Thursday, April 03, 2008

What I've Been Up To: Part One, The Movies

Over the weekend, I'm going to run a quick re-cap of what I've been reading, watching, and, perhaps, listening to.

Southland Tales - What a mess. No, let me start again. What a fucking mess. I mean seriously, who looked at this script and thought, "This is a fantastic idea, mountains of incomprehensible plot, with absolutely no story behind it! You're a genius Kelly!" Unless your last name Lynch or Kubrick, you don't get to make a movie that's completely incomprehensible and think that I'll take more than one viewing of your film to figure out what the hell is going on.

Let's back up, Southland Tales is the second film from Richard Kelly, maker of Donnie Darko. While I thought that movie was interesting, ultimately, I felt it was pretentious clap-trap. This movie is ostensibly a vision of an alternate America where nuclear warheads were detonated in 2004 and since then, the Bush administration has gone crazy doing all the things we won't let them do right now. Anyway, from there we get: Neo-Marxists, half the cast of the 90's SNL, wormholes, zero-point energy, evil twins, porn-stars-turned-talk-show-hosts, time travel, mega-zeppelins, and enough D-list stars that you keep thinking your self, "Hey looks, it's Kevin Smith in a ton of old man makeup," or, "Hey look, it's Christopher Lambert, 'There can be only one!'"

There's just so much plot in this movie, that really, they could ave made, like three other, possibly-decent movies. A new source of emission free power generating technology that could possible rip a hole in the space-time continuum? Good idea. An alternate history piece of how the Country would deal with the current Administration being able to enact all of the laws they'd like to? Pretty good idea. A vision on how fascist governments and the insurgent groups that fight them often end up being very similar in their methods, despite differences in their ideologies? Cool! But all at the same damn time? Fuck that noise.

And the acting (or "acting"), ug. The only one who actually engages in anything close to a real character is The Rock, who actually gets away with playing an action-movie star who's in way over his head. Everybody else is just terrible.

I could go on, but really, I already wasted 2 hours watching this move and another 30 minutes writing this. Consider this a warning.

I Am Legend - OK, this was much better than I thought it would be. Pretty much everyone know the drill. Will Smith is the "last" man on earth after a plague wipes out the global population, except for the few that it turned into vampire-zombies. Not as good as the book, and it kind of falls apart in the last five minutes, but still pretty darn good for big-budget entertainment. A quick bullet-point rundown:
  • Will Smith was very, very good, this almost seems like an acting reel that someone would submit to show their range. I think I liked him so much, simply because he wasn't playing "Will Smith", it was an actual character, and in a big-budget action pic, that's a shock.
  • The vampire-zombies were probably the worst part. I don't know why the animated them in CGI. They just looked too cartoony, and would have been much better if they were real. Part of me thinks they made them look slightly cartoony (a technical term) in order to get the PG-13.
  • A dog dies, I cry. It's like basic math.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes - Blame Dr. K (and Netflix). Anyway, this is probably the first time I've watched this flick all the way through in 20 years. I think all children of the 70's/80's are familiar with the entire apes cycle from lazy Sunday afternoons spent trolling the upper-reaches of the UHF dial (look it up under 25-ers). Anyway not much to be said, other than the fact that I'm amazed that this G-Rated movie, which features crucified, burning apes and the destruction of the entire Earth did not manage to scar me in any way.

I guess that's all I got on the movie front right now. Hope all is well, and I should be back soon with books or comics, depending on what I'm feeling up to tonight.


CalvinPitt said...

Hmm, Southland Tales. I saw a graphic novel in Barnes & Noble with that name. I wonder whether it's based on the movie or vice versa.

If it's the inspiration, that may explain why it felt like there was enough to have multiple movies, because the plot was intended for a more serialized structure.

Do you think, in graphic novel format, it might be more worth checking out?

Jason said...

I don't know. I know the graphic novel was the prequel to the movie and some of the art was used in the opening narration. If you like the art, it could be interesting.