Decided I am going to a matinee today. What should I see? I’ve narrowed it down to Avatar, Nine, and Invictus. Sherlock Holmes looks like it will really suck, and It’s Complicated seems like it will be one of those cutesy films where you have seen every funny part in the previews.
Leaning towards Avatar, but I think 3 hours of 3D might make me vomit. Is there a non-3D option?
Don’t go see Avatar, it will turn you into an Evil Liberal ™, or so I’ve been told.
Go see the PUMA special.
Avatar did make some people sick to their stomachs. Bring a zip lock bag.
Yes. Cover one eye while watching.
Srsly, there is a 2D version. Going tomorrow with my daughter… Can’t wait. Those I know who have seen it raved…
Avatar. It was one of the best movie experiences I’ve ever had.
Saw Avitar in 3D Imax yesterday. Definitely worth the price of admission, even if the story line was a little predictable. I want to go back.
PS: Yeah, someone please explain to me why Sherlock Holmes needed more explosions.
Invictus is pretty good. Not perfect, but good.
Yes, there is a non-3D version of Avatar. I vote for seeing that. I plan on seeing it next week with some friends. We’re going to try to get 3D Imax tickets….
we’ll see. Otherwise, we’ll see it in regular 3D.
I loved Sherlock Holmes. It has no deeper meaning, but it’s got fights, explosions, *characterization* (I know! who would have thought?!?), steampunk, and very very VERY cute guys.
Considering how much you love all of those USA detective shows, I think you’d really like Sherlock Holmes. All you have to know is that it is a Robert Downey Jr vehicle and is directed by Guy Richie and it’s about a detective who is infinitely smarter than everyone else. It pretty much is exactly what you would expect: lot’s of Robert Downey Jr hamming it up, lots of slow motion, lots of British accents, triumph of logic over mysticism.
I dunno. I enjoyed it.
There should be a non-3D version of Avatar playing alongside the 3D version.
Some friends like Invictus (they haven’t seen Avatar yet).
I recommend a movie not on your list, Up in the Air. Good story and acting.
I’m going to see Sherlock Holmes for my b-day matinee. I’ve been waiting for it for a year. Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie — and Robert Downey Jr. shirtless. I don’t think there’s much more I’d add to that.
re: casting in the new Sherlock Holmes adaptation.
They got the “addicted to cocaine” part right, but I just can’t see that guy keeping bees. Holmes had a deep calm in the center of his character that I can’t imagine seeing Robert Downey Jr. pulling off.
(a) I vote for Holmes, as it has shirtless RDJ.
(b) However, Invictus has shirtless MD.
(c) RE: Avatar – It should be illegal to have a 3 hour movie. Unless it features lots of (a) or (b).
I’m headed to Apple to buy a new iphone. I have the original one from two years ago, so its going to be a whole new world with 3Gs. I’m literally giddy with anticipation.
Actually, James Fallow from Vanity Fair did a review about It’s Complicated (someone from here linked it) and said it’s definitely not a comedy–so there’s that.
@SGEW: I gotta agree with you here. Why call it Sherlock Holmes at all? Why not just random detective dude? Full disclosure: Not a RD Jr. fan.
If you go to see Avitar, it seemed to be better to turn your head to look at different parts of the screen, rather than just moving your eyes. The picture seemed clearest when you stare straight through the Elton John glasses. But there’s so much going on there visually, do be sure to look around and try to take it all in. That’s actually why I’d like to go back and see it again.
Avatar. 3 Hours is not such a bad idea (i am used to 4 hour movies with two 10 min breaks), except that it’s 3D. You can always take a walk if you wanted. It’s not like you’d miss anything.
The 3D actually isn’t that annoying, and I’m pretty sure that if I kept my glasses off most of the movie would look about the same. In fact, the best parts of the movie are the really 3D parts, so I’d say the 3D is more of a treat. The 3 hour runtime, on the other hand, is a drag, since there’s definitely times when you think the movie’s about to end. All in all, I’d recommend it, not because the plot is original or anything, but because I think this will be one of those cultural watershed kind of movies, the kind everyone you know will watch so you should watch it, eg Titanic. Also, it’s one of the few times you root for the humans getting their ass kicked.
Avatar was good, but I had a headache for the first 45 minutes while my eyes got used to the sheer amount of content in front of them.
Sherlock Holmes was really surprisingly good. I too, was turned off by the trailer, got dragged to it and was pleasantly surprised at how well they characterized everyone. The way they showed Holmes and his deductions was really clever too.
Avatar is still worth it in fogey-mode, but not by such a wide margin.
Up against Nine and Invictus, however, I think it is a shoe-in. If you don’t feel up for 3D, then seeing it on the big screen is still an experience, if only for the sublime handiwork and immersion. It’s not that much more subtle than the average Disney movie in terms of thematic or narrative construction. Or any of Cameron’s other movies, come to think. But it’s still an experience.
Also, you’ll make the glibertarians angry, and you will give Cameron a nudge to go ahead with his Battle Angel movie – the film version of the only manga capable of competing with the comic work of Alan Moore.
Avatar 3D is an incredible piece of moviemaking and I loved the way Cameron took the use of 3D to a new level. Just immerse yourself in the experience and you will have a great time.
“Up in the Air” for the non-Avatar viewers.
zoe kentucky in pittsburgh
Saw Avatar in 2D yesterday–it was some of the best eyecandy I’ve ever seen. Ever. Easily the one you should choose to see on a big screen.
the chicago tribune’s freebie paper ran a review of sherlock holmes friday with the hed “no shirt, sherlock.”
i’d vote for “invictus,” but i may be prejudiced: i’m a rugby player.
