Religious Orders

Mecha and Monsters and My Overly-Critical Review of Pacific Rim, Oh My, I've seen

Posted: Wednesday July 17 2013 @ 5:09pm

Religious Order: Movies

So, went to see Pacific Rim in 3D today. My feeling towards it is pretty much the same as my feelings towards the first Transformers movie. Here's a quick review:

The Good

Huge mechas fight huge monsters. Great designs on the jaegars. The kaiju are good, but not great. They seemed derivative of too many other things, including Cloverfield and Jurassic Park. The fight scenes are also great, particularly the one in Hong Kong. The 3D is superb. This is easily the best and most natural use of 3D I've ever seen in a live action film. It isn't gimmicky and it enhances the visuals instead of detracting from them. It also avoids making the sets look like small boxy sound-stages, a particular problem with the Avengers and the last Harry Potter movie.

The Bad

There's too damn much character development in the middle. I don't care and it's boring. We all know how most of it is going to resolve anyway. (Is the hot-head going to come to respect the other guy? ~Gee, I just don't know.~) I want to see huge mechas fight huge monsters. I didn't walk in the door to see character development.

The movie also suffered from the same problem as Thor did, the fight seen in the middle of the movie, the aforementioned Hong Kong fight, was better than the one at the end. Compounding this is that nearly every great shot from the Hong Kong fight was already shown in the trailers. The unseen fight footage is all at the end and it isn't as good. It's not bad; it's just not as good. Plus, the ending is pretty much the same as the ending to the Avengers, only upside-down and underwater.

So, overall, I enjoyed myself but was really looking for more. I think, instead of structuring it as they did, which I'm not going to detail here, it would have been better as a straight-forward WWII-ish war movie, only with mechas and monsters instead of allies and Nazis/Japanese.

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Bangin' On Archer

Posted: Friday January 18 2013 @ 7:12pm

Religious Order: Movies

Okay, this is posted in the Movie category, but it's really TV. I just don't have a TV category because I don't watch much TV. I do watch Archer, though. I was looking for a distraction one day and decided that maybe making a graph showing who is banging whom on Archer would be suffice. So, here's the result.

Archer Bang Chart

I know, it's too small to read. Click on it, dummy!

If you have corrections or deletions, lemme know in the comments!

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Viddy Well

Posted: Wednesday November 28 2012 @ 7:09pm

Religious Order: Movies

I want this on a T-shirt.

Korova milk bar

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James Bond Actors

Posted: Tuesday November 13 2012 @ 4:03pm

Religious Order: Movies

We were discussing the various James Bond actors and I came up with this:

Venn Diagram of James Bond Actors

I will freely admit to being a big fan of Lazenby's take on Bond. I also think his movie was one of the best. So there!

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Singin' in the Rain

Posted: Thursday August 23 2012 @ 6:36am

Religious Order: Movies

Turner Classic Movies has been plugging the new Blu-ray release of Singin' in the Rain by actually showing the classic musical on the big screen. It's been through our area twice and I caught it both time, most recently last night.

I don't have to sell you on the movie, do I? Unless you have some pathological hatred of musicals in general, you almost can't not love this movie. Here are ten things I love about it, in no particular order:

Ten Things I Love About Singin' in the Rain

  1. Debbie Reynolds in all her chipmunk-cheeked cute glory. Remember folks, she wasn't a dancer before this movie.
  2. Cyd Charisse's legs.
  3. That face Donald O'Connor makes after he runs into the wall and then contorts his face. The one I love is at the very end of that bit, just before he runs around the wall.
  4. Jean Hagen. Think of the talent it takes to portray such a repellent character.
  5. When Donald and Gene Kelly do that weird circular dance while fiddling in Fit as a Fiddle.
  6. The fact that Jean is essentially dubbing Debbie when on-screen Cathy is dubbing Lina's dialogue. (Debbie is also dubbed on some of the songs by Betty Noyes.)
  7. When they collapse into the tipped couch at the end of Good Morning, Debbie's skirt lands a little too high and she quickly flips it down a bit. (I didn't notice this on my own. Some movie critic pointed it out years ago.) Poor thing is nearly killing herself keeping up with Donald and Gene and still has the presence of mind to protect her modesty.
  8. I can't stan'im!
  9. When they march over to the ropes to expose Lina, singing right along.
  10. No, no, no! Yes, yes, yes!

