Friday, March 17, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #29
V for Vendetta
starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Steven Rea, John Hurt
directed by James McTeigue (first movie EVER!)
Well, what do you know, here we are on St. Paddy's Day and we have this movie coming out that's about people being pissed off enough at the repressive British government to want to blow stuff up. Very fitting.
The thing is, though, it's a movie about England where the three principle leads are played by an American, an Australian and an Irishman. I feel bad for English actors these days as they find themselves hemmed in by the awful stereotype where they can only play Americans. Or Australians. And then there are the Australians, who can only play Americans or British people. And the Americans who get to do everything because we're America, it's our money and (oh by the way) fuck you if you don't like it. The Hollywood conspiracy isn't that the studios are all run by secular Jews (which they are), it's that all the secular Jews who run the Hollywood studios happen to be American. You see, we draw the foreigners in, let them be blinded by their own, comfortable anti-Semitism and then we sell them Steve Martin in The Pink Panther. Which they buy. Ha ha, look at the funny man fall down the stairs! That will be $10, or whatever the equivalent is in your quaint, colorful "money". Foreigners are so gullible.
Sorry, that came off as a little bitter. I'm still agitated about the the USA baseball team being eliminated from the World Baseball Classic last night. I mean, they didn't even make the SEMI-finals. And to get beat by Mexico, who were ALREADY eliminated... nothing riles the ole xenophobia like a good meaningless sporting event. It's like how some old people can tell it's going to rain when their arthritis kicks up; I can tell somebody wearing a USA uniform has been humiliated by some class of swarthy outlander when I get a wild urge to throw a trash can through a gas-station window. When we got the bronze medal (the BRONZE MEDAL!) in basketball in the 2004 Athens Olympics, my wife had to put me down with an elephant tranquilizer before I hurt somebody. Luckily she caught me in a sedentary moment while I was downloading plans to make homemade napalm bombs out of toilet paper rolls and Drain-O off the internet.
It could have been bad again last month when we failed to even medal in hockey at the Torino games, but luckily, it was just hockey. I stiffed a waiter at the Chinese restaurant on the tip and that was about it. It's all about proportional response with me.
Anyway, there's this movie thing...
For me, after years of training to sharpen my critical faculties through college and graduate school, I've developed a methodology to which I always adhere when trying to find my way in to reviewing a movie I have neither seen nor have any intention of seeing. After assessing the collective quality of the cast and creative team (producers, writers, directors) I always move right to the critical question: how hot is the leading lady?
In this case, the "leading lady" is also the protagonist, the primary lead in the film. Seeing as this is an action movie, this is potentially Very Very Bad. See also: Bloodrayne, Underworld, UltraViolet, etc. I know there was Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, so it can be done, I'm just saying that kick-ass chicks are not a formula that Hollywood has quite figured out.
V for Vendetta falls down a bit with Natalie Portman in the lead. She's not bad, but in terms of hotness, I'm going to go with a 5 out of 10. That sounds harsh, but we're talking about a scale of Hollywood actresses (and I use that term loosely to include every waitress and "model" in the 213/562/818/310/424 area codes who puts "Actress" on the Wish Resumés they send out with head-shots to the agents with whom they have not yet slept). This is a scale that includes your Angelina Jolies, your Elle MacPhersons, your Thandie Newtons of the world. Hell, even the skeevy ones are pretty hot.
So if you're Natalie Portman and you've got a weird oversized mouth and are about the same size as a Keebler elf, you're behind the curve a little bit. Agreeing to read the lines given to you by the Star Wars people (a thankless job, I know) didn't help your stock with me either. I like me some Star Wars but every single Portman scene in every single one of those movies was terrible. Not entirely her fault, but still. You don't poison a man's space opera. You just don't.
She was much less offensive in Garden State, I will give her that, even though she doesn't know how to screen kiss and ended up getting her face eaten by Zach Braff's giant lips in every make-out scene. But besides that she was good.
The good news is it doesn't look like she's being asked to carry the action parts of this movie, because that would just be silly. In terms of size and leverage, if it came down to a brawl between Ms. Portman and the Jolie-Pitt unborn fetus, my money's on the fetus. What I'm saying is she's tiny. There's only so much disbelief in the world that is suspendable. No shame on her part, though; did you see Fight Club or Tomb Raider? That's one ass-kicker of a fetus.
This movie was written and developed by the Wachowski brothers, the same brothers who developed, wrote, directed and then ruined The Matrix by being a couple of poncey armchair philosophers. So there are plusses and minuses.
It's directed by a guy who's never made a movie on his own before, but was first assistant director for a looooong list of impressive films, including the Matrix sequels and Star Wars Episode II. Sure, all three of those films sucked, but I bet he can put together an explosion sequence.
It's also based on an Alan Moore comic book, which is excellent. But then so was League of Extraordinary Gentleman which, as movie, was such a pile of shit that it finally killed Sean Connery's career after, like, 60 years as a bankable movie star. That's something event he god-awful Avengers movie was unable to do.
So there is some hesitation.
The trailer looks bitchin'. There's a dude in a crazy mask, which is always good (so long as it's not a clown mask) who has knives. Fascists and freedom-fighters and topsy-turvy morality. Many references to Tudor English history, which is what I studied in school, so I could really bore the fuck out of people in the lobby waiting for my wife to come out of the bathroom after a movie like this.
The reviews are... lukewarm. But they say the right things (faithful to the source material, etc). The poster is freakin' genius. The trailer rules.
I want to see this movie very badly. This is one of the weekends where I will look upon my kids with loathing and resentment, recognizing them for the albatross(es) they are.
This one gets a rare:
Three (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.
More Shues than a Sex and the City episode.
Ah well. I guess instead of seeing this, I'll stay home tomorrow and watch the UC Riverside women's basketball team vs. #1 ranked North Carolina at 5 pm local time/8 pm Pacific on ESPN2. Just like the rest of you...