Agreed. Folks who work for large corporations will be able to identify with a lot of the people in this movie. It also has an interesting plot twist near the end that I didn’t see coming.
George Clooney is excellent.
I can’t wait to see Avatar in Imax 3-D, probably a matinee on a weekday next week after the crowds die down a bit.
Go see it, dammit! Or “Invictus.”
It is worth *trying* to see Avatar in 3D, because it looks so good in 3D. My wife couldn’t handle the 3D at the end of the one harry potter movie, but was able to sit through Avatar without getting nauseous. I think the key is not sitting too close.
Note also, whenever the 3d started getting too funky for me, I closed one eye and things calmed down a bit to open both back up.
The Grand Panjandrum
Speaking of RDJ movies I am just getting around to watching Tropic Thunder tonight.
Between Obama getting ready to crank up the death panels and his tepid response to this awful attack in the skies over America it might be wiser for me to go buy more plastic sheeting and duct tape than waste my time watching a movie. Oh well, fuck the terrorists, I’m not THAT valuable as a target.
If you see Avatar in 2D, you’ll want to see it in 3D. At least that’s been my case.
Re: Sherlock Holmes: I’d like to see it. Reviews I’ve read say the characters are well drawn, and it’d be fun to see Downey and Law give their takes. Plus, Watson gets some needed respect here.
I just watched one of the old Basil Rathbone movies last night (don’t know the name–had Ida Lupino). It whetted my appetite for the new one, Guy Ritchie excess and everything.
Go see Avatar.
Yes, Avatar is in 2D. But 3D on a standard screen was fine and I’ve had issues with IMAX 3D in the past.
IMAX 3D is the nausea inducer. I think because they (mostly) blow up the picture instead of filming in IMAX, with the resulting image graininess accounting for the motion issues.
Also… I’d also recommend sitting where your line of site intersects the top of the screen.
That’s a cinch: See both!
Avatar is absolutely worth seeing just for the visuals. It’s a little light on the plot (I do remember thinking “Dancing with Wolves” once or twice while I was watching). Nevertheless, the writing is about 1000% better than anything George Lucas has produced. My wife chickened out on the 3D (she has migraines) so I’m going back with a buddy today to see it on IMAX.
Invictus is good as well. It’s was interesting seeing Morgan Freeman have to do a bit of character acting, and he pulls it off. Overall, Invictus was a classic Eastman movie: He had ambitions to make a great movie, failed, but still managed to make a pretty decent one.
Have my tickets for Avatar…I am geeked for the experience and hope to have a fun time…
My scroogey husband is much less of an enthusiast and is just indulging me…I hope he goes wow
1) Avatar does NOT use 3D the way other 3D movies so far have mostly done – to take viewers on a virtual thrill-ride and play visual magic tricks. Instead, Avatar mostly uses 3D to effectively add depth to the visual storytelling – the numerous scenes in the beautiful lush forest really come alive. Yeah, there are some sequences where you’re taken along on a ride aboard a winged creature, but Cameron seems to understand that the point is not to make the viewer feel they’re on a malevolently wicked roller-coaster ride, but rather to feel the freedom and thrill of flight itself.
2) Avatar is for most of its length the most compellingly absorbing visual storytelling you’ve ever seen, light-years beyond and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, that its length doesn’t seem burdensome at all. Especially when the scenes are from the viewpoint of the creature’s world rather than the human’s environment, there’s such lush, beautiful, interesting detail at every moment that you’re totally sucked into what you’re watching. Even the obvious flaws in the plot (the script could clearly have used some improvement) don’t seriously detract from the compelling manner of visual storytelling.
Go see it. In 3D. Like NOTHING else you’ve ever seen before, including any other purportedly 3D movie.
I saw “Sherlock Holmes” with the family yesterday (note to self: don’t see movies on Xmas day — too crowded!), and I was pleasantly surprised. Although it still seems incongruous to me see Holmes engaging in lower-class brawling and fisticuffs, the overall mystery element wasn’t bad. I really liked Jude Law’s offhand remark at one point where he used one of my favorite British-isms, “beard”, in a way that i am sure will sail over the heads of most Yanks. And I am also pleased that the overall mystery was finally something based on science, and didn’t involve the thing I was most afraid of, Holmes finding that the devil or demons or magic were really real.
My biggest problem with it stems from my background in physics, and a remark by Holmes’ love interest which is, shall we say, rather anachronistic given the timing of the publication of a certain well known treatise by James Clerk Maxwell. But compared to what I was afraid I’d get going in, this is a very minor complaint.
The Noble Savage / Magical White NeoShaman shit with Avatar drove my enjoyment of the technical aspects into the ground.
Oy – I don’t know if you have an art theater nearby but I would head there. You couldn’t pay me enough to sit through those films.
Damnit people, reading you all cost me spot in the WoW instance queue…
The Grand Panjandrum
@Gravenstone: Ah, the sacrifices we make to be a member of this commentariat (and not to mention, one of the kewl kidz!)
@Maus: Yeah, that’s what I got from the trailer. I don’t have any desire to see it.
Save Invictus for the DVD. It is a good film, but the theatre experience doesn’t add that much to it.
See Avatar on Imax/3D. It is the most visually pleasing film experience since Pauly Shore’s Biodome.
I saw the 3d version and it was very cool. I didn’t feel woozy from it at all. But there is a non-3d version out there too. Avatar was the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Damn they closed down our local 3d theater all movies in Bozeman are in lame old 2d
Saw Sherlock Holmes last night. I enjoyed it. it’s not your mother’s Sherlock Holmes. It was fun for me, and you just need to not expect too much. As someone who loathes Guy Richie movies, I’m shocked at how entertained I was.
