And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


28 Days Later…(2002)
"Would you like to see my mask?"

“Would you like to see my mask?”

This is another one of those apparently genre-redefining films that all the first-run critics praised. Most of the genre critics have since torn this film apart, the better to examine its undigested stomach contents. I was going to do that, too. But my fellow Cold Fusioneer, MonsterHunter, already did. So go read it. It’s awesome. And it leaves me free to do my own damn thing.

As my colleague noted, George Romero’s Dawn and Day of the Dead played Alex Kintner here, inspirations director Danny Boyle rightly copped to early and often. He and I share a love for Day of the Triffids, and while he’s never mentioned Geoff Murphy’s The Quiet Earth (to my knowledge), I’ll bet we both watched that at some point in the mid-to-late-80s.

Boyle was directing TV movies at that time, a job designed to make people wish for some population-flattening apocalypse. Then he hit what he must’ve considered “the big time” with Trainspotting, a movie about Scottish heroin addicts so honestly well made even American heroin addicts managed to work up some small spark of interest in it. For a moment there in the early 2000s, Trainspotting became part of a Unholy Trinity of Awesome movies every member of my small, real-world-based subculture championed, whether they liked talking about movies or not. Most didn’t, but I kept my ear to the ground and eventually rumors swirled that the guy who did Trainspotting was making a zombie movie. How could that be anything less than awesome? Continue reading

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Inception (2010)
"For everything, turn, turn turn, there is a season, turn, turn..."

“For everything, turn, turn turn, there is a season, turn, turn…”

In the lead up to Inception a lot of the advance press wondered if the movie would prove too complicated for modern audiences, something we should’ve all dismissed as “bullshit.” Then the advance critics started crowing about it being the BEST MOVIE EVAHR, which I dismissed out of hand because advance critics are bullshit artists. Then the print critics who actually matter found out it was something other than the BEST MOVIE EVAHR. So it became “[t]he emperor’s new bed-clothes.”

Such is what this film’s had to deal with, over and above all the ten years of Hell its creator supposedly endured just to get it written in the first place. Either Christopher Nolan wrote the thing right after Momento and needed the Dark Knight‘s billion dollar profit to get a green light or it just took him ten years to write. Either way, I’ll believe it. Paradox, right?

Modern movies are caught in a terrible paradox of their own. Either they’re the BEST MOVIE EVARH or they’re the latest grand scam of Hollywood hacks. It’s a terrible state of affairs, particularly for just-straight-up-good movies that deserve to be appreciated for more than one weekend in July. Just because so many directors are artless assholes who only know how to make commercials doesn’t mean Christopher Nolan is too. It just means he has to compete with them all. So his films are inevitably less than the masterworks they probably should be. Continue reading



Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins initially disappointed me. All cinematic legends of the Dark Knight inevitably do, save those told by Paul Dini and Co.. I can remember leaving the theater in late 2005 with my Ambassador on my arm. She turned to me and said, “Somebody forgot to tell them they weren’t making Spider-man.”

Our Hero, in jail

Looking back now (after the abysmal failure of Spider-man 3, the X-men and Hulk sequels, and the endless parade of second rate cartoons Marvel’s churned out over the years) I realize how unfair this was to director Christopher (Memento) Noland, writer David S. (Blade) Goyer, and even Our Hero, Christian Bale. All did the best they could, and a much better job than anyone had any right to expect given the Bat’s long, largely-depressing, on-screen history. This movie went through all eight levels of Development Hell, its makers fighting wars and rumors of wars that no doubt weighted on my mind as I stepped into the the theater, clouding judgment already hustled by my twenty years of comic-reading. I would’ve found fault with the best Bat-picture in the world and Batman Begins is far from that. It is, however, the best Batman film in thirty years, easily surpassing Tim Burton’s opening salvo, no matter how much that film did for Bats as a character, or for his genre as a whole. {More}