Watchin’ stuff

Saw this tonight finally. Man, it was great. They changed so much from the original stories, yet somehow it still felt like the most authentic Spider-Man I’ve ever seen in a movie. Spider-Man is one of my very favorite characters, but Raimi’s Spider-Man and The Amazing Sony-Man just didn’t do it for me and I’ve been waiting so, so long for a Spider-Man movie that I could actually enjoy, and this really delivered. Now that the non-origin origin movie is out of the way, I expect that things will get even better from here on out too. Oh man, it’s going to be so damn long until the next one comes out. Arghhhh.

A Dan O’Bannon classic. Maybe not as iconic or tightly produced as other movies he’s been attached to, but it’s still a pretty solid horror film. It’s a modern day (at least it was in the 80’s) re-telling of H.P. Lovecraft‘s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Just that whole part where they explore the catacombs makes it worth watching (and re-watching).

A supernatural horror movie starring Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver, Cilian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, and more? How the hell have I never heard of this? Oh. Because it’s not that good, and not even actually a horror movie at all. Weaver and Murphy play a pair of supernatural debunkers who end up facing off against DeNiro‘s character, who is basically the Moby Dick of spiritual performers. It plays out just how you’d expect such a story to play out, except with a twist, but the twist is telegraphed too blatantly too early on, and fails to have any impact when it’s finally confirmed in the end. Not a terrible movie, but not one I’d ever watch again.

Somehow, while watching old Twin Peaks, I got the bright idea to give this movie another chance because I seemed to remember it having the people who played Ed and Nadine as the villains. I never really got into this movie back in the day, and I personally don’t think Wes Craven had done anything worthwhile since Shocker, and I should have stuck with that original impression. I just don’t see the appeal. It’s like a cross between an episode of Goosebumps and a Tom and Jerry cartoon. If it weren’t for an occasional splash of blood and all the swearing, I’d think that this was made for children. I suppose the same could really be said of things like Nightmare on Elm Street (the later movies anyway) or Shocker too, but those had much more interesting villains and death scenes to make them stand out.

Uzumaki, or Spiral, is based on the manga of the same name by Junji Ito, one of the rare few manga creators I know and enjoy the works of. The original story was a dark and twisted tale that felt like a lost relative of Silent Hill or something, but this movie adaptation decided to take a much goofier tone for some reason. It was just too slow and silly to make the rare disturbing parts worth waiting around for. Better to just read the comic instead. In fact, now I really want to read some Junji Ito stuff again, and maybe find some new similar stuff (anyone know of any?).

Ahhh, now this was a manga adaptation that was much more to my liking. I actually haven’t read Blame! yet (it’s on my to-read list), but this was a really good dark sci-fi story that felt kind of like all the old 80’s cyberpunk anime I liked so much. It’s set in a future where machines have become the dominant life-form and turned the world into this giant, ever-expanding machine city where only a small village of humans remain in hiding. It’s a world with a whole lot of potential, that this movie only has time to get into a little bit of, but it does it really well and I think that manga just jumped up quite a few places on that to-read list. Apparently Knights of Sedonia, an ongoing anime also on Netflix, was made by the same creator too. I’ll have to check that out soon.

Oh boy, finally it’s time to watch the new Twin Peaks and see the resolution to that massive cliffhanger that the old show left! Too bad it’s fucking awful! Holy shit is this a disappointing mess. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something in such dire need of heavy editing. I know David Lynch loves to take his time and dwell on really superfluous and/or awkward details, but this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen a movie or show with so many completely unnecessary scenes, and I’m not even talking about the weird, confusing parts, because I fully understand that those are a part of any given Lynch production and most actually probably do have some yet-to-be-explained significance. No, I’m talking about the absolutely worthless nonsense like a doddering old lady noticing that there’s a weird smell coming from next door, then calls the police, then they show the police arriving and walking in, then have an overly long conversation with her about who might have the keys to the door, then she finally tells them who might have a key, they go to talk to him, end up running into someone else that they have another overly long and awkward conversation with, only to have the woman come to the window and tell them she actually had the key all along because she waters her neighbors plants when she’s on vacation. This is an excruciating almost 10 minutes of empty nonsense, all just so they can get in this door and find a dead woman, which anyone with half a brain could have told you was where this was heading in the first few seconds when no one answered the door and a weird smell was noticed.

Lynch uses this tactic of a lot in his work, the unnecessary drawing out of so many scenes, in what I feel is an annoying approach to trying to build suspense and apprehension, but he’s taken it too far this time. It just goes on and on like this, meandering all over the place with little to no direction, and a bizarrely small amount of screen time given to any familiar old characters. My wife and I couldn’t take any more after just 2 episodes of this, and you want us to sit through 18 HOURS of this? We have this awful feeling that this is all going to end with even more unanswered questions than there were before too. Boy, I would really like to know how this all finally ends though. Can I really force myself to watch another 16 hours of this crap? Maybe if we only watch 1 or 2 at a time until we’re caught up? I just don’t know. What a disappointment.

