Films on the quick #1

by Ben

I enjoy films. I don’t really watch much television -besides sports, obvi- but movies are something entirely different. Okay I think that was enough of an intro. Let’s be about it.

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1. Immortals

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I absolutely adore this movie. I wasn’t so much a fan of The Cell, and The Fall was stupid. I don’t remember much about Mirror Mirror except for Lily Collins’ eyebrows and that the whole thing fucking sucked. But Tarsem Singh has produced a masterpiece here. The first time I saw it, I thought it was excellent. The second time I watched Immortals, I immediately added it to my Top Ten of All Time list. The visuals, the acting, the violence, the interpretation of gods: it’s all done flawlessly.

It only occurs twice, and each scene is a little short, but what happens when the gods intervene in manly affairs is a thing of cinematic glory. It’s like Bourne, with a little Gladiator and 300, and maybe even some Crank added in for taste. I’ve never been so floored by a combat sequence since The Matrix; it really can’t be missed. That the rest of the movie is good enough to hold up on its own is simply an added bonus.

Verdict: If you haven’t seen this, I hope you die tomorrow. 5.0/5.0

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2. Oldboy (2013 Spike Lee disaster film)

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About five years ago I wrote a post here about how horrible a human being Spike Lee is; it mostly centered around Miracle at St. Anna, which is the most wretched war film I’ve ever seen, bar none. Also that he’s a gargantuan racist on par with Robert Mugabe. “OMG BLACK PEPPLE CANT BE RASSICT.” Check your privilege, shitlord. But Oldboy is a revenge flick, and I fucking love revenge flicks. Most of the time I roleplay myself stalking and murdering my exes with hatchets or rocket-propelled grenades, or former employers with pikes and bills.

Oldboy is smashed balls. Dick cancer. Vaginal puss. Decayed litter of kittens chucked into a jet engine. Blended dogs. Rotten eggs with mustard and bile. Cannibals’ poop.

HOLY GOD DAMN FUCKNUGGETS, THIS MOVIE IS AWFUL.

I can’t even really express how miserable Oldboy is. I only watched with interest until Elizabeth Olsen took her clothes off, and from then on I had it split-screen with Olympic parody porn. I could have crammed a bushel of MDMA up my ass and still have been bored. Everything sucks. There is not one redeeming feature. I was so disengaged that even Olsen’s globular boobies couldn’t retain my intrigue.

Oh yeah, and how the hell does spending twenty years in a room turn you into a world-class killer? I’d like Spak Li to assplain that.

Verdict: Build a glider and glide your way up the unlubed bung hole of a decomposed corpse. 0.5/5.0

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3. The Dyatlov Pass Incident

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Found footage movies are fucking stupid. Cloverfield is the only example I can recall which doesn’t actively seek to drill a screwdriver made of frozen piss into your eyeballs. Chronicle was borderline, but in the end it tried too hard. With this film, I saw “Directed by Renny Harlin” and almost laughed myself into a coma. Talk about deterioration of talent. Him combined with “found footage” made me expect to rupture my diaphragm and die from LOLing too hard.

Not even close.

I don’t really think this one even qualifies as found footage. I doubt people drag around cameras with this stability and quality of motion up a fucking mountain during winter on an expedition funded by a university grant. Or maybe that’s what kids do these days, I don’t know. But this is not your typical rushed-frame, blurred quick-panning mess of disjointed scenes with the filmic quality of a starving child grilling his goldfish in a tuna can with a book of wet matches. It only becomes “found-ish” in the last twenty minutes, and by then I was so hooked and entranced that it didn’t matter.

[Insert twelve paragraphs of evidence proving the Dyatlov thing was aliens and/or secret nuclear tests.]

The first half hour is throwaway as it covers the beginnings of the expedition and lame attempts at character building. Then spoopy things begin happening with increasing regularity which ratchets the tension and made me even more entangled with the experience. I’m not going to spoil the ending because it’s rather good, even though the special effects are something I could have put together in a week on my PC.

Verdict: Shockingly good. No one was more surprised by this one than me. 4.0/5.0

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4. I, Frankenstein

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I just saw this a couple days ago in 3D, in a theater which had just renovated its entire sound system. I still fell asleep twice. I mean granted I’d slept for less than ten hours combined in the previous three days, but good god. I love this type of movie; a medium-budget special effects extravaganza with loud action, pumping bass, and an hour and a half of monsters and humans beating the shit out of each other. Arguments notwithstanding about their critical merit, this is the reason I shell out real money to see things on the big screen. I would never pay my own money for a comedy or drama – those are just as good on a computer screen or TV.

