November's DVD Reviews,
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
Hooligans, 2005 (aka
Echoes of Fight Club.
It is in no way surprising plotwise, but it was still an original take
on an old story.
This film seems to try being Full
Metal Jacket for the Gulf War. It was better than I had expected,
but I don't know that anyone without a Y chromosome will care for it.
Season 3: Disc 1, 2005
The writing in this show is so
taut that it is difficult to imagine how it could even be improved.
If it weren't for the facts that the powers that be at Fox are idiots (Exhibit
A: Bill O'Reilly) and that Battlestar Galactica is still on the air, then
this would be the best show on television. Instead, it's the best
canceled show on dvd.
The Final Cut,
What if all your memories were
recorded in life and were only accessible upon your death? It's an
interesting premise that is under-explored because the film spends too
much time trying to be moody and divides itself between two minor storylines
that are overshadowed in their significance by the larger issues of this
Before Christmas, 1993
I hadn't seen this in years, but
it was time for a revisit. I'll swim against the current of current
opinion and say it *should* have been a classic. I think the music
and art-direction aren't up to what they should have been, but I'm not
going to go into a lengthy critique here. The density of the film
weighs it down (e.g., too many minor characters, cluttered sets, etc),
so it takes several viewings to access everything. In other words,
it was too full of ideas instead of appropriately stocked with a few *good*
ideas. They threw a lot into it, none of it very good. Everything
about it is mediocre except the basic concept, so it's inevitable that
you walk away feeling you should have enjoyed it more than you should have.
Season 1: Disc 4, 2005
The writing on this show is starting
to come into its own by this time in the revamped series. The tongue-in-cheek
style of the original series has given way to a faster-paced and wittier
dialogue that is more in step with what modern audiences (i.e., I!) want
2: Disc 6, 2002
Goddamned end-of-the-season cliffhangers!
I'll give them credit though, they know how to keep these plot twists coming.
If I could sum up this picture
in one word, it would be CRINGE. Unlike one of these movies about
people with talent where they make you believe in the performers through
the use of careful editing and the judicious use of body doubles (think
these no-talent kids look like exactly that. I wanted to crawl up
into a ball on the floor, and it wasn't to do a backspin.
Real-life tard Johnny Knoxville
plays a guy pretending to be a tard in order to win the Special Olympics.
If this sounds as retarded as it actually is, then you're as confused as
I am as to why I even bothered with this predictable throwback to '80s
comedies that can presently only be found re-run in the wee hours of the
morning on the USA network.
I guess it would help if I really
remembered the first one (The recap at the beginning of this one didn't
jog my memory much), but this was exactly what you would expect, then you'll
forget it five minutes later. Rent Blade III instead.
I just took a chance on this one
when I saw it at the library. I turned out to be an interesting take
on the Beowulf story. It follows the original story very closely,
but there are lots of modern touches where they have embelished the plot
to give you insight into who this Grendel character is anyway and why's
he so pissed. There are interesting bits they've added to the dialogue
as well. I won't ruin it for you because you're either going to rent
this or I'm going to cut your right arm off and hang it in my mead hall.
It tried to be a comedy, but that
wasn't what I was laughing at. This dated sci-fi junk is hilarious
in ways that were never intended to be funny.
I was first introduced to Catherine
Keener years ago watching Walking and Talking on the Sundance channel.
Close to a decade later, Keener has re-teamed with the same director (Nicole
Holofcener) to make another light comedy with enough though-provoking material
to distract me from the irritating presence of Jennifer Aniston.
Wow. I didn't expect this
to be all that good. Okay, this is not Million Dollar Baby.
This movie blows that one away. The material should have been a cut
and paste formula picture, but this was great. I'd call it a knock-out,
but you'd be right to hit me.
The New World,
I knew what I was in for.
I mean, I had seen Terence Malick's other movies, so I knew it was going
to be a meandering journey. It is, but it's an interesting one.
Memoirs of a
I hate to admit this, but I would
just as soon skip depressing historical pictures. Sure, these stories
need to be told, but I don't like being depressed that William Wallace
was disemboweled or that Anne Frank spent her truncated childhood in an
attic before dying of typhus in a concentration camp. The tragic
story of the life of a geisha is minor by comparison, but... still.
Even told well and couched in beautiful aesthetics (as is the case here),
it still leaves me depressed.*
*I make an exception for Brokeback
Mountain because that was just fucking beautiful.
PICK OF THE
LITTER: Girlfight! This one started out as an indy film
and barely got any exposure. It's worth a detour from your usual
diet of new releases.
November's DVD Reviews,
Quick reviews from my Netflix queue and/or
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your
The highlight of this is when
Leonard performs the last song on the disc with U2 backing him. Not
so much because it's a great performance (which it is), but rather because
it's the only song he performs. The rest of the film (I use that
term reluctantly) is a mixture of lackluster performances by C and D-list
musicians interspersed with short interview clips with Mr. Cohen.
