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Contains serious spoilers )
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...was big, breathtaking, challenging and did not disappoint.
That makes it the finale of the best superhero-film-trilogy so far, doesn't it?
The only real criticism I have is that they were trying to cram a shitload of multistranded plot into the film, which made the first half feel fairly rushed at times. The same goes for the very obvious social message relating to distribution of wealth already touched on in the trailers.
I absolutely don't think the film was sending out an Anti-"Occupy Stuff" message as the bits that seemed to touch on the issue were only really there to give some background to... one of the characters.
The rest was actually quite daring in parts and felt more like a film version of something as epic as "Knightfall" than "Another Batman film. Now even bigger!".

Is it better than "Dark Knight"? I don't know. Maybe as a standalone film but "DKR" really refers to the other Nolans too much to be seen as one anyway. Tom Hardy's Bane fulfills the promises that the Bane we will not talk about ruined. He is obviously very different from the Bane in the comics but then so are quite a few elements in this trilogy and it always was a very specific take on Batman.
Is it better than "The Avengers"? Well, at the moment I would feel more eager to rewatch "Dark Knight rises" than "The Avengers" because I suspect that it might offer more things I missed first time round. Don't get me wrong, "Avengers" was a feat and very enjoyable but in the end it only gave you exactly what you expected it would. DKR still came up with a few surprises and challenges. I would even watch a 3h+ version that gives more space to some of the plot-elements and Catwoman.
So, the question now is: Rewatch it again in IMAX (but dubbed) or not?
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So, apparently there is going to be a new film version of Starship Troopers, and this time round it is going to be less violent and more faithful to the book, says producer Toby Jaffe. So instead of a hyperviolent black comedy parodying the Nazis (and showing parallels to some more recent war-mongering), we shall undoubtedly have a "Yay! Military!"-film with thrilling action but avoiding displaying too much of the potential danger of ending up wounded/maimed/dead.
Reading a conservative/reactionary intention into this or even suggesting that Goebbels' spiritual heirs are sitting in modern Hollywood making quite a living might come across as excessively cynical until you read that one sentence from Mr. Jaffe talking about Heinlein:

"Y'know, one man's fascism is another man's patriotism..."

Yes, indeed. That is sort of the point.

And then you get friends from the UK, who you otherwise think of as reasonably intelligent and levelheaded, share shit like this and my first thought is "You'd just have to translate this into German and adapt the silhouette and it would be prime Laibach material". But that sort of irony is normally lost, I guess.
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The [personal profile] dingsi kindly sent me his copy of "Tideland". I am quite looking forward to watching it but am somewhat apprehensive. Yes, if you asked me, I would definitely tell you that I am a huge fan of Terry Gilliam's work but I actually had to look up a list of his films while thinking about why. "Brazil" is one of my absolute favourites and on being reminded, I also thought of how much I enjoyed "12 Monkeys" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and, dammit, yes, even "Baron Münchausen"! But that was many, many years ago and "Brothers Grimm" was just such a letdown. It hurts me to think of the circumstances that killed "The Man that killed Don Quixote" and put "Doctor Parnassus" at risk (although, coming to think of it, that was more than decent, too, even if it did not leave a lasting impression) and so my hope is of course that "Tideland" will reinforce my faith in Terry.

We shall see.

Comedy Gold

Jun. 7th, 2012 02:08 pm
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A question to Robert Downey Jr. and ...that chick who looks good in leather. You know, the one with the big boo... mouth.

Something inside me is chuckling at this and then another part comes along and hits the first part for laughing. It's complicated.

Übrigens: "Ich bin nicht Rappaport" läuft wieder. Mit unveränderter Besetzung. Günther Kaufmann ist jetzt aber auch tot.
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...at over 2 hours, I have to say that I never got bored. Ye verily, I was entertained.
In all honesty, when I first heard that the ultimate plan was that "Hulk", "Thor", "CapA" and the "Iron Men" would lead to a fullblown "Avengers"-movie, I was more than sceptical, mainly because I did not think that there really was any way of doing "Thor" live-action without him looking ludicrous. Kenneth Brannagh proved me wrong.

