Friday, July 07, 2006
Catching up
In which V has been without reliable internet service for several days, and feels obligated to review some stuff she's seen recently.

I am not really in the mood to think very hard this evening, so you'll have to make do with capsule reviews. Yes, this is laziness on my part. There is nothing you can do about it.

I have seen some films. Films! Generally they were quite enjoyable. In no particular order...

1. Superman Returns
This had so many gaping plot holes that it was the cinematic equivalent of swiss cheese. And some of the exposition was quite dull. I actually dozed off a bit at the start. But once the action started, I managed to stay awake and was reasonably entertained. Kevin Spacey is an actor I normally don't tolerate well, but he was a pretty good Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth is an actress I full-on dislike, and I didn't like her Lois Lane at all. But then, I never liked Lois Lane. She's lame, and kind of a dumbass.

I have to be honest here, people. I don't like Superman just on principle. Superman is white-bread. Superman dwells in a totally black and white world where people are 100% goodies or 100% baddies, and the goodies always win against the baddies, and everyone loves baseball and apple pie and GO AMERICA! YEAH! If you see what I mean. Superman is the embodiment of naive idealism. Superman is... well...

Superman is for babies.

Superman is also quite notoriously Batman's rival. Their relationship is a thing of such complex beauty that I won't even try to get into the psycho-social details of it. Suffice to say, these guys don't get along (suggested reading: this). This kind of dynamic tends to push one towards being either a hardcore Superman fan, or a hardcore Batman fan. And friends, I am most definitely in the Batman camp. Batman is all about the shades of grey. Batman is clinically insane. Batman is not for babies.

This maybe predisposes me to not be very enthusiastic about Superman Returns. Batman Begins, now there was a damn good superhero movie. Rent that, and watch it, and then watch it again.

However: Superman does stop a bullet with his eyeball. HIS EYEBALL, PEOPLE. This alone perhaps saves the film from tedium.

2. Nacho Libre
I have a low tolerance for Jack Black. I mainly only saw this because it was the same team behind Napoleon Dynamite, which is quite possibly one of the funniest movies in the history of funny movies. I figured, well, even if Jack Black sucks, this will probably be at least a little funny.

Nacho Libre was so totally funny. Not just a little funny, a lot funny. It was funny in a different way from Napoleon Dynamite, but it was still very quirky and weird. Both movies kind of made me feel like I was watching people who live in some parallel universe where nobody has social skills.

Jack Black was very funny in this. I also liked Jack Black in Envy. I think maybe these are the only two films I've seen him in where he plays someone essentially innocent and good-hearted and probably a little naive. He is more appealing this way. Usually he plays cretins, and/or jackasses. Not that there's much difference.

One wonders how Superman's eyeball would stand up to an ear of corn. This is all I can say.

3. Night Watch
I have seen this film twice now, and I can say with 100% certainty that it kicks major ass. It is awesome. It's a Russian vampire film, but it's so much more than just a vampire film. It is epic. It is beautifully filmed, it has production values that rival (if not surpass) anything that comes out of Hollywood. It has a killer soundtrack.

And, most importantly, it is original. I see a lot of horror films. And I mean, a lot. So many that you'd probably start wondering things like "is V mentally warped? Does V have some kind of fixation on violence and gore? Does V ever leave the house?" (incidentally, the answer to all of these questions is probably 'yes', but never you mind).

My point is, I see a shitload of horror films, and nearly every single one of them is somehow derivative of another. For a while, I found solace in Asian films because they don't follow the same patterns and conventions of American films. And then you started getting a lot of Ring clones and a lot of Grudge clones. Still though, they are creepy and innovative in ways American horror films can't even touch. And in America's defense, our horror genre has taken a much-appreciated turn for the nasty lately (see also: The Devil's Rejects, Hostel). There's more good stuff out there right now than there has been in a long time.

But look at me, I digress again. What I'm trying to say is that Night Watch was not really derivative of anything I can think of. The story was new. The premise was new. It's a rare occasion that I can watch a horror film and actually wonder what might happen next. Please, please see this film. I can't stress its greatness enough. If you have even the smallest interest in horror films or vampire films or films with a lot of ass-kicking, there is something in there for you.

Well. These were meant to be capsule reviews and I've rambled on. My brain hurts.