Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home Movie

Here there be minor spoilers. Ye be warned.

A pastor and his wife have two adorable demon children, and they've got the home videos to prove it.
The dad is the definition of the word goober. The mom is a child psychologist who tries to be, like, 1980s sitcom mom. Jack and Emily almost never speak, choosing instead to express themselves by throwing silverware to the floor, biting kids at school and crucifying the cat.
As with every other "found footage" type movie I've seen, there's one character who just can't stop filming, in this case Goober Dad. The mom uses the camera a little bit, mostly when she's being Child Psychologist Lady and speaking very, very softly to prove that she's professional. Apparently you're not supposed to be able to hear what professionals are saying.
The problem with this movie and, indeed, with all slow burn movies, is that it's a slow burn. Sure, maybe it's more effective than if the movie started with the kids murdering folks (or whatever) but it's so damn predictable:
1) everything seems normal other than the fact that one thing is off (in this case, the kids are abnormally quiet)
2) the one thing that was a little off becomes far more noticeable (the kids throw rocks and kill pets)
3) something crazy happens (the kids have bite marks all over themselves)
4) things come to a head (Mom medicates the kids, Dad exorcises them)
5) the calm before the actual storm (meds and de-demonizing works; kids befriend school chum who they attacked earlier)
6) the storm (the kids weren't "fixed" after all)
Sure, the storm is awesome once you get there, and it would probably be a stupid storm if you didn't have to sit through all that other crap.
The problem is, I've seen all the other crap and I know what's going to happen and it's a trial to sit through all of it when I can already tell you the sequence of events.
Why has nobody tried to reinvent the slow burn horror movie yet?

End of line.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Larger Than Live In 3D

I don't feel entirely right reviewing a movie I didn't actually finish, but I saw enough to know how I feel about it.
Basically, it was mostly a Dave Matthews Band concert film, with opening bands Gogol Bordello and Ben Harper And Relentless7. If I had known, going in, exactly what the setup was going to be, I would have waited and rented it.
Gogol Bordello played two songs. Ben Harper And Relentless7 played three. The rest of the movie was Dave Matthews Band. I didn't know that. I thought each band would be given an equal amount of screen time.
So my disappointment stems from the fact that I didn't know enough about it going in.
I wasn't familliar with Ben Harper And Relentless7. They're not my kind of music. I knew going in I'm not big on Dave Matthews Band. It makes me tired and grouchy and he looks like Jeremy Piven and das ist just nicht mein bier.
And, honestly, I have no idea where the hell Gogol Bordello was even supposed to fit into this movie. Maybe because, like Dave Matthews Band, they have a violin player? (His name is Sergei. We love him.) Because they're a multicultural band and Dave Matthews is from South Africa? Or was maybe Dave Matthews a fan and requested that they be one of his opening acts?
I love Gogol Bordello. They're amazing to see in concert because they're so alive. I can't think of a better way to describe it. I do not know how to be unhappy when I'm listening to their music, and seeing them perform adds to the glorious, unadulterated joy. It was hard to not get up and dance all over the theater.
The second they were gone, the energy died. Ben Harper And Relentless7 just stood there, playing their generic bluesy mid-90s style rock. The drummer made me laugh because he had a severe case of Drummer Face, but I can't say I enjoyed them at all. It's a bad sign when I can't remember your music but I can remember laughing at your drummer.
We left after four Dave Matthews Band songs. If I had been alone I might have stuck it out (or left the second Gogol Bordello left the stage, depending on my mood at the time) but my mom had had enough, and I can't say I blame her. He wasn't lively or interesting, either. He at least acted like he was trying to dance, but he wasn't the living embodiment of his music. Actually, maybe he was: they were both pretty boring. The point is, I don't know how the movie ended. I don't think Gogol Bordello came back.
So, yeah. I don't know how they ended up in this movie, and I really wish there had been more of them.
It was very obvious that the songs were taken from, at least, the middle of their set. They played Start Wearing Purple and Think Locally Fuck Globally (which I will get to in a minute) but at the start of the movie Eugene was already shirtless and drenched in sweat. They'd obviously been playing for a while. It was the most abrupt beginning the movie could have possibly had.
And then there was the matter of their song choices. Nothing wrong with either of those songs; I love them both. The thing is, the movie's rated PG.
Let me ask you something:
If you're making a concert movie and you've got an entire set by a band to pick material from, and if the movie you're making is going to be rated PG, would you pick, as one of the two songs by this particular band, would you pick the song that not only has the word "fuck" in the title, but is said about every thirty seconds in the song itself?
There were a lot of odd little pauses in the song where nobody said anything, even though their mouths were clearly saying something. It makes me wonder what the people in the audience who were unfamilliar with the song thought.
It makes me wonder what they called the song in the end credits.
I just didn't wonder hard enough to sit through Dave Matthews in order to find out.

End of line.