I still haven't watched "Captain America: The first avenger" yet, though, but did not get the feeling that I was missing some piece of vital information there. Having said that, I also felt that Cap was by far the blandest and least interesting of the Avengers, getting one really cool moment ("And why should I listen to you?") but otherwise not doing much beyond garden variety action hero stuff. Other than that, it was all very well balanced. Sure, as soon as Iron Man entered, it looked like he might steal the film (or rather, I thought "Yes, that's what I wanted from this film!") and somehow Thor, on account of being a somewhat epic character, really needed a bigger canvas for his backstory but that will undoubtedly happen in his own sequel, not here.
Black Widow? Yes, you can deeply analyze it and find quite a few things to get aggravated about, but for my money, she was a nicely fully-fleshed character (pun not intended but appropriate) pulling her weight and getting shit done. Go on, you go and tell her she's just eye-candy. I dare you.:-P
After a while I found myself asking myself why the Hulk had not yet put in appearance when everybody else had. Then He came and I realised that using him in smaller but well applied doses really was the way to go.

The aliens were a bit throwaway but obviously needed for the final section and the 3D frankly was superfluous but thankfully also used sparingly.

All in all: Mission accomplished!
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Hm, at the moment, I seem to be very critical when it comes to talking about cultural events I have attended.

It started with the 32nd anniversary party of Einstürzende Neubauten last week at the .hbc. To be fair, it's the second event have attended at that venue and more and more I feel like it will have been the last. The idea of the party was okay. There was a sort of alibi exhibition of pictures/photos spanning the whole 32 years but truth be told, it was rather minimal and repetitive. Certainly, there were at best three pictures I didn't know yet.
The rest of the programme included some piano music (which sadly I missed), Max Dax reading from "Nur was nicht ist ist möglich" (not the best of readers), an opportunity to dance to all kinds of Neubauten tracks you don't normally hear in discos (Playlist here) and .... Neubauten karaoke.


Sadly there were only about five tracks ("Seele brennt", "Sabrina", "Let's do it a Dada", "Installation #1" and one I can't remember), some of which didn't really lend themselves to Karaoke very well but I made a valiant effort tackling all of them repeatedly and those three people who actually saw me liked it. So that's a sucess, I think.
What really bothered me was the fact that about 90% of the people there made the impression that they had never really heard of EN and were only there because the hbc is such a hip place and to celebrate (and photograph) themselves. There was a small contingent of old punks but mostly it was Mitte-people, all flailing cigarettes and egos at the ready.
I hope the 33rd birthday party will involve the band again. Or a more extensive karaoke.

Then there was Laibach live in concert. Which was good, for what it was. They have become completely techno-pop now, discarding any pretenses of once having carried a political message or being associated with punk. It's not that it was bad, it was just very prectictable and empty. The "keyboard babe" got to sing a few songs and the singer did what he always does. No paradigmns were shifted and no expectations disappointed. In essence they are now a DAF-cover band. I am very happy to have seen them but I will be in no hurry to see them again or buy their latest album.

A similar case could be made for "Iron Sky" (featuring Laibach's music). Yes, I had been quite excited about seeing it and how can you not be? Moon Nazis! Making fun of American policy! Udo Kier! Surely this cannot fail!
Well.... no. It did exactly what the trailer promised but nothing more than that. The Nazis return, the scenery is cool and Sarah Palin is mocked. Udo Kier is on a diet in regards to scenery-chewing, though. He does appear but gets to do very little besides.... well, appearing.
You do get the idea that the whole film was mainly created by the scriptwriters making a list of things they think would be cool to do in a film, but without the patience to actually do anything proper with any of these things. Towards the end, the end even hints at deciding to add a more serious note (with a message!) but just as quickly as it pops up, it's gone again.
So yes, it's watchable but left me feeling like it could have been so much more.

