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Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Not being able to go out much on July 4th (I'm one of the few schmucks still carrying around a pager), I decided to watch HANCOCK. I figured at the very least I'd be able to watch the QUANTUM OF SOLACE trailer on the big screen. Big mistake. HANCOCK is not a terrible film per se, but it's a film that has stirred my terrible wrath in the days since. This is one of those movies that make me question the meaning of life and whether I'm better off ending it now. I really paid $8.25 for that? Again, this is not the most painful movie I've sat through. And hey, I love watching Will Smith insult people. If the movie were 90 minutes of Smith giving people demeaning nicknames a la George W such as "Thickness," I'd be a satisfied customer. But, you know, if you're going to spend $150 million to produce movies like that, please leave that money to charity and eat a bullet. As MST3K said, films should be made by filmmakers. And I'd like to think they'd agree that you shouldn't make half a movie and then release it as a full movie. That's what they've done here. They started making a movie, realized there was only 45 minutes worth of material, and vomited another 45 minutes of half-digested material. I'm expected to be satisfied by that? Look, I understand buying a movie ticket has some risk-reward tradeoffs. If you don't like it, that's the gamble you took. That said, I'm tracking down Will Smith and asking for half of my money back. He also needs to apologize to the art of cinema in general. I had to watch NOTORIOUS, TO CATCH A THIEF, and NETWORK over the weekend just to wash the taste out of my mouth. Bottom line: if you can't be bothered to make an entire movie, go fuck yourself.

When a movie from MST3K is above and beyond your movie, you know you're in trouble. DANGER: DIABOLIK was an interesting choice for their final episode. There was a lot of talent and budget that went into this movie. Lavish sets, plenty of car chases and action, Mario Bava at the helm, and Ennio Morricone providing the score. I was able to catch a screening at the Seattle International Film Festival theater (in the same complex as the Space Needle). This was my first time watching it unMSTed and uncut. The first thing I noticed was that the dub was different (according to IMDB, this would be the dub and print used on the DVD), leaving out the classic line, "Is that *Stud* coming?" Overall, the dub was less cartoonish than the video version's, which is a bad thing. The acting is flatter and the script is not as punchy. A goofy comic book movie like this needs the dubbing to match. The two dubs are similar enough that I had trouble discerning if different voice actors were used. This version was noticably inferior, though. The material left out of the MST3K episode fills in the gaps of the story with a lot of dialogue between Ginko and the ministers and almost fetishizes the extravagant sets. Remember that sequence where Diabolik and Eva enter their lair and go through the 5-hour process of taking the elevator down, etc? It's about twice as long. With a shower scene! The his and her showers themselves are pretty interesting actually. They have four walls of glass with a circle of frosted glass in the middle of the front wall obscuring the naughty bits. The night club scene with the guy trying too hard to dance? It's now 5 minutes of hippies passing around a single joint (seriously, it passes maybe 12 hands). Anyway, the obsession with showing off every angstrom of the sets and the added dialogue don't do much for the pace of the movie. It takes Diabolik ten times as long to decide to have sex on top of the cash as it did to steal it. The movie at it's best is a beautifully photographed (lots of great camerawork), bouncy, goofy, lighthearted comic book movie about an antihero fighting the establishment for only his own personal gain. Seeing Diabolik escape the police should be exciting like doing the same yourself in Grand Theft Auto. It's a very entertaining movie in it's own right, but it's a little bloated. I hear the same thing about THE DARK KNIGHT.

WALL-E is the anti-HANCOCK. A movie that reaffirms the power of cinema and love and laughter. It teaches us to believe in love again. A beautiful, surprisingly deep and nuanced story. Anyone who dislikes this movie has no soul. How good of a human being you are is directly proportionate to how much you like this movie. I saw it a third time tonight. I'm trying to work myself up to a Albert Schweitzer level. I'm pretty sure a hobo was in the theater tonight seeing the movie. He was carrying around enough plastic bags full of crap from the drugstore. Much better use of his money than drugs or booze. He's a better human being for seeing the movie. You will be, too!

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