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Monday, January 28, 2013

One Sentence Reviews

Hey, why don't I review some things I've recently (and not so recently) seen/read? And, just for a change, why don't I do each review in one sentence?

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (Book, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales 2011) - It was interesting but not as salacious as I was expecting.

Cabin in the Woods (Movie, 2012) - This satire of horror movies was, to put it simply, awesome.

Road House (Movie, 1989) - I just recently saw this movie and it's 100 times more insane, zany and awesome than I ever thought it could be.

Revolution (TV Series) - It reminds me of No Ordinary Family where I find myself liking this series much more than the vast majority of the public.

Chronicle (Movie, 2012) - I generally dislike found footage movies but this was really good and very intense.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Movie, 2012) - It was alright but I still think splitting The Hobbit up into three movies is idiotic.

Django Unchained (Movie, 2012) - It's a Tarentino movie with Samuel L. Jackson...you know what to expect.

Dark Knight Rises (Movie, 2012) - It's perhaps not the piece of  "Art" The Dark Knight is but I enjoyed watching this movie over The Dark Knight.
The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie, 2012) - Just a giant web of stupidity.

8 comments:

Teebore said...

What was the most interesting thing you learned from the ESPN book?

I just recently saw this movie and it's 100 times more insane, zany and awesome than I ever thought it could be.

Yes indeed.

It reminds me of No Ordinary Family where I find myself liking this series much more than the vast majority of the public.

Nice analogy. Now that you mention it, it reminds me of No Ordinary Family as well, both for the way I like it more than most people and the fact that there are a handful of recurring issues that prevent it from crossing over from "enjoyable" to "awesome".

I need to check out Chronicle some time. I've heard nothing but good things about it.

It was alright but I still think splitting The Hobbit up into three movies is idiotic.

I'm a lot more excited about this now that I know the third movie is going to be less The Hobbit and more LotR set up, featuring the showdown between all the immortal good guys and the thing that becomes Sauron, as described in one of the appendices.

So it's not really a third Hobbit movie, but at least they're not trying to stretch a thin story even further, and should be fun to watch.

Just a giant web of stupidity.

Heh.

Sarah Ahiers said...

LOVED cabin in the Woods. Still haven't seen Roadhouse. And Amazing Spiderman is my No Ordinary Family. It was just the right movie at the right time for me.

Dr. Bitz said...

@Teebore: "What was the most interesting thing you learned from the ESPN book?"

Hmmm...good question. Learning about the different people in charge of ESPN and their philosophy was pretty interesting. Like right now ESPN is all about live sporting events. They don't even care what the sporting event is as long as they can show it live.

Also, learning about how Tony Kornheiser and Chris Berman hating each other was rather amusing.

@Sarah: "It was just the right movie at the right time for me."

I'll be nice and just nod my head and bite my tongue. (But you're not alone...I know others who enjoyed the movie.)

Teebore said...

Like right now ESPN is all about live sporting events. They don't even care what the sporting event is as long as they can show it live.

Interesting. Though that makes sense. Live sporting events are pretty much the only DVR-proof TV these days...

Blam said...


I'm not a sports fan outside of baseball and, like, watching the Olympics, so my ESPN screen time has been very minimal. The book therefore didn't really interest me beyond what it said about Keith Olbermann (whom I know in other contexts) and its commentary on the media in general. Some of that was excerpted and/or discussed online, which was enough for me. I'm sorry to hear that it didn't live up to expectations, if that was indeed a bad thing. The authors' Live from New York was a great oral history of Saturday Night Live.

The Cabin in the Woods
is a fantastic movie in every sense of the word — just brilliant; my favorite of 2012 for sure.

I've never seen Road House and having a low tolerance for Patrick Swayze I'm not likely to.

I gave up on Revolution, I think for good, after figuring that the third time I fell behind uncaring was whatever the opposite of a charm is.

Chronicle is supposedly in the mail from Netflix right now.

I'm not a Tolkien devotee. The Lord of the Rings films were impressive, but having only read The Hobbit and not LOTR itself I related to them as movies rather than a Middle-Earth geek. Given the mixed (at best) reviews of the 48FPS experiment and the movie in general, I've found myself surprisingly nonplussed about the new trilogy — in part because it is a trilogy. Unless the next one gets spectacular reviews and I can see An Unexpected Journey on a bigger screen than I own to gear up for it, I guess I'm sitting these out.

You pretty much said it all on Django Unchained, although I'd hoped for better. While it's essentially just what you'd expect, in a goofily good way, it let me down in the undisciplined final quarter or so.

