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Viewing blog entries in category: movies

  • Iain Aschendale
    I just got back from Hereditary. No spoilers, but I found this movie very enjoyable in the classic horror sense of things. There are a couple scenes involving a cell phone, but they don't need to be there, and the rest of the movie could have been done anytime in the last forty or fifty years. That's a compliment, if you enjoy films like The Exorcist and The Omen, you may enjoy this film. There are no wisecracking evil menaces, no terrified teenagers in swimsuits or underwear, and no gratuitous jump scares, just a pure supernatural evil and a family's attempt to deal with it.

    On the critical side, there was one scene that I think may have had a set-dressing mistake, and I wasn't a fan of casting 68-year old Gabriel Byrne as the father of a thirteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old (when my father was my age [forty-seven] I had already been honorably discharged from the Marines and would have graduated college if I'd taken that path). It's not a complaint about how he plays the role, it's just Hollywood's typical pattern of letting leading men play roles well into their, ahem, late middle age that should really be going to younger men. Toni Collette, on the other hand, is 46, which fits the character better and is fucking outstanding in this role. Kudos to the rest of the casting decisions as well, the younger actors and actresses look like, well, average teenage kids. The "beautiful girl" love interest is pretty attractive, but doesn't come across as having fallen off a Maybelline package or anything.

    So anyway, if you like the old style of horror, I'd recommend this film. If boobs and splatter and jump-scares that were only the cat are more your thing, I won't judge, but you'll probably be bored to death.
  • Iain Aschendale
    C-3PO and R2D2 didn't manage to stop the trash compacter in time. Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca were all crushed, and the next time the Death Star went into hyperspace their corpses were ejected from the station before the jump, in keeping with Imperial fleet protocol. C-3PO, in a mixture of terror and despair, grabbed a power main with both hands and incinerated his circuits to avoid capture. Station security spent months combing every inch of the mammoth ship for the terrorists who had brazenly snuck aboard, broken an important prisoner out of the detention wing, and then simply vanished. In the years that followed, when something broke down or malfunctioned the engineers joked (quietly) "Must be those damn rebels again!"

    And little R2D2? He'd never really cared about the disputes of the living; the definition of joy for him was helping other mechanical systems. No one noticed one more R unit on the maintenance gang in the station's southern hemisphere, and he spent the rest of his days keeping the HVAC systems running smoothly as the rebellion was crushed, murdered planet by murdered planet.
  • Iain Aschendale
    While I was browsing the net the other day, I chanced upon a site that was hosting some sort of international short film festival. After looking at a couple of the titles, I discovered what appeared to be a Japanese romance movie. Now, my language ability isn't so hot, but I always like the opportunity to learn more about local culture so I figured I'd give it a shot. As my wife was still at work, it was up to me to understand as much of it as I could.

    The beginning was a little confusing, but I eventually started to understand the situation. However, just when it the film started to make sense to me, the video equipment developed some sort of glitch that obscured part of the screen. My monitor is pretty old, so I paused the film and checked the link on my tablet to try and ascertain the source of the problem. Whatever it was, it wasn't on my end; the tablet gave an identical result.

    Disappointed, I went back to the main menu and found another local production, but lo and behold, the same difficulty manifested itself a few minutes in. Since my devices were okay, I thought it might be a site issue, so I checked the next suggested film, which opened on a young Russian lady who was apparently daydreaming about finding a husband. Imagine her surprise when not one, not two, but three suitors called on her. At the same time! Now having to choose between paramours is a staple, I'm told, of romantic fiction and can serve as an important plot driver. However, this young lass was quite clever and the group arrived at a solution that, while somewhat unsanitary, left both her and her admirers quite happy. While some of the camera work was a trifle unsteady (I think one of the actors was doubling as a cameraman!), there was none of the glitching that had been present in the Japanese productions.

    I just think it's a pity that the Japanese entrants had so many problems with their video equipment. Japan is a country well-known for producing quality electronics, but even the best tools are useless in the hands of poorly-trained users. It's just kind of depressing to see my adoptive country perform so poorly on the international stage.
    John Calligan and Cave Troll like this.
  • Iain Aschendale
    Just got back from xXx: Return of Xander Cage. No spoilers, but it was a lot of fun.

    you see it on the big screen. Like most action flicks, I don't think it would translate well to my living room.

    Oh, also, I saw it in MX4D, which is the Japanese variant of the 3d theater with seats that tilt, bump, poke you in the kidneys and buttocks, spray blasts of air, water, and scents at your face, and tickle your ankles.

    So, kind of like that uncle that doesn't get invited by for Thanksgiving anymore because it violates the terms of his registry.

    But anyway, this is definitely the right kind of movie for that. Not a spoiler, but there are a number of fight scenes that are made even more interesting by getting harmlessly smacked around by your seat. On the negative side, there are also a number of scenes where cars smoke their tires, and, well, I couldn't identify the scent, but it was nowhere near burning rubber. Computer packaging, maybe.

    Odd point. I don't think of myself as a Social Justice Warrior, more of a Social Justice Weekend Reservist maybe, so I don't base my viewing choices solely on whether I expect everyone to be well-represented. Sometimes fun is just fun, but I was kinda surprised when I realized that, while the movie has roughly zero well-fleshed out characters, there are three Tuff Grrlz, two Smart Girls, and it passes the damned Bechdel Test.

    I mean, of course there are approximately 49 sets of self-propelled breasts and seven bikini-clad fuck-muppets, but it seems that as soon as they got their tops off, Xander bored them all to sleep...

    Anyway, it lags in the middle a bit, but, and this may be the 4d talking, I was quite entertained by the end of the film. As good as the original? Not sure, but it beat the hell out of Suicide Squad, so worth the ticket if that's your sort of movie.