This Week in Geek (25-31/01/16)


I got a few DVDs this week, including Timbuktu, The Great Beauty, Hyena Road, and Mr. Robot Season 1. Oh, and the Lego Dimensions Wonder Woman Fun Pack. She's already proven useful.


DVDs: It's been an impressive year for animated films, and if Inside Out weren't a shoe-in for the Oscar, Shaun the Sheep Movie, despite its awkward title, would be a strong contender. I've never actually seen any of the Wallace & Gromet spin-off's 140 7-minute episodes, but the movie doesn't require you to. It very efficiently introduces you to a large and varied cast, more masterful for not using dialog, and takes you on a journey filled with laughs and charming moments. The claymation process may look old-fashioned, but is taken to movie proportions in the complexity of choreography and the sheer scope of the world presented. When you look in the background, there's always something going on, plenty of hidden jokes and a huge cast of extras. Quite, quite fun.

Just when you thought the revenge thriller genre had nothing new to say, here comes Blue Ruin, an indie flick by up-and-comer Jeremy Saulnier, made on a shoestring budget, but not looking like it. Gorgeously shot from top to bottom, Blue Ruin in a game of Solitaire Fiasco in which the protagonist seems to do the "smart" "movie" things he must do to carry out his plans, but real world logic has other ideas. Saulnier keeps asking "what would *I* do?" but also "what would then happen if I did?". There lies its freshness, in simultaneously playing within the genre's rules and refusing to play by them. I can't wait to see Saulnier's Green Room now. The DVD includes a commentary track from the director and the lead, a making of, some deleted scenes, and the camera test that allowed the production to get financing without much of anything at all. Some great lessons for indie filmmakers in there.

It's become cool to trash the Wachowskis, whose vision often exceeds and escapes their grasp - we get it folks, they'll never make another Matrix - but is Jupiter Ascending really as bad as they say? It's not great, probably their weakest film since Reloaded, but it nevertheless creates a universe I would have liked to see revisited some day. The comparison to (the still much better) John Carter is a fair one. There are several reasons why the film doesn't quite work, of course. Mila Kunis' space princess takes too many things in her stride, for example, robbing the movie of the sense of wonder it really should inspire. It doesn't help that her bulk of the action is to refuse to sign one contract after another, including a bureaucratic comedy sequence that seems spliced from another film, like say Hitchhiker's Guide or Brazil. Finally, there's the script that has so much to explain that it becomes a series of exposition pieces. To be expected, but perhaps a bit clumsy. But the sheer imagination of it kept it afloat for me. An exercise in world-building that unfortunately fails its actors from the script stage on. The DVD includes a couple of making of featurettes, the better one about the animal-human hybrids and the actors who played them.


Radagast said...

Speaking of the Wachowskis, have you heard of the Netflix show they created with J. Michael Straczynski? It's titled Sense8 and is quite the unique production, filmed all over the world with an amazing cast.

Siskoid said...

JMS, now there's someone who's cachet has also plummeted! I've heard of it, but since I don't have Netflix, haven't tasted it yet.

The Wachowskis cram too much into their films, which causes problems. I bet television treats them better.

Brian Artillery said...

I enjoyed the Shaun The Sheep movie - almost as many sly gags in it than are in the Deadpool movie. I particularly like the 'glaring dog in the next cell' gag.That really appealed to my silly sense of humour.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (54) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (31) Avengers (59) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (680) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (61) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (24) Buffy (6) Canada (72) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (59) Cat (156) CCGs (63) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (4004) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (78) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1693) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (87) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (774) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (61) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (448) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (88) Hawkman (40) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (16) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (88) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (97) JSA (26) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (203) Kung Fu (100) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (131) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (459) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (9) Nightmare Fuel (22) Number Ones (60) Obituaries (42) oHOTmu OR NOT? (82) Old52 (12) One Panel (305) Outsiders (167) Panels from Sheena (6) Paper Dolls (8) Play (78) Podcast (510) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (16) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (541) Sandman (23) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (371) Siskoid as Editor (36) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (21) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1734) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (39) Supergirl (90) Superman (1065) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (24) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (85) That Franchise I Never Talk About (54) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (104) Who's This? (215) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (84) X-Files (246) X-Men (103) Zero Hour Strikes (28) Zine (5)