Thursday, June 16, 2011

Susan's Netflix Queue #1

Right.  So, Netflix is a big place.  And, yes, when Netflix says you will hate something, it is usually right.  However, what about the stuff you don't know you hate?  How do you find the things you don't even know exist?

Well, you could ask me about trash I watch.  Then just tell Netflix you hate all of it.  Problem solved! So, for educational purposes and the betterment of mankind,  I am going to review what's on my "Recently Watched" Netflix list.  The normal 1 to 10 rating won't work for this so I'm going to create a new system.  It will sometimes work like this:

Wholesomeness rating:
(This is extra Mormon 'cause I think I'm funny.)

 Celestial  (if Jesus stops by yall just have to hit the "mute" button)

Terrestrial (not evil but don't let the preschoolers repeat everything they hear)

Telestial (not even slightly good for you)

And then there's the Approval Rating category.  Basically either "I Liked It", or "I Didn't Like It".  That's all I can promise to be consistent with.  Let's get started.

Yo Gabba Gabba!


Ostensibly I am watching this show for "research" purposes.  Watching it will help me connect with my students and give us something to talk about.  What actually happens is I start humming songs from the show and all of my 2-year-olds scream "NO! MY Gabba Gabba!" because they're two and everything is "mine."  So... not really research but I like it anyway.  =)

Craig Ferguson: Does This Need To Be Said?


Not for folks allergic to bad language.  Also not for people who dislike meandering conversational comedy, punk rock, Scottish people, silly dances, and Craig Ferguson.  However, I don't have a problem with any of these things and really enjoyed it.

Starz Inside: Ladies or Gentlemen


I'm fairly confident that this is a safe documentary for persons of all ages to watch.  Well, assuming you want your kids to learn about drag through the ages and drag queens specifically.  So maybe not so safe.  It's well done, about an hour long, and is narrated by Ru Paul. 

Seven Chances


I do like Buster Keaton but this one had a slow start and I didn't have the attention span.  Netflix tells me I only watched 5 min of a 56 min movie.  I can't make myself go back.  However, I did watch all of The General, Steamboat Bill, Jr. , and College with Buster Keaton.  I liked all of those.  I just couldn't get into this one.  If anyone has seen it tell me how it ends.

Monty Python's Flying Circus


I set a goal to watch every episode of MPFC and, per standard operating procedure, I have failed to complete that goal.  I don't feel bad about this decision because as the seasons go on you can see them going for the cheap joke and the naked organist and whatever else they can come up with because they are tired and BBC still wants them to churn out material.  If you don't go much past season 2 you should be fine.  My favorite bit is still the song about a llama and that little gem can be found in episode 9.

On The Double


So the first movie star I really liked was Danny Kaye.  And by "really liked" I mean I was a ten year old checking biographies out of the library like I was researching red-headed Jewish performers in the 1940's.  I have grown up a little bit since then so I know that Danny Kaye isn't the ultimate in movie stars but I'm still fond of him.  This is one of his very very late films so his act is pretty tired but I enjoyed it anyway.  Generally speaking I hate The Inspector General because it is way too much like an "I Love Lucy" episode for my taste but everyone else seems to like it.  If you can find a copy of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, do it because that my friends is some awesome Danny Kaye but White Christmas is good too.  Neither of those movies is on Netflix though...

Sherlock: Series 1: A Study In Pink


BBC reboot of the Sherlock idea set in current day London.  There are only 3 episodes and when the third one ends I was screaming for more.  Super super good series.  Allegedly the BBC will begin to air the next series in August of this year but who knows when it will show up on Netflix.  Whenever it is, it won't be soon enough.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


GREEN LANTERN gets a 7 for being cool-looking.

So my sister Caroline is awesome and a world-class schmoozer and she got me advance tickets to see GREEN LANTERN. There was a whole section reserved in the middle of the theater for the members of the press and the rest of us hoi polloi  were reminded before the film started to be quiet and let the press folks work.  So, feeling all fancy-like, I put on my 3D glasses and watched the movie.

How can I describe it?  Imagine for a moment that I am this character:

Now pretend that every fan boy/comic book guy/male in the universe is this character:

Now, watch this video:

And that, my friends, is how I felt about GREEN LANTERN.   That also is how everyone else will react when they hear me say "It's okay!"

Obviously I am not the ideal person to review this movie.  And it's not like I didn't want to like it.  I know very well that Green Lantern is THE comic book for everyone who likes comic books.  But it's not easily accessed.  I have in the past asked several Green Lantern dudes where to start reading and they all stammer like I walked in on them watching the 6th season of LOST and asked what the show was about. I was hoping for a beginning point in the mythology so I could learn what the fuss was.