In all fairness, though, many of my friends really enjoyed the film and I am fairly difficult to please when it comes to films about Nazis, religion and the Apocalypse. Plus, I still have this idea for something that Udo Kier really should do. ;-)

Current 93 were good, though. I enjoyed their concert much more than the one last year. They even played a thunderous version of "Lucifer over London" as an encore.
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"March of the Penguins": the german dub is so kitsch, saccharine and directed towards supporting traditional family-values that you are practically waiting for one penguin to say to its mate:
"Hey, I heard that there also are gay penguins!"
"Yeah! .... Let's go lynch 'em!"
"Damn straight!"
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Who would have thought?
Neil LaBute's "Wicker Man" really is as bad as they all said it was. And contains significantly fewer uses of the word "Fuck" than I would have assumed. But then, I have been watching the PG-13 version.

Right. I will assume that you are familiar with the 1973 version and that, for whatever reason, you don't mind me spoiling the LaBute-version for you.

Otherwise, go and watch the original, then come back. )
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Yes, I have now seen a "Twilight"-film. I feel so dirty.
In my defense, I would like it noted on the record that I did not pay for this "pleasure" but that an acquaintance felt strongly enough about me being perverted to shell out the money for the movies.

There are so many things wrong with this
One after the other (and yes, there will be spoilers if you don't know the books/films and if you care).
Much has been said and written about the disturbing subtext of the Saga and the strange ideas that it seems to have about romance and love. I know next to nothing about that because I did (purposefully) not immerse myself in the folklore. But here's how the sex part pans out in "Breaking Dawn Part 1":

They wait until they are married before they decide to consumate their relationship carnally. Fair enough. In the course of their nuptial night (portrayed very restrainedly, obviously) Edward breaks the bed and trashes the room because clearly he is an ultra-strong vampire. Fine, it's been done before, why not? However, as it turns out the next day he has also bruised Bella in several places. "Bruised her", as in "She has a few bruises", as in "This also happens during non-Vampire sex." as in "No big deal really. They will fade soon, Bella is okay with it and actually wants to make more sweet, sweet love to her new hubby." But Edward will have none of it and vows to never have sex with her again (A woman make a decision about how and when she wants to have sex? Are you mad?). So Bella has to try really, really hard and use all her female wiles to get her husband to touch her again in a Barry White way (Eve? Who is that?). In the end she succeeds and.... she gets pregnant! In a way that everybody tells her will break her bones, literally consume and finally kill her! (and she looks it). Jacob (shirt off within the first 30 seconds of the film) also states several times that once the child is born, he will first kill it and then Edward. Edward in turn agrees with this plan and states quite clearly that he could never ever love this (his!) child.

So here a woman finally gets the chance to make a decision about her body/womb/life and she decides to die for no good reason whatsoever. Nobody even invokes the good old gothic cliché of "Well, at least we shall be united in death." Nope, just a horrible pointless death that Lars von Trier would have been proud of.

So that would be two shags, three dead and no fun having been had by anybody.
And these are role models for young people?
Honestly, what the fuck?
Abstinence works, yes, but there are alternatives and not all sex kills.
Some of it can be survived and it also supposed to be quite nice, I have been told.

Of course it doesn't actually end with three deaths but still the message is there. There is more WTF? in the birthing scene but I cannot be bothered to go into this now.

On the other hand it is also quite bizarre just how immobile and expressionless all these angsty characters are all through the film. They are pale, they are angsty, they talk and Bella suffers but beyond that, not much happens. If vampires and werewolves ever stood for animal instincts and/or epic battles, they certainly don't here.
The amount of stuff that wasn't happening did not become fully obvious to me until the very end: In the middle of the credits there is an extra scene starring Michael Sheen playing one of the vampire lords (or something like that). And maybe you could say that he was hamming the role up a wee bit (shockingly unheard of for people playing old and powerful vampires, I know) but my thoughts when witnessing this scene were:
"OMG!!! There is an actor! He is doing something! He is acting! And he looks like he might even be enjoying himself in the process! OMG!!!"
You get the picture? It would not be too bold a claim to state that if I get convinced to see "Breaking dawn, Part II" (this time I want somebody to pay me, though), it will be almost exclusively because I want to see what Michael Sheen does next.
He was literally the best thing in the whole film.

