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Not being a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I wasn’t terribly keen on seeing the prequel, especially the story is smaller and perhaps less interesting then the huge events that take place in the “main event” series of Tolkien’s work.  Doubly worse was finding out that this relatively tiny children’s book had been somehow bloated beyond all recognition into a three-part, three-hour a piece movie extravaganza that was going to suck up nine hours of my life.  I don’t want to seem cynical, but considering Peter Jackson’s relative failure to reach the heights of success he had with the original trilogy, one might think it a desperate gambit to get back in the A-list game (and get some easy money) to revisit it.  That’s harsh, though, as he clearly loves the source material, which is a problem.  Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a relatively tedious, though not unfounded at all, cliché about Hollywood making market-tested films that appeal to x demographic by including x types of characters embodied by beautiful stars and putting them in romantic/funny/exciting/all three situations and BOOM:  Instahit.  It’s generally a lot more complicated than that, as there’s bound to be someone along the creative line who has a whiff of the artist about them, or at the very least actors who know how to work a script in their favour, and a director or an editor who can nurture that into something vaguely entertaining.  I don’t know know anything at all about the development or the production of McG’s This Means War, but if there ever was a film that played right into that cliché about clueless moneymen suits at the studio putting an entire movie together and creating exactly what they think a “successful” (not “good”, mind) product would be, this is it.  Read the rest of this entry »

BBC film critic Mark Kermode and his radio listeners mockingly lampooned Chris Columbus’ latest venture Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by calling it Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins.  There is very little in the film itself to overcome that mocking comparison to the Harry Potter franchise it desperately would like to be, especially given the fact that Chris Columbus was responsible for the first two installments of that hallowed franchise.  Kermode also loves to call Columbus an accountant, which is an apt description for a man whose career is notable for having a number of successes of which precisely none contained anything approaching quality.  To say that Percy Jackson is probably his best film is to damn it with praise so faint you might as well be listening to a choir of mute Puritans.

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We’re almost there.  Just a little further and we’ll be done.  One more movie after this one, due to be released next summer, and that’s it.  The deluxe DVD/Blu-Ray box set in the shape of Hogwarts, that opens and unfolds like moving staircases, will be released around this time next year, perfectly coinciding with the holiday season.  No sympathy for the people who bought the “Years 1-5” or the “Years 1-6” set, because they should have known better.  We all knew it was coming.  The final swing of the wand.  The last catch of the snitch.  The ultimate Ron Weasley gormless face pull.  The end.  Almost. Read the rest of this entry »

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

August 29, 2010

As much as I have fond memories of my childhood and the frivolities of life as a youngster, I can’t help but find certain hipster trends in recent years both shallow and regressive.  Yes, I loved playing SNES games and arcade fighters and I loved the Smashing Pumpkins, but referencing the obsessions of a bygone era does not endear me to the nostalgia-laden world that people selling Megaman t-shirts and and their chillwave bands are basking in.  Not to denigrate the cultural touchstones of a generation, obviously including my own, but the mere mention of a tanooki suit does not fill me warm, fuzzy feelings and it certainly does not elicit a chuckle.  Such are the dangers of geekdom, for making some ‘shit that is awesome’ is not enough to generally enough to make that same ‘shit’ interesting, and certainly not if the only thing ‘awesome’ about it is that it stirs up memories of my life as an 11 year old.  After all, ‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.

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The Twilight Saga: New Moon

December 1, 2009

Oh boy. I really don’t know where to begin.  The Twilight series of books and now accompanying films are a genuine global phenomenon, and it is almost enough to make me give up on the world altogether.  Okay, that’s unfair, as there are plenty of cultural touch points that are just as bad and befuddling in their popularity (Dan Brown, Transformers, and The Hills come to mind).  Still, there’s something insidious about the enterprise that just feels worse in some way.  The writing in the books (of what little I have read, anyway) is appalling, and I can’t help but feel that an entire generation is getting dumber for reading them.  At least with Dan Brown and Nicholas Sparks it’s a more adult demographic, meaning that an awful lot of people are already lost.  As Stephanie Meyer’s series is directed at tweens and teens,  I worry that it might stunt their growth.  Only time will tell, and that’s literature anyway, which isn’t my area in the first place.  Based on the two films so far, however, I wonder if they’re not just feeding a generation of emotional idiots, but actually creating them. Read the rest of this entry »

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I had rushed to the cinema on opening day to see the latest installment in the ever-so-popular Harry Potter series in the hopes of writing something for the blog and having it posted by the evening.  Ever the punctual sort, here I am sitting down to start it several weeks later.  The problem I ran into, in addition to my poor attention span and generally lazy attitude towards life, was that I really didn’t have anything to say about it at all.  Yes, it’s well made.  It’s perfectly diverting, it delivers the action and fantasy that Potter fans have come to expect. It is in no way a bad film.  I just didn’t care.
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