Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Let's All Go To The Lobby...

Hi, folks! How would you all like a non-death related post for a change? You would? Fantastic! Since the Grim Reaper seems to have gone off the deep end in an orgy of celebrity coil shuffling, and since every conceivable news outlet from ABC to twitter, to the kid down the street and his sidewalk chalk has explored every ghoulish angle of the grisly goings on, I'm going to talk about the movies I've seen in the past week. So pull up an empty casket and ole Uncle Marius will tell ya about the pitcher shows.

Last weekend I guested at the lovely abode of two of my dearest friends A and B, and their lovely children G and D. Among their many passions, they are quite the cinephiles, and have a huge DVD collection. Inevitably among the first conversations we have whenever I visit is 'Have you seen movie X?', to which I usually reply, 'uh, no.' This is followed with a vow to rectify the deficit in my movie watching, and after an invariably sumptuous meal, and a few games of pool, the movies come out. And while often the flicks in question are ones I haven't seen on purpose, they almost always end up becoming favorites. Gross Pointe Blank, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Serenity are past examples of their cinematic largese. And this visit was no different. The first show was not exactly a movie, but a twenty minute bit of musical strangeness by Joss Whedon, of Buffy and Angel fame, called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Neal Patrick Harris plays an aspiring mad scientist who is trying to get into the Evil League of Evil, but is constantly thwarted by Captain Hammer, played with beautiful narcissism by Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame. This is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek send up of the comic hero genre replete with hilarious songs beautifully sung by a cast that totally gets it. And the best part is you can watch it online totally free of charge here. Go watch it right now. I'll wait.

Wasn't that awesome? Yeah, I know.

Oh, right, movies. We also watched Tropic Thunder. This comic romp stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. as actors making a Viet Nam movie who end up really lost in the jungles of Viet Nam and have to fight their way back to civilization. Normally Stiller's presence in a film keeps me far away, but I was assured he was watchable and funny, so I acquiesced. And I was not sorry I did. This movie is less a fish out of water story and more a let's rip the movie industry a new one story. If I had realized how much satire was in this film I would have seen it much sooner. There are also numerous cameos that are almost worth the rental price on their own. Tropic Thunder is a fun movie.

We also had The Spirit on during breakfast, but I was only half watching most of it. It is very stylistically similar to Sin City, but the story is much more family friendly. I can't really say if I liked it or not. It seems to have trouble deciding if it wants to be comedy, or satire, or a stylized film noir, but aspects of it are very fun. Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus is one tube of clown white away from out-jokering The Joker. If you can borrow the DVD, or find it in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart it's not a bad film, just a bit unfocused. In any case, A and B, I had a great time and look forward to our next visit.

Fast forward to Tuesday. Mrs. Marius gets off work around 9:30am, so we decided to catch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at an early afternoon show. Such shows are usually fairly deserted, but I forgot school is out, so there were more kids there than I would have liked, but it ended up not mattering. The sheer volume of the film kept any conversations well and truly obliterated. Soon we were ensconced in the high volume, high calibre world of robots that are more than meets the eye. And my verdict? Yawn. I was never a Transformers fan. The cartoon came out during that period in my life where I was too old to appreciate Saturday morning fare, but too young to have realized that cartoons always rock. I had always thought the concept was pretty stupid, but the first movie was actually a lot of fun and giant robots destroying each other, and everything else around them, appealed to the Godzilla fan in me. Plus my wife was a big fan so it was a win-win scenario. I was, therefore, if not excited about the sequel, at least I wasn't dreading it. On the plus side the CGI was mostly incredible. The digital print we saw was gorgeous, and the soundtrack was kicking. And Megan Fox did what she does best: look smoking hot. But that's about all I can say that's good about the movie. Maybe if it was 45 minutes shorter and edited a bit tighter I might not have noticed how stupid the plot was. But the fact is that despite all the explosions, robots, military hardware, and a leading lady who perpetually looks post coital, it was boring. I kept checking my watch after about 90 minutes, and couldn't get out of the cinema fast enough once the credits rolled. And for the record, my wife didn't care for it either.

Today was a day that would have convinced Noah that the voice in his head wasn't lying, so we hit the video rental shop and settled in to couch surf in earnest. The first flick we rented was one I had heard a lot about, and all good, called Let The Right One In. It's a Swedish vampire story with a difference. The protagonists are a bullied twelve-year-old boy and his apparently twelve-year-old vampire girlfriend. The story of how their friendship develops while she munches her way through the population of this smallish town is very worth watching. Make no mistake, though, this is a horror film, and while the gore is nothing by our standards, it is pretty gruesome. If a quirky foreign vampire flick is your cup of Swiss Miss, this is a wonderful little film. A word of advice, though. Make sure you set the audio for the original Swedish with subtitles. The English dubbing is horrible...and not in a good way.

Then we watched Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans. It was pretty much what we've come to expect from the Underworld series. Lots of blue light and grey scenery, CGI werewolves, volatile vampires, and lots of fighting. As my British friends would say, this movie is what it says on the tin. If you enjoyed the first two, this is a good watch. If you didn't care for the others, give this one a miss.

And that's it for now. Tomorrow, on my fellow podcast hosts' recommendation, I'm going to give Event Horizon a second viewing. I'm told it is much better than I recall.

So what movies have you seen lately? Anything to write home to Marius about? Let me know.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled celbrity body count.



Stinkypaw said...

We are so behind going to movies, we haven't been in over 2 years (if not more)! We've been watching some DVD, and the last one we watched (last week) was "Sweeney Todd" - didn't know it was a musical... but I liked it. Followed by "Grudge 2" - yuck!

Turtle said...

We saw "Up" the other day. It was... interesting. A whole lot darker than your average Pixar film. It had it's moments, but certainly not amongst their best work.

Alysoun said...

Hmmm.we were looking forward to "Up,"..but I am glad, Marius, that you got a chance to see Dr. Horrible - does it not verily rocketh?

flurrious said...

Did you hear Karl Malden died? I was very surprised, as I had been under the impression that he was already dead.

I've been on a Clint Eastwood kick lately. Gran Torino (v. good), Changeling (angries up the blood), and tonight I'm watching Sudden Impact (the 4th Dirty Harry movie). I also recently saw Australia, which was a complete mess, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, because I will watch any movie where dogs talk.

Purple Pigeon said...

Oooooh that was quite helpful actually, as I'm supposed to be seeing transformers at some point, and had heard it was a bit too long. Might wait til its on DVD so there can be proper snack and loo breaks. I also wanted to see Underworld, but have so far not got round to watching it on DVD, mainly cuz its still about 13 quid and i know I'm only going to watch it once, so I'm not buying it til its in the bargain bin for 2 pounds.

I saw 'blow' recently, for obvious johnny depp based reasons, otherwise i dont think it would have appealed. But it was good, more poignant at the end than i thought it was going to be. The youngster J keeps wanting me to watch films like American History X and others where things like ''he was shagging this woman and the people started shooting at them so he shot back while still shagging her....'' happens. I have so far flatly refused. What nonsense!