yearzerowriters

Issue 2

Terminator: Salvation  *****

This is almost an exclusive on this film…I mean, I haven’t seen anyone else reviewing this anywhere. It hasn’t popped up on aintitcoolnews yet, and they usually get the early screenings…so, I guess I should crow a little. THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVE FIRST REVIEW. So, what’s it like?

First off, awful title, should’ve changed it, but fuck it, it’s there and we’ve gotta live with it. And it doesn’t mean the film’s gonna be shit too, does it?

Not shit, no, but it has some fairly large problems. The director for one. Did you know he’s ginger? Yeah, as ginger as Ron Howard, not as decrepit, but still a note of caution. Can gingers direct? He starts well. The futuristic landscape is suitably apocalyptic, with lots of loose metal lying about, but this is also where I noticed the first problem. It doesn’t look genuine. I know it’s not all CG, but it doesn’t feel like actual buildings have been destroyed. It feels more like what actually happened: some guys built remains of buildings and scattered some metal about. I’m not suggesting they should’ve bombed a city and filmed that, but it does harm the feel of the film a little.

The acting? It’s Bale doing what he always does…the reluctant, taciturn hero, who doesn’t express very much and always seems to be struggling for words, even when he’s saying something simple like ‘what’s for dinner tonight, love?’ Just say the fucking line, Christian, c’mon. The other guy, the big guy from Oz, does ok and handles the duality in his character with some skill. If you didn’t know, he’s a kind of terminator, but unfinished, which means he has an intelligence that isn’t just focused on killing, but is trying to resolve itself and find its place in this strange world of loose metal. The best scenes are with him and Bale’s John Connor, and surprisingly, the new guy comes out on top. Other characters involved are a little one note and a little too pumped up for such a scenario – example, the rapper guy, can’t remember his name, has got arms like gorilla’s fists – and it does steer it towards a more action-cinematic feel rather than a grim- authentic one. Whether this matters or not depends on how you like your Terminator? I like mine cold blue like T2 with the dirt of the future scenes from the original, and for me, they don’t capture any of it. It’s more like Black Hawk Down thirty years on.

At the end of the screening, the producer guy said that they had two more planned. The audience clapped in response, but no one really hollered, which says it all really.

 


STAR TREK  *****

We saw this one by accident, really. There was a screening of ‘Wrath of Khan’ in Austin, Texas, and then Spock turned up and put the new one on. I would’ve been pissed off if it had been shit, but luckily it wasn’t.

It starts with a sneaky attack on Kirk’s Dad’s ship by Eric Bana, who’s some kind of Romulan hick in this…seriously, he’s like a big, angry trucker, and apparently this creates a whole new timeline which means Voyager and Enterprise never happened. Thank Fuck. Then we see Kirk, who’s full of himself, walk into a bar and chat up everything in there, even the ugly ones. He’s obviously read that ‘Game’ book as his lines are shit, but he still riles enough of the guys in there to start a brawl. Next, we meet the rest of the crew and they seem to be more focused, and each one of them is perfect in their roles. Scotty was born to play Simon Pegg, Spock could be no one other than Sylar etc. etc.

I don’t really want to go into any more of the plot, I’ll just tell you that there’s a lot of action, and not shitty Next Generation action either. Proper fighting with blood and technique.

Is it any good? Yes, it mostly is. I won’t say it’s perfect as then there’s no point in my job as a critic…I mean, I have to criticize something, so with this one I will pick on…hmmm…fuck it, Sulu and Checkov. Didn’t like them, don’t know why, don’t really wanna explain it either. They were just off. And the direction was too flash. Abrams is all colour and no grit. And he’s a sentimentalist too…he really couldn’t help himself in the last twenty minutes, and this makes me fear for the last season of ‘Lost’.

Synecdoche, New York  *****



Philip Seymour Hoffman panics about his way off death and starts building a replica of New York, and then his life, in a tardis like warehouse building. Time passes and then more time passes and you start wondering if he actually will die within the film, and which version of him will be the one to go first.

      This is about as wacky as ‘Adaptation’ and ‘Being John Malkovich’, and the only difference is that writer Charlie Kaufman has been able to beat his anxiety disorder to direct this one himself. I’m not sure if it’s better than those two, but Kaufman can direct, especially in the way he changes around the sets and plays with what’s artificial and what’s real…so you get fake houses and streets in the warehouse that appear more vibrant than the real ones they’re based on. It’s the same with the actors too, as Hoffman’s substitute for himself (Tom Noonan – The nut from the original ‘Manhunter’) comes to life while the oscar winner retreats to the background. The film gets a little confusing in places, but I guess that’s the point – y’know, if anyone else tried this level of complication they’d be slaughtered – and you never really mind as you never know where it’s all going. And the theme, well, no one’s wants to die, really, do they?

Charlie, I don’t know how many panic attacks you overcame to get this thing done, but well done, mate. You can now retreat to the background and reflect on the mark you’ve left on the world.

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