21 April 2003

A Quartet of Movie Goodness

Ghosts of the Abyss: 3 Stars. No one will ever argue that James Cameron doesn't push the limit of the state-of-the-art, and he delivers with this 3-D IMAX documentary of his descent to visit Titanic with his brother, actor Bill Paxton, and two swimming robots, among others. At first, I figured that the 3D thing would just be a gimmicky thing...showing water spraying and cranes coming out at you. And it was, at first. Then he goes down below, and there's little screens popping out of the big IMAX screen, showing multiple angles, various bits of data, lighting, all in glorous color. It was quite a show. Using clips from his Titanic, he put the rusty wreck into physical and temporal context. Using Bill Paxton, he put a human face on the mission, fears, concerns, and all. Nice work, Jim.

A Mighty Wind: 3.5 Stars. Some may argue that Christopher Guest just makes the same movie over and over. I say that's all anyone seems to do these days, but if it works, why complain? After Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, Guest has shown that's he's put together the best ensemble troupe in the business (yes, better than Woody Allen's permanent stable. Props to Rob Reiner for getting them all together in the first place, with This is Spinal Tap, but Guest carries the flame with his third mockumentary. This time co-writers Guest and Eugene Levy turn to the world of Folk Music to get their giggles, and they succeed mightily. Levy steals the show with his burned-out, former folk star Mitch Cohen, formery of Mitch and Mickey (Catherine O'Hara, excellent as always). Filling out the cast are the Spinal Tap triumverate of Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer playing the one-hit wonders The Folksmen and John Michael Higgins' New Main Street Singers (featuring Parker Posey). What a great ride...I laughed constantly. Kudos to Ed Begley, Jr. for making every uttered line a laugh riot.

Bulletproof Monk: 2 Stars. From the billboards for this film, it's obvious that the studio had no idea how to market this action-comedy starring Chow Yun Fat and Seann William Scott. It doesn't help them that the movie sucked. Fun fight sequences and an always hot Jamie King (formerly James King) can't save a lousy, hole-riddled script. Frankly the only thing worth watching is Marcus Pirae's "Mr. Funktastic." Who is as ridiculous as he sounds.

Phone Booth: 2.5 Stars. So a self-proclaimed moral avenger (Kiefer Sutherland) wants to get slimy publicist Stu Shephard (Colin Farrell, trapped in a phone booth), to apologize for all of his sins, including trying to sleep with (but not actually screwing) a woman who's not his wife. Stu wants to sleep with Katie Holmes. Who can fault that?!? I want to sleep with Katie Holmes, for G-d's sake! Last I checked, lascivious thoughts don't warrant death sentences. And, in the process of teaching his lesson, Kiefer kills two people. So who's the bad guy here?

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