Archive for Michael Welch


Posted in Drama, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/26/2009 by joycereview

The second film installment of Stephenie Meyer’s grotesquely popular vampire series has certainly raised the bar from it’s previous and highly-mediocre (many say “dreadful”) first film.  Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story) is out of the director’s chair for this one, and is replaced by the slightly-more-polished, Chris Weitz (About A Boy, The Golden Compass)… why?… supposedly because of “time constraints”, but my inner opinion poll says otherwise.  Critics and vampire fanatics are, again, having a field day with the emergence of New Moon.

A money machine – New Moon placed third on the all-time domestic chart, bested only by Spider-Man 3 ($151.1 million in 2007) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million in 2008).  It’s amazing that, with the amount of money that Twilight is pulling in [$69.6 million in the opening weekend (Twilight) compared to $142.8 for New Moon], the studios couldn’t find a more seasoned director, however, the studio’s choice in Chris Weitz turns out to be a wise one.

After being briefed the story by my girlfriend (who has read the Twilight Series) I had the gut feeling that I’d hold this particular film in higher esteem.  I consider myself wildly romantic and have no problem sitting down and watching a well-done love story (i.e. The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle).  I had, however, become quite tiresome of the Edward and Bella’s “You’re my life… You are my soul” talk.  Then they attempt at a kiss… sometimes convulsing with pleasure and, per example (in the New Moon), performing what I call “The makes-me-giggle kiss of whimpering-ecstasy.” (giggles continue just thinking about it)

New Moon limits the amount of quasi-kanoodling and vomitous lubby-love-talk by Edward (Robert Pattinson) proclaiming to Bella (Kristen Stewart) that they “Can never see each other again.”  Ex-squeeze me? Baking Powder?  Bella then drops into a mad, heroin-junkie-like depression, that is, until she finds out that she can can connect with Edward by walking towards the dark edge of death (i.e. motorcycles, ocean-side cliffs, etc.).  And then comes the fangirl moment, when native american-werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) strips off his shirt in stripper-fashion to blot Bella’s motorcycle injury (let’s not go even go there!).  It’s all doggy-style from then on, until a misunderstanding leads Edward to think that Bella is dead.  And the rest… you’ll have to see for yourself.

The acting is much improved and has the added stardom of Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) as Aro of the Volturi and Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire, Push) as Jane, the sadistic and tele-destructive dark vampress.  With Chris Weitz at the helm, the film is expertly paced with the script, and this enables his actors to take control by acting (not by drowning the performances with unneeded, swirling camera shots).  The CGI of the werewolves still leaves the techno-realist in me wanting more wolf, less animation, but perhaps, we are just not there yet.  How can they make a 40-ton King Kong that would make Diane Fossey pee in her pants, but we can’t do the same for wolves?  Maybe they just hooked up with the people that did the Coca-Cola polar bear/penquin commercials and said “They will be fine.”  Still enjoyable, but if you are wanting me to believe in werewolves, you’ve got to do better than that.

There are two shots that I particularly liked – the first being an encircling shot of heartbroken Bella as she sits in her chair, each rotation giving rise to a change of season.  And two (where the CGI shines), on observing a painting of the Volturi (the vampire equivalent of high priest councel-ruling class) the facet and crosshatch lines of the paint smooth as the camera lens zooms, becoming as a real-time window into the Volturi life.

The truth of the matter is that New Moon didn’t need to do much to outdo its predecessor.  I think we all realized that.  Critics will undoubtedly scream that the story is diving away from its source; that being the relationship between Edward and Bella.  But even the critics must not take these events, characters and dialogue too seriously….  For it seems that, some of the its flaws, are designed to help keep it as authentically real as possible.  Because only a character like Bella can say:

(Bella to Jacob) : You’re so warm! You’re like your own sun.

We forgive her every oddity and we should, because despite some pretty wack lines, Stewart carries the movie on her shoulders.  And with a red-headed and revenge-driven vampire still on her tracks, and my girlfriend’s assurance of “more Dakota Fanning to come”… I’m sure to be another warm body in the theater seat for film number trois.

Please give your thoughts on New Moon below!  I’m eagerly awaiting my feeding… of fresh comments.  Cheers.

For those wanting to see the review for Twilight, click here.

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Posted in Drama, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/17/2009 by joycereview

Edward Cullen, the dreamboat vampire (from Stephenie Meyer’s novel adaptation of book one of the Twilight Saga), says that he can read thoughts; all except for Bella’s. Poppycock!

When I was in high school, I was fairly naive on the female cues of desire.  Edward Cullen has been in high school for 100 years and reads off the thoughts in the restaurant scene with great ease, “Money.  Sex.  Money.”  For some odd reason, he cannot pierce the blank stare of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).  Maybe it’s because of her blank expression or maybe because of her blank mind.  Clearly she wants Edward’s body.  It’s so obvious (I scoff).

I hope to one day have a daughter; one that will one day meet a boy that she grows to love.  However, the moment he says the lines, “I’ve killed people,” I’d hope that she’d have the good sense to leave him and contact the authorities.  But joking aside, Bella has some sort of romantic death-wish for Edward and want’s to “do the deed” with him, literally, if it kills her.  But “abstinence-boy” won’t let that happen.  It’s a push-pull relationship from the very beginning and it intrigues me to know just why Stephenie Meyer would write this of seemingly bright, introverted young girl.  Maybe if she was a sadistic, goth-girl I’d buy it, but not in this story.

If you want to watch a ridiculously-awesome film about young vampire love, watch Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in. 2008)[review coming NEXT].  [available as Watch Instantly on NetFlix]  Not only does it depict a more realistic development of love, it gives a commonsensical perspective of the life of a vampire.  Because, let us be real a minute – two separate tribes of vampires AND werewolves cohabitating within such a small town as Forks, Washington?

What little knowledge I have of women (pardon my modesty) notwithstanding, it can never satisfy my curiosity towards the question, “Why do women (particularly in these modern times) relish in the thought of being relished?”  Men seem to think, if I’m only persistent… she will be mine.  When in truth, women seem to fantasize for the mysteriously-aloof, complex or troubled James Dean-types; even though they make some of the worst husbands.

Meanwhile back on the ranch…  we have several other problems.  The special effect choices disappointed me.  I got an instant Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man) flashback when I saw how the film depicted the vampire’s superhuman speed.  And when in the (direct) sunlight [emphasis on the “direct”], it comes off as if Edward was the result of some terrible glitter factory explosion.  But on the other hand, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” so why wouldn’t Bella swoon?

Twilight, is likely to be a fan-favorite of teenage girls the world-over for years and years, but don’t look to me for an answer of “why.”  I’ll just chalk it up to biology, labido, our natural affinity for danger, and poor dating choices.

Here’s to a better sequel, in Twilight : New Moon.

Review coming this weekend!