I found the so-called Dark Knight trilogy to be diminishing returns, with The Dark Knight Rises the most over-the-top and the least likable. Maybe there was a good movie in there somewhere, especially with Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle, but overall it ticked me off.

On the other hand I'm one of The Amazing Spider-Man's champions, notwithstanding the crappy Lizard CGI and some rough spots towards the end. You can't really ignore that it retells the origin only a decade after the first Spider-Man film, but I think that it does the origin better; I'm also happy to have Gwen Stacy in there instead of Mary Jane Watson — and Emma Stone is one hell of a Gwen Stacy. I don't think the movie's perfect by any means, but I don't get the hate.

Hope you don't mind longer comments than your reviews!

Teebore said...

@Blam: Given the mixed (at best) reviews of the 48FPS experiment and the movie in general, I've found myself surprisingly nonplussed about the new trilogy

I'm in the same boat you are as far as being a Tolkien devotee only inasmuch as the movies are concerned (I've read The Hobbit and the first two LoTR books, then gave up out of sheer boredom), and while I don't want to strongarm you into seeing the new movie (I mean, it doesn't matter to me personally), just on the off chance that you weren't aware, I will say that you should be able to see it in regular frame rate simply by avoiding the 3D showings (which, I believe, are the only ones showing the 48 FPS version).

Again, I don't begrudge you anything if it's just enough of your thing to make the effort. I just didn't want you staying away only because of the 48 FPS w/o knowing it was avoidable.

I found the so-called Dark Knight trilogy to be diminishing returns, with The Dark Knight Rises the most over-the-top and the least likable.

I actually rather liked Dark Knight Rises, which I gather isn't quite a popular sentiment.

It wasn't perfect, and wasn't as qualitatively "good" as Dark Knight, but I also thought it was the most overtly-comic book-y of the three. While TDK is the better film, I feel like TDKR is the one I'm more likely to rewatch simply because it's not as thematically dense and emotionally harrowing as TDK.

(Though in reality, I'd probably just rewatch the opening act or so of the first one).

I'll leave it to Dr. Bitz to rant about Amazing Spider-Man (it's his post, after all), but just add that I'm a little more forgiving of it than he is while still being massively disappointed in a few key ways overall (though not with the decision to use Gwen over MJ, nor the casting, which was pretty great across the board).

Blam said...


Teebore: I will say that you should be able to see it in regular frame rate simply by avoiding the 3D showings (which, I believe, are the only ones showing the 48 FPS version)

At first I really wanted to see the 48 FPS version and was bummed that it was only playing that way in 3D — I don't like paying the extra money for what to me is a reduced cinematic experience most of the time, in terms of how the 3D usually takes me out the movie magic rather than draws me into it and on account of the fact that I already wear glasses so it's just awkward.

When the reviews of the 48 FPS experiment were decidedly mixed even among friends and critics whom I considered predisposed to be generous to it, likewise reviews of the film itself, I just sort-of put seeing it on the back burner.

@Teebore: While TDK is the better film, I feel like TDKR is the one I'm more likely to rewatch simply because it's not as thematically dense and emotionally harrowing as TDK.

I watched TDK on DVD right before TDKR came out and was surprised at how ambivalent about it I felt.

The parts I remembered not liking were superficial — Christian Bale's laughable Batman voice (which gets even worse in TDKR because he's using it to himself and/or with people who know Batman's Bruce Wayne and it's so obviously put on as opposed to Kevin Conroy's brilliant voice modulation in TAS) and the fact that Harvey Dent has no speech impediment despite the acid having removed his lips entirely on the left side. On the rewatch I just liked the movie less in general, although Heath Ledger's Joker was great.

Except for Batman's rationale for letting Ra's al Ghul die I think that Batman Begins is my favorite of the three. TDKR being so "comicbooky" is a large part of what I didn't like about it, not because I demand that all my superheroes or even just my live-action superheroes be realistic but because the film series set itself up in such a realistic framework. I chafed at the friction between the serious and the ridiculous.

Teebore said...

@Blam: Christian Bale's laughable Batman voice (which gets even worse in TDKR because he's using it to himself and/or with people who know Batman's Bruce Wayne and it's so obviously put on as opposed to Kevin Conroy's brilliant voice modulation in TAS)

To be clear, Bale's put-on Batman voice IS laughable, and very distracting and disappointing in the films. That said, it's become such a great joke amongst my friends that I'm almost starting to appreciate it ironically, just for all the laughs outside the movies it's provided.

I chafed at the friction between the serious and the ridiculous.

I get that. For me, I feel like it walked up to that line between serious and ridiculous without crossing over (or without crossing over too often/too long/any more often or longer than any of the other films), but I can certainly see how opinions could vary on that subject.