Monday, February 25, 2013

The Master, Dredd 3D, Why I'm being "lazy" Reviews, explanation, my life. Sep 26, 2012 8:18AM PST

Quick update blog, cause real life is a bit hectic, or at least frustrating and exciting right now. Exciting because I have a second interview soon, got a call yesterday saying a nearby location would contact me, so wish me luck. Also, my student loans aren't going to start having to be repayed until December (so it's kind of like a 7, not really 6 month grace period in a way since my May graduation, which is nice), which I was able to find out through calling three different numbers with automated menus. Who doesn't LOVE when they stop giving you numeric options, and ask you to yell the first two letters of your last name, one of which is "t," which is incredibly easy for a machine to confuse with "p"? Well, gollee jee williker shucks buckets, I sure love that good ol' robot conversation! Assholes.

Anyway, the hectic part comes in with a broken washer, that would cost $200 just for someone to look at why it won't drain, according to my mom this morning (we think something's stuck in the draining hose, but I at least am afraid of just causing water damage if I try to repair anything, and we don't even really know if that's the problem), my dad currently working two delivery jobs in his over 400,000 mile van that often needs repairs, and literally not coming home until 1am, having left at 8am some mornings, and my mom's car being currently looked at, meaning I am her ride until it's fixed; also, my savings account I built for my loans is being taken out of to help with these emergencies (gets payed back, but I can't afford having $400+ borrowed randomly come December). In other words, please wish me luck on this second interview.

Judgement Served: Awesome, Violent Movie. Sentence: See Immediately.

Some good news is, I found out my girlfriend's Tuesday/Thursday classes are near my (parents') house and let out in the afternoon, making the relationship thing go a bit smoother. We used that, and the fact the theater near my house has 3D adult matinee tickets for $5.25 to catch a screening of Dredd, which I had to see after the positive rottentomatoes reviews, and my favorite internet personality, The Cinema Snob /Brad Jones urging everyone to see it after a really bad opening weekend (Dredd only earned $6.3 million last I checked). 

As expected, it was a pretty damn good action flick. It had a lot of over the top 80s-style violence and one-liners, Carl Urban was awesome as Clint Eastwood playing Judge Dredd, and the characters were simple, but very much badass and intriguing.

Scarface ain't got shit on Ma-Ma

Basically, without spoilers, Dredd and his new rookie, blond, girl partner, who is also a mutant with psychic abilities, are asked to respond to an incident in a large building that is basically a towering slum, and find out that the city is run by a gang led by the ultra violent and cruel "Ma-Ma," a biker chick with a gigantic scar, that controls the supply of a drug called slo-mo within the slum's walls. Lots of computer hacking and murdering ensues.

I am the law. That's all I'm required to say now that Obama waived Miranda Rights requirements. 

The 3D was pretty good when it was actually utilized, mostly during scenes demonstrating the effects of the slow-mo drug; actually pretty much every scene where the drug is used is the really heavily 3D part, and these are where the action gets 3D as well, including, as Brad Jones put it, "brand new ways to shoot someone in the face." Otherwise though, the action scenes not involving slow-mo are that barely 3D look where you can take your glasses off and nothing's blurry, so if you can see it in 2D, you're not missing too much of the experience, though the 3D effects do look mighty pretty when they're actually used.

Ma-Ma is so badass, when she bathes, it's in 3D slow motion

As for the movie itself, the plot is fast-moving, the dialogue is the perfect mix of taking the situation seriously (this is not the campy 90s Dredd by any stretch) and cornball one-liners ("I am the Law" has a much better setup and delivery from Urban than the too-cheesy 90s Stallone). Like I said, the characters are interesting, with oddly enough, Dredd being less captivating than the jaw-droppingly cruel Ma-Ma, and the more well-rounded, sometimes too squeamish for her job, but never as psychopathic as Dredd rookie he's with that gains his respect and drags him towards showing a bit of humanity.

This rookie has heart, and, more importantly, a fucking machine gun

If you loved Robocop as much as I did, you'll love this. It doesn't have the humorous satire of Robocop, but it's got the violent, fast-paced 80s action thing down. Definitely worth the ticket if you're at all a fan of hard-R popcorn movies.

The music in the remake is much more industrial/electronic and I love it; but I had to post this.

Of course, before we saw Dredd yesterday, we saw The Master at Studio Movie Grill. I reccommend their half-pound Angus burger and fries, which are both delicious, if a bit expensive a meal at about $10.25. The movie... um... well, it is beautifully shot; Paul Thomas Anderson's direction ensures some amazing shots of the water and basic, but really effective composition in most shots. The acting from Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams especially, is amazing, Adams being the most captivating person on-screen, and terrifying in a way that made her the most interesting person in the room any scene she was in. The premise, relating to the start of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard (Seymour Hoffman's character has a different name due to Scientologists having some weird power over Hollywood, which as a huge 1st amendment proponent I'm deeply upset by, but anyone familiar with some basic history of the organization will pick up the references) is incredibly interesting to me. One problem: the movie itself was not always incredibly interesting, and sometimes I was wondering if that was because it was hard to follow, or if I didn't know why I was supposed to care, given that I seemed to be following it just fine.

Can't tell if boringly pretentious, or captivatingly awesome.

I think the reason I didn't find it interesting was because my expectations of a scathing revue of Scientology were misplaced. It's there, most notably in a scene where one of fake Hubbard's followers asks why he changed the concept of remembering one's past self (a huge part of his philosophy propoganda is transcending the animal to realize one's spiritual being, which is an ancient concept that's been around since religion has, but his method of doing this involves hypnotiztion and recalling past lives) to imagining those selves. Clearly, the imagining thing makes these selves sound less real to his follower, so the change is upsetting, and the question gets a pretty violent rise out of fake Hubbard, who's stuck defending something he likely knows to be crap. There's also an earlier scene where he is performing hypnotization in New York, and a man questions him on the ability of this process to cure lukemia, which leads Amy Adams, who plays fake Hubbard's wife, to wonder why they put themselves out for public criticism (she's partly terrifying because of her crazed devotion to the cause).

This bitch cray

However, the focus is not Scientology itself, so much as former Navy guy, horn-dog, and mentally challenged PTSD sufferer Joaquin Phoenix's coming across the cult, and having their processes help him... well, I don't want to spoil it. Had I watched it knowing that was the premise, rather than the uphill battle with a lunatic cult I thought it would be based on the previews, I think I would have enjoyed it much more than I did. Looking back on it, I do want to see it again with that in mind, cause it is a really well-put together and captivating film in many ways, it's just also very quiet, and slow-moving, and long, and I may have missed a couple scenes here and there by mouth orgasming over my burger. 

Phoenix, post-lobodomy, which was Letterman's punishment for putting gum on his desk.

I'd say if you're a fan of Oscar bait, pretentious indie movies with cool premises, movies that rely heavily on their actors' performances to carry them, I definitely reccommend it, but be ready for a long sit, and try to enjoy what it not a send-up of Scientology, but a character study.

If that sounds boring to you though, it probably will be, so wait for DVD if you're weary. 

In other news, SNES games we owned blog coming soon, to be followed by more SNES stuff in future My Gaming Timeline blogs. Stay tuned, but be patient while I sort out real life.


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