I saw them at the theater! Goooo!

Posted in Smithee on August 19, 2010 by allensmithee

So, like a week ago by now, I saw Scott Pilgrim vs The World and then I saw The Expendables. I just want to post this up now, because I’ve not posted anything, but have made lots of plans. Plans don’t do much if I don’t act on them, and since I can’t act on most of them, I’ll do this up real quick to prove my being alive.

My memory is a little hazy on them both, but I will say they were both pretty good movies. I personally liked The Expendables better, and here’s why. Well, there’s two overall reasons, and I’ll get into both of them after I start and finish talking about Scotty over here.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World… What does this mean to me? I’d say it is actually idiotic that what is more important to me right now rather than just how good it is or how much I liked the movie I’m thinking “What does this mean to me?”

It means a lot, and not because I’m invested into the comics but because I’m invested into the subject matter. The geeky side of things. I find it strange now that if a guy puts on a Zelda cartigan he’s some kinda indie geek hipster hottie-hot-hottie, because I don’t think a lot of those guys are really the same kinda “geek” that I am. I mean, I put money into this stuff! Lots of money! And I have a huge knowledge of video games! And a growing knowledge of prog rock, and comic books, and movies. So, I suppose, it really is just a sense of entitlement, and it really is extremely immature. But, it is also really how I feel about the subject. So, guys explode into coins and I say “River City Ransom! :D” and there’s a couple guys in the crowd going “Ooh, okay.” and some others going “Sssh, nobody cares!”

I guess I’m just trying to say, I feel I’m a better geek than a lot of the fans of the comic, which makes me feel like they’re enjoyment of the comic/film degrades my status as some kinda gaming guru. It’s totally immature, and really I shouldn’t care, but it’s something I can’t stop relating to my comments of the movie.

Oh yeah, how was it, really? It was fine. I might read the books. But it was really nothing more than fine.

(I had a friend I bumped into at the theater call it a manga, which I thought was funny since Bryan Lee O’Malley or whatever is Canadian and when I draw a strip it is certainly not a 4koma)

Now, why did I like Expendables better?

A – It’s just the type of movie I like. Over the top action movies, a throwback to the 80s style which I haven’t seen nearly enough of to be called a man (fuck 300, real men watch Predator! I guess I’m not a real man yet ): Only partly, I’ve unfortunately only seen parts) but that’s just it, it’s something I’m more likely to enjoy than a hipster romantic comedy with that standard “indie” look they use all the time these days.

B – It’s a freaking awesome action movie, with the drama and plot interweaved really well. I’m keeping this short, so I’ll just say, the idea to keep the drama at home and have the action stay on the island was a really good idea. I mean, that’s the way it is mostly done and it works well. Other than that without going on too long, I’ll just say it is plain ol’ good.

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I Saw it at the Theatre (in a Dream): Inception

Posted in Tony on July 27, 2010 by eightdollardreams

 Spoiler Warning: Many major plot points revealed within.

[the first pain reliever a film-maker reaches for is] the fantasy sequence or the dream sequence because
basically you’re looking for a way to say certain things, and the easiest way is to just say it in an abstract way
 you don’t have to work into your reality, and have your character [wake up]

– Brad Bird, director of “The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”

    Even in my dreams, I’m an idiot who knows he’s about to wake up to reality.

– Vanilla Sky

  I usually have a feeling of shame when I review a movie that’s been out for two weeks, but seeing as Inception topped last weekend’s box office at #1 once again, I’m sure there’s enough yahoos still rushing to see it that this will find some use.

     But, like I said, Inception (the newest Sci-Fi flick written and directed by Christopher Nolan), has had more than a few reviews already, so I thought I’d weigh in on a few before seeing it myself. When you’ve walked the beat as long as I have you know who to turn to in situations like this.

Curtis, the filthy homeless man who lives in the vacant lot by my house

     Don’t let his unfortunate current social status fool you, Curtis is a well versed cinephile with a keen eye for cinematography, I was sure he had some interesting notes/half eaten cans of tuna that I could pick from.

“It was super trippy man,” he told me, “there’s stairs and shit you know? And water, and like, that chick from Juno, you know, the one that got Jason Bateman knocked up, remember that?”

“Uh, I don’t think that was how the movie went.”

“What movie?”

