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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Movie Magic: Where Has It Gone?

I have gained somewhat of a reputation for being a movie buff over the years, something that my work-mates take advantage of by borrowing from my rather small but well-maintained library. I enjoy sharing my collection, but of late there has been a sharp drop in, well, distribution. This can be traced directly to the reduction in the number of movie downloads I make of late, and this can be traced to the drop in the number of good movies being released of late.

The last decade or so have belonged to the 'franchise movies'; movies that are part of a series, book or comic adaption. Studios these days are all looking for the next big thing they can launch not just one, but two, three or four movies from. So we have the Spiderman franchise, X-men, Christopher Nolan's Batman, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Transformers, LOTR, Harry Potter, Twilight; the list goes on. These are the big movies that will define the decade, along with a few dotted 'restarts' from old hits such as Die Hard, Terminator, Star Wars, Rambo and Rocky.

While this can be sort of awesome in some cases, more often than not we are left with movies that are good fun for about 2 hours and then we never watch them again. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one such tale; I loved the movies, loved Johnny Depp, but I'm sure I've only watched each movie once. Of course, this form of movie making 'strategy' leads to ridiculous sequels such as the Big Momma's House 'franchise' (can you believe that's a 'franchise'??) and the beyond terrible Nutty Professor movies.

It's rare to find a gem these days amongst all the commercialised made-for-money-and-action-figures movies that are doing the rounds out there. The lucky few often don't get the hype or excitement that the big blockbusters do. Heck, these days all you need is an adolescent pop singer with cockerspaniel on his head to star in your 'documentary' and you've got yourself a guaranteed big opening.

Don't get me wrong: I love a fun movie. I'm actually looking forward to 'Transformers 3', simply because Michael Bay surely can't make a movie worse than the last one (who am I kidding; someone say Rosie. Huntington. Whiteley). Let's not forget 'Thor' and 'Captain America'; all fun, summer blockbusters, but all built towards that franchise mentality in mind. But sometimes, fun equals ridiculous. Take for example, 'The Green Hornet', which I had the misfortune to see recently. It was a toss-up between that and 'Season of The Witch', some movie with Nicholas Cage and witches. Amazingly, this was still not enough to sway me either way, so I went to imdb.com, which graded the 'Green Hornet' with a respectable 6.5 over 'Seasons' 5.5.

In hindsight, I should have known better. I mean, Seth Rogen as a superhero?? Come on, Seth Rogen hooking up with Katherine Heigl was a huge stretch for an audience to accept, but seriously; Seth Rogen as a superhero?? That was clearly pushing it too far. Not even funky martial arts, Cameron Diaz's extreme blondeness and cool gadgets could save this movie, which was as entertaining as the cricket World Cup matches so far a Pitbull music video without girls.

So as I settle for watching reruns of Entourage and discovering new TV shows to fill my time, I wait anxiously for this years breakout movie that doesn't have a ambigious ending that could leads to a sequel; a movie that isn't a re-imagination of some 90's classic, or another animated comedy with a feel good ending. Come on, Hollywood, dazzle me with something original that will proudly stand alongside other classics like Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Memento, Se7en and last years Inception. Make me believe in the magic of cinema again, and not the magic of some bespectacled teenager. Take me to a place I've never been before.

And give me something to burn to DVD.


Danny said...

I totally agree with you on the quality of movies. Except for Inception, can't remember the last good new-movie that I watched. (Also maybe because I haven't watched any of the good ones yet)

I have resorted to watching classics and movies made before 2009 that are vaguely entertaining, which is a lot more than I can say about movies coming out now.

You should add Ironman 2 to the list of sequels gone wrong.

Hoping Captain America and Thor aren't disappointments.

T said...

I really think that the tv shows nowadays are far wittier and more interesting than the movies. It's a rare actor that can actually act now, instead of look pretty.

And I think genuinely funny movies are dead and gone. The humor that exists now, featuring veteran dumbasses like Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller, are so insulting to any viewer of average intelligence. I wish British humour would make a comeback but slapstick, cheap American humour is sadly all the rage.

PseudoRandom said...

I suppose it depends on what sort of movies you're into. I agree, the 'action movie' genre has gone to the dogs. The really good films (mostly dramas) don't usually get the backing of major distributors, so they don't get seen by that many. Distributors are only gonna support movies that bring in profits...they're not in it for the 'magic'.

Also, I'd say 7.0 is the absolute minimum for an action movie on imdb.

Dili/දිලින said...

The Kings Speech too? Other than that, i dont think there was anything burn worthy lately.

If anything was to signal the dying of the movies and (mostly cable)TV picking up some of the slack, its the number of 'big movie people' now going into TV shows; Steve Buscemi, Bridget Moynahan, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy, Tim Roth, John Noble, Scorsese, Spielberg and most recently Forest Whitaker as the lead in the new Criminal Minds spin-off, and thats just the shows I have an eye on. Shows like Boardwalk Empire, TerraNova, The Borgias put movies to shame based on the look alone.

I do have a lot of hope on Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" movie as something to look forward to.

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