Saturday, June 15, 2019

Three Films Make A Post: Same Day, New Killer

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997): Even though nobody would ever call the first Jurassic Park intelligent, how we got from there to this thing, also directed by Spielberg and written by David Koepp, I have no idea. Surely, Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn versus dinosaurs should be kind of a sure thing, but the script has everyone acting even more stupid than in the first film, with little happening here making any sense even by the rules of the universe Jurassic Park was set in, and no visible attempts by the director to jump over the giant holes where a script was supposed to be through his usual magic touch with suspense and thrilling fun. It’s a film made by highly capable professionals in front and behind the camera who all act like they suddenly have no clue about making movies anymore.

To add insult to injury (that is, wasted time), the film also never seems to actually want to end, finally petering out after the worst King Kong rip-off imaginable has gone on and on where every other film this shitty would at least have had the decency to end after ninety minutes.

The Sting (1973): Fortunately, to the rescue of my mood comes the classic George Roy Hill period caper movie that manages to make the depression era look sexy without pretending it isn’t the depression era. This, despite by far not being the first comedic heist film at all, is of course the caper movie most later entries into the sub-genre want to be. Who, after all, would not be captured by the magic of a clever, twisty script that is light and light in touch but never one to pretend depths don’t exist (there is in fact a lot of sadness in this comedy, and quite a few moments that acknowledge bitter truths about the US and life in general, it has just decided not to fall into them), direction that somehow manages to make things that should by all rights be grimy and gritty look slick, cool and elegant without shaving off all the hard edges, the power of Robert Redford and Paul Newman at the height of their stardom, and a supporting cast that’s to die for?

Sky High (2005): If nothing else, this superhero teen comedy directed by Mike Mitchell (who otherwise has a perfectly horrible filmography) is a perfect example of how a film can be utterly generic, and follow the genre structures of teen comedy and pre-Nolan Batman (really, more pre-Raimi Spider-Man, even if the chronology would suggest otherwise) superhero movies slavishly, yet still be charming as heck. Mostly that’s thanks to the lovely cast featuring people like Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell, Lynda Carter and Kelly Preston as well as young Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Danielle Panabaker selling the clichés with charm and conviction, as well as to a script that may only ever aim at the low hanging fruits of humour and humanity but hits those every single time. It’s not terribly deep (it’s a 2005 Disney teen comedy, after all), but so likeable I’m perfectly okay with that. Plus, who wouldn’t like a film featuring Ron Wilson, Bus Driver?

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