Friday, October 4, 2013

Moving Pictures AFI probably disapproves of

I know, I know. I need to be watching more AFI movies. But here are the non AFI movies I’ve been watching, in order of watchitude. I feel like I’m missing some? Maybe I haven’t seen as many movies this month as I thought? Additionally, I’m including two items that probably should have been on the previous one. Whatever!

The Fartist Notice the F in front there. This is another standup special, this time from Brian Posehn. I don’t have a lot to say about this. It was entertaining? If the title of the show made you laugh, you’d probably enjoy this, basically.

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend This isn’t a movie, it’s actually a standup special from Mike Birbiglia. Calling is a stand up special isn’t entirely accurate though because while it’s *funny* it’s not the traditional setup punchline joke repeat repeat. It’s more of a storytelling/performance piece. Regardless of all that, it is definitely worth watching. It’s funny, touching, at times sad and highly relatable. I really enjoy Birbigs, schtick? I guess? His style. He’s a funny guy and charming and, yes, disarming. I loved Sleepwalk With Me and will continue to watch his stuff.

World War Z I understand why this received the criticisms that it did. It shares nothing in common with the source material save the central premise. But, I knew that going in and so I was going to judge it entirely as separate from that. The book would make for an incredible HBO style series. I forget how many chapters there are but they could probably even do one or two 12 episodes seasons with each chapter being an episode… Anyway. SO. How does the movie stand up as a movie, not an adaptation? Not terrible. But, you know, not exceptionally great either. The first problem is length. At 2 hours not only is it far too long but it FEELS like longer than that. I honestly thought it was 2.5 hours. Regardless, they easily could have trimmed it to 90 minutes without losing a whole lot.

Another problem? It’s too amped up. There’s a constant sense of either action or direct danger. There’s very little downtime. There is almost no levity. Never a break, never a moment of calm. I get that. I do. I understand the WHY but it just doesn’t work for me. I like my “Scary” movies to have moments of (intentional) levity or farce. A small chuckle or big laugh between being chased by (whatever.) It doesn’t have to be a laugh riot comedy (or zomedy) like Shaun of the Dead, either. Dawn of the Dead 2004 did a great job of balancing things. Night of the Living Dead (original) didn’t really have any chuckles but it had plenty of calm quiet time. You need a chance to breathe and WWZ didn’t really offer this. It wasn’t scary, it was just TENSE.

JASON TAKES MANHATTAN Despite the title the majority of this film takes place on a boat and that’s where the majority of the action/entertainment lies. Once they hit dry land the movie, I’m sorry but I have to do this, loses a lot of steam. It’s not the best Jason movie, but it’s also not really the worst. I went to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse on Friday, the 13th at 9:13 and it was pretty entertaining with a fully packed crowd. I would probably never see it otherwise or likely watch it again. A couple of important notes:

First of all it has Jason literally punching someones head off. Which is a sight to behead. Sorry, beHOLD. (I’m out of control! Cant stop me now!) Secondly, it actually manages to pass the bechdel test. For those of you that don’t know what that is it’s pretty simple. Does the film have at least two female (named) characters? That talk to each other? About something other than a man? The answer here is yes. It would shock you (or maybe not, if you’re reading this you’re a bright cookie) how often this ISNT the case.

But here, a horror movie where a guy LITERALLY GETS HIS HEAD PUNCHED OFF, it manages. Think about that you writers, directors, producers, even actors. Because I know so many of you are currently reading this. Thank you and good night!

INSIDIOUS 2 I really enjoyed the first installment of this, and the 2nd one, while not quite as good, was still pretty decent. It kicks off basically immediately after the first one and plays out more as a drama with ghosty bits. It lacks the veering into silly third act that the first one suffered from, and didn’t have nearly as many jump scares. It wasn’t a perfect film by any means. There is a nearly completely superfluous third child that did not need to exist, but due to a somewhat minor part of the first movie is required to be here, otherwise he would be weirdly absent. Or maybe not. I honestly forgot he even existed, but whatever. Overall: Not bad, though I am unlikely to choose to see it again.


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