Category Archives: Movies
In which Liz tells Frank about klassic kinema.
When my brother and I were growing up, we LOVED the movie Independence Day, directed by Roland Emmerich. LOVED it. We had it on VHS, and we would just watch it over and over again, chanting along with our favorite lines of dialogue — we could even re-enact Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum’s final escape from the alien ship word for word, one of us taking Will Smith’s lines and the other playing Jeff Goldblum. (I forget who would play which more. I think, because I was a nice older sister, I let him be Will Smith the most.)
Then, you know, things happened and watching buildings explode stopped being fun for a few years — however, Roland Emmerich appears to have never lost his taste for ending the world. Which would be fine, except for this one time when, to destroy destroy the planet (especially Los Angeles), he fucked up a real disaster instead of using a fictional one.
The Day After Tomorrow is one of the stupider movies I’ve ever seen, Frank (and remember that time I watched Zardoz?). This is largely because it takes the issue of climate change and instead of raising real awareness about how badly we’re fucking up the planet, makes it seem as real as a giant lizard that breathes fire.
Remember when our friend John told us about 50 Shades of Grey? What a good time that was! And now he’s taking on another bit of Twilight-adjacent storytelling. Because Hugh Jackman forbid we actually watch The Host ourselves.
First, a quick disclaimer: When I saw The Host, there were teenage girls in my theater and they were all laughing out loud at the same parts that made me laugh out loud, so while I usually try to go easy on movies for which I know I am not the target audience, I have no qualms with tearing into this one. Besides, The Hunger Games was my favorite film of last year, so maybe I am the target audience.
Believe it or not, I didn’t know that Stephenie Meyer was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. LDS church members are compelled to get married very early in life and abstain from sex until marriage, unfairly burdening all their romantic decisions in high school with the weight of eternity. So it’s no surprise that Meyer’s characters routinely struggle with their hormonal impulses as this directly conflicts with the marriage vows that they will eventually be bound to until the end of time. No doubt her work connects with young people growing up in similar environments, but for the rest of us it gets really irritating.
Ironically, no one is as preoccupied with sex as people who have been taught that sex is evil or sinful, and that’s what makes Meyer’s characters so incredibly frustrating: No matter what’s happening, you’d be hard pressed to get them to think about anything but their hormones for five fucking seconds! Read the rest of this entry
An embarrassing fact about me: After 17 years, I forget how many movies, and no shortage of ridiculous antics, I still kinda love Kevin Smith. I’m not sure why. Maybe I have a hard time letting go of things I loved in my adolescence, or maybe there’s just something about his familiar patter that I find comforting — the point is, while I haven’t seen Red State or whatever else he’s been working on lately, I’m still deeply fond of him.
I say this because I stumbled into rewatching Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back yesterday — Hulu Plus didn’t even bother putting commercials on it, Frank! — and it was like finding a musty old afghan in the back of the closet, curling up in its familiar comfort, and trying to ignore the smells.
Jay and Silent Bob, Frank, is Kevin Smith’s fifth film in the so-called “View Askewniverse,” a universe of interconnected characters largely residing in suburban New Jersey but truly united by their love of big words, gay jokes and nerd references. Two of these films were grounded indie fare (Clerks, Chasing Amy), while Mallrats went the Porky’s-esque route and Dogma… Yeah, I’m not really sure what Dogma was.
The point is, Smith wanted to move on from writing films heavily dependent on catchphrases and drug glorification, and so he declared that Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back would be his final “Askewniverse” film.
He decided, Frank, to go out in style. By “style,” I of course mean “gross overindulgence.”
As you know, while I deeply enjoy mocking the shit out of mock-worthy topics, I try to be an optimist when it comes to the stuff I set out to tell you about. Especially films and whatnot which show more ambition than, you know, some stupid fucking Katharine Heigl movie. We’ve seen boy meets girl, right side up before, after all. Boy meets girl, upside down? Now, that’s something new.
What I’m getting at is that I know I promised to tell you what happened in Upside Down last week, but I didn’t get to it. One reason why? Frank, I actually kind of liked it!
I’m embedding the trailer below because it’s important you understand the expectations I came into this movie with — but the short version of the premise is that in some alternate universe, there are two planets locked in orbit with each other, each with its own gravity but… Read the rest of this entry
It’s taken me more than a few years to understand why (despite being a total slut for any sort of fantasy or sci-fi narrative) I don’t really like zombie stories: They make for very hopeless storytelling. I can get on board with post-apocalypse narratives; I can get on board with horror. But zombie stories combine the two, often in a dark gruesome way, and goddamn if I’ve always failed to really engage with them.
The exception, though, happens because of love. Always because of love.
Let’s start with The Walking Dead. If I had been single in the year 2010, I would never have finished watching the first season; I didn’t hate it, but I found it awfully bleak for regular viewing.
However, I was not single in 2010, and the guy liked the show and didn’t have cable, so we watched it at my place — when Season 2 premiered a year later, after my relationship status had changed, I realized that on the bright side, I wouldn’t have to continue watching it. Read the rest of this entry
There are a lot of people in the world who really really fucking love Les Miserables. They do not include me. I don’t hate it — I just don’t have the innate deeply-born affection for it that its superfans do, probably because I’ve never really seen it until Tom Hooper’s brand-new film adaptation.
I mean, because I am a human being who was born during the 1980s, I am familiar with a number of its songs; in fact, when I was 12 years old, I auditioned for a musical by singing “Castle on a Cloud.” (And fuck yeah I still remember all the lyrics.)
But beyond that, and maybe reading the original Victor Hugo novel in high school (which it turns out I remember not in the slightest), sitting in the theater to watch the film was my first real exposure to “The Musical Phenomenon” (TM the movie posters).
What happens in Les Miserables? Frank, you didn’t technically ask (this entry was a special request from my friends Jay and Bronwen) but I’m happy to tell you anyway. Read the rest of this entry