Obviously, there's tons more to love about this movie. But that's just ten things I really love about it.

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Let's Bowl

Posted: Tuesday January 03 2012 @ 6:59pm

Religious Order: Movies

When you think of Minnesota and TV, of what do you think?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show? Well, okay, it was a brilliant show, set in Minnesota, but it's not actually a product of Minnesota. (And, please, don't say Coach or I swear I will come over there and slap some taste into you.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000? Yes, a fine show, one that I started watching before you. Yes, before you. I am so incredibly fucking cool that I watched the very first episode on KTMA, called in after the show and left a message, and had my message played on the next show. (Not the second episode, which was shown immediately after the first. I mean the next time the show was on. So, that would be episode 3, which I can't find on YouTube. But I do know that the clip with my message is online somewhere, I just don't remember where anymore. If you find it, I'm the guy screaming for more.)

But, while MST3K was certainly made in Minnesota, it didn't really have a Minnesota vibe.

If you want a TV show that was both made in Minnesota and feels like Minnesota, then what you want is Let's Bowl. It's a competitive bowling show where two folks with a beef meet each other on the alley of justice to battle for victory.

It's really weird and funny and half-assed. It features local bands, too. Some, like Soul Asylum, of which you probably know. Others, like Manplanet, you probably don't, but should. Occasionally, local restaurants will cater the crowd. Alas, as with most things of demented genius, it didn't last long, a mere two seasons.

I have a few episodes on VHS, which I transfered to DVD. And you can order get most of the episodes on DVD from this one guy online. (He has the blessing of the show's creators.)

But, really, are you going to shell out money for some niche show simply because I recommended it?

Wait! Don't answer that! Because you can now watch it online for free! The DVD guy put most of the episodes online to stream or download. And they're free, although you should kick a buck or two his way to help defray bandwidth costs.

There! Don't say I never did nuthin' for ya!

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Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Posted: Wednesday November 30 2011 @ 8:10am

Religious Order: Movies

We caught Tucker & Dale vs. Evil a couple weeks ago at the local arty theatre. (It's arty, so I'm using the snooty spelling of theater.) The film just came out on disc yesterday.

The movie is a blast. I laughed my ass off. Well, not my whole ass. But at least 87.4% of my ass.

The idea is a couple of hillbillies head backwoods to spruce up a cabin they bought as a vacation home. There they run into some asshole frat boy types. Hijinks and death ensue.

The actors are great. Jesse Moss is like a crazy little Tom Cruise. (Oh, wait, that's redundant.) Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk make fine hillbillies who are both stereotypes and sympathetic characters. And Katrina Bowden is the girl who isn't an asshole. (Yet, mysteriously, hangs around with assholes. Go figure.)

The movie runs with each of its various gimmicks just as long as it can, without them getting tiresome. Switching them up like this results in a movie that's fun the whole way through instead of being a single good idea that ran too long.

So, go see it if it somehow is playing in your town. (Which it probably isn't.) Short of that, NetFlix it, or, dammit, just go buy a damn copy. If you don't laugh at least 87.4% of your ass off, I'll... well, I'll do nothing.

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Color Me Obsessed

Posted: Monday August 01 2011 @ 12:32pm

Religious Order: Movies

So, there's this documentary about the Replacements. It doesn't include any footage from the band. The band doesn't give interviews for it. They don't even use any of the music. It was funded via Kickstarter, a funding service I have come to love. We chucked in a small amount of cash, frankly just enough to ensure getting a DVD and T-shirt.