But, my vote would be for Invictus.
Supposedly the 3d in Avatar is done using smaller sensor elements and lenses, which allows them to place them closer together while filming, which reduces some of the weirdness that causes headaches.
That being said, I got a small headache when watching the movie, and when it was over and I took off the glasses after the movie, my eyes didn’t work quite right for two or three minutes.
But you know what? Play through the pain. It’s worth it to enjoy the movie in its full glory.
I saw Avatar with the kids, 10 & 13, yesterday. There were some really small kids in the theater. I wouldn’t bring them unless they are used to Grand Theft Auto type action.
After leaving the theater, I wanted to talk about the movie alot. Not that there is a lot to talk about. The plot is pretty predictable. But the visuals are stunning. I saw it in 3D. Sometimes in 3D movies, the light from the screen will reflect off the front of the glasses of the people behind me and then into my glasses. It appears as a flicker in my peripheral vision. We sat in the back row of the theater and there was no flicker.
A run time of 2.40, plus trailers is a long time. I don’t think that there was two hours and forty minutes of narrative to be had in the movie.
But it was a visual treat.
Reviews on Sherlock Holmes are generally “surprisingly good”. There’s some disagreement as to how far it varies from the story canon; from what I hear, it’s less than its critics seem to think.
Also recommended via friends’ reviews, if it’s playing near you, is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Third choice for me would be
Dancing With SmurfsAvatar. Nice effects, looks good, meh story.
On the fourth hand, Nine has lots of pretty women and good music. Much to enjoy there.
OT – but CNN seems to think that the crazy guy lighting
his shoeshimself on fire is Teh. Most. Important. Event. in. Western. Civilization. I, for one, look forward to the increased security kabuki theater. My idea is that everyone disrobes at the airport & wears paper jumpsuits & booties. Ya know, those kinda translucent cheap ones.
Avatar is better than Sherlock though I liked both. Having read most of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, I went into Sherlock knowing that it would have only trappings of the original characters. The trailers & TV commercials definitely play to America’s proud tradition of anti-intellectualism, but the movie is a bit smarter. A shorter Jeremy Brent with more explosions & fisticuffs.
@The Grand Panjandrum: Speaking of RDJ movies I am just getting around to watching Tropic Thunder tonight.
RDJ in Tropic: One of the best performances ever. Really, the guy should have won awards for this.
@Maus: It seemed to me like more of an anti-imperialist/capitalism critique than a glorification of Paganism.
Despite the old “white guy becomes king of the natives” thing (I hate that theme so so much), I really enjoyed going to see Avatar with my 7yo kiddo.
It does beat you over the head with the “don’t be a dick” message, but then, the people who need the message also need the beating.
I’m told that a lot of the folks fired in Up in the Air were people who were actually downsized.
@scudbucket: Fully aggree – Avatar; while it rips off many, many other story lines, (and whole ones, too) it is so much fun to watch, who cares? A two and a half hour film that only seems an hour and half at best.
@asiangrrlMN: Actually (importantly), it was James Wolcott (not Fallows; both Jameses are national treasures, but in rather different ways), and that linked post was a joke: important follow-up post here.
Actually, based on the reviews I have read – including from the not-a-pushover Roger Ebert – Sherlock Holmes is an exceptionally fun buddy action movie. I’m a little offended that they have done their wankery on top of the memory of Sherlock Holmes, but I’m going to go see it and pretend it’s about Herlock Sholmes. From what I have read I suspect that, divorced from the molestation of a beloved classic figure, it’ll be a blast.
Stupid question: if you wear glasses normally, how do you wear the 3d glasses for Avatar?
I didn’t necessarily hate Avatar but thought it was grossly overrated. I’m kinda missing what was so groundbreaking about it. It was basically Witness * meets the Blue Man Group and all of the aliens looked like Joe Camel.
The 3-D was really subtle. No stuff flying at your face, just instances where it seemed like bugs were walking on your eyeballs. My wife gets motion sickness easily and she had no problems with it.
* Witness comparison credited to TS from Instaputz, who I saw it with along w/ the wifey.
@BR: The 3-D glasses are big and fit over regular glasses. Two of us wear glasses and had no problems w/ it.
I used to think I had good taste in movies, but then I took my son to “GI Joe” at the dollar theater and enjoyed it. So now I don’t trust myself. But I thought Avatar was a good experience even though the foreshadowing was particularly heavy-handed in a number of spots.
@Don: You do realize that fighting on the docks while being a recreational coke-head IS Sherlock Holmes as written, yes?
Avatar is the epitome of two things: 1) The kind of trite, derivative, empty-headed Hollywood liberalism that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have had such a blast lampooning. 2) A visual orgy so spectacular that if you’re gonna see it you really need to see it in the theater. If the movie looks at all interesting to you, go to a 3-D show (unless 3-D literally makes you vomit, you need to see what James Cameron has done with the medium), slam your brain into neutral so you can ignore the Liberal White Guilt oozing out of the screenplay’s every pore, and enjoy. It really will entertain the living hell out of you.
Sherlock Holmes: this video review sums it up pretty well. The plot is little more than passable, but if you can roll with the action-comedy-steampunk tone, Holmes and Watson are so well done that it really is worth seeing. And I say this as a straight man who really didn’t much care about Robert Downey Jr.’s shirtedness one way or the other.
