Saturday, September 26, 2009


Please ignore 99.7% of the Gamer Reviews and "comments" -- the boat has been missed and the Lemmings have supplied chorus.

So way back when we stumbled into Crank alone. Movie buddies shook their collective heads.."dude, that shite ain't worth turnin' off my cellphone for 80 minutes"...
We all know now exactly how different Crank is/was will be -- clever, daring, amplified with a DIY in your face style that took no prisoners. To borrow a term from the other tabooland, Gonzo filmmakin'.

Gamer takes it to the next level.

I am trying to remember the movie from a few years back full of violence and gore where the fourth wall is broken and the character screams at the audience why are you watching this!

We have all seen the trite tsk tsk movies about games. We have all been disappointed by our games being made into truly awful movies, and endured the scorn of so called adults pawing through our media calling us 13 still.

Well my answer is: science fiction paved the way for your damn cell phone flashlight you use sitting in front of me in the dark. Science fiction tried to warn you about now needing a calculator to multiply 72 x 3. They also warned you about microflash transactions -- the trades that brought the first world to its knees last year. But please, keep up your condescension. I know you don't read anymore so by all means post that iPic to your Facebook and move on.

Wow, touched my own nerve writin' a dang review.

Gamer isn't perfect, even for what it thinks it is doing. It does it better than most though. Movie 2.0 if you will, and there are a scant handful of directors/camera-peeps even thinking at that level, never mind delivering.

I am reminded of the first 20 minutes of Magnolia where information is pile driven quickly to bring you up to speed then the movie relaxes and slows down. Gamer does not until the very end. It is not so much frenetic as it is deconstructed.

Its "message" is hung on a trope we have all seen before -- Running Man, Rollerball, Death Race etc. I loved the remake of Death Race -- real cars, tough gritty performances, but it was an homage, a cover version if you will. Gamer goes beyond that.

FPS games get all the bad press -- responsible for every male child loner with a handgun and no girlfriend after all -- and the foreground of Gamer advertising is in fact that particular brand of game. Second Life and the Sims -- where the other gender games -- are also subjects of Gamer, as is Capitalism, role playing, and the Wall-E thing.

My favorite is the complicity of the IT department who have apparently never heard the Google motto "do no evil".

Highly recommended, a must see on a screen bigger than the one you aren't allowed to watch the Superbowl on.


Pandorum, in spite of the poster and the trailer, is not a horror film.
Pandorum is science fiction, and well wrought at that.

A long time ago - and many miles away - I ran a book club out of Borders (at the cusp of them deciding "corporate" made more sense). Our topic was "space voyages that last 100 years or more". There are a surprising number of books written, and worth reading, on the topic.

Pandorum is a movie we would have discussed in the club. Joseph Conrad rears his head without Marlon Brando. So does James Cameron, yes, Ridley Scott and all the other "related" horror science fiction guys being bandied about in the sniggering negative press. The comparisons being made seem to be calling this film a pastiche, but it is much better than that.

There is no fourth wall breaking film stutter to signal the end of madness. There are no tanks of blood spewing and only one Casshernesque gene pool..

I was hoping for something as cool as watching Steve beat "Dead Space" - a PS3 game with a rich backstory - and got something even better!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Threefer - District 9, Star Trek, 9

3 days, 2 theaters, 3 movies. A fine "welcome back" to the 1st world. No embedded travel stories in these short reviews, I promise. Reviewed in viewing order:

District 9 - Wow. Terrific film here. This is the new school stuff, with seamless CGI blended into daytime instead of night, the real world instead of a dark, post-apok alterna-verse.

Great story, well written, that does not beat you over the head. I am thinking "3 Kings" good as far as the writing goes. The lessons and points are absolutely there to be taken, but are not force fed through a narrow tube or POV down the throat.

The main character is an everyman that does not make all the right choices in any situation. His acting is top notch, and fearless.

Peter Jackson presented this, so 'nuf said about the SFX.

This one is a must see.

Star Trek - They got it right, finally. I have enjoyed moments of all the other Star Trek movies, but usually leave shaking my head. I went to this one hopeful (and at the dollar theater) but not unguarded. Everyone that told me how good it was was too young to have seen the original "back in the day".

This is a real treat for those of us that did. A bona fide feature length episode that perhaps shits on the Shat too much, but that is geek humor. Trust the audience enough to present the multiverse without too much of a didactic spew of over-explanation.

Kudos to all the fearless actors playing characters so dear to so many and getting it as right as the script allows. MVP to Karl Urban for being "the Bones".

This one might not ignite a new generation of fans, but will bring us all back in 2011 for the next installment...

9 - I am a sucker for animation, and Burton has done a lot for the genre. This film advances that, and offers a dark alternative to the laugh a minute coolness Pixar off handedly tosses us with such startling consistency.

This movie earns its PG 13 rating. I hope teens do go, and I hope the goth/emo/weird kids have enough buying power to keep this afloat long enough for the moneymen to greenlight Burton's next piece, because the younger kids will be scared out of their minds. I'm not one to a> respect the rating system or 2> believe it, but this no breasts, little gore, and animated, film pushes some sophisticated buttons.

I am still digesting this 3rd one, as it conflicts with a bunch of my base principles, but i can without hesitancy say that this is a must see for anyone who wants to see big screen risk taking.