Sunday, October 20, 2019

movie notes : Ad Astra

The main problem with the movie Ad Astra (Latin for "to the stars") can be summed up with the filmmakers neglecting the advice : Show, don't tell. This is especially necessary for characterization. Repeatedly, the movie has Brad Pitt & Tommy Lee Jones characters say a lot of things about themselves but doesn't show very much to establish what is said.

The movie was a big disappointment. Spoilers below.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Movie Notes : Downsizing (2017)

Downsizing (2017) stars Matt Damon, Hong Chau and Christoph Waltz.

Hong Chau's character of annoying. She had an annoying voice and accent that sounded like a un-pc stereotype. I think the intent was for her to sound like a stereotype and then as her character develops the audience would see her differently. Worse, her character development was based on exposition.

Christoph Waltz played Christoph Waltz.

Matt Damon's character was an annoying idiot.  More than once I wished someone would slap him. Or that the movie be shown in Slap-O-Vision where anytime Matt Damon is speaking a guy in a mascot outfit with a gigantic Matt Damon foam head would walk down the theater aisles allowing viewers to slap him.

Who hasn't wanted to slap Matt Damon? Introducing Matt Damon Slap-O-Vision
mock up of Slap-O-Vision giant foam head of Matt Damon

At one point it is announced that Matt Damon's character is going to Norway. Why I wondered. Did I miss something? Ah, because the writer said "Lo, so it has been written, so it shall be done" Upon occasion it was preachy in a quite unsubtle way.  I did like his character being a goofy idiot when it comes to celebrities. The intended direction of his character arc was obvious but not convincing.

Generally, I don't like Matt Damon.  I'm not sure exactly why as I liked the Jason Bourne movies and some others but in others I simply find him grating – I'd suggest he has a powerful anti-charisma.  In the Martian (2015), I kept hoping he would run out of air but despite that it was still a good movie. I laughed when he appeared in Thor Ragnarok (2017) opposite Sam Neil and Liam Hemsworth. I think my antipathy started when he was promoting Good Will Hunting (1997, awful) he went on Charlie Rose along with Robin Williams and it turned out Robin Williams was the sophisticated intellectual and Matt Damon was a window licking moron who clearly had no idea that he was a window licking moron.

Keeping that dislike in mind I can confidently say that Downsizing would have been awful even if it had been Matt Damon-less. It started out ok. The first half hour introduced the characters and the shrinking premise and not long after the special effects gimmick was introduced they basically ignored it. 

The movie is described as :
"Feeling that their lives are out of control, a husband and wife decide to be reduced to tiny size to make life more affordable and leave a smaller carbon footprint. Unfortunately, after he undergoes the procedure, his spouse backs out."
It sounds interesting. It wasn't. The interaction between normal sized and tiny sized were few and after about a third of the movie there were only a few oversized props to remind you what the movie was supposed to be about. Once he is shrunk his wife makes a one minute 45 second appearance (by a phone call!) and then completely disappears from the movie. It was almost as if a different movie that had nothing to do with shrinking had been grafted onto the final 2/3 of the movie.

I suspect they didn't know what to do with the premise so they opted to make it an "issue" movie so they'll get plenty of good imdb reviews because the issue resonates with those reviewers and not because of the quality of the movie.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Movie Notes : Father of the Year (2018)

Father of the Year (2018) : a mediocre movie where David Spade spends an entire movie doing an impersonation of Adam Sandler. That's about all worth saying about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Phony Egalitarianism : Smirnoff Equalizer

Some phony egalitarians at Smirnoff created an app to adjust Spotify playlist to include 50-90% women.
"performed by men artists" do they mean to use a noun as an adjective or do they mean male artists?

by "100% of the top streamed tracks" they apparently are referring to a subset of the lists published by Spotify.
part of the Spotify list of top tracks of 2017 (with Katy Perry at #14 and Rihanna at #15)

part of the Spotify list of top artist of 2017 (with Taylor Swift at #10)
Clearly by "100%" they really meant "not 100%"

So listening to an unequal playlist is bad, but the "equalizer" slider ranges from 50/50 to 90% to 10% favoring women. It's because they care about "equality" but it isn't as important as posturing

Sunday, April 22, 2018

an idea about names

People with a surname that is a common as a first name  (like Mike Todd or Roger Howard or Henry James or Bruce Wayne) should give their kids a given name like traditional surnames :

Mike Todd becomes Smith Todd
Roger Howard becomes Kowalski Howard
Henry James becomes Yamamoto James
Bruce Wayne becomes Brown Wayne

(I'm not claiming it is a good idea just an idea)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Martin Sheen's plan

(a belated post due to procrastination)

Martin Sheen and his incredibly overdeveloped sense of self-importance.

Martin Sheen is the father of Charlie Sheen so we should all at least listen to him. 

At the time I remarked to an enthusiast of the video (I'll bold it because I think it is important) : in the long run it seems like a bad idea to transform the Electoral College from an institution that people expect will represent their vote into an oligarchy that picks the President of the United States based on lobbying by celebrities repeating things.

For the record, those involved in the video (according to this since I suspect some people will not  recognize all of them tho many will not care who they are)  : Martin Sheen, Debra Messing, James Cromwell, BD Wong, Noah Wyle, Freda Payne, Bob Odenkirk, J. Smith Cameron, Michael Urie, Moby, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit, Richard Schiff, Christine Lahti, Steven Pasquale, Dominic Fumusa, Emily Tyra, Talia Balsam

Watch it and be amazed at the kind of argument that they think is convincing. If someone repeats phrases and says "I stand with you in support and solidarity with ...all citizens of the United States" and if they reference Alexander Hamilton and if they call you a hero and if they repeatedly say you'll have their respect then Martin Sheen would do anything you want!

In the end, there were a total of 7 faithless electors : 2 didn't vote for Trump and 5 didn't vote for Hillary.

transcript of the ad follows: