A Good Day To Die Hard The Hobbit

Yesterday I was really in the mood for a bad action movie, so I saw A Good Day To Die Hard. I haven’t seen a movie in the theater since November (I think). But I really wanted some explosions, car chases, and a plot that made almost no sense whatsoever. Die Hard delivered. John McClane (MacClain? I dunno how they spell it and I don’t really care either) heads to Russia where his son he hasn’t seen in years is about to go on trial for some sort of drug charge. Total white knight. But John McClaine Jr. is actually C.I.A. and being in jail is part of their complicated plan to bring down the incoming Russian defense minister. Sr. screws that up by distracting Jr. and then they have to start killing bad guys. Sadly, there’s only one car chase, which occurs near the beginning of the film. Lots of explosions and dodging bullets though, including dodging being shot at by a giant gun on a helicopter that shoots lit up bullets. Very satisfying.

Mind you, it’s really nothing like the original Die Hard, which was a different kind of action movie. A Good Day To Die Hard is really the same old action movie.

Today I went and saw The Hobbit. Bleah. Awful movie. I don’t really remember a lot of the book, but there’s a lot of stuff added in the movie. Most of the added stuff I didn’t like. Where the hell did the pale orc nemesis come from? I don’t remember that in the book. Did the movie really need a nemesis in order to make the show palatable? I don’t think so.

Unlike Die Hard, I wanted these things to make sense, and they just didn’t. Why were the dwarves fighting the orcs, other than the set up the nemesis relationship? No reason. Oh yeah, and the son of the dwarf king goes and fights orc who have nothing to do with Smaug the dragon who took over the dwarf redoubt. Why had the pale orc sworn to end the dwarf king’s line in particular? Why does he care? Just dumb. That’s merely one example.

And oh my god was this movie slow. I don’t mind the flashbacks. That didn’t seem to slow things down. But there were interminable talking and speechifying scenes that added nothing. And unnecessarily long scenic shots. And C.G.I. chase scenes that were just too damn long.

Needless to say, I am extremely unlikely to be catching in the theaters the last 6 fucking hours of this story that will comprise the second and third movies of a series that really shouldn’t have been a series.

Lillies Of The Valley and Pina

The largest amount of time I spend listening to music these days is on KCRW‘s web site. I don’t know why exactly, but I really dig their music taste lately. Last week though, they had a pledge drive. So I turned to their all-music channel Eclectic24 for the duration. And that’s where I caught the piece above. It’s called Lillies Of The Valley according to the KCRW web site. I had to buy it.

Looking for it, it is on the soundtrack to the documentary Pina by Wim Wenders. But it isn’t available for purchase without buying the whole album. Seriously? Okay. Searching around today though it appears another version of the song, Alviverde, is available. It has lyrics though.

I did pull up Pina on Netflix though. It’s about Pina Bausch, who was a dancer and choreographer, who died just as filming on the documentary started. Now, to say I am unfamiliar with modern dance would be understating things. At the handful of modern dance performances I have attended I generally give the okay face. I just don’t get most of it.

But the pieces that were featured in the documentary? Whoa. I still don’t know what I watched, but that was way interesting. If Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ever tours around here, I want to know about it so I can attend. If you have Netflix, go watch at least a part of that. Totally mesmerizing.

Cabin In The Woods

My headspace has been awful this week, and today in particular. So today I decided to head to the old multiplex and immerse myself in someone else’s story for a bit. Movies are good for that for me. It doesn’t last, but for 90 to 150 minutes I am totally not thinking about my own problems.

Anywho, Cabin In The Woods has been called in various places a meta-horror movie. The Slut, The Jock, The Scholar, The Idiot and The Virgin all head to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of shenanigans. They all have names, but so much do they fit the cliche that I’ve totally forgotten them already. But, as in all horror movies, things start trying to kill them one by one. The twist in this case (and it happens really early on, so I’m gonna spoil it) is that there is a control room of people orchestrating the horrors that befall the young coeds. Cameras. Remote controls. Etc. Like a reality show gone really wrong.

Does it succeed as a horror movie? I’m not really one to judge as I don’t watch a lot of them, but it wasn’t all that scary. I’m glad for that, as I don’t like to be scared. Because it follows the horror movie script for much of the time, you really know what’s going to happen. It certainly does something different in terms of plot after the first two thirds. So it gets some points for originality.

Does it succeed as meta-horror? I don’t think so. It sure points out how much horror falls into script. It seems rhetorically similar to if it had a character break the fourth wall and tell the audience that we’re gonna follow the horror movie script. It’s really not spoofing, as it’s done not so much to make fun of the horror script so much as to give everyone in the audience a knowing wink.

It most certainly doesn’t subvert the tropes at all. There’s one scene where typically the Slut bares her breasts. The control room people (male) hope for it, and then stare slack-jawed as if they never get the opportunity to see bare breasts. They are trying to orchestrate her death. I’m all for showing boobs in movies (even gratuitously), but that was uncomfortably creepy.


I had lunch at Louisa’s today, and grabbed a Stranger rather than read my book. The Stranger Suggests for tonight was The Taqwacores, based on a book I read 2 or 3 years ago that I loved. So I headed up to the Northwest Film Forum tonight to see it (last night showing).

It’s hard to be as good as the book, because they can’t just fit everything in. There was less punk in it than the book. So some of it was more like Muslim deadbeats living together rather than Muslim punks. And it was choppy; the character progression wasn’t smooth. Both issues really attributable to being able to fit less story in. But they kept all the main characters, and the best scenes. The acting was really superb, particularly the “straight-edge” Muslim punk who you could just see the anger at having to live with less devout Muslims steaming off him. And the overall effect was just as good as the book: outcasts trying to reconcile their heritage they don’t want to give up with their rebellion which rejects a lot of that heritage.

Also, I swear the roof of the building they lived in coulda been the same roof as in Clerks. There’s just not a hell of a lot of difference between tarred roofs of brick buildings.