Friday, January 15, 2016

Last Month's Movies: "Some of These Things Are Not Like the Others..."

It has been a long, tiring week, as is the case every week. I don't want to talk about it. I want to write this blog and go to bed. I've been up since 4AM. Anyway. Movies I watched last month. Some of them are not like the others. Which ones? How am I supposed to know? Gosh. 

Bone Tomahawk

Cowboy horror isn't something that shows up all that often, so maybe some of my enjoyment of Bone Tomahawk was because it IS cowboy horror. But it's also a pretty good movie. The take on "cave dwelling savages" is a bit of a cop-out "totally not Indians, we swear," but they're just monstrous enough to not feel too dog-whistley. What really sold this movie for me, though, is that it's funny. And not in a Shaun of the Dead horror-comedy sort of way. It's funny while not being a comedy. There's moments of lightness for the overwhelming dread to loom up against. The characters are diverse and amusing, and the music is surprisingly good for a horror movie (seriously, short of John Carpenter, I can't really think of many good composers of horror soundtracks). The gore is...very visceral. It's not excessive, and is actually used quite sparingly and to good effect, but there's enough to make you a bit queasy. Overall, this is pretty good, and reminiscent of some of Robert E Howard's cowboy-Lovecraftian short stories. Which is a good thing. 

The Middleman

Look. Comics are not something that just transfer one-to-one to a movie or TV show. You can't just essentially rip a comic page-by-page and scene-by-scene into the format of television and expect things to work out. Action works differently, dialogue flows differently when spoken as opposed to read, there's just a whole host of problems. The Middleman literally pulls dialogue from its comic version without changing ANYTHING. That is, I could grab a copy of the first issue, and sit watching the first episode, reading lines from the comic as they're said on-screen. There's faithfulness to source material, and then there's...whatever it is The Middleman does. It's no good, man. 

Oz the Great and Powerful was decent. Not saying it's a masterpiece of film, or a storytelling tour de force, but it was enjoyable. Story of a man's redemption and such. Characters were...interesting...takes on Frank L Baum's versions. The Oz sections were crazy lush and I loved it.
Overall it didn't feel like a waste of my time, so there's that.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I doubt there are many people who haven't seen this movie by now, but this review is spoiler-free anyway. Take chunks of A New Hope, combine with chunks of the Expanded Universe, airbrush over the seams, and you've got a pretty awesome movie. The new characters are interesting, with hints of depth to be explored, while the old characters aren't just rehashing their old roles. I'd put it on par with the Original Trilogy.


Now, admittedly, I have a low standard for scifi action movies. I liked Riddick, after all. But I enjoyed this. It felt like a sort of alt-universe Predator, mashed with a bit of Pitch Black. And I like that. So yeah. Solid dumb action movie. Not a whole lot to say.