Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
January 31, 2018
Brief Review: The Disaster Artist

So I saw The Disaster Artist. Not a bad little film -- but if you haven't seen The Room (the movie whose making TDA depicts) yet and plan to watch both movies, I'd recommend starting with TDA. Basically, TDA can't answer its most intriguing questions, so what you're left with is the reveal that these guys made a terrible, terrible movie -- and one who's already seen The Room knows that all too well. Viewed in the reverse order, however, I imagine TDA could heighten one's anticipation of Tommy Wiseau's cinematic abomination.

If you've already seen The Room -- and you were so fascinated that you need to know just how it came into being, including the origin of certain character behaviors and the context for certain takes -- TDA will totally be your jam. For me, it ended up feeling kinda superfluous: like the Star Wars prequels, albeit more competently executed.

Bonus for fans of Nathan For You: Nathan Fielder has a small part in it.

-posted by Wes | 6:08 pm | Comments (0)
January 25, 2018
Thoughts on Let the Right One In (Swedish and American films + comparisons to novel)
Category: Books … TV, Film, & DVDs

Having finished reading John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Let the Right One In (and the short story sequel, "Let the Old Dreams Die"), last night I watched the Swedish and American film versions back to back. And... it was an interesting experience. I first saw the American film nearly a year after I saw the Swedish one, so it wasn't entirely fresh in my mind -- but from what I recalled the American movie seemed like a superfluous remake of the original, made only for people who for whatever reason can't abide subtitles or dubs. And while it does seem that the American movie is more an adaptation of the Swedish film than of the original novel, my previous opinion of the film isn't *quite* right. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 7:51 pm | Comments (0)
October 13, 2017
Four Movie Reviews

I watched a handful of movies recently! Here are my thoughts on It (2017), mother! (2017), My Little Pony (2017), and Before Midnight (2013)...

It (2017)

Honestly? I found It kinda boring. The characters were unbelievable and underdeveloped. Certain elements of and changes to (compared to the 1990 miniseries; I haven't read the novel) the story were baffling. Pennywise himself -- the main attraction, at least for me -- ultimately had me groaning every time he appeared (which was a LOT). A friend described Pennywise as less a performance than a special effect; I wholly agree with that assessment. And perhaps the following occurred to me because both feature the same distinctively weird-looking kid, but I kept thinking that the movie played out like an abridged and way less interesting Stranger Things adaptation. (Admittedly I wasn't a *huge* fan of that show, either. It was okay.) (more...)

-posted by Wes | 4:31 pm | Comments (0)
May 2, 2017
Thoughts on Doctor Who’s “Thin Ice”

Overall, the episode wasn't terrible. It had some good moments between Bill and the Doctor (though I don't know how to respond to writers when they place words in the Doctor's mouth that are patently false, like "I've never had the luxury of outrage"); it had a compelling "mystery"; and its supporting cast was pretty diverse (though I do find the abundance of children in the Capaldi era to be super annoying). The episode was, to be sure, basically a rehash of previous nuWho episodes except in a different setting -- "The Beast Below" comes to mind, what with the feeding of people to a humongous creature imprisoned beneath the city for some exploitative purpose -- but that's par for the course for Doctor Who these days.

But following the handful of articles about how Doctor Who was supposed to "tackle race and whitewashing" in this episode, I did find it to be disappointing. The episode definitely did acknowledge those topics, but there's a difference between "acknowledging" a thing and "tackling" it. (This distinction, by the way, is part of the reason I declined to comment more publicly on Get Out. I thought the movie was an effective thriller, but I found its much-lauded exploration of racism to be a letdown -- especially given the well-meaning posts from some of my white friends to the tune of "all white people need to see this movie.") With respect to whitewashing, the subject is dispensed with in a 20-second exchange. Explicit racism gets a bit more emphasis, if only because the episode's villain responds to Bill with a cartoonishly racist outpouring before the Doctor socks him in the face. And while I guess that response represents progress -- the last time a character was openly racist to his companion, the Doctor proceeded to fall painfully in love with that character -- the episode's "tackling" of the topic is restricted to that one bit of dialogue. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:52 pm | Comments (0)
March 11, 2016
Legends of Tomorrow and racism
Category: Serious … TV, Film, & DVDs

So last night's episode of Legends of Tomorrow was actually encouraging.

My main problem with the show is that it's essentially a live-action children's cartoon. Now, in principle, there's nothing wrong with that -- with such a large cast of characters, it's arguably the "natural" tone for such a show -- but the show's premise (and much of the content) is dark enough that the style clash -- in one scene the characters will be having a heated argument about some exceedingly trivial matter (often a perceived slight); in another someone is being beaten bloody in a Russian gulag -- just doesn't work for me. It might be a better show if the characters were committed to simply "stopping" Vandal Savage from finally conquering the world in 2166; instead their express goal is to use their ability to travel in time to corner and execute Savage at some prior date. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:37 pm | Comments (0)
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