The DVD MistakesThe Reeds (2009)
I had just finished reading "The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood and was somewhat hopeful that a horror film titled The Reeds would at least, even if by accident, embody some of the flavor of that short story. Sadly, that didn't happen. I want to stop short of calling The Reeds a bad movie, because somewhere within its complicated mythology and economy-level special effects there just may be an interesting story. But what I remember is that it had a long and plodding build-up, one in which I didn't feel the audience was being introduced to the characters (so we can care about them and what happens to them) as much as we were witnessing them doing uninteresting things. Then things happen in such a manner that we know that time isn't a set concept in the titular reeds, and that goes from being interesting to a cop-out used to end the film on an indefinite note. The movie isn't scary, it doesn't evoke a consistent mood of impending menace, and the cast is quite unremarkable. All in all, I guess I consider The Reeds to be a mistake largely because it was the first DVD Netflix sent to me and I just didn't enjoy it.
The Invasion (2007)
Yes, I had both heard and read that The Invasion was a lifeless remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956; 1978), and not being a tremendous fan of the source material, I knew I was taking a risk. But I know that both Kidman and Craig can act; I've seen it. How bad would the movie have to be in order for me not to be able to find some reason to enjoy it? The answer, it would turn out, would be just about the level of bad that The Invasion is.
This is a movie that steals all of the life and passion from its characters before the invaders ever get a chance to do the same thing. Kidman is either very poorly directed or just is incapable of displaying any kind of restrained emotion. She is reduced to having to say what she feels, or to hyperventilate to display any sense of danger or panic. For all of the danger involved to the human race, the movie makes it seem inconsequential. The scale of the story doesn't fit the mood evoked. It has good production values, so there is that, but I was expecting a lot more than for it simply look professional.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Tron: Legacy (2010)
What would happen if somebody made a movie that posited all of the answers that mankind has been in search of since time in memoriam – the definitive formulations of epistemology and metaphysics – could be found in a computer world created in the mid-1980s? And that this computer world had an evil ruler who plotted and planned for a take over of the physical world? The result should be something better than Tron: Legacy, a movie supposedly redeemed by its 3D effects and soundtrack. Now, I watched it in 2D and except for the scene that incorporates Daft Punk into the visual action, I found the music to forgettable background filler.
I was, and continue to be, a fan of Tron (1982). It operates as I feel Science Fiction movies should in that it marries a moral message to special effects aided action. It also has its themes operate in both the real world and the computer world. And it has a young, studly Bruce Boxleitner saving the day as Tron. What Tron: Legacy has a severe lack of is, in fact, Tron. Garrett Hedlund portrays Sam Flynn as an unlikable, spoiled, but loyal and preternaturally agile heir to (Kevin) Flynn. Flynn-the-elder has been missing in the computer world forever, where he created the evil ruler to help him manage things because running a world is hard work. The evil ruler gets rid of Tron, and thus any real investment the audience should have in this movie. If you have to watch it, just watch the light cycle scene and then turn it off. You'll be better off for it. Otherwise, this was just a long and painfully boring effort marked by an immature effort to work some kind of deeper context to a 'guy goes in and gets the girl' story.