Sunday, November 8, 2009

A couple more reviews

This Is It - 2 1/2 stars

This is really a hard movie to review, because it isn't really a movie. I have a lot of concert DVDs. Some of them have really good behind the scenes making-of documentaries. That is basically what this is. If Michael Jackson had lived, the concerts had gone on as planned, and a DVD of the concert had been released, this would have been a decent bonus feature.

Since the concerts never happened, this is what we get. There is some interesting stuff shot during rehearsals. As a musician myself, I enjoyed the times where the performance stopped so they could work on something. A lot of planning had to go into the show. There were pyrotechnics, a crane to lift MJ over the crowd while he sang, and video to go along with some of the songs. One of my favorite touches was the way the backup dancers would spring out of the floor, jump high into the air and land ready to dance.

Since there was no show, we also get to see some complete song performances, so that's the closest we will ever get to see of what was planned. I think I don't know as many Michael Jackson songs as I thought I did, because it was 30 minutes in before I heard a song I recognized.

I hope when they release this on DVD they will give us the entire show that was planned. I assume that at some point there was a complete dress rehearsal. There won't be an audience, but we can still see every song that was on the set list performed completely. I could be wrong, but if there was that dress rehearsal, it would be nice to see it. Maybe there would be more songs I know.

The Box - 1 1/2 stars

Here is a box. If you press this button, two things will happen: one, someone, somewhere, who you don't know, will die. Two, you will receive one million dollars. Tax free.

This is a good setup for a short story. It appeared in Playboy in 1970 and it was adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone in the 80s. If you want to know how those stories end, look it up on wikipedia.

In this movie, Richard Kelly has taken this story (which accounts for about 15 minutes of screen time) and added an hour and 45 minutes of other stuff. He uses the story as a starting point for a strange sci-fi story that doesn't make any sense at the end.

I liked that the movie was not predictable. In fact I would call it the least predictable movie I have ever seen. It gets stranger and stranger and you can't predict how it gets from A to Z. But I didn't like the way the story isn't tied together very well at the end. I can't recommend it, but it is interesting.

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