Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mostly poo




I visited a friend yesterday and watched four movies overnight, and one and a half movies in the morning. I managed to find the last one and a half genuinely entertaining (although I'll admit I slept through most of two of the the four night-films, so I can't make a decent value judgment on those).

The films were, in order:

The Spirit
Fast & Furious
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
The Black Cauldron


*sleep*

Tales of the Black Freighter
Role Models


What a masochist I must seem! I dozed through much of The Spirit and The Black Cauldron. The former, I think, won't really improve with seeing more of it. Black Cauldron seems to push all my fantasy-loving geek buttons for me to like -- although probably not love -- it once I see it through to completion.

My good friend Rutger, at whose place I was watching all these fine films, likened Frank Miller's Will Eisner's The Spirit to a routine by famous Dutch cabaretier Hans Theeuwen. In it, he was a poet who treated the audience to typical Theeuwen-style agressive exaggeration. His poem was a staccato of nonsense, each verse trying to top the last in "poetic" imagery that became steadily more coarse. As The Spirit verbally masturbates about his beloved Central City, he assures us for example that "she is no cheap whore, made up to look like jailbait". That's the Spirit!

Fast & Furious: gotta give credit to producer Neal H. Moritz. The dude sold us the same movie four times, to great financial gain for all involved. It's cynical. It's exploitative. It's "car porn". But it manages to be over the top, silly and sometimes amazingly gay. Especially check out Vin's dramatic hero shot in front of a field of hard-pumpin' oil drills, arms clutched over barrel-chest.

If you want a street fightin' good time, I suggest you go back to that 1994 JCVD-starring classic, cuz The Legend of Chun-Li is mostly a complete and utter slog to get through. There are some amusingly awful bits (whenever something supernatural and utterly unexplained happens, Chris Klein is on screen, you think about Bison's origin for even a second, or Kristin Kreuk narrates like a robot). If you are a Street Fighter fan, you might get all angry about this movie. If you do, kill yourself. It's a damn video game, and it's quite likely there will never be a "good" movie based on a video game.

Despite still not really seeing the point of why it was made in the first place, Tales of the Black Freighter is entertaining enough. It pretty much plays like an animated Creepshow segment, or perhaps the one with the zombie pilots from Heavy Metal. If I have one complaint, it's that the Black Freighter itself probably would have stayed scarier if we didn't see its undead crew. The expanded role for bosun Ridley (or his head, anyway) worked quite well. Shame the characters' mouths aren't as expressive as they could be. But I guess that's a DVD animation budget, huh?

If you want to spend an hour and a half being entertained by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott acting like horrible cunts around minors, Role Models is the film for you. Faced with community service, the two must enroll in a mentor program to help unfortunate youths. Jane Lynch shines as the not-too-off-the-wagon charity leader. It's also amazing at how much mileage the movie gets out of the concept of Live Action Role Playing (or LARPing) by basing its entire third act around nerds hitting each other with foam swords.

How do I do it?

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