Hey all! Sorry for leaving without any notice. Hurricane Freelance combined with a rather resilient Death Flu combined to make three weeks where posting on the ol' blog was not the most realistic of prospects. I'm hoping to be a smidge more prolific this week. "More prolific than nothing?" you ask, breathless? Yes! This is the commitment I'm making to you!
For now, I'm updating the sidebar and including the blurbs here, for convenient commenting. Movies first (TV hopefully tonight):
Eh. It was okay. Not the geek-gasmic orgy of comic-booky goodness the nerds have been screaming. Not the irresponsible slide down the slippery slope into Gomorrah that the older nerds have been screaming. Though, if I'm being honest, the movie really does try to have it both ways, gleefully reveling in the oh-so-transgressive prospect of a little girl essentially playing like Wolverine (part of the reason I'm so annoyed at the pearl-clutching response of Ebert and Co. is that it's justifying just how amazingly edgy the film thinks it's being) while also trying to play on the gut-level repulsion of seeing a little girl beat up by an adult. Mostly, I thought there were scattered good moments done in by inconsistent pacing and the ever-present masculinity issues of Mark Millar. I'm sorry you feel like such a huge pussy, Mark, but maybe stop obsessing about it in your writing? B-
[Also, P.S.: the boy who plays Kick-Ass, Aaron Johnson, is hella cute. As witnessed here (thanks, J!). He's 20 and British, okay!]
I had such high hopes for this one based on the trailer, but ultimately, while it's funny in fits and starts, it feels like it would have been a better fit as a 5-minute Daily Show segment. This felt like it needed to go back to the blackboard and run through some Documentary 101. Is this about the history of black women's hair issues? Or is it about the Atlanta hair show scene? Too much time is spent on the latter, and it ends up dominating the former. (Though a full movie about the hair show would have been pretty amazing.) And it would have been actually edifying to learn the actual mechanics of hair relaxer. Yes, yes, it can melt a can of diet coke, but what does it actually, do, chemically, to black hair? I guess I wanted the Chris Rock movie to be more like a science-class filmstrip? I know, fine, boring. But in that case, more of the interviews. I could seriously have listened to Nia Long and Tracy Thoms talk about their hair issues for days. Hey, if Hollywood isn't going to give them anything to play in narrative films, might as well get my fill in documentaries. But I couldn't because, again, too much hair show. A letdown. C+
A perfectly acceptable comedy elevated by great interplay between Steve Carell and Tina Fey. That scene where they returned to the frou-frou Manhattan restaurant disguised as fashionista trash was worth the price of a ticket alone. The cavalcade of guest stars had its moments (William Fichtner got some great stuff to play, and James Franco and Mila Kunis should play these characters in every comedy this summer), but mostly I was left wondering if Ray Liotta and Ari Graynor and Taraji P. Henson were just wandering by the set that day. And can somebody write a role for Common where he does more than just grunt? That said, this movie is absolutely the best instance of completely objectifying Mark Wahlberg for the piece of meat he is since the Calvin Klein days. Whoever managed that feat deserves a Pulitzer. Or a Genius grant. Or a Nobel Prize. Whatever, figure it out. B
Clash of the Titans
BORING! Holy Jesus. Sam Worthington, I'm sorry, is not a leading man. He wasn't in Terminator, he wasn't in Avatar, and he's not here. Nothing ever feel like high stakes when he's around. Not that the rest of the movie is some gleaming triumph around him. The effects work is nothing special, the 3D was a joke (but we knew that going in), and the Medusa sequence especially looks laughably video-gamey. The one bright spot, for me, was Ralph Feinnes's campy take on Hades. First of all, he didn't even bother with the voice, instead just importing his Voldemort hiss. But the real treat was in his flourishy entrances, the likes of which have only been equalled on RuPaul's Drag Race. You better work, Lord of the Underworld! C-