Flight of the Conchords: Sex and the City for Men.
As much as my inner film snob may spin in the grave it has been forced into alive (and with time to rescue it running out), I can't help but have a small sliver of affection for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
. Unlike the prior toy & nostalgia-exploiting effort of this summer (the oft-mentioned and utterly execrable Transformers 2
), it at least has the dignity to have action scenes I can follow. It's not as though it's a lack of visual uptake on my part irks me - I found Speed Racer perfectly sedate - but rather that spiky pieces of gunmetal grey hitting other near-if-not-actually-identical spiky pieces of metal will eventually and without the context of let us say a wide shot or clear character design, leave the viewer perplexed as to what has actually just happened. This is all before reaching the issues of misogyny, racism and humour so juvenile a ten week old fetus will shake its proto-cranial matter in despair at. That Transformers 2 managed to lack even internal consistency does not help matters (if the Transformers can disguise themselves as human, why are they bothering with vehicles?)
But I digress. G.I. Joe also makes an effort to give its cast something resembling motivations and an overall plan. They may not be particularly interesting or unique, but at least they have them. They even begin to act like human beings with a degree of sense, which immediately launches it miles ahead of the moronic Transformers 2 - when faced with a team of opponents and our hero is armed only with a rocket launcher, does he fight hand-to-hand and with honour? No, he is Captain Sensible and uses the bloody rocket launcher. The only possibly troubling issue that comes to mind revolves around the eleventh hour revelation regarding the Baroness, which could and does seem weakening of the character.
The movie even has a structure vaguely reminiscent of The Phantom Menace, of all things - bad guys stir up trouble, young(ish) heroes are drafted into a top secret organisation of awesome, action scenes back-and-forth until the end when the heroes seem to have won, only... Given how bad the trailers made the film appear, there is an effort involved to raise the endeavour above its humble toy and bad cartoon and fun-enough comic origins.
And let us be honest - any movie which has no silly or forced audience-identification characters is going to automatically win my support. The two kids which appear are in flashback only, and when they do appear, beat the bejesus out of each other because that is what ninjas in training should be doing.
With nunchucks and tonfa, no less. That the movie goes even further and makes a genuine appeal to not only my red-read fetish but also my glasses and attractive ladies in leather catsuits hang-ups ensures I have felt worse about spending eight quid this Summer./// \\\Moon
is fantastic, but since half the joy is about not knowing what is going on before you watch it, I will remain honourably schtum on the matter. But I will ask this: how pitiful and tragic is it that Moon is the only movie I have been able to see in months, maybe even years, that is not based on some pre-existing property? How incestuous must the cinema experience become before a portion of the viewership simply gives up?/// \\\
Stephen Fry's performance of the Harry Potter audio books is a very good way to spend your daily commute - I would heartily recommend them. Similarly, David Yates' Harry Potter movies are better than those made prior, and Half-Blood Prince was far more fun (and funny) than I had already optimistically expected. It's interesting how the majority of the young cast have gradually become good actors - the theater work Radcliffe and Grint have performed has certainly had a positive impact on their performances. Having a better director who clearly understands the importance of the relationship structures in the novels has helped - all the scenes from the book dropped had a lesser connection to the core interactions, while the retained scenes which were... amended... maintained the emotional focus where they needed to be (the closing scenes in Hogwarts in particular). Also: Harry and Ron on drugs is hilarious and wonderful.
As I come to the end of Mr Fry reading The Deathly Hallows, and thinking on the work of Mr Yates, I can't help but feel giddy for the final movies./// \\\
I'm finally past the halfway mark on Infinite Jest
. I have the horrible feeling that after this, other books may feel like the majority of television felt after The Wire. I have Sunnyside
on my bedside locker awaiting the completion of the aforementioned tome as my best hope that this dread will prove unfounded.