I saw Avatar in 3D with my dad last night. It was great, visually. The story, however, was fucking ridiculous and made me want to hit something.
We saw Avatar 3D last night – amazing moviegoing experience. I thought the 3D would be distracting and gimmicky, but I quickly started to enjoy it and found it really did increase the feeling of immersion. They didn’t throw a bunch of stuff at the audience to say “hey look! 3D!” – it was more subtle than that and I felt it worked very well.
So as movie experience, it was great. As social commentary, I felt it was more of a mixed bag. I very much appreciated the environmental message but…
the rest of plot was essentially Dances with Wolves but the Indians win. I couldn’t get too emotionally invested in the final battle since the US forces were put to an evil purpose and it just made me sad when they were getting killed. Sure the Col. was evil, but the rest of the force was made up of grunts and pilots and roughnecks just trying to do their jobs. Perhaps they should have thought more about what they were doing and not just blindly followed orders (like the science pilot), but I still think that message was lost overall. I don’t think it was a fair characterization of what our troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan – if that’s what Cameron was going for. It seemed more of an indictment of how we fought Viet Nam – but why focus on that now with the current GWOT as a much richer target? I thought the final battle was really a huge tragedy for both sides but it was filmed as an exhilarating action sequence. So I found that all a bit muddled.
Also, apart from an apology for what we did to the native Americans, Cameron was obviously also going for some contemporary social commentary which I thought was not as effective as it could have been since it was way oversimplified by being boiled down to a rogue Col. and some smarmy corporate guy. It should have been more hard hitting about the corporate/capitalistic system that put them there and motivated their actions rather than just the Col. being “evil”.
But I still recommend it and the 3D experience. It was an wonderful world they created! And Cameron films hardware and tech like no other. Just amazing.
Absolutely, Sherlock Holmes.
Avatar was heavy on the eye candy, and I haven’t seen Nine or Invictus yet, but Holmes was definitely the best thing I’ve seen all year.
The mystery aspects kept my attention, the action was entertaining but not overwhelming, and the acting was fantastic. I was very, very happy with it all.
@Don: I’m always up for a revisionist take on icons (always thought Holmes was a lot handier at action, as a necessary component, than most traditionalists would think)
The missus and my youngest both tend to motion sickness at times, so we saw “Avatar” in regular, non-3d format. It was wonderful.
Also, seriously, you need to step off the gas peddle on the Avatar liberal bashing. It was heavy handed, but it wasn’t that heavy handed.
The military and industry guys were bad guys and they did bad things. The natives were the good guys and the writers didn’t seek to create a bunch of ambiguity.
I liked one guy who described the movie as “Aliens, written from the Aliens’ perspective”. But if you really can’t handle a rather basic “Burn’n down rainforests is bad, m’kay” morale story, then you maybe have been hitting the wingnut kool aid more often than you want to admit.
The movie was about as socially controversial as Disney’s Pocahontas or a really action packed episode of The Smurfs. But after ten years of real life military and corporate bullshit, I can see how anyone so much as whispering the phrase “Save the Whales” might set the current crop of moderates off into apoplectic screeches of “patronizing liberal dog!”
If you think this is bad, go watch a Captain Planet rerun and let me know when your head explodes.
Do not waste your money. Go IMAX-3D or go home.
Is he seriously thinking about doing it? That could be the action/horror/political/cyberpunk/mindfuck of the century if treated carefully. (As in, skipping the demolition/roller derby chapter and cleaning up some of the narrative clutter of the later chapters.) And it has O Fortuna already written into it. The manga isn’t for everyone, but a three-hour or so treatment would be right on target for a mass-audience treatment that wouldn’t totally destroy the original material as long as they didn’t go into the “Last Order” stuff.
Who would play the heroine? Who *could* play that role? Holy shit. I’d go find a professional dancer rather than a mainstream actress.
Wonder how they’d do her name transliteration – I suppose it’s too much to hope for that they’d leave the series name alone too. What’s so wrong with “Gunnm”?
Don’t know zip about the ones you are talking about but I saw reviews of a movie called “The Maid” I think its an indy so may not be available in your area but it sounds like a really good movie. Gotten a lot of good reviews.
Don’t miss the 3D in Avatar. Amazing.
Seed pods drift down onto the head of the person sitting in front of you.
I’d go again and I haven’t gone again since Silence of the Lambs.
Avatar. Avatar, Avatar, Avatar, Avatar, Avatar.
There are no other movies in theaters right now if you haven’t seen it yet. This is why the goddamned medium was invented.
I thought Avatar (3-D, non IMAX) was incredible and can’t wait to see Sherlock Holmes because RDJr makes me feel faint. But I am shallow and easily amused.
Man, I just went and looked up Captain Planet on wikipedia, because I couldn’t remember much about it. It was unabashedly environmentalist.
What changed in our culture since 1990 that made a show like Captain Planet impossible to put on the air? I couldn’t imagine it making it past a pilot episode today.
I thought Avatar was like Ferngully meets The Matrix.
Anybody trying to hold on during this rocky economy might be able to identify with a lot of the people in this movie, all the more interesting since the movie is more a comedy than a heavy drama.
I agree that Clooney is excellent. And I also like how the women actors in the film, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, aren’t just ornaments, but both have substantial roles. Farmiga is also very sexy.
I may check out Sherlock Holmes later today. I’m curious about Avatar, but don’t have the time or patience today for a three hour movie.
Avatar, hands down. I saw the IMAX 3D version, which I recc, though I don’t really get motion sick from things like that.
Remember the first time you saw the original Star Wars? Now imagine Star Wars + Dances with Wolves + Lawrence of Arabia + your favorite action movie rolled into one.
