Recent Movies

Blood Drive: I reviewed this the first time around, but on a rewatch, yes, it is still excellent and I am sad that it only got the one season. Their over-use of black censorship bars is mastery of the form.

Code 8: This was pretty good. The premise is that people with superpowers exist, but rather than taking over the world or being exploited as weapons, they're legislated out of the workforce. That seems an unlikely outcome to me, but it holds together in the story, which is half heist movie and half class war.

Star Wars 9: I have not felt a disturbance in The Force like this since... Episode 1. At one point I inadvertently yelled "AWWWWW FUCK YOUUU" at the screen and then I remembered "I'm at Alamo, they might throw me out now." Well, we do what we must. Here are just some stupid things in no particular order:

  • There is literally no explanation for how or why Palpatine is alive. No I don't care what you read in the novelization.

  • Rey is Palpatine's granddaughter, so the whole "biology is not destiny" thing that was the best part of Episode 8 is now, "Oh, yeah, actually it is". Thanks, Jar Jar Abrams. This is the "Kill Newt before the opening credits, obviating the entire previous movie" of the Star Wars franchise.

  • If Kylo Ren has a goal I can't tell what it is, other than periodically freaking out like Nicolas Cage (see below).

  • Every Star Destroyer has a planet killing cannon now. Cool, cool. Oh but they can't run shields in atmosphere so you can take down a Star Destroyer with a blaster I guess?

  • Palpatine somehow managed to secretly build a fleet of like, 10,000 Star Destroyers that he donated to the First Order - and don't those things take like a quarter million people to crew them? Who are all these people??? Don't say clones. Fuck you.

  • Oh and Snoke (remember him? Yeah neither do I) was a vat-grown meat puppet of Palpatine all along. How do you get elected Supreme Leader of a book club like that? Does this guy not have staff meetings? Which is the same problem I have with Kylo Ren. Dude must have paperwork at some point. Who actually manages his empire??

  • Nothing builds tension and urgency like a Heal/Resurrection Spell fake-out. Wait no, strike that, reverse it. Also there's a scene where Kylo Ren cuts down what I assume are the Knights of Ren? So like, didn't he spend years training these guys? Shouldn't this be more of A Thing?

  • I cannot accept that there is still life on the moon of Endor. (This may have been when I yelled at the screen.) The Chicxulub asteroid was only 7 miles across, Death Star Two Electric Boogaloo was 120. You don't dump 904,000 cubic miles of steel honeycomb on a planet and still have surface life. The Endor Holocaust is being covered up.

Parasite: It's about a family of broke grifters and a gig that goes really wrong. It's well written, and has some really horrific moments as well as some strait-up screwball comedy. (I'm kind of puzzled why every review tried to keep the plot totally secret, as if there would be huge spoilers?)

Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Somehow I missed that this even came out. It's definitely one of the lesser Cohen Brothers movies, but still fun. There is a surprising amount of singing. And it is unsurprisingly bleak.

Zeiram (1991) and Zeiram II (1994): I hadn't seen these in ages: sexy bounty hunter and her software sidekick come to earth to chop-socky a fugitive monster whose power level is well over 87. They are way more low budget than I remembered, but still very fun. I remembered there being more power-armor karate and less body horror -- wow is there a lot of body horror! Also, maybe it's a translation thing, but why did they keep calling Zeiram "he"? It's covered with boobs and lays eggs that grow into fighting monster slime babies! Also, I'll take Squeaky Zeiram Face over Baby Yoda any day.

Scooby Doo: Return to Zombie Island: A solid outing. Shaggy makes the gang promise not to solve any mysteries while they are on vacation, and they really, really try. Guest appearance by Elvira!

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988): I hadn't seen this since I was a kid, and it was funnier than I expected! These are exactly the sort of groaner jokes we expect from a burlesque show. Also, fun fact, I'm pretty sure that this movie was where I saw tassle-twirling for the very first time.

Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001): This was... not very funny. I can imagine their enthusiasm: "We get to go to Bulgaria to do a Vincent Price pastiche! Richard O'Brian said yes!" But wow, did it fizzle.

