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Monthly Archives: January 2012

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Cherry 2000

In the old WPIX days, Cherry 2000 was one of those movies that was always in rotation. The love story of a man, a woman and a robot was how the station ads described it and it wasn’t an inaccurate description.

Cherry 2000 is one of those movies barely strange enough to qualify as a cult film and not nearly bad enough, despite its premise to be worth seeing on the “so good it’s bad” grounds.

The story is simple enough to be completely ridiculous. An executive’s sexbot (who in true Hollywood fashion usually reserved for hookers he truly loves) breaks down causing him to hire a beautiful female tracker to find a replacement body for her that he can stick the mini disc with her memories into in the lawless parts of California after the breakup of the united states and the collapse of civilization.

Cherry 2000 dances on the edge of satire with its mockery of California and its strange fusion of Mad Max and a love story, but never crosses the line. It has moments of striking visual style, especially in a western town on the edge of civilization that blends the wild west with a 1980’s view of 21’st century technology or when the executive ends up in the surreal ranch of the local warlord, Lester who sounds like a granola compound leader… But it’s mostly bland.

Despite some epic settings the action scenes fizzle and the love story never adds up. The male lead is too bland to hold the spotlight and Melanie Griffith’s tracker with red hair, a machine gun and a tender heart becomes the focus of the film.

Which makes Cherry 2000 a peculiar movie about a woman who rams through armed barricades for a living but falls for a man who is in love with a sexbot for no obvious reason except that he is good looking and then mopes about waiting for him to wise up while dodging bullets.

It’s weird but it’s not weird weird, it dances around satire but never gets there, but it’s a strange artifact of a time when movies like this got tossed off without a second thought.

Isn’t the Foreign Box Office Great?

It used to be that Americans were held responsible for watching bad movies. But it’s not even Americans anymore. You would think that a bad movie that deservedly bombs locally would just disappear. But no.

Puss in Boots seemed like a dud, but internationally it’s on track to cross 200 million and it’s tops in a bunch of markets. The character was always aimed at international audiences anyway. Which means a sequel is likely.

Real Steel, you know that dumb bastardization of one of the darker stories, into something that reminds you of Stallone’s Over the Top, did poorly at home, but overseas it’s approaching 200 million. That’s right. 200 million. Americans might have hated it, but South Koreans loved it. It scored 23 million in a country which has around twice that many people. It was almost as popular in Hong Kong. Does that mean there’s going to be a Real Steel 2? Probably not. But it means the people who made it don’t look as dumb as they should.

In Time bombed here. It’s a 100 million dollar movie internationally.

Everything Wrong With Stephen R Donaldson’s Covenant Books in One Sentence

“In con­trast, the grass stains on her jeans had nev­er felt so fa­tal. They dragged at her steps like omens or ar­cane stig­ma­ta.”

Against All Things Ending

This probably isn’t the worst line in the book, people make lists of those, but it also captures the slow degradation of the Covenant novels until they reach this level of complete ridiculousness.

The grass stains on her jeans felt fatal? Seriously. The original three books for all their emotionalism still worked somewhat as high fantasy, and the next three books, aside from the ridiculous One Tree, worked on some level despite the extended therapy sessions. But the last three books are all One Tree. They’re not about anything except the characters agonizing and the characters are running out of things to agonize about.

Donaldson has gotten to the point where “the grass stains on her jeans had nev­er felt so fa­tal” makes sense to him as something you would want to put in a book instead of an emo song. The last three Covenant novels starring Linden are just completely indefensible. Maybe they were all hard to defend, but finally Donaldson took everything wrong with The One Tree and focused on getting it even more wrong. And there’s no point to it even.

The original books were somewhat compact, but here it takes an entire chapter for Covenant and Linden to go somewhere after he’s first summoned. Every character’s expression and interaction with other characters is described even when they don’t say anything every few pages. It’s like somebody describing a play to a blind guy and it’s so repetitive and irritating that there aren’t even words for it, except maybe carious frangible sequestery.

I’ve barely gotten three chapters into Against All Things Ending and I’m already sick and tired of it.

I Guess It’s Nice and All…

I guess it’s nice and all that Star Trek and Star Trek TNG have enough commercial vitality to them that Paramount is actually taking the time to continue spiffing up the old shows. I like the redone Encounter at Farpoint look, not because I’m a big fan of tinkering with old shows but because it does a better job of making the older episodes match the later episodes. This way Encounter at Farpoint looks like it could have aired in Season Seven, aside from Q’s youthful looks. But it’s also a reminder that the franchise has no life except reselling the same commodities over and over again. A new show can’t be made, so get ready for spiffing up more originals.

The Dork Knight Rises

There’s a word for this and it’s stupid. I don’t mean the movie itself, which like Dark Knight will probably be interesting in its own way, but Nolan’s Batman. With the third and final movie it’s clear that Nolan overthought the whole Batman thing by quite a bit turning the movies into urban sociology and philosophy. There is no Batman in Nolan’s Batman movies. Not really.

Will The Dark Knight Rises even be a good movie? It’s anyone’s guess. The inaudible Bane adds on to Nolan’s inability to direct action scenes, having to take Anne Hathaway seriously as Catwoman and a whole bunch of other problems. Nolan got a boost in Dark Knight from having the Joker as a character, it’s hard to go wrong there. This time around there isn’t much in the way of a villain personality which is going to put the focus where it shouldn’t be. On Gotham.

The Devil Outside

Give bad horror movies their due, they are the true indies. You can make them cheaply and if you get lucky they can score a fortune. The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity and now The Devil Inside. Sure marketing can be credited, but there wasn’t that much of it. It might be truer to say that there’s a public appetite for horror, bad horror movies at that, which pops up at times. And what they want isn’t another movie featuring CW starlets. That’s where movies like The Devil Inside come out of nowhere to deliver. Watch 5 minutes of SyFy, any 5 minutes and you can see how cheaply and how badly a “scares in the attic” movie can be made. And cheap and bad movies are the baseline indie.

Microsoft’s Moment

Microsoft is either on its last legs or on the verge of seizing the future by the throat. It all depends on who you ask. It’s easy to dwell on its legion of failures. A company which could have had iTunes, Android, the iPad and the iPhone is still clumsily playing catchup and asking customers to take another look at yet another mobile product that they’re not interested in anymore. Its biggest non-legacy asset is still the XBox. But Microsoft is trying, still plowing money into one thing or another. And occasionally there are signs showing that it gets it. Windows 8 will either allow it to muscle its way into the mobile marketplace or turn into another major dud. But even if it does it still has the cash flow and the determination not to give up. Some companies are smart and graceful, Microsoft has always been the bull. It may miss its moment but it will keep on pushing forward.

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