    It’s a shame the rest of our interview had to be cut short as Curtis needed to “go snort some Nyquill”, but I was glad to hear he’d had a positive impression.

Tony, the much cleaner homeless man who lives in the vacant lot by my house

“I didn’t really get it,” Tony confessed to me, “about half way through they just lost me, and I was completely sober.”

Completely sober?”

“Well, I had a contact high from Curtis, but aside from that and the acid I was pretty straight, yeah”

     Tony wasn’t the only one confused, it seems the general moviegoing audience also had difficulty following the twists and turns of the admittedly convoluted plot. And, hey, it’s not like some great movies can’t be really confusing some of the time, right? Maybe I should get one more opinion.

Smithee

     I arrived at Smithee’s house and let myself in, catching a glimpse of what can only be described as an octopus formed of human centipedes. I showed myself out without asking any questions.

My Review

     Inception is complicated. That shouldn’t be an admission of guilt, Memento was complicated, I’ve known people who had trouble following the Godfather, or even Apocalypse Now, complicated shouldn’t be a death sentence. I’ll admit myself, there was one or two scenes where I was lost, but if you trust that everything is resolved in the third act your brain won’t melt on the drive home.

     Simplicity is my goal while I talk about this movie though, and the best I can do is remind you what Inception is about: a thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) steals (or, later in the film, plants) ideas in the minds of wealthy businessmen by using a piece of fictional military hardware  (I think they called it “Dream Net”, though I like to think of it as “the Briefcase”) that lets him (using iv inserted psychic drugs) enter their dreams.  Not exactly high concept, but there’s only two things you need to remember: “thief”, and “fictional military hardware”.

Inception is a Sci-Fi Heist movie. Ocean’s 11 meets Minority Report.

     Really, swear to god. Even all the usual Heist trope characters are there, the Leader, the Muscle, the Techie, the Planner, the Pickpocket, the Imposter, but what  they’re stealing and how they’re stealing it is different.

     Inception feels unique the whole way through, you’re drawn to the screen in every scene and by the end you’ll be genuinely interested in the characters, even though they don’t get much of a chance to develop.

    The action is top notch, including a zero gravity fight that I can’t get out of my head and a pulse pumping chase through the streets of Mombassa . It’s mostly gunplay and the fisticuffs pass by quickly, but you’ll never go more than a few scenes without action.

      Everyone gives a solid performance but there were three that stood out in my mind as noteworthy:

Ellen Page finally (finally!) uses her full potential

Ellen plays the new girl of the group, and she gives her character intelligence and realism. I was not a fan of Juno, Smart People, or Whip It!, in fact before Inception my fondest memories of her were as Kitty Pryde in Brett Rattner’s gawdawful X Men threequel. I hope we get to see her in more roles of this caliber in the future.

Marion Cotillard manages to switch from scary to sweet like a light switch

      Marion plays Leonardo’s wife (or rather, her memory), and she shows considerable talent doing so. In Leo’s good memories of her she’s sweet and kind, all hand-holding and giggles, but when Ellen’s character trespasses in Leo’s dreams, she becomes a threatening, dark spirit of Leo’s vengeful guilt, and it’s convincing! It must take a whole lot of talent to play two distinctly different characters in one, and Marion does it so well.

Tom Hardy is a bona-fide action hero

     In Inception, Tom Plays Eames, the slick talking pick pocket who helps Leo in his heist, but very soon Tom will be playing Max Rockatansky (of the Melbourne Rockatanskys) in Mad Max 4: Fury Road. Being very invested in the Mad Max series, I was eager to take this chance to judge if he had the chops to fill Gibson’s racist boots.

I was not disappointed.

In the third act Eames departs on a marathon run of ass-kickery that sees him dispatching at least a dozen guards, blowing up a Humvee, and then a hospital (because fuck them, that’s why). Fury Road, here we come!

Tl;dr

Inception is far and wide the best movie of the Summer so far, and I’ll peg it as the best geek culture movie of the year right now. Go and see it. And hey, if you don’t get it, you can ogle this for two hours.

Good stuff.

-TM

Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!

Posted in Tony on July 27, 2010 by eightdollardreams

Hey, I’m Tony Montana (no relation).

I’m a personal friend of Smithee’s, and I’ll be helping him out here on Textual Intercourse from now on. Mostly writing movie centric articles.

