Film Micrœview #488: Night on Earth

02.12.2019 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Classic Jarmusch (including classic Jarmusch actors). Strangers getting off on the wrong foot but giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Not that it’s entirely optimistic.

I realized I love the feeling I have after watching a movie that takes place from sundown to sunrise.

Solid Fred Elmes cinematography.


Film Micrœview #487: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

02.10.2019 § Leave a comment

Rating: Shrug.

Remarkably low on nonsense exposition, relative to its contemporary game FFIX which has an almost comically similar plot and visual symbology (red overlaying blue). Also appreciably rhythmic development of the explanation for this particular post-apocalypse, and also convincingly scary situation. However I just can’t stomach the over-the-top evil and incompetent villain.

Dream 585: Don’t Attract the Worm

02.02.2019 § Leave a comment

I’ve arrived at the train station in Trinidad. Nice weather today. I go down the stairs instead of up, saying I’ll add the guy I sat next to on the train on Facebook later.

I go to get a haircut except wait I already got one.

I’ve found the hideout of an unspecified ancient rock star, who had a massive collection of spices. He has scrawled out theories about their connections to emotions and was using them as lyrical inspiration.

Film Micrœview #486: Final Destination

01.31.2019 § Leave a comment

Rating: Evil.

Been replaying FF9 recently so maybe I was subconsciously in a Y2K mood (…or a “final” mood?). I had never seen this before, though. I guess I had been putting it off because I kind of knew the premise (from trailers) and part of me hoped it would be a bit more psychological of a teen horror film than your average one, but part of me knew it probably wouldn’t be.

Well, spoiler alert, it wasn’t.

There’s a supernatural element in this film. Death is alive and it is coming for these characters. Their increasingly convoluted reasoning about its methods and purposes is shown to be accurate. Death’s attacks come in the form of escalating, compounding factors from everyday items with the potential to kill us but don’t normally conspire to. These scenes were not frightening in the slightest, nor entertaining in any way. It was more just pathetic watching this dialed-up entropy try and occasionally give up trying to take these suburban kids out. A good half of the 90-minute run time of this film is just “suspense” building “ooh, it’s a scary tree” brooding bullshit filler which got painfully tedious. And since Death is shown to have a command of physics which transcends even mere telekinesis (like, it run time in reverse, pooling liquid back up and leaving the area where it had been dry), it’s not even clear at any moment why it doesn’t just throw kitchen knives at them when it’s their time.

In my version of this movie, it starts out the same. Sure, it started out fine. But everyone whose “time was supposed to be up”, when they die, it doesn’t happen mysteriously in a physical way. It’s not some Rube Goldberg or misdirection nonsense. You know, it’s like the carbon monoxide sensor is broken and somehow they get poisoned in their home in their sleep. The point is, it’s more interesting if it’s no fault but their own, and what’s scary is that nonetheless the deaths are creating this line. And the movie is never about whether or not you can do something about it in the moment, but about the unraveling of the relationships and the sanity of the people caught in its crosshairs. See, the protagonist of Final Destination, his first line after it happens, is “I didn’t cause this.” But that’s all they ever did with that! This character has to start grappling with the free will vs causation dilemma, hardcore. They also had a scene where he barricaded himself up with padded walls and all that – but that should have been a whole character’s struggle, you know, against what it means to even really live. Hilariously, the film seemed to be made by children who actually don’t have a firm grasp on the inevitability of their own mortality, as the internal logic of the film seemed to be more in line with the attitude that if they escape this attack of Death, it will in fact never get them.

I give this an evil rating for it’s egregiously disappointing take on an exciting premise. I could practically feel Dan Harmon banging his head against the wall with all the thick-headedness and lost opportunity.

Also I was offended by the use of a Magic Negro archetype… an evil one at that…

Film Micrœview #485: On the Basis of Sex

01.28.2019 § Leave a comment

Rating: Shrug.

As preview after preview went by before the film (saw it in theaters), each more Lifetime-y than the next, I began to wonder what had I gotten myself into. And indeed, the film was a bit hammy, clumsy, corny, all that. But what I will give it is that it exceeded my expectations in its capacity to animate the concerns of the force resisting this change. The men in power were not demonized – not all of them anyway. I felt the sincerity of their concerns for the American family. When RBG’s speech at the end struck the note about “defending a society’s right to change” I got chills. Perfect moment. I didn’t see that one coming, but as soon as it landed it made a huge amount of sense. That’s what this had been all about, not less than women’s rights, but actually about even more.

Dream 584: Ghostghost

01.26.2019 § Leave a comment

I’m kind of bouncing back and forth between these two rich families, one who lives on top of a giant California coastal cliff, a big property on the plateau with a ton of tiny houses up the cliff side.

At the very end of this video game level, your character who has been “ghosted” (received an affliction where he has to wear a sheet to look like a ghost like out of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!) and who has a fishing pole like Lakitu which holds a smaller version of himself as a ghost in the same way crosses the finish line through a third ghost, this one real.

On this game show the contestant has reached a super climactic moment, one that contestants rarely do. He’s a very tall, lanky, white-bearded hippy type. The host, Mark Summers, asks what he’s going to do next. He asks politely for a bathroom break. The show grants it, and the buzzers and spinny lights go wild! He ducks out the back porch while the studio audience floods the kiva. Right when Summers thinks he’s out of mic range he shouts “HOLY SHIT”, but the cameras caught his mouth moving and that’s not family TV, but the studio decides to let it go. But the announcer for the show gets pissed because he knows the guy who does the silly opening segment for the show each day would have been fired without hesitation for that, which isn’t fair. So the camera zooms in on his face, breaking the fourth wall, and a circle wipe inwards to black on it is then followed by a pre-recorded protest segment against the show’s producers’ draconian methods, shot on a Super-8 at low angles in the studio parking lot, starring Summers, the low-voiced announcer, the silly-opening-segment-guy, and the old-hippy-contestant, doing skateboard tricks.

Dream 582: Spacenet

01.12.2019 § Leave a comment

It’s a cross between Star Wars and web development. These ports/droids are numbered 308, 380, and 22B.

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