Uncanny Alita

I enjoyed the “Battle Angel Alita” manga back in the day though they did sprawl rather a lot. (The perennial risk of manga is that they go on for too long and add a bunch of stuff to be fodder for an anime.) It was a pretty decent post apocalyptic setting with some really bizarre weirdness. Per usual, it got on dodgy ground when it tried to explain its mysteries, but it fared better than most there.

The movie sucked.

I wasn’t going to see it based on the trailer but I read something that made me think that I should give it a chance. Maybe the overall look would be so good that I wouldn’t mind how dumb Alita looked.

Boy was I wrong. And the guy who said she avoided the uncanny valley is hella wrong.

Don’t get my wrong. They eyes are dumb and super stupid looking. But I got kinda used to them. Weirdly, I found her hair really distracting. I mean it never moved right. And was worst when we had framing shots of her face speaking or listening. So whoa.

Of course the biggest problem is the whole thing looked fake as shit without looking good. It was definitely “return this knock of video game to the dumpster from which you salvaged it.” The CGI has not aged well (I’m assuming it was all completed in 2003).

As a film, aside from the fact that it looked really ugly and crappy it was ok enough. It didn’t drag that much but it also didn’t establish the world very well. Neither the gritty or the weird bits were well served. They clearly want a sequel but I kinda hope not.


Belated Birthday Flicks

I had a plan on my birthday to do a double feature of The Miseducation of Cameron Post and BlackkKlansman. For a variety of reasons it didn’t happen then but we managed to catch both: Cameron Post last Sunday at 9:30 and BlackkKlansman today.

They were awesome.

BlackkKlansman is sorta classic Spike Lee working in form. I’m sorry to have missed the more experimental Chi-raq, but I suspect that this is a more successful film on every level. I’m a bit sad Spike et al felt the need to jazz up the story with a bombing. I mean, it was well done but kinda overrides the actual story.

Cameron Post is sheer genius esp the direction, editing, and cinematography. This is no dis on the acting, which was excellent, but testimony to how good these other aspects are.

The part I found especially effective was how the camera lingered on certain scenes after they were “over”. The most prominent example was the final breakfast: the kids get up and leave and we have 5-10 seconds just watching the reformed gay minister eat his cereal. The next shot is them leaving the building.

The film is full of these stretching moves and they are incredibly effective at making the film feel more real and gives the scenes room to sink in. The pacing is fine! It doesn’t lag at all, which is the tricky bit.

I really enjoyed Desiree Akhavan’s first film Appropriate Behavior but Cameron Post is really on a different level.

See them both!

The Mehibles

I saw the Incredibles 2 today and was rather underwhelmed.

I wanted to really like it, but maybe I’m so far past my superhero movie quota that there wasn’t any hope. It definitely didn’t feel fresh. The fact that the plot was entirely recycled probably didn’t help. The fact that the character development was mostly recycled as well probably didn’t help. Many of the gags were too, though there’s a pretty fun scene with a raccoon.

They made Mr Incredible really hard to like.

It was common to accuse the first movie of a Randian message. I don’t really agree with that though its message was definitely confused. What does seem to be a running theme is genius tech people with childhood trauma are bad people. So, maybe the films a sneaky smack at Silicon Valley tech jerks?

The villain is really wasted before even being fleshed out.

It was watchable, though the kids in the audience didn’t seem that entertained.

It was probably marginally better than Ocean’s Eight which won the most bonkers tech bullshit award (for a cubic zirconia 3D printer which was wrong in almost every way). Both films were watchable but immediately forgettable.