Archive for December, 2010

Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity

In my quest to watch crappy movies, I stumbled upon this regrettable direct to video clunker that has none of the charm of some of the cheese fests I’ve grown used to watching.  While I was originally unaware of the controversy surrounding this film when Jesse Helms denounced it on the Senate floor, I have to wonder if perhaps he was joking, or had some sort of deal worked out with the distributors, as the most striking thing about this late 80s direct to video movie with “Slave Girls” in the title is the admirable (read: lamentable) ability of the female cast to remain clothed, albeit scantily.  There are far too few lapses in propriety to make this movie memorable, which is a little inexplicable, as, judging by the caliber of the acting, these folks could definitely have been persuaded to be naked a far greater percentage of the time.

It’s an outer space take on “The Most Dangerous Game” which, by the time I lost interest had devolved into some sort of fight against zombies and mutants in a temple not unlike that in Lost.  It made almost as much sense.

For completists only.  On the upside, I have a new source of movies: Cold Fusion

io9 super pretentious Gulliver review

I usually love io9, but this is mainly garbage.  They slag GT for being too topical and dated at that.  When I came out of the movie, I actually wished Jack Black would do an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland because that book was, for the most part a satire of contemporary strains of education and mathematical thought.  We just think of it as cool.  And Dante used the Divine Comedy to make fun of his enemies by portraying them buried head first in shit.  I’m not saying that GT is in that league, but when you criticize a movie for including a golden shower joke when the em-effing source material features the title character pissing on a burning building to put out the fire, you need to sort out your priorities.

GT is what it is.  Viewed through the lens of the things Jack Black seems to like and what he would do in a society where he’s 100 feet tall and everyone else is 5′, I can’t imagine a different outcome.  It’s a mess, but it’s fun.  Leave Britney alone.

They didn’t even mention Giant’s Causeway.

I can’t find a pic from the movie. Just trust me.  The prison looks like the above picture.

Year One is not that bad

Fresh off slagging Year One yesterday, I did a reality check and watched it on Netflix streaming. Surprise, surprise, surprise, I liked it pretty well.

I’m beginning to think there’s either something wrong with me, with critics, or with Rottentomatoes.com because, on a consistent basis, movies that get a less than 20% fresh rating seem perfectly good to me. Case in point: Year One, the Jack Black/Michael Cera vehicle that imagines the beginning of Biblical time (read: the beginning of time) as if the standards, mores, and slang of the present existed then. This was done to some effect in Life of Brian, especially with the discussions over tactics and difficulties in hearing Jesus preach. More specifically, I guess, Year One imagines the Jack Black/Michael Cera personae in this time. So we have a huckster/f*ck up/wannabe Rock Star and a self conscious, shy, introvert desperately wanting to be loved traveling through Biblical times. It’s all about the anochronistic juxtaposition, ala Blazing Saddles. It’s not entirely a new idea, but I thought much of Harold Ramis’ script was pretty clever.

There are a few cringe worthy scenes, like Oh’s (Cera) bedmate who farts loudly through the night or the scene where Oh is forced to rub heated oil on the very hirsute chest of the temple priest (Oliver Platt), or all of the scenes where Jack Black argues that he has a plan.

Still, there are some fine performances from David Cross as the sadistic, calculating Cain who at the same time tries to present himself as a standup guy, Harold Ramis as Adam, and the women, Juno Temple as Eema and June Diane Raphael as Maya, though they are not given nearly enough to do, and the film as a whole would benefit greatly from an R rating (that means it needs boobs). The movie also features cameos from a bunch of people, like Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Hank Azaria, among several udders.

Still, I don’t think it’s only 14% fresh. More like 63% fresh. 63% recommended.

Your Highness

I hope this is better than Year One (even though I haven’t seen it)(I understand in the real thing, Natalie Portman is wearing a thong) Parts were apparently filmed on Giant’s Causeway:

NSFW version with said thong:

Some Jesus stuff for, like, you know, Christmas

Jack Black as Jesus in Prop 8, The Musical. (Also Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, and Doogie Howser.)  Embedding disabled.