You’ll like them, trust me.

Awesomely yours,

-Tony Milhouse Montana

I’ve got gravel in my shoe! So here’s a movie review! Or two! (… or three)

Posted in Smithee on July 23, 2010 by allensmithee

Yesterday, I watched three very distinct movies. I’d say, that in my books, the first one is a good film and the other two are great films. Now, in my humble opinion, a great film is probably not qualified as such after one viewing, so I’ll have to watch the good (but not great) one again some time and form a better opinion on it.

The three films that I saw yesterday are as follows:

Zombieland (2009)
Macross Plus: Movie Edition (1995)
Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

So, this is a discussion of these movies, and just like if you just went out with some buddies and are talking after a movie, I’m not going to summarize them (much) and I’m not going to avoid spoilers, so tread carefully, I suppose.

Zombieland
Zombie kill of the week? Close, but two days ago, I saw somebody put c4 on a zombies back at the bottom floor of a building, run up to a higher floor of a building, drop a big chunk of raw pork down and watch as hundreds of the undead crowded around, until BAM HE DETINATED THE ZOMBIE BOMB and they all flew everywhere at once.

In my house there are a few big issues. I’ll name one: All the movies we have are chick flicks. There are obvious exceptions, and those exceptions are the movies I watch. But generally we’re missing two important things. 1) Horror movies. 2) Comedy films.

We’ve got some comedy movies obviously, but there’s a gap in the type I tend to like. Luckily, this movie was rented by my elder brother, and now I’ve seen it. And it is pretty dang good!

I liked that there were zombies for one thing! Obviously the movie isn’t scary as well as being comedic (although I’d love to see a movie like that), but it does have zombies in it. Sometimes I felt there were gaps too long without zombies, and I’d have liked to see more go splat, but that’s not really the point of the movie, so it works out in the end.

There were plenty of laughs, and it really got its themes down and stuck to them. Unfortunately, nobody will regard it as a good lesson teacher in family and sticking together, because it is both a zombie film and a comedy, but I just might. Take out some of the goofier moments, and it’d be a perfectly valid drama film, actually.

Hot Tub Time Machine is a good example of a movie with a serious message, mixed in with many laughs and boobies!

Actually we have one horror movie and that is Night of the Living Dead (original version)… As a fan of the genre, I need to change this and get more.

Macross Plus: Movie Edition
Don't fall for her tricks. She may be cute, but she'll put you to sleep while you're flying a space plane robot mech at mach speeds, low altitude, in the middle of a huge metropolis.

I was having a conversation with a big fan of the Macross series, especially Plus and he said something to me, sentiments that I echo well.

Actually, reverse that. First I posted a status update on Facebook, then he commented on it through a conversation we were having over Trillian.

So it was like this:

(on facebook)
Smithee: the most interesting thing about Macross, is just as the Zentradi must learn culture, Macross itself is an important part of culture. Take the dedication in Macross Plus for example: “Dedicated to you;Our future pioneers”, a timeless message that can remind all future generations to keep in touch with their emotions, and build awesome mecha.

and then a few hours later, on Trillian:

Justinzero: Now do you see why I always harp about the show?
Justinzero: People hate on it because it is popular
Justinzero: fuckwads … who throw more importance in things like “unique” “girly” “otakuesque” type shows”

And then I probably started talking about poop, or dicks or wanting to get laid or something.

But, I’ll say now, that I wholeheartedly agree with him! See, if anime was still made like Macross Plus: Movie Edition, then we wouldn’t have people like me bunched in with people who do that Caramel Dance in hallways. You know what they are? They’re fire hazards!

And it’s unfortunate that I can’t mention Golgo 13: The Professional without it being bundled in the same category as things like…

Oh good God save me...

… this.

Justice must be served!

Me and Trudeau are both after the same thing... 'A just society.'

Oh yeah, the movie is totally rockin’ as well.

Batman: The Dark Knight
I didn't actually watch the Bluray version. It was on DVD.

Totally wicked. I’m getting lazy, and still have to add pictures and funny captions, so I’ll just quote what I said on a forum:

So I just watched [The Dark Knight] again, and it’s great [as ever]. One thing I noticed, and wished is that it wasn’t restricted by a specific rating. They do a lot of cuts for otherwise cool things, just to keep a rating, and I dislike that. Like when the guy’s head would be blown off by Two-Face, or when Joker cuts the Glasgow Smiles on guys.

