22 January 2016

The Intern (2015; Nancy Meyers)

What did I expect from the director of Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated, films I started watching with the Better Half before I ran screaming and retching from the den after ten minutes of running time?

Yeah, it was mawkish and lead-footed, and I paused the player at the ten, then fifteen minute marks, not quite in agony or nausea, but still ready to throw in the towel.

But leads Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway have a nice chemistry that make this film watchable. Sure De Niro continues to cruise through his golden years — hey, he's allowed to — while Hathaway does a decent fist of a start-up entrepreneur struggling with the pulls of motherhood and wifehood.

I'm glad I unpaused the player both times. But it was a close run thing.

03 January 2016

Star Wars VII (2015; JJ Abrams / Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt)

Star Wars The Force Awakens Theatrical Poster.jpg
"Star Wars The Force Awakens Theatrical Poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

First and only thoughts upon leaving the screening of this long-awaited instalment:
  • it's a shameless, shameless remake of Star Wars IV;
  • after twenty minutes of ads and trailers, I’m like, “Fuck you, Cinema Theatre Experience: I’ll fuckin’ wait”;
  • upon hearing it's likely the first of another Star Wars trilogy, the Better Half said, “I love you but I'm not watching any more of this rubbish”;
  • to the Canadian salesman who responded to a lukewarm review by wishing reviewer Andrew O’Hehir dead: fucking drop dead yourself, you motherfucking loser;
  • I goddamned guarantee you that the final of this trilogy will be motherfuckin’ split into two parts.

21 December 2015

Ho Goddamned Ho

Ah, the holiday season: where manners go south because every motherfucker's full of the fuckin' festive spirit.

It's not all mistletoe and armour-piercing ammunition, but: thanks to those open source elves in Hollywood, we can hide out in our entertainment dens with screeners like Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight.jpg
"The Hateful Eight" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Ryan Coogler's Creed

Creed poster.jpg
"Creed poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

… and for the little woman in your life, Todd Haynes' Carol.

Carol (film) POSTER.jpg
"Carol (film) POSTER" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Happy holidays.

29 November 2015

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD S03E01 (ABC, 2013–)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. title 2.jpg
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. title 2" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

I've been enjoying The Flash and Arrow so much that I've totes forgot that this rival comic-book show is being broadcast at the same time.

Per this post's title, I did start watching this season opener and… I dunno. Meh. Meh enhanced humans meh super meh conspiracy meh Nick Fury meh meh meh. According to my viewing diary, I've watched the first fifteen minutes of this ep twice and I couldn't tell you the first goddamned thing about those lost thirty minutes of my life.

I think I can safely and responsibly say the cause of my apathy is that this show has been, despite the involvement of Joss “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Whedon, consistently underwhelming. Remove Clark Gregg's quippy Agent Coulson and this ensemble piece implodes without trace.

I'm almost tempted to wonder why I sat through the first two seasons of this show.

Almost tempted.

31 October 2015

The Walking Dead S06E01–04 (AMC, 2015)

I'm a big fan of the comic: each month's issue is devoured with equal parts zombie blind-hunger and the gut-churning fear of a lone survivor. Creator Robert Kirkman's desire to explore a post-zombie-apocalypse world is producing a work that's as soulful, ruthless and savage as Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's awesome serial story telling that I dread but look forward to each month.

Then there's the television show it inspired. The intelligent promise of Frank Darabont's first season was not delivered in the following two seasons. That was mostly because broadcast AMC dumped Darabont after S01, and S02–03 were other people trying to pick up the mantle and resorting to things I hate about zombie film and television (for example, the characters' terrible habit of not paying due attention to their continuously hostile environment). The seasons following Darabont's departure were also boring as, man. So I gave up after S03.

In the years since, I tried the odd ep, watching as much of a random ep or season opener as I could stand (because it was usually boring, stupid, or both). The comic is so good — I know they're very different beasts, the comic and the television show — but somehow I guess I thought that surely the show might reach some kind of parity in its quality of story telling.
Which brings me to S06. I've devoured the first four eps in short order, and it hasn't been boring. The main characters — those that've survived from S01 — have changed and grown so much and in such different ways as to be rivetting to watch. The show has captured the essence of What are you prepared to do to survive? and the cost that that entails.

I'll keep watching this season. Even if it deteriorates into standard zombie tropes and cliches and I don't finish the season, it'll be interesting to drop in on the show next year or the year after, to see who's still alive, and what they've become.

14 September 2015

Wayward Pines S01E01–07 (Fox, 2015)

Wayward Pines Intertitle.png
"Wayward Pines Intertitle" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

A Secret Service agent awakens in a Twin Peaks-vibe rural town where All Is Not What It Seems: people won't give him a straight answer, there's all sorts of strange and suspicious behaviour — you get the deal.

By the fifth ep, All Is Revealed, and our protagonist — for Very Good Reason — becomes that which he loathed and struggled mightily against at the beginning of the show. So far, so so, with intriguing themes of surveillance state, conformism, and the greater good underlying the action.

And then ham-fisted execution, sub-sub-sub-Hitchcockian left-hand-not-knowing-what-the-right-hand's-doing bullshit, stupid stupid stupid character u-turns, and — ah, fuck it.

Confidence was never high for this show.

16 August 2015

Terminator: Genisys (2015; Alan Taylor / Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier)

The trailer didn't really set me aflame.

Game of Thrones helmer Taylor and the original Terminator hisself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, were big enough drawcards to not overly worry about the casting of Jai Courtenay (from the execrable A Good Day to Die Hard), Emilia Clarke (replacing the irreplaceable Linda Hamilton), and Jason Clarke (who does great work in straight drama like Zero Dark Thirty but somehow manages to be awkward and unconvincing in genre pieces like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

So. Genisys didn't suck as much ass as the slavishly PG-13 Rise of the Machines or the clusterfuck of Salvation, but Jesus H Fucking Christ did it feel like it was written by committee. The dialogue was flat with exposition. The plotting was tepid. The logic — oi vey — was non-existent. I actually began to feel sorry for all involved when I was watching this.

I'm glad the rights revert to Mr Cameron after this instalment.