Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby Meneks » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:19 pm

Then again there are some where the title says it all.


And then again, there are other that do not. If you ever come across the movie "Frogs" in the $1 bargin bin, do not believe the title. There ARE NO FROGS in the movie (except on the DVD cover). There are lots of other things, including crocodiles (or alligators) and such, but no frogs. There /are/ cane toads, and frog sounds, but no frogs.

None.

And, no, I did not rent Frogs. I am, indeed, the proud owner of a $1 bargin bin DVD copy of Frogs. And Clash of the Titans. And Terror is a Man. And The Guy With The Secret Kung Fu. And several other WTF gems.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby Meneks » Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:34 am

Inglorious Basterds

There are some days when all you want to see a Tarantino movie. For whatever reason, that was me on Saturday. There are some spoilers below, so be warned. However, it is was Tarantino, so it isn't exactly like the ending is an unknown.

It was definitely a Tarantino movie - i.e., body count. As with most (all?) movies of his, one cannot get too close to any character, major or minor, because there is a better than even chance that he/she will not make it to the ending credits. However, while it was definitly violent, I do not feel it was quite as high in the death factor as other Tarantino movies. As usual, however, the deaths almost become, not necessarily comical, but rather cartoonish after a while.... Again, I'm not quite grasping the right word. It is like when one plays a gore-n-guts game or watches a zombie or slasher flick...the first deaths may be grusome or shocking, but after awhile you short of become inured to the whole thing. Which, in a way, is a rather sad comment itself upon the nature of a human to become so callous (and even laugh, as did Hitler and the audience while watching the movie-in-a-movie) when being exposed to what is, after all, such a tragic thing as the death of another person.

At least Tarantino did not decide to show all the people getting burned in the theater. That may have been a bit too graphic even for him. Instead they were all just shot down by the gunners on the balcony...those that didn't blow up from the high explosives.

All in all, there are other Tarantino movies I have liked better. However, it was quite suitable for a Saturday afternoon.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby cmdrajd » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:53 pm

The Colour of Magic

This is a two-part British mini-series covering the first two books of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I haven't actually read any of the books. My only exposure to Discworld comes from a crossover story that our esteemed Queen of BorgSpace wrote several years ago. Truth be known, I'm not much of a Fantasy guy. I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but beyond that my Fantasy reading has been limited to Harry Potter. Despite playing lots of D&D in high school, books about wizards, dragons, and the like just never did anything for me. The Colour of Magic was fairly entertaining, though. It helps (for me, anyway) that it is comedic fantasy. There are several great gags and funny bits, but I got the feeling that, like Douglas Adams, Pratchett is probably the kind of writer whose best jokes really don't translate well to the screen. It felt like an entire layer of things was missing. Also, despite encompassing two books, the mini-series felt kind of drawn out and episodic. The throughline was just not very strong, and the pacing felt...off, for lack of a better term. I chalk that up to the directing and editing more than anything else. The acting I felt was very good. Sean Astin plays a foreign visitor to the continent where the story takes place and seems to be having a lot of fun. Tim Curry gives one of his ever-reliable villain performances, and Christopher Lee is well used as the voice of Death. The main character, Rincewind, is played by David Jason, whom I wasn't familiar with. According to his IMDB listing, though, he was the voice of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula, two of my favorite cartoon characters as a child.

Since I haven't read the books, I have no idea how well this mini-series works as an adaptation. My kids and I enjoyed it, though, and I'll probably end up checking out the Hogfather film, also based on a Discworld book, as well.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby Mad Lensman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:15 am

Hmmm.... I am amazed that you haven't heard of David Jason - "A Touch Of Frost", "Open All Hours", "Only Fools And Horses" to name but a meagre few of his acting appearances - all british sit-coms....

I often wonder if some of the humour I write into Origins translates across as supposed to - My wife finds some American humour awkward and unfunny (I laugh anyway) - and I would imagine that there are cultural differences the other way too which make certain things a "OoooooK!!!????" Moment for our bretheren across the pond when exposed to british humour.... For example... "A fried egg, chilli chutney sandwich" just isn't funny in texas I presume?

