jack_ryder: (Default)
by which I mean this weekend (as [livejournal.com profile] murasaki_1966 was visiting her mum.)

X-Men: Days of Future Past

With a major caveat (under a spoiler tag) I think the recent two X-Men films are the best of the recent superhero films as they actually embrace what is possible with the superhero genre (being a kin to science fiction) than the Marvel/Disney films do. I would be happy just to see a film with James Macavoy and Michael Fassbinder discussing particle physics in a restaurant - they make their ostensibly two-dimensional characters pop off the screen, giving them an inner life which makes Professor X and Magneto more interesting than the comic book originals.

That being said: it's disturbing that a multi-ethnic X-Men team is representative of a future gone wrong - it would have been nice to see Bishop/Warpath/Blink at the end of the film but, no, the proper timeline in the X-Men films appears to be all white.

The In-Laws

Hilarious Arthur Hiller comedy from 1979 starring Peter Falk and Adam Arkin (not to mention Richard Libertini as a crazy dictator.) Seeing Falk and Arkin play off each other is a pure delight and no-one reacts better to lunacy than Arkin. Elicited more laughs from me (a hardened embittered comedy snob) than any film in recent history. Although I'm an Albert Brooks fan, I have no desire to see the remake.

Tropic Thunder

So to make up for it I watched Tropic Thunder. What a long sit that was. Tom Cruise's one joke character was funny enough the first time but did we have to keep returning (and returning, and returning) to him as the film wore on. The only reason to watch is Robert Downey Jr's turn as a Russell Crowe-like deep method actor but you're probably better off checking Youtube for highlights. His Australian accent (when you eventually hear it) is not bad either. Otherwise a waste of extremely limited talents.

The Bird People of China

Completely uncharacteristic film from Takashi Miike - especially if you're only familiar with Audition or Ichi the Killer. Miike is a cinematic chameleon and the best description I read of this was from a review on Letterboxd - "It's like Werner Herzog directing a Miyazaki film". There is sporadic scenes of violence (Miike just can't help himself) but otherwise it's a fairly lyrical and gentle exploration of the collision between the future of China (and Japan) and its rural past. Highly recommended but very slow moving, especially for a Miike film.

Black House

And now a jet-black psychological thriller from Korea (based on a Japanese novel.) An insurance investigator pays too much attention to a purported suicide and in turn attracts the attention of a psychopath. Like a lot of Korean genre films this starts off fairly stately and then goes off the rails halfway through. Entertaining enough and brutal in places, it does suffer from false ending syndrome. At least it seemed more influenced by giallo than j-horror.

Cold in July

And finally an adaptation of a Joe Lansdale film, from the director of Stakeland. It has a great cast (Michael C Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson) but doesn't quite capture the peculiarly Texan eccentricity of Lansdale's writing. Certainly well made and holds the interest - Mickle is shaping up to be a good horror/thriller director - but ultimately a fairly conventional crime film with tinges of noir that undersells the dark irony of the ending.

For the record: X-men and Cold in July were seen in a cinema, Tropic Thunder was streamed from a server and The In-Laws was played locally, The Bird People of China was a DVD, and Black House was recorded from SBS on a PVR. So... six films on four (or five) different formats. This is the future.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 09:44 pm


jack_ryder: (Default)
Is there something wrong with me that I failed to be swept away by the purported brilliance of Slumdog Millionaire?

Isn't it just Oliver Twist on crystal meth?

(I didn't hate it, in fact I didn't feel any emotional attachment to it at all.)
jack_ryder: (Default)
well kind of.

[profile] murasaki_1966 went to see her parents, so I could go with her, or see some of the Ferksters in a new horror film The 7th Hunt - which was having its premiere screening at the Chauvel Cinema.

Whilst it was good to catch up with Mal, Liv (who is in some of the other plays that Relics is touring with), Chris, Matt, Lauren and Kathy (ie. half the cast of Gone Bush) the film itself was, well, not to my taste. Very much of the torture porn genre with no logic, or story or characters to recommend it. What I generally describe as a very long sit.

Honestly - it's great that people can pool their resources and fight their battles and get a feature film made off their own bat - but does it have to be such a tedious, sadistic mess? Mind you, that probably makes it a perfect ticket to Hollywood.

At least some of the performances were good (as I would have expected.) Liv's was especially notable, considering most of her screen time was spent hanging from a pipe whilst Mal rearranged her internal organs with a hunting knife. Yes, it's that kind of film - the term that occurs to me is nearporn. Made for prurient reasons, but coated with a thin veneer of narrative disguising it enough to slip into the mainstream distribution channels.

Today, [personal profile] ashamel, [profile] kylaw and Jason (who's not on lj as far as I know) came over so they could introduce to me (finally) to the Fantasy Flight version of Fury of Dracula. I'd played the original Games Workshop version sometime ago, and ebayed my copy (to verb a noun) so I was interested in seeing how the revised version played. It was a bit clunky for my taste (rules still needed to be referred to during play, some book-keeping was missed etc) but on the whole it was fun, especially when Mina Harker finally caught up with Dracula in Dublin and beat the living crap out of him, armed only with a crucifix and her fists.

We finished off with a three player game of Pandemic, which was fun (we managed to save the world, even without the help of the Medic and the Scientist.) I'm still not entirely sure that Pandemic isn't a team-building exercise disguised as a game.
jack_ryder: (Default)
Eli Roth programs a 24 hour horror film festival

(and I'm impressed by some of his choices but, as you can imagine, it's a little too gore heavy for my tastes.)

In fact - let's make this a challenge - Post your ultimate 24 horror film festival running from 12pm to 12am.

I'll work on mine over the weekend (when I have some real time available.)

The 24 Hour Horror People Challenge

Your task is to program a 24 hour festival of horror films, tv episodes etc that will run from 12pm to 12pm the following day. Justify your choices for each particular slot. Use Eli Roth's list ( http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/24_hours_of_horror_with_eli/1 )  as a guide to format.

Some ground rules

- it runs strictly from 12pm to 12pm (no going over because you want to fit in that season of Buffy)
- everything you choose has to be freely available on DVD or as a digital download (and watchable through a television set - so no Flash animation please)
- you can include short films, tv shows, even documentaries
- an English language option (either dubbed or subbed) has to be available.

Post this on your own blog to get others interested (use the 24hourhorrorpeople tag so I can locate the entries) and I'll post links to all the entries on Halloween (Australian time)

So get cracking!
jack_ryder: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] murasaki_1966 pointed out this great short to me. It's based on William Blake's Tyger Tyger
jack_ryder: (Default)


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