In honor of their first year online Tim and John watch Mortal Kombat: Annihilation with running commentary:
Archive for April, 2008
More than any other director Ridley Scott has defined the alien Other. A quick look at his oeuvre confirms a fascination with putting a human face on threats to the status quo. Blade Runner is the ur-text. Deckard hunts down Replicant slaves for simply being. Black Rain, another 80s urban noir deals with the Japanese economic threat. Thelma & Loise looks at destructive feminism. Kingdom of Heaven‘s extended cut delves much deeper into the war between Muslims and Christians. Though it may look like an Army recruitment ad Black Hawk Down‘s depiction of gunning down Somali slums disturbs for its Counter-Strike-like detachment. And of course, Alien.
Er, not exactly sure how A Good Year fits in the scheme.
His latest, American Gangster, takes aim at black gangster/entrepreneur Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who pulled together a drug empire in Harlem using an impressive array of know-how passed onto him by his late gangster mentor “Bumpy” Johnson, played in flashbacks with lasting aplomb by Clarence Williams III (the wacko storyteller from Tales From The Hood). Using Bumpy’s wisdom – mainly: be smart, stay hidden – Lucas butts heads (shoots them, too) with the flashier crime lords of the neighborhood and beats them all at the drug game thanks to his U.S. military connection in South East Asia. With easy access to a Bangkok village brewing pure heroin Lucas sells to the entire tri-state area, gaining the attention of honest Newark police detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe).
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead starts off on the wrong foot. Or the right foot! I can’t decide! Ugh. It’s Philip Seymour Hoffman banging Marisa Tomei’s butt – which is a great butt. They say women in Hollywood are over after 40 but man, she’s got a better body than most women half her age. Shame she only shows up in this movie topless and/or crying!
Oh! So anyway, as you can imagine, this movie is the exact opposite of Enchanted. This is the real world in all its shitty glory … Ethan Hawke owes everyone in the world money and generally leads the worst life. Philip and Ethan Hawke are brothers who rob their parents’ jewelry shop because they’re desperate, awful and stupid. Ethan’s the wimpy one of the family so there’s a big emphasis on having balls and not being a faggot and wanting lots of money – Philip brags about pulling in “six figures” and knowing all the angles, and he loves the word “faggot.” He’s a big dumb drug-addicted gorilla. In fact, big dumb masculinity covers the whole movie, and money – the ultimate symbol of patriarchal success – is super-super-important.
Enchanted is a very problematic film. The zenith of everything Disney has done in the past century is all right here – it is the quintessential Disney movie. Singing animals, talking animals, good-natured princes, stupid lackeys, evil queens, moron princesses are all accounted for, modernized, sleek, and polished to a magic mirror sheen, overflowing with staggering Broadway charisma. It’s a huge, expensive-looking production with a short prologue of the gorgeous animation Disney used to be known for.The twist: the animated critters wind up in real-life New York and mingle with real people. Hardly reaching the stratospheric politicizing of the similarly-premised Fables comics, Enchanted offers hints of intelligence and the obligatory Shrek-esque winks at how silly the animated-real-life merge is, but the message at the end is the same as it’s been since Snow White: girls, be cute, be dumb, attract a rich guy, marry him then stay home. The highly-recommended Fables is all about how there is no happily ever for our favorite fantasy characters. Life is a never-ending a struggle where you divorce, lose your home and lose your faith.