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Saturday, November 19, 2022 11:08 PM
(Last updated on Saturday, November 19, 2022 11:25 PM)
On the Viewer - Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: Season 1
 by Fëanor

Hello folks! Been quite a while since I posted on here about anything other than my books, but I recently finished making my way through the first season of Netflix's horror anthology show, Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities, and I thought I'd talk about it a bit.

Guillermo del Toro, if you are somehow unaware, is a film director who is known for fantastical movies about monsters. I'm a huge fan. This show is kind of his version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; he shows up at the beginning to introduce each episode, but it's a different director telling a different story each time, and there's no connection between the stories, besides the shared genre.

Episode 1 - Lot 36
This is one of the two episodes co-written by del Toro; it's directed by Guillermo Navarro, a cinematographer and long-time collaborator of his. It's set in America during the Gulf War and stars Tim Blake Nelson as a mean, greedy, self-interested, misanthropic veteran who buys the contents of abandoned storage units and sells off the items in them for as much money as he can get. He has no sympathy with, or interest in, the former owners of the units, and when one shows up to ask for some of her personal effects back, he refuses out of pure spite. He's the classic awful horror protagonist that you spend the whole story just waiting to see get his comeuppance.

His latest unit, it turns out, belonged to a former Nazi, and has some very creepy, but also very rare and valuable, items hidden away in it, including an infamous set of volumes on black magic. If he can find the final volume in the set, a collector promises him a huge cash payout - large enough to pay off the loan shark who's been threatening him.

This is a pretty solid horror story, with a creepy story, creepy and effective visuals, and some of my favorite horror tropes. But it does suffer a bit from having a completely unlikable and occasionally stupid protagonist. It also introduces some mysteries that are never satisfactorily explained. I'm okay with that sometimes, but this time I really wanted to know why that guy was skipping on the security cam footage. The conclusion of the story, though satisfying in its own way, feels a bit anticlimactic. You're told what's going to happen, and then you have to wait around while it inevitably happens.

Episode 2 - Graveyard Rats
This one's quite fun. It's written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, who made the original Cube. It has a darkly comic flavor to it and stars David Hewlett as a highly-educated man who, nevertheless, finds himself trying to scrape by as a graverobber. The cemetery where he plies his trade has had only slim pickings lately due to an extraordinary rat infestation - they keep stealing away the corpses, and all the valuable items buried with them, before he can plunder them. If he doesn't come up with some big ticket items soon, the sketchy guy at the dock who buys the goods off him may just bury him instead.

You may notice the plot here is very similar to that of the first episode: a down-on-his-luck guy engaged in a seedy enterprise must make a big score or likely die. This time, though, our protagonist is slightly more likable. Sure, he's a little pompous and awkward, but he has something of the sad, bumbling clown about him, too. Oh, and he's also claustrophobic. You can imagine what happens to him later.

This episode is a lot of familiar tropes presented well, with good effects and cool visuals. There's nothing astonishing here, but it gets the job done in the creepy crawlies department.

Episode 3 - The Autopsy
Another rather strong entry, this one directed by newcomer David Prior, and written by the prolific and talented screenwriter, director, and producer David S. Goyer. Our main character this time is a clever, likable medical examiner played by F. Murray Abraham. He's deathly ill, but facing it with wry equanimity. A sheriff who's an old friend of his has called him in to perform autopsies on a bunch of dead bodies recovered from the site of a mining accident. The "accident" was preceded by a strange series of disappearances, reappearances, and grisly discoveries, and the sheriff wants to know how it's all connected and what it all means. Our medical examiner hero discovers the answers, to his cost.

This is a disturbing and gory one. There were a couple of scenes where I had to turn away and squeeze my eyes shut until they were over. With Abraham in the lead, and other talented actors in the secondary roles, it's full of fine performances. There's a thoughtful, philosophical feel to portions of it, but in some ways I feel like it explains too much. The villain is an inveterate monologuer, and he gets a little tiresome. But if you want the creeps, this will give you the creeps!