Still, I don't recommend you watch it.
It's also quite irksome to think that there are actually interesting facets to the film and the story but these aspects are the one that are not developed.
A vampire story about restraint? Fab!
A young woman's terror at what might be growing inside her? Not novel but interesting.
The image of the happy couple standing on a pile of corpses forming a grisly wedding cake? It made me laugh in delight. (Extra points for an all-white outfit. John Woo approves.)

But no.
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Right, rewatched "ANOES 5: The Dream Child" now and found it actually less painful than I thought. Yes, the story is all over the place and some of the deaths are not a cool these days as they appeared back in the 90s, but at least the film does have a plot of sorts (as opposed to "Dream Master"). Also, "Dream Child" deserves a bonus point for some of its visuals. Watching "Dream Master" and "Dream Child" back-to-back might make for a satisfying experience. Or maybe not...

I also started on "Freddy's Dead" and.... yes..... it's certainly novel..... and a live-action Warner Brothers-cartoon..... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.... but "Gremlins 2" did it so much better.... can we please never talk about the Super Nintendo thing again? Yes, let's just put it in the same black hole that Indiana Jones' fridge and the Matrix sequels went into....
EDIT: Finished the film now and it did not get any better. Truly just "one for the fans". One wonders whether they will give it a new and digital 3D-ending once it comes out on BluRay, though.
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Back in the day when i was still but an impressionable young horror-fan, the "A Nightmare on Elm Street"-series could easily be described as my favourite franchise of that genre, but then it also was the only franchise I actually watched all parts of (at the time). "Friday the 13th" hardly excited me at all and "Halloween" somehow never got me any further than the first installment. (I did not manage to get hold of a decent version of "Hellraiser" until much later.)
At the time, I watched all (then 6) parts in two sessions together with a friend, courtesy of his Dad's film collection.
For years I thought of the films in terms of "Part 1 great and scary, Part 2 absolute shite, Part 3 good, Part 4 okay, Part 5 worst of all, Part 6 funny and actually a fresh start (but not scary)".

Almost 20 years later it now became time to revisit this obsession of my past, a franchise I still feel a strange emotional connection with, despite the fact that I have become markedly more cynical in all things horror recently.

So far I got as far as revisiting all parts up to 1988's "The Dream Master" (Part 4) and...
...well, I am cynical.

The original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" still holds up as an inventive and effective narrative but has aged very badly IMHO. This goes for the effects as much as the general air of melodrama.

"Part 3: The Dream Warriors" still holds up best of all films bridging between a good standalone movie and the franchise that arose from it, in other words between "Scary Freddy" and "Funny Freddy". There are actual characters that interact in some way, the plot makes some sense and there are very few moments which make the older Me groan. Also, I imagine that the film works as much on its own as it does as part of a longer series. All that and inventive deaths, what more do you want? (Boobs? Yes, they are there, too.)

The younger Me remembers quite liking "Part 4: The Dream Master". The older Me was happy when it finally finished and is quite scared at the thought that Young Me says thst Part 5 is even worse. Seriously, this film takes no prisoners when it comes to continuing the plot pretty straight from where Part 3 left off (ignoring some big plot-holes here, though) and then throws itself into a new plot-strand that very obviously only attempts to guide the viewer from one creative death to the next, the bases of which are very obviously signposted early on (That girl likes to work out and hates cockroaches? Hm... I wonder how she will die.). There is some character-development of the main protagonist but it might as well be handled with title cards for all its bluntness and clicheè (The mirror, the mirror! Oprah Winfrey is calling!).
Part 4 also is not content with picking up the mythology established in Part 3 but has to create hokey metaphysics about Guardian of the Gate of Good/Bad Dreams that I even found ridiculous as a teenager. Whereas Parts 1 and 3 tossed the metaphysics in and the either properly worked with them or just used them as background, Part 4 actually seems to take them seriously, in the midst of a film with a plot for which "flimsy" already is a compliment.
It strikes me as a film that was exclusively made to milk a cash-cow (sucessfully! It's the second higest grossing film of the series) but other than that, would be best forgotten, were it not for some good effects and memorable one-liners.