AD/BC, a rock Opera telling the story of Christmas from the perspective of the innkeeper, featuring some of the cast of The IT Crowd:

Gulliver’s Travels is for English Majors

This is true.  David Edelstein gave GT a tentatively positive review, but said it was mainly because kids would like the manner in which the film played with the differences in scale and size.  However, I would submit that it will be much more interesting to citizens of the world, like I fancy myself to be.  English majors who’ve spent a week in Belfast, at any rate.  (I went well before the Good Friday Accords, though it was during a ceasefire.  Still pretty dangerous.)

The film is a hodge podge and generally a total mess, but there are still many flourishes to the nonsense that offer more than enough to love.  I don’t wish to spoil the fun, though I will offer a few tastes to give an idea.  We open to New York City presented in tilt shift, as if we were the giants.  Very cool.  When he arrives at Lilliput, he is housed in a jail whose walls resemble the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.  Also very cool.  Along the way there is lots of plagiarism, parody, homage, and faithfulness to the source material (how many adaptations of Swift’s Travels take you to Brobdingnag or peeing on a burning building? Huh?  This one does.)

Jack Black has made a career as an auteur of the rock star wannabe/Sweder of films and he does service to both here.  (even in one of his first roles as the Bob Roberts groupies in the movie of the same name, to School of Rock, Be Kind, Rewind, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, etc)  Film, music, and video game references abound (I especially liked the reference to Halo, or Stratego, if you prefer), and we’re even treated to a musical production number or two.  The 3D is among the best I’ve seen in a live action film and is always in the service of the differences in scale, which is frequently clever.

This is not to say this is a good movie.  On the whole, it’s a mess, but it beats hell out of Tron: Legacy(also about traveling to a different world).  The worst part is that Chris O’Dowd (Roy of IT Crowd fame) was made to ditch his clipped Irish Brogue for some sort of English accent.  Poor.

I’m going to watch the Ted Danson version asap (he also pisses on a burning building and goes to Brobdingnag, as shown here):

Don’t call it a Christmas Miracle

I’ve posted this before, but I know at least one of my regular readers had not seen it, so I thought others might not have, either.

I bet this guy gets so much strange

I try not to take stuff from BoingBoing, but I’ve watched this video like, 12 times and still haven’t tired of it.  I think the guy in the video probably doesn’t use the pickup lines he tells other people to use, most likely because he wants to give other guys hope while he’s slipping into the back with the women.  There’s also a clear line of passive aggression throughout this video.  “If you want to have fun, that’s great, if not, that’s fine, too.”  I love goofy Christians almost as much as their vampire hunting Christ.  See what you think:

A Better Tron Story

Alright, how about this:  The first part happens almost the same way it does in T:L.  After Sam gets sucked into the grid, he finds his dad happy to be there.   He is God of the world he created.  A digital Pharoah.    Under the constant competition between programs in combat, the world has evolved exponentially.  The programs work at his command and he keeps the Isos enslaved, lest they over run the world.

When he sees a reflection of himself, Flynn sees the youngified version of Clu.  Quorra is his concubine.  When Sam arrives, Flynn denies that this is his son and sentences him to fight in gladiatorial duels, at which he excels.  Quorra, herself an Iso who rose from slavery to become the favorite of the Pharoah, recognizes Sam as the chosen one prophesied to come and deliver her programs from slavery and integrate the grid back into an open system where they can be connected to the promised land, ie, the internet, whose existence is also prophesied.  She surreptitiously provides assistance as Sam takes over the resistance and fights battles against Clu and Tron.  He is able to turn Tron after defeating, but refusing to derezz him.

Sam fights a final duel with his dad, which he loses because he sacrifices to save Quorra from certain death or something.  About to land the final blow, Flynn suddenly awakens and realizes his folly.

The grid is integrated into the web, where it brings Encom back to its former glory.

This story is horribly cliched and done to death.  It borrows from the story of Exodus, Flash Gordon, Cars, probably a dozen episodes of Star Trek over the years (with the amnesia/enamored with power so you forget who you are plot) which actually puts it perfectly in the same league as the original. This story, in the service of showcasing the world of the grid, would make it incredibly cool, even transcendant.  As the family friend who installed the DVD player in my car in high school said after I gave up, “You had all the parts, it was just a matter of putting them together in the right way.”

My awesome acheivement

I sent this picture to some friends, all of whom, except JT, who never checks his email, responded almost immediately and in unison that I am a loser.  In fact, muchachos, this indicates that I am a true winner!  Unly 4 days to go.  I’m looking at you, baby Jesus!