Crank

I’ve seen Crank before, though I really don’t remember much of what happens. Jason Statham (an actor whose name I know! Amazing) has been poisoned and can’t let his adrenaline levels drop or he will die, leading to all sorts of high octane hijinks. I am looking forward to this refresher.


Well that was an experience.

I remembered pretty well that Crank was a largely disconnected sequence of random bullshit, all predicated on the idea of keeping up that fight or flight response, but I couldn’t remember any of the actual events. Now I know – because none of them really mattered or had any lasting impression at all. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing – it was still one hell of a ride. But neither am I surprised that I forgot every single detail.

Crank.2006.Directors.Cut.1080p.BluRay.DTS.x264-CtrlHD.mkv_snapshot_01.20.48_[2016.01.31_18.30.31]

Good:

  • Finger gun!
  • This is the hardcore shit. Plant shit.
  • Fucking in public while everyone watches and cheers
  • Not dying after falling an absurdly long way

Bad

  • You can tell that Google Maps was very new and novel when the movie was made, huh
  • I thought I recognised Andy Samberg  in the movie, but it wasn’t him.
  • Who even cares about the bad points of a movie like this? They don’t matter.

Oldboy

Oldboy is the first non-western film on The List – I am watching the original Korean film, not the American remake. I don’t know much about it, but I have a vague impression of hyperviolence and maybe some psychological trickery. I was duly informed last night that ‘Oldboy is going to wreck you’. We will see.


If I were to pick one word to describe Oldboy, I think it would have to be ‘intense’.

The premise of Oldboy was a strong one, a solid mystery that promises a good payoff. And pay off it did, albeit in a way that I wasn’t expecting. All of my expectations were based on the sort of movies I’m used to, so I expected the motive for the Big Bad to be fairly simple and heavily foreshadowed. Instead, the villain was nuanced and broken in a very deluded but also very human sort of way. It was really…refreshing.

But I think the thing that sold even more than that was the reveals. As the mystery of the film unravels, there are several really good reveals, none of which were the kind of obvious that you usually get out of Hollywood. This, combined with some excellent acting, made the whole film really compelling. I was absolutely riveted. But that wasn’t the best part either.

This was the best part. No context required. Watch it.

I had seen the corridor fight scene before, but I had no idea it was from this movie. Someone showed it to me years ago as an example of what western movies just don’t do. All one continuous shot. Absolutely stunning.

Good:

  • Area Man Eats Entire Living Octopus; Dies
  • The giant ant is just trying to catch the subway home. He’s had a rough day, and doesn’t have cab fare. So don’t stare, it’s rude.
  • Really cool flashbacks that cut between the old and young actors
  • ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.’

Bad:

  • Oddest reaction to attempted rape I’ve ever seen
  • Mido in general confused me throughout most of the movie. I gave up trying to understand her reactions to things. Even with the reveals at the end, I can’t quite make it all add up. Interesting character though, she ends up being as much a mystery to solve as the main plot.
  • There were a couple of mutilation scenes that, while the gruesome bits were off camera, still really squicked me out. I don’t deal well with body horror.

 

Burn After Reading

This is another one that I know basically nothing about. From the title alone, I’m guessing its a spy movie.


It wasn’t a spy movie.

Burn After Reading is a straight up comedy of errors, the convoluted series of coincidence and mistaken identity that falls out from the attempted demotion of a CIA sigint analyst. He quits, he wife starts divorce proceedings leading to a trashy memoir falling into the hands of gym workers…who believe that they ARE in a spy movie and immediately proceed to Fuck Everything Up.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me slightly too long to realize that nothing major or serious was ever going to happen in this movie, which led to me being unimpressed by the pointless goings on. As soon as I figured that out, well, someone died, which surprised the everloving fuck out of me. From that point on, things got more interesting. It was entertaining, and I did enjoy watching things resolve themselves…if you really want to call the state of affairs at the end ‘resolved’.

I’m in two minds about this movie. If I had known beforehand what sort of movie it was, maybe the slow start would have interested me more. But as it was, the movie didn’t really grab my attention properly until near the end. I didn’t dislike it, but overall the experience didn’t stand out enough for me to recommend it.

Good:

  • Chad was my favourite character- which should tell you how little I cared about the others.
  • I got some good chuckles at the reactions of the actual spooks to just how fucked up shit got.
  • Every scene involving the Russians was also good.

Bad

  • I got very tired of certain characters shticks. If I have to hear about how Linda needs these surgeries one more time…
  • I was very tempted to put this in the good category, but…the dildo chair. Wow.

 

Braindead

I have been warned about Braindead (also known as Dead Alive, if you are American and lack a sense of fun). Don’t watch it on a full stomach, I am told. Oh, you don’t do well with gore? Well, uh. Fuck. So here I am, watching the movie on Saturday so it isn’t the end of my weekend, well before it gets dark, before I have dinner. I am sincerely hoping that my tolerance for this sort of thing has gone up (which seems possible given my reaction to 28 Days later).

God help me.


Ugh.