The latter are interesting, and that's where the emphasis should have been,
as Everbody Knows.
Season 1: Disc 5, 2005
This was just extras. Behind
the scenes stuff is sometimes interesting, but next time I'll have to remember
to check the fine print before I add the last disc of a season (or "series"
if you speak British). Alternatively, I could always travel back
in time and delete it from my queue.
Curb Your Enthusiasm:
Season 5: Disc 2, 2005
Many people find this show painful
to watch, and it isn't even about them. Can you imagine what it's
like for me?
The Little Girl
Who Lives Down the Lane, 1976
I guess there wasn't enough material
to fill up two hours, so there are a lot of long, drawn-out shots of next
to nothing. Still, it otherwise isn't a bad thriller with the added
bonus of Jodie Foster's then-21-year-old sister body doubling nude for
her as a then-14-year-old. If John Hinkley had gotten ahold of a
copy of this one, he probably would never have left home.
V For Vendetta,
A rare case of the movie being
better than the book. Although Alan Moore's graphic novel has more
depth, the film flows better and keeps the themes at the fore thoughout,
something the source material sometimes lost track of. Fortunately,
the always-masked Wachowski brothers swooped in and blew up the original
Season 1, Disc 1, 2005
I had never heard of this series
since all I can pick up on my tv are Jesus stations, Spanish-language stations,
or a combination thereof. However, it was at the library and therefore
free. It isn't too bad, basically Alias grafted to Buffy
Vampire Slayer to make a private detective high school girl with a
great ass. The writing is witty, though nothing original. But
she does have a great ass.
Season 1, Disc 1, 2005
I can't remember the last time
I passed up a sci-fi series. Again, this was at the library, so I
took a chance. Honestly, it's pretty slow, and that's saying a lot
considering I was watching it in fast-forward. Unlike a show like
where they're always teasing you with mysteries, I didn't get the sense
this was going anywhere. Okay, so there's something that glows and
swims... So what? And that's just the one plot point I didn't feel
Like everyone born in the 70s
to the present, I saw this when I was a kid. Dani got a craving out
of the blue to watch it, so I put it in the queue. It was a lot better
than I remembered in terms of the performances and production values.
Although it's kind of short so there isn't much story development, it's
a lot better than what else your kids could be watching if this wasn't
1: Disc 1, 1999
This is a great show that unfortunately
never seemed to find an audience. Admittedly, the first few episodes
are kind of hokey until the story gets going, but then it rocks.
While the series does have some well-developed story arcs, it was still
produced mainly in an episodic fashion, so you can come through the wormhole
and jump into the storyline at any time. You'll probably have to
do that anyway since some idiot in marketing got the idea to use alien
symbols for numbering the volumes, leaving you clueless where the fuck
you are in the series.
Season 3: Disc 2, 2005
RIP. Why does good tv have
Will & Grace:
Season 1: Disc 1, 1998
Man, they were just babies back
then! This never was a really great show (contrast with Seinfeld),
but the cast is great and the one-liners raise the quality that is otherwise
burried beneath clichéd plots.
Season 1: Disc 2, 2005
More of the same. I have
a weakness for fast-talking, intelligent women. Or at least ones
that are written that way.
An HBO biopic about gossip columnist
Walter Winchell. I think Stanley Tucci is great in everything he
does. You don't even have to know who Winchell was to appreciate
it because it's the standard story about a guy who does good and does bad
and, at the end of the day, is human. Unlike Winchell's column, there's
no surprise revelations here, just a well-made movie.
This could have been better in
so many ways that aren't worth my time to do a post-mortem.
I checked this out after someone
(I can't remember who, sorry; email me!) posted a review that honestly
was more interesting than the film itself. I was hoping for seriously-fucked-up,
but it was more like amateurishly-pretentious. Still, any movie with
a naked Japanese women will hold my attention from the waist down.
Vol. 1, 1975
What is it with me and these Gerry
Anderson projects? Like UFO or his more famous Thunderbirds
series, I find myself yawning (literally!) through technically well-directed
but emotionally vacuous action scenes. It's like the least interesting
fireworks displays ever. Picture this, the moon has shot out of its
orbit; the staff of the moon base is heading out of the solar sytem into
deep space. What do they do? Walk around doing paperwork and
asking if anyone would like a cup of coffee. I'm not making this
up (as clearly that would require more imagination than one would usually
need to write a sci-fi series that was actually any good).
Season 5: Disc 1, 2004
The trick to this series is to
deliver dialogue so fast that no one will notice nothing happened over
the last hour. Damn. They got me again!
PICK OF THE
(second half of the) MONTH: Putney Swope falls just short of greatness,
but has so many other redeeming qualities that it is worth the trouble
to seek out. Transamerica is pretty damned good, too,
just on the acting alone.