August 06, 2003

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

T3 posterArnold Summary: Vagina Dentata Mechanica. Not as dirty as it sounds, but very skeery.

Rise of the Movie Ticket Prices!
$9.25 for a movie ticket in Hartsdale? Good grief!

Yesterday I set out to see "28 Days later 28 days later" but got caught in horrendous traffic and arrived over a half hour late. I didn't think it would be quite fair to judge the new alternative ending without seeing the film from the start, so I checked the schedule for what else was available. American Wedding (No way). Johnny English (maybe later on television). Gigli (no, No, NO!). I ended up in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Arnold, making his entrance naked again, still somehow pulls it off (although one can't help but speculate whether he'd been CG'd, spruced up with some computer-generated pecs). He's plenty thicker around the middle, but maybe he's just carrying some extra fuel cells around his waist.

He returns as the same model robot—sorry, cyborg—struggling to evolve, as usual, beyond his pre-programmed state, albeit it marginally. Along with him comes the same deadpanned dialogue—"I'll/she'll/he'll/whoever'll be back." Who is surprised? Not me. It works, marginally.

live naked cyborgXX
"What's scarier than Robert Patrick? Hey! I know! A broad! Women are skeery! Especially pretty women! They'll rip your head off! And you know what I mean!"

Robert Patrick, as the hyped-up liquidly mutable Terminator T-1000 in T2: Judgement Day, was terrifying in his slightly off-ordinariness. His relentless emotionlessness was an effective contrast to Arnold's cyborg with a few thimblefuls of personality. In fact, it was way more frightening than a muscle-man with a great big gun knocking down police station walls in the middle of the night. (The original Terminator movie never did it for me—not its quippy lines nor its things-go-boom. It was tougher-than-a-cyborg Linda Hamilton doing chin ups that won me over to the series).

But a "female" Terminator T-X (Kristanna Loken) can't be a Sarah Connor or Ripley. She must be a smirking sex-bomb, an adolescent boy's red-leather spiked-heels dream. Which cyborg in the future designed this model? If she was designed specifically to cloud the human mind, where are the Terminators who look like Brendan Fraser?

red leather, red leatherLet's be fair: There is what could be a tired, cheap shot of the female cyborg distracted by looking at herself in a mirror. Chicks and their vanity. Or, that instead could be an indication of an increasingly self-aware individual personality emerging in each new generation of Terminator, as the machines become what we consider human. Even as a dog may eventually look at a mirror and realise (as my first dog did when he reached a ripe old age), Whoa, wait a minute, that's me in there, not a fuzzy blur or another dog with no smell! Woof, man!—the T-X may have become individual enough to think about herself in a non-task-related, non-goal-oriented way. She may simply like herself. I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Oh, but you're probably interested in the plot
I was surprised when I saw a T3 was on the way. I dunno why—it was as inevitable as T4.

John ConnorTime is mutable and the future is not set in metal, but the severed timelines are struggling to braid together. In spite of T2, Judgement Day is still on the way. To live up to Sarah Connor's motto—No Fate But What We Make—how will John Connor (Nick Stahl, replacing T2's Edward Furlong), with the help of spunky female sidekick Katherine Brewster (Claire Danes), defy Inevitability yet again?

John Connor has been living alone, off the grid, plagued by nightmares about a machine-dominated future. Coincidence (or is it?) brings him together with junior-high love interest (grope interest) Katherine. The T-X is after him (Who is surprised?). Cars begin to blow up. People do, too.

Katherine is excited about the film, at leastThe excitement level never really got my adrenalin going, and I felt the ending was telegraphed a good half hour, forty-five minutes ahead. Only one moment, a scene in a mausoleum, made me jump, and it was CG-free (maybe that's appropriate, considering the film's theme). What I think was meant to be The Movie's Big Revelation at the very end—at least, it was a revelation to the characters—simply made me scratch my head and wonder, "Didn't we know that all along? Or was it so obvious, it just feels that way?"

Even the climactic move of the final android fight scene is telegraphed and predictable. I could go into the psychosexual symbolism of the battle-bots scenes: there's a decapitation (get it?) and a guy robot sticking his—no, if I told you that, it'd just ruin the, uhm, surprise.

bow wowScience (ha ha ha)
Don't even try to explain the science, particularly the magnet and the ignored side-effects of big electromagnetic pulses. You'll feel much better if you don't.

The T-1 proto-Terminators were kinda cute, and nicely echoed by a little mechanical dog such as the ones you can currently buy for way too much money. As far as I know, the pet dogs from The Sharper Image aren't armed with machine guns, but who's to say the Arnold-model Terminators aren't followed into battle by a whole pack of the little glowy-eyed scamps?

Was that the same dusty red car in three different scenes? Twice in the initial car chase and once in the cemetery chase? Or did the producers get a cheap deal on little red stunt cars?

Also spotted: Jay Acavone, but only once, barely visible in a cameo.

The Final Judgement
I'm not sure about recommending anyone go see this movie, nor about warning anyone off. It's inoffensively middle of the road. The special effects are not so special you need to see this on the big screen. It'll work well at a Terminator marathon some crazy weekend. At least that way all the references to the first two movies will be fresh in your mind.

This movie is going to make a heckuva drinking game some day.

