It feels like I was just posting last week’s question for Friday Question Fun but here we are again. This week’s question is pretty straightforward…
Do you purchase/collect movies?
After much anticipation on my part, I have finally become a member of The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) and am number 1379!
So, yeah. Not much else to report here – Check out The LAMB if you aren’t already a part of their site. It’s a cool place!
Piranha has, what else, piranhas attacking a lake during spring break.
A fisherman (played by Richard Dreyfuss in a glaring Jaws homage) on Lake Victoria is disturbed by an earthquake that unleashes whirlpool and a prehistoric relative of the piranha who promptly tear him to shreds. Spring break on the lake is ramping up as the piranha continue to eat everyone they can. Throw in a parody of Girls Gone Wild and as much T&A as possible, oh and some scientists…I mean, who else is going to stop these piranhas?! So it’s up to the sheriff (Elizabeth Shue) and seismology expert (Adam Scott) to save the day. *note: the plot synopsis on Wikipedia is WAY too long for a movie like this*
I’m not above movies like Piranha (aka Piranha 3D, apparently), but I also kind of hate that movies like this exist and people pay money to see them. Poor Richard Dreyfuss, who looks terrible by the way, does he need a paycheck that badly? It’s not that I hated the film, I was expecting stupid and Piranha certainly delivers stupid but it also delivers nudity, violence, and even a few laughs. It’s a dumb movie that knows it’s a dumb movie and has a bit of fun but it’s also pointless. I’ll also say that I was shocked that no extras were killed during the massacre in the finale. I was really expecting a spring breaker to fall and kill themselves or get run over by a boat or something.
Reasons to see Piranha:
Yeah, that’s about all I can come up with.
I give it 2 mangled leg effects (warning, kind of graphic) out of 5.
Movie Two Hundred Five
Martin David (Willem Dafoe), a loner mercenary, is hired by biotech company Red Leaf to travel to Tasmania to hunt the Tasmanian Tiger, an animal thought to be extinct but recently sighted. David is tasked with hunting the animal and bringing back organ and tissue samples for genetic research and cloning the animal. When David arrives under the guise of a researcher, he stays with a mother, Lucy Armstrong (Frances O’Conner) and her children Sass and Bike (Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock). Lucy’s husband, an environmentalist, has been missing and it’s unclear if the hostility from local loggers or some other force is to blame. As David continues his hunt for the Tiger, he unravels the secrets of the Armstrong family, the local strife between loggers and environmentalists as well as Red Leaf.
I have long been fascinated by cryptozoology so when I heard this movie deals with the Tasmanian Tiger I knew I had to see it. From this standpoint, the film met my expectations. The archive footage and special effects really made me enjoy The Hunter, even despite it’s narrative flaws. If you, like me, were mostly interested in watching the film from a crytpozoologic standpoint, you will likely get a kick out of The Hunter.
Much of The Hunter has very little dialogue and focuses on David carefully hunting. His demeanor is changed by the Armstrong children but I thought much of the interaction with the family seemed kind of tacked on and even rushed at points. Yeah, the kids are cute and all but would a few weeks (I think that was the timeline for the film) really change the ingrained loner mercenary to a caring family man? Ehh, I’m not so sure. I understand this was all necessary for the confrontations between David and the locals but there was almost too much reliance on the film’s plot for my liking.
Dafoe gives one hell of a performance here, considering he is onscreen for nearly the entire film. I’m not sure many other actors could have pulled off the quiet yet resolved mood that Dafoe delivers here. Almost more remarkable are the actors playing the Armstrong children, both of whom I really enjoyed their performances in The Hunter and I think have great acting careers ahead of them if they pursue it.
I haven’t seen many Australian films but if The Hunter is any indication, there is a lot of promise from the country and director David Nettheim. While the basis of the film was not totally compelling for me, the technical aspects were all very impressive. Had a name like Willem Dafoe not been attached The Hunter may not have gotten as much attention but the film does an admirable job telling its story.
I give it 3 Tasmanian Tiger archive footage out of 5.
Special When Lit is a documentary that showcases the forgotten world of pinball.
The basis of Special When Lit is to highlight the fact that during the 50s and 60s, the pinball industry made more money than Hollywood movies but now pinball is on its deathbed. Highlighting the history, the rise and fall, and the people that love, play, and collect pinball machines. Much of the history is given by collectors and fans of the machines through a series of interviews. The film ends with a modern-day pinball tournament.
I watched two quirky documentaries (the first was Make Believe) in one day and so by the time I made it to Special When Lit my attention span was waning. As a lifelong fan of pinball, I was really looking forward to what Special When Lit would bring to the table and was left with mixed feelings. The history of pinball I found fascinating. The people that collect the machines and have literally filled their houses with them were intriguing. There is one guy who literally has parts of pinball machines that don’t exist anywhere anymore. Much of Special When Lit that isn’t a history lesson by the fans is a love letter from the fans.
Therein also lies part of the problem I had with Special When Lit; It turns out the people that are still really into pinball are kind of weird and there were times when I thought the documentary was almost poking fun at their hobby (or hobby turned obsession). This is always part of the problem with showcasing the outliers of society, there is a fine line between giving them your attention and poking fun at them, even if unintentionally. By the end of the documentary, during the tournament, I thought much of the focus from pinball had been lost and the people who still cling to pinball were in the spotlight. Not the we are outwardly laughing at these people but there is a sense of that coming across in the way they are portrayed.
If I could rate Special When Lit in two parts, I would. The beginning of the film I loved, with the rich history of pinball and hearing about its glory days. The latter half of the film kind of just unwinds and focuses too much on people in a way that I simply didn’t find very interesting. Maybe I was just getting burned out on documentaries, but I still wanted more from the film. Pinball fans should still check Special When Lit, it will make you want to travel to the nearest arcade to play.
I give it 3 Twilight Zone pinball machines (my favorite one) out of 5.
Make Believe follows six teens competing for the title of Teen World Champion in magic.
Six teenagers from around the world are preparing to showcase their talents in Las Vegas for a magic competition for the title of Teen World Champion. The teens are: Siphewe Fangase and Nkumbuzo Nkonyana from Africa, Hiroki Hara from Japan, Derek McKee from Colorado, Bill Koch from Chicago, and Krystyn Lambert from Los Angeles. The teens are all very different aside from their strong passion for magic and this documentary follows their preparations for Las Vegas all the way through the competition.
Make Believe is about as quirky a subject for a documentary that I have ever seen and the film certainly has heart. While it would be easy to put these kids up as weirdos or nerds or whatever, Make Believe really gives them a showcase for their passion and talent. However, that’s not to say the film is entirely kind to them throughout the entire runtime, but it is never mean. While I don’t care at all about magic (though I do enjoy watching it, I guess) I was rooting for the teens during the award ceremony.
The biggest problem I have with Make Believe is that I don’t know who the film is for. As a documentary it doesn’t give too much insight into the field of stage magicians but I think the view of magic is also overly simplified for real fans of magic. The concept is compelling and the documentary is fun to watch but on a whole I was fluctuating between feeling bad for these kids and rooting for them.
Regardless of my fluctuating mood during Make Believe, I ended up enjoying it with the hopes that these kids get out a little bit more. There’s something to be said when you can be considered to be one of the best at something, but how many magicians can the normal person list off the top of their head? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but being a magician is not exactly a lauded profession for all but very few and the years of alienation needed to practice magic doesn’t seem like it will pay off. That really isn’t a knock against Make Believe itself, but it’s something I couldn’t shake during my viewing of the film.
I give it 3 Lance Burton with four of the teen competitors out of 5.