Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jason watches THE WALK in IMAX 3-D

I'm a bit acrophobic, so I fully expected to have to flinch and squirm in my seat at scenes of a man walking a tightrope across the Twin Towers. Especially in IMAX 3-D. And I was mostly right, although surprisingly most of that was in the lead-up and preparation. The walk itself was shot almost serenely, matching wire-walker Philippe Petit's mood. The story I already knew from the excellent documentary MAN ON WIRE (2008, and highly recommended.) THE WALK just gives it breathtakingly realized life. And that's a good thing.

As for the 3-D, I figured there would be little chance of it breaking my rule (into the screen is good, out of the screen is bad.) After all, the money shot is looking down from great distance. But Zemeckis found plenty of ways to create annoying action out of the screen, be it an arrow in flight or a bird. But still, it's mostly good.

Running Time: 123 minutes
My Total Minutes: 406,134

Jason watches THE MARTIAN in 3D

Now that's some smart sci-fi. I can't take credit for this, but a friend of mine pointed out that in many good sci-fi movies there's the moment where smart people have to figure out how to improvise some way to survive. That's the whole movie of THE MARTIAN. Only complaint--and this is really a nitpick--is when Matt Damon says he'll have to "science the shit out of this" he's technically engineering the shit out of this. Now, if he had a control Matt Damon to see what happened if he didn't do any of the stuff he did, that would be science.

Oh yeah, and as for the 3D, it mostly follows my rule of action into the screen = good, action out of the screen = bad. Only time I noticed it breaking the rule was during the storm in the beginning. Had to have dust and rocks flying at your face.

Running Time: 144 minutes
My Total Minutes: 406,011

Jason goes to Midnites 4 Maniacs and sees a Genuine Tribute to John Carpenter

THEY LIVE (1988): We started with this classic that really seems more relevant every day. John Carpenter, under the guise of an alien invasion movie, made a brilliant critique on how media controls our minds. This should be rewatched frequently. And that fight scene.... Man, that's brutal, but also surprisingly deep. It's got more going for it than just the fact that he has one of the best wrestling heels of all time as his hero. RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper, with this movie you've made the world a better place.

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976): A brilliant little no-budget B-movie with horror, tension, drama, acting. On the last day of a police station's operation, a rookie cop has to hold off an invasion from a psychotic gang who are after a man who killed one of theirs after they killed his daughter. Complicating things is that a ruthless criminal is locked up there after car trouble caused a deviation from their planned transport route. And that ruthless bastard might be the only guy who can help them survive the assault. Excellent flick.

Total Running Time: 405,867


It's unfair to compare Eli Roth's layers to either his earlier work (which I enjoy a lot) or to his inspiration, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980.) There are plenty of gruesome scenes (Roth claims zero edits were required, this is 100% his vision.) And I like the perversity of the idea of torturing naïve do-gooders. And I like the twist at the end. But beyond that, the plot just seems thin and lacking much of...a point. Or characters. Or the brutal sense of humor of the original (seriously, for those who are familiar with it, the "stop wasting film" scene and the "guys, we're rolling" scenes are two of my favorite examples of pitch-black humor ever.) But at least it's got a few stomach-churning scenes.
Running Time: 100 minutes
My Total Minutes: 405,683


Okay, this is stretching way back in my forgotten archives. Forgot to write this up, but I saw Kurosawa's THE HIDDEN FORTRESS a couple of months ago at the Stanford. It's Kurosawa, so it's awesome. It's also loosely one of the inspirations for STAR WARS, so...well, it's fun to notice some things. And it's just a cool story with some funny characters. I shouldn't have to sell you on this.

Running Time: 126 minutes
My Total Minutes: 405,583