You've been paying attention, haven't you?

Yes, I skipped over "ANOES 2: Freddy's Revenge".
Now, as a teen I just thought the film was bad. As a postgrad who knows about things like "homoereotic subtext", I developed a slight respect/appreciation of the film and as a cynical viewer, I see the film as a rushed sequel (with a homoerotic subtext that really is quite impressive for a major american film of the 80s.) which certainly would have benefited from not being a NOES-film. Which it isn't really: Freddy kills a grand total of zero people in their dreams*. There are big plotholes, neither Mark Patton nor Kim Myers are cut out for their starring roles and I would like to erase every scene set in a school bus or involving a toaster from my mind but on the whole you are left with the thought: "Well, it wasn't all shit. There was a better movie in there wanting to... come out." Indeed.
In effect, it's what "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch" is for that franchise.

Let's see what Parts 5-7 will bring.
(I am not rewatching "Freddy vs. Jason". I enjoyed it at the time, much like I enjoyed "Bride of Chucky", but it's still too fresh in my mind to require another viewing.)

Addendum: This resurgence of interest in ANOES was partly triggered by me listening to a series of audio plays (released in 1990) based on the first three films. This series was cancelled about as quickly as one expects a series aimed at children which is based on 18-rated films to be cancelled but bizarrely enough, it still holds up about as well as the films.
Well.... partly. It is noteworthy that the author of the tapes was very faithful to the films' dialogue and that he managed to get most of the plot across in a suitably scary way while at the same time not mentioning any blood, cuts or stabbings.
The only notable censorship is that the fate of Coach Schneider remains very unclear and ultimately confusing, but other than that, all the gay subtext is present. ;-)
There are also some subtle changes of how the families interact with each other, which one can only interpret as the author attempting to be more right and proper. In contrast to this (or maybe not) there is also some dialogue between two african-american characters in Episodes 5 which one could not get away with these days, neither in film nor in german audio plays. The basis of this is in the german dub of "The Dream Warriors" but the audio play still turns it up a notch.

*And only men in reality (disregarding the birds for the moment), in stark contrast to the ladykiller he is in the other films. You see, that subtext works on all levels.
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...I really wish the-people-who-make-films would stop crowbarring a romantic subplot/love-interest into every last goddamn movie they produce.
Also, stop with "Love" being the only thing that can slay the monster/is the thing we have been really searching for in our epic and explosion-heavy quest/is the hidden ingredient to this potion.

It's not moving, it's just corny.
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And this looks like a waste of good time. Not to mention: a good franchise.
Trailer for "Hellraiser Revelations" That's "Hellraiser 9", btw. The reboot better be awesome.
Well, one can dream.
Doug Bradley passed on this. That alone should tell you something about the film.
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
Hm, nicht, daß es jetzt wirklich so wichtig wäre, aber mal ehrlich:
Wenn das hier die Schnitte sind, die "Hellraiser" von dem Monstrum, das Kinder, Jugendliche und ihre sozialethische Orientierung unheilbar ver- und zerstören kann (und das seit über 20 Jahren) und einem zukünftigen Grabbelkistenbewohner bei Saturn, den jede türkische Mutti und jedes ausgebüxte Kleinkind in Händen halten darf, trennen, dann sollte man mal in sich gehen und zugeben, daß der Film heutzutage ohne Weiteres ungeschnitten als FSK 16 durchgehen sollte.
Über Franks Ende bin ich bereit zu diskutieren, aber der Rest ist doch wirklich unbedenklich.
Aber nein, Zucht und Ordnung brauchen das.

