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Week in Review: 5/18/14

Movies I Watched in the Last Week

1) Let the Fire Burn - This is a hard one to rate.  On a purely technical level, it's a brilliant documentary.  It's tense, moving, and brilliantly edited.  It presents a complex issue in a generally even-handed way; nobody involved in the events depicted is set up as The Villain or The Hero, and rather than relying on talking heads to tell us what we should think, it just uses archive footage to present the facts that are available.

On the other hand, this is some of the most depressing stuff you'll ever see.  It's about a time the police dropped a bomb on a house in Philadelphia that killed two dozen people and burned over 60 houses to the ground, but somehow none of the authorities got the stink of domestic terrorism stuck to them.  So... you'll be outraged by one of the biggest piles of bullshit in human history, but at least it's honest outrage.  Is that a good time?  I don't know.  You be the judge.

My Rating:  5(?) / 5

2) Knights of Badassdom - This was almost a good movie.  It has a weak script with too many characters, very little depth, and several arcs that go nowhere.  But there's some decent energy and the bit characters - specifically Peter Dinklage and Danny Pudi - do a good job.

The most damning thing about it is that the guys who wrote it are part of that shitty neo-Nerd movement that glorifies self-righteous, egocentric misogyny, so nobody actually feels like a real person.  Just a bunch of pawns that make the hero and his dumbass buddy look good by comparison.  It's kinda like Ctrl-Alt-Del: The Movie except that it actually has a couple of jokes that work.

My Rating:  2 / 5

3) 47 Ronin - I think America is okay with a realistic depiction of Japan, guys.  It's okay.  We're not as immature and stupid as we seem to be.  You don't have to make Japan a magic land of monsters in order to get us interested.  Oh, wait, you're going to do that, anyway?  Well, at least you had the decency to pay a nice boatload of Japanese actors and actresses.  I'm always happy to see Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi.  Maybe let's just do a double-feature of Onmyoji and The Brothers Bloom.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5

4) Berberian Sound Studio - I finally did it, guys.  I finally finished watching this movie.  After a year of catching snippets, false starts, falling asleep, technical problems, and every other hardship, I finally managed to watch a 90-minute movie that has been available at any time on Netflix streaming.

Uh... s'okay.  I didn't care for it a lot, to be honest, but it's well made.  Some of you might like it.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5

5) Sleepwalkers - I had the pleasure of seeing this at the Flophouse screening in Yonkers last weekend, so in addition to the inanity of the movie, I got to enjoy their running commentary.  It's a shame they haven't released a Rifftrax-styled MP3 track, because Dan, Stuart, and Elliott bring a level of wit to movie riffing that you really can't find anywhere else.  It's extremely rare to find a person who can provide honest and incisive criticism while also being friendly, sincere, and humble, and the Flophouse gives you three.  BTW, if you aren't a subscriber already (and if somehow my opinion would sway you), then go to their site and start listening.

My Rating for the movie:  3 / 5
My Rating for the movie w/ commentary: 5 / 5

Total: 5 Movies

Minutes I Spent Writing in the Last Week

1) I Need a Job - About two hours of revisions.

2) Born Loser - About one hour of writing.  Current draft length: 27,000 words.

Total: 3 Hours

The Winner:  Movies...

On the one hand, I didn't get very much writing done this week.  On the other hand, I got to see the Flophouse in person.  Life is good.