Sucker Punch

2011, 110 minutes, Action, U.S.; Directed by Zack Snyder; Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder; Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films; Dist. by Warner Brothers

Usually good and solid films, even ones that are considered “intelligent” or “intellectual” in nature, are presented in the fashion that even someone with the I. Q. level of a third grader can understand what’s going on. I’m not discussing a third grader’s level of experience, as there are a lot of situations presented in some films that a third grader would have never had the opportunity to know about. But a third grader could understand the way it’s being presented.

For example, if a film shows a shot of the outside of a large mansion, then cuts to another shot of a large group of people sitting at a long dinner table, it’s suggested that the large group of people sitting at the table are also inside of the large mansion. This technique has become a common tongue in the language of film is used naturally all of the time in modern filmmaking to present all sorts of situation in a fashion where everyone would be able to understand what’s going on.

For better or for worse, Zack Snyder attempts to push those boundaries of editorial story-telling in his film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl trying to escape from the confines of a mental institute where other perfectly sane girls are commonly given in the care of and lobotomized in order keep them out of the way of those who don’t mean well in society. Read more of this post

Whip It

2009, 111 minutes, Comedy, U.S.; Directed by Drew Barrymore; Produced by Barry Mendel, Drew Barrymore; Fox Searchlight, Mandate Pictures, Vincent Pictures, Flower Films, Rye Road

I’m not sure if this is a weakness I’m finally revealing to everyone who might read my reviews. This might be the one thing I take interest in that would make you roll your eyes and not take any of my opinions seriously. (Like my use of color wheels in that ginormous 2.22 Review & Analysis wouldn’t have done that to a few of you guys already.) Though seriously, this might prove to be a weakness in any film in which this element is used. And that element is, of course, the use of Ellen Page.

Her “normal” and even “alternative” look appears to be a very natural beauty, something that I miss in light of the slew of Victoria’s Secret lingerie models that have begun to plague our screens.  (Even though we all know that Ellen Page is like every other performer in that she requires the customary touch-up for the camera, and is starting to be selected by studios to attract the “alternative” crowd half of the time anyway.) And her performances aren’t bad, either. In much of what I’ve seen her in, she has the same basic approach to her work. She usually plays whatever character in a somewhat timid fashion, which kinda figures since most of the cast in whatever movie she’s in towers over her.  It would be nice to see her break out into something more tough and rebellious, but she doesn’t appear fake or shallow in her roles as timid people either. So I can’t complain. I’m not saying she’s the Actress Goddess Extraordinaire, but she can hold her own in a film and even add to it quite often.

In Whip It, the low-budget Fox Searchlight “indy” film directed by first-time director Drew Barrymore, this talent seems rather typecasted into a role that the viewer is assumed to simply fall for anyway. And let’s face it, it’s hard not to fall for a lead when she looks like a wet puppy who wants to come in from the rain. But aside from the “puppy eyes”, this film only has some minor quirky charms to offer. Read more of this post

Twins Effect II

"I just woke up from the strangest movie..." said Gillian Chung, as she grasped her neck.

Back when Forced Perspective was still in its teething phase, I gave Dante Lam’s 2003 film The Twins Effect a glowing recommendation – albeit, a recommendation as a guilty pleasure. In hindsight, I still feel Lam’s film is more of a “silly” film than a “bad” film for many of the same reasons I’d stated earlier: despite the subpar plot and acting, it’s technically well-crafted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’d even forgotten to mention how entertaining Anthony Wong was.  The film was a financial success as well, so it is no surprise that less than a year later Emperor Motion Pictures sprung forth Twins Effect II, a sequel-in-name-only directed by Corey Yuen and Patrick Leung. Like the original, it combines a carefree silliness with a sense of technical skill. The big difference between the two films is that Twins Effect II genuinely sucks.

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