Episode 4 - The Outside
Hoo boy. This one is something! I'm not familiar with the writer or the director, who are Haley Z. Boston and Ana Lily Amirpour, respectively. This episode features our first female main character, a bank teller named Stacey. She's played by Kate Micucci, with Martin Starr as her husband and Dan Stevens as the host of the unsettling infomercial that claims it can make Stacey's dream come true. Said dream is to be beautiful and popular, so she can fit in with the beautiful, popular girls at work. Why this is her dream isn't always easy to understand, as the other girls at work are pretty awful to her, and do nothing but gossip incessantly about all the sleaziest local drama, insulting and disparaging everyone they talk about.

After a hallucinatory interaction with a late night TV commercial, Stacey becomes obsessed with a skin cream that she's sure will help transform her into her perfect self. She uses it and continues to use it, despite the fact that it makes her break out horribly in red itchy spots. The cream is white and does a lot of splurting and squelching. The resemblance to another white substance is definitely not a mistake.

One thing I found interesting about this story is that, counter to the expected stereotype, Stacey's husband is not an abusive jerk! He is unflaggingly supportive and loving. It doesn't make any difference in the end, but still, it's refreshing.

This is really the only story in the whole anthology that features social commentary. It talks about the cultural obsession with a very specific kind of shallow, boilerplate sexual attractiveness, which television media encourages women to seek out and inhabit at the expense of all else. The pursuit of the destruction of idiosyncratic self in preference for this smooth, plastic ideal leads one woman into madness, violence, and death. It's surreal, darkly funny, and often deeply uncomfortable to watch.

Episode 5 - Pickman's Model
This was one of the episodes I was looking forward to the most, as it's based on a classic short story by H.P. Lovecraft that I quite enjoy. Sadly, I was disappointed. It's directed by Keith Thomas, another newcomer I was unfamiliar with. I did recognize the two male stars, however: Ben Barnes is our main character, Will, and the perpetually weird and creepy Crispin Glover plays the titular Richard Pickman. Will and Pickman are both art students at Miskatonic University, a school familiar to anyone who's read Lovecraft, and a school which is, most unfortunately, located in Arkham, Massachusetts. I say "most unfortunately" because this setting convinced the filmmakers to have Barnes and Glover speak all of their lines in absolutely atrocious Boston accents. Glover's is particularly egregious. It makes listening to the dialog a truly painful experience, far more horrifying and off-putting than any of the nightmarish sights we're presented with.

The plot is tiresome, proceeding in odd stops and starts, and sometimes veering off unexpectedly. It opens with odd outsider Pickman joining Will's art class. Will is fascinated by the man's unique, nightmarish paintings, and at first tries to befriend him, even calling him by the unfortunate nickname "Dickie." But Will quickly discovers that Pickman's work doesn't just look nightmarish - it also seems to bring nightmares to life in the waking world. The surreal visions Will experiences after looking at Pickman's paintings nearly ruin his relationship with his girlfriend and her family. Luckily for him, at this point Pickman inexplicably decides to pick up and leave, taking all his paintings with him.

Here the story makes a jarring time jump. All of a sudden, Will has gray in his hair and the girlfriend who seemed to have dumped him in the previous scene is now his wife. They even have a young son. This was such an unexpected and unexplained turn of events, I thought maybe it was meant to be a dream - but no!

Anyway, Will's successful, comfortable life is once again thrown off the rails by the sudden (again, unexplained) reappearance of Pickman and his oddly infectious paintings.

There's an attempt made to connect this story with the larger Lovecraftian Mythos by having some of the characters start chanting about Yog-Sothoth (the name of one of Lovecraft's Great Old Ones), but it doesn't go much of anywhere.

What exactly is the deal with Pickman's art? What does it do to people, and what does that have to do with his family history and the thing in his basement? It's not entirely clear. This adaptation does eventually recreate the shocking reveal that was the climax of the original short story. But since by that time we've already guessed as much, it's not very shocking. Furthermore, this adaptation seems to be telling a different story entirely, so the reveal doesn't make a great deal of sense. The final scene, though certainly horrific and effective in its way, is also a well-used cliche. After it's strongly implied that a certain horrible act has been performed, we crawl slowly toward the shocking reveal that...yes, that's just exactly what happened. Clumsily undercutting your own final revelation doesn't make for a great ending.

Episode 6 - Dreams in the Witch House
Another disappointing Lovecraft adaptation! Yay. This one was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Mika Watkins, and it stars Rupert "Ronald Weasley" Grint in the main role, struggling with another very bad fake accent. He plays a spiritual investigator who, as a child, witnessed his twin sister's spirit being dragged away into another dimension upon her untimely death. He's been obsessed with finding his way to the other side ever since. With the help of a mysterious drug, and a stay in a haunted house built by a witch, he succeeds - unfortunately for him.

"Dreams in the Witch-House" is a lesser known Lovecraft story, but one I quite like, with fascinating ideas like mad geometry, impossible angles, and a creepy rat-like familiar named Brown Jenkin. Unfortunately, this adaptation doesn't really capture the flavor of that story, though it does include some of the characters and plot elements, and certainly features some really fantastically unsettling images. The crooked silhouette of the witch, lit only by her own burning eyes, lurking in the dark corners of the old house; the walls covered with strange symbols and creeping vines; and within those walls, the pattering feet of a rat with a human face...yeah, that's quality stuff.

Sadly, there's a lot of other stuff here that feels like filler, and doesn't work as well. The episode drags on a bit, and certain twists of the plot, including the final one at the end, feel random and arbitrary.

Episode 7 - The Viewing
A lot of horror stories can be broken into two parts: the slow buildup of tension and mystery, and then the horrifying revelation and payoff. The Viewing is like 80% buildup. It's well done, and super stylish buildup, but still...that's a lot of buildup. And the payoff, when it finally comes, is anticlimactic.

This episode was written and directed by Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn, who are also responsible for the absolutely insane and surreal Nicolas Cage vehicle, Mandy. I was not surprised to learn this, as the music and visuals in this short reminded me of that film. The music and visuals are effective and fun - this thing is dripping with style.

Eric Andre, Charlyne Yi, Steve Agee, and Michael Therriault play experts in widely varying fields who are all called together for a mysterious "viewing" by a reclusive and fabulously wealthy eccentric played by Peter Weller. After a lengthy intro, a rambling conversation, and a lot of drug-taking, Weller's character finally reveals that he's brought this group together to look at a weird rock he found. The rock is much more than it seems (natch), and things go horribly awry (natch).

The climax is exciting and gory. But then the story just kind of...trails off. There's a lot of philosophical talk, and a pretty cool monster, but what exactly is the point of it all? It's not clear.

Episode 8 - The Murmuring
This episode is easily the best of the season. It's written and directed by Jennifer Kent, who made the modern horror classic The Babadook. This short is concerned with the same theme as that film - grief.

Nancy and Edgar, a married couple who've recently experienced a terrible loss, are researching why and how birds are able to move so swiftly and seamlessly in enormous flocks called murmurations. As part of their research, they head out to a secluded island to record the behavior of birds called dunlins. They've been provided an old house to stay in while they're out there, but the house is haunted by its own terrible secrets. As Nancy struggles with sleeplessness and terrifying hallucinations, she becomes obsessed with learning the history of the house and the family that once lived there, and her relationship with Edgar begins to break apart.

Powerful, visceral performances from Essie Davis and Andrew Lincoln give this story weight and realism. It's a slower, more lyrical story than the rest, but it has plenty of scares and terrifying moments. It's also far and away the most emotionally hard-hitting episode of the season. My eyes were definitely leaking by the end. It's a gorgeous, deeply moving piece - a wonderful conclusion to the season.

It sounds like del Toro is already planning a second season. The first one was uneven, but that's to be expected of an anthology series. I'll definitely be curious to see more.
Tagged (?): Horror (Not), Lovecraft (Not), Netflix (Not), On the Viewer (Not), TV (Not)
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Monday, September 20, 2010 02:26 PM
On the Viewer - Xala
 by Fëanor

The next entry in my Running with Netflix series (subtitled movies I watch on Netflix Instant on the Wii while running on the treadmill) is Xala, a movie made in the African nation of Senegal in 1975. I added it to my list of movies to see ages ago, when I read about it in a book that I bought for a film class in college. It was really hard to find a copy of it, but thanks to Netflix, I've finally been able to see it. Yay technology!

It's been a while since I've seen a movie as deep, artistic, and meaningful as Xala. That's not a mistake, either; I've pretty much been avoiding movies of that sort on purpose, because I just haven't felt up to handling them. Why watch something difficult when I can just zone out with something simple? But smart, complex movies are rewarding and entertaining in their own way, and it was good to be reminded of that.

(Warning: there are spoilers below, but this isn't really the kind of movie that will be spoiled by me telling you what happens in it, so maybe don't worry about it.)

Xala is a brilliant and dark socio-political satire about the hypocrisy and corruption rampant in Senegal right after it became independent from France. The plot is about a successful government official who, upon marrying his much younger third wife, discovers he has the "xala," or the curse - in other words, he's impotent. In his attempts to rid himself of the xala, he loses everything.

But of course the movie is really about a lot more than that. It opens with a very clever and subtly biting sequence. A group of men and women in traditional African garb storm a large, imposing building with classical Greek architecture. They invade a room where three European men sit wearing business suits. They oust the men, who leave peacefully, if reluctantly. They also remove the symbols of Europe from the room - Greek busts, etc. - and replace them with a picture of the new, African president. African ministers arrive and sit down around the table, and a speech is given - Africa for Africans! We've taken the country back! But outside, a white man orders black African soldiers to push the black African crowd back, away from the building, to make way for the European officials, who return to the room and hand a briefcase to each of the new African officials. The officials open the briefcases and are pleased to find them full of cash. The Europeans are allowed to remain in the room, now standing in the background, behind their African counterparts. We notice that in the picture of the president on the wall there is also a briefcase.

The African ministers all speak French, wear European business suits, have adopted European ways, and are flush with European cash. In short, they've become nothing but corrupt imitations of the European men they've supposedly replaced. One, known as El Hadji, uses the government's money to marry his third wife. During the reception, there's a particularly striking incident: one man tells a second man he's just returned from a vacation. The second man asks if he's gone to Spain, and the first replies that he can't go to Spain anymore because "there are too many negroes." Both men are black, of course. In another scene from the reception, two men meet on either side of a doorway, but each is determined to be polite and wait for the other to go through first. So they're both stuck waiting in the doorway.

When El Hadji can't perform on his wedding night, he and his fellow ministers immediately blame a very non-European cause - a curse - and seek non-European solutions: village magicians and fetishes. El Hadji spends more and more of the government's money on cures that don't work. When he trucks out into the middle of nowhere to a wizard who is finally able to cure him, he pays the man with a check (!) that ends up bouncing. In fact, everybody's checks are bouncing now, so El Hadji's fellow ministers finally call him to task. (It seems clear they were willing to overlook all his failings until they ran out of money.) In an angry and desperate speech that makes plain everything the movie has been subtly suggesting so far, El Hadji accuses his fellow officials of hypocrisy. They are just as corrupt as him, just as guilty of everything they're accusing him of. They embrace or reject their heritage as they choose, whenever it suits them. But they ignore El Hadji and throw him out. He has lost his manhood, his money, his job, and now he loses two of his wives. In the final sequence, a crowd of cripples and beggars invades his house. They eat his food and sit on his furniture. When he objects, they explain that when he took power, he stole their homes and their land. They're just taking back what's theirs. They gave him the xala, and they can lift the curse. All he has to do is remove his clothes and allow them all to spit on him. Desperate, he gives in to this final act of disgusting debasement. And that's how the film ends - with the once powerful man naked, surrounded by beggars, covered in their saliva.

