Religious Orders

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

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

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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Twitter Meme

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

Twitter erupted with a fun meme this weekend. Called #oneletteroffmovies, it's simply goofy film titles that result from adding or removing a letter from an existing title.

Here are my contributions, in reverse chronological order:

I think this one took off because it was a perfect combination of easy and funny.

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Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

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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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

Watched the movie version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy over the weekend. It wasn't bad, but, frankly, I liked the old BBC TV show better. There are changes to the story, but none bothered me to a great extent. But it's a little too goofy for the sake of being goofy, rather than letting it flow from the material itself.

I did appreciate the appearance of the original Marvin from the TV show.

At the risk of upsetting my wife, I'll note that Zooey Deschanel her usual gorgeous self in the movie, but not a radiantly so as in Elf.

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Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

We went to Zack and Miri Make a Porno this morning. It was very cute. As cute as something that raunchy can be. I could have used more boobs. But I can't complain, because boobs out-numbered wangs 4 to 1. As my wife was quick to complain about.

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As God is my witness...

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

...I thought turkeys could fly.

If that phrase makes you laugh until you cry, then you'll be glad to know that WKRP in Cincinnati, the second-best ensemble sit-com ever, is finally out on DVD.

Of course, much of the music has been changed to avoid re-licensing fees. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

And, yes, Bailey is way hotter than Jennifer.

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Monsters vs Aliens

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

Finally managed to make it to Monsters vs Aliens in 3D. So, is it any good?

Well, that depends on your expectations. If you want to see monsters fighting aliens in glorious 3D, then it's a great movie. That's what I wanted and I loved it.

If you want intricate plots and sophisticated character development, well, what the hell are you doing at a movie called Monsters vs Aliens? (You probably complained about Snakes on a Plane, too. Admit it, you did, didn't you!)

It's a load of fun. The 3D is really impressive. The technology has come a long way and I was perfectly comfortable throughout. The 3D glasses were also quite big and solidly constructed. They fit fine over my real glasses. About a third of the way through, you stopped actively thinking about it being in 3D and just started enjoying it.

There's a plot, but if any of it surprises you in the least, maybe you ought to get out more.

The animation is good. Sometimes they resort to flat backgrounds, instead of rendering them in 3D, but that might be a stylistic choice, in order to focus on the foreground. Of course, it made me focus on the background and why it was flat. But that's probably just me.

There are a few cheesy 3D tricks going on, but just enough to make you laugh without it getting tiresome.

The movie is full of in-jokes about all sorts of things. That's always fun.

Seth Rogen has most of the best lines. Unfortunately, if you've seen the trailers, you've already heard about half of them. If you downloaded the iPhone app, you've heard them all. No, really, all of them. The only surprise is in the context. (Oh, that's why he wanted to know where the giant jar of pickles was!)

Another drawback was that our theater jacked up their prices for the 3D version. I suppose that's okay given that they had to install special equipment to support it. On the other hand, I didn't feel at all bad about pocketing the 3D glasses. :)

While I'm glad they're now supporting 3D, why couldn't they have done it in time for us to see Coraline in 3D? (Which I never reviewed here, but which was truly excellent. Better than the book, methinks. (BTW, I've met Neil Gaiman. He was nice. No, you can't have my signed Sandman #1.))

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A Good Summer for Movies

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

It's nearly time for the summer movies to start appearing. And this summer has a boat-load of potentially fun stuff:

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: April 25th

Just as much goofy stupid fun as Cheech and Chong. I can't wait to see Neil Patrick Harris reprise his role as Neil Patrick Harris.

Iron Man: May 2nd

I nearly wet my pants every time I see a trailer for Iron Man. It's just so damn cool! I've already ordered all the action figures.

Speed Racer: May 9th

Who needs LSD? It's just so bright, colorful, and trippy! I guess this is what mainlining Japan feels like.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: May 22nd

Yeah, he's old. Yeah, the few shots I've seen look like crap. I'm still gonna go see it.

The Incredible Hulk: June 13th

I actually liked Ang Lee's Hulk. This one doesn't really look much better. But I understand it ends with a protracted Hulk/Abomination slug-fest. How can you not want to see that?

Hellboy II: The Golden Army: July 11th

Ron Perlman is Hellboy. Nuff said.

The Dark Knight: July 18th

Dead Heath's Joker sounds too much like Nicholson's for my tastes. But it's a sick and twisted Joker. not a funny one. And I can't wait to see it.

Plus, Christian Bale is the first Batman who looks both willing and able to totally kick my ass.

And coming up in 2009? Watchmen! (And Star Trek, too. Potentially, Captain America. Need to wait until 2010 for Ant Man. No, really. Ant Man.)

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Toy Stories

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

Went to see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D over the weekend. It was loads of fun. It's a limited engagement, so go next weekend or you'll have missed your shot.

Both films work great in 3D. The rendering technology was still fairly new at the time, so they engage in plenty of sweet perspective shots.

It is a little strange to see how, well, primitive Toy Story looks in comparison to generated animation today.

Toy Story is notable in that it doesn't retread the same old Pixar plot. Maybe because Pixar hadn't yet got stuck in the same old plot yet.

What? Same plot? Yeah. Most Pixar movies adhere to a set plot. They're supposed to be about the secret lives of X, but are really about the value of friendship.

But Toy Story 2 is about actually playing with toys instead of storing them away in boxes or displaying them mint in box.

Of course, it does this while wrapping it in the value of friendship between kids and their toys.

So, Toy Story 2 is supposed to be about the value of friendship, but is really about playing with your damn toys!

A nice touch for this double feature is a 10 minute intermission between the movies. The time is filled with trivia and a few scenes from the movies. It's perfectly pitched so that you're decently entertained for the 10 minutes, but you haven't really missed anything if you leave to pee.

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Night at the Museum

Posted: Monday November 01 2021 @ 6:28am

Religious Order: Movies

So, we went to Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian last weekend. Fun little movie.

It's a sequel to a movie I haven't ever seen. Luckily, that's not really a problem, as it can be summed up as Special tablet makes museum stuff come alive at night. Mayhem ensues.

It's funny and fun. There isn't any depth to any of it and I'm just fine with that. Some moments get played out a little long. (The monkey-slapping, for example.) But, overall it moves at a nice pace.

Only one thing in the movie really bugged me. At one point, Einstein reels off the first several digits of pi and then ends with precisely. What? Wrong wrong wrong!

But that outrage is balanced out by the performance of Amy Adams. Well, not her performance, per se, although her performance was fine. In fact, I really enjoyed her bygone patter.

No, what I really liked was her butt. Yeah, that's what I said. She has a really nice butt and it's wrapped in form-fitting pants the entire time. I honestly could have just sat and watched that butt alone for 90 minutes. (I mean, I could watch just the butt and nothing else. Not that I want to sit alone and watch it. Although that wouldn't be bad either. Nudge nudge wink wink.)

I suppose that means that Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian belongs, along with Abba: The Movie, in the rarified category of Movies Tom will watch just to see a nice butt in form-fitting fabric.

Honestly, I would have enjoyed the movie without her butt, too. But it was a nice bonus.

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