Another thing I dislike is the happiness of the two boats, like, oh really? That would happen? Especially with Bubba talking to the pasty white guy holding the detinator, like “Oh man, I’m gonna blow this shit up, PSYCHE!” and they all have a merry Christmas.

So, there you have it folks. G’night!

Playstation Network — Now with Movies!

Posted in Smithee on July 3, 2010 by allensmithee

Okay okay, so as I understand it, the Playstation 3 Playstation Network already had movies. Well, with the latest update, unless I’ve had a blindspot towards the top of the screen this entire time, Sony has just added the feature to rent or buy videos and download them directly to PSP.

But wait! There’s more!

For all of you Canadians out there (such as myself and my buddy Justin) you might remember the prospect of having a PSP comic viewer? Well, I certainly do.

I put as much effort in this picture as Sony does on Canadian PSN support
While those Americans are getting their jollies geeking out over digital comic books, we’re stuck with Sony’s view on the Canadian national anthem: “NOOOOOOOOOOO, CANAAADAAAA”

And you can’t do shit with it in Canada. I guess us hoser Canucks can’t handle the muscles and obvious heterosexuality of most absolutely every single Marvel and DC property.

You actually cannot purchase or download a single comic book from Sony’s online services, if you’re signed up as a Canadian user of PSN.

BUT WAIT!

There is actually more (and more, and more, and more)!

If you’re signed up as a Quebecois user, you barely even get descriptions (This is just what I’d last heard, have they updated it at all?). That’s right: So while the Americans, and Anglophone Canadians get a whole lot of this, Francophone Canadiens get a whole lot of that. “That” being NOTHING!

So, that’s how we’ve been gypped. I hear Europe has got it worse on top of that.

You’re asking though, why do you bitch about how Canada has been screwed over in the past by Sony, when this post is about the new movie store on PSN?

Well:

Sony is giving away a free movie on July 14th. Well, well, is this going to be anything like the free comic books everybody else got? At least we can purchase movies if we feel like, unlike comic books where we’re 100% S.O.L.

All I’m worried about is whether or not I should pay Sony my money now, and rent/buy Macross Plus Movie Edition, or risk waiting for dissapointment on the free movie day.

Ignore the obvious watermark, indicating this obvious belongs to obviously me. Obviously not.
When I look at this picture, I see a man. This man represents Sony. What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! And that’s just what exactly what Sony is.

Maybe they should take a note from Shane Bettenhausen’s amazingly honest PR talents?

Christopher Walken really gets my sarcasm.
“Pssst: Shane Bettenhausen’s PR is exactly what it stands for… Pretty Rotten!- C.W.

I still need to see Wolfman…

Posted in Smithee on June 22, 2010 by allensmithee

As much as I complain about modern anime’s failure to impress me, I will admit there are a few series that have done me quite well. The first of these is the admittedly female oriented Clannad, which falls into a few of the cliches and stylistic choices which myself – and fewer than most but more than few – dislike these days, such as the moé thing. But what it manages to do is tell a solid love story, with a very touching (and often heartbreaking) delivery. And I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love my action, gores, scares, and other manly stuff, I also love a good romance (not to mention bad ones, rah-rah-rahaha). And that’s what Clannad is. So if you can live through the goofy jokes, or do what I did and get into the mindset to even enjoy them, you might find something quite good.

So basically, what you got with Clannad is a not-so-manly story, with some modern anime style comedy that you need to really work to enjoy (although there are some great jokes at times), and some really good writing and story-telling which gives really emotional scenes when they are supposed to be, and really lighthearted scenes when necessary. I could live without some of the running jokes, but of all of the modern love anime, this gets number one on my list.

The other cartoon I’d like to discuss is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I’ll get this out of the way first: This show is exactly not Neon Genesis Evangelion. In TTGL, the biggest draw for me, is the awesome action and animation. It is an anime that knows it is a cartoon. For some reason, it seems most Japanese animation forgets this, but not Gurren Lagann. The animation moves, bounces (yes, sometimes in that sense, but don’t let that bother you, it is played as a parody), stretches with its actions, and is stylistically superb.
Something you might have noticed is that both of these are superbly popular, and that is why I write about them. Many people assume that if it is modern, and popular, and anime, it is garbage. Not always so, but yeah, most often it is true.