It's a brutal, powerful, intelligent, thoughtful, angry, darkly funny movie. If it makes a misstep, it's El Hadji's too-obvious speech near the end. But it's only a small misstep in an otherwise masterful piece of art.
Tagged (?): Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), On the Viewer (Not), Running with Netflix (Not)
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 03:57 PM
(Last updated on Friday, August 20, 2010 02:28 PM)
On the Viewer - Recent Film Roundup
 by Fëanor

Ong-bak: The Thai Warrior
Recently it came to my attention that I needed to start doing some kind of exercise again or I would continue to get fatter and fatter until I was no longer able to move at all. So I've been trying to find ways to fit a 15-minute session on the treadmill into my mornings. Running on the treadmill is absolutely grueling and agonizing to me if I don't have something to distract me, but it can't be anything that involves sound, because in order for me to hear anything over the treadmill, said sound would have to be turned up to a prohibitively loud volume level. It also needs to be something with a story, or else it doesn't distract me enough - SportsCenter with closed caption on just wasn't cutting it. I settled on Netflix Watch Instantly via the Wii as a viable option, but was disappointed to discover there does not appear to be any way to turn on subtitles for a movie if you watch it this way. However, I also discovered that foreign movies have subtitles turned on by default. So, my new exercise regimen consists of watching foreign films in 15-minute increments while running on the treadmill in the morning. It's working out pretty well. Luckily Netflix WI/Wii remembers exactly where you stopped watching a movie, so it's easy to resume right where you left off.

The first entry in my "Running with Netflix" series was a martial arts film from 2003 called Ong-bak. I've wanted to see this since it came out, but for one reason or another, I just never got around to it. Until now! The story is pretty simple: an unscrupulous man named Don comes to a small, poor village in rural Thailand and steals the head of the Buddha statue (known, for reasons I have been unable to discover, as Ong-bak), hoping to sell it for a profit. The village people are convinced that without an intact statue, they are doomed, so they must choose someone to track Don to the city and get the head back. Luckily they've just had a contest to choose the village's champion, and the winner was a young man named Ting (Tony Jaa) who was taught Muay Thai (a form of kickboxing) by the local monk. There's a great scene in the movie where the monk tells Ting, "Now that I've taught you Muay Thai, you must promise never to use it." This tends to be the central dilemma of every martial arts film: the hero, to be a hero, must abhor violence, but because he's the hero of an action film, he must be forced to perform violence constantly. Thus we can enjoy watching the violence but still feel morally superior.

And so it is with Ting in Ong-bak! Almost as soon as he arrives in the immoral city, he ends up in the middle of a conflict with some local criminals - who also happen to be the same people who've stolen Ong-bak's head - and is forced to kick their asses in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of locations. Thankfully he is up to the task. Meanwhile, the person he's been told to contact for help (George, the son of one of the villagers) rejects his heritage and his connection to the village, and turns out to be a sleazy loser who just uses people for their cash and then pisses it away on gambling and grifting. George tries to string Ting along, too, promising to help him find Ong-bak while just making as much money off of him as he can. But eventually Ting's generosity, honesty, and all around decency win George over, and he helps Ting succeed while redeeming himself in the process. The story actually ends up being a lot more about George and his personal transformation than you would expect, and I'm okay with that. George goes from being a funny but despicable scumbag to being a lovable guy in a completely believable and effective fashion. Of course, while that's going on, there's also a lot of awesome fighting, including a scene where Ting kicks a guy in the head while his legs are on fire. There's even a little mysticism to the story; I really deeply loved the way the final fight ended, with Buddha personally taking a hand. My only problem with the movie was the choice to film the climactic fight scene in a dark cave. For large portions of this sequence, it was nearly impossible to see what was going on. This might have had something to do with the not-always-perfect quality of Netflix Watch Instantly, but still. Otherwise, it's not only an entertaining martial arts film - the best one I've seen in a long time - but also an entertaining film, period. Now I'm definitely going to have to check out Ong-bak 2!

Star Wars Uncut
When I first heard about the Star Wars Uncut project, I thought it was brilliant, and I looked forward to seeing what would come out of it. So when Tom Boutell announced his company P'unk Ave would be screening the finished project at their offices, I really wanted to be there. Luckily poppy was good enough to agree to look after the baby so I could make it.

If you don't know, Star Wars Uncut was a project spearheaded by a guy at Vimeo. They cut the original Star Wars movie (Episode IV - A New Hope) into a series of 15-second segments and asked anyone and everyone to upload their own, home-made versions of those segments, using any film-making techniques they wished. Then the version of each segment rated the highest by users would be integrated into the final version. Tom found a way to download and string together in order all of the most popular versions of each segment, thus creating a screenable version of Star Wars Uncut.

I was worried the resulting product might be a little too schizophrenic to watch comfortably, but seeing all the different ways people had chosen to come at the material was actually really fun and fascinating. There's traditional animation, stop-motion animation, roto-scoping, computer-animation, live-action with real actors wearing bad costumes and makeup, live-action with chin puppets, live-action with paper bag puppets, live-action with action figures, and on and on. Some people used the original audio, lip-syncing the dialog, while other people re-recorded the dialog, or wrote their own, new dialog. The tone of the segments is generally fun and humorous, with some people going so far as to make their scene more a parody of the original scene than a faithful recreation. Some of the reenactments are pretty uninspired, but most of them have at least something fresh or interesting or silly going on, and some were so fascinating some of us in the audience couldn't help but say, "Man, I'd like to see the whole movie done in that style!"

Crowd-sourcing a remake is a great concept, and crowd-sourcing a remake of a movie as beloved as the original Star Wars was bound to bring out the passion and creativity in people. And so it did. May the Force be with them all, and also with you.

The Expendables
Recently poppy and I decided to take a day off, leave the kid at daycare, and go see a movie. When she asked me if it would be okay if the movie we went to see was the ridiculous action extravaganza known as The Expendables, I knew I'd chosen the right woman to be my wife.

Poppy and I agreed afterwards that the movie is clearly a project on the level of the Ocean's movies: a bunch of guys who are buddies in real life get together in an exotic location, and while they're there, just for fun, they make a movie. I would argue, however, that the Ocean's movies are far more successful as films, and I really hope The Expendables does not become a franchise. Sylvester Stallone is the head of the gang - he co-wrote, directed, and stars in the film as the boss of a group of extremely talented and deadly mercenaries. He managed to rope in an impressive list of movie stars and fighting celebrities to co-star with him, including Jason Statham (character name: Christmas), Jet Li (character name: Ying Yang), Dolph Lundgren (character name: Gunner), Eric Roberts, Randy Couture (character name: Toll Road; Couture really has only one scene in which he speaks for any length of time, but in the short time he's talking, he makes it painfully obvious he is not an actor), Steve Austin (character name: Paine), Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis. Keep in mind these last three have roles that amount to little more than cameos; Carpenter's job in the film is limited to essentially answering a door a couple of times, and then watching while Statham beats up some guys. She is a living stereotype, her subplot so cliched that I was able to predict what was going to happen in it and go to the bathroom instead of bothering to watch. Meanwhile, the scene that Schwarzenegger, Willis, and Stallone all share - a scene that should be a momentous and historic occasion in the annals of action cinema - is disappointingly awful, as they just stand around spitting terrible dialog at each other for a few minutes while the filmmakers cut frantically back and forth amongst them, apparently in the misguided belief that capturing each actor's uninspired reaction to the other's dumb line is really important.

The movie's plot is simple: the mercenaries get a job to take out a random Latin American dictator on a small island. It turns out he has a hot daughter who's noble and good, and that the real trouble is less the dictator and more the ex-CIA dude who's pulling his strings. The job is clearly a dangerous setup, and Stallone's character is all set to decline - but he can't get that hot daughter out of his mind. Naturally he ends up going back to save her, and all his buddies insist on coming with. If a movie about Stallone fighting a Latin American dictator and his entire army in order to save a pretty young woman sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of Arnie's '80s action spectacular, Commando - which you should really see instead, because it's even more over-the-top and so-bad-it's-good than this movie.

The Expendables consists of just three or four extended action sequences, connected together by thin threads of plot. The action sequences are all shot with shaky, hand-held cameras, and the climactic one takes place in the dark, so it's not always easy to see the flashy violence that you'd assume would be the movie's focal point.

