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Imminent NetFlix Reviews #23 - scribbles and lies

Apr. 28th, 2012

12:29 am - Imminent NetFlix Reviews #23

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These were mostly from the end of last year, actually. I'm in no mood to wrestle with LJ-cuts tonight but I don't think there's anything too spoilery here.


Guy Ritchie can go ahead and keep on making the same movie over and over and I'll be just fine watching them. A fully sweet Fiasco.


This was all the stuff I liked about the redone BSG series: difficult moral issues in a military context, deeply unsettling awareness of the dwindling human race as a resource to be both conserved and exploited, and big ass spaceships just blowing the holy hell out of each other. No Baltar crying. No faux spacey-crunchy Cylon hybrid baby plan. No occupied Caprica. None of that crap. Just the cold and expedient pragmatism of war for survival.


As a log-line, totally horribly not something I'd ever want to see. A friend's wedding prompts a woman to reassess her adult life as it all unravels for her? Ugh. But, hey, it turns out to have been all that. Funny, poignant, awkward. Always impressive when a comedy writer writes a great, awkward character and then portrays that character as well - like Jason Segel in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (* * *), Kristen Wiig really nails her own messed-up protagonist. And the dress shop scene that culminates with Maya Rudolph out in the street is probably the most horrifying/hilarious ill humor scene I've seen in a year.


I thought this would be awesome - Jet Li! Bob Hoskins as a bad guy! Weird bondage premise! - but it just leaned a bit too much on the feel-good side. Maybe would have been less touchy-feeling-in-my-heart if they hadn't had MORGAN F'ING FREEMAN playing HIS USUAL ROLE only this time HE'S BLIND AS WELL. Sheesh.


The girls love it, of course, but I don't think they really understand what happens at the end. Not as great a kids movie as it seems like it coulda/shoulda been.

HERO: * * * * *

Disappointed by DANNY THE DOG, I seek additional Jet Li to satisfy the craving and, boom, this is exactly what I wanted. Each of the fights, throughout, is a different sort of beautiful. Of course it's pretty obvious from the start what is going to be revealed, but the film is no less enjoyable for being unsurprising in that regard. You know a flower will open in the sunlight; when it does so, it is no less magnificent for being predictable.


Has its moments, and definitely excels in the low-budget high-value effects, but somehow as found-footage type films go, I felt like it didn't quite hold together well enough. Especially after I saw MONSTERS (* * * *) last year. Amusingly and disturbingly, the eponymous troll-hunting character has a strong resemblance to my writerly friend Warren Ellis (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, CROOKED LITTLE VEIN).


Remember that fan trailer film that came out a few years ago, with Batman and the Joker and the Alien and the Predators? Yeah. Well, that guy made this little indie film about alien bounty hunters trying to recover their captive after a crash. It was fairly decent work, though it basically ends right in the middle of the story. The surprise reveal partway in, of course, is something you should have guessed in the first few minutes, but it's okay, it's not really the point.


I really dug the later seasons of this show but had never gotten around to watching the original movies. I think the streaming versions on NetFlix are edited for content but that's fine, even with some of the T&A cut out, they managed to keep all of the cheese. I admire their ability to create a universe setting that is both seriously grim and completely goofy.


Did you know this was, at one point, intended to be a Steve Carell vehicle? This was one of a bunch of unproduced scripts that I read a couple years back, and I'm glad they got a genuinely fucked up guy like Mel Gibson to do it instead. It was an interesting sort of script executed reasonably well, if you like films that are trying to be the next AMERICAN BEAUTY (* * * *).

For consideration: next up, couple more movies for the girls, another Fiasco or two, and Shakespeare