Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The Walking Dead series starts tonight, so make sure to check it out.

If violent zombies and dystopian outlooks frighten you, then make sure to check the great recent episode of Community for a much more meta light-hearted view of it, even with some Romero touches.

As per my tradition, here is a Disney short that gave children nightmares. Especially with the jump cut.

My Tops of 2010 - October

Not much viewing this month. Except for the greatness that is ROBOT.

I have been lazy in going to see THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

WHEN IN ROME drops a giant bomb on the romantic comedy genre.

The recent Rifftrax was very good, though not as great as REEFER MADNESS and PLAN 9. The main movie, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, didn't have many stand-out moments or great consistency of laughter but was still funny. The shorts, however, were fantasic. "Here I am, Willy!", "Join us, Willy". "Is Uncle Ben goin' have to cut a witch?"

Best Films

1. Toy Story 3

2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

3. Inception

4. The Kids Are All Right

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

6. The Town

7. The Secret of Kells

8. The Crazies

9. Kick-Ass

Worst Films

1. The Last Airbender

2. Knight and Day

3. When In Rome

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Robot (Enthiran) - Review

ROBOT, also known as Enthiran, is the most widely known Bollywood film this year in terms of American interest. Unlike the sheer misstep of KITES, this film broke through many jaded irises thanks to the viral hits of its bombastic trailer. It is safe to say that ROBOT is an insane sugar rush of hedonism. A mixture of Indian and American pop cultures, it is both a joy with or without irony and a sheer ugly painting of ignorance and plagiarism.

The plot is a bipolar hatchet-job: Doctor Vasee, played by "Superstar" Rajini, creates a hyper-intelligent android he later dubs Chitti. Vasee is of course a normal comic book scientist and he has neglected and avoided his beautiful girlfriend Sana (A-list actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). But thanks to his sexy middle-agedness and his new creation as a butler, he wins her quickly back and showcases Chitti to the world. However, Vasee's mentor Professor Bora loathes his accomplishments and sets up road-blocks to prevent his total success. Bora, who has failed in his robot testing, wants to use the androids for money and sell them to evil foreign terrorists. But Vasee is a man of peace and respect and thus he wants to use Chitti as a killing machine for the Indian military. This humongous plot hole hovers above as Chitti receives feelings in his programming and falls in love with Sana. Severly vexed, Vasee obliterates his defenseless creation and is shocked, shocked that Chitti returns for a ultra-violent grandiloquent finale. So, you start with IRON MAN and "I, Robot" before it transforms into the SCARFACE version of THE TERMINATOR.

I do love cinema. Only in a Bollywood production could this yin-yang ripped-off plot structure work and keep a viewer's sanity in check. A lot of money had been put toward this movie, despite the fact that the CG is awful and hideous at times, to create the biggest fantasy explosion to people's hearts and minds. The action sequences are quite well-choreographed for brutal mayhem and bullet depravity. The music is very hit-or-miss, with the two standouts being an awkward yet beautiful dance at Machu Picchu with "Kilimanjaro" and "Naina Mile", where Chitti dances with Cyclon knock-offs while Mrs. Rai Bachchan alternates between sexy anime cosplay and Fergie-like rapping. Acting wise, Rajini underplays and hams up both characters to great results and Rai is simply just decent given the material.

I may have let the stolen plot elements go with a pass, but the original writing and characterization in this film is pure awful. None of the main characters have a stability to be liked by the audience. Vasee starts off smart and humble but becomes a really obnoxious jerk who, again to state, murders the innocent Chitti because he didn't want to kill human beings for the military. Despite Rai trying to show off more character features, Sana is underwritten to be a shrew who likes to abuse Chitti as her "toy-friend" by helping her cheat on her exams and pick fights. By process of elimination, Chitti should be the hero given this rampant misanthropic writing. However, he turns evil, due to a special chip implemented by Dr. Bora, and goes on a terror spree, murdering a ton of cops with his ugly skunk hairdo. He is never given redemption nor able to fight his new programming to protect his former family and friends. It is a sheer repulsive heel turn.

But the real repulsion of this film comes in two sickening sequences. In the first one, Sana is tackled and held down by multi-racial gang members while a man licks his lips and touches her clothes. Because that's what I want in my sci-fi action comedy, rape with an Indian conservative agenda. The second is both very ludicrous and appalling: Chitti saves a bunch of citizens from burning buildings. His last person is a female teenager who was taking a bath. He returns her to her mother in front of television cameras. Utterly shamed, the girl runs off and is hit by a bus while Vasee browbeats Chitti despite the fact that he knew the girl would have been naked and didn't specifically tell the simple Chitti to put something on her. It is crap like this that makes this film hard to sit through the normally breazy three hour running time. I want to see a robot dance in Flash Gordon attire, not unnecessary objectification of women.

Despite the erroneous problems with the script, ROBOT is still a blazing pageantry of cinema spectacle. It has the same problems as all recent Bollywood fare: bad continuity errors, terrible post-production slow-motion, dumb catchphrases, fake stunts, etc. But how many films has a giant snake or a rolling boulder formed by a bunch of robots? Or has a robot have a discussion with mosquitos?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon

The Dark of the Moon.



The following is what I wish was said in the meetings for the justification of this title: