Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Honestly, I didn't watch movies all that much until reciently. But after my local Blockbusted pissed me off, I signed up for a Netflix account and have been steadly watching stuff ever since. Guess it helps that aside from "American Chopper" and "Scrubs" everything on TV pretty much sucks ass!

Touching the Void - Cool ass movie about a couple of mountaineers/ice climbers who (in 1985) attempt a new route up a mountain in Peru (Soula Grande?). It wouldn't be a movie if everything went fine, so you can guess that everything goes to pieces. They both survive the experience, but the one dood is all busted up in the adventure.

I'm not giving anything away by saying "they both survive". The movie is a good mix of on-camera narration by the actual climbers, mixed with actors doing serious climbs. It may sound lame, but it really works well. It's a good mix of adventure movie and documentary.

I've always wanted to try ice climbing (tho, I'm thinking the beginner low-angle stuff instead of the sheer walls these guys climbed), so this movie may hold more interest for me. But I think it works well for pretty much anybody. A definite "A" rating. Also, I highly recommend watching the extra stuff on the DVD. The making-of is cool, but the "What happened next" picks up where the movie ends (basically, the climbers sitting in a tent after reuniting) and tell the story of getting off the mountain, to the hospital in Lima, and getting back to England. Really cool wrap-up to the movie.

The Work and The Story - The new hotness from Utah (according to a friend of mine, Ben, who happens to be Mormon) is Mormon Cinema. Movies made by Mormons, primarily for Mormons (I think). After talking to Ben about this new (to me) genre, I stumbled across "The Work and The Story" on my local video joint's "new release" wall. Since I had one movie and a "rent one get one free" coupon in my hand, I was lacking only the "get one free" part of the equation. I decided to give "The Work" a try.

I must admit...I couldn't make it through it. I tried. Honestly, I did. I might have gotten 45 minutes through it and had to throw in the towel.

Basically, it's styled like a documentary (maybe it *is* a documentary, what do I know?). The premise is that the top Mormon filmmaker has gone missing, presumably lost in a plane crash into the Great Salt Lake, and this movie follows three "up and coming" Mormon filmmakers who hope to take over the role as the "top dog" LDS filmmaker. There were occasional little subtitles that popped up to define things that us non-Mormons might not understand (note to self...ask Ben about Mormon "Hell"). These were helpful, but I still felt like I was missing a lot of what was going on. I think there were a lot of Mormon-centric nuances that were just sailing over my head.

I'll have to talk to my ultra-secret Mormon connection (code name "Ben") and see if he's seen this and what his impressions of it are. Who knows, maybe I picked the worst LDS movie to start with. I'll give it a "C" rating, even tho I couldn't make it through. It's probably a "B" or above if you happen to be Mormon. You'd prolly catch a lot more humor than I did in the film.

1984 - I have to admit right up front that I've never read the book. Yes, I own a copy. I've had it for years. Sure, I know the basic premise of the story (Big Brother, oppresive government, brainwashing, total loss of privacy and self). But I've never been able to drag myself through the book. I know I should. It's on my "to do" list.

Nothing can prepare you for the depressing-ness of this friggin movie. It's bleak, everything is grey and drab. Oppressive. Depressive. Repressive. This movie has got it all! The whole thing just makes you tired. I understand that this is exactly what Orwell was going for when he wrote it. And the director did a great job of bringing the bleak-ness to life. But man oh man. I'd give it a "C-" for watchability, and maybe a "B" for ability-to-get-it's-point-across-ness. But if I ever watch this agian, it'll be because I'm forced to with one of those Clockwork Orange hold-your-eyes-open-things.