The DVD arrived last week but I didn't get a chance to watch it until last night. Here's my review:

The Good

Let me start at what I feared would happen to this movie. I remember hearing about it long ago, when it was supposed to be a documentary told by fans. As it developed, the advertisements started mentioning big names. Some were big names in the context of the MPLS scene, say Chris Osgood. Others were big names in the context of the larger entertainment industry. Here think George Wendt, Dave Foley, and Tom Arnold.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of Dave Foley. And I go absolutely bitch-cakes over old NewsRadio episodes. But, frankly, I really don't give a fuck about his views on the Replacements. Why would I? What insight can he bring?

And it made me worried that the film would become infested with interviews with people included for their fame rather than their insight. I was prepared to be happy if the film kept the celebrities to less than a third of the screen time.

Turns out I shouldn't have been worried.

Wendt's one short clip is awkward and, well, stupid. Foley's are cute enough. And Tom Arnold does actually have a good story to tell. In all, very little screen time is used on celebrities.

I was also worried about the local celebrities, often fellow artists. In general, I think musicians make for the worst music commentary. They're just too close to it. These local scene celebrities are combined with fans in a good ratio to fill in the rest of the screen time. And how do they do?

In a word, Fucking Awesome! (Okay, two words.)

No, really, it's sooooooooo good. The stories are good. The commentary is good. Hardly anyone in the movie says monumentally stupid things. About 2/3rds of the way through, my wife stopped by to ask how it was. My voice was actually trembling as I told her how perfect it was.

What really struck me was the balance. The guy who made it, Gorman Bechard, doesn't have an ulterior motive here to tell a particular narrative. Instead, everything is in wonderful balance. The guy who talks about Replacements fans finding too much delight in the continual fuck-ups of the band is balanced against fans decrying the lack of fuckupedness in later records. Tim is called a sell-out record as well as a sign of growth. Pleased to Meet Me is decried for not including Bob as well as described as a masterpiece, partially because it was unshackled from Bob. And all these points of view are valid. Such is the contradictory nature of the band. It's just, well, it's just fucking perfect.

Well, nearly perfect.

The Bad

Actually, there's nothing bad. There's the utterly unnecessary and uncomfortable clip of George Wendt. And there's the couple of unneeded, but at least marginally chuckle-worthy, clips of Dave Foley. Arguably, there's too much from the Goo Goo Dolls and the Gaslight Anthem.

And then there's a bearded writer who is allowed to ramble on for far too long. He alone makes the last third of the movie pale, just a touch, in comparison to the prior footage. But, honestly, isn't that how a Replacements documentary should be? Kinda brilliant. Kinda dumb. Kinda the Replacements.

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More Short-Ass Movie Reviews

Posted: Monday June 20 2011 @ 5:42am

Religious Order: Movies

X-Men: First Class

Lotsa fun. Don't expect it to adhere to your comic-based X-Men memories. Character-wise, it's a mishmash of mutants from throughout X-Men history. I found both leads' motivations to be believable.

Lesson learned from the series: There is no way to make a convincing furry blue Beast in live-action form. You could go CGI, but then you would have Sully.

Super 8

Basically, this is E.T. crossed with Cloverfield. And that's not a bad thing at all. Of note are the excellent believable kid roles. They're not sullen drab balls of moping, nor are they wise-crack machines. They feel like real kids. Low spots are a monster too derivative of Cloverfield and really inexcusable poor motivation for the deputy. You'll be expecting one thing regarding his motivation, and when the reveal comes, you'll lose any built-up sympathy for the guy.

Kung Fu Panda 2

The climax pushes too far. (Redirection, I can see, maybe. But holding and releasing. Nah.) Anyway, it's funny and the scenery is just gorgeous. See it in 3D, just because purists don't think you should!

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Computer Malfunction

Posted: Friday May 27 2011 @ 1:26pm

Religious Order: Movies

Just a fun graphic grabbed from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Computer Malfunction

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