Yeah, it’s like that. Yes, the writing clunks a bit. Yes, the story is predictable. Trust me, you won’t notice any of that. To paraphrase Lord Bolingbroke “It was so great a film, I don’t recollect whether it had any flaws or not.”
Warning: the real world is gonna look a bit flat and drab for a few hours afterwards…
Invictus is tangentially about a great story that tugs on the heart-strings (Mandela’s push for reconciliation), focusing on a less interesting story (the rugby World Cup), with a script that could have been written by a four-year-old.
There are some completely moronic scenes: Mandela is shown wishing good luck to all 15 rugby players (plus subs) on four separate occasions. And Matt Damon is by far the worst player on the South African team – he contributes exactly zero aside from a high tackle on Jonah Lomu.
Took the wife and 2 kids (13 and 10) to see Avatar in 3D
It was a predictable story and it seems every scene in the first half of the movie has a foreshadow of something in the second half.
Having said that…it was fantastic. I was entertained for every minute of the 3 hours. Neither the kids nor the wife got restless (which takes a lot for all 3 to make it thru 3 hours).
I honestly hope this is the future of film.
You have to remember that Captain Planet came from dirty fucking (corporatist) hippy Ted Turner. When you have someone with that sort of money and pull behind a project, not to mention his own personal network, all manner of oddities can be brought to life.
Scalzi’s review of Avatar might be worth taking a peek at, Mr. Cole.
He mentions that this was non-headache inducing 3D.
They TRIED to brush that aside by adding the voiceover at the beginning saying that all those people were just mercenaries hired by a corporation, not “real” military. Of course it was like a split second mention and most probably missed it.
@Zifnab: It wasn’t just the heavy-handedness, nor does my annoyance come from the Wingnut-Aid. (Man is that shit nasty.) I’m actually coming at this from the opposite direction you think; I find positive indigenous stereotypes (“They’re beautiful and perfect and live in absolute harmony and peace with nature and they have absolutely nothing to learn from us and we have everything to learn from them!”) patronizing as hell. Sure, it’s a step up from the “Filthy Violent Savages” stereotype, I guess, but why not make ’em, you know, people instead of stereotypes in the first place? (Yeah, yeah, big blue elfy-smurfy people, but still, people.)
And the whole thing with the white dude out-nativing the natives and becoming their king is an old and indulgent fantasy. For an example of the trope done smart, I refer you to District 9 from earlier this year, where becoming a member of the oppressed minority isn’t sexy or glamorous at all; it means you get to live in a slum and eat cat food.
I get that Cameron wasn’t interested in presenting this conflict in shades of gray. And to a degree, I even respect the story for accomplishing what it meant to accomplish — it’s viscerally engaging and does indeed get you involved in the events on the screen. I just wish it could have been smarter about it, a bit more inventive and less reliant on old and irksome cliches. A better plot and this thing sneaks off “Best of the Year” lists and onto “Best of All Time” lists.
And I do think it’s important to call bullshit on that aspect of the movie even if, on the balance, I quite enjoyed myself. I have plenty of hard-left-leaning friends I wouldn’t recommend this movie to at all. If the stuff I mentioned really bothers you (regardless of which part of the political spectrum you live on), you need to steer well clear, because this movie will be an enormous fingernail running down the chalkboard of your soul.
Good luck trying to get in to Avatar in some places. My spouse and I made the mistake of trying for yesterday, had tickets pre-purchased on Fandango and everything.
The theater parking lot was crammed absolutely to capacity. We got inside, turned in our e-ticket, no problem… then found the line outside the 3d theater room.
It went down one hallway, past 2 other theater rooms, then cut across and went clear down just about to the far exit. And we were half an hour early for the show.
I can’t stand watching movies crammed in tight with people, much less being at the back of a line where I know the only seats left will be separated and likely down in the front row where I *would* get a horrific migraine trying to watch that close. Or way up in some obstructed view location. Either way, with people rustling and munching in close contact… Grrr…
We left and ate the ticket cost. I know many would’ve stuck it out, but we both would have hated the experience.
Used to be Christmas movie-going was our little secret, but no more. Anyway, I hear Avatar is great. But we’re gonna wait until after the holidays.
Avatar is visually stunning and would have been the greatest movie of the decade if it had been a silent movie.
Speaking as a bike riding, organic food buying leftist environmentalist the message in Avatar is obnoxiously heavy handed.You will appreciate it if you thought the messaging was too subtle in Princess Mononoke or Hellboy II.
John Cole, by definition, it is impossible for a film starring Robert Downey, Jr. to completely suck. Unpossible. And the fact that he’s insanely attractive is only a small part of that unpossibility. It’s the only film I have any desire to see over the holiday, other than the new Clooney. Another man that makes any film he’s in instantly better. For similar reasons.
I really liked the Sherlock Holmes movie. The cinematography and set pieces were great, as was the acting and the relationship between the charaters. The mystery felt real and the polt points were very engaging. I was very suspicious of the movie due to the trailer but I came out thoroughly and roundly impressed. 9 out of 10 for me.
@lonelypedestrian: You ain’t kidding. If Cameron saw Princess Mononoke, he apparently felt that the industrialist’s sense of humanity and tendency to treat her fellow humans with dignity and respect really screwed-up the movie.
