Hey folks--it's been a while since my last blog entry, so I thought I might throw out a few things that have been on my mind lately.
First off, I'd like to offer Bill a hearty welcome back as he gives us his first piece (DVD specs on Bielinsky's The Aura) since his fateful surgery. I also hope you caught his epic update on the mothersite last Friday, which included Blades of Glory, Shooter, and The Lookout from Walter and Saw III from Travis. That Bill Chambers, he's one tough bastard--and he wasn't about to let some pissant hernia interfere with his incredible dedication to this site. I'm really proud to call him my editor and my friend.
Also today: my review of "Extras: The Complete First Season". Are you 'avin' a laugh?
FYI: I'll be attending the Philadelphia Film Festival from April 5th to the 18th, logging (and maybe blogging) capsules for FFC; promises to be an exciting two weeks.
Proving that I'm a bit behind everyone else, I'm currently on the second season of "Six Feet Under" (wherein Ruth discovers
The Secret The Plan) via Netflix. In a bit of bad luck, several of the series' final whammies were ruined for me by an episode of "Jeopardy!" and later by my barber--but it's so damned good that it hardly matters. Kind of leads to a simplistic question, but one I'd like you to weigh in on: What's your opinion on the importance of remaining spoiler-free? Do you avoid/go looking for spoilers on a case-by-case basis, or do you have concrete rules?
Also from Netflix: Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator, which will have to keep me sustained until I can get my hands on the brand new two-disc'er from Anchor Bay (complete with syringe-shaped highlighter in reagent green). It stands alongside Raimi's first two Evil Dead films in the realm of horror/comedy, I think, in the sense that it can't be carelessly picked apart. Sure, I love the last fifteen minutes of Re-Animator--as much as I love Evil Dead II's shotgun-chainsaw finale. But while those scenes can be (and probably already have been) described to you--maybe even shown to you, outside of context--you'll never really get them until you see the films in their entirety.
Compare that to Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. It's pretty gross, all right, and it's agreeably silly, but it's more or less a collection of sketched-out concepts, designed with a certain isolation in mind so that you could describe them to your friends later; Army of Darkness suffers from the same pitfalls as well. (Perhaps both films suffer from fanboy expectation imposed by earlier efforts--Bad Taste and Evil Dead II, respectively.) The lawnmower, the kung-fu priest, the medieval mechanical hand, blowing away your evil twin--how many times did you actually hear about them before you saw the movies, and were you slightly disappointed when you found out that they existed exactly as they were described to you? Maybe this is the litmus test by which we'll eventually judge Grindhouse.
In the end, it's a reflection of Ebert's old "it's about what it's about" credo. No fewer than three different heads (from all walks of life and undeath) go smashing against walls throughout Re-Animator, leaving gooey blood stains in their wake--pretty amusing on their own, but the real hilarity of the film lies in realizing how fragile we all are. But then, you'll just have to see it. Onward to Bride of Re-Animator.
Speaking of rejuvenating green liquid, some friends and I rented Michael Pressman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in preparation for TMNT, which apparently takes place after Ooze, a la Superman Returns. Yeah, it's film rife with embarrassment, the unsurprising peak of which is Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap." If the modern CGI film has an equivalent to that scene, it's probably a slapstick chase sequence set to a particularly obnoxious rendering of "Black Betty," a cover of Ram Jam's arrangement of the song. Since the Turtles franchise has always been more about being hip and accessible instead of viable and entertaining, it makes me ponder modern adolescent cinema and its propensity to use cover songs from its target audience's parents' generation--which in turn makes me wonder what it is, exactly, that constitutes as "hip" anymore.
And speaking of Superman, Tom Welling possibly signs up for Teen Wolf III, or maybe Ginger Snaps IV.
Even with nukes, coup d'etats, and dying presidents flying all over the place, "24" (aka "The Jack Bauer Power Hour") has been a bit sedate lately. (You have to admit that the artificial drama surrounding the recent cabinet vote on presidential competence was more than a little silly.) Have we reached a point where "real" excitement can only come in the expectation for self-parody? Regardless, I can't stop watching. Maybe it's how the series effortlessly co-opts moments in cinema that everyone has seen, then brings them into its own crazed realm. The James Bond slant that this season seems to take whenever Jack disarms/disables a nuke, for instance--or this week's shootout, which transformed the climax of Touch of Evil into the climax of Sudden Impact.
Anyway, on to Philly--next time I see you folks, it'll probably be after I've seen the Festival opener, David Wain's very own decalogue, The Ten.