Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sucker Punch - Action, Drama and Social Commentary (maybe)

When I first saw Sucker Punch, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Upon watching it again, I think I finally get it.

Sucker Punch opens on a stage with a velvet curtain. As it opens we see a young girl from behind in a set of a bedroom. As the camera zooms in, we are immediately immersed into the films very tragic and very stylized opening sequence featuring actress Emily Browning's character. For anyone who's seen Zack Snyder's previous films, 300 and Watchmen, you know exactly what I mean.

A few minutes later, Emily Browing's character is standing in front of the same stage as in the opening sequence. Despite it being the same stage and set from moments ago, this small detail could be very easily missed. A few moments after that, Emily Browning's character loses herself, and the audience, into a fantasy sequence that starts on the very same stage, but this time actress Abbie Cornish is dressed as Emily Browning's character and being highly critical of where the story has taken us thus far.

It also within this fantasy world that Emily Browning's character, known as Baby Doll, has other fantasy sequences and it with this motif that directed Zack Snyder has decided to tell his story.

On it's surface, Sucker Punch can be seen as a highly misogynistic piece of work where women are objectified and used as dolls for the entertainment of men. But if you look deeper at the piece, you can see Zack Snyder slyly commenting on how women are treated in the media: girls in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous weapons doing ridiculous action stunts that defy gravity. Of course when he does it, it's more kick ass and less objectified.

Snyder really goes for it when it comes to the action sequences. He also puts the same care and thought into the drama  sequences, given the action even more punch with something called "character development."  

Sucker Punch is almost like a musical, but instead of musical sequences, it's these kick ass action sequences. I liken it to Chicago if Chicago where an action film. Zack Snyder should do a musical. Maybe a remake of Chicago?

The movie is a fun ride even if you don't get it's scattered subtleties and commentary. It's beautifully filmed and the action sequences are varied and stylish. Where else can you find women doing battle with zombies, dragons and robots? I recommend the extended version of the film, that is until Snyder is allowed to release a director's cut.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy these:

X-men and Watchmen Motion Comics
Powerpuff Girls The Movie
Sucker Punch (Two-Disc Extended Edition) [Blu-ray]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

X-Men: First Class - Attend an X-citing New Beginning

X-Men First Class is being billed as a prequel or a reboot to the dwindling X-Men film franchise.
Thankfully for me, a huge X-Men fan, X-Men: First Class is here and it's pretty darn good by golly. The tone of the film is a little bit closer to the serious and grounded tone of the first film, directed by fan favorite Bryan Singer. Despite some hockey scenes, this movie is truly what an X-Men movie should be.

This new film, helmed this time around by Matthew Vaughn, explores the early friendship of Professor X and Magneto, now played by young actors James McAvoy as Charles "Professor x" Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik "Magneto" Lensher.  The are sexy sexy sexy. The villainous Mystique from the previous films is now played with sensitivity here by Oscar Nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence. January Jones plays the ultra cool Emma Frost alongside Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw.

What makes any X-Men story special is the fight for equality. These characters are reminded every moment of their lives that they are different, so when they fight, it's a fight for acceptance. Mystique in this outing, played by Jennifer Lawrence, truly embodies that fight. Jennifer Lawrence has taken a character that was almost mute in the previous movies and has given her depth and vitality... not to mention clothes. If Rebecca Romijn ever revisits this role, I hope she takes her cues from Jennifer Lawrence's take on the character.

The look of the film is very groovy baby. Taking place in the 60s, the film has the look of an uber James Bond film.

The youthful energy of the cast is a very welcome addition to the franchise. The movie doesn't seem to be bogged down in it's own mythology, unlike previous entries, creating a film experience that everyone can enjoy.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like these:

New X-Men Film in the Works for 2011 - My overview of the series

Wolverine and the X-Men - The newest animated incarnation

X-Men: Volume One (Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection) - The Original 90's Classic

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bridesmaids - Female Driven Comedy is AWESOME

 I liked Bridesmaids. It was a fun female driven movie with funny situations, interesting dialogue and cake. I love cake.

Kristen Wigg (who also helped pen the script) channels Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. Rounding out the rest of the cast is Maya Rudolph as the bride and the very talented Melissa McCarthy. (Charlie's Angels, Samantha Who?) McCarthy easily steals the whole show playing the groom's very butch and very man hungry sister Megan.

 She alone is worth watching.

Taking cues from Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, the film tends to feel like familiar territory. As a Judd Apatow movie, it especially feels like familiar territory: a self destructive anti-hero and the funny domino like situations.

The movie is still a blast and well worth a watch. I love female driven comedies and poo jokes. I also love Wilson Phillips.

If you liked this article, check these out:

Sex and the City 2 - More than a Sequel

Bridesmaids: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack