Blog Archives

Your Highness

Despite the middling reviews for Danny McBride’s Your Highness, the film is actually a well-structured fantasy film. This is hard for me to say because, in general, I do not enjoy fantasy movies. It might be the fact that it was a comedy, and it may even be the fact that they kept the pace brisk instead of spending time on showcasing the fantasy world they created. Regardless, it is a competent film that is worth watching if the viewer cares about fantasy and/or dirty comedy. Yes, dirty comedy.

I have no problem with low-brow humor. My movie diet in high school were the works of Kevin Smith (and Fight Club), after all. Maybe age finally caught up to me, or maybe my appreciation for such films reached its saturation point; but dirty dick humor just doesn’t quite work for me the way it once did. Zack and Miri Make a Porno would have been a much more enjoyable film if it weren’t so crass. Your Highness would have been a more fun film if they excised the moments in which characters swore for the sake of swearing. Four-letter words are best used in precision comedy strikes, not just uttered to make sure people are paying attention. Not when they’re uttered for the guffaws of 16 year-olds who decided to sneak into the screening. At some points the film sounded less like a crafted tale and more like a high school lunch table. Read the rest of this entry

Hanna

"Adapt or die" sounds like the tagline Enix should have proposed for E.V.O.: Search for Eden

I just got back from seeing Hanna, and the movie definitely ranks up there with the good movies that have come out this year. Good but not great. In the end, there wasn’t enough material there to make me think I saw a full movie. It was kind of empty.

Then it hit me. Hanna herself, having grown up in the forest without any real social interaction or anything beyond a rote understanding of life, was a blank slate. There wasn’t much there to differentiate her from any of the classic video game avatars. She went through several levels before she reached the end: the facility, the desert, the city, and finally the amusement park. While she did not encounter battles every step of the way, she did gain experience. In the end, she beat the big bad. Game over. Credits. Insert more money to play again.

It is amusing to see this movie compared to Sucker Punch in various reviews. While Sucker Punch looked like a video game, Hanna played like one. Critics say that Hanna is the superior film, but I have to tip my hat to Sucker Punch because I find difficulty enjoying video games that don’t allow me to actually play them.

The Adjustment Bureau

Some people have complained that the red dress never appears in the film, but the point is the symbolism of her being the red apple that damns him out of the paradise of political power.

Philip K. Dick’s back catalog of paranoid insanity is sadly becoming easy pickings for Hollywood’s drought of ideas. While Blade Runner and Minority Report have become classics for one reason or another, films like Paycheck and Next make fans almost ashamed of their beloved Dick. The general problem is that few truly understand the complex and sometimes schizophrenic nature of the material. Most films attempt to simplify it, which changes it into something else entirely. And then it doesn’t work.

The Adjustment Bureau could have been a complete toss-up. Showcased in this story is Dick’s paranoid view of the world around him, how there is a second layer discretely manipulating the first layer. Whether it is a shadow conspiracy or the hand of God does not matter. What matters is that people are not noticing. What matters is that people are having their choices nullified and reduced to insignificance. A world like that causes existential angst. It’s nihilism based not on a lack of reward but on lack of involvement instead.

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Couples Retreat – funny but lukewarm, aimless, passable

There are posters featuring the African American couple. I swear I never saw them.

Couples Retreat somehow pulled off what otherwise should have been a bad idea for a comedy. Going on a week long therapeutic retreat because a couple are considering divorce due to their inability to conceive is not usually considered funny. Dragging others into it who are not having similar difficulties and discovering that beneath the surface there is definitely tension is hackneyed, and of course it all gets resolved in the end. However, there were some genuinely funny moments in the film. I definitely enjoyed myself until the final act in which everything was resolved a bit too quickly.

There are certainly some things that stuck out, though: Read the rest of this entry

What I learned from The Social Network

It was hard to write a post regarding a movie like this, since the whole presentation right down to the poster was so incredibly classy compared to...well, everything else.

I could honestly care less for Mark Zuckerberg. He built a social networking site that was originally popular for the allowance of egoism and stalking but now persists largely due to me-tooism and time wasting games. The fact that he has done this without charging users is pretty amazing. However, I do not know him personally and cannot assume much of anything regarding his goals. This is why I do not care for him. Read the rest of this entry

Easy A

After watching Easy A, the new teen comedy starring Emma Stone, my friend cried BS because it features a house party full of rampant teenagers. He said that in this day and age parents would not allow their children to have such large parties. I quickly pointed out that some parents are negligent, and in addition this story takes place in sunny California where big parties are simply expected. Read the rest of this entry

The Expendables

I have been subjected to Sylvester Stalone’s The Expendables twice now, and it does not get any better after multiple viewings. When asked what I thought about the movie after the first viewing, my response was, “It is exactly what you would expect it to be. It’s just another mindless action flick.” It is. I tried to focus on the heart of the film this time, that being Stallone’s character’s quest to save part of his soul by saving the woman in distress. There was not enough of that. There was just testosterone and blood. Read the rest of this entry

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

I've been trying, I'm not lying | No one's perfect, I've got baggage!

Ever date someone who just could not let go of the past? No matter what, somehow a story about an ex might pop up in conversation. Either a story about how great they were compared to what you are doing right now, or stories about how horrid they were – and you are just like them. The realization that needs to be made is that you are not just dating a person. You are dating the person’s sum of interpersonal experiences, for better or for worse. In the latter case, it is a constant fight with the expectations set by others. Read the rest of this entry