Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Underwhelmed (Part Three)

February 2, 2012

Yes I’ve seen bloodier movies.  Yes, I’ve even seen bloodier movies and enjoyed them, but the violence in Underworld: Awakening was just so . . . omnipresent, gratuitous and formulaic that even someone like myself who was raised on Road Runner cartoons found it disturbing.  With few exceptions, if characters were introduced, it was only to add to the body count, and while some of the violence  was admittedly impressive, some was so predictable that as a woman was being hoisted into the air by her throat, I actually thought, “And she’s going to kick off one, and only one shoe in three, two, one . . . there it goes!”

I found it exactly like watching a bad porn movie, just with violence instead of sex.

There are worse ways to spend your time and money, of course, but there’s also many, many, many better ways . . . and I wish I’d done one of them instead of seeing this movie.

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Underwhelmed (Part Two)

February 1, 2012

Yep, a movie review.

Specifically, Underworld: Awakening.

Now I’m not going to bother to criticise or even get snide about the plot, it’s UNDERWORLD!  You go to see an Underworld movie to watch Kate Beckinsale in a trench coat and to watch people and monsters (mostly monsters) die spectacular deaths.  When you go to see an Underworld movie you already know in advance pretty much what you’re going to see.  More to the point, when I go to see an Underworld movie I already know in advance pretty much what I’m going to see.

Even so, the violence of this movie shocked me, and I do not say this as a compliment.  More like horrified bemusement, and not because the violence of this movie shocked me, but because the violence of this movie shocked me!

Underwhelmed (Part One)

January 31, 2012

Normally when I write here, I do my best to keep my criticisms in the general category. (E.g., I’ll express my distrust/dislike for all politicians instead of targeting a specific politician or political party even when it was a specific person or event that sparked my observation in the first place.)  I do this not because I’m afraid of expressing a specific opinion, but, ironically enough, because I don’t want the specific opinion I want to focus on to get lost in an argument over other, albeit irrelevant to my point, specifics.

For instance, I have, to put it mildly, profoundly disagreed with some of the policy decisions of the Obama administration, but saying it that way, particularly with an election coming up, triggers too many automatic agreeing head nods from people who aren’t really agreeing with me.  They just don’t like Obama, oftentimes for reasons that I disagree with even more profoundly that I do with the Obama administration, and suddenly I find my complaint about a policy that began under the Bush administration (a fact oftentimes conveniently forgotten in the realms of political rhetoric) and continued by Obama’s administration, has triggered an “Us vs. Them” firestorm that is beside my point.

But sometimes there’s no way I can find to avoid the specifics, and this is one of those cases, which makes this, all things considered, a pretty heavy intro to what is essentially just a movie review.

They Call It Sadism For A Reason, You Know (PG-13ish)

October 24, 2011

Last night I watched the movie Quills with someone who’d never seen it before.  Now for those who have never seen the movie, Quills is one of the most delighted (not delightfully, delighted) twisted films about the Marquis de Sade ever made.  It takes a palpable joy in its lack of historical accuracy in favor of “tarting up” the story, and alternates between amusing, disturbing and offending at a dizzying pace.  It does this to such a level that there are points of the movie that, frankly, I deplore, and unsurprisingly if you know me, I’m not talking about the sex, not even the sex masquerading as violence, but the violence itself, particularly the violence masquerading as sex.  Even so, even the parts I deplore are done with such skill that I can’t help but admire the level of artistry involved.

In other words, it is not the tale of the Marquis de Sade’s final days as it happened, but as he would have liked for it to have happened.

But if you’ve got the heart to watch it, and are prepared to squirm and cringe at the points it gets painful to watch, it’s definitely an interesting ride.

Avatar

July 19, 2010

Finally got around to seeing Avatar the other night.   (For the record, it’s not that I never see movies when they’re still in the theater, but when it started costing me about the same to own them on DVD as it would to hit the theater, my priorities started to shift.)

Avatar definitely had its moments, none of them subtle, but the appeal of Avatar isn’t in subtlety, but in its distinct lack of subtlety; packed with in-your-face moments (both visually and philosophically), Avatar really satisfies.  The good guys are the ones with the white hats . . . pardon me, I meant the ones with blue skins (either naturally or by association), so you never get bogged down wondering who you’re supposed to be rooting for, and there’s never any real doubt that Nature and bows and arrows will triumph in the end against heartless Science and Greed (this may have something to do with the fact that at one point, the best Science can do is give a man in a mechanized battle suit a giant knife so he can go mano-a-mano).  And as alien planets go, Pandora is remarkably familiar looking when it’s not going for the “wonder shot” showcasing some quirky alien marvel, so don’t worry about getting lost.  Even if you don’t recognize those things on the screen are thinly disguised horses, rest assured the narrator will call them horses several times to remind you . . . just in case.

I know, I know.  It sound like I’m running the movie down (which I am, but only a little bit, I swear), but speaking as someone who going into the movie already believed, for instance, that life is more important than the money to be made from rocks and pebbles dug out of the ground, I figure I’m obligated to make it clear when an idea I agree with is hammered against my skull to the point where I found myself wishing for some sort of protective helmet.  (I also would have liked to see a bit more reluctance on the part of the troops to open fire on what was, for all intents and purposes, an unarmed village of civilians, but if I start on that point I’ll be here all day!)

Bottom line, I had fun with this movie, and, in the end, that’s what counts.

But between you and me (and my cynicism is definitely showing here), I hope there’s never a sequel to Avatar, because I already know the plot to that one.  Some years later, taking into account the time it’ll take for forces and equipment to be mobilized, the space marines return, nuke Pandora from orbit, and resume mining operations.

It’s the only way to be sure, after all.

Today I’m Less Blue, And More Purple

December 23, 2009

This is true in no small part due to an excellent late afternoon lunch featuring, among other things, Chicha Morada.

If you haven’t had it before (I have, but it’s been a while), I strongly recommend you seek some out.

A Brief Book Review . . . Southern Style

September 24, 2009

To Kill A Mockingbird

“It’s a good’un.”

(Finally got around to reading it.  I shouldn’t have waited so long.)

I Was Feeling Down . . .

June 26, 2009

. . . so I went to see Up.

Now I’ve been an admirer of Pixar almost from their beginning, but even so . . . if you haven’t seen Up yet, but you’ve heard it’s good, well . . .

However good you think it is . . . it’s better.

How good is it?

Miyazaki good.

Really.