Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cleaning out the queue: Christ on the Moon edition

Lets go back to an old standard here and take a look at DVDs that have been sent to me through the mail. Some removed due to previous looking and typing.

Ninth Configuration
Shades of Stanley Kubrick here. This film (aka Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane) from Exorcist writer William Peter Blatty falls into both the categories of "genre-defying" and "criminally under-seen." It's set in a European style castle in the Pacific northwest, which is being used as a sort of experimental treatment center for soldiers mentally damaged during the Vietnam War. It's surreal, funny and subdued. The best moments are kinetic exchanges about the nature of good and evil and the existence of God between Colonel Kane (Stacy Keach in a definitive film role) and an astronaut who suffered a nervous breakdown seconds before being launched into space. Also: Hamlet as performed by dogs and a great bar fight scene.

Running Scared
Without a doubt I can say this is the best Paul Walker movie of all time. And he is a man whose film credits include 2 Fast 2 Furious and Meet the Deedles. In all seriousness though, Running Scared is one of those action thrillers that moves so fast you don't have time to realize how ludicrous it all is. Like Walker getting fluorescent hockey pucks shot at his face. Not for the squeamish.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Here's something a little lighter, which definitely has some laugh out loud moments. "VJ" Russell Brand is surprisingly funny as a playboy rock star. I also enjoyed the Dracula puppet rock opera.

The Onion Movie
This is basically a bunch of Onion News Network sketches strung together, with the loosest of plot strings combining them. Fortunately that plot string has the strength of a cock-punching Steven Seagal. It's irreverently hit or miss, but always cutting satire.

Iron Man
Yeah, finally got around to seeing this. Good, not great. Here's some synergy.

Beowulf: Director's Cut
This was a terribly skippy disc, so I didn't watch it too closely. Probably for the best.

The revenge of the Jews! That's anti-semitic at best, but still true in that this film is about a death squad enacting vengeance for the deaths of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A bit long, but nuanced look at the changing nature of warfare in the time of terrorism. Eric Bana is at his best as a killing machine with a conscience.

Futurama: Bender's Game
NERDS!!!!! Since I don't have anything else to add here, check out this outstandingly simple Simpsons site: Eye on Springfield.

This documentary is required watching for any fan of Hunter S. Thompson. Way better than "Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride."

I bet you thought Running Scared would be the most violently absurd movie on this list, didn't you? Well it doesn't have curving bullets and a "loom of fate" which makes a hit list for a secret order of assassins. It's ridiculous, but oh so entertaining. I think this scene sums it up pretty well.

I think this could be useful to judge other's taste in movies. Borderline watchable, but ruined by the predictable twist. Put it this way: If after 20 minutes you can't make a sort of accurate prediction of the left turn this film will make in its second half, you suck at movies. Still, Will Smif.

Man on Wire
You may know this one because it just won an Oscar for best documentary and then the guy balanced the statue on his chin. It's about some crazy French guy who thinks his life's calling is to walk on a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Plays out like a heist caper, and gains poignancy now that the towers no longer exist.

Dead Man
This is black and white western starring Johnny Depp is an interesting in concept, but failed to hold my attention.

This is one of those that causes multiple thoughts along the lines of "guh-wha" or perhaps "snuh?" It's about two engineers who accidentally invent time travel. Not flashy (It was made for $7,000) but the ideas in the film carry it. Frankly, I barely comprehended what was going on, multiple paradoxes inside boxes of paradoxes. This and Ninth Configuration are two of the biggest mindfuck movies I've seen in a while.

That's it, Repo Man's on the way.