How can an antagonist character possibly work if the audience doesn’t hate them with every fiber of our being? ! ? ! < /sarcasm>
sherlock holmes was far superior to avatar in all things except technical achievement.
actually even titanic was a more engaging film vis a vis story & characters.
avatar is basically $350 mill worth of dancing with smurfs.
well, i am watching a double bill of Tropic Thunder and Harry Potter 6 tonight. TT is my christmas present, and HP6 is my wife’s. And then monday, i am off to watch Sherlock Holmes. (It has a shirtless RDJ. Yum.)
I have to say I really had no sense that Avitar was a 3-hour movie. It didn’t seem that long to me — even given that there was only a single plot development in the entire film that I didn’t whisper to myself before it happened, and that was a fairly minor one.
I liked Invictus. As someone mentions above, the script isn’t great, and if you’re looking for an in depth character study of Mandela, this isn’t it. But it’s much better than most feel good sports films for a variety of reasons. Id’ be surprised if JC doesn’t like it a good bit.
@lonelypedestrian: i said on another blog thread, avatar is so simplistic it makes dr. seuss’s the lorax look like the writings of rachel carlson.
Yes, Kordo — I remember the first time I saw “SW” — I saw it in its first run during the first week of its release as a 17-year-old male — right in the middle of their target audience. I said to the folks with me, “OK movie — where are we going for supper?” and didn’t give the movie another thought. The whole genre is the most overrated pablum I have seen in my entire life.
Sherlock Holmes, OTOH, is very entertaining. It’s not cinematic brilliance, but I don’t think anyone associated with the film was trying for that.
With apologies to Rich Eisen, I wouldn’t watch “Avatar” with Bea Arthur’s eyes …
I swear I must be the only person to have seen IMAX 3d Avatar and not give a rip about the 3d. Sure it’s an awsome, if subtle, addition to the film. Sure it turns the theater screen into a window and not just a picture. But, really, my takeaway was the fact that FINALLY a film/game/whatever has crossed the uncanny valley. THAT is the tech that’ll change cgi and entertainment, not the 3d.
Son and I are going to see Avatar on Imax later today or it might slide to tomorrow while the ladies are shopping and exchanging stuff.
Another movie option is The Blind Side. I’ve pimped it before here. It’s a feelgood movie that is good. See it. Might even make you feel better when the Steelers lose to the Ravens tomorrow.
I saw Avatar in 3D Christmas eve.
Both the 3D and motion capture technology make this a must-see.
3D can be a bit disconcerting at first. I suspect that it had something to do with the brain’s expectation that upon experiencing the illusion of depth, the eyes should also be refocusing to accommodate the non-existent change in distances, as well.
I soon discovered that I was trying too hard — focusing handles itself nicely — and ultimately just let the images wash over me.
I suspect this will go down as the highest grossing film ever, and a technological ground breaker. (I saved my glasses and stub as a keepsake.)
Really — go. And, if at all possible, see it in 3D.
I have to take exception to the Col. in Avatar being ‘evil’ – he was the one that asked that harmless gas bombs be used to drive all the natives out of the area so that as few of them as possible would be killed. His final ‘solution’ to break the native’s will without killing any significant number of their warriors was a good approch showing he was concerned about long term issues – notjust the death of his own people but the natives, too. While tough and determine to hit back at those who had hit him so hard, he never came off as a mindless killer; he was determined to win but never appeared evil, only tough – that was my take.
@DBrown: Oh jesus, what movie did YOU just see? Because he was only not wanting to slaughter 100% of them because of the inevitable PR fallout, and it was perfectly acceptable to turn their sentient, living holy land to glass because they were stupid mud people.
I’m not much of a movie watcher myself, so I don’t have much to say about most of these movies (most I know about Avatar is that everybody seems to be talking about it). My family’s Christmas Day movie was Sherlock Holmes though, and I’ll certainly jump in and defend it. Yeah, it’s not going to win any Oscars, but I certainly found it to be fun. There was a point towards the middle-end where I was afraid the movie was going off the deep end, but they resolved it fine.
See Avatar in non-3d. It is worth it.
@Gravenstone: just reque, after all it’s just a pug.
I saw Avatar in 3D (non-IMAX) last weekend. I can’t remember ever having a more enjoyable cinema experience. Go see it. Really.
Well, for one thing, Captain Planet sucked so bad that it destroyed the genre for a generation….
@SGEW: Oh good god. I certainly completely fucked that up. That’s what I get for lazy posting! Thanks, SGEW. My snark-o-meter was definitely not working when I read that piece.
Babysitting while son and wife are off to their date movie. She agreed to see Invictus if he would agree to only spend 10 minutes critiquing the rugby scenes.
Yes, he is a former rugby player.
Put me in the Sherlock Holmes was ‘surprisingly good’ camp. The writers managed to keep Holmes super intellect and trademark deductive skills while making him a badass. And seeing how Holmes was a trained boxer in canon I don’t think his engaging in fisticuffs was that jarring. I also liked seeing a Watson who isn’t a bumbling idiot. I thought the movie kept the essence of the characters so I didn’t feel like I was watching some random detective who happened to be named Sherlock Holmes.
@Maus: Same one as you – if you noticed, the Col. was using the PR angle simply in order to sell to his boss the use of harmless gas rather then just going in and bombing the natives out of their home. He even tried to give the Avatar’s extra time for one last effort to avoid blood/killing – the man knew that the natives would be moved no matter what. To call him evil is just too simple – the man was complex and more believable then most the other characters (but of course, any character is complex compared to the paper thin characters that mostly filled this show.)
Still, my take.
Very late here but, yes, a lot of the folks who were given their notice in the movie were people who had actually been laid off recently. Non actors. The director just asked them to remember how they were feeling when they were laid off and just react accordingly. Terry Gross interviewed the director on Fresh Air a while back but I couldn’t find the archive.
