For the 4th of July weekend, my friends and I plunged into another movie marathon. After the third movie we realized that we were celebrating our country’s birthday with all foreign films. We finished the night with X-Men 2, which has several scenes featuring the president, so that should count for something right? Our possible patriotic shortcomings aside, it was one of the more enjoyable movieathons.
Kung-Fu Hustle: A: Stephen Chow delivers a fantastic send-up of the kung-fu genre while still managing to fill his movie with great martial arts sequences. Foreign comedies tend to lose a lot in translation, but this one delivers throughout. At times, it’s a little too slapstick, but not enough to detract from the overall funny.
The Illusionist: B-: The team that created Triplets of Belleville continue their formula less successfully. Banishing dialog from the film makes the audience interpret what’s going on, which means scenes that are often beautiful, but occasionally befuddling. Belleville’s characters were wonderfully exaggerated and visually remarkable while The Illusionist’s main two characters were drab and difficult to connect with emotionally, making the ancillary ones all the more interesting.
Troll Hunter: A+: As previously stated, I have a mild obsession with Norse mythology. Troll Hunter played right into that with an extremely entertaining portrayal of “real life” trolls. I loved the look of the trolls, almost like puppets but clearly not. I loved the insertion of science into the folklore, and the questioning of what couldn’t be explained. I loved the main “trolljegeren” guy and his unwavering badassness. It was everything I hoped it would be.
X2: A-: After a re-watching, the second X-Men film holds up as the best of the “originals.” Wolverine’s best when slicing through nameless black-ops goons and Nightcrawler’s opening scene is fantastic. Colossus shows up to be briefly awesome and then is woefully forgotten and Magneto is possibly at his most daunting (though his dialog is less polished.) The story is the smoothest of the series even after adding more characters to an already character-heavy cast. Halle Berry is awful as ever however, and the subplot centered on Rogue’s and the other young characters’ teen hormone problems is distracting at best.