What I'm Watching: January, 2011
Happy new year, and greetings programs! Sorry there wasn't an early January posting, but I honestly didn't have much to say. I was stuck watching the new Doctor Who season, and that was pretty much it, and there was no juicy news to share. But what that means is I've built up a pile of stuff since then, so this is a biggy.
Starting with the much anticipated Tron: Legacy. I may well be the last person on the planet to see it, because I literally just got back from the theatre. I had to wait for the movie to get into a 2D theatre, which is why this movie I've waited two decades for, a sequel to one of my fave guilty pleasures, has not been seen until now. Sucks.
But I digress. How was the movie? For the most part, it was worth the wait. Even in 2D, it was a visual and auditory feast. It had a plot, that was maybe a little thin at times, but even then everything just looked and sounded amazing. I'm not a style over substance kinda person, but you can't comment on those things with this movie. Sam Flynn was one of the weaker links, as I never quite connected with who he was. The movie could have used a little more character building on his part. He still had his moments though. No surprise that Jeff Bridges was amazing, though. And his younger self managed to stay out of the uncanny valley, for the most part. The biggest glitch with Clu was that his head and neck didn't always seem connected.
The first movie seemed to do more with comparrisons to the real world, and I don't think Legacy *quite* pulled that off. The world didn't seem quite as well thought out to me. It felt more like an alien world than a computer world, if that makes any sense. What I really would have liked to have seen was more conflict, and not just in the good versus evil department. They could have done SO much with fathers and sons, two brothers pairing against each other, the difference of generations both in people and technology, between the open source and closed source movements, religion and tech...so many options. There were moments of some of those things, but that's all they were. There was some great stuff between Clu and Kevin Flynn towards the end of the movie that was the closest to that, with a son's rage against a father's broken promises. I wanted more of that.
But there was a plot in the movie, and one that moved pretty well for a two hour film. It never quite felt like it dragged. If anything, it needed to be longer, to give it more meat. This could have easily been a mindless action movie to cash in on 3D, but they had a story to tell, and they told it. It just wasn't as much of a story as I was hoping for. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I've got a stack of DVD movies I've watched lately, so I'm going to breeze through them.
I have now seen the infamous Lindsay Lohan bomb, "I Know Who Killed Me." And...and, I um, actually liked it? Don't get me wrong, there is plenty bad here. The acting is subpar, the story is laughable, but...with the other movies I watch? It is NOT that bad. Maybe worse than a lot of other big Hollywood movies, but it was entertaining, and well made. I was absolutely enthralled with the noirness of it, and the way it was shot. This movie dripped style, and the director did an amazing job. But it is what it is, a goofy pulp bit of fluff that is best left forgotten. But I've seen worse.
A little less horror, although there's a personal level of horror to the story, is Catfish. This is a documentary of a guy who gets involved with a person online, things start to seem hinky, and his quest to get to the bottom of things. I was surprised to find out this is a supposedly true story, but just as surprised to find out how interesting it actually was. The story isn't terribly surprising, but there's a few unforseen twists, and the depth of the lies was truly enthralling. I was on the edge of my seat watching to see just how deep things got. The best part for me is that once the truth came out, they did not make it confrontational. It could just as easily have been a case of, "HOW DARE YOU??" which I am sure many people would have taken, but instead the people involved were understanding and almost caring, even in light of the lies, since we're all a little bit of a lie online, aren't we? I like what the understanding nature of it says about humanity.
On a bit of theatrical catchup, I saw Machete finally. Hooboy, this is a tough one. It is way over the top, and gets very silly. But then, we knew that, didn't we? It's a modern day grindhouse film. And much like Rodriguez's other grindhouser, Planet Terror, he nails the style and energy and fun of it. This isn't the movie you watch for a serious movie. It knows what it is, and what it wants to do, and does it. No questions asked. Perfectly executed, but problematic if you don't know what you're going to watch.
Continuing the catchup theme, I also got to see Piranha at last. Another one I had to wait on because of 3D. And much like Machete, it's not very serious, nor is it trying to be. In almost any other world, this would have been on the Scifi Channel, but it somehow snuck onto the big screen. It's a fun, deadly fish filled romp, with everything you would expect from a love letter to 80s horror movies. Campy, classic fun. If it had come out 20 years ago, it would get a full review.
Lastly, there's Buried with Ryan Reynolds, and almost only Ryan Reynolds. It's a very simple story of a man trapped, buried in a coffin, with only a few items, and trying to find the way out. For a movie that is solely on one character, in a single location, for 90 minutes, it was way more enthralling than you might think. It dragged a few times, but it works for the confinement and claustrophobia. You get uncomfortable waiting, and that's how you should feel. It was a decent watch that kept me totally entertained, and the ending...well, I won't say a word.
Oh, and just one more quick shout out to a little known film that has nothing to do with anything; Gunless. Yes, it's a western, and has nothing to do with this site, but it is smart, funny, clever, and is more of a deconstruction of the Western genre than anything else. It's about a wanted man who ends up in the wild west...of Canada. The Montana Kid then tries his best to get out, but that's easier said than done when he challenges a gunless man to a duel. Very fun, and just something from the left of nowhere I wanted to shine a light on for interested parties.
Wow, that's a lot of stuff. Well, I have even more movies to watch, and even more to write up reviews of, so until next week...end of line!