Monday, January 25, 2010

A Question, Followed by Reviews and Videos

Greetings! I challenge you to single combat on the field of honour. The weapons are to be sharpened spoons.

My playful drawing above asks a serious question. I will allow you to slowly come to the appropriate conclusion without further prompting.

Work continues to be ephemeral. I know it exists, but it floats just beyond my grasp. My refrain has become, "Well, it's not actually a visa, even though everybody calls it that; it's a 'status.'" No one ever understands me. *bangs head on desk*

We'll be hosting a guest this week from "The Miami of Canada." (Most bizarre nickname for a city EVAR.)

I've taken in a lot of popular culture since Christmas, so I'm going to favour you all with Adam's Review Dump!

Review: Taken
Taken, simply put, was a bloody fucking mess. Wooden acting from all except Qui-Gon Jinn; wretched dialogue; spastic, ham-handed editing; action scenes that require an actual effort to willingly suspend disbelief, and an ending so predictable it could have been called by a four-year-old.

No, Jean Grey and Shannon from Lost cannot save your film, Luc Besson, you hack. You've been making The Transporter over and over again for the past eight years. Stop it.

The editing of the action scenes in particular killed me. Jump cut, jump cut, jump cut, handbrake, jump cut, rearview mirror, jump cut. My eyes hurt. Apparently the editor watched the Bourne movies and thought that was all that was required.

I will not belabour the two-dimensional characters any further than stating their stereotypes: the Fretful, ex-CIA Father who Smothers his Daughter; the Sorta-Kinda Bitchy Ex-Wife/Mother, happily remarried to a Rich Guy, who feels that hands-off parenting is the way to win her daughter's love create a strong woman out of their Silly Daughter; the oblivious Silly Daughter who means well, but gets talked into things by; the naïve Brainless Best Friend, who dies to serve as the tsk-tsk example of the film and willingly gives all kinds of personal information to; the Guy at the Airport, who is cute and obviously Evil and works for/with; the various Bad Eastern European Men, who are brutally executed by Neeson one by one on his way to; the Evil Arab Sheikh (I swear to God I would not make this up), a grossly fat, eyeliner-and-silk-dressing-gown-wearing pervert who purchases the miraculously still-living daughter.

Taken was a fucking stupid movie. If it was a person, I would tell it to go die in a fire.

Final Score: 0

Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
No, it's not a Pixar movie. Yes, it's based on a famous children's book, and yes, the people at Sony Pictures Entertainment took some patently mind-boggling leaps to inflate a 30-page picture book into an hour-and-a-half movie. Loads of new characters, conflicts, and jokes, with only cursory nods towards some images from the book.

It was fun. It was a fun little movie. Bill Hader and Anna Faris provide throwaway voiceovers for the leads, but the rest of the cast is stellar. Bruce Campbell as the Mayor? Mr. T as the Police Officer? One of my personal heroes, Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the Monkey, delivering most of the films LOL moments? My mind is ablown.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a grand little movie. It's not a genre-defining masterpiece like Wall-E or Up, but it has its place, and is well worth a look.

Final Score: 10

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Hoo-boy. Okay.

When I saw Michael Bay's first Transformers film, I reviewed it with a few trite sentences after a lengthy diatribe on the shortcomings of Spider-Man 3. This second... thing... cannot be overlooked as easily.

The 2007 film was easily forgiven for its whirling-tornadoes-of-steel action sequences, primarily because it had so many whirling-tornadoes-of-steel action sequences. The movie succeeded in justifying its title (Transformers, for those of you who've lost the thread of the review already) by featuring the frigging robots. The boy-gets-car-and-meets-girl subplot was annoying, but it never pulled us away from the giant transforming robots for too long.

The sequel (which doesn't even dignify itself with a 2, as though it is some sort of add-on, or fucking DLC) fails here. Michael Bay, that son of a bitch, spends practically the entire film following Shia the Beef and The Sweaty Midriff that Walks Among Us as they run in slow-motion, deal with irascible professors and slowly, agonizingly inch towards the boy saying, "I wuv yoo." Nnngh.

Add to that the deficient plot swirling around The Beef's character (that Spike Witwicky is somehow imbued with Cosmic Powers and becomes a saviour of both the Human and Cybertronian species - and, now that you mention it, who told Cockhead that he could change Spike's name to Sam?); the patent idiocy of having the "ancient" Transformer, named Jetfire, who's been on the Earth for millennia, be a geriatric, complaining old codger with a cane, whose vehicle form is a Blackbird jet; the lack of a vocoder effect on Soundwave's voice, which left Frank Welker sounding like Doctor Claw; and the absolutely, appallingly, mind-stunningly racist caricatures that are Mudflap and Skids.

Thing is, this was not a Transformers movie. It should have been called Humans: Revenge of the Fallen. This was a movie about humans blowing shit up, blatant over-sexualization and trivialization of women, and thinly-veiled, "come on, it's not that bad," casual racism. Michael Bay, like George Lucas before him, needs to go away for a while and have some alone time.

And let someone else reboot this poor franchise and make it cool again. (And for Christ's sake, get rid of Elrond and let Frank Welker fight with Peter Cullen again, please.)

Final Score: 0

EDIT: Video dumped snipped to get rid of broken Today's Big Thing links.

I always suspected that there was some cruel deity at work behind the scenes while I was playing Tetris.

Final Fantasy XIII nerdiness for me and some of my more-nerdy friends. (Non-Final-Fantasy-nerds can skip this one.)

BBC News wins the award for Best Lead Sentence in a Legitimate News Story with this gem. (It's the bolded sentence that begins, "The elusive...")

And this picture was good for a giggle after someone stuck it up on the Book of Faces. (Knowledge of the Rivalry makes it only marginally funnier.)

In closing, a pithy comparison found on one of the internets.

That's all you get for now. Home for a rest in March!

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Read? Nah, we don't really do much readin'. Not so much. (Skip to 1:25 on the video.)