June 13, 2006

Cars (2006, John Lasseter)

Cons:

1. Cars don't anthropomorphize well.

2. Even if they did, you'd need a better lead character than the blandly egocentric Lightning McQueen.

3. In an ideal situation, when a character like this gets stranded in a podunk town, you want that character to stay there, because he can't see the charm that's so obviously there. Here, McQueen couldn't get out of there fast enough for me.

4. Well, if the story's well-written, that can be good enough. Except nearly every single moment can be predicted minutes in advance.

5. All right, so that much is a wash. But it's funny, right? I think I laughed out loud twice.

6. It has Larry the Cable Guy.

7. Larry the Cable Guy is probably one of the best things about it.

Pros:

1. Oh my fucking god, is this thing ever gorgeous.

6/16/06: Additional Thoughts:

This is also the worst-casted Pixar joint so far. Owen Wilson just disappears when reduced to a voice -- part of his appeal is how that slacker/stoner voice of his plays against his good looks and obvious smarts, and without that, it's all butterscotch and no stallion. Same with Bonnie Hunt -- she's amazing when she gets to use her intelligence and improvisational skills, but take away her expressive face and stick her with a script and she's just an inoffensive and pretty voice. It just goes to show how inspired it was to cast a guy whose name includes a job description. While he's clearly playing a stereotype (and I've heard tell that he comes by his "genuine redneck" schtick dishonestly), the voice sounds real to me -- and rather than overplay it, he underplays it, like he's been struck modest by being offered to work with the Toy Story guys. And yet, because of that, he walks away with the whole thing.

Posted by kza at 08:35 PM | Comments (3)

June 07, 2006

Best. Movie-Related. Blog Post. Ever.

"She rode a horse."

I'm glad I didn't read this in a public place. I about lost it.

Posted by kza at 02:05 PM | Comments (4)

June 01, 2006

The House on the Edge of the Park (1980, Ruggero Deodato)

I was expecting the worst of the worst here. Slasher flick? Check. Early 80s? Check. Italian director? Check. Cheap DVD compilation? Check. (Entitled "Horrorlicious", no less.) Fortunately, this turned out to be a stylish, well-directed "maniacs & hostages" flick, and the transfer aint bad, either. (At least compared to a different set's Cathy's Curse, which was so horrible I had to pretend it was an experimental video work.) David Hess more or less reprises his Last House character, and invites himself and his buddy Ricky (Giovanni Radice, looking an awful lot like Trey Parker) to the dinner party of Annie Belle and Spader-esque Christian Borromeo. The first forty minutes, where the lower class hooligans and the upper class weirdos sniff each other out is the best, the highlight being Ricky, to Hess's disgust, doing a striptease for the partiers. But then the knives come out, and for a while, it works. It should've ended not long after Hess literally says "boo!", as the tension extinguishes itself. Unfortunately, it continues on for another forty minutes, where it gets repetitive, then dull, then finally ludicrous. (Note to Kim Newman: There's a fine line between etc. etc.) Still, a worthy genre flick, and a capsule of a time when, if you were an actor in an exploitation film, yes, you will get nude. Good job, disco 2001 guy.

Posted by kza at 11:11 AM