But fucking christ, I, Frankenstein is missing pretty much every component imaginable for an entertaining experience. On the good side, the graphics are pretty solid and the 3D was unobtrusive and even creative in a few spots. Like 95% of 3D movies, it wasn’t really needed, but neither did it take away from the experience (cough cough Jack the Giant SlayerGreat Gatsby). Also Bill Nighy is hilarious and could pretty much play any role, ever.

And then the rest of the movie was awful. The primary reason -for me- that this whole thing failed is that it doesn’t take place in reality. It seems to be based in a vaguely-Czechoslovakian city with some parts of London and/or Amsterdam tossed in because “DURR IT NEIDS 2B MAOR YURPOORIAN.” No one really addresses that there’s this giant fucking cathedral/citadel right in the goddamn middle of the entire city. Tour guides read: “Welcome to Europolis, where long avenues intertwine with scenic walking paths which accentuate a vibrant nightlife and active young crowd. Make sure to stop by the HUGE FUCKING BUILDING IN THE CENTER OF TOWN that no one really knows anything about.”

Also the gargoyles v. demons charade is so cheesy I actually laughed out loud. I mean angels v. demons, gargoyles v. dragons, nerds with scars and glasses v. dafuq or even zombie hookers v. Charlie Sheen would have made sense. But this does not. Oh, and in taking a page from the Blade series, the demons can be slain simply by tapping them lightly with a “blessed” weapon. Except important demons -those can take lots of hits because of reasons.

Really I could continue bitching about this for hours. It was so generic I almost expected it to be written and directed by a collective of special needs children hopped up on ADHD drugs their caretakers laced with amphetamines and GHB. Like I said, I love loud and explosive action experiences. But not ones that fucking suck.

Verdict: I would prefer marrying the reanimated corpse of a Bratislavan witch burned by a commune of devil-worshipping Lutherans in 1658 than ever wasting my time on this again. 1.0/5.0

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5. American Hustle

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Amy Adams’ tits.

Verdict: This thing felt like four hours even though it was only two. And no, rampant cleavage doesn’t make your boring film any better. 1.0/5.0

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6. Riddick

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I fucking love Vin Diesel and I fucking love the Riddick series. Pitch Black was a creepy, dark sci-fi horror flick with character and finesse, something the Alien series forgot back in the ’80s. While everyone else on the planet shit all over The Chronicles of Riddick, I saw it opening day and own three copies of it on DVD (regular release, director’s cut, and then the trilogy version with Dark Fury). I’ve said it so many times I’m boring even myself: I live for big-budget sci-fi. Everything about the creation of new worlds and new technology makes me achieve a boner which would make the builders of the Burj Khalifa drop their jaws in adoration. I even loved Babylon AD, which most connoisseurs of film consider a disaster on par with the 1998 version of Godzilla. WELL SCREW YOU GUYS, IT WAS GREAT.

Also, Riddick is a really, really good experience. Much to my dismay, it sheds all the epicness from Chronicles and dips its balls back in the dripping mouth of Pitch Black. It’s gritty and sensual with a cast of “tough guy” characters and some terrific scenes of Vin Diesel fuckbashing people with his assorted weaponry. Besides an out-of-place almost-rape and the jarring interruption that was Starbuck’s sideboobage, Riddick is pulse-pounding from start to finish. Really my only complaint is the whole “space dog” bit. Very stupid and childish.

Verdict: See it. Love it. 5.0/5.0

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7. Escape Plan

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I’m on a boat.

There, I literally just ruined the entire movie for you. Except that it makes no sense, because even in the most habitually-calm waters on one of the calmest coasts on the planet, you couldn’t not fucking notice that the prison isn’t stable. Thanks to things called WIND and GRAVITY along with that big round asshole up there in the sky, we have WAVES. These are SIGNIFICANT FLUCTUATIONS in current and motion, which are noticeable even in a goddamn SWIMMING POOL. You could have the biggest ship in the universe on the ocean and it would still be subjected to the force of waves.

GOD FUCKING DAMMIT.

Anyway the rest of Escape Plan isn’t half bad. It’s a by-the-numbers prison escape narrative which has remained more or less unchanged in half a century, but that’s not to the film’s detriment. I doubt Stallone or Schwarzenegger could believably act their way out of a strip club purpose-built for visiting isopods from the planet Mercon 17G, and yet I’ve seen almost all their works and I’m still immensely entertained. Escape Plan is pretty much the same deal: shallow, predictable, and yet fun. Also Jim Caviezel is awesome and I think he’s one of the most underrated actors of all time. Seriously, go watch Outlander. It’s glorious.

Verdict: B-grade A-film. 3.5/5.0

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