Monday, April 19, 2010

Pass The Popcorn!

I've also been watching a bunch of movies on DVD lately, so here's a few mini-reviews:

Zombieland: Not exactly a groundbreakingly original contribution to the zombie apocalypse subgenre, and not a patch on Shaun of the Dead for humor, but entertaining enough in a quirky, low-key kind of way. Woody Harrelson is particularly fun.

9: A very odd little movie about a group of rag doll robots in a post-apocalyptic world. It's incredibly visually interesting in pretty much the ways you'd expect from something co-produced by Tim Burton -- enough so that I really feel I missed much of the effect by watching it on a small screen. (Alas, I don't even have HD.) The little robots have a certain bizarre charm, and the atmosphere is great, but the actual story is sadly just not very satisfying.

King Kong: I was vaguely interested in seeing the Peter Jackson remake when it came out on DVD, but thought I probably ought to watch the original first, so I stuck it on the Netflix queue and then, typically, took forever to actually get to it. But I'm really glad I did. I can see why this is considered a classic. Yes, the unabashedly sexist damsel-in-distress story invites a certain amount of eye-rolling from modern viewers (and the less said about the embarrassing fake "Chinaman" the better). And I'm always amused by the acting in these very old movies. It's terribly stilted, with people projecting all over the place at random volumes, as if they're still not quite sure how to go about performing for this new medium. But never mind that. The story's actually pretty good. And the cinematography is astonishing. Yes, it's all extremely primitive, but, honestly, I've seen movies made decades later that don't look as good. Kong may not exactly be visually realistic, but he's never laughable, and watching him in action is genuinely, unironically thrilling. Which is more than I can say for most of the modern Hollywood blockbusters I've seen. I can only imagine how fantastically exciting this must have been at the time. I think if I ever get myself a working time machine, I'm going to go back for a first-run screening, just to watch the audience reaction. And I'm not sure I'll bother with the remake, after all. It seems pretty pointless now.


  1. King Kong an 1933 was the best visual movie to date. It is still up there in my book. I still watch it once in a while.

  2. It really does hold up amazingly well, all things considered.

    And I thought I remembered you being a fan of that movie. I somehow managed never to see more than maybe a couple of minutes of it, though.

  3. It's funny that Dad chimed in on this because I was sitting here thinking "yeah, I saw King Kong when I was young and Dad was watching on his old B movie double features or something" Although King Kong is not a B movie I know. I actually remembering liking it quite a lot.

  4. I generally turned my nose up at Dad's monster movies and wandered out of the room. What a foolish child I was. :)