Recall how I have a semi-monthly pop culture column over at Schlock Magazine? Of course you do. And now it’s back with words about Chinese epics, sleeping dogs, The Knife’s latest and, of course, sex. As you do. Anyway, check it out.
There’s a lot to make one cynical about Wreck It Ralph (2012) - from (apparent) pandering to the nostalgic 20-30 nostalgia demographic, to enough product placement to rival Foodfight! to its trying to do to videogames what Toy Story did to toys - it wasn’t looking to good for the film about the bad guy wanting to be good. Not for this cynic, at any rate.
BUT, despite a chunk of problems (the mechanics behind its universe are wooly at best, an overcrowded muddle of plots, a middle segment set in a candy pink product placement dystopia), Wreck It Ralph actually works as a movie with videogames as a setting, rather than simply being about electronic entertainment. Its being rather lovely to look at doesn’t hurt, and the voice cast (John C. Reilley, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch et al) adds a fair bit to characters that prove to be actually rather likable, if not lovable. The final message is still a bit of a mess (it tells one to both improve oneself AND suck up to what looks like a rather shitty situation), but there’s lots of heart and pushing of the emotional buttons at exactly the right times and amounts.
Bad looking film about a good guy who’s actually a bad guy in actually being rather good shocker!
Cute enough trailer for what looks like a cute enough World of Warcraft clone. Is this free to play*? And if not, why do developers still insist on making subscription-based MMOs in this day and age? Just ask Bioware and the dudes behind TERA or that DC MMO if their ambitions were worth the trouble.
Mind, it might just become free to play in, oh, 6 months post-launch. Or it will die. So sad.
*what you think I’ll pay for an MMO hahaha you funny
Upside Down (2012) - So there’s a pair of parallel worlds, each orbiting the same sun and having its own opposing gravity (or “dual gravity”, as the film calls it). One world is Up, and is rich, the other is Down, which is poor. The only thing uniting both worlds is a corporate-owned massive tower. Yes, it makes very little sense (not to mention the metaphor is as subtle as a sledgehammer), but it does have a fairytale feel suitable enough for what’s basically another take on Romeo and Juliet. Adam (Jim Sturgess) from Down and Edit from Down fall for each other, chaos ensues, etcetera.
It’s not very original and the internal logic proves to be as flimsy as a wet paper bag, but it does have some lovely visual moments and a couple of clever set pieces (including one where the film turns into a platformER videogame set In a wrecked airship). Ultimately it’s pleasing enough, even if the sudden, forced happy ending sticks out like a sore thumb hit by the dual gravity hammer.
Django Unchained - Yes, it’s a Tarantino movie, which means the writing is sharp, the chuckles frequent and claret flowing. The casting, needless to say, is also superb, especially Samuel L. Jackson’s superb turn as the creepy head slave and Christopher Waltz’s joyous Schultz.
But there’s more than that - the humour is often uncomfortable (after all the topic at hand is slavery), the tension unrelenting, and in the end of the day, it presents a long, bleak look at the black heart of America.
racconconnoisseur said: lol, jamese franco looks like one of those tv people. I have no idea who the ladies are. Are they suppose to be people? Like another language to me.
Dude they’re teenage girls and crazy party people of course they will speak like people from another planet! Hilariously the 4 lead ladies come from stuff like Disney Channel shows (The Wizards of Waverly Place, Glee, High School Musical… why do I even know this) which makes their taking part in a violent drug-fuelled heist movie extra-hilarious!
C: Dishonoured: Marco I think it is the best thing ever, you think it is merely good. Of course you are wrong, but maybe you want to justify yourself.
So my good friend Chalee (well, he’s actually Charles but ANYWAY) and I had a bit of a chat on Game Of The Year 2012 contender Dishonoured, a title the two of us have strong opinions about. Here is the transcript! I hope this gets turned into a regular sort of thing, it was fun to do. Anyway, go read okay?
Life of Pi - Ang Lee finally justifies the current 3D cinematography fad.
There’s a lot to like in this. The gentle humour, the delicate touching on the topics of spirituality and story telling, the stellar performance from newcomer Suraj Sharma. But ultimately discussion will fall on the visuals, where Lee and his team truly push the modern cinematographic toolbox. I still can’t work out how some sequences were even created - the shipwreck concluding with the titular Pi is framed in silhouette against the sinking wreck, a glowing ocean from which a whale emerges, a hallucinatory undersea sequence. And, of course, the tiger itself. At times it feels like a Malick film, with long, wordless meditations on the beauty and savagery of nature and the elements. Best use of 3D yet? No doubt.
The ending is a bit weak, but at its best this modern cynism-free fairytale thrills and dazzles in equal measure.
Silent Hill: Revelation (not in 3D!) - one has to grudgingly admire a film cramming nearly every horror cliche in the book within its first 30 minutes. Scary clowns, creepy children, filthy glass, fog, flickering neon, high schools, cryptic dreams, rusty fairgrounds, scary birds, stalkers in hats and overcoats. Efficient film making, that! The only cliches that fail to make an appearance is hospitals or an asylum - both of which appear after an hour or so as a scary hospital within an asylum manned by monster nurses. I might be the wrong person to watch such a film, mind, seeing how I’ve only played parts of the first two games (I’m told they’re pretty good!) and haven’t seen the first Silent Hill film. It appears to evoke some visuals from the games, even if I’m sure that the games START SPOILER don’t have a conclusion where Astharoth and Voldo from Soul Calibur start fighting each other?!?! END SPOILER
Still, it’s as bad as last night’s choice of film, Foodfight!… Scratch that, I enjoyed it even less.
So I sat through Foodfight! That is a thing that I did.
No Logo (2000), Naomi Klein’s “cultural manifesto for the critics of unfettered capitalism worldwide,” speaks of the massive influence corporations exert on the fabric of society, reducing our lives into a morass of branded products.
Twelve years later Foodfight! is the logical extension of the nightmare scenario No Logo depicts, an animated film aimed at children where brand mascots fight against generic product Nazis.
I wish I was kidding.
Then again the whole thing is so incompetent and shambolic (it was originally set for release in 2003, before being released straight to video very recently) one can’t help but be charmed by the fact such a mess managed to lurch its way into our collective cultural consciousness.