Friday, August 28, 2020

Emma (2020)

The story of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) is clearly targeted at people who spin at a lower RPM than fans of Quentin Tarantino, people who like to let inconsequential character quibbles sink in over a period of hours.

In this critic’s opinion, a film without real conflict is like a bowl of raisin bran without raisins. It’s just bran. In a way, it is refreshingly different from the norm; the film has merits. At the same time, the audience cannot be in an impatient mood when watching. Lots of ancient high-class literature, such as that of Charles Dickens, can be put into this category.

Need I contrast the bombastic explosivity of a Shakespeare play with a book of similar age? Different types of people have always lived on this planet, and with them different types of stories. Though the early 19th century was in many places an era of religious obsession and civil order, at the same time, Napoleon was tearing through much of the old world and there was plenty of spicy conflict elsewhere.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Archive (2020)

Like many sci-fi flicks, Archive starts strong and ends poorly. It is not for lack of budget, but rather a lack of reason to care. Not to piss on Gavin Rothery’s feature directorial debut. The filmmaking is competent. The story is the problem.

If you are looking for relatable characters in a relatable story, you will not find that here. If you just want background noise in your living room, it’s not the worst thing you could put on. As this is an audiovisual experience, there are also shiny things to look at. Sufficient for the easily entertained.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Evangelion 3.0: あすかばあちゃん かわいいです~~~ (2012)

Is Evangelion 3.0 the new Citizen Kane (1941)? Perhaps. While I won’t go into the details of Kane’s connection with Japanese leather philosophy, it is clear that badass robot pilot Shinji Ikari, who has to be 60+ years old in this installment but looks 14 thanks to magic pink slime, is the embodiment of post-apocalyptic robot power fantasy.

I am a big believer in blind devotion to popular anime brands. This isn’t a bad movie, because it’s a Neon Genesis Evangelion movie. Don’t stop the series now! Give me more!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Ghosts of Mars is a heavy metal lullaby from the mind of an oldschool filmmaker. This was John Carpenter’s hardest thrust at the sci-fi genre.

There are some big names in it, notably Jason Statham, Ice Cube, and B-movie queen Pam Grier. John Carpenter has excellent taste in talent, but his taste in sci-fi is questionable. This talent either belongs in an oldschool exploitation movie or a more straightforward, linear, brightly-lit sci-fi flick. Trying to meet in the middle with a Halloween-in-space premise is a recipe for disappointment.

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Solaris (1972)

This 2-hour 40-minute Soviet sci-fi art film is one of the slowest movies ever made. I know people say that about 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) but Solaris really takes the cake.

Is it better than the George Clooney version? Yes. Is it a fun watch for a modern audience? Well… It’s not until the second act that we go to space, we learn that the protagonist is a psychologist, and the camera starts moving a bit. The first 45 minutes or so are a waste of time, and it never really ramps up. So is it a fun watch? No.

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