Friday, December 30, 2011

Season's Greetings

Christmas is behind us and New Year's Day beckons.  We'll ring in 2012 with Chrontendo Episode 43.  It might be a while, however, as Ep 43 will be the biggest episode yet, with a butt-numbing 20 games.  This will take us through March 1989 in its entirity.

Until then, with what can you slake your desire for entertainment?  Well, there's a new episode of Generation 16 for starters.  Also... how about a new movie review from Harry Plinkett? And it's a review of  Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull(Note: the video contains one very loud and disturbing sequence inappropriate for viewing in the presence of co-workers or family members) It's the perfect Christmas gift!  Do you remember that warm feeling of nostalgia that washed over you when you saw Crystal Skull?  Sure you do, but that wasn't nostalgia for the '80s and watching Raiders for the first time. No, it was nostalgia for 1999 and watching the Phantom Menace for the first* time! Skull brought those same sensations of excitement, hope, confusion, denial, disappointment, anger, and betrayal flooding back to you. 

If anything Plinkett goes a little easy on Crystal Skull; he seems far too accepting of Shia LeBeouf's performance in the film, for one.  Honestly - has there ever been a less engaging action "star" than LeBeouf? How many actors can duplicate his lack of charisma and screen presence? Jim Belushi, maybe? Spielberg and Lucas almost seem to be making fun of LeBeouf in the movie. The first shot of him in Skull shows him dressed up in 50's biker gear, drawing an obvious (and hilarious) parallel to Marlon Brando in The Wild One.  It almost seems to state, "Sorry kids, actors like Brando are hard to find nowadays.  Here's the weenie-ish 21th century equivalent. Yes, we know he looks like a kid playing dress-up, but look what we had to work with."

He's just like Brando, minus the cool and interesting part.
This sense of ersatzness pervades Crystal Skull. Even the plot revolves around fakery.  Instead of legendary objects such as the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, Indy is searching for "Mayan" crystal skulls, which in the real world are 19th century forgeries, probably German in origin, sold to gullible collectors.  The film is like that; a fake Indiana Jones movie, foisted upon its unfortunate viewers.  Anyway, the Plinkett review is not quite as amazing as the Star Wars prequel reviews, but it's still pretty entertaining.

Okay, this post really didn't have much to do with video games.  Next time, I'll elaborate on my theory about Rock Operas.

*And probably only time.


blobolonia said...

I love how he uses Lucas and Spielberg's own words against them.

GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

One of the great things about Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade (Temple of Doom, not so much) was that, over-the-top as it was, most of the action seemed like the sort of thing that you could maybe, arguably imagine sort of happening in the real world. Whereas Crystal Skull is just pure ridiculous wall-to-wall CGI, like any other damn blockbuster action movie of recent years. Totally unengaging.

Skymaster T said...

Crystal Skull was not a good Indiana Jones movie. It was a decent movie compared to all the other garbage we see nowadays. I was thoroughly disappointed with Spielberg and Lucas and what they did with the franchise.

In hearing recent interviews and comments from people who are close to Lucas, I think he has lost his mind. He seems to be consumed with the fact that the world will end in 2012. I think that idea is eating away at his creative thoughts.

qaylIS aka Nicolas Deußer said...

Indy and the Chrystal Meth was by far my worst movie experiences in that year, especially with the thought in the back of my head saying: "It is not possible that this movie sucks. At all." I mean, the dream team was finally back together, and I thought that maybe the other suckers ruined Star Wars instead of Lucas alone. But nooo, they had to prove me wrong. After all those great Indiana Jones storys, some really great comics (not all, I give you that), the fantastic Fate of Atlantis and the entertaining yet ludicrous Emprerors Tomb (I heard the Infernal Machine game has an interesting plot, but controls like dick, so I never touched it) there were enough good ideas flowing around. And then come these fucking aliens. This is so depressing.
At least Plinkett again shows us that he is a sick fuck. I really wonder that no one has sued him for filming such provocative material, I always thought that sueing is a widespread hobby in the U.S.

Kamiboy said...

Ah, the good doctor has seen fit to endorse the latest by that whimsical critic.

My thanks for informing me as well as my condolences to anyone who did not have better sense than to realize that in its current state Hollywood could never do any old and beloved movie of its glorious past proud with a new entry or even worse, with a dreaded remake.

Even though I laughed off the prospect of a new Indiana Jones movie dismissively as the first inkling of it might actually be made for serious this time reached me I decided to let old Plinkett humor me with his opinion of a moive I’ll never bear watching.

As I was watching him tear it to atoms an old realization of mine was cemented once more.

I know why Hollywood has fallen on such hard times artistically since their world wide high of the 1970's. It is a matter of all the young artistically inclined directors who in the 70-80's took the cinematic world with storm having grown too old and too past their prime.

They've lost the vigour and youthful spirit with which they challenged and rebelled against the conventions of the time and elevated the medium with products that were both entertainment as well as art all finely mixed in equal measure.

Perhaps they were a victim of their enormous success as well as the rigidness of old age that so often compels one to stubbornly stick to a set course without even really knowing why.

But there is something more to it. It is not just the old dogs having grown old, it is equally that no young ones ever showed up to pick up, or rather force the mantle out of their old numb jaws when the time was ripe.

