Friday, December 10, 2004

Movies opening this week

Blade: Trinity (Wesley Snipes, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, dir. David S. Goyer)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Some people just go nuts over the Blade franchise, but I've been fairly indifferent. The first two installments were decent enough, but this one is just a waste of time. I really hope Goyer doesn't get to do his Nightstalkers spin-off movie, because I don't think I could sit through an entire film of Ryan Reynolds' lame wisecracks while he shows off his pecs and kicks vampire ass. As it is, that was half of this movie. Wide release

Ocean's Twelve (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, dir. Steven Soderbergh)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I love Steven Soderbergh, so it pains me to say this, but this movie is just one giant act of hubris, a feature-length pat on the back for being so cool and suave and hanging out with celebrities. One reviewer likened it to the cool kids at school making fun of the rejects really loudly so everyone could see how cool they are, and that's a pretty accurate assessment. The sad thing is, I do think these people are cool, at least in a good number of their movies, so it's all the more painful to see them so self-consciously trying to prove their coolness. A self-indulgent bore that looks pretty and has a few funny jokes. I really hope Soderbergh got it out of his system and gets back on track soon. Wide release

Tarnation (documentary, dir. Jonathan Caouette)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
This was one of those movies that I'd heard so much about for so long that there was an inevitable disappointment when I finally saw it. It feels so contrived at first, with Caouette taking a painful and very personal call about his mother being admitted to the hospital, but taking care to turn on the camera and position it properly beforehand. It's hard to imagine that coming naturally, but when you go back and see Caouette filming his most emotional moments as far back as age 11, way before he knew he was making a movie, you realize that it's just his coping mechanism. Still, there are moments, especially the very end which is obviously staged to some degree, when you wonder where Caouette the subject ends and Caouette the filmmaker begins, but that's the beauty of the film, I suppose. In any case, it's utterly unique and astounding how much he was able to contruct on just a Mac and iMovie. It should inspire a lot of people, which will undoubtedly lead to self-indulgent rip-offs, but also, hopefully, to a few more daring experiments. Opened limited Oct. 6; in Las Vegas this week

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