I tried to like Braindead. You know, get past my preconceived ideas about what it was and if I should like it or not. And that held out pretty well for a while. Then Act 3 happened.

I actually kinda liked the first third of the movie. I was corny in ways that I appreciate, and what gore there was tended to have some comedic value in the situation and the reaction of the observers. This largely extends to the middle as well, with the protagonist attempting to keep is pet zombies docile and under control as his life slips away from under him.

Then Act 3 happened.

Act 3 made me realize that I wasn’t laughing at the gore at all, only the situation. So when the movie devolved into half an hour of gruesome death, the movie lost its novelty and left me alternating between grossed out and bored. No redeeming value, just an endless slog of fake blood and guts until the movie was over, and I was released.

Good:

  • I appreciated some of the creature design. I think my favourite was the internal organs creature, with honourable mention to the baby.
  • The priest with serious levels of Monk was a moment of joy. ‘I kick ass for the Lord!’. Too bad about that crit fail on the dex save to dodge the falling head though.
  • Nopeing so hard that you leap aboard a moving tram

Bad:

  • Everything else.

In conclusion:

cooltext159755393748359

Shoot ‘Em Up

Never heard of this one at all. I assume it involves guns.


Ahahahaha. Oh my god, what a ride.

Shoot ‘Em Up is the answer to the question ‘What happens if you take every single action movie trope and then push them well past their logical extreme?’, and what a good answer it is. This is the type of thing I mean when I say that I enjoy absurd humor – I’m not really a fan of absurdity through weirdness (ala Zoolander), but the taking of otherwise normal premises and bending them into unrecognisability is absolutely my kind of thing.

2302590448_a4c155e792

Good:

  • Carrots and their usefulness for: killing men, super eyesight, pulling triggers, retrieving out of reach objects and giving way your location to the enemy
  • All of the one liners. Seriously. Every single one.
  • ‘Do we really suck, or is this guy really that good?!?’
  • Smith’s house – rat based lock mechanism, and a seemingly throwaway setup for his affection for bell-pull triggers that absolutely pays off later in a series of glorious string based Rube Goldberg-esque traps.
  • I could go on. This movie to date has generated the longest list of bullet points on my notepad, so these are just the highlights.

Bad:

  • Nothing. This movie is trash. I love it. Every bad part of this movie is actually fantastic, leaving it utterly flawless.

28 Days Later

Horror isn’t my genre. It just isn’t. Never has been, never will be. It tends to either bore me or leave me feeling uncomfortably scared, neither of which fall into my definition of ‘fun’. But here we are, the first proper horror film on The List…and I am going to watch it. I chose not to apply any conditions to List submissions, and this is the first time this may possibly come back to haunt me.

The last time I tried to watch a movie of this nature, I was a teenager, and I went to the cinema with a friend. I can’t remember what movie we were seeing, because I walked out during the preamble where they introduced the plot of the previous film. So yes, I’m a wimp, and I’m not really expecting this to have changed. So don’t mind me if I approach this movie with a bit of trepidation…


Luckily, my expectations of this movie were off base. I was expecting it to be a thiller-style horror, where the primary point of the movie is to scare the audience. That wasn’t this movie. This movie is more like what a Left 4 Dead campaign would be if it were actually a movie, rather than a game pretending to be a movie. It had characters (albeit one-note characters, but still) and a narrative. In essence, it was a movie I could enjoy, rather than a movie I couldn’t.

28_days_later5

Apparently zombies know how to throw a really wild street party

Which is not to say that the movie didn’t have some problems. I found the first act positively dull, and even at the end I still couldn’t bring myself to give a fuck about the protagonist dude, even after his sudden and largely unexplained turn to badassitude at the end. I can’t even remember his name. I think I was just too familiar with the character archetype he was fulfilling to feel any sort of drama. In fact, I had quite a few moments watching this film where I wasn’t sure if I was watching a trope that I am familiar with being formed, or just yet another expression of a long standing zombie-media tradition. I expect it was a lot of both.

Overall, I enjoyed 28 Days Later a heck of a lot more than I was expecting to. Maybe I should stop writing off horror as a genre…

Good:

  • I totally dig the premise of the infection. Studying emotions in primates in order to ‘cure’ rage? Sounds absolutely like something a dystopian government might actually try (and lets face it, Britain will absolutely be the first nation to go full 1984 on us).
  • Good character beats, even if they never really escaped one-dimensionality.
  • Infection-style zombies done right. Driven to attack, but not to eat, and eventually starve to death.
  • Not too much body-horror

Bad:

  • When the science guy tells you that the monkeys are incredibly infectious, you cut your eco-terrorist bullshit and DON’T. RELEASE. THE MONKEYS.
  • While I appreciate that a few jump scares are obligatory in a movie like this, just no. Apparently my new response to jump scares is both boredom and deep trauma, at the same time. Don’t ask me to explain it, but that is what it felt like. Unpleasant.
  • Holy shit did the third act take a dark, rapey turn or what. That wasn’t pleasant (though that unpleasantness was the point).
  • How did the zombie apocalypse put a yellow filter on all natural light sources? The world needs to know!