08-08-11 - Some Video Watching

"Thick as Thieves" is the most surprising movie I've seen in a long time. It's fun, smart, funny, it's what movies should be and are so rarely. It's directed by the director of Black Dynamite, and stars Alec Baldwin, but despite those two things it's quite subtle, so much more subtle than modern crap. It lets you find the joke rather than cramming it down your throat, and that makes it much funnier.

"Vengo" is not really a movie with a plot, so much as a snapshot of a (stereotypical/artificial) world of flamenco. I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the music scenes in Kusturica movies (but with less humor), in the sense that seeing the music in a stereotypical fictional setting somehow makes it better, makes you feel you appreciate what it's like for the people who live with that music as the backbone of their lives.

Louie has completely gone off the rails. E1 and E2 of Season 2 were shit, then E3 (buying a house) was back to funny, and then he completely fucking lost the point again in E4+. Uh, hello, fucking Louie CK, people are watching you because they want to laugh at the absurdity and miseries of life, you're supposed to point them out and then make them funny, that provides relief. You are not just supposed to document your miserable little (fake) life in a pretentious attempt at "verite". It's sad because it really could be a good show if he would just get his head out of his ass and tell more jokes.

Game of Thrones is great, like maybe the best fantasy TV series ever (not a lot of competition there, though (actually I can't think of a single one)). By far the best thing about it is the costumes. The costumes are stellar. The sets are great (except for the rare CG set; and for some reason the matte paintings also suck pretty bad, they have poor matte artists and poor matte-foreground integration). Most of the casting is very good. The real letdown is the pathetic George RR Martin fantasy world. WTF. Cold north with frozen ancient evil. Across the narrow sea is the desert full of arab/mongols. Scottish defenders of Hadrian's wall. WTF it's Europe / Tolkein / Anne McCaffrey ; it's like the most generic uncreative fantasy world I think I have ever seen. I find fantasy proxies for Europe to be really boring. (so much worse than fiction in which you take the real Europe and imagine there might have been hidden magic in it). Anyway, I enjoyed the TV show quite a bit.

Justified Season 2 is better than Season 1. There's one or two really bad one-off "episodic" episodes (wow that's a horrible sentence) that are like "random crime happens and good ole Raylon Givens saves the day, and everything is back to normal by the end" but fortunately those are few. Of course the way they make excuses for the Marshalls to be involved in everything is retarded, but if you just ignore all that it's not bad. Actually, objectively it has a lot of flaws but I guess I like the actors enough to forgive them.

Zen is pretty retarded. Why is Italy full of Brittish people? (and why can I not spell British?) The cases are all like super typical horrible mystery writing, which goes like this :

crazy crime happens
intrigue and politics get in the way
it gets more and more complicated
hero gets attacked or in trouble
sexy females randomly introduced to the plot
solution looks hopeless
random coincidental shit happens and presto case is solved
And you've got the typical stupid shit like bad guys who can't hit you with a gun from ten feet, but people on the heros side are always perfect sharp-shooters, etc. However, it's almost worth watching just for the gooey cheeziness of it. The soundtrack is straight out of the 80's smooth jazz collection, it's what a "playa" would put on to seduce the ladies. Then there's all these ridiculous self-conscious shots that focus on the cool clothes or the cool cars while we listen to the funky bass line, omg.


Aaron said...

Yah +1 for game of thrones. It's not just better than (non-existent) TV fantasy, it's better than a lot of film fantasy. The adult/sex aspect is pretty key. It keeps you on your toes and takes you out of the normal 'fantasy' comfort zone. It also pulls off the soap opera / cliff hanger formula pretty well.

The three 90-minute episodes of 'Sherlock' are kinda cool (definitely good for watching with a lady).

I enjoyed The Walking Dead too. The slower form of the TV series seems to suit the pace of Zombie stuff well (makes it match the slower conversational pace of older Zombie flicks better).

Some more:
I Saw the Devil: Korean Revenge Horror, super gory, maybe #2 after Oldboy

The Man From Nowhere: best fucking knife fight in a movie ever, good styling, heartbreaking story but you gotta stick with it
Let The Right One In: Pretty awesome, a little slow at times, but worth it

Ip Man: Fucking bananas-crazy martial arts, generic storyline, but fun combat

cbloom said...

This reminds me of a rant I forgot about.

FUCKING NETFLIX is so stupid in some of their minor UI decisions.

I recently switched to only instant watch (no DVDs) and I no longer have a "saved" queue, and in fact they won't show me DVD's that are available at all. So fucking stupid.

I used to use my Queue and Saved lists as a way of keeping track of movies that I had been recommended or read about or whatever. Now I can't do that.

Back when I had DVDs + Instant I was constantly flummoxed by how stupid it was to make the Queues for the two completely independent. I decide I don't want some movie and remove it from my Instant Q, and then it show up in the mail because I forgot to remove it from my DVD Q. WTF.

cbloom said...

And yeah Ip Man was good as a genre kungfu movie. I appreciate that the fight scenes weren't over slo-mo'ed or excessively wired to make people fly around artificially.

Tom Forsyth said...

Game of Thrones isn't set in Europe, it's just Britain. You got the frozen Hadrian's Wall north right (and of course they have the right "eh up chuck" Northern accents), and getting annoyed with being bossed about by those Southern jessies. But the barbarian hordes across the sea aren't Arabs, they're Cheese-Eating Surrender-Monkeys. Those damned Gauls with their dodgy foreign ways - frog's legs and strange cheese. And the food's pretty odd as well

Seconded on Sherlock. Never thought about "watching it with a lady" - good point. Although you know, if you want to watch it with a guy, it will apparently work even better (so the wife tells me - she reads some astonishing websites).

Thatcher Ulrich said...

Netflix UI stupidity seconded. They almost cornered the market on keeping track of everybody's film preferences, and have now fumbled it.

cbloom said...

I'm not quite sure why they started the "Netflix Community" features and then dropped it, either. That's so obviously a good thing and I just started getting into sharing movie recommendations with friends and then it was gone.

The only reason I even rant about it is because they are so good in some ways that my expectations are raised. Like, most software I just expect to be moronically managed and terribly designed and full of stupidity and frustration, and I wouldn't even complain about it, you just expect it.

old rants