Buying Films

The other day I tried to by a film with iTunes. I tried buy movies for money every few months to see if it's possible yet. I know other people do it, but it's nevert worked for me. Usually some about having the wrong operating system or the wrong media player or the wrong codec. This time I spent $6.99 for some GI Joe film. I tried to download it on my poor old 3G dongle and probably spent another $10 on download quota. I was using an Apple TV which I friend gave us, so I thought we could watch it on the TV proper instead of mushed onto my bedroom.

After 3 hours it was downloaded and I got ready to watch it. It spent a long time trying to play. Eventually it said "You need a TV which is HDCP compatible" or some other nonsense. The TV is almost 3 years old, so fair enough I should have to buy a new one if I am keen to pay for films instead of pirating them. However, I didn't have time to pop down to the TV shop and buy a new TV so instead I just watched some pirated movie, which had been downloaded on a proper internet connection some time previously.

Every time I try to pay for popular culture I end up coming to the same conclusion. It's sufficiently difficult for edge cases that I wouldn't bother. And for some reason, I'm usually and edge case. Either Linux issues, Mac issues, slow computer issues, slow internet issues or issues with medieval TVs from 2010. I have many experiences now of paying for films and music, but never actually getting to watch or listen to it. Or listening to it for a while, but then being told I can't anymore because I got a new computer.

This is definitely not to imply we entitled to consume popular culture for free until it becomes easy to pay for it. I don't think we are entitled to anything. However, consuming popular culture for free is incredible easy, reliable, consistent, fast, flexible and cheap. The sanctioned alternatives are none of those things. And I don't actually have any ethical issues with illegal bit copying. I prefer paying for things, because I quite like about trade. I'm happy to give talented rich people more money if they find it affirming to receive more money. But in the scheme of things, it doesn't seem enormously important.

If paying for things was only slightly more difficult than getting those things for free, I think I would try paying for them. And one day soon it will probably happen.

Adventureland

We watched _Adventureland_ at work tonight. It was good and pretty adorable. Kristin Stewart was actually quite great and adorable. Jesse Eisenberg also adorable. In a much less agonising way than that other indie romance fixture. It was great to see a film set in the 80s that wasn't soaked in obvious cliches. I suspect the script was from someone's autobiographical nostalgia, wanting to reminisce without totally fleecing the decade for gags.

However as these indie romances frequently do it gave nearly all the best lines to the boy who, despite his awkwardness, once again gets the girl thanks to his unwitting charm and charming wit. Also, all of the supporting lads were good or at least interesting and all the supporting lasses were neither. Which isn't that unusual either. I still liked it but.

Night of the Flesh Eaters

On the most evil night of the year, a beautiful blonde woman and a ruggedly handsome archeologist hit man, find themselves trapped in a forest haunted by bizarre, flesh eating, Native American demons. As they flee from the woman's crime boss husband, who seeks to murder them for their illicit love affair, their car is destroyed by a head-on collision with one of the demons, a Stone Man. The blonde woman and assassin must escape the the perils of the dark and evil forest, on foot, without becoming demon food or getting themselves slaughtered by the woman's vengeful, Fat Cat husband.

Prince of Persia

More like Punce of Persia!

What a horrific film. Bad in every way a film can be bad and there are many ways. Racist, sexist, orientalist, fucked, shit and boring. Not even the jumping around villages scenes were any good and that is what the prince is meant to be all about.

Possibly the worst film I've seen at the cinema in several years.

The Descent

There's a sweet horror film festival on in Newtown. Three films in a row. Awesome, but starting to feel slightly nauseous.

Just finished The Descent. It's close to the best conventional horror film I've seen. Didn't really even need monsters to be scary. Pretty great monsters but. And for once characters that aren't actually lame. Not In the character depth sense nor the being uselessly eaten by monsters sense.

The Road

I went to see The Road by myself at The State Cinema in Hobart tonight. I was quite excellent. As I walked out one funny fellow gushed merrily to his friend that "it was every bit as bleak as the book." I haven't read the book, but I have heard stories. I think I will read it. I love Cormack McCarthy and John Hillcoat both.

It was also horrible. But so real. It's the first post-apocalyptic movie I've seen that is kind of real. And it's a fascinating thing to watch and think about. I also get a funny feeling that the author is making some pointed statements about the way we take the world around us for granted. It's not quite a global warming apocalypse horror story but it isn't that far off. The film is basically about what would happen to humanity if all the plants and animals suddenly died. I heartily agree with the films assessment that it would be fully like totally shit for everybody.

I do wish we were nicer to this poor little planet. I like it.

Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon

We watched Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon for Halloween last night, because it had nothing to do with Halloween. And also because it's Hong Kong kungfu comedy which is the best genre of film there is. It was pretty awesome. Great fighting and actually hilarious. Massively sexist and inappropriate - a lot of jokes were about police sexually harassing women. Somehow the bits in between were still really good. Yet another one of the Hong Kong films that makes you wonder how Hollywood can never get it together. My only theory so far relates to OH&S laws.

(500) Days of Summer

The film that everyone loves I kind of didn't like much at all. There were lots of great bits, but overall I thought it was pretty bad. I reckon the ending pretty much destroyed the rest of the film. It didn't just flake out, it actively undermined the only parts of the film I'd like. I didn't like the independence of the Summer character, and I did like the anti-romance, anti-couple theme that seemed pretty solid until it was comprehensively smashed into tiny pieces over the last 20 minutes. I thought that Summer was turned into just another fickle girl who really did want a fairy-tale relationship. And Tom was transformed from a needy, insecure, superficial boy into a jilted victim. Except I had thought he was a great foil to the fully liberated Summer. He was appealing and sensitive and post-modern, but he couldn't get past his own hang-ups to actually make the relationship with Summer work. That would have been a good, alternative romance.

