We’re pretty late to the Netflix party. For years now everyone has been saying we should drop by, so here we are. So far, yeah, we’re having an okay time. The chips are pretty good though the pop’s a bit flat. We’re meeting some people we never would’ve had a chance to (lemme tell you, some are total D-bags) and hanging out with some old friends we’d forgotten about.
This week we cover the various things we’ve watched in the last month: Thor; X-Men First Class; In Time; How I Met Your Mother; Mad Men; This Means War; Starship Troopers; Kick-Ass; Puss In Boots; Portlandia; The IT Crowd.
A few movies we didn’t talk about on the episode (or that I watched on my own while Mandi was oot and aboot):
Tai Chi Zero: A batshit crazy steam-punk kung-fu comedy with anachronistic “Scott Pilgrim” video game graphic overlays and no ending. Apparently this kind of thing is a whole genre in Hong Kong. Surprisingly enjoyable.
The Expendables: I watched a whole 44 minutes of this before realizing I could just turn it off. If I’d rented it (or even gone through the trouble of borrowing a copy of the disc from the public library for free) I’d have felt the need to get through it. Not that it was that bad. It just was that good. It took itself too seriously when it should have been more of a comedy. The bizarro attempts at giving the characters depth in a really shoehorned way were the root of most of the film’s problems. Deleting the whole WTF (and pretty damn misogynistic) Charisma Carpenter sub-plot probably would have made a huge difference. Without wasting time on that, the relationships between the titular expendables could have been explored in some kind of satisfying way. Also there needed to be some recasting and cast reallocation: Bruce Willis in the Jason Statham role, JCVD in the Jet Li role, Arnie in the Steve Austin role. And maybe Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal in the Eric Roberts role. Then it all might have had a point, and been what people wanted from the film, instead of being a kind of meh sack of missed opportunities.
Shoot ‘Em Up: I watched a little bit of this as background noise while I was doing something else. If nothing else, it has a great cast (Clive Owens, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti). I figured it’d be innocuous enough. It’s really fucked up. Gratuitously Gratuitous. Intentionally, thematically so, of course. Which might have a point if it were done intelligently. But it wasn’t. It’s like a lobotomized version of Tarantino. Which is really saying something. I think the idea behind it was supposed to be a “give ’em what they want” but since it bombed, I guess it turned out isn’t actually what people want. Thank god. I think I watched about all of 28 minutes of this tasteless turkey.
The Tournament: A sort of Hunger Games for hitmen. I’m a sucker for ensemble-cast, gladiator/arena games, (wo)man-vs-(wo)man films. Raimi’s Quick and the Dead, Running Man, Death Race, etc. These movies are usually kind of bad but enjoyable. This one is a pretty solid, if predictable, addition to this particular action sub-genre. It’s not life-changing, not ground-breaking, not a must-see, but it’s not a waste of time either. I’d even watch it again (though probably won’t).
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army: Like the first Hellboy movie, this one is not terrible. Ron Perlman is great as always, and especially fantastic in this role. Guillermo del Toro’s design is lovely, if his direction seems only adequate. I enjoyed the orc-like elves. Nice twist. I can see why he got fired from The Hobbit.
Daybreakers: A far better than I ever expected sci-fi vampire flick. It’s good because the whole vampire premise is just the film-makers’ mannequin for hanging their (kind of heavy-handed) message about natural resource over consumption on. It could have been something other than vampires, but their dependence on a dwindling supply of human blood is a nice analog for fossil fuels. It’s a classic sci-fi allegory in the Richard Matheson vein. Ironically, it’s almost as if they chose vampires as the vehicle to tell the story because of their popularity, but the film came out just as vampires were becoming over-exposed.
Priest: This sci-fi vampire flick is the exact opposite of Daybreakers. Though I liked the depiction of vampires as sort of alien/monster predators instead of the suave humanoid version, it has nothing else going for it. Actually, the animated prologue is quite good. Turn it off after that.