Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Screenplay by: Danny Strong and Peter Craig
Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I’ve only read the first Hunger Games book. That either makes me the perfect reviewer for the movies, or maybe a woefully incompetent one. It does mean, however, that I’m taking the movies one at a time, because I don’t know what happens.
I know it makes me a bad anarchist to say this, but the worst thing about the third part of the Hunger Games is that there aren’t any hunger games. It’s just a movie about revolution instead. Considering that the hunger games are an awful thing and revolutions are something us anarchists are known for encouraging, this is a strange statement. But frankly, the battle royale under the omniscient gaze of an evil dictator made for good fiction.
Revolution can too, it turns out. I liked the movie, but it was decidedly less fun, and in so many ways less spectacular, than the first two. It was just, well, a completely different thing. Which is better than just making the same movie three times, I suppose, from a storytelling point of view. So I’ll forgive it.
Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
Directors: Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
Writers: Irena Brignull & Adam Pava
Based on: Here Be Monsters!, a novel by Alan Snow
Finally, someone made a movie that does steampunk justice. The Boxtrolls is set in an alternate 19th century with mad inventors and giant robots and an aristocracy more concerned with tasting various types of cheeses than with caring for the poor, and the filmmakers didn’t just glue gears onto everything at random. More importantly, class relations are even more integral to the plot than the clanking machines of madmen.
It’s beautiful and stop-animated. It’s earnest, it’s cleverly-written, and it’s funny as hell without resorting to hidden sex jokes. Instead, the hidden aimed-at-adults jokes are fourth-wall-challenging references made by the henchmen who ponder the moral weight of their actions. Are they the good guys? Are they the bad guys? Despite having clearcut protagonists and antagonists, this film does a good job of examining the difference between good and evil actions versus good and evil people.
Continue reading The Boxtrolls (2014)
inXile Entertainment, 2014
Wasteland 2 is probably the longest RPG I’ve ever played, and it doesn’t really have the payoff I feel entitled to after investing so many hours into play. I bet someone’s already come up with some great pun off the name, like “waste-your-life too.” If someone didn’t beat me to it, then I just did.
Still, it’s a game up my alley and I enjoyed it. It’s got tactical, turn-based combat, lots of skills and attributes, and it’s got a good immersive world to play in.
In Wasteland 2, you play a post-apocalyptic cop, one of the elite saviors of humanity known as the Desert Rangers. You’ve got a badge and a gun and you shoot a lot of “raiders.”
Why is it so important in video games that you can buy sex?
Continue reading Wasteland 2
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Simon Kinberg
Recommended? As a movie, but not for its lessons
Wolverine goes back in time to stop Mystique from killing a scientist who tortures and kills and studies mutants. The scientist is doing these things so that he can build giant machines to kill all the mutants.
I dunno, maybe instead of going back in time to get Mystique not to kill the guy, Wolverine should have gone back in time even further and just killed the guy as soon as he became a violent bigot. Why is it right to go back in time to tell Mystique what she can and cannot do, but not to go back in time and tell Peter Dinklage what he can and cannot do?
I know it’s like, a really big part of the whole X-Men universe, but I just don’t understand why killing is presented as always wrong.
Continue reading X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Recommended? maybe, maybe not
I don’t know, maybe I just have a low bar for films. All the reviewers say this movie is crap. That it’s plodding and Johnny Depp isn’t peppy. That it doesn’t explore its heavy subject matter in-depth enough, or that it’s hypocritical that the movie has an anti-technology message yet uses the latest in CGI special effects.
That last critique kind of stuck with me, and I realized… maybe part of why this film is being panned is because people don’t want to think about what it has to say. After all, cries against the “hypocrisy” of the anti-technology crowd are pretty much the mewing of defensive fools who are desperate to discredit the obvious truth that technology can be alienating and destructive.
Continue reading Transcendence (2014)