Saturday, September 24, 2011


So, I took a break from my steady, Netflix-supported (notice I didn't say Qwikster) diet of Doctor Who and kung fu movies to see a couple of films.  Here's the breakdown:

I bawled my eyes out.  I felt so sorry for the man.  Making himself sick, psychotic episodes, being British, giving up on your life's work, and forgetting to talk to your wife I understand but not allowing God to be rational and loving and bigger than the narrow-minded people (and I'm talking about scientists as well as religious folks) around you? That's just heartbreaking.  Also it's really sad when little cute things die so watch out for that.

THE EAGLE -- (6)
I don't know what determines whether a film will be a success or a failure.  This movie has great costuming, attention to detail, interesting-looking actors, folks covered in blue clay, and even does us the favor of doing everything with actual people rather than computer-generated images.  And there are worse "action stars" working today than Channing Tatum. (Just the trailer from that Taylor Lautner thing gives me a rash.)  So, I'm not sure why this thing didn't make any big waves.  Perhaps no one actually cares about how Roman society actually functioned?  Maybe no one expects the moral ambiguity resulting from the interaction between occupied and occupying cultures in a sword fighting flick.  Or maybe nobody cares about a gold eagle on a stick.  Eh. I'm not even sure I care now that I'm thinkin' 'bout it....

Natalie insisted I watch this when I was busy being outraged that she hadn't seen SERENITY yet.  Since PULP FICTION arguably has had a greater cultural impact, I was wrong and we watched it.  I had no idea Bruce Willis was in it.  I liked it a lot and was surprised that it A) was slow, B) made John Travolta look like a complete looser, and C) didn't immediately make a bundle in merchandising from sales of "Bad Mother F-er" wallets.  I know I want one.

And in other news, this guy
Matt Smith

 is not my favorite Doctor.  However this girl

Karen Gillan
is super cool so I think everything will be okay. =)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Motion capture animation is kind of weird. Unless you are WETA and/or Andy Serkis, it always looks creepy and odd.   In MARS NEEDS MOMS, the same POLAR EXPRESS techniques were used to make people and so the humans in this film have similar awkward, weightless, marionette-like moves.  The animation crew chose to make the characters look like the actors which is unfortunate because Seth Green is not very attractive and changing his face to look like a hairy 10-year-old doesn't help anyone.  But, the Martians look cool.  They look and move like cartoons, with enough animated "bounce" to make them natural. 
This film is based on a book by Berkley Breathed (of Bloom County fame) and the boy in the book is kinda Bill the Cat-looking.  Its a good book and a good story.  It's almost a good movie.  What I really wish is for filmmakers to stop trying to make people look and move like creepy puppet versions of themselves and to start making them just be cartoons.  It would be a lot more honest somehow.


THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is pretty much Adam and Eve + THE MATRIX.   There's a lot of stuff happening which talks about the idea of free will but then it's based on a Phillip K. Dick short story so that's only to be expected.   What kills me about stories like this is how they never just ASK THE WOMAN WHAT SHE THINKS.   I mean, the hero eventually gives her enough information (barely) and then offers her a choice while standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty (get it? Liberty? Choice? Free will? Get it? Was that subtle enough?) but if he had asked earlier it would have saved a lot of trouble and heartache.  Sure it wouldn't have been as dramatic an ending and we wouldn't have gotten pretty shots like the photo above but I can still wish for things.  Let's just call it an exercise of my free will.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

SUPER 8 -- (8)

I loved this movie.  I wanted to be just like the fat kid (pictured here in the yellow jacket) who kept muttering "production values!" to himself.  The production value of the train wreck ALONE made it a spectacular film.  The fact that it's well written, has great costuming, great set dressing, beautiful cinematography, AND A MONSTER!!... there just isn't anything left to say.

J.J. Abrams already made STAR TREK, the greatest reboot since THE DARK KNIGHT, and then he gives us this?   He might be my new favorite guy.  Which means I might actually have to watch Lost.

::sigh:: And I've been avoiding it for so long....

Monday, September 05, 2011

Salvando al Soldado Pérez (SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ) -- (7)

He went for the low-key, quiet daytime look.
 This is possibly the silliest anti-war movie ever.   I liked it.  Let's face it, there isn't much funnier than watching pot-bellied grandpas in boots and polyester Sans-A-Belt slacks running through an Iraq war zone.   Well, maybe an sneak attack by an Indio Mexicano as he pops up out of a vat to tomato juice is funnier.  Or perhaps watching a drug lord bedeck himself with all the good taste and style of Ceasars Palace in it's heyday and drive around his Wild Kingdom estate in a golf cart while wearing nothing but a bathrobe and a Speedo made out of an Hermes scarf is best.  That was pretty funny.  But I am usually really amused by clothing so my judgement may be a bit off. 

"Our password, our battle cry will be.. TOMATE!"

Anyway, if you've never seen a novella, you won't understand how funny a lot of this stuff is.  And if you don't speak Spanish or like to read subtitles, then you'll miss a few of the jokes.  Not many jokes, but some of them. 

However, don't forget that when you are watching the bullets fly and the machismo posturing and the dramatic music that the Americans are the bad guys.   They just up and kill everyone in a terrifyingly clean and perfect way.  Drug lords are the GOOD GUYS in this movie.   Is it simplistic assessment of current political events? Yup.   Does it completely disregard the humanity and compassion of the troops fighting around the globe? Absolutely.  Is it hilarious? YES.

Really, those three questions can be asked of a lot of war movies these days.  Only SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ can answer all three in the affirmative.   Which is like saying "Yeah that guy is a murderous drug lord but he did rescue his POW brother from Iraq..."  Dubious morality but a funny film.