Posts Tagged ‘Movies

08
Oct
17

Movies > Books: Blade Runner

I’m willing to bet a lot of people aren’t aware that seminal sci-fi noir film Blade Runner is based on a novel. The awkwardly titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep forms the basis for the 1982 film. The film is a loose-ish interpretation of the book. The two entities are similar, yet different enough to make comparisons difficult. Even so, I’m going to give it a whirl.

Blade Runner is a film I didn’t initially like. I had seen the theatrical cut twice, and wrote it off as a failure. I ignored the international cut and director’s cut, because why would I watch additional cuts of a movie I didn’t like? Then, the final cut came out in 2007, and was much ballyhooed. So much so, that I decided to give the film one more chance. This time, I was blown away. Director Ridley Scott had perfected his dark, futuristic vision. What he had in his head when he filmed it was finally conveyed to the audience without studio tinkering. I liked it so much, I now consider it a masterpiece.

But what about the novel? This, too, I had actually read a long time ago, when I was a teenager, and unable to appreciate the nuances of it. I thought it was a weak-ass sci-fi novel which had been completely overhauled and improved upon in every aspect by the film. Even though I didn’t like the film at that time, I still considered it a vast improvement over the novel. I didn’t give it much thought in the years since. But with the release of the sequel film, Blade Runner 2049, I thought I’d revisit the source material. My intent was to write up what a piece of shit the book was compared to the superior film. But what I found was that the book was surprisingly great, too.

Continue reading ‘Movies > Books: Blade Runner’

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05
Aug
17

Pirates of the Caribbean 5, John Wick 2

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The fifth film in the franchise tells a bit of an origin story, showing how Jack Sparrow became Jack Sparrow. He double-crossed (of course) a ruthless privateer when he was a young man, and simultaneously became captain of his first ship. Decades later, the privateer, Captain Salazar, returns from beyond the grave to exact his revenge.

This outing was a step up from the previous one, Pirates of the Caribbean: I Can’t Even Remember What It Was About. It was essentially a rehash of the first movie, featuring young male and female leads who are in search of a fantasy McGuffin, and reluctantly enlist Jack Sparrow’s help in order to get it. While it is a rehash, it doesn’t contain the same effortless storytelling, and elements of whimsy and adventure the first film had. Let’s face it, the first film in the series is a modern classic, and they haven’t been able to recapture that.

This film wasn’t a complete waste. While most of the jokes were lame and forced, some of them absolutely worked. There was still a sense of high-seas adventure, although held back a bit by an over-reliance on CGI. Instead of letting two ships duke it out in a naval battle, they had to throw in stupid bullshit like the mast coming to life and attacking Jack Sparrow (ugh, why?). Back on the positive side, the finale was pretty inventive, and I loved the Black Pearl dropping anchor as it skirted the edge of the ocean.

Johnny Depp is still watchable as Jack Sparrow, and there was fun to be had in this film. Overall, though, the franchise is completely out of steam. It wasn’t exactly a memorable film, but it wasn’t complete garbage. Disney should do the smart thing and end the series on a decent note. But they probably won’t, and will make another one.

Verdict: Average

John Wick 2

 

Taking place immediately after the first film ended, John Wick 2 shows Keanu Reeves getting deeper into trouble in the world of assassins he tried to leave behind. An old ally of his returned and cashed in a favor Reeves owed him. Then, the ally double-crossed Reeves, making him the target of every assassin on the planet. The action scenes were incredibly inventive, flashy, and a whole lot of fun. The only thing that didn’t work for me was Reeve’s bullet-proof suit, which made him nigh-indestructible. Other than that, I liked everything about this movie. I especially enjoyed the hall-of-mirrors finale, and kept on wondering how they filmed it without ever showing the crew. All in all this was a worthy sequel in a cool-as-hell franchise.

Verdict: Awesome

18
Feb
17

Classically Shitty: Solaris

This 1972 film from the Soviet Union has been called a masterpiece by film aficionados across the globe. As you well know by now, film-fags and myself have very different opinions on what constitutes a masterpiece. For them, they like crap. I shouldn’t judge them; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me, though, I like movies that are actually good. You know, the opposite of Solaris.

The main character of Solaris is a space psychologist named Kris Kelvin. Oh man, space psychologist, what an awesome profession. How many years of training does one need to get that specialized? Anyway, the crew of the space station Solaris have been acting bonkers, so the Soviets recruit Kelvin to check it out. He reluctantly agrees to go. He spends the first thirty minutes of the movie sulking.

Once he arrives, he finds the space station in disarray. One of the crew members (a friend of Kelvin’s) had committed suicide, and the other two act evasive and batty. Kelvin starts hallucinating his dead wife (also a suicide), which he promptly launches into space.

Continue reading ‘Classically Shitty: Solaris’

20
Mar
16

Movies > Books: Naked Lunch

William S. Burroughs was a writer and a drug addict. He was good at one and not so good at the other. Why don’t you take a guess as to which he excelled at?

The book Naked Lunch is the ramblings of a heroin junkie. There is no story. There are no themes. Hell, there aren’t even any characters. Not really. Sure, people get mentioned here and there, but they don’t have through-lines, and there certainly isn’t anything remotely resembling a plot in which the people can function.

People have lauded Naked Lunch as a literary masterpiece. I’m sorry, but, no, it’s a piece of shit. I’ve spoken with plenty of people high on shit. They all ramble like Burroughs. Perhaps not quite as uniquely, but there is commonality between them.

The only reason this book is even considered “literature” (and I use that term loosely) is because there’s nothing else like it. If literary critics got a chance to sit down and chat with some real junkies high on heroin or cocaine or whatever, they’d soon see that Burroughs is just another junkie, albeit one with a typewriter.

Continue reading ‘Movies > Books: Naked Lunch’

08
May
14

Classically Shitty: Lawrence of Arabia

Some guys you’ve never heard of present this movie.

Just because a movie has excellent cinematography and a rousing soundtrack, it should not automatically be heralded as a classic. Lawrence of Arabia has been considered a triumph of film-making since its release, and it is still widely regarded as a masterpiece of cinema. Unfortunately, people forget that a movie has to exceed on all levels: acting, storytelling, directing, etc. for it to be a timeless classic. This movie in particular fails hard in several areas, and there is no way in hell it should be considered a masterpiece.
Lawrence of Arabia tells the true story of T.E. Lawrence, a British megalomaniac who tries to single-handedly win independence for the Arab people in World War I. Yeah, that’s right, the main character is one of the most self-centered characters in the history of film. He’s a product of his time, that’s for sure. Being a white, British male, he believes wholeheartedly in the superiority of his race and culture over all others. The British were the masters of colonialism, and Lawrence falls in line with this attitude hook, line, and sinker.
I know what you’re thinking, all three of you who have seen this movie: LOL BUT BRIK IVE SEEN TIHS MOVEE AND LAWRNCE WANTS ARABS TO BE EQUAL TO TEH BRITISH LOL! Well, sure, you’re partially right. Lawrence spends a considerable amount of time helping the Arabs and spouting dialogue proclaiming he wants the Arabs to be independent. He lives with them, dresses like them, eats their food, and they consider him to be one of their own. But that absolutely does not mean he feels like he has become one of them. Oh, no, he still believes, absolutely, in his superiority.
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’




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