Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
"Monster Camp" is a documentary about the Seattle chapter of NERO. NERO is live-action role playing; Dungeons and Dragons, but acted out in real life. It's the guys (adults) with swords in the park dressed up like medieval sorcerers and elves hitting each other with wooden swords and shields.
It honestly felt like I was sneaking a look at someone's deep dark secret, and I was a little ashamed of the dispersions I cast while watching the show. It gave me some amount of unfounded and unfair esteem that I was not, nor had I ever, been involved in that sort-of thing; that I wasn't THAT weird. But in reality, I probably am. We are all weird in our own ways, right? I drive all over the country collection National Park stamps, and some days are ridiculously rigid and stressful, yet I'm supposed to be on vacation. I have a few subjects where I know WAY TOO MUCH information. But still...I don't pretend-hit other people with sticks.
Fascinating documentary though. Brilliant, actually. I guess it may have fallen in their laps, but the story telling of the characters was excellent. It wasn't simply a documentary about some odd adults who dress up and play fight with swords. They were real people who were having a lot of fun together, and somehow having serious drama about their person struggles and interpersonal relationships.
Wow. If you thought he characters in "King of Kong" were fascinating, check this one out...
thoughts by Andy
Friday, January 21, 2011
Considering the Sequels is a monthly film podcast that examines the merits and weaknesses of specific movie franchises.
In Episode 7 we consider the “Mad Max” trilogy. This episode also includes a concept discussion in which we try to identify the elements that make a film a masterpiece. And, as always, we each give mini reviews of recent film releases and whatever else we’ve been watching lately.
Go listen to this podcast here: http://bit.ly/fcVxhE
Thursday, January 20, 2011
by Jason Pyles
Think of the odd, graphically violent comedy of Quentin Tarantino, framed as a western with the charm of “Maverick” (1994), and the entertainment value of “3:10 to Yuma” (2007) — all set in Manchuria, China, and populated primarily with Korean actors — and you’ve got a good feel for “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.”
As Andy noted below, many posts ago, “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” is a South Korean film that’s subtitled, and yes, it’s loosely inspired by Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966).
The term “revisionist western” comes to mind, though this movie is even more genre-defying than that — hence its inclusion here. Many films that are blatantly, almost rebelliously, shedding genre conventions are also disregarding tonal unity and clarity, which is to say, they’re all over the place when it comes to dramatic elements, comedic elements, etc. Films like “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” run the gamut, as if written by multiple personalities or my moody ex-girlfriend from high school.
“The Good, the Bad, the Weird” is made with apparent technical skill. First of all, the film looks beautiful. It’s the kind of movie that’s rewarding to simply look at — even if you can’t hear the volume. (And hey, it’s mostly subtitled, so I guess you could watch it as a silent film.) The film opens with a pretty spectacular tracking shot on a train. And at about 61 minutes in, a character leaps toward the camera and sails through the air while the camera is backing up, passing between a railing and then resuming a chase, following the running characters on the ground below. It is phenomenal, and I’m still not sure how that trick was done. In short, this film is worth watching for its cinematography and direction alone.
There’s one last aspect of talent that I’d like to highlight: The actor Byung-hun Lee, who’s like a Korean Ray Park, has a remarkable physicality and agility that’s sort of mesmerizing to watch. In this film he plays “The Bad.” It’s funny to compare him to Ray Park (Darth Maul, Toad), because in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009), Park plays Snake Eyes opposite Byung-hun Lee, who plays Storm Shadow. We get to see them face off in “The Rise of Cobra,” which is the only reason to subject yourself to that movie.
Anyway, “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” has a title that’s nearly a mini review of itself, minus “the Bad” portion. It’s good and weird and I recommend it.