What I'm Watching: April, 2011
First up, before I get into my rambling thoughts, my scanner seems to have passed away. This has a minor effect on the website, as each review contains cover images from the DVDs that I scan in myself, as a bit of odd proof that I actually own these things. This is never anything I've pointed out, but it's there. I'm shopping around for a replacement, so it's a minor thing, and I'll get by no problem, but there might be a slight difference that gets noticed. Or maybe not.
I've been watching the classic V tv series from the 1980s. I saw a number of these back when they originally aired (Sigh I'm old), but mostly remember them from the Scifi Channel reairing them in the 1990s. I finally grabbed the DVDs and have gotten around to watching them. What with alien lizards, killing people, and a few scares, it's an appropriate thing to mention. Also, cheese. There is a lot of nostalgia for V, and much of that is due to the original miniseries, which is a brilliant bit of allegory. But once it became a weekly series, the quality took a dive. Not many alien effects, most of the spaceships are reused footage from the miniseries, the cast is pared down almost weekly as money dries up, and the writing is simplistic and corny, if not downright silly. The reboot of the show in recent years is getting a lot of deserved flak, but...the other original series? Not that great either. It's still campy fun, and does have some brilliant moments, and familiar characters, but it's wince worthy too. And it gets worse with each episode, I think.
It is no secret I love Doctor Who. I reference it in almost every damned review, in some way. Often, more than once. So yeah, the new series kicked off just before I'm writing these words, and I loooved the newest episode. That's all I'm saying. It was surprising, terrifying, and all those things you expect from Who. I also picked up the American-made FOX tv movie from 1996. Eric Roberts as an over the top, super campy bad guy. He needs to appear in more movies I review. He's a godsend to Trisk. So goofy, I love his performances.
On the movies I missed front, there's the much-maligned Skyline. Aliens come to Earth, and people get sucked into the sky and their ships. A lot of the dislike this movie got is well deserved. The movie has nothing that stand out about it, but it's not THAT bad either. But it's not bad enough to come around to good again. The performances are fine, the effects are surprisingly good, but the plot is slow, plodding, and takes too long for anything of substance to happen. You never quite get a feel for the characters, with all the time they spend with them, which is a shame. So much time, and I couldn't care less about these people. Making most of them be stereotypical LA asshats doesn't help. The plot is also a little too murky. It clears up on repeated viewings, and with some commentary, but I don't think the movie itself quite explained itself well enough. I'd check this out if it comes up on tv, since it's an OK movie and not as bad as many say but...it is still kinda bad.
Also, finally saw Black Swan, which may be the most critically and commercially acclaimed movie I've seen and owned. Why is this here? It is just barely horror. This is the most horror movie that will win an Oscar, I think. It has definite elements of horror to the story, wrapped up in a serious drama. It's more the latter than the former, and is actually very well done. Darren Aaronofsky is a brilliant director, very visual, and this is such a well made movie in almost every way. It's just barely not something I would normally watch, but has those minor bits that DO interest me, and brought me into a movie that I mostly enjoyed. A definite must see.
And finally, a movie I bet none of you have heard about, which is nothing new for Trisk; Dead Awake. This is about a man who's struggling through life after his parents died, obsessed with death and who killed them, and unable to move forward. The trailer made the movie look a lot more supernatural than it was, and while there were some elements of that in the final product, the movie was not what I thought it would be. It's not a bad movie, and has some good things to say about life and loss, and that state of suspension some of us can fall into after losing someone, and is actually quite good for a small, personal film like this. Just not what I was expecting. Once I got past that, I came around to liking it. Nothing great, but a good watch. It's a very personal story, good character bits, and well written. Just the kind of small, independent movie with just the right amount of the darkness to keep things interesting. You never quite know how much of that stuff the movie is dealing with, 'til the very end.
So, that's the long write ups here. If you want to see what I thought about some other recent releases, swing by my Livejournal, and read my in-depth reviews of Source Code and Insidious. I won't repeat myself here, and let you read those wordy reviews over there. They really are entire posts unto themselves. In short, they're both great movies I loved watching. Pick through my reasons why at your leisure.
See you in a few days for the next Trisking review!