some final movie reviews? (before getting back to work!)

Been jotting down a lot of notes, and obsessing in my spare time, about vidHero and Space Cops (which will now be renamed “Space Crimes”)(or maybe “Space Privates.” not sure.). Occurs to me I should just start posting my notes about characters and plot for vidHero here in the development blog. why not? better than babbling about movies and video games and science and society.

So, hopefully this will be the last pseudo-critique post for a while. Watched a bunch of movies and tv this weekend. fun. relaxing. but also like gorging at mcDonald’s. Still feel kind of weird and sluggish.

… nothing was worth a big dedicated blog post review. but some quick thoughts follow:

Happy Campers (2001) – Daniel Waters (writer of Heathers), tried to make a summer camp sex comedy with brains. and it fails weirdly. kind of bizarre train wreck, but it did have sexy young kids enjoying strange sexy adventures in the woods. so maybe it’s on target? And after the mostly random nonsense (none of it that was really that funny) there is a nice wrap up ending involving thousands of condoms. maybe I need to see more teen sex comedies to appreciate th- whatever.

His other film (Sex & Death 101) isn’t great, but it’s way better than this early effort.

Carnivale Season 2 – is rad. but also exhausting. so much symbolism and mystery that it’s hard to watch more than a couple episodes at a time.

Jericho Season 1 – mentioned to the wife that I used to confuse Jericho with Carnivale, back when I decided not to watch either of them. And ho ho, there was Jericho on Netflix instant watch. And within 10 minutes we were sucked into the show. Much more engaging that Carnivale. Feels like a collage of stephen kind characters/stories. … but lacks the juicy symbolism and brainy undercurrents of Carnivale (so far). And they both have characters named Hawkins, and strong nuclear bomb themes and WHAT IS HAPPENIN- … anywho. I plan to keep watching, after we finish off Carnivale.

Once Upon a Time Season 2: god I hate this show. I love the established characters and timeless stories they’re fucking with. And I love Robert Carlyle. And that dude from Terriers (Michael Raymond-James). but the rest of the show is so painful. I regret taking the time to watch season 2. (but then the premiere of season 3 popped up last night while I was waiting for Breaking Bad… and we watched it! AHHH! KILL MEEEEE) )(and actually it was pretty good. I dig the idea of an evil/deadly Peter Pan demon shadow that haunts skull island. but).
The main characters are all whiny pretty people, who mope around complaining about how hard it is to do anything and never seem to really move forward. Same gripe I have about Arrow – I have no interest in rich pretty people complaining about their trivial problems.
But… I do like how they find new interesting ways to present the evil queen’s tits. And I find the main character sort of sexy in a heroin-junkie tired-older-lady way.
But. Mostly this is a show about bad CGI, and safe twists on timeless characters that mostly ruin them.

Justice League : Doom (2012) : Did I read this as a comic? Seems terribly familiar. Crap. Right down to the non-ending where one character seems to quit the Justice leage… and the movie is like “whatever, i’m over. We’ll resolve it next week!” (except it’s a movie. there is no next week).

I dug the part where bruce wayne’s parents’ graves are robbed. And a little while later he finds himself buried alive with their bones (kill bill style). That’s some meaty gothic horror for mr. batman. but it has no pay off! No character comments on it. No repercussions. This whole movie epitomizes the way DC heroes have intricate puzzles and villain ideas, but no real heart or characterization. This cartoon makes me dread what will happen when they try to make a JLA movie.
I was also struck that it’d be way cooler if a side effect of Flash’s super speed was : super aging. It’d be keen if he was living out entire generations each week. keeping his child and teen states hidden from friends and family by raising them in the blur of hyper speed. Training them to take his place and pretend to be him. If I ever wrote The Flash, this would be my plotline. Replete with the creepy drama of his wife wondering which generation she was sleeping with this week, and who was the the mother of each new baby (not her). Plus, you’d open the door to a kind of hyper evolution, where this one guy/bloodline is able to evolve hundreds of years every month. And he could have a kind of group think or handed-down-myth approach to solving mysteries.

Was also struck that it’d just be a lot cooler if Green Lantern’s ring/power was based in Green Kryptonite. Thus causing problems whenever he and Superman needed to work together. And tying their bizarre “different colors” problems together. … I’m guessing this must have been tackled in the comics. too obvious. … ?

Planet Hulk (2010) : basically someone wanted to make a Gladiator meets John Carter of Mars mashup. So why not shove the hulk in there? This could have been great, if they’d stuck with the classic grunting screaming ball of rage hulk. It would have been quietly hilarious if he was mistaken for a maniac murdering hero by all these dipshit aliens. They could have even gotten away with the “talkbots” translating hulk’s roars so that others could understand him a little.

but going with this weird hulk who can form sentences and can stand around being sullen was a bad choice. by the end of the film he’s mostly pouting, staring meaningfully, and talking way too much about his honor. wtf? weird. (And why not turn back into banner? That also would have been a fun twist – if they held him up as the planet’s ultimate christ like savior, and then he transformed into this weaselly little human.). I guess there are a lot of variations on the character, so this talking thinking hulk is probably canon. but. bleh. the point of the hulk is that he’s a fucking monster that is impossible to control, not that he’s a misunderstood hero. An entire galactic gladiator culture bent on trying to beat the hulk into submission is gold. … plus I really hoped the end of this movie would be hulk getting so angry that he just destroys the whole fucking planet. … i mean. based on the title. oh well. I still really dug the first half hour or so, where they built up the back stories of the other band of misfit slaves in his gladiator group.

