June 2012

Aenigma (8/10)

Something must have happened to Lucio Fulci around 1982-83. That seems to be about the time he decided his movies needed to be filled with annoying teenagers and pastel sweatshirts. These mid to late 80's films are just dripping with cheese and bad narrative decisions. Aenigma contains an aerobicizing scene, awkward zoom-ins on dorm room movie posters (Top Gun and Rocky IV) and a "retarded" cleaning woman who smells of garlic. The only thing creepy about this horror film is our hero–a middle-aged doctor who dates the young college girls he is treating.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (8/10)

An adequate conclusion to the Potter movies. If part one was all just brooding, this one was all just action. By this point, all the character development has been developed and we are just waiting for that final confrontation. The movie doesn't disappoint and all the key moments from the book are here. Still, film 3 remains the best film in the series.

The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel (7/10)

Does look and feel matter? That's one of the questions posed in this book about the ever increasing emphasis on visual style in our modern society. This isn't quite a continuation of The Future and its Enemies, but some of the same ideas about dynamism are applied to aesthetics. One of the main points I got from this was that even seemingly frivolous design elements add value and that aesthetics shouldn't be taken lightly. Comforting words for someone like me who works in the design industry.

Drag Me to Hell (8/10)

As a horror director, Sam Raimi is best known for the oft quoted but overrated Army of Darkness and the much better Evil Dead II. Although it was put to great use in his first two Spiderman movies, his frantic, comic-book style of filming has been adapted by just about every big budget summer filmmaker most of the time with horrible results. I was glad to see him return to horror on a smaller scale and, for the most part, liked the film.

Prometheus (5/10)

What a pretty movie about characters which I couldn't care less about. I wanted so bad to like this movie but it is just so riddled with horrible plot holes that even a non-nitpickers would be annoyed. The entire time I was just wondering, "Why?" Why are these scientists so dumb and unscientific? Why is no one amazed that they just discovered we are not alone in the universe? Why is the android trying to kill that guy? It felt like a shinier version of a Lost in Space episode but even that 50 year old TV series for kids as deeper characters (and a cooler robot).

The Twisted Ones by Vin Packer (8/10)

The Twisted Ones was another 1950's pulp novel reprinted as an eBook by Prologue Books and available for free download. I rather liked this one. It tells the dark story of three disenfranchised youths' Memorial Day weekend. The three characters' are only tangentially linked via news reports and a quiz show, but the separate plots fit nicely together as their lives spiral out of control. I would have hoped that the stories would have intermingled a bit more deeply in the end.

Spare Parts by Servotron (9/10)

Format: 
CD

I think this was the last CD that Servotron put out. It is a collection of remixes and live versions of previously released songs. The remixes put a lot more emphasis on electronics and sound effects than the originals which would have been a welcome new direction for the band has they stayed together and recorded more new material. I will miss you my robot overlords. You were superior in every way.

Entertainment Program for Humans (Second Variety) by Servotron (10/10)

Format: 
CD

Where have all the good schtick bands gone? Servotron were an awesome concept and the music was equally great. Their second album maintains the Devo-esque sound of the first CD with maybe a little more emphasis on synthesis than on No Room for Humans. It's still a solid rock record but the bleeps and bloops get a little more room to shine. Some of the topics covered here: virtual pets controlling their "masters" and the chess dominance of Deep Blue.

 

These Are the Damned (8/10)

This was the final film in the super excellent The Icons of Suspense Collection: Hammer Films five-disc DVD set. Unlike the other movies in the set, this one isn't a straight up thriller. Without spoiling too much, let's just say this one takes an unlikely sci-fi turn at about the halfway point. Up until that moment it's a sordid tale of set of rebellious teddy boys and their torment of an American who has fallen for the gang leader's sister.