But in the end it was just another shitty Hollywood romance. Except that the sin is even greater with this film, because it flirted for so long with something deeper and more real. Only to through it all under a train.

I also didn't like the lesbian jokes, or really any of the sex jokes. They were crass and out of place, although they should have had the warning bells ringing.

District 9

I loved District 9. I'd completely forgotten what it was meant to be about when I went in, so it was extra exciting when it turned out to be about aliens. Aliens are like zombies in that they are virtually always fun to watch in films.

This film was super funny and had great special affects. And it even had a nice social message that wasn't too forced. Except it's unusual because I don't know heaps of people who will enjoy the mix of explosions, guts and social commentary. Most people I know that would find the film interesting would probably be preoccupied by the violence. Although it's pretty great violence - as violence goes it is highly recommended.

Harry Potter 6

I thought it was long, boring, silly and annoying. Nothing really happened except endless attempts to capture the angst of adolescent romance. Without even a whiff of success. The worst of the Harry Potter films I reckon.

Samson & Delilah

Samson & Delilah is one of the best films I've ever seen. Almost certainly the most important one I've seen in a long time. And maybe the best Australian film. It is compassionate and thoughtful and fascinating. I would even venture to say it is respectful, but perhaps that isn't for me to say.

Transformers 2

Transformers 2 was the worst of films, it was the best of films. It was a total farce. Utterly absurd. Too long in the wrong parts. Fairly boring. Too many sweeping crane shots across young girl's bodies (i.e. more than none). The script was shit. It wasn't funny at all. Many of the actual transformers were totally ridiculous and looked just like the cute children's action figures they are destined to become. The plot was way to ambitious and yet still dumb. Some sort of conspiracy-theory/end-of-times agglomeration that wandered all over the place. The need for an extra level of bad guy is so typical of Hollywood at the moment and it leaves you feeling more juped than jubilated. The whole romance sub-plot is painful and bad and unnecessary and Megan Fox is silly.

However, overall the film was still brilliant. The fighting was totally great. The fight scenes were massively ambitious and that totally paid off. Most importantly, as promised, the film has transformers in it, and transformers are always well awesome (with the exception of the children's action figure ones). Some of the fight scenes were absurdly long and totally indulgent and there is almost nothing that pleases me more. I had a big smile on my face during pretty much every scene without Megan Fox, when the smile turned to a mild scowl.

I think what I miss most from the first film is the humour and the cohesive (and somewhat sensible) story. I think the other thing I found slightly disappointing was how organic the transformers have become. These days they are kind of half ninja and half ent. But I really like it when they are just robots and act robotic.

So I'll give it 4/5. It gets 4 points for the fight scenes but misses out on the final point for doing every other thing wrong.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Paul Blart: Mall Cop was one of the best comedies I've seen in a while. Certainly relative to my expectations, which were pretty low. I thought it would be too dumb to really enjoy, but it was just the right amount of dumb. The jokes were original and were mostly the new sort of Hollywood film jokes where you suspect that they were written by someone who actually is a bit strange. Most Hollywood comedies make _Friends_ kind of jokes which are predictable and feel kind of systematic. Like they were written by committees.

But Paul Blart had good jokes and mostly didn't just make fun of fat people, which it easily could have. It had a good plot too and the story ran really nicely. I'd give it like 4/5 or something.

Disgrace Previews

I have seen the previews for Disgrace. I have the overwhelming sense that I'm going to be one of the book-lovers that hates the film. In the preview, nothing about the film felt right to me. Most of all, John Malkovich. The girl was also wrong - she seems like a total basket case. That said, I probably don't want them to make a film, because I don't think it can be done well. I don't even want to go and see it, but I will have in order to criticise it fully.

Terminator Salvation

Well, all the reviews were bad. I had been excited, but all the signs were pointing to a massive disappointment. Like so many blockbusters that have gone before it. They were even saying that Christian Bale was no longer the man he once was. That he'd become stale.

Well, they were all totally wrong. Terminator Salvation was totally freaking awesome. Constant violence and fighting of every kind. No plot to speak of, but so much good CGI and so many battles. The acting was good too. Christian Bale was great and worked well as John Connor. Sam Worthington was beautiful.

I can't understand what all the reviewers were upset about. The film struck me as beeing absolutely, 100% what it claimed to be. It was like a two hour preview, which is often all I want from an action movie. And it had a lot of violence. Which is all you'd expect from the previews and all you'd expect from a movie about the final war between humans and machines. It could have gone all Matrix Reloaded, but that would have sucked.

I think I can recommend it to everyone who loves movie violence and who resents the various futile attempts to inject any plot or seriousness into action movies. What great fun it was.

Flightplan

I watched Flightplan with some of my house chaps last night. While I was watching it, I pretty much liked it. At the end, I even said "Well that was pretty good." Except, that as I reflected more I decided that was a big lie. It wasn't pretty good. It was actually pretty dumb. Jodie Foster, obviously, is totally infallible. But everything around her was pretty silly. Not Sean Bean. I do like Sean Bean... especially is name. Everything else though. I didn't like the bad fellow at all. He was too bad. And his plan was too silly and needed too much explaining. The CG was bad. The Arab terrorist herring was bad.

Watching people explore a big plane was pretty cool. Even if it was an imaginary plane. I really like planes and watching the film reminded me of the day Tom and I got to explore the Boeing 747 in Longreach. Apart from Jodie, that is pretty much the best thing about the film. If you haven't been to the Qantas museum in Longreach, you'll just have to enjoy Jodie.