Death Race: Inferno (2013)

The other two Death Race movies had satisfying plots. This movie had what could have been a satisfying plot, but somehow it fell short. It just wasn’t really particularly clear what was happening or why, so it was hard to care about the characters and events. Moreover, the dialog was amazingly boring. Take away the drama, and it’s just cars and blood and death. Yuck.

The premise is that the moneymaking prison death race management company gets forcibly bought out by a first class jerk, who tells star driver Frankenstein that he in fact cannot win his freedom from prison by winning a fifth race as promised and that instead he is obliged to travel the world to compete and lose to attract fans across the globe.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/death-race-3-inferno/id576172893

SPOILERS BELOW.

Continue reading Death Race: Inferno (2013)

Accepted (2006)

I had never seen Accepted until yesterday, but even without seeing it, I knew how it was going to go. It’s basically Camp Nowhere (1994) with older kids. And yet, it’s not: it’s a critique of traditional higher education in America. And it’s got Justin “I’m a Mac” Long in it, who’s in Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) as well as Live Free or Die Hard (2007), which I didn’t like.

The premise is that a guy who didn’t get into college rents an abandoned mental hospital and invents a college, which then attracts other ‘rejects’ by means of its all-too-functional fake website. South Harmon Institute of Technology (SHIT) turns out to be the best thing that happened to any of them: they’re finally ‘accepted’.

The two key words—‘shit’, with its endless potential for humor, and ‘accepted’, which conveys a wistful longing for belonging—together perfectly encapsulate the movie’s spirit. The producers are Tom Shadyac and  Michael Bostick, those responsible for the enjoyable Jim Carrey comedies Liar Liar (1997) and Bruce  Almighty (2003).

https://itunes.apple.com/mn/movie/accepted-2006/id860430263

SPOILERS BELOW.

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Point Break (2015)

Point Break (2015) is not a movie, it’s an ode to extreme sports with a plot carelessly grafted on. That being said, parts of it were utterly beautiful. Specifically, the mountainy parts. Perhaps it’s a pity that I didn’t watch it in 3D!

More about this mess of a movie below, with “SPOILERS”, not that there’s really a plot.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/point-break-2015/id1062487135

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow is Groundhog Day but with hostile aliens.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I love Tom Cruise’s humorous approach and his dedication to the role; the special features talked a lot about how much effort was required to operate in the exosuit and how central the suit was to the portrayal of the main character, whose gradual transformation Cruise made believable. On the other hand, I found the war very real and very threatening.

This review has interesting things to say.

The repetition of certain shots and/or scenes is deftly handled and serves the story without ever becoming cumbersome, gimmicky or overused – which is really a feat in and of itself.

More on what I liked and disliked about the movie, including spoilers, below.

Continue reading Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

This post is part of a series of posts on books and movies about the legend of Robin Hood. It discusses the 2006 movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/robin-hood-men-in-tights/id269854508

See also:

Continue reading Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Robin Hood (2006)

This post is part of a series of posts on books and movies about the legend of Robin Hood. It discusses the 2006 television show.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/robin-hood-series-1/id275354656

See also:

Continue reading Robin Hood (2006)

Chandni Chowk to China (2009)

For me, buying this movie was a bit like buying a German-Spanish dictionary, in that it made me a consumer of the product of two cultures, neither of them mine.

Lest you think that’s just an analogy, I hereby present my German-Spanish dictionary.

Chandni Chowk to China is a Hindi musical martial arts comedy.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

The main character is a superstitious Indian guy named Sidhu who works as a lowly vegetable cutter in a place called Chandni Chowk in Delhi. He has a lot of self-pity but not a lot of motivation to improve his station in life. (One day while cutting potatoes, he finds one that looks like the elephant-headed god Ganesha, and uses the coincidence as an excuse to neglect his duties, which earns him a kick in the pants from his foster father.)

His life changes when two Chinese guys somehow decide he’s a Chinese hero reincarnated and a Chinese fortune-teller friend convinces him to go to China. It’s wacky but kinda fun.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/chandni-chowk-to-china-2008/id312058686

See below for more about the movie, including SPOILERS.

Continue reading Chandni Chowk to China (2009)

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

I am reminded vaguely of:

  • Blade Runner, because the cyborg was contemplating its identity.
  • Firefly, because it was set in Hong Kong in the future, where there was both English and Chinese.
  • X-Men, because it had a theme of mutation and change as necessary for progress.
  • Childhood’s End, because evolution made a huge leap to something transcendental.
  • RahXephon, because it had weird music.
  • The Matrix, because of the green numbers and the neck plugs.

IMO, the exposition was too heavy-handed for the whole thing to come off as subtle and beautiful and deep.

I didn’t like the American voice actors’ performance, which seemed flat or dull, perfunctory. Also, the English subtitles were completely different from the English spoken track.

The source material is Japanese, but the setting really is Hong Kong… In one scene there’s even a jet coming in for a landing at Kai Tak Airport right over the city.

The special features on the disc showcased the beginning of the use of CGI and digital editing; the movie was a combination of hand-drawn and computer techniques.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/ghost-in-the-shell-25th-anniversary-edition/id1219320615