Spy Game (2001): Went to bed too early, and woke up at midnight. Flipped on the tv to see this puppy starting up on HBO. I really didn’t like it back when it hit theatres. Felt like redford and pitt were mostly just being pretty, and the dialogue wasn’t about much. But now I can dig how it’s all about what isn’t said. And I can appreciate the way Redford’s time wasting stories about Pitt are in fact telling us why he’s going out on a limb for him. The assholes who are firing him don’t get it, but the audience is able to piece together the way redford abused this guy who was too good a person to be a good spy. And we see the way the goodness of pitt’s actions has convinced redford to break some of his own hardass rules (like always having money set aside just for yourself). etc. I really enjoyed it’s quiet understated story telling experiment.
(and to be honest, i think i’ve hated every tony scott film since True Romance for NOT BEING ANOTHER TRUE ROMANCE. which isn’t fair.).

Sleep Hollow : the pilot didn’t thrill me. Seemed a lot like Supernatural, without the charisma of 2 rugged sexy road rebels. But the second episode was better. And I’m kind of jazzed to see how much crazy conspiracy theory shit Roberto Orci can work in. Spent much of the second episode trying to grab a good screenshot of a cop’s shoulder patch, so I could look up the latin phrase that sums up the police. (edit : apparently the Sleepy Hollow sheriff’s department motto is “si deus pro nobis quis contra nos”. aka “If God is with us, who can be against us.”). Definitely on board for more. (edit: just watched episode 3 – which had sleep induced scorpion sting rituals so they could fight a freddy krueger like Sandman demon. And nods to the way America based it’s constitution on native american governments. so… I’m on board! interesting show!)

Aalso picked up a heavy X-files vibe in the second episode. When the guy said something like “after all we’ve seen, you still don’t believe?” and the lady said something about needing to keep her job. yoinks. … but i guess if they want to bring back the xfiles that’d be fine.

Agents of Shield : was great. I really enjoyed every second of this debut. So nice to see a tv show that seems to be trying to say something. while also being thrilling and funny and inventive. (really dug the opening fight scene. really dug the quips and wordplay. really dug the reversed truth serum interrogation idea.). Got chills when it came down to Coulson with a gun facing the bad guy. (a moment nobody else seems to be talking about. it seems really significant to me that this guy who DIED firing a big gun would now choose to lay down his weapon and talk it out. I hope it’s meant to be a sign that the character is deeply broken. and not just some pussy footing around gun violence). Really dug the kind of crazy conversation they have, with Coulson adopting his role as “The Man” that’s held the villain down all his life. I think a lot of viewers didn’t pick up on the core story, because much of it was leaked out in the trailers. This is the story of the men in black – and how disorganized and broken they are.

Read some complaints that the team is a little too white (which kind of ignores the Chinese-ness of Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet – ey?), but that fits right in line with this being a complicated story about The Empire, the big scary institution, and how it chooses to interact with all the little people. a bunch of happy diverse people wouldn’t scream “we are The Man” so clearly.

Will be curious to see if every villain of the week is not white. or what. blah.

Anywho. I really dug how every character had a clear “mystery point” which will clearly be explored in more detail later. Maybe this is formulaic? but maybe every goddamned pilot should take care to do this.

(also, a lot of people seem to not like the main guy? But they agree he “feels” a lot like Angel? isn’t this a good thing?)

Breaking Bad: is over. (spoilers:) The ending played out pretty close to what I expected. So it felt kinda boring and safe. (the only scene that really surprised me was the skylar bit. I think the fact that he broke in an forced that final good bye ultimately says a lot about their relationship. he finally asserted himself, so that he could remove himself completely and own up to not doing everything for the family).
But I really dug how the show took it slow and let each scene go on a bit longer than most other shows would allow. I was curious if it would end with a stroke of good luck where he found all the money and didn’t die. Because that would be pretty unexpected. and rockstar. but. it also would have been irresponsible.
I dug how it ended.

I’ve often enjoyed reading reviews at Boing Boing, io9, and even penny arcade report, for their differing perspectives on the events of various episodes. But all these people seemed to have their heads up their politically correct asses about Walt’s character. They all insisted he was this hateful monster that you couldn’t empathasize with, instead of seeing the duality of pathetic underappreciated unloved nerd. Need to stop going to those fucking sites.

… and I’ll stop there.

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