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... is now on Netflix streaming. Settles the "Are games art" argument. Or at least I hope it would.
In case you haven't heard of the documentary it follows the development of Fez and Super Meat Boy while cutting back to Braid. Shows insights and inspirations behind the games. I found it to be really interesting.
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Romantic road movie about a visiting alien who takes the form of a widow's dead husband. Sweet film. Bridges acting is outstanding and Karen Allen is very sympathetic. Very nice near-ambient synth score as well - that is, there's so many awful synthesizer scores from American movies of the 80s.. this is one of the better ones. Very good bluray image, well-lit, well-shot film. Except for some scenes at 'NORAD' (lol) the whole thing has held up pretty well. I particularly love the photography when they're driving through the southwestern desert-
Appleseed (2004) (bluray)
conventional scifi utopia in trouble story with an interesting take on racism: that a genetically engineered human variant, a sortof guardian angel/mediator species would be despised for their role in protecting humanity from itself. The heavily stylized cel-shaded CGI presentation fits well with the theme. The redone english dub is alot better than the cringeworthy one done in '04.
A Scanner Darkly (bluray)
Best adaptation of Philip K Dick there is. The warbly rotoscoped animation gives the film a timeless, surreal edge that live footage just wouldn't create. It's visual literature on the squalid paranoid minutiae of chronic drug users. Visually, it's a little overwhelming in hi-def, but it's kindof a good thing. It is a jarring experience of a film.
They Live (bluray)
Not sure any scifi film is better remembered for it's climactic reveal at the 40 minute mark. My memories of this film are fonder than watching it now, as an adult, I notice it has very little to say about what it's pointing out. The bluray has some nice bonus features, interviews etc.
The adventures of Baron Munchausen (bluray)
the whole metafable within a fable concept is definitely more acceptable now than it was in '88. This remains a charming and silly romp through some nice fantasy landscape. BIG improvement in color, tint and saturation- this film never looked good on videotape, and not much better on dvd. Now it looks right. Beautiful soundtrack.
David Cronenberg's work is something I often demarcate in terms of pre-Fly and post-Fly. I know many regard his later, more adult oriented films some of his best, I prefer his earlier low budget sci fi horror films, because they always seemed to have more going on under the surface.
eXistenz plays alot like a follow up to Videodrome. Media-as-God, flesh becoming media, mutation, transformation, body horror.. all of it's here, but eXistenZ is a much quiter meditation on media culture than Videdrome. It's almost more like a haiku, in that there is no real plot revelation at any point. The elements of paranoia, sex, penetration, and world-rotting from within are all fixed, and continue through every scene.
It is ironic to note that the film looks at virtual reality through the lens of adventure games, which were pretty much dead in the water in 1999 when the film came out. In fact, it was first person shooters that drove the technology forward during that time, not just in terms of graphics, but in terms of redesigning game controls to streamline the experience.
I have a feeling if Cronenberg had waited another few years to make eXistenZ, it would have been very different, if he had even made it at all.
One of my favorite Howard Shore soundtracks.
Hi-Def note: no remastering. Not a terrible transfer, but not a great one, either. Very muted color and rather dark in many scenes, also some noticeable dirt and speckles throughout.
My lovely girlfriend bought me the entire Rocky box set whilst she was cavorting around the shops the other day. I kept on going on about Rocky 4 to her after catching it on television a couple of weeks back ("and then there was a montage, and then there was a Survivor song that isn't Eye Of The Tiger, and then Stallone got punched by a cool russian dude...") Very pleasantly surprised at how good the series is- watched the first four over the last few evenings. Guess what I'm trying to say is I completely understand why the first couple tend to be held in such high regard.
Controversial sequel preference time- I love the fourth one the most. It's not as subtle as the earlier films (indeed, it's everything I expected a Rocky film to be), but what it lacks in narration and character development, it makes up with sheer bombast. I think James Brown's appearance in 4 could be my favourite moment in film ever. I nearly watched it again tonight, but I don't wanna wash the magic away. I'll give it a week.
Not looking forward to number 5- it's one of the ones I vaguely remember watching in my early teens (along with the second), and will be lowering my expectations accordingly. I was easily impressed at that age, too, which isn't a good sign for things to come...
A movie about giant robots and monsters beating the living crap out of each other. What's not to like? The city-destroying fights are great, the storyline works quite alright (not quite Tolstoy, but fits the silly premise) and I like that not all the heroes are US cowboys (except for... the US cowboy...). I'd have only wished for a bit more screen time for some of the other Jägers. If you at any point liked anything related to robots or mecha in any way/shape or form go watch this movie.
The World's End
Funny but a bit thin on the actual story, it's a comedy about reliving the old glory days but without going all to deep into the subject matter. Nice movie, but some wasted potential there. Overall still:
Man of Steel
Dark and gritty reboot of the sunshine superhero and all-american perfect man Superman. I just don't think dark and gritty fits Superman all that well. Perhaps because I grew up with rather camp depictions of the all-american hero, I find this Superman with a constant facial expression of ongoing constipation a bit hard to like. By the end I thought it would have been better for the earth if he would have never shown up, that's perhaps not the right thing to think when thinking about Superman? I did like the first half hour or so and some snippets here and there, but it went downhill quite fast. The usual giant setpiece fights we came to expect from superhero-movies are of course also there, but in terms of city destruction Pacific Rim does a much better job. I have to say I enjoyed the Wolverine trailer prior to the showing more than the Man of Steel. Just because the Wolverine looks like the movie is true to character, while Superman isn't really?
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Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing, best movie I've seen in a while. I really like the Marvel ones even though my knowledge isn't the best ever. Still enough to pay notice.
A lot of people said The Inbetweeners 2 is way better than the first movie, but I'd disagree. Relied heavily on toilet humour rather than what was actually funny, but where the movie was funny, it was absolutely hilarious.
BIRDEMIC IS THE BEST WORST MOVIE EVER.
I also once sat through Food Fight, and I kinda wish I didn't but at the same time I was that curious I had to.
Total Recall. Couldn't resist what with it recently streaming on netflix. Love Verhoeven, hadn't seen this in a while.
Snowpiercer. Disappointing. Big fan of Bong Joon Ho as well, so this was a bummer. Some nice scenes, and Swinton is great as usual, but overall a pretty dull flick.
Only Lovers Left Alive. Excellent.
The Raid 2. Meh. The first one was waaaaaay better.
Got a copy of Bergman's Autumn Sonata from the library. Very good.
Maurice Pialat's (my favorite french filmmaker) We Won't Grow Old Together is in the mail, along wtih Friedkin's (possibly my favorite american filmmaker) Sorcerer, the new blu ray release. Pretty excited for those to arrive.