03-16-10 - Video Reviews

Watching a bit of "The Inbetweneers" (BBC). Meh, it's passable so far as TV comedy goes (way better than Modern Family for example, but not as good as The League). But I'm really sick of the whole nerdy loser boys in high school genre that was made so big by Judd Apatow and that fat guy who's always in his movies and Michael Cera and all that. Uh, yeah we get it, high school boys are horny and terrible with girls and they get drunk and puke cuz they drank too much ha ha ha. And then they learn lessons about life aww look how fast they grow up. I find the whole need to relive childhood or laugh at our childhood very juvenile and tedious.

"Banlieue 13" (District 13/ District B13 - very bad translated titles) is fucking great. It's silly and frenetic and imaginative, everything that action movies should be. It's a bit strange that it completely flopped in the US, since Luc Besson is pretty well known and it's a fucking great movie, but maybe it's just a bit too French ; you won't really get how close to reality it is unless you've followed a little bit of French news in the last 10 years, and then it's got the French goofiness with silly cars and parkour and banging soundtrack. It's the best Parkour in a movie for sure

Feynman's "Messenger Lectures" - ( "The Character of Physical Law" ) ; this is available from Bill Gates but that's a fucking stupid ploy to make you use stupid Silverlight , just download the torrents. God these are so good. You don't really need any strong physics or math background, these are aimed at college students, but Feynman always aims high and doesn't talk down, so you do have to be smart to follow. It's so satisfying and invigorating to watch something that's actually intellectually stimulating, it makes my brain start firing. I wish I could watch only things like this all the time.

High Stakes Poker is back on now and as usual is amazing. It sucks they ditched Aj Benza in the booth though, obviously he was just a talking bag of puss, but Gabe can't work solo, commentary is always a team; Gabe Kaplan alone is almost like John Madden alone - not good.

Full Tilt "Durrr" Million Dollar Challenge is also interesting. The first 6 episodes are a bit boring because he's playing against pretty weak opponents, but in episode 7 Zigmund sits in and they play some insane PLO. It's also funny to see that Durrr was playing these games all day long while Isildur was tearing him up every night; Durrr wound up losing around $3M to Isildur very quickly. It's very interesting to watch Durrr play, partly because he gives tons of action which makes things interesting, but also because he plays so weird that it creates all kinds of new situations and thought patterns. Some of the things that he does are just so exploitable, but people are afraid to do the right thing against him. For example, Durrr will often bluff when it's clear that the opponent has a very very strong hand; people think "he knows I have a strong hand, so he must not be bluffing" and fold, when really they need to just open their game way up against him. Similarly Durrr rarely folds to 3-bets. The correct counter play to that is to 3-bet a lot of good hands, and then be very happy to play big pots with anything decent post flop. The problem is people are so afraid of variance and big pots that they try to pot control and wind up giving Durrr the pot.


Aaron said...

I loves me some Luc Besson. He's great in Wasabi also... got no play here at all, but it's a really fun, silly romp.

kim said...

Amen wrt Besson. He also directed La Femme Nikita.

It's interesting to watch Nikita and then compare to the american remake Point of No Return. The later is an almost scene-for-scene, shot-for-shot recreation, and yet it SUCKED so bad compared to the original.

Nino Mojo said...

Wasabi sucked balls. :)

It bends my mind that you guys think of Besson as a good film maker. Here in France everybody thinks he's a hack except for a couple of films (Nikita being one of them). He's also a script thief...

Aaron said...

Feh, Wasabi was outstanding for a cheap fun action movie, which is what it was.

Good film maker, wouldn't go that far. Fun movies to watch? Heck yeah.

FWIW district 13 and the taxi series didn't really do it for me. Both had some pretty cool wow moments, but overall they just seemed too 'easy' for the good guys. I like a little more tension. Actually looking back through his stuff on imdb, really all I like are Nikita, Fifth Element, Wasabi, and Leon. I abhored Le grand bleu.

I think he's amazingly hit and miss (though basically miss for me since 2001). His good stuff takes you out of this world. And his crap just grinds your eyes out.

cbloom said...

Who said Luc Besson is a good film maker?

But yeah actually I do think he's good, very good in fact. Not that his movies touch you or say anything, but they're often fun and generally well paced and well choreographed.

Good action movies are very rare. Besson is one of the very few who can make one. In recent years you've got Sin City, the Bourne movies, and I can't think of another decent action movie. (spider man, bat man, platypus man, etc. are all abysmally bad)

btw I think "big blue" is his only actual good movie in a sense other than just being fun.

Aaron said...

You missed Iron Man. That was kinda fun. I liked the more recent Hulk movie (primarily for the opening slum scenes).

Nino Mojo said...

Sorry for misunderstanding, after reading again it's clear that nobody said Besson was a good filmmaker. But you guys seem to like him anyway.

It's very surprising to me how you see Besson from you side of the atlantic. For me (and a bunch of other people here) he's just trying to make movies the "Hollywood" way but failing.

The Taxi films are probably the worst of all, but he's just producing them for the money and the films he directs are much better (you got to Admit Arthur and the Minimoys is horrible though, don't you?:).

cbloom said...

Yeah, I think maybe the difference in opinion wrst Besson is because we basically don't get any of those films over here.

The only films of his that have gotten major theatrical release in the US have been :

The Professional
The Fifth Element
The Messenger (Joan of Arc)

that's it. Nikita was much discussed by film buffs but not in wide release. We don't get any of the Arthur films.

Looking at his IMDB - ZOMG the man is a factory, his writer/producer credits are insane, he's pumping out gobs of shlock in Europe.

Interesting, I didn't know about all that.

cbloom said...

Hmm his career arc is oddly similar to Robert Rodriguez. Started with an obscure indie hit man movie, followed with a semi-remake/sequel to said movie with big hollywood budget, wound up making awful CG kids movies. Weird.

Nino Mojo said...

Here's a good summary of what most people of taste think of him over here :)


I know people who worked closely with Besson and they said he was pretty pissed off by that video. Which is kind of awesome. :)

sly-id said...

Oh, you found this video with subs, excellent. I thought about posting it too, but didn't for the complete lack of understanding for not french-speakers.

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