September 2013 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

For the week of 10/1/2013 on Can’t Stop the Movies!

Appropriately scaredSorry for the accidental hiatus.  Andrew's health problems became drastic and he was unable to keep to the normal update routine.  This week should be back on target.

This week sees the release of the excellently received apocalyptic comedy This Is the End.  Do not confuse it with that other, terrible, apocalypse movie.  Look forward to reviews of The Croods, The Frozen Grounds, and Savannah to round out the week.

Andrei Tarkovsky returns this Friday with Andrew and Kyle's look at Stalker.

Alfonso Cuaron's long-awaited film after Children of Men premiers this weekend with Gravity along with smaller releases A.C.O.D., All Is Bright, and Runner, Runner.

We took a trip to our childhoods for yesterday's In Appreciation piece on The Disney Afternoon.  Check this spot next Sunday for more appreciation.


In Appreciation – The Disney Afternoon

Ryan - Disney AfternoonRyan COMMENTARY w/o RatingWhile I watched many shows during my childhood, many of them have not stood up to the passing of time. As much as I loved it is a youngster, I don’t think anyone is going to call the '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon a classic in 50 years. The same goes with GI Joe, Mask, C.O.P.S (although those toys are still cool) and so many more. The one block of cartoons that have stood relatively well against the years have been the shows that were on The Disney Afternoon. The Disney Afternoon was a syndicated 2 hour block of cartoons that took known Disney characters and gave them a new genre to play in. While the Afternoon went on through most of the 90’s, I am only going to talk about the heyday of the earlier years.


V/H/S/2 (2013)

Look at all the pretty staticAndrew DISLIKE BannerThe first V/H/S anthology film was a miserable experience.  Themes about the way women are used in horror are hinted at just enough to fool a wide enough audience into thinking there was something more going on in the films.  Even at its high points, V/H/S was nothing more than a dull doll gussied up in blood that dragged each scenario on to its obvious conclusion.  There were no surprises, and the slight change in stock between each film did not do enough to counteract the boring visual style that comes with found-footage horror films.

There's already a sequel with only director Adam Wingard returning from the first series.  It's not too surprising to see a horror sequel churned out so quickly after the success of its predecessor, but V/H/S/2 suffers immensely in comparison due to its proximity to the first.  The slightest visual inventions of the first series are instead turned into the same kind of grainy handheld footage for the shorts.  As a result, the anthology feels even more featureless than the previous, which isn't aided by the fact that each story still follows the same basic invasion structure for each short.

As you might have guessed, V/H/S' standard bearer of "found footage meets x" stays intact.  The framing story consists of two private investigators who look into the disappearance of a college student and find a familiar stack of VHS tapes and televisions tuned to static.  As each of the shorts is viewed the nearby laptop shows video of the missing kid talking about how they need to be played to achieve the desired effect.  There are four shorts in addition to the framing narrative.


Atlas whiffed.

Guess that's it for AmericaAndrewCommentaryBannerShortThis is perfect news.

The Atlas Shrugged series of films, known mainly for their hilarious overacting and colon-packed titles, has gone to the internet asking for money to finish the trilogy.  For anyone even sort of familiar with Any Rand's terrible Objectivist philosophies this is the sort of news that brings joy to my life.  In a nutshell, Ayn Rand says that all government is bad, handouts are worse, and it's the rugged individualist with the ideas that makes the world continue to spin.


Redemption (2013)

A game of knifey spoonyAndrew LIKE BannerJason Statham is nothing if not a consistent man.  Aside from The Bank Job, he's never done anything more than what is required of him.  Even his brief cameo at the end of Fast & Furious Six was just a brief reminder that, "Hey casting directors, Jason Statham can show up, walk sternly, and talk gravely for a few minutes if that's all you need."  In a world where so few things are secure, I understand why people love his films, because he has become the ultimate comfort food.

Redemption is the absurd, and logical, conclusion of this consistency.  In fact, it so embraces the threadbare nature of the plots that he so often finds himself in, that the original title of Hummingbird is far more appropriate.  It flits from scene to scene with little purpose other than to make sure that the next phase of Statham's fighting stance is greeted by someone that deserves to be beaten up.  Then the film goes one step further by denying his devoted audience the epic thrash-down the film leads up to so it can putter off with some paranoid delusions about drones and surveillance.

This film exists in that weird grey area between lunatic genius and painful misfire.  The dialogue is either howlingly terrible or knowingly campy.  Statham's performance is either over-the-top melodrama locked into a battle suit, or the same ol' same ol' with a twist of pain to add a different aftertaste.  Redemption is either the best movie that Statham has ever done which requires knowledge of both his career and action film history in general, or the most surreal accident in a plethora of steady performances.