17 November 2009

A few movie mini-reviews

Okay, I’m bored enough to write something, and I’m a bit behind on my movies so I’ll do them all in one go.

Where the Wild Things Are


I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while, I think since some time in 2007. I remember liking the book a lot as a kid, although I don’t think I’ve read it in many years. I might buy it sometime. Maurice Sendak supports the film adaptation by Spike Jonze, and that’s good enough for me. So I saw it a few weeks ago. It was pretty good. Definitely cool looking, although I think I might have liked it better if the wild things were a bit less muppet-like. It was just a bit too obvious that they were dudes in monster suits, but I suppose that could be argued to be a story element in itself, since that’s what Max is being, and the monsters are a reflection of himself. I guess there’s a pretty good amount of philosophical stuff that my shallow mind glossed over. It was fun, and I think a fitting homage to the source material.

The Men Who Stare at Goats


Oddly based on a documentary, this movie seems like fiction but is mostly based in truth. Ewan McGregor and George Clooney star in a strange comedy about psychological warriors and their cooky methods of battle. It’s pretty funny, and The Dude’s in it. Good enough for me. There are a lot of sideways Star Wars jokes that always got a good laugh out of me, especially with the false Obi-Wan Kenobi being there. In the end though, its use of narration and some other awkward factors made it less than a blockbuster. Oh well.

Boondock Saints II


I liked the first one. It had a style to it. Sure, it was basically Quentin Tarantino’s style, but it’s a good style! It was a solid movie with good enough acting and funny bits with great violence. The makers of this sequel obviously saw all of these elements, and definitely tried to fit them all in again. However, they did it wrong somehow. The cheese factor seems to have doubled to me, although everyone else I was with said it was the same. The new characters were a little bit too outrageous to fit, I think; Julie Benz and Clifton Collins Jr. are great actors in their own right, but their addition to this story was just done wrong. Julie’s over-sexualized southern cop character is annoying, and Clifton’s Mexican brawler is just too flamboyant. His counterpart from the first movie, Rocco, was a bit more reserved (in my memory), and also flawed. Julie’s was Willem Dafoe (no more explanation needed). So anyway, I laughed, shrugged a lot, and I left the theater not really disappointed; I didn’t expect it to be as good as the first one, but still, it could have been better than that. I think it deserves the punishment it’s getting from the critics, unlike its predecessor.

01 November 2009

Mastodon/Dethklok 2009-10-21

High on Fire


I’ve only heard one of High on Fire’s albums, and I like it okay. I didn’t recognize anything they played though. They rocked pretty hard but it all sounded kinda samey. Their vocalist sounds a bit like Lemmy.



These guys were probably the real reason I bought a ticket. Every album they’ve put out over the last 10 years has been a brilliant hardcore/metal masterpiece, with their latest Axe to Fall being no exception. I wish they’d been headlining. Anyway, the performance was every bit as good as I hoped it would be; they were all very animated and played excellently. Jacob Bannon had some fun things to say, and commended the chicken-man and the watermelon for their moshing skills (this was Halloween after all). Quite a few of the songs played were from their latest release, but they also hit some from Jane Doe and No Heroes which made me very happy.



I’ve never fallen asleep at a concert before, but Mastodon’s latest album Crack the Skye, which took up most of the show, has fallen rather flat on me. I actually lost consciousness a few times I was so bored. They did play a few from Blood Mountain and Remission, but strangely nothing from Leviathan, which I thought was their most popular before CtS. The older songs ripped pretty well though, almost making up for the first-half snorefest that everybody else seemed to love. The most fun part of their performance was their getup. The guy with the beard dressed up as Richard Simmons, and I think the bassist was that guy who paints happy trees. I couldn’t make out what the other guitarist was wearing, but it was some sort of shiny metallic mask. You could never really see them that well as the lighting seemed to be engineered to focus on the media display in the back.



This is the second time I’ve seen this faux-band, and it was pretty much just as fun as the first time. A lot of the video portion was the same stuff that was shown on their first tour though. Anyhows, they were really fun and tore up the stage quite handily. Gene Hoglan was spot on as usual, and I think Brendan Small’s vocals have improved. Very fun.

The venue was  the Patriot Center at George Mason University. I had pretty-ok seats on the side, with a good view of the stage. I was far enough away from the speakers that my ears didn’t suffer very much, certainly nowhere near as much as they did at Jaxx. The sound was okay, but kinda muffled due to the size of the place I think.

All images snatched from Brian C. Reilly’s flickr photostream.