Posts Tagged ‘movie reviews’

Inception

February 13, 2011

First 10 Minutes: Cobb is talking about memes and how people can take credit for someone else’s memes on Reddit in order to acquire karma. But there is a way to protect yourself, and that is why he is going door to door selling his virus protection software to a Japanese guy in a room with way too many lights.

OMG it was all just a dream! Well, that wasn’t too bad. Concise, at least. Oh shit, nevermind it’s going to keep going. Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoons shows up and hits on Cobb since she is undergoing a trial separation from Boris Badenov. Then Leonardo DiCaprio went on a killing spree on set. Security stopped him while the producers all slowly turn around in their swivel-chairs doing slow clap. Oh wait, nevermind guys! This is all really just the movie… inside a dream. I think. The cast starts shooting stunt doubles just to prove it and this gives Cobb night terrors.

11-20 Minutes: Everyone wakes up and there’s a riot because they are outraged that Christopher Nolan did not get nominated for Best Director. But that doesn’t matter because it was all another dream, if you didn’t see that coming. It turns out Cobb and his friends are corporate spies who get all up in ur sleep, stealin ur memez. That is what happens when indie dream spies sell out to The Man. I remember back when they used to play at Showplace and this one time Critter got so drunk he threw up all over the mosh pit. It was so gross, but everyone understood because those were crazy times, man!

Cobb's old squat, from before he went mainstream

The guy from Brick hangs out with Cobb in Japan and they’re approached by the Japanese guy they were trying to rob earlier who does slow clap again. He wants to hire them to do a forced meme, aka Inception. He cannot get this procedure done in the US because the gubberment death panels will not ration out that kind of treatment under Nobamacare.

21-28 Minutes: Cobb goes to visit Alfred Pennyworth, who has been using a fake identity to pose as a university professor in France ever since the death of Bruce Wayne. So he gives Cobb a university student named Ariadne to do an unpaid internship designing mazes to use on the menus of his family restaurant chain. Cobb takes her to one of them and tries to sell her on his 11 step program on how to unlock the full potential of the brain for just 3 easy payments of $95.99. But it was all just a dream… *sign* Again…

29-39 Minutes: Ariadne shows off her design skills and Cobb decides that she will make excellent children’s placemats. Nolan uses all the cool special effects he couldn’t afford in Following. Their acid trip goes bad and Natasha returns to stab Ariadne in the stomach for an impromptu wall slinky. This disturbs her for some reason so she bolts.

Cobb hits up a Kenyan casino to try to recruit another actor for the movie. But bad guys are following him, so Cobb runs away and tries to hide out in a cafe like Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The chase scene causes lots of property damage and terrifies countless innocent civilians, but that’s OK because a main character escaped with the newly hired actor AND Barack Hussein Obama’s real birth certificate.

40-50 Minutes: Ariadne comes back and the guy from Brick shows her some MC Escher paintings. Cobb needs another actor to play the role of the chemist who makes their LSD, so he recruits this guy running an opium den. Saito, Cobb’s client, makes a speech about how his energy company is ideologically opposed to monopolization of the energy market as long as the company holding the monopoly isn’t his. So Cobb has to force a self-destructive meme into Saito’s enemy’s (played by The Scarecrow) dome-piece. It’s too bad they didn’t consider lobbying for anti-trust legislation, because that would make this movie or dream or whatever it is superfluous.

Cobb and Ariadne talk about his obsession with the wife he had to kill and how it will inevitably fuck up everything, but they decide against taking any real precautions whatsoever for the sake of suspense. See, they know it’s all just a movie. Inception is very meta that way.

51-60 Minutes: Cobb’s team decides to force the whole business-killing meme with a really catchy pop-punk concept album. They jam until they come up with something which will affect The Scarecrow on multiple levels, and then they will leave the music industry with a “kick,” which is just what the kids are calling it these days.

Ariadne is a voyeur and goes to fap while watching Cobb make out with his dead wife in a dream. She’s locked in some kind of S&M dungeon, which is why she sometimes gets all stabby.

61-69 Minutes: The gang catch a plane with The Scarecrow and drug him so they can see if he pisses his pants when they put his hand in lukewarm water. He does, and it’s hilarious. Many lulz ensues as they enter into the Matrix, I mean dream world.

Everyone’s pretty much immediately attacked by some dudes who are all like, “Hey! GTFO our dreams!” Saito gets clipped and it turns out that if any of them die in the dream they’ll go to Purgatory with nothing but aborted fetuses to keep them company. They’re all Catholics all of a sudden, I guess.

70-85 Minutes: They all interrogate Scarecrow and his buddy in compliance with the Geneva Conventions by playing their pop-punk album at them while they’re chained to a radiator. Cobb talks about his acid experiences with Natasha. Apparently one day she freaked out, thought she could fly, and jumped off a building in order to become a statistic used by the ONDCP. Cut back to the interrogation with gun fights and car chases and yet another dream…

86-97 Minutes: Cobb does a scene with Scarecrow in order to proliferate memes, which is kind of the main purpose of this movie. He also pretends to be Scarecrow’s anti-spyware software, pulling on his experience earlier selling it door to door. Then they both do a dine-n-dash from the hotel bar.

Cobb turns Scarecrow against his godfather who he’s known all his life just from a few lines of dialogue all while he he’s dreamin in his dream so he can dream while he dreams. This is like beating the mini-boss at the end of a board in video games, so they move on to the next level which takes place in a forced labor camp in Siberia.

98-114 Minutes: Back in the hotel, Christopher Nolan is going mad with power from the success of The Dark Knight and changes the laws of physics. He blames it all on the scene from earlier where they’re all taking a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive through the park, but that is a “false flag.” This scene is an “inside job!” WAKE UP, SHEEPLE.

Back in Siberia, everyone starts playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. But it’s one of those levels where you have to finish it within a certain amount of time and you never make it on the first try.

115-123 Minutes: As usual, they all fail to meet the time requirement for this level, so Ariadne plugs in a cheat code so they all go into God Mode, which is where Cobb plays Second Life when he’s feeling lonely and depressed. But Natasha shows up spouting some Post-Modernist bullshit about how there are multiple realities and it all just comes down to the subjective experience of the observer as she thinks it’s proved due to the double-slit experiment and quantum mechanics. She has been reading a lot of Deepak Chopra in this particular dream world.

The guy from Brick in the hotel and the others in Siberia continue playing video games.

124-132 Minutes: Cobb tells Natasha about how he totally punk’d her into committing suicide that one time and she STILL wants them to “be together.” It’s getting a little desperate and pathetic at this point, Natasha! Just get back to being a subconscious projection and plot device, please. Cobb verbally bitchslaps her and then Ariadne shoots her, because she’s fake and has no soul. Also, probably a witch.

Scarecrow finally gets around to stealing his dying father’s will in Siberia, and then the gang pwns him by blowing up his hospital. Soon everyone will be leaving The Matrix, I mean, the dream world, and back to reality.

133-140 Minutes: The meme worked. Scarecrow will destroy his father’s business with his anger. Cobb stayed in God Mode but accidentally hit restart and now must live through this whole movie again because it’s a recursive meme. That means that every time you watch this movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s role is actually played by him each time and not just recorded. He has a terrible agent who signed a nightmarish contract. Cobb goes back to his maybe-home to frighten his maybe-children with his very real arrest warrant for murder. CREDITS.

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Toy Story 3

January 26, 2011

I’ve decided to give myself this project of writing up these timestamped reviews of movies nominated for best picture for the Oscars. This way readers can talk about them at parties without having to actually watch them. They are all guaranteed to be 100% accurate, so don’t bother fact-checking or anything. Think of these as Cliff’s Notes, except they’re for people with a fear of movies instead of the illiterate. You can trust me.

0-5 Minutes:

A train is transporting people across the desert to the nearest concentration camp. But it’s been hijacked by a man with an inoperable tumor on his gargantuan head, and Tom Hanks is trying to thwart his plot so the gypsies can be exterminated on schedule. A fight ensues, the gypsies are frightened, but they’re all saved at the last minute by Wernher von Braun. This is all going to turn out to be someone’s dream or something.

OK, it was a flashback. Close enough. When he was a child, Andy used to summon the power of his dark Lord Satan in order to bring his inanimate toys to life. In exchange, the devil took the lives of 6 of Andy’s unborn brothers and sisters, prompting his parents to see a fertility doctor to find out what was going on with all these miscarriages. They received no explanation.

Cut to a montage of Andy growing up with crippling agoraphobia with his “toys” as his only companions. As he went through adolescence, he developed persecutional delusions in which his toys were secretly conspiring against him. And so he locked them up in a box indefinitely without charges.

Andy’s fears, though the product of a damaged and paranoid mind, were of course well-founded. The toys really were plotting Andy’s demise. Fortunately they are awful at being terrorists and the plan to kill him with a cell phone-activated IED failed.

5-17 Minutes:

Tom Hanks in Toy Story 3

Tom Hanks is going by the pseudonym Woody. He is the Muqtada al-Sadr of the toy insurgency and announces that soon Andy will implement a prisoner transfer from Block one-one-three-eight. Andy’s mom botches the transfer and puts all the toys but Woody before a firing squad. Woody accidentally rescues them at the last minute while dumpster diving for used coffee filters.

18-21 Minutes:

Woody is a staunch reactionary who fears change. He tries to rile up the insurgents for one last terrorist attack, but nobody really has it in them anymore. Andy’s mom continues the prisoner exchange.

21-31 Minutes:

Andy’s mom brings them to a free love commune in the middle of a rave party. Lotso is the big pimp who will get you “anything at all.” He also preaches on the subjects of eternal salvation in exchange for loyalty to the Sunshine Day Care Commune and their anti-authoritarian ethos.

Due to his right-wing views on private property, Woody decides to ditch Lotso’s commune to go to college with Andy in order to help him show vulnerable female art majors that he’s in touch with his childhood and sensitive and shit. He hitches a ride with yet another garbage reciptical, this one pushed by some Mr Magoo looking motherfucker. Dude loves to hump him some trash. After he escapes, he’s kidnapped by a rival faction of the insurgency.

32-40 Minutes:

Back at the commune, the gang discovers the forced labor part of their daily routine. They are beaten mercilessly, and Lotso hangs the slowest worker at the end of every workday (weekends off). They petition the toy leadership for a redress of grievances, but von Braun goes rogue and tries to install wiretaps without a warrant in the leadership council’s private money laundering headquarters. He is discovered like the Watergate criminal he is.

40-46 Minutes:

Lotso steps in on Buzz’s enhanced interrogation and brainwashes him. It turns out that Mrs. Potato Head is a Remote Viewer and she experiences seeing Andy back at their old home. She finds that Andy really does love them, and that the only path to salvation is through His Divine Light. But since she and the others did not believe until they had seen, Lotso declared them all not blessed. Buzz is now in the Black Sleep of the Kali Ma, and he keeps the dissidents under 24 hour suicide watch.

47-53 Minutes:

Barbie disapproves of Ken’s role in Lotso’s Stalinist purges. Lotso explains that the newcomers must withstand a prolonged hazing period and that only with seniority will they rise through the ranks into the Butterfly Room. More force labor and torture is implied.

Meanwhile, Woody finds out how to get back to his personal lord and savior Andy on 4chan. Before leaving, Woody’s new friends do a LOST-style flashback to Lotso’s dark and sordid past, from before he rose to power at Sunnyside.

54-75 Minutes:

Woody is recruited by the CIA and goes on a covert operation to go to Sunnyside and terminate the command of Lotso with extreme prejudice. Together the insurgents carry out a tedious and uninspired plan to reverse Buzz’s brainwashing and escape from the compound. Eventually Darth Vader throws Emperor Lotso into the garbage.

76-87 Minutes:

More dumpster diving / trash humping, followed by what is supposed to be – I’m guessing, judging from the sappy music – an emotional ‘goodbye’ scene.

88-93 Minutes:

Andy violates his court orders to stay away from small children in order to scare a little girl named Bonnie with his demonic “toys.” They both share a little bit of psychotic delusion time together anthropomorphizing small pieces of plastic. Bonnie guilt-trips Andy into giving her the cowboy toy he wanted to keep for himself. Of course, Bonnie will later grow up to be a high-powered Hollywood agent.

THE END

I am very surprised that this was marketed as a children’s story, considering its extremely dark and disturbing subject matter. Shame on Pixar. Will nobody think of the children?

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Mr. Plinkett attacks JJ Abrams’ Star Trek

September 2, 2010

I actually liked this film, although the time travel / alternative timeline bit was a pretty clichéd cop-out.I haven’t watched this review yet, but I’m sure it’ll give me lots of reasons for hating my former self for liking the 09 Star Trek film.

