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I pity the fog!: The A-Team and The Fog

So I thought it might be nice to take a break from my never-ending onslaught of book reviews to talk about some movies I watched recently. Yes, I know, it's just yet more "What did the Caustic Critic think about things?" but since this is a blog, and therefore nearly the pinnacle of self-involvement anyway...I figured it would be okay.

Last weekend was gross and wet for the most part, so I had plenty of time to sit on my butt and watch movies. I FINALLY got to two of the three Netflix movies that have been sitting on the TV table for about a month (whimpering "Watch us! Watch us!" as they collected dust).

First off, I watched the new film version of The A-Team. I figured it would be right up my alley, seeing as I love movies that are made up almost entirely of wisecracks and inexplicable explosions. Mind you, I've only ever watched about 3/4 of one original A-Team episode, so I wasn't really bringing in any prior baggage. But I had some questions:
  • Liam Neeson, what are you doing in this film? Were you so deranged by grief at the loss of your wife that you accepted this without looking at it closely? Did you just need something sort of mindless to do as a version of a vacation? Because you are a very very good actor, and you were WASTED here.
  • Why is Hollywood trying to sell me Bradley Cooper as a "hot guy"? I know he's kind of funny, and I thought The Hangover was an okay movie, but this guy is NOT Brad Pitt, nor will he ever BE Brad Pitt. He looks like an emu, all right? (If you don't believe me, google it. You'll understand soon enough.)
  • Jessica Biel: see #2 re: Bradley Cooper, and replace "Brad Pitt" with some Hollywood star like Sandra Bullock or Angelina Jolie or...anyone who has more than one facial expression, really.
  • Why wasn't the crazy guy crazier? The guy who played the crazy guy in the TV show packed more crazy into the 30 minutes I saw than this guy put into the whole movie. I was very disappointed at the lack of sock puppets.

To be fair, here are an equal number of things I enjoyed:
  • I know it is totally stupid and not real and physically impossible, but that bit where they parachute out of the sky in a tank while shooting down drones was pretty awesome. Also the big explosions at the end were cool.
  • The bumbling bad guys were kind of funny. Actually, there were quite a few funny bits.
  • Even though he clearly did not belong in the movie, Liam Neeson of course did an excellent job.
  • The plot made at least a minimum of sense. It wasn't one of those films where you can't even follow because the whole thing is so convoluted and dumb.
So in conclusion, I wouldn't exactly recommend The A-Team, but it's not a complete waste of time.

The other movie I watched was John Carpenter's 1980 version of The Fog. Now THAT was a surprisingly good film. It's amazing how many scares you can get out of fog and things moving that shouldn't. The set up was great, the acting was very good--particularly Hal Holbrook and Adrienne Barbeau. The plot was perfectly reasonable and made sense in the context. The people behaved in realistic ways for the most part, though as an audience member you find yourself yelling at them to pool their knowledge, since if the three or four people who each partly figured out what was going on got together, they'd have it solved in no time. Another great thing about this movie is that the cinematography is really impressive. The way the movie is shot contributes a lot to the tone and the way the whole thing feels. I haven't seen the 2005 remake, and I suspect that it won't be nearly as good...they'll overuse the CGI and fuck the whole thing up, I bet. Anyway, if you haven't seen The Fog, you should, particularly if you like scary movies but don't like gore.

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