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Movies

OPERATION: Nonchalant Corruption

Project Fyr Has Never Seen Star Wars – in which me and my partner watch the first six Star Wars movies – is, roughly eight years after inception, complete. It’s been a rough ride – especially the last three films.

Things I had forgotten: Padme’s such a great character in the first (still awful) prequel. I’m lukewarm on Machete order anyway, and the observation that it means she spends *all* of her screen-time a complete drip instead of just the last two movies probably writes it off. Maybe never knowing is better than the disappointment.

I quite like the “It’s all Jar-Jar’s fault/Jar-Jar is the first Sith Apprentice” theory, but it doesn’t excuse the accent.

Nothing excuses the separatist leader accents either.

Gosh, hasn’t CGI got better?

There’s not a lot about any of the movies that hasn’t been deconstructed to death on this here internet over the last eleven years, but still. I wish they were better, but the last couple are stodgy rather than bad, I think.

Next up: The Force Awakens.

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comics media Movies

Age of Ultron

There was a movie. It’s… Um.

Let’s start with this: The following review contains spoilers for Age of Ultron. They start after the following paragraph, which is why you need to click the link to read the rest.

Right, so my problem with AoU is that it’s a comic book event series. Its purpose is to make people need to go and see it to wrap up the past and understand the future episodes. It’s the exact kind of Age Of Secret War On Ultimate Earth cross-francise bullshit that generally kicks me off any super-hero comic series I’ve started to get into. Suddenly, in order to follow the arc of a character I need to buy twelve comics across nine series, five of which my local shop doesn’t carry. The actual plot of the movie doesn’t really maintain its own momentum.

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Movies

Expendable Inceptions vs The World

In the last week, I’ve been to the cinema more often than in the previous year. I went to see three films you already know about. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Which opens with a pixellated version of the Universal logo under a chip-tune version of its bombastic theme), Inception (Which opens with Leonardo DeCaprio faceplanted on a mysterious sandy beach), and The Expendables (Which opens with the explosive death of quite a lot of the stunt crew playing Somali Pirates).

Inception is great. Terry Pratchett once said that the greatest problem he had launching his books in the US wasn’t that the audience were too stupid to understand it, it was that the publishers *thought* the audience were too stupid to understand it. For a Hollywood blockbuster, Inception has a deep and complicated plot, almost none of which gets explained in words of one syllable more than once. It does not have a romantic B-Story, it doesn’t wrap up everything with a neat little bow, and I can’t say anything about it without spoilering the plot. As a point of reference, I have not been able to convince my girlfriend to go see it.

Far away from Inception on any scattergraph of summer blockbusters is Scott Pilgrim. It has a romantic A Plot, it has something to say about relationships and emotional baggage, and it has a main male lead who is kind of a dick. My main objection to the sappy-male genre of sappy movies is that a great deal of the time the male lead is the archtypical “Nice Guy”. The inoffensive guy who clings onto the real-world incusion of the divinely created girlfriend of his dreams who stubbonly persists in going out with other people, not realising how much better the world would be if she would just ignore what she wants and go out with him instead. Because this is a trap a lot of writer-types fall into, these characters tend to be author substitutes, and thus win.

Anyway, Pilgrim is from Edgar Wright, who did Spaced and Hot Fuzz, and is thus full of translational jump cuts, quickfire dialogue and such, which fits in perfectly to the Scott Pilgrim world which mixes comic clich├ęs with video game ones. The film is a visual blast, with explanatory infographics pinging over people’s heads as their mental state progresses, a slightly saturated colour scheme and epic boss battles complete with CGI dragons. And it’s as faithful to the comic as you can reasonably expect. I enjoy the comic, and the irreverency to typical movie style really appeals to me. If none of this makes you think “Oh gods, that sounds awful” you should see it. Possibly on DVD. I have, as above, not convinced my girlfriend to.

So, you have a complicated action movie with psychological pretentions; you have a comic book action movie/romantic comedy; and – on the basis I will see “Eat, Prey, Love” over my dead, rotting and shambling corpse, what’s the third movie likely to be? I mean, had I not opened the article with the answer to that question.

The Expendables:

It’s like that.

