Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three for the Price of One!!!

Okay so I'm trying something new here. I saw 3 movies each with a different style of movie making and I'm going to try to do a compare and contrast, and then probably compare and contrast again as I'm doing 3 movies.

The Contenders: In this corner from famed director of Back to the Future, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Robert Zemeckis brings us the cold dead eyes of Beowolf!
In the second of our weird, three cornered arena (just go with it) veteran director of M*A*S*H (the movie) and Short Cuts (which is like Magnolia, but with 100% less Tom Cruise and 99% more Robert Downey Jr.), Robert Altman brings us his final film: A Prairie Home Companion!
And the in the final corner from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malcovich, and Adaptation, his directorial debut Synecdoche, New York!

Okay weird movies to watch right? Yeah well They were at the library I suppose I don't know, but I didn't want to skip one of them since they all had their merits and they had creative people behind them, let's break it down by the director movie combo shall we?

Beowolf: Robert Zemeckis is really mired in the motion capture technology so much so that he can no longer make quality movies. Seriously no one else is using Mo-Cap to make movies anymore, it's used primarily in video games. That's where this movie fails, it's like a video game cutscene for an hour and a half with a bizarre ending. Robert Zemeckis needs to stop making these types of movies. Nobody really likes to see the uncanny valley when they watch CGI movies ( I erased animated as there was very little actual animation in this movies).
Pros: The movie certainly was polished, and there were camera angles that you can't normally achieve so it was visually interesting.
Cons: Creepy eyes. Spend a couple bucks and make the characters emote with their eyes. Also when there was yelling or emotion it was just sad to see the limitation on the puppets.

A Prairie Home Companion: Robert Altman directed MASH seriously I think he's got a good pedigree. Apparantly I haven't seen a lot of his movies, and he's one of those that was just a legend in hollywood. He really does the ensemble really well and this movie is no exception.
Pros: Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep really have a great midwestern accent and play well together as sisters. Woody Harrelson and John C Reilly are great as comedic cowboys, and Kevin Kline is great as usual. He really is a comedic genius. Great cast in a fun movie.
Cons: Lindsey Lohan is in it. Yeah. She actually bullied her way into it, and I suppose it'll be the last decent movie that she'll be in. She's a crack whore, and will never change. If she gets a major movie again I will be surely surprised. Also the story was just about the radio show and was pretty much as exciting as watching your radio during a broadcast. Not really a page turner.

Synecdoche New York: Almost everyone has seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this is a different beast entirely. It's kind of like inception reversed, which is to say that dream logic exists in this man's reality and he goes deeper and deeper inside the rabbit hole. He literally builds a city in a stage within a stage within a stage within a city. kind of like a dream within a dream.
Pros: Philip Seymour Hoffman does a great job getting progressively older and more pathetic. He is a man wracked with regret. The story resonates in a weird way that I can't really put my finger on. It was sad and depressing, but it has a positive spin on it.
Cons: This is anti-escapism. Nothing about this movie is about forgetting your troubles, and if that is not your movie style steer clear. Even if you like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this movie just shares the weird concept, but delves deeper and makes you more depressed.

Which one to watch? Skip Beowolf and watch Lord of the Rings, it has a better story and better acting, and is not directed in a gimmicky way. If you want to watch a more disappointing version of Lord of the Rings, or you want feel that video games are way too interactive for you watch this. If you're a fan of Meryl Streep, Lilly Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, or Kevin Kline, A Prairie Home Companion is worth it. If you don't want to watch a movie about the radio Robert Altman has made a lot of ensemble pieces that are worth checking out. I don't have anything in particular. Synecdoche New York is a more depressed version of Eternal Sunshine, thematically speaking of course. If movies are only about escapism don't watch this, watch Hamlet 2, it's like if this movie were done as a comedy.

So who won the battle here? I guess it's a draw really. Just three creative people trying to tell different stories. And I got to write about them all in one blog! So it looks like you won too!

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