Have there been any up and coming super talents in the world of cinema in the last few decades?

Surely! But all of them I could mention by name are patrons of foreign cinemas all littered across the globe. Chan Wok Park, Hong Jin Na and Joon-ho Bong being my own personal favourites but there are so many.

Alas I cannot even mention a single name currently residing in the hollowed interior of the Hollywood system. About the only person who was showing any promise in the last 2 decades was Christopher Nolan, alas his succint cinematic record was tainted with the same old neo Hollywood stench after they got him started on those demmed comic book adaptations.

By the way, I hope Plinkett does an equally elaborate review of that remake of 1979's Alien, whatever it is they are calling it. I have no intention of witnessing that ruination of a science fiction classic. That movie was the offspring of about half a decade period where Hollywood last glimmered in the form of a series of fantastic entries in that previously inglorious genre along with Aliens, Blade Runner and The Thing.

Too bad the general movie going public is forever ignorant of movies having been made before their time so their introduction to past masterpieces has to be via vulgar modern takes on them.

Doctor Sparkle said...

I rarely get too disappointed with movies, since I try to avoid going to actually see movies that look terrible... but Crystal Skull was a BIG disappointment. I was really hoping the old magic would return, but it was not to be.

A disturbing trend in action movies is to make the hero increasingly super-powered in each new sequel. You see this all the time -- Rambo, Rocky, Die Hard. The protagonist goes from being a regular guy to an unstoppable machine in the course of a few movies. Crystal Skull began withi Indy surviving a freaking nuclear bomb blast! Once this happens, all the suspense is sucked out, since he is basically a goddamned super hero at this point. It's a shame to see Spielberg succumbing.

For some reason, in American cinema today, a movie practically has to be a cartoonish action movie, a rom-com, or star a top-tier Hollywood actor to get any sort of wide release. I'd say there are still a lot of good American movies being made by folks like PT Anderson, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Chris Nolan, Spike Jonez, and many others. It's easy to romanticize the 70s, but back then I'm sure people bitched that stuff like the Poseidon Adventure and Airport overshadowed Taxi Driver and The Conversation. Of course, even the crappiest 70s movie is better than the latest Adam Sandler movie.

I'm not lawyer but I don't think anyone would legally go after Plinkett's reviews. Probably the most that could happen would be a takedown notice - which did happen to one of the Star Wars videos, though the takedown was reversed quickly. It would seem his reviews are protected under Fair Use, though he uses way more footage than is the norm. It's really hard to successfully sue someone for defamation or slander in this country. Politicians like talking about how the US is too litigious and clamor for "tort reform," but it seems unlikely Lucas or Spielberg would go after the guy.

Kamiboy said...

Dr. S, I'd give you Fincher if I had enjoyed anything of his since Fight Club. But then that was the film of its decade, one poor in classics, as far as Hollywood is concerned.

Of course there is the rankest most base sort of easily digestible rubbish made everyday but the way to measure the quality of a medium in a certain region is to consider the contrasting rise of the top tier stuff, and especially the tie ration. In that regard the 70's was an undeniable all time high after which a long down hill ride was initiated for Hollywood.

By the by, while looking at Fincher's IMDB page to refresh my waning memory I see that he is going to be in charge of making one of those Hollywood remakes of a solid foreign movie, this time for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Whenever I see this done by a somewhat competent director I wonder what the point is. Like The remake of the first Infernal Affairs movie I am sure it is going to be a passable effort, but is destined to fall short of the original because it stands in its shadow. Or it will for anyone who bothers to watch the original.

Why do general movie going public have to have a good movie translated into their local cinematic dialect for it to be palatable for them?

It is terrible. why can people not be content watching a foreign original?

I sure do hope that Hollywood remake of Park Chan Wook's ground breaking Old Boy falls through.

Anonymous said...

People hear "foreign film" and shut down, from my experience with "normal" people. Or immediately say, either, "I can't stand that their mouths don't match what they're saying" (you're a moron) or "if I wanted to read, I'd get a book" (you're an idiot). Since discovering foreign film, my interest in movies went from "movies are ok I guess" to "movies are great!"

And then we take an awesome Swedish movie and remake it the next fucking year into a stupid American movie. Movie-goers can't relate to wintry Sweden, let's put it in New Mexico! Eli is a boy's name, let's call the androgynous vampire Abby instead! SHIT.

"...the general movie going public is forever ignorant of movies having been made before their time..."
It's so sad that people don't even KNOW Kurosawa and Chaplin, but are content to watch whatever crap they find in a redbox machine.

Kamiboy said...

glown, as a fellow connoisseur of world cinema can I ask you wither you have a trusted source that you turn to in order to be informed of films, both old and new that one should be on the lookout for.

I have yet to land upon such a thing and my current method of finding interesting specimens is reliant on a suite of byzantine routines mostly founded in chance.

I recently by chance discovered Werner Herzog and his stupendous Aguirre, a movie from the 70's that has opened my eyes to how direly I am in need of a better method of discovering such obscure cinematic gems.

Donkey caress said...

Just want to say thanks, I love this stuff, I'm on episode 20 and only after a couple weeks. God bless you