I saw Up in the air yesterday. Good performances all around, however something about the movie felt off to me. It seemed as though Reitman was selling the idea of a value to life outside of your work. Yet that message only matched up with the bullshit Clooney was selling to all the people he fired. It felt as if Reitman was caught between satire and reality and I just didn’t buy what he was selling.
I am sooo pissd this wasn’t available in the Boston area yesterday — I’ve been waiting to see it for years just b/c Terry Gilliam. Guess the corporate theory is that waiting a couple more weeks will give it more “room” in the theatres, but all the professional reviewers will have forgotten about it by then.
Also, as someone who’s been crushing the Sherlock Holmes character for more than 40 years, I may have to suck it up and pay for Downey-J. But I regret we never got to see Leonard Nimoy as Holmes… with Shatner as Dr. Watson. (Oh, c’mon: “HOOOLMES!”) Guess the closest I’ll ever get to that particular fantasy is watching Nimoy on FRINGE, and being grateful that John Noble is a better actor than you-know-who.
For the Avatar plot-bashers, you’re either willfully ignorant of Cameron as a director or of the economics here.
Cameron is one of the best directors at getting every single demographic into theaters. Titanic was an action film for chicks – and it was expensive enough that it needed a broader reach than most films. You just can’t make a $300M film without having a plot/effects/and so on that can reach 10 year olds, young males, women, and everyone up the age ladder. The film never would have gotten made without the plot, and thanks to the effort, the next 10 years of films will be better off with the cameras already invented, the 3D and CGI refined and so on.
The movie is still good enough to get people into the seats knowing they’ll hate the plot. His goal was to shove movie-making forward another generation and he’s done that and got the public to pay for it to happen. Cameron got it right. Yeah, the plot is weak relative to the rest of the film, but really, what did you expect? What was the last ‘most expensive movie to make’ that had a strong plot? The 2nd and 3rd Pirates of the Carribean? Superman Returns? Spiderman 3? Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull? Quantum of Solace was a big budget and it didn’t suck, but was hardly a best screenplay contender. Same with Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Narnia. Big budget films always have plots which are weak relative to the rest of the film, if not outright shitty.
Snowing like crazy here. Great day to stay home, eating leftover Christmas goodies & watching movies. When checking out what to watch next, I noticed that all day National Geographic was showing back to back prison shows, Behind Bars, San Quentin, Lockdown, Hard Time. National Geographic for pete’s sake! When conservatives are complaining about not enough wholesome television for the whole family, I don’t remember hearing them objecting to the over abundance of prison programs.
@Ruemara: Oh, I did (over and over). Sometimes I just feel compelled to indulge my penchant for whinging, nothing more.
That would require James Cameron to have the ability to write complex characters. James Cameron does not have that ability.
The Dark Knight. Okay, its budget was “only” $185 million, but it grossed over $500 million in North America and over $1 billion worldwide, and while it isn’t The Godfather, it was a legitimately thoughtful and morally complex movie. Somehow, it managed to bring people into the theater.
Saw this too late, you prolly made up your mind and went to see one of your choices…
Of Avatar, yes the politics are simplistic, the plot completely ripped from that Smurfs episode where an evil witch turned herself into a Smurf to smurf the Smurf Village, and the characters too one-dimensional, BUT DAMN it was scenery porn all over the place. It’s like Myst: Riven but with even better graphics.
Sherlock Holmes is a surprisingly faithful patchishe (sp?) which has decent character development, an interesting plot twist or three, and excellent performances from both Downey and Law. Yes it has far too many explosions compared to the source materials, and the villain an over-the-top meglomaniac who wants to rule the world, but if you like Holmes’ universe you’ll like the movie.
Haven’t read the rest of the comments but two points
a) How does RDJ do with an English accent? (Please don’t tell me he does a Kevin Costner and gives up half way through the movie).
b) Guy Ritchie couldn’t actually find a competent British actor to play Sherlock Holmes? I mean come on off the top of my head I could probably come up with about 15.
@Jeff Fecke: And was based on a well known franchise which makes the financing easier to justify. Cameron is pushing a brand new universe here with no invested fans and asking $300M to do it. Certain trade-offs are needed to make that happen.
I dunno, how many people realize that Hugh Laurie from House is British? Knowing my fellow citizens, I’d bet not many, but I wouldn’t trade him out of that role for anything. If RDJ can really pull it off, why not?
@Martin: Well put and right on target, sir.
You go to see a film like Avatar to be amazed and immersed in the experience and to have fun. Not to give your snotty-assed, elitist film critic alter ego something to chew on. Knowing what Cameron was going after and seeing the trailers and clips everywhere you were expecting Kubrick or Kurosawa? Some folks really need to lighten the fuck up.
I agree with you entirely, ditto many other British actors who have managed to pull off an American accent, however, it does not appear to be quite as easy to do the reverse (see Costner, Kevin Robin Hood the movie most full of errors in the history of movies). How many people watching SWAT would realize that Colin Farrel was Irish?
Edited to say some people (actors) like Liam Neeson, generally always play themselves as who they are (in Liam’s case Irish), I do not think I have ever heard him speak in anything but an Irish accent, even when he was playing a character that was supposedly American (ie Nell, and more strangely Rob Roy).
So what? I can’t say I was put off by the white man saves natives feel to the thing because it’s a Hollywood big-budget popcorn film made by James Cameron? So no criticism is valid of a movie because it wasn’t made to be “serious”? I think I can say whatever the fuck I want about any movie, really, without it being snotty or elitist. I was put off by the trailer. I won’t see the movie. I think that’s a perfectly valid point of view.
