Reviews Too Late: the IRS Edition

by wjw on March 27, 2009

At long last I have brought my taxes under control, and will deliver them to the accountant tomorrow.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to watch action films when I’m absorbed in digging through old envelopes full of receipts. Action films don’t require a lot of my attention, except in the parts where things get blowed up, and sometimes not even then.

For some reason I watched things other than action films this time. For the most part, gazing at the screen over illegible scrawls on receipts did not help either the movie, or my mood.

Painkiller Jane. This series was from the SciFi Network, back when it was the SciFi Network and not the hideously pretentious, dumbass thing it is now. Being from SciFi was Strike One, since SciFi has proved over the decades completely resistant to any understanding what science fiction is actually about.

Strike Two was the concept. Strike Three was, or were, the stories.

Kristanna Loken, who was the robot that wasn’t Arnold in Termnator III, plays a character who belongs to a grungy squad of secret commandos dedicated to eradicating the menace of “neuros,” defined as “people who can do things with their minds.” (Doing things with their minds is clearly a concept alien to anyone connected with this series.)

On the plus side the actors were fine, the production values pretty good, and Ms. Loken proved very eyeball-worthy. (She can act, too.)

“I’ve got to stop watching this crud,” I would say to myself, as yet another dreadful episode unrolled.

“But then I couldn’t watch Kristanna Loken!” another part of my mind would whine, and I would try to endure yet another hour of hopeless dreck while my lizard brain feasted on Loken’s perfect complexion.

Not even Ms. Loken, however, could stop me from abandoning the series halfway through. I’ll look forward to eyeballing her in other venues.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Since it’s from Kevin Smith, it’s deeply vulgar, and features language that would get you thrown out of most pool halls. I thought it was funny as hell. Be sure to watch the credits all the way through because There Are Surprises.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: I checked this one out to see the performance that won Penelope Cruz the Oscar, but could only take about twenty minutes before I went to the garage to get a power drill in order to bore out my eyeballs. (And I like Woody Allen movies, usually.) It features a narrator who tells you everything the actors are feeling, which saves the players the trouble of acting.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I wasn’t that wild about even the first Indiana Jones movie, so you can only imagine how I felt about this special-effects-driven retread. If you didn’t love the Star Wars prequels, stay away.

The Golden Compass: When this movie was first released I kept hearing how it wasn’t very good, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover this an excellent attempt to translate Northern Lights into film. There are some gaps which will obviously be filled in the Director’s Edition, and the movie clumsily rearranges some of the final scenes of the novel (including moving the final scene of the book to the next, hypothetical, movie in the series), but the production values are great, the special effects spiffing, and Dakota Blue Richards is absolutely great as Lyra. (It obviously helps child actresses to be named “Dakota.”) Plus Nicole Kidman does a great job of turning Mrs. Coulter into a blonde, the Finnish witches are terrific (even if they mispronounce their own names), it’s got every great English actor from Christopher Lee on down, and it’s even got James Bond. What more do you want?

(As an aside, I was particularly amused that the DVD’s copyright warning came not from the FBI, but from the Magisterium.)

Rebecca S. March 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I very much liked the film version of “The Golden Compass,” too, and was surprised thereby after all the grousing I’d heard and read. I thought the daemons were rendered pretty well, and though I’m not a fan of Nicole Kidman, I thought she made a great Coulter. And I loved the way the witches and the North looked. Too bad there will probably not be another film in the series.

Rebecca S. March 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Oh, and congratulations on getting your tax prep done. I have yet to start adding up my receipts. Sigh.

Laurie Mann March 28, 2009 at 12:00 am

I liked most of Zach and Miri, but I don’t like Seth Rogen so I didn’t love it.

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