So I suppose the Colour of magic probably does have an insurmountable translation problem to deal with.....! :D
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby cmdrajd » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:49 am

I imagine the style of humor matters a bit in these situations, just as it does with American humor. I think I've said on here before that I'm not a fan of the "let's torture the normal guy" school of comedy that Ben Stiller seems to excel at (see "Meet The Parents"). I consider the Monty Python school of British Humor to be a long way from the style of British sitcom that our local public television stations tend to show in the afternoons. The sitcoms seem to all involve an older couple who live out in the country and bicker a lot. Again, not having read the books I can't say this for certain, but I think that part of the problem with the adaptation of "The Colour of Magic" is that the book's humor seems like it was based on a lot of word play and funny narration. That doesn't always play on film, particularly over 3 hours. There are some great visuals in the mini-series, but maybe they should have tried to add some additional sight gags. I know it was something that I tried to keep in mind when I wrote the few sections I did for the Silverado machinima. I have no idea if I was successful, but I wanted to put in something more than dialogue-based jokes. Our illustrious B-Guy also did a great job moving the humor beyond just the words through his use of well-timed music cues and sound effects.

Now that I think about it, the old BBC adaptation of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" has kind of the same problem, particularly near the end. Stuff that is very funny and engaging on the page just kind of lays there on screen...at least to me.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby Mad Lensman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:25 pm

My point exactly....

I REALLY enjoyed the original Hitch Hikers books - in particular the one that never really seemed to fit in anywhere "Mostly Harmless" - which appealed to my sick warped and very twisted sense of humour in a number of ways - not least of which were the "mind's eye" moments when the brain tries to visualise a concept from the page which it finds immensly amusing, and the ongoing visualisation of this appeals in such a way as the mind memorises and catagorises this for recall later. Recollection causes almost the same amount of humor as the inital reading does....

TV cannot do this - or well, it can, but the laughs aren't as funny because the TV adaptation does not adhere to our own thought adaptaption of what the writer was on about in the first place. I can only find two examples of this outside of Traks, but the one's which make me laugh the most are those I've already found INSIDE of Traks - heaven help us if they ever film those..... I just wonder who they'll get to play Fritz....
Dr. Allison Reed: It's over, it's over. You did great! Do you need anything? Can we get you anything?
Harry Block: Ice cream... I'd like an ice cream please.
Dr. Allison Reed: Okay, what flavor?
Harry Block: It doesn't matter. It's for my ass.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby borgcrazy » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:56 pm

Bionicle: The Legend Reborn

First off, I'm a huge Bionicle nerd. I've been collecting the buggers since they debuted in 2001 and have ... well, let's just say a lot of them. I read all the comics, I'm reading the books, I own most of the reference guides. Hell, I even did a Traks/Bionicle crossover a while back (the one with the Kranafal...) That being said, this Quick Take might be a tad biased...
Anyway, this is the fourth Bionicle movie to be released, and is by far the best. The first three weren't bad, but I was expecting more, and thankfully this one delivered. The basic story, Mata Nui, essentially the "god" of the Bionicle world, inhabits a giant robot body inside which live his followers. His enemy, Makuta (their "devil") finds a way to remove Mata Nui's spirit from his body, puts it into a powerful artifact called the Mask of Life and expels both into space.
That's where the movie starts up, with the Mask of Life (still possessing Mata Nui's spirit), crash landing on the world of Bara Magna. Mata Nui has to survive in this harsh new environment long enough to get home and stop Makuta...
The animation this time around is really superb. The first three had that wierd, stiff look that just screamed "low budget saturday morning CGI", while this one has far smoother and more natural feeling animation. That's not to say it's Pixar or even Dreamworks quality, but they're getting close. One thing in particular I enjoyed graphically was the fact these characters actually look like the Lego sets they're based on. The characters in the first two movies were barely recognizable as the sets, and while they looked closer in the third movie, they still weren't quite close enough. This time around, I could actually identify the actual Lego pieces that make up the plastic sets in the CG models.
The acting was great too, but that probably has more to do with the fact they have real actors doing the voices, as opposed to the studio staff last three times. I don't mean to say they acting in the first three was terrible, but it was obvious the voice actors weren't professionals. Not so this time around! Of particular interest to Trekkies, Michael Dorn does the voice of Mata Nui* and Armin Shimerman does the voice of one of the village leaders, Raanu.
This is still a kid's movie, though, so the action was a bit tame, though still better than the others. There was also a lot of comedy in this one, though again, being for kids, there was more in-your-face slap stick and pratfall comedy than the more subtle wordplays we seem to prefer around here.
One last thing, this movie was made with the assumption you are already familiar with the Bionicle saga, and so doesn't explain much about the back story. When I watched it last night, my friend and his mom watched it with me and they had no idea what the characters were talking about, though I had no problem following the story and was more than happy to explain it to them. You'll probably enjoy it just fine as is, but certain parts might be a little confusing if you don't know the back story...
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby cmdrajd » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:29 pm

Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins

Much like this year's Star Trek film, this live-action film from Cartoon Network is a prequel to one of the most famous television series of the 1960s. Also like the new Star Trek, the makers of "Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins" had to find a way to bring a show that was a product of its times into the modern age. They succeeded thanks to one simple idea: costume changes. Yes, the characters in this latest Scooby-Doo film actually wear different outfits on different days yet still manage to be recongnizably themselves throughout the movie.

Okay, I think I'm done being over-serious about what is really a piece of fluff. I do like that Cartoon Network has been trying to make live-action films of some of their cartoon properties. Last year, they made a Ben 10 film, which my son, a fan of the cartoon, gave the following review: "Ehhh...it was okay." A second Ben 10 film, this one based on Ben 10 Alien Force is due later this year. Scooby-Doo, obviously, is more of an established property, and the DVD I watched also had the Warner Premiere label, which is what WB has been using to release the direct-to-DVD DC Comics cartoon films. Perhaps this is the first of several planned Scooby-Doo films.

If that's the case, I wouldn't be too upset. I was not a fan of the first live-action Scooby film, and I thought the second was only moderately better. This new movie was the first of the live action films to actually feel like Scooby-Doo (I say that completely leaping over the argument that has arisen concerning the presence of "real" supernatural elements in some of the new Scooby projects). The actors, none of whom I was familiar with, did a nice job with the characters, particularly the actor who played Shaggy. It's very easy to go over the top with Shaggy (see Matthew Lilliard in either of the first two Scooby films), but this new guy was able to play the character without constantly mugging for the camera. I can't say that the story was anything unique, but it did what it needed to do to get the gang together. And the last minute or so of the film is a lot of fun for fans of the original cartoon.

If you're a Scooby fan, "Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins" makes for an enjoyable way to spend 80 minutes. And, as I said earlier, I honestly wouldn't mind seeing a few more movies with this cast.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby Mad Lensman » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:47 pm

Zombieland

BC - I saw this and I thought of you.....

What an AMAZING movie. A comedy horror - setup almost like the left4dead games, but with a love story built in for good measure. The sets were good, the acting wasn't bad, even the effects were fairly first rate. I laughed from start to finish - Especially when the "big star" in the film gets blown away - even though EVERYONE in the theatre saw it coming!!!!! If you see one film in the remains of the year, see this one. Horror, comedy, action, romance, adventure and fairground rides.... What more can your everyday college nerd want?

Well it seems the hero nerd in this story wants a life. And a family. And a girl. And boy does he ever get ALL three of these. Despite being conned THREE times in the film by the SAME women with almost the SAME scam, he does get the girl - even if she happens to be stuck 50 feet in the air dangling from a fairground ride with no ammunition left and zombie flesh eaters about to nibble on her pinkie toes .... And twinkies! Man, I now appreciate the humble twinkie roll a whole lot more.

(My daughter took me to see this as a "Get well soon" - I'm STILL fighting the real life thingy!!!! - This actually helped!)

I will now be doing some more "Cardio" as according to rule one (See the film to understand) the "Fatties" go first!!!! :lol: :lol:

Enjoy!!

:D
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Harry Block: Ice cream... I'd like an ice cream please.
Dr. Allison Reed: Okay, what flavor?
Harry Block: It doesn't matter. It's for my ass.
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Re: Quick Takes 2: The Sequel!

Postby borgcrazy » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:59 pm

Oh yes, I saw Zombieland Saturday myself, but haven't had time to post on it.
I haven't had that much fun with the walking dead since Shaun. The part I loved the most with the cameo was when they were watching the guest star's movie and, naturally, they showed the Twinkie scene. Was totally expecting it, and very pleased they included it.
Mad pretty much said everything else, though, so I won't repeat him.
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