It’s all like that. It’s a series of action sequences papered together with a plot about toppling an island dictator. It’s got Sly Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Lei shooting people, stabbing people and kicking people to death respectively. And occasionally irrespectively. Everything explodes except the smouldering homoerotic subtext. Guns. Knives. Boom. Cropdusting people to death.

This one, obviously, my girlfriend loved to pieces. It’s a real date flick.

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Lucky Number Slevin

[The Kansas City Shuffle is] not something people hear about. Falls on deaf ears mostly. This particular one has been over twenty years in the making. No small matter. Requires a lot of planning. Involves a lot of people. People connected by the slightest of events. Like whispers in the night, in that place that never forgets, even when those people do. It starts with a horse.

So, I’ve just seen Lucky Number Slevin which is a film I now like quite a lot. It’s a kind of stylish gangster/heist movie, fast and witty and self aware. Kind of like Usual Suspects (One of my favouite movies) crossed with Lock, Stock…

Anyway, recommended. The writer is the man behind the Bionic Woman, too, which I’ve also been recommended to watch out for.

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Pulp Connections

This is a short film about two people discussing the meta-connections between all the films of Quentin Tarrentino.

It’s called Tarrentino|s Mind

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Transporter

Having now seen Transporter I and Transporter II, I suspect that the series will have a complete plot, probably by Transporter XXIV

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Machine Girl

Contains traces of violence and a great deal of blood. This is the trailer for “Machine Girl”:

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Crank

Last night I watched a movie called Crank

The concept is this: Bloke poisoned. Adrenaline slows the poison. Get the bastards before he dies.

That’s it. It’s “Speed”, but without the bus. It doesn’t stop. It’s shot in a meta-movie kind of way, something like the style of Snatch taken up a couple of notches. In fact, generally its point is to take every action/heist movie stereotype, boost it to 13 and put it on film.

It’s fun to watch, its not going to set the world on fire, but it’s an explosive action movie, if that’s what you’re looking for.

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Imported From Epistula Movies

October

It’s Monday 1st October 2007, I am 115 messages behind my inbox, 923 posts behind Google Reader, and I’ve had a fun weekend.

For the weekend I went south to see parents & siblings, as Ben is heading of to Thailand for a while, so we had a Family Outing. Then Ben and I went drinking.

Sunday I slinked off home, via a wander around London. I went up to The O2 to see if anything interesting was on, and the cinema was doing an advanced showing of Ratatouille, which otherwise doesn’t come out in the UK until the 12th.

It’s good. It’s not drop-dead amazing, but it’s a good Pixar movie, with good Pixar animation and well-made Pixar characters around a slightly scruffy plot. And I saw it in The O2, which is what we’re meant to call the Millennium Dome now it doesn’t suck. Greenwich’s great white elephant has been transformed into a monument to the more time-wasting end of consumerism, from the massive concert hall in the center to the generic chain restaurants lurking around the outside, the whole thing is a sanitized version of a generic high street. I ended up seeing the movie in Screen 11, which is apparently the largest cinema screen in the country, holds seven hundred people and is generally Quite Big, and the screen is amazing.

Annoyingly, the sound is not quite so amazing, as they apparently have some kind of fault which was broadcasting an pre-echo of the main soundtrack somewhere to the bottom left front of the hall, about half a second out of sync with the main feature. It was one of those things that was annoying, then I could ignore it after a while, then it bounced back into my conscious again.

I’d recommend you go see the movie, though. It’s fun. Especially, as ever, for the Short that preceeds it. You can find Lifted on youtube somewhere, I suspect, but I’d say don’t because it needs the audio quality.

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Imported From Epistula Movies

Simpsons Movie

To all people who were expecting something other than a 90 minute Simpsons Episode:

What did you want? Waffles?

Went to see the Simpsons Movie. it is Good. The Simpsons suffers somewhat from Golden Age syndrome, that being it was always better when you started watching it, but – in my opinion – the best bits were Simpsons at its best, and the not-so-good bits were the better bits from the episodes you didn’t like much.

Also, it contains the best punchline to a cliché “How long can we keep objects in front of a naked person’s genitals” sequence in the world ever.

And also: Stay to the end.