not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

movie effin' log

Did I mention that I bought and read Steven Brust's The Paths of the Dead, the first book of the sequel to The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After? Good stuff. Funny, playful fantasy swashbuckling adventures inspired by, he says, Dumas, whom I've never read. Plus it expands more on the history of the world of Vald Taltos; e.g. it's interesting to see Morrolan back then.

Also, now that I've paid off my credit card, new netflix movies are winging their way to me as I write this. That means, yes, time to clear out the backlog of old movies I haven't reviewed yet, despite the fact I saw them all more than a month ago and remember nothing about them.

  • Much Ado About Nothing: 2
  • Stand By Me: 2
  • Jacob's Ladder: -3
  • Dark City: 0
  • An Evening With Kevin Smith: 1
All on a scale from -4 to 4.

Much Ado About Nothing

Returning from war, a count or some such and his men hang out at some guy's vineyard planation mansion thing-a-ma-jig. As I recall, reviews criticized this for varying wildly from the tone of Shakespeare's original, but if I ignore that and judge it on its own, as a movie with a theater-feel, I think it works very well, a quite joyous and celebratory piece. Keanu Reeves is horribly out of place (and, no, it's not because of the character, it's because his acting is atrocious). Keaton's Dogberry is a bit beyond over-the-top (reviewers said he was reprising Beetlejuice, but I honestly don't remember that character very well now). There's some cheese, some seeming cruelty, an odd bit where Branagh is supposed to be hiding but is standing out near everyone else (IMDB goofs explains this as Branagh being out directing the scene); characters fall in love far too easily, etc. But the language is great and Branagh makes it so easily comprehensible, and the sense of fun and joy wins out. Rating (-4 to 4): 2

Stand By Me

Four boys, on the verge of entering junior high, walk down railroad tracks out of town to find a dead body. As some people may know, I did a speedIF based on this movie. While in some ways it's kind of an obvious coming-of-age story, it's got a good mix of humor and drama, a good set of characters, and really impressive acting of those characters by the child actors (or rather, really impressive casting and good acting-mostly-as-themselves by the actors). Some things felt weird--like going back to show the unfolding plans of the antagonists felt like a very inappropriate POV shift--but not enough to actually hurt the film. Rating (-4 to 4):: 2

Jacob's Ladder

Spoilers ho!

Guy has an ugly wartime experience and then experiences weird non-linear flashbacks and forwards that get worse, leading to... So, in the Wizard of Oz, in the end, it was all a dream, but hey, it was a fun, wacky fantasy. It was all a dream was a cop-out for why such things could ever exist in the first place, because they were so weird. Jacob's Ladder, and this is a spoiler so stop reading now if you care about not being spoiled, but I wish somebody had told me this up front and saved me the trouble of watching it, poses some really weird questions: what is going on? Why is this guy having weird flashbacks, hallucinating, and then, in the most disturbing sequence, waking up "back then" and thinking he had dreamt all the "present day" stuff? The answer, in the end, is apparently that the whole fucking thing was a dream, a fantasy, a hallucination--I'm not quite spelling it out to avoid spoiling it, but that's where the movie goes in the end. All of it, almost everything we saw, never happened, he just imagined it. How or why he would possibly imagine all that stuff? Who knows. It makes absolutely no sense whatsovever. Now, I ought to score this movie for all the other stuff that happens in it--the acting, the moodiness, the visuals. But I'm going to be a bastard. You know what the tagline for this movie is? "The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming." Except he is. Screw you, Bruce Joel Rubin and Adrian Lyne. Rating (-4 to 4): -3

Dark City

Every night at midnight, the city freezes and changes, the people within asleep. Why? Who? One man is awake and looking for answers Hmm, another movie with Kiefer Sutherland in it, but in a rather different role. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Connelly. So, again, wacky, influential visuals, but the comic book story underneath it, sigh. Basically, any positives it might get for the visuals get cancelled by the negatives for the plotting. There's a great movie moment with the guy on the fire escape getting crushed, except, hey wait, everywhere else, when buildings shift, there are never any fire escapes getting crushed. And what would happen if somebody was on the fire escape or crossing a doorway when the clock struck midnight? Why do we have to have the cheesy cliche villain confrontation at the end? If the doc says there's no way to reprogram the Jennifer Connelly character to love John Murdoch again, then she can't be reprogrammed... so how does she get reprogrammed so she thinks her home is on Shell Beach (is that what it was called?)--it couldn't have been true before--the strangers would never have programmed that, for obvious reasons. And how come, at the end, he goes through weird back areas, finds an obscure doorway which leads out onto a pier, with Jennifer Connelly out there--and clearly there was no other way to that pier. What's she doing there? Obviously, the director just didn't give a damn, he just wanted things to look a certain way. Well, screw you, Alex Proyas. Rating (-4 to 4): 0

An Evening With Kevin Smith

Hey, I think he's funny. But maybe you're the kind of person who wouldn't. Well, screw you, the kind of person who wouldn't. Rating (-4 to 4): 1

EDIT: If for some reason you try downloading that game, please note it was written in only four hours, and the constraint was "it should satisfy this list of arbitrary quotes".

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