I’ve been busy working. A lot. I got a job at Six Flags America, finally putting my fantasy action mindset/obsession to good use as a stunt man in a Pirate Show. Go figure.
Falling to my Doom! edit
What can I say in terms of updates? Quick stuff–

During this Summer I saw… four movies, in theaters, me thinks?

Let’s backtrack!

I most recently saw this little gem. Its being marketed as “not a kids movie” but well, if I was a kid and I saw this thing I would probably think it was the coolest thing ever. 9 succeeds in bringing some excitement and mystery that has long been lost to children’s films since the late 90s when Pixar and Dreamworks opened up shop and explained everything at all times (with the exception of, maybe Toy Story and Wall-E). 9 is exciting, simple, unique, and effective in its final moments at giving you hope for the future. In that it provides excellent entertainment, if little more. Word of note– a LOT of this movie reminded me of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and I mean that in a GOOD way.

This was probably the best main-stream action movie of the summer. Suck it, Transformers, Wolverine, Terminator, etc etc. You got schooled by a First Time Feature Director.

Inglorious Basterds
or however the hell you spell it. Tarantino does it again, bringing us a more-clever-than-it-really-needs-to-be storyline with some great scene chewing by Brad Pitt. But the real treasure to this piece of historical fiction (or is it fictional history? I always get the two confused!) is Christoph Waltz, a man you’ll all here of very soon as this gig will most likely land him a Best Supporting nod (as the trademark laughing villain will, I predict, forever be added to the character roster for the event) and also netted him the role of the villain in the Seth Rogen lead Green Hornet film. Considering Stephen Chow dropped out and they replaced him with a pop-singer in one of Bruce Lee’s trademark original roles, this is currently the best thing Green Hornet has going for it.

Basterds is his first American movie, and he speaks 5 languages. Fluently. With better acting than any American I’ve seen in years, across the board. I believe this to be an intentional effect of Tarantino’s, as he wants to make Americans sound like stupid cliches, and make the “foreigners” sound honest and real. Its ironic his name bares such striking similarity to another actor with incredible charm and dark humor. If you can guess in the comments who I mean, I’ll send you a virtual cookie.

Entertaining dialogue ripples throughout but a dearth of action really dragged this piece under, even in its final act where we expect a little bit more than what we’re given. The only reason I complain about this is because Tarantino DOES have a knack for action scenes and he totally wastes some of his greatest potential (really, this could have been twice as exciting as Kill Bill since its more grounded), by only showing the Basterds being Inglorious for about 20 minutes of the film, with only 5 of that being action. Its 2 and a half hours long, QT, if you sell us a movie about killing NATZIS, kill us some FUCKING NATZIS.

District 9–
I don’t think many of you out there would realize how sore I felt when site co-creator Ryan told me that this movie was somewhat underwhelming. I was vehement– this movie was supposed to CHANGE summer block busters– fix what Pirates, Spidey and Transformers (two more than one) had broken!

Well to a degree, it does. Its smarter, better crafted (more efficient in pacing and consistent in style), and shorter than all three of the above films. It provides a clever and original story that bears some relevance to current events. Its satirical, it makes us think, like many Schwarzenegger movies actually used to do. The special effects are fresh and fun, and are employed inventively. With all of this, what could go wrong?

Well, the main character is almost completely unforgivably annoying, the plot twist is predictable and takes forever to get to the point, the pacing is way off early on and the final act isn’t as big as it should be. There’s some strange similarity in the pacing issues between this and Inglorious Basterds, but I think this movie, with its 45 minute first act (though I didn’t record the time, it sure as hell felt that long), really took forever to start tying together threads. And then when it finally did? Felt totally rushed for the rest of the film.

My favorite example of this is the weapons used in this sci-fi achievement, and by that I mean “weapon.” While about three types of alien guns were employed at one time or another, director Blomkamp decided using the one microwave-explodey-goo-gun every 5 seconds until the end of the film would be the most exciting choice. While the sight of someone popping like a zit because they got hit by lightning never did get old, it got…well. Old. I dunno, I think you’d have to see it to know what I mean. Even when the film’s best special effect, a freaking MECH ARMOR comes into play…it still uses the same damn space blaster! What the hell?!?!

On the positive side: District 9 has the greatest final frame of a movie I have seen in YEARS.

I still recommend seeing this movie whole-heartedly. Give Blomkamp MORE money so he can make MORE movies. He deserves whereas people like Michael Bay squander. Proof is in the pudding: District 9 cost 30 mil to make, and Transformers 2 cost over 200. If you genuinely liked Transformers 2, third grade math is beyond you and you probably can’t tell the difference between those two dollar amounts, so don’t worry, let what I mean just go right over your head anyways, you’re probably 6.

and the Best Movie of the Summer award goes to…

The Hangover–
Clever. Crisp. Refreshingly SCRIPTED (my scorn flows over to your side of the table, Apatow), and angular.

This movie had humor that most guys are familiar with but told from the perspectives of three very dissimilar men trying to survive a most peculiar situation. They go to Vegas, their best friend (and soon husband to be) disappears, and well…chaos having already ensued the night before lets just say CATASTROPHE WREAKS UTTER HAVOC.

Yeah, this movie gets nuts. Mike Tyson playing real life punch out, a wild tiger in a bathroom, a baby’s mama situation, naked asian trunk ninjas, and autistic super-gambling are just a few of the great moments spread throughout this frenetic piece of comedy. A lot of these moments are laugh out loud, a feeling I haven’t had in theaters since Superbad and very little previous to that.

Whats even better about this flick is that it contains such a great little mystery plot to drag you along. Its Screenwriting 101 but put to GOOD use. You never find yourself bored, and you usually find yourself smiling. The referencing back to the bride-to-be character keeps the compelling nature of the piece always at the front WHERE it NEEDS to BE and the final twist to the whole thing just…well it kicks you in the teeth. Its one of those moments when you just look to the person to your right. Look forward again. Smile at the screen, unable to look sad, and just go “Damn.” And that’s it. Its all you can say, cause you just had your mind blown.

When was the last time a comedy actually did that to you? Not I, said the cynical film critic.

Alright, its getting late, I have a lot of homework to do, and that was really written just to fill space on the blog. Please comment if you’ve seen any of those movies and let us know what you think. Also be sure to swing by the forums, as they’ve been slightly rejuvenated and are in serious need of some threading love.