Feb 17, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The Dungeon Masters – This movie is really very bad, but it’s also very very sad. When I first heard about it – a documentary about people who play D&D – I was excited. There’s many things this movie could be. It could be an interesting history of D&D and look at people who play it. It could be a humanizing story that makes people who don’t play D&D see players as normal other human beings. It could be a complete mockery of these people, which it almost is. And it could be a painfully honest look at these people, which it tries to be. It does not choose normal people. I play D&D, or at least I have as recently as a year ago, and I would still if I had time, I wish I could. Yet, I have a job. A girlfriend. A nice place to live. I may not be mr. social, but I can usually be a normal person. The people they choose are not normal. They aren’t not normal because they play D&D, they are not normal people, who happen to play D&D. I know LARPers, I don’t do it, I think it’s kind of weird, but I know them. And yes they are a bit odd, but they have jobs, they are married, have a house, a kid, and I honestly enjoy their company. No one enjoys the people in the movie, they are disconnected from society. There’s a guy with no life, wants to be a writer, has no other income, sits around and plays games. A guy who is power mad because he’s a DM. And lastly a woman with a truly pathetic white trash kind of life, who likes to dress up as a drow. This movie had an opportunity, in theory, to explore these people in a meaningful way. There is a moment where they have a chance. The woman is talking with her boyfriend, in extremely practical pragmatic nerdy language, about their decision to move in together. The boy is saying its logical, even if they break up. She says she doesn’t think that will happen. He says nothing. She doesn’t look at him. She’s “focusing” on her computer. She has that awkward, desperate feigned apathy. No, not apathy, apathy would be too close to a connection with people. Instead she is faking distance, as if she’s so busy with her laptop, she hasn’t yet considered that her boyfriend didn’t respond to that. There was a chance there, a real insight in to this type of person. I know that type of person. I am that type of person. My friends are that type of person, and coworkers. At least some of them, to some extent. I know exactly what it is to “focus” on something when I’m ignoring something awkward or hard or threatening (emotionally). I know that look. This movie pauses on that look, and seems like it wants to expose what it’s like to be that person. But it passes, mostly unexplored. Each of these three people are sad. The woman was abused previously. The writer has no opportunities, and no ambition to achieve anything not in his narrow scope. The gamemaster is nearly comical in his need for control. I think ultimately no one gains from this movie. These people don’t gain insight on themselves. A non gamer sees only freaks, confirming their every preconception of gamers. A gamer sees a horrible representation of them and people like them. An introspective person sees a missed opportunity. It’s really a waste. At it’s worst it is hurtful, and it’s best, it’s a failure.

The Expendables – Well crap, it’s been a while since I actually saw this. My feeling is that it was fun. Not good by any means, but entertaining. Honestly much more so than I expected, seemed like it would be crap. But the relationship between the various crew members is pretty good. Everyone plays themselves, pretty much – stallone, rourke, jet li, statham – they all play the guy they all play in every movie. But that’s ok, cram them all in there, have lots of explosions, an honestly shocking amount of gore, and you got yourself a decent way to spend an evening.

Legion – This is a movie from a couple years ago about angels. It’s an action movie, slightly horror-ish, it’s the apocalypse, shit done went bad, lots of shooting. Not good, obviously. Some of it is okay, it didn’t offend me, but it’s not good. The acting by the son is particularly horrendous, though in his defense, he was given the shittiest lines amongst a hefty amount of shitty lines. Not much else to say about it, kind of like from dusk till dawn, except angels instead of vampires (and to be clear, only 1 is actually in angel form, its basically just monsters), much fewer tits, absolutely no humor, and not even as good of action. So, yeah, just go watch FDTD instead.

The Color of Magic – This is a bbc thing based on the Terry Pratchett book. It’s not really that interesting. I’ve already written a review of the book (though maybe haven’t posted it), and the basic idea is its pretty funny, but the plot is mostly nonsensical. Sadly, this movie is all plot, little humor. To be fair, its pretty impossible to do snarky british omniscient narrator in a movie. You can have a voice over, and they do, but it’s just not the same. In much the same way that the hitchhiker’s movie failed to capture the humor of the book, this does as well, but much more so, I would say. It’s not that it’s particularly badly acted, written, or special effected (for a low budget thing), it just has almost 0% of the charm of the book, and even the book lost me half way through. Sorry, not really worth the time.

