Thursday, August 26, 2010

a cruel summer

By way of explanation, (<--sorry, I just finished listening to the guys on Mormon Expression talk about Mormon expressions) it's actually winter in my part of the world, but since I am partial to the ways of The West, which for better or worse, these days, originate in the United States of America, and emanate ever outward from there to the far flung reaches of the English speaking world, transmitting for your and my consuming pleasure, among other things: ideology, political interference, and all manner of pop culture detritus, one variety of the latter being the humble medium of cinema, which incidentally is our topic of conversation today, and given that the migratory patterns between film's denominators is measured usually by the seasons, therefore I felt it appropriate to include a reference to summer in the title of this post, and what a dreadful summer of cinema it has been (note: I hope to one day make my mark in the Guinness Book of World Records, by writing the longest English sentence in recorded history).

Enough of the overwrought affectation, down to brass tacks. I'm slowly becoming a cinephile, but I can't comfortably lay claim to that title yet, I'm still a noob. That of course does not disqualify me from sharing my opinions about the state of the medium. I for one have never been shy about letting the world know how it has failed to live up to my expectations (on the internet. In real life I don't even talk to people). I've been hardcore geeking it since 1979, and my geekiness like the universe and the mean weight of American citizens is always expanding. So, the last few years should have been like mana from heaven for me, with all the "genre" properties making their way to big screens, but the taste has grown stale, and this year in particular I think we have surpassed the used by date for shitty storytelling dressed up in pretty CGIness. The only bright spot I can think of was Inception, and while not quite pantheon worthy, it should still be seen on the big screen. I can't even remember half the movies that I've watched this year, but here are some snap judgments (with SPOILERS!) on some that I vaguely recollect.

SALT: Highly predictable, so called (props to Mormon Expression again), Thriller. Heralded as Jason Bourne with a vagina and who better than Angelina to pull it off (this isn't, ahem, just a clever play on words, Angelina actually goes commando at one point). She's a double triple Russian/American agent. I think the film makers may be unaware that the Cold War is over. At one point Salt (Jolie) "kills" the Russian President and I was like please don't tell me they're going to use the spider venom as an escape clause from reality, but that's what they did. Hey, maybe it's minutely possible that there are spiders that can paralyze you (while stopping your pulse) for over 24 hours, coincidentally that's the exact effect that this plot point had on my suspension of disbelief. It wasn't a complete cinematic abomination, you actually have to have talent to pull something like that off, but I'm feeling generous today, so Salt earns one extra star for replacing Tom Cruise (true story), with Angelina Jolie running around, awkwardly, and kicking ass.**1/2(out of 5)

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD: The first sign, was that Michael Cera was the lead. The second was that there were only 2 other losers (apart from myself) at the first screening on opening day, in the entire theatre ; that's when I knew for sure that there was a guaranteed apocalypse on they way for this movies box office (in Australia at least). Edgar Wright is an outstanding film maker. He gave us Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz. So what went wrong? Trying to compress over 1000 pages of comic book awesomeness into 2 hours might have had something to do with it, many of the 'characters' are hardly worthy of that distinction. Don't get me wrong the film's got great visuals, it's just missing a heart. Oh, and let's not forget, because I only mentioned it 5 sentences ago, Michael there's-an-emasculation-in-my-pants-and-everyones-invited Cera, is the lead. Hooray for us.**

THE LAST AIR-BENDER: Why Shyamalan? Why!?! After seeing Lady in the Water (the most torturous movie of all time) why am I even asking this question? *

I can't go on...

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