Embedding blip.tv is all messed up on WordPress, so here is part 1.

And here is part 2.

Best movie reviewer ever

April 7, 2010

The guy who did that 70 minute review of The Phantom Menace just released his 90 minute assault on Attack of the Clones. It takes almost as long as the movies’ durations themselves in order to describe (mostly) everything wrong with them. Here’s the first part:

District 9

March 1, 2010

I’ve decided to give myself this project of writing up these timestamped reviews of movies nominated for best picture for the Oscars. This way readers can talk about them at parties without having to actually watch them. They are all guaranteed to be 100% accurate, so don’t bother fact-checking or anything. Think of these as Cliff’s Notes, except they’re for people with a fear of movies instead of the illiterate. You can trust me.

District 9

  • Minute 1: Oh, OK, so this is basically like The Office plus aliens.
  • Minute 2: So now it’s The Office plus redneck aliens. Didn’t Peter Jackson already do a movie about redneck aliens? I think he did.
  • Minute 5: The aliens are living in a concentration camp in Johannesburg.
  • Minute 7: Steve Carrell is coordinating the relocation of the aliens on a trail of tears to Oklahoma, or as they call it in their language, “maize.” His hot wife is proud of him.
  • Minute 12: Not much happening, they’re running around aliens while operating military stuff. How did they learn English so quickly?
  • Minute 14: The aliens are addicted to some kind of heroin stored in cat food.
  • Minute 17: The Steve Carrell guy firebombs an abortion clinic for Jesus and then gets puked on.
  • Minute 20: The aliens are making methamphetamine from garbage.
  • Minute 22: The aliens are busted for making methamphetamine from garbage. Wikus gets sprayed with more alien shit.
  • Minute 24: FIGHT! One of the meth dealers gets ‘capped’ while the other runs away.
  • Minute 27: The surviving meth dealing alien starts a sitdown demo to protest the mass eviction.
  • Minute 29: Wikus is all fucked up puking and bleeding black shit out of his nose. I didn’t even make that part up.
  • Minute 32: Nigerians are now The Man keeping the alien brothas down by eating their hearts after killing them in drug deals.
  • Minute 35: Wikus pukes again. He’s all junk sick at his party and is sent to rehab where his hand goes all alien-y.
  • Minute 36: The military is forcing Wikus to get a sex change operation in secret. But how did the documentary filmmakers get into the restricted area?
  • Minute 40: OK they’re making him shoot aliens with his new creepy hand. I find it difficult to believe that any military is so desperate for weapons that they need to use mutants to operate alien tech.
  • Minute 42: Wikus gets all SexCrazy and RetardStrong and escapes because he knows the vaccines they wanted to give him would make him autistic.
  • Minute 45: The news is reporting, “Wikus was the first motherfucker to see a new galaxy, or find a new alien life form… and fuck it. Now people are, like, ‘There he goes; homeboy fucked a Martian once.'”
  • Minute 47: Oh, I get it! Wikus is part-ALIEN and he’s hiding from the government in South friggin Africa. Old topical content is old.

  • Minute 49: I think he’s hit rock bottom now, eating catfood he bought on the black market straight from the can by hand outside of a garbage heap. Now his wife left him because of the sex change operation.
  • Minute 52: Inspired by Bob Flanagan, Wikus gets into self-mutilation. How is the film crew still with him? This is supposed to be a documentary. Or mockumentary. Or something.
  • Minute 53: Wikus meets up with the surviving meth dealing alien. Up until this point the movie has been building up to a turn into a dual cop comedy except the cops are both renegades who don’t play by the rules.
  • Minute 57: OMG WE CAN’T TEAM UP TO STORM THE SECURITY STATION AND GET THE FUEL BACK ITS A SUICIDE MISSION AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! OK, let’s go, I guess. Just give me a minute to get all emo and talk to my wife.
  • Minute 62: Hello there Mr. Gangster Sir, I’d like to buy some weapons plz. This will go well.
  • Minute 65:Wikus = Frank Booth “Don’t fucking look at me!”, Nigerian gangsta = Bill O’Reilly “I’m coming for you!”
  • Minute 66: EPIC BATTLE111 Remember kids, always bring your film crew with you while storming an international peacekeeping HQ with alien weapons and your goofy alien sidekick.
  • Minute 76: Bunch of explosions and crap.
  • Minute 78: Wikus is arrested for fucking Martians again, then captured by Nigerian cannibals. “Hey man, be cool, just gimme your arm.”
  • Minute 81: Guys shooting guns, blah blah blah.
  • Minute 83: The goofy alien sidekick uses one of Obama’s predator drones to save Wikus.
  • Minute 86: Wikus saves the goofy alien sidekick from enhanced interrogation using the predator drone.<
  • Minute 91: Sidekick escapes, Wikus decides he’d really rather just hang back and kill some humans instead of change back into one.
  • Minute 96: Black bloc of aliens help Wikus not get killed, he lives happily ever after in the garbage heap. The end.

