Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007: The Year of Watching DVDs, Part 22: Prince Randian, and Hold the Relish



I watched the entire IMDb top 250 list and now I'm watching everything else. All SUPERBLOG!! film reviews so far.

Tomorrow I'm leaving this town for greener pastures, so here are 23 small reviews of stuff I've watched lately:

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) (repeat)
The director's cut. Overlong but pretty spectacular. I'm not a big fan of action movies in general but this may well be the ultimate action movie. Or maybe it isn't. One interesting thing I noticed: There's a moral core in this, unlike in say, The Matrix seven years later. For all the shooting and explosions, the protagonists actually try to AVOID hurting innocent people. Compare this with Neo and Tritiny's multiple murders being justified with, like, "those people are still part of the machine". Times have changed, and action movies with them. Gosh darn it. Another thing I noticed: As a sequel to 1984's The Terminator, Terminator 2 is sloppily written. For one thing, the various dates don't add up. (The first film takes place in 1984 and this one in 1995, but there are references to 1997 being more than three years in the future. And so on.) Terminator 3 confused and contradicted it even further, but it was bad even in T2. Bah, who cares?


Rashomon (1950) (repeat)
I say the same thing I said in Part 6, whatever that was.

Le Procès / The Trial (1962)
Confused Orson Welles adaptation, which is weird considering it's one of the few flicks he had final cut of. The ending, which differs from the book, is laughably weird. But Anthony Perkins is great as Josef K. And Welles is, as always, phat in an important bit part.


Casino Royale (2006) [IMDb list]
Largely successful reboot of the Bond mythologies. The fact that Daniel Craig as 007 is a reckless asshole who makes stupid mistakes actually makes it more exciting than you'd expect.


Sideways (2004)
Some situations that ring entirely true even if it get steadily less believable as it wears on. Touching ending. Similar in many ways to the modern classic Swingers. A special treat for Lost fangirls: You get to see Tom (Mr Friendly) nude, dangling penis and all.


The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)
Peter Greenaway's fascinating period drama. Puzzling and mysterious. I had to watch it twice and I still didn't get it.


Puff Puff Pass (2006)
AKA Living High. Silly crap about two stupid guys who like to get high. There's a grand total of three things I like about it:
1. The main characters' obsession with The Shawshank Redemption is amusing.
2. Kristen Miller has a small role as a girl who likes Jesus.
3. John C McGinley has a small role as well.


Fight Club (1999) (repeat)
Back in 1999, I was a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk, so when I heard about the film adaptation I was skeptical, but it turned out to be surprisingly accomplished, and on a repeat viewing eight years later it holds up. A major part of its success is Edward Norton as the narrator, stupidly referred to as "Jack" on the back cover of my DVD. The character's name is not Jack, idiots. I've killed people for less.


Lost Horizon (1937)
Frank Capra thingie about search for Shangri-La. Kinda naive by today's standards - now we know that that kind of society would NEVER work. Probably an inspiration on the TV show Lost, judging by the season 3 finale. Notice how I take every chance I get to connect stuff with Lost.


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
One of my favorite films of all time.


Tank Girl (1995)
Based on the Jamie Hewlett comic. Has a reputation as being exceptionally crap, but I found it moderately entertaining. Tank Girl, portrayed by Lori Petty, is a great symbol of defiance in the face of whatever. Naomi Watts plays Jet Girl, a repressed bespectacled brunette. Malcolm McDowell plays a sadistic villain bent on world domination. Shocking! That guy has range.


The Sopranos, Season 6 (21 episodes) (2006-2007)
This last season, especially the first "half" is meandering. In particular, the Gay Vito storyline is way drawn out (as more or less admitted by creator David Chase). But there are still plenty of classic moments. Like everyone else, I was taken by surprise by the ending, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense.


Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Season 3 (13 episodes) (2005)
This season features some weirder-than-usual subjects, such as circumcision. Why do American parents cut off a part of their children's penis!? It's like they're all in some kind of cult. And the episode on conspiracy theories is SO weak, I'm MORE inclined to believe wacky shit now than I was before. Except the moon segment was okay. Theft: The Beret Dude's Kennedy bit is taken almost verbatim from Bill Hicks!! Fish in a barrel: The episode on ghost busters. Best of the season: "Holier Than Thou", focusing on Mother Theresa, Dalai Lama and Gandhi.


Profit, Season 1 (9 episodes) (1996) (repeat)
Semi-classic series that died a premature death. The title character is cool, but for a Machiavellian mastermind, he sure makes a lot of stupid mistakes. And the unreality of it all can be irritating, such as all the magic computers. Parts of it are childish and don't really make sense. Come to think of it, the scripts aren't very good in general. But the characters are memorable. Jim Profit himself is perfectly brought to life by Adrian Pastar, who went on to do something in Heroes (reviewed in Part 19). He's a ruthless yuppie who killed his dad, fucks his mom, and sleeps in a box. What's not to like? I also like Chaz Gracen (Keith Szarabajka, from The Equalizer, and the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years). And I fell in love with Nora Gracen (Allison Hossack) for some reason. And episode 7 has Dr Marvin Candle from Lost and Sol from Deadwood. And all three of the main actresses are named Lisa in real life.


Cube (1997)
This is my kind of science fiction. Or speculative fiction, or whatever. You know, stuff that delves into the nature of reality. It's like a Twilight Zone episode, only good.


American Psycho (2000) (repeat)
The business card scene rules.


Cube 2: Hypercube (2002)
Sci-fi-ey sequel, with the characters caught in a (spoiler!) hi-tech tesseract. Pretty decent. Extra recommended for math nerds.


Edward Scissorhands (1990) (repeat)
Tim Burton's fairytale about belonging. One of the movies that makes me believe that Burton is, at heart, a good filmmaker with something to say, despite evidence to the contrary (say, Planet of the Apes). Should probably have been about 20 minutes shorter, though.


By the way, one day I must watch Edward Penishands:


Dark City (1998)
I don't know. It was decent but I think a much better movie could have been constructed from the same basic building blocks. There are scenes with some sense of wonder but it's often closer to the ridiculous than the awesome. It's style over substance. Still: B for effort. The aliens seem influenced by my fave Outer Limits episode, Harlan Ellison's "Demon with a Glass Hand". (Speaking of Ellison: SUPERBLOG!! supports Fantagraphics. Or at least I do. Uncle Sammy's never heard of them.)


Cube Zero (2004)
Very literal-minded and repetitive prequel to Cube. Even the traps are just variations of the ones from the first film. The characters suck. Pretty shitty.


The Hours (2002) (repeat)
Carefully constructed portrait of quite desperation. Very good drama, full of excellent actors. Quite moving. Also sort of dull.


The Acid House (1998)
Three stories from the collection by Irvine Welsh. Some huge laughs. Requires a lot of concentration to, if not follow the plot then at least pick up the nuances of the dialogue. You know, because of the thick Scottish accents. So I recommend watching it subtitled.


Freaks (1932)
Everybody likes freaks, be they pinheads or human caterpillars.

2 comments:

Goo said...

Love The Cube too! Now I know there's a sequel thanx to you.

Have fun out on the pasture or whatever.

Koala Mentala said...

Thanks, I'll try.

Both the Cube follow-ups were straight-to-DVD so adjust your expectations accordingly.