@Martin: I know he is because I have a thing for him.
@Litlebritdifrnt: I agree. I don’t know why it is that Americans in general have a harder time with British/Irish/Scottish accents than vice-versa (except Sean Connery. He’s always Scottish).
Dammit, I am late to the party as usual. But I have a good reason — I just got back from seeing Sherlock Holmes.
Best movie I’ve seen since Return of the King.
I was obsessed with three things as an adolescent — LOTR, Star Trek (TOS) and Sherlock Holmes. Two of them have now been made into movies that have given me nothing but joy. (we won’t talk about Star Trek right now, mmkay?)
Do not listen to the ignorant haters whose perceptions of Holmes were created entirely by Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett. Forget those interpretations, and read the actual stories. The brawling is there. The filthy misanthropist drug addict who shoots holes in the walls out of boredom is there. I have one small nit to pick — Holmes talks at one point about “going down the rabbit hole,” and IIRC the Alice in Wonderland books were not published until the 1920s or later. But that’s it. Rollicking, smart, funny but not overdone, well acted and well directed, and Victorian London is awesome.
Go see it NOW.
Even when, as in Highlander, he’s the only non-Scot around.
I understand that there’s a reason for the plot to suck. I also understand that there’s a reason for gas station bathrooms being filthy. However, the fact that there’s a reason, and that I understand that reason, doesn’t make either of them any more enjoyable for me.
I haven’t seen Avatar yet. I might, based on the strength of the visuals. Although even there, based on the trailers I’ve seen, they seem more technically strong than stylistically strong.
Didn’t Renee Zellweger get good reviews for her English accent in the Bridget Jones films? I think I remember reading that the Brits were skeptical but she did a good job.
Uh, Alice in Wonderland was published in 1865.
Otherwise, I agree with you that Sherlock Holmes is fun, despite the best efforts of Guy Ritchie to ruin it with his typical noisy, frenetic, bombastic directing style and camera tics. I didn’t have much of a problem with Holmes as a brawling boxer, but when Jude Law’s Watson and Rachel McAdams are also turned into Victorian martial arts experts, well, then things get a little stoopid.
The homoerotic edge was tedious and unnecessary, and really meant to hide the typical “girls have cooties cause they won’t let boys have adventures” nonsense that typically infects action movies, especially movies pitched to Americans.
But Law and Downey were great fun together, as was British actor Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade (previously great as Pancks in the TV adaptation of Dickens’ Little Dorrit.
By the way, from the trailers, it looks as though Nicholas Cage has to work in craptastic films to pay off his tax debts. The previews for the upcoming Season of the Witch and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice look absolutely terrible. There’s also a remake of the old action adventure flick Clash of the Titans coming soon, with … wait for it … Liam Neeson as Zeus.
“I don’t know why it is that Americans in general have a harder time with British/Irish/Scottish accents than vice-versa”
It’s because Americans don’t grow up watching British TV.
@Martin: I invoke Moff’s Law!
Seriously, if something has a big budget, that’s no excuse for failing to get the best writers. In fact, rather the opposite: it means there’s no excuse for it.
@Anne Laurie: I’m a bit surprised that it’s not up there; it’s only in the “art theaters” here, and I thought that Boston was among the early-release cities (along with LA, NY, and SF; perhaps it’s not because it doesn’t have a convenient two-letter abbreviation? :-) I hope it does open soon, though; all indications are that it’s awesome.
Well, given that Watson is an Afghanistan vet with possible PTSD, I’m not so picky about him.
I just got back from seeing Avatar.
Maybe I am superficial and stupid, but I loved it and completely gave myself over to the journey. It was beautifully created to every detail and while the story had its trite similarities to others, it was sincerely delivered and acted…
I am not sure that there is not some begrudging of wonder and enjoyment – some intellectual denial of the guilty pleasure of escaping to another world.
I totally enjoyed it without apology… the effects enhanced rather than were a gimmick, the emotions and acting sincere.
@Bruuuuce: Loved Moff’s rant, and I agree with it. That is all.
What about that chipmunk movie? It’s a sequel (of sorts), so you know it’s got to be good.
There is zero correlation between the size of a movie’s budget and the quality of the screen writing. The sad fact is that “tent pole” movies (meant to carry the summer or a holiday) go out of their way to play it safe in order to attempt to guarantee high box office returns. The sad thing is that the producers and marketing bosses often underestimate the audience.
And then there are the massive egos of directors who think that they can “improve” a script or who think that they are better writers than the best screen writers.
Sometimes making movies ain’t pretty…
I understand that there is no correlation. I’m asserting that there ought to be one. (As you go on to note, the fact that there isn’t one is sad.)
*nods* Or just plain bad directors who can wreck good scripts (or good stories by not knowing when the script needs work). Case in point: Chris Columbus, who directed the first couple of Harry Potter flicks, whose scripts badly needed tightening. The movies were boring compared to the following couple, whose directors knew better.
And he’s directing what should be the first of a series of movies, due out in February (The Lightning Thief). I fear that he’ll singlehandedly do to it what was done to The Golden Compass, or worse, what was done to The Seeker (the abomination that purported to be Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising) and botch it up so badly that the rest of the series will never be made.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865. Through the Looking-Glass, 1871.
Just got home from seeing Sherlock Holmes, absolutely wonderful. A real treat. Great acting, actors, direction etc. Hightly recommended.
Well, now I am very glad that I was late to the party, and few people got to see me make an idiot out of myself. Many thanks to the kind folks who corrected me above.