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Up

February 15, 2010

I’ve decided to give myself this project of writing up these timestamped reviews of movies nominated for best picture for the Oscars. This way readers can talk about them at parties without having to actually watch them. They are all guaranteed to be 100% accurate, so don’t bother fact-checking or anything. Think of these as Cliff’s Notes, except they’re for people with a fear of movies instead of the illiterate. You can trust me.

Up

  • Minute 1: Charles Muntz is a cryptozoologist featured in an old timey news reel.
  • Minute 2: Skeptics at National Geographic conspire to force Muntz into exile. The INS deports him to live with his cryptids.
  • Minute 4: Brainwashed child follower of Muntz meets a fellow cultist of the same age in his neighborhood. They are both wearing helmets.
  • Minute 5: The human (?) female is named Ellie, and she forces the unnamed human (?) male to jump off a bombed out roof. His helmet protects him from much further brain damage.
  • Minute 6: Fueled by the delirium induced by his mild concussion, the humanish male plots to hijack the Goodyear blimp so that they can both join FARC in Colombia and grow old together after saving up enough money for a comfortable retirement with lots of henchmen. They will raise funds by working as drug mules.
  • Minute 7: The two are married in the traditional rituals of the Muntzian Church of Inner Healing & Cryptozoology.
  • Minute 11: Montage through their life together. Male’s name reveled as Carl. They grow old together but never make it to Colombia. Carl mercy kills Ellie in the hospital like RP McMurphy.
  • Minute 15: Carl refuses to evacuate his house.
  • Minute 17: Boy named Russell teams up with Carl, who assigns him to a lengthy sentence in his S&M dungeon.
  • Minute 18: Carl beats the fuck out of a developer, loses his house.
  • Minute 22: Carl levitates his house using The Power Of Positive Thinking.
  • Minute 24: It turns out Russell was fapping in the S&M dungeon during liftoff and was too stupid to leave. He is now a stowaway.
  • Minute 30: Carl tries to ditch Russell in the Andes so that he can be eaten by a Uruguayan rugby team.
  • Minute 34: They both get stranded due to Carl’s inadequacy, but are near the FARC rendezvou. Russell’s term as an indentured servant is extended.
  • Minute 38: Russell discovers Charles Muntz’s cryptid by feeding it his own shit. Cryptid = Kevin.
  • Minute 40: Ellie apparently tells Russell that he can keep Kevin. I should’ve mentioned earlier that all throughout this time Carl has been talking to his wife as if he didn’t murder her back at the hospital many years ago. He has entered a deep state of denial about his deplorable actions, and now Russell has joined in on Carl’s delusion.
  • Minute 41: The two graduate from talking to dead people to talking to dogs. Dog = Doug. Get it? It’s like Dog, but with just an extra letter. Ha ha ha!
  • Minute 44: Doug is an outcast from the antagonist dogs owned by disgraced cryptozoologist Charles Muntz.
  • Minute 46: The demons in Carl’s head tell him to ditch Kevin and Doug, so he does. They both catch up.
  • Minute 49: In a fit of blind rage, Russell forces Carl to take a blood oath of loyalty to Kevin. As a lifelong Muntz devotee, Carl is obligated to do so.
  • Minute 52: Evil dogs capture the group and take them on a death march to Muntz’s lair.
  • Minute 55: Muntz welcomes them as guests when he realizes Carl is a card-carrying devotee and a regular tither to his cult.
  • Minute 57: They all eat dinner, but Russell is upset at having to execute the monkey with a mallet before eating its chilled brains.
  • Minute 60: Muntz shows Carl the disembodied heads of other cultists who had visited him. He flies into a fit of rage, and Carl barely escapes alive. This movie is actually a lot like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, except without all that racism and misogyny. Also, Indiana Jones is a senile old man who talks to dead people and Mola Ram is a cryptozoologist.
  • Minute 62: Totally plausible chase scene of a giant flightless bird carrying a house while outrunning a pack of dogs.
  • Minute 67: Muntz has used the technology given to him by the aliens to capture Kevin and begins his scorched earth policy.
  • Minute 70: Carl has made it to where he will meet up with FARC, but his crew is demoralized and Russell tries to escape his indentured servitude.
  • Minute 75: Carl “re-launches his house,” as the kids on the street are calling it these days, in order to stop Russell from licking poison ivy and possibly save the cryptid Kevin at the same time.  Doug was caught in Carl’s S&M dungeon and re-joins the collective. All of the protagonists in this story are now RetardStrong.
  • Minute 77: Charles captures Russell and tries to kill him. He then becomes paranoid and starts hallucinating.
  • Minute: 79: Carl begins one of his side missions for the Animal Liberation Front, saving Russell from death by stupidity in the process. Russell becomes seriously despressed and attempts suicide.
  • Minute 81: EPIC BATTLE
  • Minute 85: Carl murders Charles in cold blood and then laughs about it maniacally.
  • Minute 87: The cryptid is allowed to live out the rest of his life without being used as positive evidence for the cryptozoologists.
  • Minute 88: Carl bribes Russell to keep his FUCKING MOUTH SHUT about that senseless murder he just witnessed.

