Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

TFA (No Spoilers)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a brilliant film, the latest empty-calorie frenetic 120-miute chase scene from director J J Abrams, who is threatening to become the Michael Bay of franchise remakes as he cheerily goes about strip-mining better films while demonstrating, amid astonishing creative wizardry, that he doesn’t actually understand them.

As with Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, TFA serves up heaping helpings of nostalgia like Grandma’s delicious chicken and dumplings, albeit served with a trowel from a plastic bucket and flung from the window of a speeding minivan. Keep up, open your mouth wide enough, and there are wonderful morsels. Also, as with Abrams’ Trek, the pace and nostalgia efficiently mask the film’s alarming lack of depth. Whereas the quasi-religious overtones of the original Star Wars disturbed the Force of Evangelical Christian Televangelists, triggering fierce debate and even condemnation from religious conservatives, TFA never slows down enough to provoke any level of academic or religious discussion.

In its headlong lunge to un-do one of the greatest pop sagas in human history, TFA makes absolutely no statement about the essential nature of mankind, the existence or role of God, or the role of spirituality. TFA says, essentially, that we can never again believe that evil has been vanquished. All of that Ewok dancing was for nothing because the Bad Guys Always Strike Back.

Which means, if I take this shiny, delicious candy-apple Star Wars into my heart, if I take it seriously, I have to now severely devalue the original trilogy, which I, at my advanced age, honestly can’t do. I similarly accept Abrams’ Star Trek for the fun Saturday Night Live sketch that it was but can’t possibly take that film seriously. TFA is a substantial improvement on the satirical Star Trek and the apocryphal sequel Into Darkness wherein Abrams, already choking on his ideologically bankrupt Trek Lite, virtually rapes the Holy of Star Trek Holies—The Wrath of Khan—while the family is tied up and forced to watch. (more…)

Def Jammed

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Someone gave me a Blu-Ray player and I am, frankly, reluctant to install it. When I was over friends’ homes watching movies on Blu-Ray, they just seemed… bad… to me. They didn’t look like film. Everything looked like it was shot on videotape, and *bad* videotape like 1970’s soap operas: just a little *too* lifelike and surreal.

This worries me because the industry is, of course, forcing us to use this technology (and, inevitably, 4k), but, to me, my upscaled “normal” DVD’s look a lot better and more film-like.

Is this normal? Is there some adjustment period I need to go through or is this actually what people are enjoying these days, films that look like bad 1970’s soap operas where everything seems to be made out of plastic? What am I missing? (more…)

They Just Don’t Get It

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Really lame special effects and “The Department of Paranormal Something,” lends a light touch to the CBS series. But it stinks of camp and, while it may appeal to (they hope) some younger people, the core DC fans–or, maybe just me– are likely to be a little insulted by this, which seems to mock superhero fans in an attempt to appeal to them. But, then again, that’s what The Big Bang Theory does, so what do I know. Disappointed. I figured, surely by now, Hollywood understands the more seriously you take this genre, the more money you make.

Eeba Waddle Doo Hickle Muddy Dah

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

10 AM Monday, cold, heavy rain, figured it was safe to venture out. As I mention, I Hate Going To The Movies. Theater mostly empty, the way I prefer. A trio of loud teens a few rows back gabbing loudly and digging through noisy candy boxes wrapped in cellophane (why do they allow cellophane wrapping for movie candy?!?). A row ahead: some geek brought his toddler. *Shakes head* Right on queue: every quiet moment, the talking scenes, what have you, the toddler starts talking and has no “indoor voice.” Eeba waddle doo hickle muddy daH? EEBA WADDLE DOO HICKLE MUDDY DAH!!!

Just kill me, now.

Micro review: liked it more than the first AV film, really surprised by how “grown up” it was and by Whedon’s (Marvel Studios’) redefining of the genre specifically to know the difference between humor and camp; having the audience laugh *with* the heroes and not *at* them. That paradigm shift, in and of itself, may extend the super-hero film genre from a passing fad to a permanent industry staple (along with Westerns and Science Fiction, etc.). Much of the film’s plot will sail way over the heads of the average eight-year old, but, like Bugs Bunny cartoons, the kids were never invested in that stuff anyway. *Marvel* comics were never, ever, written for eight-year olds to begin with, and pandering to the lowest (and shortest attention span) common denominator is what has traditionally crippled attempts to build successful SH franchises.

I’m sure 8 million other people have pointed this out by now, but Joss missed a huge opportunity in the hammer-lifting contest by not having the final contestant, Black Widow, simply pick up the coffee table and effortlessly carry it (and Mjolinir) off-stage. As demonstrated by the Vision, *people* can’t lift or move the hemmer, but you can presumably move whatever the hammer is resting upon/embedded within.

Pleased by the Black Panther groundwork in Ultron by the Ulysses Klaue cameo.

Would be nice if, eventually, parents figured this out and stopped bringing toddlers to these things, but that’s not likely to happen until the Adam West Batman generation dies off (including me).

Guest Review: Batman vs. Robin

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Batman vs. Robin: DC Comics – A follow-up to the recent Son of Batman direct to video movie, which I liked enough to take a chance on this one.  And this was…okay.  It had some pacing and storytelling problems, but since I never read the comics it’s adapting, I can’t say if the structural flaws were in the original or a result of the adaptation process.  The main antagonists, the Council of Owls, never really struck me as a good idea.  They felt like someone trying to hard to explain Owlman’s identity as something more than “picked a different nocturnal hunter,” and even implying that they might have been behind the death of Bruce’s parents feels too much like a writer trying to claim they’re better than all Batman writers before them.  But, given that this movie isn’t to blame for the story it’s adapting, it’s a decent way to spend an hour and a half.


Mildly recommended.  Price varies by store and format.  Batman statue included with the high-end bundle  didn’t look remotely worth the extra $15+.