Watchmen (2009)

IMDB plot:

When an ex-superhero is murdered, a vigilante named Rorschach begins an investigation into the murder, which begins to lead to a much more terrifying conclusion.

The best way to explain Watchmen to someone that doesn’t want spoilers: It’s what comic books want to be when they grow up.

The story starts in 1985, when super-heroes really exist, they are all American and they helped in the victory in Vietnam. Years later, when those super-heroes were deemed as “illegal” and had to put their capes in the closet and retire, the nuclear tensions between USA and USSR in the cold war are getting out of control and the nuclear clock is set to 5 minutes to midnight (midnight meaning total nuclear war.) In this universe, an old hooded super-hero is murdered and one of his old partners, which refused to stop fighting crime (hooded), decided to go into action to find the murderer. On his way, he manages to bring old heroes back into action.

In 80s terms, think this: Super Friends are considered illegal by the government, every hero has to put down their capes and return to their secret identities. Batman is the only one that still fights crime with his bat-suit clandestinely and, years later, Flash is killed and Batman goes into action to find the person who did that, pulling all the other Super Friends back into action with him.

One of the things the stands in Watchmen is the heroes are flawed, human. You have the super guy that doesn’t feel he’s related to humanity anymore, the detective only sees the world through the mask, the smart guy that doesn’t worry about killing innocents to save more people… and the others seems lost without using their capes. This sense of lost is more apparent with Silk Spectre II and Night Owl II. They simply don’t work without the idea of being caped.

Acting is… well, comic book related. You can’t expect super heroes without the cheesy lines and the “holy than thou” attitude. So it’s hard to see if the actors are over-acting, under-acting or simply in character.

Also, there were a lot of comments on how faithful the story is to the comics, with the exception of the end. Which, honestly, works fine to me. I mean, the new ending. In a way, it make it sound a lot more like “making a super-hero being a hero”.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

W. (2008)

IMDB plot:

A chronicle on the life and presidency of George W. Bush.

In a movie about George W. Bush, you’d imagine that Oliver Stone would paint him as a really stupid person, incapable of adding 2 and 2. But, what you see in the movie, it’s not that.

The movie shows the history of GWB, from the early days till his presidency. And the movie paints a man that was born in a rich family, doesn’t like hard work, even with his father pressure and his fight to get over not one shadow (his father) but two (his brother, which was supposed to run to presidency instead of GWB.) And, in the end, the only bad thing in his presidency was Dick Cheney…

I think the acting was too much caricatured than the real thing. Richard Dreyfuss, playing Cheney, is really mean and greedy; Thandie Newton, as Condoleezza Rice, seems like she is more interested in flirting with men than doing politics (although, as far as I could tell from the TV, the real Rice was a very strong woman with a lust for power — not sex.) Josh Brolin, playing W., did a good work making him human and not a dumb guy from “Dumb and Dumber”, as all the rest of the crew.

So, the movie is not really a critique against George W. Bush, but to Dick Cheney.

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)

IMDB plot:

All Lodge wants is for his gaming group to finish their adventure. Unfortunately, they’re more interested in seducing barmaids, mooning their enemies, and setting random villagers on fire. Desperate to rein in his players, Lodge injects two newbies into the distrust: a non-player character controlled by Lodge, who the power gamers immediately distrust, and the rarest gamer of all — a girl. Can the group overcome their bickering to save the kingdom, or will the evil necromancer Mort Kemnon triumph unopposed? A parody of fantasy films and the adventure gaming community, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is a hilarious romp through the world of sword and sorcery — in this case, a world of exploding peasants, giant house cats, and undead roast turkeys.

First thing you’ll notice is the really cheap special effects. The second thing is the poor acting. Then you’ll notice the warrior with 17 charisma.

Now, if you didn’t understand the last bit, then probably the first two points would take you away from the the movie. If you at least thought “A warrior with charisma?”, then you should watch this.

The first minutes are probably drive you away from the movie. The special effects and the “wood plank” acting looks pretty bad. Then you realize it’s a game and, although the visuals don’t improve (even with the special effects going away), the acting kinda makes sense. But, as you keep watching the movie, the RPG jokes keep flowing in and the thing really “grows” on you.

I never thought nonsense and RPG jokes would work together, but they do. Most of the time is like “I don’t believe someone would do that in a game” and, amazingly, it works pretty fine. The contrast between the munchkins and the real RPG player just makes everything funnier.

A movie for everyone that enjoys RPGing, for sure. May require some understanding of Dungeons & Dragons, though.