Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Weekend Movie Roundup (June 09-11)

This post is late, but better late than never. It's also leaner than usual by virtue of the fact that I don't have time to ramble on!

Ice Pirates (1984)
This is a cheesy sci fi flick starring Robert Urich (as Jason), he of Spenser for Hire fame. In the distant future, water is a scarce commodity controlled by an opressive group called the Templar Knights (at least I think that's what they were called). Jason and his pirates raid and steal water from transport vessels. During a raid, they encounter Princess Karina, and become embroiled in a quest to find a mysterious water filled planet. Chases, battles, and time warps ensue. It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it knows it's bad, which makes it kinda fun.

Lord of War (2005)
Andrew Niccol wrote and directed the excellent Gattaca, so my hopes were high going into this one. While not as great as Gattaca, Lord of War is pretty darned good. It's a drama / black comedy about an arms dealer, Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), about how he quickly rises up the ranks and establishes himself as THE arms dealer to turn to for any self-respecting warlord. The film is essentially split up into Yuir's personal life, the means by which he carries out his sordid work, and the politics that come into play in his line of work. It's not played out in an entirely realistic way and many things are glossed over, but it is darned entertaining and has an undeniable ring of truth to it. A unique film, definitely worth a look.

Princess Mononoke (1997)
Brilliant. Classic. If you haven't heard of Hayao Miyazaki, he's the modern day equivalent to Walt Disney, and this is one of many fantastic anime films he's directed. A prince from an ancient tribe, Prince Ashitaka, is cursed after battling a demonic beast, and is banished from his village. He sets out West to find the source of the demon and becomes embroiled in a conflict between a mining town and the forest spirits that are fighting to protect their land from destruction. Among the forest spirits is a human girl, Princess Mononoke (Princess of the Spirits), who's deeply entwined in the conflict. Ashitaka hopes to be cured by the forest spirit / deer god, and to also help settle the conflict in a reasonable manner for both sides. My summary doesn't do it justice - there's a lot more than that going on here. The story is fairly complex and thematically rich, and there's strong, even-handed characterization. It's all brought to life with beautiful animation and music. A must see...

No comments: