Commentary

October 12, 2012

Fly Over: ‘The Woman in Black’, ‘The Master’

On DVD:

‘Wrath of the Titans’

by Jayson Burns

Two years ago, Warner Bros. gave us a remake of “Clash of the Titans.” It didn’t see much critical acclaim, and it all but threw Greek mythology out the window, but I thought it had fun action sequences and was set at a decent pace with likeable characters.
While its sequel, “Wrath of the Titans,” provided just as much entertainment, I found it very difficult to sit through.
After defeating the Kraken and saving humanity, “Wrath of the Titans” once again follows the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington), who is trying to live a fisherman’s life with his 10-year-old son (John Bell).
Fate has a different plan, however, as the barriers of Tartarus (the Greek underworld) are slowly breaking away and releasing hundreds of demons on the world. To make matters worse, the gods Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) have captured Zeus (Liam Neeson) and plot to release Kronos, the ancient titan who once held the universe in his cruel grip. Perseus must now take up his sword with humanity’s last defenders, free his father Zeus and defeat the evil Kronos.
The plot, I must say, is a worthy successor to “Clash of the Titans” and feels grand enough to be told under the banner of Greek mythology (even if it takes its share of liberties).
The film’s pacing, however, almost killed this movie for me. Sequel or not, I like to be gradually introduced to the setting so I can learn about its characters and the workings of its world.
There was probably a total of five minutes of screen time shared between Perseus and his son, and the whole “end of the world” business is dropped on the audience with only a short explanation.
I may have had mixed feelings about every movie he’s been in, but I’ll still say Worthington was an excellent addition to the acting world. Like in the first film, he gives Perseus a lot of personality and, despite his stubbornness, I happily rooted for him. Neeson totally fits the role as the “father of gods and men,” and Fiennes makes the Lord of the Underworld much more likeable (as it should be) than his last performance. Ramirez, on the other hand, did not look or sound like Ares; I didn’t expect to hear so much whining and daddy issues from the God of War.
The editing in “Wrath of the Titans” was absolutely atrocious. In the beginning of the film, for example, the shots of Perseus interacting with his son transition into each other so abruptly that I barely had any time to absorb anything from the scenes. It was sometimes hard to make out where certain characters were as well, especially during the fight scenes. This is unfortunate, as the action sequences were just as fun to watch as they were in “Clash of the Titans.”
While I loved looking at “Wrath of the Titans” and watching the events play out, the terrible pacing in combination with its frustratingly bad editing made it very difficult.
This film is rated PG-13.

 

…..and in theaters, ‘Looper’

by Macario Mora

Some critics seem to dismiss the importance of explaining time travel in a film that is about time travel. Perhaps I’m a nerd, but I feel like understanding the basic premise of a movie’s story is important – if I’m going to invest my time in watching a film then a filmmaker should invest his in telling a plausible story or at least attempt an explanation. Director Rian Johnson must have felt the matter moot in “Looper” when he has Bruce Willis explain to Joseph Gordon-Levitt that he “(didn’t) want to talk about time-travel (stuff)” — albeit in much more colloquial terms.
The year is 2044 and time travel has yet to be invented, however, 30 years later it’s all the rage with futuristic mobs but outlawed in what appears to be a post apocalyptic world. The mobs use time travel to send back deadbeats who are then murdered in variously random locations such as corn fields by Loopers who are essentially guns for hire. The operation is run by Abe (Jeff Daniels) who was sent from the future to manage the operation. There is one catch to being a Looper though. Besides being a druggy and murdering scumbag, you eventually have to kill your future self, which marks your retirement and 30-year death clock.
Enter Young Joe (JGL) who makes a living as a Looper shooting bound and masked men from the future using a blunderbuss – 17th century technology in a 21st century world, odd. Unfortunately for Joe, his future self happens to be Bruce Willis who everyone knows is pretty much impossible to kill. Levitt and Willis are great actors, but no matter how many alternate universes you visit I can’t imagine a scenario in which Levitt grows old and becomes Willis — despite Levitt’s indescribably awful make up job, which is by far the most distracting part of the film.
Willis is on a mission, which he always is, and won’t let 120-pound Levitt stand in his way, despite his best efforts. In the future a villain named the Rainmaker is essentially destroying everything, to include all that Old Joe loves. So, with a mysterious code in hand, Old Joe sets off to kill the Rainmaker who in 2044 is roughly 10 years old — all the while Young Joe and his band of misfit Loopers are trying to kill Old Joe, each for different reasons. The Loopers by the way are also trying to kill Young Joe, whatever it takes to close the Loop.
If you’re confused now, again wait until you see Levitt’s makeup. Willis, probably using his detective skills from his “Die Hard” days, finally figures out the location of the younger Rainmaker. However, Young Joe happens upon the boy and his mother, Sara (the gorgeous Emily Blunt) before older Joe and vows to help protect them even though he knows what the boy will become – or will he. If I go any further I’ll give away too much, although sadly I figured out the movie’s climax about 15 minutes too early.
“Looper” relies on an interesting idea, and something that has captivated the masses ever since Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity made the idea a possibility — time travel. This film has good acting and is very much action packed, but a film with as many holes as a blunderbuss-ridden futuristic corpse leaves me wanting much more. Unfortunately, Johnson’s film fails to deliver.
“Looper” is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content.




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