Archive for December, 2013

21
Dec
13

Rare Exports – Crappy Christmas to You

This picture is better than the actual movie.

Rare Exports is a 2010 Finnish movie about Santa Claus. Although, it’s not Santa in the big red suit with a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. No, this version of Santa is a lot nastier. The film’s conceit is that Santa is a mythical monster, like something you’d see in an original Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. Santa is a feral creature who lives in the isolated woods of Finland. He ravenously kills and eats anyone who is naughty. Unfortunately, just about everyone is naughty, so no one is safe.
Sounds like a great setup, right? The premise is cool as hell, and certainly wins points for originality. OK, not exactly. The idea of a nearly impossible to please Santa Claus was already done in Futurama. A robotic Santa had such high standards that only Dr. Zoidberg made it to the nice list. Everyone else got a helping of laser blasts and rocket attacks. So, the idea isn’t completely original. But what idea is? The important thing is the execution. As long as they executed it well, everything will be fine.
The execution, however, sucked. The movie’s running time is only 82 minutes. Within such a short time to work, and with a cool premise, the best thing would be to introduce the characters, then jump right into the action. Rare Exports doesn’t do this. It spends the first 60 minutes farting around with boring characters. When shit finally gets going, there are only 20 minutes of film left. To say that the first hour of the movie is squandered would be an understatement.
14
Dec
13

Attack the Block is a Mush-Mouthed Mess

So gangsta.

Attack the Block is a 2011 British movie that is really more an attack on good taste than anything else. There are so many goddamn problems with this movie, I don’t even know where to begin.

The movie takes place in south London slums (?) and features a street gang (?) as the main characters. I use question marks because those things are really uncertain to me. Is that supposed to be slum, and is that supposed to be a gang? Honestly, the streets are pristine and the gang are a bunch of cute kids trying to act tough but looking cherubic instead. It’s a quaint version of what the British filmmakers must think a tough gang is like. I mean, if you want to see real slums and real gangs, then you need to watch The Wire. Those are some mean streets populated by tough motherfuckers. The gang in Attack the Block, on the other hand, features a bunch of kids playing hookey from school and thinking they are tough shit.

The central plot of the movie is about an alien invasion, and of course the only people that can stop it are the gang. The aliens are woefully hilarious. They are a bunch of guys in gorilla suits with glow-in-the-dark teeth running around on all fours. They don’t seem to have spaceships or technology or anything else for that matter. How’d they get to Earth in the first place? Did the head alien have explosive diarrhea and shit them into space or something?

Continue reading ‘Attack the Block is a Mush-Mouthed Mess’

07
Dec
13

Justified Season 4, Person of Interest Season 2

Justified Season 4

Raylan and Boyd, doublemint awesome.

TV shows that can maintain an intelligent and engaging storyline are few and far between. Justified, however, is one of those shows. Each season is just as incredible as the last. This year, things took a slight detour, eschewing the usual central villain and supplanting it with a mystery. The mystery of season 4 is figuring out how a human body and bags of cocaine fell out of the sky. The mystery was fun, but a bit too convoluted for its own good. Watching the series weekly, it was easy to forget the details and get completely lost. Perhaps marathoning the season would make the mystery easier to follow.
All the things I love about Justified are back this season. Raylan is as stoic and badass as ever. Boyd is a creepy and lovable villain. The back and forth, cops and robbers games the characters play are just as intricate as ever. Boyd in particular shows some serious character growth this season, and further cements how fantastically written all of these characters are. Natalie Zea, who played Raylan’s ex Winona, left the show this season to take a leading role on Fox’s so-bad-it’s-hilarious show The Following. Fortunately, she was never really all that intregal to Justified, anyway. We also got the introduction of Bob Sweeney, a local constable played by the always funny Patton Oswalt. Although he’s a guest star, he was a great addition to the cast.
While the characters and story remain as great as always, this wasn’t my favorite season of Justified. I’d say season 3 was my favorite so far. Nevertheless, this was another great year for the series. There’s so much to love here. The recently departed Elmore Leonard would be proud. It’s only a shame more people aren’t watching Jusitifed. It is the best show on TV.
Verdict: Awesome
Person of Interest Season 2

Person of Interest main cast.

Almost all of my gripes about season 1 were corrected in season 2. Mostly, I complained about the focus on the case-of-the-week format, and the casting of Taraji Henson as a lead character. Both of these things have improved in the new season. Taraji Henson stepped up her game and when she acted alongside the other characters, she didn’t get lost in the mix. At times, she shines brighter than the others. I can only assume that she must have read my blog post, and as a diehard Awesomely Shitty fan, she got her act together.
The case-of-the-week format still exists in season 2, but it’s not as annoying as it was in season 1. The cases seem more organically linked together. There is a current running through the cases now that wasn’t there before. While it does still have a large case-of-the-week format, there is an extra emphasis on mythology now, which will carry the series over the long haul.
Somewhat annoyingly in the last episode, Root showed up and kidnapped Harold AGAIN. Although, the stakes were higher and things got crazier with a totally nuts scene where The Machine is one the phone with Reese, pointing out bad guys so he can shoot them. The ultimate reveal at the end of the episode was awesome and nicely set the stage for season 3.
Overall, Person of Interest is turning into a very good TV show. The acting is good, the main storyline engaging, the action scenes fun, and it includes an ever evolving mythology. At this point, its only drawback is the extended 22 episodes season. If it could be compressed into 12-13 episodes, there wouldn’t be much filler, and the series would be non-stop awesome.
Verdict: Good



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