Awww yeah. An R rated Castlevania show written by fucking Warren Ellis? This can’t go wrong this time…can it? Oh good, some good news! This show is amazing! Much more violent and vulgar than I was expecting. You can sure tell that Ellis wrote this. The story and dialogue are top notch and the action is reminiscent of a dark, serious, hyper-violent anime. Vampire Hunter D comes to mind. The only downside is that there are only 4 half hour episodes for some reason. I know first seasons tend to be hesitant to be long, but man that’s short. There’s just enough time to set the characters up to embark on a grand journey to defeat Dracula and his minions, and then things are over just when they’re getting really good. On the plus side, it seems to have already been renewed for a second season, so I imagine it’ll be longer next time.

Watchin’ Stuff

Wow, look at that crazy 80’s cover! This movie is about Jeffrey Combs, who’s a comic book artist who brings a monster to life with his art because he was for some reason drawing a comic and reading passages out of some Satanic grimoire simultaneously! How could I have missed something like this for all these years? Well, probably because Jeffrey Combs dies in the first 5 minutes and the rest is pretty awful. It’s just like a longer, more boring version of that Tales From The Crypt episode with the same plot, which now that I think of it was based on a Tales From The Crypt comic, so I guess Cellar Dweller read that same issue and stole it. Bleh. Also, I just realized they spelled cellar wrong on the cover there. Ugh.

A strange little giallo film from Lamberto Bava of Demons fame. It’s a bizarre little murder mystery that was filmed well for its time and has some pretty imaginative death scenes. If you have any interest in this sort of thing I would suggest that you don’t look up descriptions of it, because they give away one of the major secrets of the movie, one that otherwise isn’t revealed until pretty late in the movie and would have probably been quite a surprise if it hadn’t already been revealed by IMDB. Let’s just say that the killer is removing various pieces of his victims for mysterious reasons. Knowing the “what” seemed to render the “why” very easy to figure out. Knowing what I did, I thought I could see what the motive was within the first 15 minutes. I turned out to be quite wrong though. Things were not at all as they seemed and the mystery was much more clever and interesting than I’d expected.

The Dinner is described as “Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed”. Two hours of people talking at dinner isn’t usually my idea of a thrilling movie, but it had some good reviews and a good cast so I thought I’d give it a shot. Unfortunately they spend 3/4 of the movie avoiding actually talking about the main subject of the story and instead end up wandering off into endless flashback tangents, mostly involving how mentally ill and utterly unpleasant Steve Coogan‘s character is. I just didn’t find it all that interesting, watching a movie mostly comprised of him being a miserable petulant asshole to his family. I stuck with it hoping there would be some point to it all, but instead the final quarter just devolved into everyone being completely unlikable and spoiler alert: the whole thing just comes to an extremely abrupt non-ending where absolutely nothing was resolved for anyone. Great. Ultimately it was all just a dead-end character study of an absolutely miserable bunch of people, with nothing at all to say except “family politics can be messed up, yo!”. That’s deep, bro.

Well that was wayyyyy better than the unfortunate Godzilla reboot from a few years ago where they spent most of the movie trying their best to avoid showing any of the creatures the movie was supposedly about. Instead, Kong is an almost non-stop visual spectacle with a much better cast of characters and a heaping helping of crazy looking action scenes with a pretty good variety of monsters. This made me actually interested in the “Monsterverse” again.

Eh. This was ok. A bunch of people are locked in an office building and forced to kill each other to survive. It evokes memories of movies like Cube or Saw, but doesn’t manage to be as memorable as either of those. It claims to be a study of human behavior during times of crisis, but it’s all pretty by-the-numbers. The people who are portrayed as the jerks of the office in the beginning, naturally turn out to be the worst of the lot, the morally righteous nice guy protagonist does his standard duty of trying to get everyone to do the right thing, and it all turns out pretty much exactly how you would expect it to.

An early Danny Boyle film that ironically, is also about a bunch of miserable people doing terrible things, yet somehow manages to be enjoyable. It must be a tricky thing, trying to make a movie about terrible, unlikable people doing terrible things, but at the same time making them and their story compelling enough to be entertaining instead of just being repulsive. Boyle has proven many times to be a director that’s capable of successfully finding that balance.

Season 2 of Preacher has begun. I never expected to like this show, with it being just about my favorite comic ever, I never in a million years expected anyone could do it justice in television or movie form. The show strays pretty damn far away from the original story, but that’s turned out to work out rather well for it. It manages to capture the feeling of the comic pretty well, but is taking it in its own very different direction, and amazingly it works.

We also just finished catching up on old Twin Peaks in order to finally watch the new season. I had never seen all the old ones, because I’d heard about it all ending on a massive cliffhanger that was never resolved, so I figured I shouldn’t bother setting myself up for disappointment, but here we are 25 years later with the story finally receiving a conclusion. Not one to do these things half-assed, I ended up tracking down the fan-edited version of the Fire Walk With Me movie, which impressively sticks all the deleted footage from the later released The Missing Pieces back into the movie in proper order, resulting in a massive 3 and half hour production. Now we’re finally ready to begin Twin Peaks season 3…