Infinity Train: This is so great! A kid runs away and gets on the wrong train that is... infinitely long and each car is a pocket universe. It's got an amazing Tex Avery-meets-anime cartoon logic to it, the jokes are very clever, and the plot superballs between surreal zaniness and super emo dark. And if you are ever looking for a name for a pet, the answer is "Alan Dracula".

Color Out of Space: This was exactly what I expected from a Nicolas Cage movie. He freaked out, was covered in blood, and did inexplicable accents. The movie was... ok, but there wasn't much to it. I still contend that Cage has been in exactly one good movie in his career, and that was Raising Arizona. (If they would release the pre-FX version of Ghost Rider, I might revise this opinion.)

Harriet: This was great! Hey, remember when Obama's treasury department was going to replace genocidal slaveholding piece-of-shit Andrew Jackson on the $20 with escaped slave, abolitionist, insurgent and spy Harriet Tubman, and then Trump and Mnuchin killed it because they're racists? Well, might I direct your attention to Tubman Stamp dot Com.

BTW, a couple people asked me if I'm going to resume my year-end music wrap-ups this year, since I skipped last year. Probably not. I'm just not feeling it.


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13 Responses:

  1. Don says:

    I love my Tubman stamp. Thanks for making me aware of Blood Drive.

  2. J. Peterson says:

    I noticed StarWars9 gives you plenty of time to ponder absurd logistics details.

    For me it was food: Who cooks for that huge Star Destroyer crew? Where do they grow it? Are there chickens on board?

  3. MattyJ says:

    There were a few years in there where 'not terrible' was good enough for a Star Wars movie.

    The good news for you is that I saw EP9 three weeks ago and I don't remember a thing about it. You can look forward to the memory of it fading pretty quickly.

  4. Aracan says:

    Thanks for confirming me in my intention not to see Star Wars tonight.
    But: One good movie? Come on. "Wild at Heart" was good.

  5. Not Frank says:

    In SW9, they even bring up the difficulties in crewing the Star Destroyers and suggest that... They will need to step up recruitment, and then inexplicably they are all crewed, what, two days later? Failed attempt to hang a lampshade and one of a myriad plot holes. (e.g. What was Finn going to tell Rey?)

    Also, am I the only one who thinks the planet-buster guns make the Star Destroyers appear to have cocks?

    • David Hoover says:

      I'm not even sure it was two days later? There's gotta have been some amount of time between "here kiddo, have an armada" and the rebels finding out about it, but I honestly couldn't tell how much or if it was even days.

      And once that happened, there was the whole "Oh noes! We've only got 12 hours before they're fully launched!" ticking clock that was abruptly thrown out the window after their fifteenth new set piece mumblemumble hours away via hyperspace.

      • Not Frank says:

        The timeframe of the whole movie seemed incoherent, even by the "Travel At The Speed of Plot" standard Star Wars so often does. Two days was my loose guess, a while after having seen the movie.

  6. Steve Smith says:

    I'm looking forward to the next Star Wars. The only place they can go is that the Next Order will have 10,000 Death Stars.

  7. Eric says:

    Color Out of Space has everything you need to play Nic Cage bingo: Nic Cage waves a loaded gun around, Nic Cage freaks out about a broken car, Nic Cage dies at least once, Nic Cage's hair gets really messed up, etc.

  8. rozzin says:

    The "Zeiram being a `he' despite the boobs and egg-laying" thing is surely a "translating from a source language where the only pronouns are `she' and `non-she'" thing. Any... thing that you'd describe as gender-neutral "it" often gets the "non-she" pronoun in those languages, which gets translated to English as "he" even when "it" would be much more appropriate because "it" is just not part of the translator's vocabulary (or even worldview).

  9. Julius Yang says:

    Oh wow no love for Adaptation, Face/Off, or Matchstick Men? OK I don't know if Face/Off could be considered 'good' but the other two are pretty good in my book!

    • Jason says:

      Adaptation is great, although I don't know if Cage is the reason it is. Wild at Heart is probably his best.

  10. Penguin Pete says:

    > "Don't say clones."

    Fine then. Tribbles. If you splice the right strand of Zerg DNA into a tribble, you have something smart enough to push buttons that also multiplies at explosive rates. Zibbles, the splice between Zerglings and tribbles.

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