There are sometimes people at school who will assume Japanese animation is always weird, or always sucks, or is always pornographic. Well, it is sometimes those things, sometimes all those things at once, but what these buddies at school don’t realize is that I DON’T WATCH THAT SHIT. What I’m doing with this post is pointing out two series that some of the fiends that get me stereotyped as a weirdo might enjoy, but probably don’t really get, and if they do get it, they probably don’t like other good stuff. The nice thing about these two series is that the reason people like them is because they’re just good, and not for any other reason. At least, that is the fundamentals of it all. But you know what I don’t watch? Here’s an example, that highlights the contrast of well-made vs. well-sold

Haruhi Suzumiya – I watched the first season and read some of the “novels” before I realized how shitty it was, and started to find quality stuff. Taps into all of the cliches that the masses love so much, and tries to be witty, but in the end it just comes off as arbitrary. Although the soundtrack is okay (not the insert songs, I mean the jazz that plays in the background, or the song that plays at the start of the first episode).

The difference between playing the cliches as homages and smart commentaries -versus- playing the cliches as excuses to get fans to drool stupidly and getting people to fall in love with your series because it has those cliches in them, or in simpler terms, being smart -versus- being sell-out commercial – The noticeable and highly variable difference between Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Haruhi Suzumiya.

I’ll be rewatching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann this summer, and will bring a proper impression of it. Hopefully this gives you an idea of a good modern anime, that proves that people still have some taste left, and also the difference between me and the assholes who eat up everything they’re given these days. I also hope it shows to ignore the fans and just enjoy what is enjoyable, regardless.

There will be more coverage on the topic of animation, and the stigma it is given, but wholeheartedly does not deserve. I’ll tell you why, in those posts.

What do you call a Hello in throwing range? Introing distance.

Posted in Smithee with tags , on June 19, 2010 by allensmithee

Hey there, it’s me, Smithee. For those of you who go on forums with me, you’ll know me: After all, I post more than a bit. For family and friends, you probably know that I go by the name Smithee on the ‘net (and am even getting it as a nickname IRL now… Cool!). But what about the other guys? You know, the ones who’ve yet to meet the Battler of Boredom? Before I go further, I’d like to say, I will hopefully never call myself that again.

Well, then I guess I’ll introduce myself and this fine blog.

My name is Allen Smithee. Not actually, no, my name isn’t even actually Allen, let alone Alan. It doesn’t include Smith, let alone Smithee. I suppose I should say this now; I like movies! Film! Cinema! Talkies! you know the drill. Not only that, but I also like music, video games, comic books, plain ol’ books, cartoons, television, and women. These will be the topics of Textual Intercourse – Or should I say, The NEW Textual Intercourse? Yes, my old blog too that name, but that will change as of this posting. Back on topic:

I’m a young man, still in highschool, and I’ll admit it. I’m also Canadian, but I don’t really like hockey, I’m more into American football (figured I’d clarify with all this World Cup stuff going on), and wrestling. The thing is, being so young, there’s a lot that I have yet to experience. In a way, this blog will capture that. Perhaps it needs to be explained further? Basically, I’ve got great taste for a kid my age, in a lot of ways I know what’s what. But, being so young, I’ve missed a lot. There’s a lot I need to watch, listen to, play, read, y’know? A lot of GREAT stuff. That’s the point of this page here. I’ll write in detail my experiences on these things, my philosophies on these things. This is good, because it gives me an even bigger excuse to go out and watch the classics.

Not only for the classics though, also for the new stuff.

My old blog will remain running, but will be for little things, personal things. This is for my reviews, essays and articles. Although, anything political will be kept on the other blog, I plan.

Maybe there will be spelling errors from time to time: Leave them be, but maybe you could let me know. Maybe there will be misinformation from time to time: Let me know, I’ll learn something. Maybe I still don’t know how to use blogging software: I don’t.

There is also an announcement I’d like to make: As of right now, I will have a partner on this project. More will be announced later, and I’ll force him to do an introduction of his own.

Adios!

Look forward to a real article-of-some-kind later!