All that being said, the movie does have its moments. The action scenes - when you can see what's going on in them - are pretty fun, if not particularly inspired. I was actually worried about Stallone in a couple of them; there's a scene where he's running to catch a plane, and another where he's being choked, where I thought he was in real danger of dying. (UPDATE: It turns out I may have been more right than I knew; poppy pointed me to this truly wonderful article in which it's revealed that Steve Austin actually broke Stallone's neck during their fight scene.) His arms look amazing, though. There was only one sequence that surprised me and that I thought was clever and imaginative, but I don't really want to give away what happens in it in case you see the movie. Suffice it to say, it involves people getting set on fire.

Oh, and Mickey Rourke is insane. I get the strong sense all his scenes are totally ad libbed. He has a melodramatic speech halfway through the movie that's just amazing. It's kind of ridiculous and effective at the same time.

Poppy enjoyed this movie a lot more than I did. I've always had a hard time enjoying big dumb action movies. But if you like them, and you don't mind one that ends with Jason Statham reciting a really bad poem, well, they don't come much bigger and dumber than this one.
Tagged (?): Celebrities (Not), Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), On the Viewer (Not), Running with Netflix (Not), Star Wars (Not), Wii (Not)
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Friday, April 2, 2010 10:50 AM
(Last updated on Friday, April 2, 2010 12:39 PM)
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Angel (Not), Buffy (Not), Captain America (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Dollhouse (Not), Firefly (Not), Food (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Recyclotron (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not)
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010 01:43 PM
 by Fëanor

A while back I read that Netflix would be offering its watch instantly service through the Wii, and I immediately signed up to receive the Wii disc. The disc just arrived in the mail a few days ago, and poppy and I have already used it a couple of times. It's pretty fantastic. You can browse your Watch Instantly queue, or any of various genres, add or remove items from your queue, rate movies you've already seen and, of course, watch anything instantly. The video quality, while certainly not HD, is still surprisingly good. The movies stream smoothly and cleanly with no hiccups. You can pause for as long as you want, and easily scroll through the movie practically shot by shot. The only issue we've had so far was with one TV show; at one point it jumped back a scene and started replaying. That might have been a random issue with that particular DVD transfer. Anyway, it was easy to skip past.

We've used Netflix's Watch Instantly service before, and had even figured out a way to view it on the TV by hooking up our laptop, but it was an awkward and slightly complex setup and maybe because of that we didn't use it that often. Netflix on Wii, on the other hand, is easy and fun and I think we'll be using it a lot more frequently.
Tagged (?): Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), Technology (Not), TV (Not), Wii (Not)
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Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:53 AM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): 3D (Not), Aliens (Not), Art (Not), Books (Not), Celebrities (Not), Clothing (Not), Comedy (Not), Firefly (Not), Ghostbusters (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), Netflix (Not), News (Not), Predator (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Shirts (Not), Spider-Man (Not), Terminator (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Wii (Not)
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010 09:44 AM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): 3D (Not), Alcohol (Not), Art (Not), Business (Not), Clothing (Not), Comic books (Not), Craft (Not), Dinosaurs (Not), Google (Not), Links (Not), Lists (Not), Mervyn Peake (Not), Metroid (Not), Monsters (Not), Movies (Not), Netflix (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Politics (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Sherlock Holmes (Not), Spider-Man (Not), Steampunk (Not), Technology (Not), Toys (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Wii (Not)
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Thursday, October 8, 2009 01:19 PM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Art (Not), Cartoons (Not), Cats (Not), Celebrities (Not), Comedy (Not), Cosplay (Not), Costumes (Not), Dinosaurs (Not), Disney (Not), Dogs (Not), Food (Not), Fringe (Not), Halloween (Not), Health (Not), Links (Not), Movies (Not), MST3K (Not), Music (Not), Netflix (Not), News (Not), Photography (Not), Pixar (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Science (Not), Space (Not), Sports (Not), Star Wars (Not), Tattoos (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not)
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Thursday, September 3, 2009 09:29 AM
 by Fëanor

Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.

Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Art (Not), Batman (Not), Cartoons (Not), Comedy (Not), Comic books (Not), Food (Not), Links (Not), Monkeys (Not), Movies (Not), Music (Not), Netflix (Not), Recyclotron (Not), Science (Not), Shirts (Not), Star Trek (Not), Star Wars (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not), Video games (Not), Wii (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books.

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