September 14, 2009 § 1 Comment
I’ve been busy this past week; hence there have been no reviews up for the site since last Monday. It doesn’t look like this is going to change anytime soon, unfortunately, so what I’ll be doing is putting up reviews as soon as I get around to doing them. I’ll keep doing weekly updates but they’ll come under the heading “Site Update”, which, actually, feels like it makes a little more sense.
Quote of the week:
You should have let yourself get killed a long time ago when you had the chance. See, you may be the biggest thing that ever hit this area, but you’re still two-bit outlaws. I never met a soul more affable than you, Butch, or faster than the Kid, but you’re still nothing but two-bit outlaws on the dodge. It’s over, don’t you get that? Your times is over and you’re gonna die bloody, and all you can do is choose where.
(Sheriff Ray Bledsoe speaking to Butch and Sundance, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.)
I like this quote because, for one thing, it’s spoken really well by Jeff Corey, who plays Ray Bledsoe. The second thing is that it reinforces an atmosphere of foreboding, quickly established at the beginning of the film but forgotten almost immediately afterwards. Although most scenes are played for laughs and both Butch and Sundance seem invulnerable through their strengths, there is always a sense of an undercurrent of desperation running through their witty reparté. Butch and Sundance are like a couple of kids refusing to grow up, and Ray Bledsoe is the authoritative parent telling them that they now have to bear responsibility for their actions.
September 8, 2009 § 1 Comment
No video game reviews this week. I might be able to squeeze a couple of film reviews out, though. The truth is that it all depends on what happens to come through the post.
Quote of the week:
We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! … And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time… We are gonna have a party.
(Heavenly Blue, The Wild Angels)
August 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
This week we’ve got Alone in the Dark being reviewed for the Xbox 360 as well as a look at Taken (2008), last year’s revenge thriller starring Liam Neeson. Unfortunately, having already played through most of Alone in the Dark, I can tell you now that it’s not going to be a positive review, and I’m not all that keen on Liam Neeson, either, so I’ll remain skeptical about Taken. Liam Neeson? Revenge thriller? The two don’t seem to mix on the face of it, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Quote of the week:
I’m supposed to act like they aren’t here. Assuming there’s a “they” at all. It may just be my imagination. Whatever it is that’s watching, it’s not human, unlike little dark eyed Donna. It doesn’t ever blink. What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me, into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly, because I can’t any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone’s sake the scanners do better. Because if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I do, then I’m cursed and cursed again. I’ll only wind up dead this way, knowing very little, and getting that little fragment wrong too.
(Fred/Bob Arctor, A Scanner Darkly.)
August 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
This week I will be reviewing Call of Duty: World at War for the PC and The Chronicles of Riddick on DVD. Having just completed the Xbox 360 version of Assault on Dark Athena, I’m really psyched up for seeing this film. I’ve heard it’s had mixed reviews, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but I’m still quite looking forward to it.
Quote of the week:
He would rage and he would cry, my lost soldier. And I said to him, “There are two of you, don’t you see? One that kills and one that loves.” And he said to me, “I don’t know whether I am animal or a god.” But you are both.
(Roxanne speaking to Willard in bed, Apocalypse Now! Redux.)
Now, I’d like to talk about this quote for a moment. You’ll only find these lines in the Redux version of the film, and although there are many, many more eminently quotable lines in this movie, this always seems to stick out at me the most. The reason is that it pretty much encapsulates the entire premise of the film: the idea of the human being divided between two selves, between creation and destruction, life and death. I personally find the entire scene at the French plantation very interesting, especially in considering that it was cut from the theatrical version. I am sure there must have been good reasons for this – issues of running time and pace, probably – but there’s something interesting, to me, about a couple of lines, inconspicuously hidden in a discarded scene, that are actually quite significant.
Of course, this isn’t the only time the entire theme of the movie is echoed through the mouths of its characters. Right in the beginning of the film, General Corman says to Willard that
it must be a temptation to be God. Because there’s a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. Every man has got a breaking point. You have and I have them. Walter Kurtz has reached his. And, very obviously, he has gone insane.
This again reinforces the idea of a kind of duality within the human psyche and the possibility for every human being to inhabit evil. Interestingly, here, it seems that the general is indicating that “every man has got a breaking point” at which one will be corrupted – a certain sense of inevitability or futility is hinted at.
At the end, though, we see Willard accomplishing his mission and it is made very obvious that he has almost come to his “breaking point”, or even perhaps is already there. In killing Kurtz has Willard taken the final step? Has he crossed that last line, and does he have the ability to turn back from the threshold? While the film is extremely dark thematically, the ending is surprisingly optimistic under closer analysis. Willard makes the choice to return home with the last (barely) surviving member of his crew and rejects the temptation and allure of the kind of insanity Kurtz is offering: the power of absolute freedom, to do anything one wishes at any given moment, without consideration of the rightness or wrongness of an action; freedom from conscience, from judgment, from the self. And in light of all this, Willard makes the decision to keep his humanity – or what’s left of it.
August 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
This week I’ll have a review up for 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, quite possibly the prototypical violent shoot ’em up the media so loves to target when Parliament’s out of session. I will also be giving my humble uninformed opinion on Spirited Away (2001), the critically acclaimed animation from Hayao Miyazaki, writer and director of the equally well received Princess Mononoke (1997).
And that, as they say, is that. Well, almost.
Quote of the week:
He had two incompletely healed bullet holes in his chest and another in his thigh. He was missing the nub of his left middle finger and was cautious, lest that mutilation be seen. He also had a condition that was referred to as “granulated eyelids” and it caused him to blink more than usual as if he found creation slightly more than he could accept. Rooms seemed hotter when he was in them. Rains fell straighter. Clocks slowed. Sounds were amplified. He considered himself a Southern loyalist and guerrilla in a Civil War that never ended. He regretted neither his robberies, nor the seventeen murders that he laid claim to. He had seen another summer under in Kansas City, Missouri and on September 5th in the year 1881, he was thirty-four-years-old.
(The Narrator introducing Jesse James, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.)