; M:I 3, A-, get there


MaryF said...

You let me know how you liked Match Point, Natalie. I watched it last weekend.

AuthorM said...

Well. You COULD watch Velvet Goldmine with the nekkid boykissing JMR and the lurvely Ewan.

You could do that.

And Christian Bale.

And glitter.


Natalie Damschroder said...

Okay, okay, I'll do that. LOL

Karmela Johnson said...

Natalie, just saw MI3 also (DESPITE Cruise, whom I also detest), and may I just say how much better it was than MI1 and MI2 combined. While we were watching it, my companions and I would turn to each other and go, "I'm really enjoying this episode of ALIAS!" Like you said, there was that in media res scene, Greg Grunberg was there, and there was even the "Marshall" character! ALIAS lives on!

Natalie Damschroder said...

Oh, yes, Karmela, the Marshall character! He was just like Marshall, and yet not. Very much the tech geek and the verbal diarrhea that I love, but he also had a comfort level Marshall never has. I liked this guy.

*sniff* I'm going to miss Marshall so much.