Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Goldblum’

Media Update 4/12/18

April 12, 2018


Isle of Dogs

I love Wes Anderson movies but I also hate them. Maybe hate is too strong a term. I will always run and out and watch his movies but Wes Anderson movies hurt a little. There is a stark sadness somewhere near their heart. However, there is a lot of humor even though some of it is dark. The dialogue and the pacing are especially clever. That being said, Wes Anderson should only make animated movies from now on. If he finished out his career making stuff like Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs, I would be very happy. This movie is very silly but also very touching. The movie mostly follows the dog characters who speak perfect English while the human characters mostly speak Japanese. The Japanese is only partially translated to further shift attention to the point of view of the dogs. The star of the movie is played by Bryan Cranston and he once again knocks it out of the park with comedy and drama. He is backed up by Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, and Scarlet Johannson. Humans are played by Greta Gerwig, Francis McDormand, and Yoko Ono (yes, that Yoko Ono). I definitely recommend this one.

 


Death of Stalin

When it comes to zany political satire, two movies immediately spring to my mind.  Dr. Strangelove and In the Loop are two films of a similar breed.  Both cover a time when horrible and/or lazy people were in charge of our armies and the horror that could/did come from that.  When I saw the trailer for this movie it grabbed me by comparing itself to In the Loop.  The trailer also reminded me of madcap stuff like The Imposters or The Marx Brothers.  Except, all of the main characters are murdering, backstabbing bureaucrats.  The movie follows the tumultuous political maneuvering that happened directly after the death of Joseph Stalin.  The power vacuum was huge and it was unclear who was going to succeed this horrible man in controlling Russia.  The main characters are played by American and British actors in order to jar the viewer a bit and add some comedy to the proceedings.  I ended up laughing at things I knew were absolutely horrible and deplorable.  The Russian government was involved in the summary execution, torture, and rape of people who displeased them.  The movie should be absolutely unpleasant but it ends up being darkly comical.  I would not suggest it for everyone but if you are willing to go on a dark ride, it is a great movie for you.

 


Moonwalkers

The moon landing was a pivotal moment in US and World history but it was so amazing that some people just could never accept it as real. It is my favorite conspiracy theory because nobody gets hurt by it and it is patently ridiculous and it has been debunked so many times. In this movie, the CIA attempts to hire Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing just in case the USA can’t pull it off. They plan to launch the rocket and attempt the moon landing but if it does not happen, they have a backup. They send a Vietnam War vet played by Ron Perlman to England to dump a truckload of money on Kubrick to play along. Instead, wacky hijinks ensue when he instead hires a character played by Rupert Grint. Things get even more complicated when gangsters get involved. Basically, this movie is like a low energy version of the movies that Guy Pearce makes. There are likable but horrible people who romp around and everything goes wrong but it all works out in the end somehow. It is supposed to be a comedy but I personally did not find it very funny.  However, the plot, although predictable, was pretty fun. Ron Perlman is always awesome. It is really cool to see Rupert Grint continue to grow up and beef up his acting chops a bit. I would recommend it but don’t expect a brilliant movie.

Music of the Week:
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

Ruby Ibarra – Game Up

San Cisco – Awkward

The Beau Brummels- Laugh Laugh

Seether – Betray and Degrade

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Horrible People”
– I started watching A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2
– I watched more The Pinkertons Season 1
– Wrestlemania and NXT Takeover were both awesome
– I watched more Fairy Tail
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 2
– I am one episode away from finishing Freaks and Geeks
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Beauty and the Beast Season 1
– I watched more Barry Kramer, Critical Role, and Game Grumps on YouTube

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

April 1, 2018

So, I think that admitting that I have not seen this yet might disturb some of my friends. Particularly some of the guys in my gaming group. I have heard them quote and reference the movie several times and I have been intrigued by it the whole time. I love a lot of cult classic movies whether they are good or bad. I got on The Room bandwagon early, I have seen Rocky Horror several times, I have watched Plan 9 while shaking my head, and my favorite Halloween is the third one. The point is: I do not mind watching something that is not entirely good or accepted into the mainstream if I can get some entertainment value from it. The fact that Jeff Goldblum is in this one is telling because he is that kind of actor to me. Nothing he has made is a masterpiece but he keeps churning out enjoyable movies. Independence Day, The Fly, and Jurassic Park were all chances for him to show that he may not be the greatest actor but he is charismatic. It’s the equivalent of eating at a diner, something I used to all the time. It doesn’t give you everything it should but it makes you happy just the same.

I have read that this movie was also written as a love letter to pulp comics. I was a little young for pulp comics. Superhero comics were really hitting their stride and had long since taken over the market. However, I was young enough to really enjoy some of the stuff inspired by pulp comics. The biggest example I can think of is the Indiana Jones series. Pulp embraced so-called genre fiction which is my favorite. “Genre” includes science fiction, fantasy, superhero, horror, and other less regarded subgenres. For a long time, genre films were seen as lesser mostly because this is where a lot of filmmakers started before moving onto “more serious” films. But sometimes you do not want to watch a really serious film. Sometimes you fire up a movie simply to have fun and learn nothing. Of course, I am of the belief that you can take a lesson away from even the dumbest movie but maybe that is just me.

This movie is definitely kind of punk rock. Not only are a lot of the main characters in a rock band, they all look like they could have frequented CBGB. Of course, this was the eighties when Punk’s powers were at their height. The movie is also extremely offbeat and, like the characters does whatever it wants when it wants to. A lot of the visual style and set decoration is definitely reminiscent of old science fiction. All of the sciency things have plenty of doodads and extra bits hanging off of them. It is far from the slick, shiny science fiction of more recent movies. All of the alien stuff looks appropriately weird and foreign. The aliens themselves utilize fun rubber masks which thankfully allow them to be expressive. The effects are cheap but there is a lot of charm in that. There is also an interesting Japanese influence with the main characters using kanji and there are katanas and other little touches all over. The whole ascetic reminds me of early Doctor Who and other crazy eighties movies like Invaders from Mars and Ghostbusters.

The movie is chock full of names familiar to fans of genre movies. Buckaroo Banzai himself is played by Peter Weller who is, of course, famous for playing Robocop. In this, he plays a highly intelligent neurosurgeon/rockstar/particle physicist/adventurer. He is almost too cool and he exudes both confidence and ability. John Lithgow plays the villain as only Lithgow could. Lithgow is at his best when he is allowed to freak out and chew the scenery in every way possible. He is joined by Christopher Lloyd who is also adept at acting over the top and does it well here. Ellen Barkin plays the token female character and reminds me a lot of roles Lori Petty would later play. Jeff Goldblum plays an everyman scientist character similar to Ian Malcolm or David Levinson. The rest of the movie is full of great character actors like Clancy Brown, Jonathan Banks, Robert Ito, and Lewis Smith. These characters all get to say really cool but really goofy lines which make for a lot of fun.

Overall, I really liked this movie. I had no idea what to expect and even after reading this review, you probably will not either. This is a movie that dares to make a lot of sense while making no sense at all. I am sure that whole essays could be written on why certain decisions were made but I would sooner chalk it up to heavy drugs or just old-fashioned goofiness. As a side note, the movie takes place in New Jersey and one of the early important scenes takes place in the town I went to college in (New Brunswick). The movie has a charm as long as you sit back and let it happen instead of working your brain too hard. I definitely recommend it.


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