Overall, this is a very disturbing movie and I’m sure the Academy is recognizing this as a strange new direction for Disney to be taking.

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Sherlock Holmes

January 7, 2010

This was a good movie and you should go watch it. I wasn’t able to find any good torrents (hint for commenters), so I think you’d really need to actually go to the theater and pay money, unfortunately.

That’s the short version. The longer one has spoilers. So here goes.

Guy Ritchie uses a lot of the his trademark directorial tricks here, which fit well since this is still basically a crime story even though it’s set in the late 19th century instead of the present. So that kind of stuff translates well here.

Overall the movie’s plot does a good job at popularizing a critical approach to claims of the supernatural, but there are still a few problematic areas. While watching the movie, I was pretty sure that Ritchie wasn’t going to invoke actual magic in order to create a mystery, but it still bothered me that Watson had somehow missed something by declaring the antagonist dead early in the film. There had to be some way around that, maybe something similar to what happened with the Carlos hoax.

But instead, it turns out that Holmes figured out that it was done with some kind of herb or something from Asia. That’s fine and all, except that there’s no reason why Holmes should know about this and Watson would not. Watson’s a doctor, and supposedly his powers of deduction are second only to Holmes’; plus he was in the military and had traveled extensively. He should know about this kind of stuff and have some kind of test to see if it’s being used. It doesn’t quite fit, and that particular loose end was tied up in a sloppy way, in my opinion.

Really though, the fact that that’s my biggest complaint is more a testament to how well it was done. So go see it.

Avatarded

December 21, 2009

From what I’d read of the reviews of Avatar I really don’t have much to add. The aesthetics are very cool and make it worth going to see on its own. I was worried at first because the first 3D preview they showed just used basically flat background/foreground “3D” instead of the spectrum of depth as it’s supposed to be.

But it wasn’t that at all for Avatar. In general, the 3D effects were more subtle and didn’t really rely on that “Holy shit, it’s coming right at us!” thing.

MY SKIN IS BLUE YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID

What I don’t understand about this movie is this: If you’re going to spend years and years and hundreds of millions of dollars on a movie, why would you cut corners by writing such horrible lines? It was actually kind of embarassing to be sitting there watching them deliver some of them – like “I can see you” and stupid crap like that.

You know what it was like? It was like they didn’t even really write a script. Instead, they described the plot to a sarcastic guy and used his tongue-in-cheek notes as the script. That’s how corny it can get. And sitting there in the theater wondering if even a four year old could get swept up in the moment by the painfully stupid “HALLO, I ARE ONE OF YOU AND WE MUST FITE NAO!!11” speech, you kind of have to wonder if you’ve become one of those mildly retarded adults who read children’s books in order to be able to say that they’re “literate.”