Blood Into Wine – Documentary about the lead singer from Tool making a winery in northern arizona. I had seen him before on WLTV. He’s not really a likeable guy. He has this douche emo persona, I don’t know if it’s real or an act, but either way it’s obnoxious. Doesn’t really make me want to drive to Jerome and try his wine. Really, everyone in the movie is pretty annoying. The head winemaker seems like an okay guy, if a big hippy. But most everyone is unpleasant. Yet the movie is kind of cool. You see a full season of wine making, you hear about a lot of the little bs issues you run into trying to up and make a winery. All that stuff is pretty interesting. So, it’s kind of a good movie, just filled with unlikeable people is all.

Exit Through the Gift Shop – Hrm. Street art is such a pain in the ass. I can’t say you can’t do art. But I can say that any random asshole who can only give his shit life some semblance of worth by spray painting his asshole name on some wall is a douche. As it happens, it looks like most of the talented street artists are douches too. Shepherd Fairy? Anyone with silver hair is a douche. Unless your 70, then you get a pass. Choosing a wall because it “feels” right? Douche. Making an animal stand around on display around covered in paint? You’re a douche. This french guy is nearly the dictionary definition of douche. And his BS pop/street shit is the reason I’ll probably never accept modern art. The crap I saw in a real art museum in Boulder a month ago looks no better or worse than this guys’ crap. But whatever, it’s art, some people think that includes putting clown makeup, a mickey mouse hat, or paint sparkles on any random celebrity. So, I can’t say you can’t do art, cuz it’s art, and I can’t even say if it IS art. Even though it leaves open the possibility that a douche will scribble ‘jackhole was here’ (I’m paraphrasing) on the side of my trashcan. But I can absolutely call you a douche.

Antichrist – the fuck? This is an absolutely serious contender for the worst movie I’ve ever seen. The premise is a couple loses their child through negligence, the woman is having a hard time recovering. Her husband, a therapist, tries to fix her himself, eventually resorting to a sort of psychological rehab at a cabin in the woods. Then shit goes bonkers. To be fair, shit started bonkers, the second image of the movie is WIllem DeFoe’s dick (stunt dick?) “artfully” banging his wife. It’s not quite hard core porn, but it is more than soft. But the woods things are extra bonkers. Crazy violence, disgusting imagery. And, worst of all, it really really thinks it has a point. There are a lot of shit violent movies out there. Hostel is “torture porn”, violence for violence. It’s horrendous, but it’s not really offensive, it exists only for that purpose. Saw is a step worse, because it thinks it’s fancy. It thinks it has something to say. It doesn’t ,of course, it’s a pretentious mask to give it a reason to make Saw 46: In Which You See A Vag And Someone Chews Their Own Ear Off. But this is a whole new level of bullshit. This movie is so up its own ass. It thinks it’s this thought provoking masterpiece on despair, PTSD, and I guess mental illness. It seems to include the supernatural, though that’s not exactly clear. Most annoyingly, I am positive that this movie thinks its gore is to “shock” you. To wake you up. And while I realize I’m giving this movie way more credit than it is due, merely by virtue of the length of the review, it is just so bad, it needed to be said. Don’t watch this, not out of curiosity, I’m sure it’s not really willem defoe’s dick, not to see how bad it is, it doesn’t deserve a single netflix click.

Law Abiding Citizen – Man, this movie started out great. I was really digging it. A guy’s family is murdered, after being denied justice he decides to do it himself. You are totally on board with that plan, as he’s killing murderers and horrible people. The movie switches, he really becomes a wackaloon and takes his “cause” way overboard. At one point I’m pretty sure he kills the hairdresser of the lady who works at the DMV who gave a license to the guy who road a bus next to another guy who was stocking shelves at the safeway on the same day that the murderer’s 3rd cousin bought a snickers bar. That might be an exaggeration, but only slightly. Still, the crazy in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad. Maybe it’s a harvey dent thing, the world treats him so badly, that he goes crazy. The problem is he really becomes a supervillain. Not just any ole; like super crazy, super genius, super elaborate supervillain, and it just becomes kinda dumb. It’s actually kind of like the Saw movies, thinking back to the last review, where he just has every little thing planned and is some kind of omniscient super being. But that’s dumb, and it completely ruins the movie. It all comes around, has the only resolution it can have, but by then it lost me. I just feel like they could have gone in a more realistic direction, even with the craziness, and been much better for it.

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