GREEN LANTERN explains things very well.  As it turns out there's a lot of space and aliens and drone fighter jets but it's really about being an American in the '60's. (Which is when the Jordan/Green Lantern series started.)  It's the story of Hal Jordan being told he is a space cop with unlimited power who's job it is to protect a ridiculous amount of territory right about the time the U.S. started sending "advisers" into Vietnam.  It's believing the United Nations is a great idea even if you are gonna do all the work yourself.  It's pretending all of this is fine and nuclear weapons don't scare you to death.  

Yeah... maybe now is a good time for GREEN LANTERN to show up. And if we have a strong enough will, a big enough imagination, limitless energy, an awesome girlfriend like Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) then everything can be "okay."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I bought a Coke at the theater.  Do you know what goes well with a complete lack of self-respect?  A sugary caffeinated beverage, that's what.

So, my $6 soda and I walked into a theater and a Vin Diesel movie happened.  In the spirit of full disclosure I need to now tell you that I am one of the 25 million people who have clicked the Vin Diesel "Like" button and in return facebook gives me little gems like this:

Do you know what goes well with messages of confidence-building affirmation?  A beefcake photo of yourself, that's what.  I mean, it worked for Ghandi, right?

As you can see the similarities are striking.

Anyway, I would talk about the plot but there's no point because you are either someone who watches Vin Diesel movies or you are not.  There's no hierarchy of cost either.  People don't ask themselves "Should I make the trek down to the local art house cinema to catch this film or should I simply wait for the Criterion Masters of Cinema DVD collection to come out and save a few dollars?"  Nope.  Whether you see FAST FIVE on opening night or three years from now on basic cable at 3pm on a Saturday because nothing else is on besides golf, you are still a Vin-Diesel-movie-watcher.  All you really need is a list.  Here it is.

The FAST FIVE Breakdown

5 significant explosions (2 of them sad)
1 exploding toilet scene
1 deliberate driving of a car off of a cliff
 Rio De Janero
1 Dwayne Johnson saying "keep your thunderwear on, men"
1 slum
1 Ludacris
4 walls breaking as Vin Diesel leaps through them
4 stolen cop cars
1 stolen cop car drag race
12+ cash house women in underwear (those Brazilians are prudes! Underwear? Crazy!)
5 tearful references to "familiga"
6 gallons of water that must have been spritzed on The Rock's bald head throughout the course of this film
2 bald man face-offs
2 motorcycles being gleefully smashed by cars
10+ shots of Brazilian booty
1 sexy look + 1 broken heart = being released from handcuffs by a hot female police officer
1 scene involving a car, a bridge,  a ton of corrupt police officers, and a vault... BEST SCENE EVER!!!
1 Susan who may have driven home a teensy bit too fast but only because her belly hurt from drinking that much caffeine.  Really.  =)

Monday, June 13, 2011

HANNA -- (6)

So, when you Wiki E.T.A Hoffmann, at the very bottom of the page you will see "Assessment" and you will find the following statement:

Hoffmann's literature indicates the failings of many so-called artists to differentiate between the superficial and the authentic aspects of such Romantic ideals. The self-conscious effort to impress must, according to Hoffmann, be divorced from the self-aware effort to create.
And that, my friends, is the problem with HANNA in a nutshell.  Director Joe Wright has spent a lot of time and effort making a film which reflects all his favorite art films (he tells you here) and which might be saying something about being watched and CCTV in Europe (or reflects someone's fetish for eyeballs)  but because of all his frantic work went into showing you how groovy he is the movie itself is not very good.
And that's a shame because it's a fairly cool idea.  It's very beautiful.  It has lovely actors and interesting environments.  It even has neat music when your nose isn't being rubbed in it.  (I'm not sure every EDM artist has a movie soundtrack in them.  TRON is a good example of how one artist may not be able to capture all the moods in a single film.)  The problem is that all that pretty doesn't express much more than "Look how cool I am!"

What is far more interesting is the role of women in this film.  There are a LOT of women (6 is a lot for an action film.) (And, no SUCKER PUNCH doesn't count.  The women in that movie are actually men.  Or blow-up dolls which is the same thing....)  There are only six male characters, (well, besides the random red shirts who are there to die,) and all of them are totally bossed around by the women.  In fact, NO man in this film ever gainsays a woman.  All of the men are controlled by the women, and that includes the silly 16 year-old fashion princess who thinks of nothing but celebrity gossip. Hanna herself spends the whole film watching and studying and listening to women which makes sense if she never had any around.  The really good music bits were of women singing.  She seeks out her mother and grandmother.  She kisses a girl.  Was this intentional?  Totally.  But it was way less blatant than being forced to see the vein-y eyeball of a dead deer in super close focus in order to communicate... something.