The embarrassment of watching the plot unfold wasn’t even the worst part of the bad writing, though. The worst part of that was that you knew that there was not even a possibility of an unhappy ending. So you know for sure how this movie is going to end from the first few minutes. I’m not going to insist that every movie I see end up with all of the characters getting killed and cannibalized – at least, not anymore – but you really can’t have any suspense at all without there being at least a chance. That’s all I got for this. Go see it or don’t.

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The Men Who Stare At Goats

November 12, 2009

Here is my review:

OK, the thing with making a journalistic book into a movie is that usually you need to construct some kind of narrative around it that was never in the original story. Plus, it doesn’t really work well in film to have 50 different character appearances to impart information to the journalist. All these stories that go into the larger picture in the book form need to be collapsed so that you have one actor representing things said or done or referred to by several different actual people.

But the added narrative, even if it’s invented, should have some kind of vague thematic connection with the original work. In this movie, it doesn’t. I would think that even people unfamiliar with Ronson’s book would find the whole journalist’s-wife-leaving-him-for-his-editor-so-he-tries-to-prove-himself-by-going-to-a-war-zone thing contrived.

Same goes for the ending as well, which just seemed like a last minute dog-ate-my-homework addition in order to inject some conflict and tension into the storyline, such as it existed. But really, these kinds of books which are largely just exposes, huge extensions of a feature story for a magazine, don’t translate into film very well. So maybe this was just a bad idea and doomed from the start.

Capitalism: A Love Story

October 11, 2009

OK, when I first heard the title of this movie, I thought Moore was going to try to restore Marx and talk about how misunderstood he is by today’s society. Of course I figured it would mostly be about the bailouts and the fatcat bankers and all that stuff, too. But the “love story” bit sounded, at least to me, like there would be some mention of Marx.

Anyway, the reason I thought about Marx was because although he hated capitalism for all the reasons which are pretty well understood, he also kind of loved it at the same time. In only a few decades, the Industrial Revolution had driven advances in technology the net effect of which had been rarely, if ever,  seen in human history. So for Marx – at least as I read him – capitalism was this necessary transitional stage which served the purpose of getting us the tools we need to form a more just and equitable society. That’s kind of an important part of his theory of history which is often overlooked. Marx is probably one of the most misunderstood philosophers ever, except maybe for Nietzsche.

Another good example of that (and I’m getting to Michael Moore’s movie soon) is Marx’s take on religion. Everyone knows the “opium of the people” line and assume that to mean that Marx thought religion was this useless thing for idiots. But here’s the actual context of that line:

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.“

Like his take on capitalism, there’s this weird, complex love/hate, thing going on when Marx talks about religion. As a strict materialist, he didn’t believe in any of the supernatural claims of the various religions (we are in a “spiritless situation,” after all); but on the other hand, some people need their opium to get them through the day and it might even help them do some good once in a while. At least that’s how Marx saw it as I understand it.

So it was kind of surprising to see Michael Moore do his movie on capitalism and come out as a buddy of the Jesus without even bringing up Marx at all. His ghost was practically screaming between the lines throughout, and this would have been a good opportunity to educate the public on what he really said. Instead, Moore wants to bring up how he was inspired by his Catholicism in order to fight against greed and injustice (don’t concentrate too hard on that sentence, your brain might explode). In fact, he even tried to out-Jesus Sean Hannity on his program a few days ago (3:20):

It’s really difficult watching Moore, who’s supposed to be something vaguely resembling a journalist, interview Catholic priests while they talk about how greed is so horrible. I guess all that gold and luxurious palaces in the Vatican are… what? For charity? Are you kidding?

And besides how the Catholic institution had pretty much figuratively and literally raped everything it touched, it might not be such a good idea to promote them when Hitler analogies are ‘in:’

Its all part of Gods love.

It's all part of God's love.

And then Moore concludes the film with some good coverage of the Republic factory in Chicago which was occupied by the workers, while blowing some air kisses at Obama. So basically, like a lot of his work, the newest movie is a mix of good info-tainment and wtf. If you already know that pilots make way too little money and that banks suck, there’s not much of a reason to run out and see this in a theater.