Friday, September 17, 2021

Face/Off (1997)

If you were confused by my Evangelion critique, this film may offer low-brow thrills closer to your tastes. John Woo is the kind of filmmaker who makes art for the ignorant masses yet somehow manages to get near-universal acclaim. Hong Kong’s Tarantino.

In this film, John Woo pays homage to himself. It’s one of those movies that filmmakers say is “like a movie”, whatever that means. All movies are movies, but this one is stylish and self-gratifying enough to suggest its director knows he’s awesome. Then add Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, and your over-the-top schlock is guaranteed.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Evangelion 3.0+1.0 (2021)

The Evangelion franchise elevates itself above shonen anime through its well-written characters, philosophy, theory of mind, and metafiction. (Specifically, the notion that all of physics and human interactions exist in an entangled state dependent on perception, and that human will dictates the nature of the universe and everything that happens. Some call it quackery, some call it the power of love. Why not conflate science with religion? It’s called a world view. Deal with it.)

Nope, it’s a totally rational hard sci-fi franchise! Its departures from “mainstream” science are just satire. Absolutely….

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Heavy Metal (1981)

The Heavy Metal/Métal hurlant franchise is awesome, if you are familiar with the material then you probably love it. That is a testament to the fantastic work of French comic artists and the animators who made this first American film. The anthology format of this and subsequent adaptations lends itself well to stories of raw passion and violence.

What is perhaps most interesting about Heavy Metal is that it crosses time and space to tell stories of human triumph over enemies, society, and life in general. It does not falter in its unflinching awareness of how the universe really is. It doesn’t lie as much as the Disney shit.

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia is a senior-safe introduction to Lars von Trier. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who he is, von Trier is a filmmaker from the distant land of Germany who is known for boundary-pushing avant-garde cinema. Most of his films are released unrated to cinephile audiences. This is one of the exceptions.

Melancholia was released America-style mainstream for whiskey-drinking simpletons. It has few “genre” elements and stays within the self-imposed prison of the “drama” category through most of the film. There is some sci-fi brewing in the background, but 95% of the film could play for a geriatric home.

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

The first three Trancers show a fall from greatness as legendary hero Jack Deth moves into retirement. Trancers 4 and 5 were shot back-to-back and pick up where the trilogy left off. I divide the series like so because of the radical shift the latter films represent, not just in Trancers but in moving pictures on the whole.

The whole outsourcing situation with lower budgets and broken dreams is par for the course with Chuck Band’s later work. This was the start of that. With Trancers 4, the audience got an interesting medieval experience. Whether or not it was good for business, I don’t know.

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