EDIT: Und das gilt im doppelten Maße für die Schnitte der FSK16-Fassung von "Hellbound: Hellraiser 2". Okay, vielleicht wäre hier ein glattes 18 für die volle Fassung okay, aber wie man auf die Idee kommt, Julias ganze Geburtssequenz herauszuschneiden, weiß ich eh nicht.
Das ganze System ist wirklich sehr darauf angelegt, vielen Bürokraten möglichste viel Arbeit zu beschaffen, ohne dabei auf Dinge wie Vernunft, Kunstgefühl oder den gesunden Menschenverstand zurückzugreifen.

Und schau, am Wochenende läuft "From Dusk till Dawn". Nach 23 Uhr und trotzdem geeignet für jedes Schulkind. Weil man sich ja nicht trauen darf, etwas zu zeigen, was vielleicht jemandem missfallen könnte oder von dem sich jemand ge- bzw. überfordert fühlt.
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I had a thought about the presentation of male-female rape in motion pictures. It is, as so many things here, not really worked out and far from comprehensive but I just felt like sharing it. Furthermore, having since rewatched the film that set off this particular train of thought, I no longer feel that this particular criticism really applies to the film in question. Nonetheless...

Two warnings: First of all, as already mentioned, this is about male-female rape in films, although quite frankly none of this is getting a lot more explicit than statement of this fact. Still, if you want a content warning, this is it.
Secondly, I will not name the film that inspired this thought (thus avoiding spoilers) but if you have some knowledge of modern film, it should be reasonably easy to guess which film I am talking about. IMHO the piece of plot I am giving away does not spoil "enjoyment" of this film (and in a way, that is exactly why I am writing this), but again, if you are very strict in terms of spoilers, this might not be for you.

Enough provisos, on with the chatter )
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
For a start, there is a surprisingly sensible take on the BBFC's banning of "The human centipede II" from somebody writing for the *gasp* Daily Torygraph.

It is in essence what I thought when I heard about what happened to "A serbian movie" in the UK. I think I even blogged about it at the time. What Mr. O'Neill misses out on is the fact that this sort of shit has been going on for quite some time and that censors have in fact gone on record stating that there is in their opinion material that the educated classes can cope with sensibly while the low-intelligence proles surely will be driven to acts of violence and insanity. If you know your history, you will know that a bit further back in time, the same point was made along gender lines.
I would still rather live under the diktat of the BBFC than the one of the FSK/BPjM. Let's not even talk about the MPAA. (Well, from a convenience point of view, at least.)
And yes, I do want to see "The human centipede II" and I do want to see "A serbian movie" uncut.

Musicwise, here is my new favourite net-radio station:
Chockablock with "difficult" stuff. I love it! :-)

There was a third link here somewhere but it seems lost. Ah well....
EDIT: Here it is: http://lab.andre-michelle.com/tonematrix

Have a good weekend, people.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
Not quite as funny as I had hoped (but better than I expected), by far not as filthy/sexy as I had thought it would be (which is to say that there were less topless women in it than I had thought there would be), passing on a perfectly good opportunity to use some good old-fashioned racist language while at the same time wheeling out an "angry young gay"-stereotype complete with threat of anal sex probably not seen outside a Martin-Lawrence-film since 1992. Still, it has Christopher Walken.
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Happy birthday, Alice Cooper! 63 today. Amazing what a pact with the Devil can do for you.
(We understand that you probably will not have a drink to mark the occasion, so I shall do that for you. ;-)

Also happy birthday to George A. Romero, who turns 71!
(Say, if it wouldn't be too much hassle, could we have a good film again, please? Proper good like "Day" and not so-so good like "Land", if you could manage. I mean, yes, of course you are a legend and have nothing left to prove but it would still be nice to have the reputation reinforced once in a while. Give my love to Dario.)


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