Running Time: 109 minutes

Rating: R

  1. Endless rounds of commercials for products I cannot recall but am now no doubt subliminally compelled to purchase.
  2. Bruce Willis in a sequel with Friends guy Matthew Perry. I didn't see the first one, although I do dig co-star Natasha Henstridge's goofball series She Spies. This film is called The Whole 10 Yards, leading me to believe the previous movie was called The Whole 9 Yards. (Preview rated R)
  3. Heath Ledger in that Exorcist-y Vatican conspiracy movie The Order. Moody colour palette. Lots of Rain. Rogue priest: lust-inspiring dishy guy but off limits—Hoo Boy! I think this was the preview I forgot I saw at 28 Days Later. (Preview rated R)
  4. Matchstick Men: Nicholas Cage acts up a storm in this preview, a sort of grown-up Catch Me If You Caprio, with responsibility for a daughter who reappears into his life as a teen. So, also kind of Paper Moon. A Ridley Scott film, and with Enrico Colantoni, so I guess I'm going. (Preview rated PG-13)

No easter eggs at the end of the credits. C'mon! Throw us a bone!

Outside Food: Completely inappropriate, as I was expecting to see an entirely different movie. Heath and Skor bars to perform taste comparisons of English toffee survival-shelter energy food and alternate toffee; non-Pepsi product drink; and mini Pepperidge Farms Brussels cookies because I haven't been able to eat Maltesers since I overdosed on 100 of them one day in High School.

Theatre: United Artists Cinemas in Hartsdale, NY. Multiple relatively small screens, but there were only a modest number of seats, so the screen was just the right size from any part of the room. I was distracted every now and then by a fuzzy dark haze at the bottom of the screen and a weird dark dimple off to the right. Please clean off the schmutz, folks.

This was a Coke Products Theatre. Thank goodness. Zombies drink Pepsi.

Postscript: Tried again today to see 28 Days Later. Arrived on time. Theatre has replaced it with extra showings of Tomb Raider. Just can't win.

Images from T3 copyright © 2003 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved

Posted by OutsideFood at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2003

The Foreigner

The Foreigner (USA Network broadcast)

I was going to rent this Steven Seagal action flick, then it obligingly showed up on USA network tonight.

I've wanted to see this movie because it features my secondmost favourite actor ever, Gary Raymond. My firstmost favourite actor ever is Richard Burton. In fact, here are Gary Raymond and Richard Burton together in Look Back in Anger (1958):

Gary Raymond on the left, Richard Burton on the right

There are many other actors on my list, from Laughton to Jacobi and Hepburn to Dench, but there is a serious soft spot in my heart for a sweet, kind, generous gentleman like Gary Raymond. Gary Raymond was ravishing in Jason and the Argonauts, in which he wore very short tunics. Richard Burton was ravishing in many movies involving swords, sandals, and short skirts on men. You may note a theme. I do love those swords and sandals. But I also love finely tuned acting and an actor with a rich, mellifluous voice who knows how to use it to work every subtle nuance from the best of scripts and the very worst. Happy Argonauts

What we have here, in The Foreigner, is the very worst.

It's hardly worth reviewing.

I am approximately the most diehard fan Gary Raymond has ever had, but I could barely stand watching this film. Part of that might have had to do with the nonstop, bloody, explosive violence, which includes a close-up of a man having his midriff blown up. I think that's what happened—like much of the film, the violence was fuzzy and difficult to figure out.

Now, a friend of mine has a theory that, because once she told the actor that his fans in Canada and the US don't get to see much of his work, since he mainly works in theatre in England, he seized an opportunity to work in a film sure to have a North American release. I'd like to think he did it for the money and has showered his grandkids with pretty toys. Because I'd hate to be responsible in any way for this film. Although, let me say this, in case he should ever surf by: Your fans are always thrilled to see you. Many people have bought this movie on DVD just for you. And we appreciate it. But... you think you might bring a stage production of Dear Liar or King Lear over to Toronto or Chicago some day, instead of doing another one of these?

See--very sweetOh, The Plot

I tried lubricating the viewing with the application of a Ghibli (equal parts lime, rum, and whiskey, best taken with crushed ice and sugar unless you are a manly man), but even inebriation didn't help. It certainly didn't help with deciphering the plot. Someone wants something from someone; and Gary Raymond's character doesn't like Action Hero and calls him a bad name; and some other guy runs around off on his own shooting people until eventually he meets up with Action Hero, who is apparently a "Foreigner," a deep-cover secret agent. Action Hero digs up or is shipped via FedEx or finds under his pillow a box containing the thing everyone wants, and opens it up in a huge abandoned stone warehouse in the middle of a vast plain in Somewhere, Eastern Europe. Please don't make me try to figure out more than that.

GRI am supposing the makeup people intentionally made our man Gary Raymond look older and more the wan, dissolute capitalist type rather than showing him to his best advantage. Possibly to make Action Hero look less tired, aged, and puffy in comparison. Possibly it was my television. Gary Raymond doesn't quite look like himself, and he is a strikingly handsome man these days. A former coworker of mine said swooningly upon meeting him, "He's handsomer than Sean Connery," which I take to be a great compliment coming from a straight guy.

But, you didn't come here to watch me perpetuate my lifelong crush on... well, you know the name. The big ruined warehouse location is pretty darned neat, even though the cinematographer (assuming the film had one) didn't make much use of all its stoney archiness and boarded-up ruination. I hope you don't mind a spoiler: Many people are gunned down on this location, and eventually it blows up.

Yuck. What an awful movie. I'd be surprised if it took more than a couple of days to rehearse and film it. I hope everyone was well compensated. Action Hero's Lust Interest looks surprisingly like Nicole Kidman, which was the only interesting thing to look at in the film other than You Know Who. And what was with that big furry hat?

Inside Food: Herbed tortellini and one very large Ghibli

Previews: Commercials for The Dead Zone and Monk

Posted by OutsideFood at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)