Blog Archives

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “After Earth”

Dear Frank,

after earth posterAs I write this, let me tell you — I’m not feeling great. Some sort of head/chest congestion thing. It’s way better today than it was on Sunday, thanks to the joys of modern medicine, but it also means that I write this now after having just taken my second dose of DayQuil of the day, and I’m gonna tell you, I feel a little bit loopy.

Which is probably the best possible place from which to approach After Earth.

Yes, Frank, technically I know what I’m getting into. I know this movie is not good. But I need to know JUST HOW BAD.

Because here’s the thing — the question I pose today isn’t “is After Earth a terrible film?” but rather “is After Earth WORSE than Battlefield Earth?” It’s time for the Scientology Metaphor Movie Showdown! Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

Dear Frank,

noah-posterMonday night, about ten minutes before a screening of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, I made the following joke on Twitter:

Do you think I’ll have a hard time understanding “Noah” if I don’t read the book first? (I remember hearing it was based on some book…)

Not exactly groundbreaking, as jokes go. But it happened to be couched in some amount of truth. I would probably consider myself a spiritual person, but that spirituality owes absolutely nothing to the Good Book and any knowledge of the material within is due largely to pop culture’s appropriation of it. Like, I know what Gethsemane is, but only because there’s an X-Files episode called that, you know?

(DAMN IT I almost made it a full 24 hours without referencing The X-Files in some context. Frank, I was doing SO GOOD.)

Point is, I know the basics of the Noah story — God decides to punish Man with flood, one guy builds a really big boat to save the creatures that can’t swim to survive it — and went into Aronofsky’s interpretation assuming that the rest of what happened in the film would be drawn from the original text.

But the next day, when I was talking with people online about what I’d seen, I was surprised to learn that NOPE. Not only is the original text, in one person’s words, “really bare bones” but Aronofsky took some, um, liberties with the source material. And Aronofsky’s version? BONKERS. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Cloud Atlas”

Dear Frank,

Cloud Atlas German PosterAs we’ve previously discussed, I have a weird fondness for the Wachowskis despite their career ups and downs, and (as we have not previously discussed) I am DEFINITELY a fan of Tom Tykwer. (Run Lola Run is one of those movies that gets you a good two decades worth of goodwill from me. I mean, I haven’t watched it for at least a decade, and it might not hold up, but DAMN that was a good movie when it first came out.)

So a Wachowski/Tykwer team-up like Cloud Atlas, last year’s big budget genre mash-up? A-PLUS IDEA.

The actual movie, though… Sigh.

My initial exposure to Cloud Atlas, the book, was pretty much ideal: I borrowed it from a friend I was crashing with during a 2008 stay in England, and pretty much devoured it while crossing back and forth across the Thames on the bus. It absorbed my attention in spurts, and the structure of the storytelling kept me compelled; some sections I liked better than others, but that’s always the nature of a novel like this.

I’ve only read the book once, but it was pretty memorable — thus, when discussion of there being a film adaptation arose, I felt vaguely well-qualified to understand what a crazypants idea that was. (And that was BEFORE I heard about the fucking sixtuple-casting!)

A year after the film’s premiere, adapting this book remains a crazypants idea; yet I’ve now seen Cloud Atlas a whopping three times and could see myself watching it again at some point. Why is that, you might ask? I mean, what the hell happens in this movie, anyway? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Divergent”

Dear Frank,

Divergent hc c(2)In case you missed it, a couple of days ago your friend and mine, John Ross, stopped by to tell me what happened in the recent young adult adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Aside from delighting us all with tales of Lena Headey kicking the shit out of things and maybe-incest, he reminded me that I’ve never gotten around to telling you what happens in the young adult novel/soon-to-be major motion picture Divergent.

Divergent, let’s be clear, is very much of the post-Hunger Games publishing craze — which is to say that without Katniss Everdeen, there is no Tris Prior, and without Suzanne Collins, there is no Veronica Roth on my Kindle.

But to Divergent‘s credit, it was a relatively early entry in said craze, making it almost not feel like pure bandwagon-hopping. And given the recent release of a teaser trailer, and the fact that Kate Winslet (!!!!!) is in it, Divergent seems like something you should at least have a passing familiarity with. Especially because this book be WEIRD, yo. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “World War Z” (The Movie, Mostly)

Dear Frank,

World-War-Z-posterYou and I have been through this already, the whole thing where I don’t love zombie stories as a rule. BUT! That rule has plenty of exceptions, including the times when those zombie stories go post-modern.

Which is to say that yes, Frank, I am one of those people who has read Max “Son of Mel” Brooks’s (wonderful!) World War Z. It’s a really cool book! I mean, I read it years ago, but I have noble intentions of rereading it soon, and appreciating its intelligence in approaching the idea of a zombie outbreak post-facto.

I have also read a draft of J.M. Stracynski’s attempt to turn Brooks’s book into a screenplay that would then become a movie. And I have read so many of the articles about how making this movie was a major kerfuffle.

::SARCASM VOICE:: Oh, you mean attempting an intellectual approach to a classically low-brow genre wasn’t warmly embraced by a major motion picture studio? I AM SHOCKED. ::END OF SARCASM VOICE::

My point is: I saw World War Z with the lowest of expectations… Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Day After Tomorrow”

Dear Frank,

day_after_tomorrow_ver4When 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.

Seriously, Roland Emmerich fucks up global warming worse than he fucked up Godzilla. And GODDAMN, did he fuck up Godzilla. Read the rest of this entry

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