An old post about movies
I used to write a lot of two-line movie reviews around here. Then I stopped because I thought I was going to make a podcast called Contra Zoom. I thought I'd publish all the capsule reviews on the podcast's website. Then it seemed like we weren't going to do that show anymore, but by then I was out of the habit of posting them. These were written before we recorded the tech demo / episode zero of Contra Zoom. I had just been to Vegas, guested on the Combinations and Permutations podcast, and gone to MaxFunCon II.
-Deep Water - Similar to Man on Wire, this is the story of someone who attempted something extremely improbable (a solo circumnavigation by sailboat), why they did it, and how it turned out. I liked it better than Man on Wire, possibly because I hadn't heard all the details in advance - I just heard the screenwriter of The Informant! mention it somewhere.
-Big Fan - I found the events of this movie surprising, but I shouldn't have. This is the apt-est title since Apt Pupil. I haven't seen Apt Pupil.
-Loose Change: An American Coup - The popular opinion on these guys is that they're maniacal revisionist cranks. I mean, probably, sure, but no less intriguing because of it. And not really any less believable than any other explanations out there.
-Battlestar Galactica: The Plan - This was better than Razor, since it provides new information at the very least. Still, felt pretty pointless to watch after the series conclusion.
-Django - This is one murdery western, and probably almost single handedly responsible for the fad of accessorizing with gattling guns that swept 1960s Italy and eventually the world. You know those photos of your parents when they were just teens or in their early 20s, with their chainguns? Whether they acknowledge it or not, the whole craze pretty much stems directly from this movie.
-9 - looked fantastic, had some cool action sequences, and has the same appeal that Home Movies or Be Kind Rewind has in seeing objects repurposed. Also has quite a bit of 'wait, what?' and 'hold on, why did, ah, how does that, er…huh?"
-Dawn of the Red, Zitlover, H.R. Pukenshette, Harry Knuckles and the Treasure of the Aztec Mummy, and Please Kill Mr. Kinski - Shorts distributed by Troma. The last one is a story told by a director who made the somewhat ill-advised decision to cast Klaus Kinski as the 'name' in a project. It didn't go well for anyone.
-My Best Fiend - This is Werner Herzog's remembrance of Klaus Kinski. I didn't know very much about him, and I thought this would be an interesting counterpoint to the preceding short. Here's the point of view of one of his best friends. Not as such. Although one gets the sense that they have fun topping each other in horror stories of working together, supposedly the crew of Herzog's movies were just as eager to murder the guy, who had to be threatened with guns from time to time, just to keep things civil.
-Red Sonja - Not a good movie, but it was nice to see Ernie Reyes Jr. in something.
-Shutter Island - This I liked a whole bunch. There was some complaining going around to the effect of the ending not being twisty enough, but I think those people are probably missing the point. In fact, the only way to be more wrong would be to be like what seems to be a majority of reviewers and treat the clues as mistakes and then complain about both. This movie also had one of my favorite Creative Screenwriting podcasts, with writer Laeta Kalogridis (who is now working on The House With A Clock in its Walls!), because she sounds like a lady who's totally on the ball, who knows what time it is and where her towel is, and I feel bad for her for the amount of forehead slapping and 'did you even see the movie?'-asking she probably had to do when people asked her what was up with certain parts.
-Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - This was apparently a less-successful book adaptation. Since I didn't read 'em, I'm not as outraged as my roommate that did. To me, it was a kind of fun, kind of dumb thing with some parts that don't make sense and some other parts with fun references to greek gods.
-Breakout -While this movie does have helicopter pilot Charles Bronson trying to spring framed dope Robert Duvall from jail via helicopter, and a running gag about a bad check, it also has that weird pacing of its era where it seems like nothing is happening, and then everything happened much too quickly, and now nothing's going on again.
-Splice - This was a test screening, and it may be different by the time you see it. For instance, there might not be a man with an infrared camera and goggles apparatus staring at you and gauging your reactions. But it's by Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube! And what's more, I like the recent choices Adrian Brody is making, with this, and Brothers Bloom, and Predators coming up. It's like he did his prize-winning work, and his mega money blockbuster work, and now he's just enjoying fun projects that catch his eye. (by the by, Bros. Bloom held up well to recent re-watchings, maybe even now a little more enjoyable in terms of how the ending felt to me)
-Hanky Panky - Intended to be another Gene Wilder / Richard Pryor comedy, except with Gilda Radner instead of Pryor. Mistaken identity a la North by Northwest, silliness ensues.
-The Signal - I just put this on as a movie I could safely ignore in the background while writing things. You can get through a lot of movies by leaving the TV on like we did back in the day, except I don't have TV like that now, it's all movie files and discs and internets. And this starts off with a bang, dropping you into the middle of another movie by one of the three directors. Yep, three directors, each writing and directing their own act of the film. Each worse than the last is one way to look at it, but the first two have some pretty great stuff in them. It wasn't at all the movie I thought I was putting on, but it was a nice surprise.