Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Three movie reviews and a book discussion

I've taken to starting weekly discussions and random polling on bookish. This Saturday, the topic is literary vs. genre fiction, which I gave the very sober and thought-provoking title LITERARY VS. GENRE FICTION STEEL CAGE DEATH MATCH!. Feel free to join us there. (Sorry, anons, but I don't think bookish allows anonymous posting.)

Also, I haven't really reviewed any movies lately, aside from those I watch to compare with books they were based on. I recently saw two movies which were really, really good, and one which was really, really awful.

Dragon Wars

Dragon Wars

My tolerance for really bad monster movies is high. It comes from a childhood spent getting up early Saturday mornings whenever TV Guide promised a Godzilla movie.

Dragon Wars (or "D-Wars" in Korean) is really bad. Really, really bad. Really, really unbelievably fucking not-even-remotely-entertaining bad. Worse than Reign of Fire bad. Not even Godzilla vs. King Kong entertainingly bad. It's just bad. Bad bad bad. Lordy was it bad.

I'd heard about the reviews. I was expecting it to be bad. But, you know, dragons attacking Los Angeles! Even if the acting was awful and the story was inane, there had to be some cool fire-breathing dragon action, right? Something to make this movie worth sitting through?

There are better CGI effects in your average computer game today, your average fan fiction author could write a better screen play and better dialog, and high school students putting fan videos up on YouTube are better actors.

This was a bad stupid inane awful bad movie.



This indie film is a survival thriller with a very simple premise -- three college kids stupidly get themselves trapped on a ski lift after the resort has been shut down. I didn't expect to like it much, but it's actually one of the scariest thrillers I've seen in a while, and it does it without any supernatural threats or psychopathic serial killers. While I wouldn't say any of the plot twists are unpredictable, they still make your guts clench when they happen. Also, while the main characters do make some stupid decisions, they are understandable stupid decisions -- i.e., not the sort of "OMFG why would you even do that?" stupid decisions that characters in these sorts of movies usually make just to up the body count.

If you like tense thrillers and survival stories, I recommend it. There is some bloodshed, but it's not nearly as gory as your average zombie movie. It's actually worse, because it's realistic, and the kind that makes you cringe and say "Ouch!"

Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues

I loved this film. It's an animated retelling of the Ramayana, animated by Nina Paley, who did almost all the work herself and then released it for free under a Creative Commons License. (You can watch it or download it here.) There are actually four stories interwoven into the film: a retelling of the story of Rama and Sita, musical episodes with a soundtrack by Jazz singer Annette Hanshaw, animated commentary by shadow-puppets voiced by an Indian audience, and Paley's own break-up story (there is obvious pain but surprisingly little bitterness as she relates how she connected the story of Rama and Sita to her own experience of being dumped by her husband). If this sounds a little strange, just trust me and watch it -- it's one of the most amazingly creative things I've ever seen. The music, the animation, the storytelling, is funny and clever and marvelous and touching. Also, read Paley's story on her website about how she made it and the reactions she got to her work, good and bad -- it's really interesting.
Tags: books, movies, netflix, reviews

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