Posts categorized “Vidreoviews”

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Vidreoview: The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s difficult to argue that this is not an objectively better film than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, but it lacks the weird, quirky charm of those movies. This one’s sensibilities are firmly modern, whereas Raimi’s films still incorporated the innocence and optimism of the 1960s. This Spider-Man seems much more rooted in reality rather than being a filmed comic book, which is an interesting feat.

Andrew Garfield makes an excellent Parker/Spider-Man, though he is WAY too old to convincingly play a high-schooler. He is much more convincing delivering Spider-Man’s witty banter than Tobey Maguire was. And I really liked the fact that he is actually really bad at being Spider-Man for pretty much the length of the movie. He just started out; of course he’s gonna make mistakes and do things the wrong way. I also liked the speed-skater origin of the spandex costume, though I missed the professional-wrestling aspect of his origin (it is given a token nod as to the origin of the Spider-Man mask).

The romance between Parker and Gwen Stacy is endearingly geeky and awkward. The Lizard is perhaps not the most engaging of villains, but his scheme is large in scope and he’s a sufficient physical threat to get some rather good fight scenes in. But why doesn’t Captain Stacy bring a whole fleet of cops up to the roof with him at the end of the movie?

Conclusion: I was very skeptical, but I liked it a lot.

Categories: Vidreoviews.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Vidreoview: The Final Cut (2004)

I remember the first I heard of this movie was when reviews for it started coming out. I thought, “A sci-fi movie starring Robin Williams that I’ve never heard of!? How did this happen!?”

Years later I saw about 15 minutes of it on television and was instantly intrigued. Then just last weekend I found The Final Cut on DVD at a garage sale for $1. That’s cheaper than a Red Box, so I picked it up.

I enjoy it. It has a very intriguing premise: before your birth (if your parents can afford it), you can have a chip implanted in your brain that will record audio and video of everything you see and hear for your entire life. When you die, the footage is given to secretive “cutters” who edit your life down into a feature-length movie that is then watched at your funeral. What I really liked about this premise is how it has started to effect the entire world: people become obsessed with memory, and therefore nostalgia. Also people who know they have chips start to behave differently because they know their life will be watched and judged after they die. And since 1 in 20 people have the chips, the way people act to one another changes because they know there’s a chance that they’re being recorded and they might show up in the footage at someone else’s funeral.

Robin Williams plays Alan, a withdrawn and introverted cutter who specializes in cutting the lives of despicable people, removing all the bad parts. He makes “saints out of sinners,” and describes himself as a Sin Eater who absorbs the sins of the deceased so they can rest in peace. He is haunted by a childhood incident that lead to the death of another boy.

There’s a thriller plot where a group of luddites who oppose the whole idea of cutting (and have electrostatic tattoos that block their own chips from recording) want the footage that Alan is currently working on. It starts out as an intriguing plot, and builds steadily and effectively, but just kina peters out into a weird climax. I looked at the screen and said to writer/director Omar Naim, “Oh, that’s what you were going for? Really?”

But up until then the film is really very good. Robin Williams turns in another excellent subdued performance, like his characters in One Hour Photo or Insomnia. Jim Caviezel is good as the villain, but his beard is very distracting.

But my absolute favorite part about the whole film is the art direction. Y’know how a lot of sci-fi stuff is all sleek, glass and plastic, white and translucent? The Final Cut goes the opposite direction. It’s lush. Oak and mahogany, velvet and plush. Computers are hand-carved from wood. Clothes are thick and ornate. A society obsessed with nostalgia has pulled the best designs from mid-20th century and conglomerated them into a wonderfully warm and dark pastiche. The whole films feels like a rich smoking room at an exclusive club. I’ve never seen a future quite like the one in this movie, and I loved it.

Overall: Three stars.

Categories: Vidreoviews.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Vidreoviews – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Hello! And welcome to my first-ever installment in my new “Vidreoviews” feature here on I think once a week I’m going to do a round-up of (very) quick reviews of all the movies that I saw on DVD/Blu-Ray/OnDemand/Netflix/Streaming. Probably not stuff that was edited for TV and had commercials spliced in.

For my first installment: Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I liked it quite a bit. Brad Bird (of Iron Giant and The Incredibles fame) is a nimble, exciting director. The action sequences are tense and (most importantly) crystal-clear; you can tell exactly where everything is in relationship to everything else at all times. Excitement isn’t artificially generated by quick cuts and crazy angles. The excitement is inherent in the action, and the camera only serves to enhance the experience, not make it confusing and disjointed. There are some great spy-movie twists to the script (especially some revelations involving Jeremy Renner’s character). There were a couple of instances, though, where it seemed beyond suspension-of-disbelief levels that nobody saw what the M:I team were doing in public spaces. Seriously, there were NOBODY behind ANY of those windows that Hunt climbs past? And NOBODY in the ENTIRE CITY OF DUBAI was looking at that building during the several minutes that he was out there? And especially when broken glass (among other things) started falling? And there were no security guards, customers, or even random pedestrian observers at the automated parking garage? Stretching it quite a bit, folks. Still, quibbles. It’s a great movie, and my favorite M:I other than Brian DePalma’s original.

Categories: Vidreoviews.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

A Three-Day Weekend!

Much of Saturday needed to be spent doing yardwork, seeing as how the yard was getting a li’l bit outta control:

Before (Left) & After (Right)

Before (Left) & After (Right)

It’s coming along much better now, though! Soon it will actually be a nice place in which to hang out.

My front yard, however, I think is just a lost cause. It’s so, so, so gross. Just take a look at this:




Anyway, there were also a couple of barbecues to attend. One on Saturday afternoon, which I had to leave early to go down to Fools Play and perform a very fun show that was attended also by the Yellow Fool, in which we all got to play a bunch of our recurring characters. I always enjoy Character Nights at Fools Play.

Carrie and a couple friends, meanwhile, left the barbecue and headed down to Wingman Brewers, which is a young local brewery that just opened a tiny taproom in Tacoma near the Dome. They were having a really cool “Made In Tacoma” event where they invited some other local businesses down and had a little fair of a sort: Madrona Coffee (Wingman has a beer with this coffee in it), 21 Cellars winery, Barrel No.51 BBQ Truck, and Backcountry Creamery cheeses. Much fun was had.

The next barbecue involved the setting up of a net for the playing of the Two-Sticks, the best possible net game ever:

Two-Sticks Net

Two-Sticks Net Ready to Go! (No, that's not my backyard)

Monday was my real day off; no plans at all (except for a couple of quick chores and a trip to Trader Joe’s). So it was supposed to be my day to do all sorts of creative stuff: blog, write, compose chiptunes, etc. And it all fizzled. I was completely uninspired, and everything I started just seemed like dreck to me. Bleah. So instead of getting anything important done I went to a Red Box and rented Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which is really excellent.

I think I’m going to start a new series on this website where I quickly review movies that I see at home (DVD, OnDemand, Streaming, etc.). It won’t be its own section like my Movie Reviews; it’ll just be it’s own Category like my Great Ideas on the Internets Category. I just can’t figure out what to call it; I want it to be some horrible pun that somehow combines the idea of reviewing movies I’ve only seen on video/DVD/Streaming in my own home. Something awful like “Vidreoviews.” Hold on… there, I just did a Google Search for Vidreoviews and it didn’t come up with anything! IT’S MINE NOW, SUCKAS! BAM!

Ahem. Anyhoo, watch for my M:I-GP Vidreoview later this week.

Categories: Fools Play, Holiday, Life, Links, Tacoma, Vidreoviews, Yard.