Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nog and T4 and McG! / Plus, Nog and Me and You and Everyone We Know

I'd like to punch McG in the nose just for having a silly name. Even if McG made a masterpiece (and I think it's safe to say that he won't), I'm not sure anyone could take it seriously, just because of that name (same for you, Tarsem!).

But T-4 is not quite as bad as critics would have you believe. True, it doesn't "feel" like a Terminator movie, but I'm okay with that. We've seen that before. We know that Terminator thing already. And I'll grant McG this: I think he has a clear idea of what he wants to do with the franchise...which is apparently transform it into a grim and joyless war film. And some of it works. I like the bleached-out apocalyptic look of the post-Judgement Day future, full of Skynet machines run amuck. It makes sense to me to take this aspect of the Terminator mythology and build a film around it, abandoning the expected conceit of "going back in time to kill John Connor." Problem is, the film's not very engaging beyond its setup. Christian Bale, obviously a good actor, is not a good John Connor. Who'd want to follow this grumpy fucker into battle? And Sam Worthington (who will join former Terminator mastermind Jim Cameron in Avatar to apparently...reinvent cinema altogether, if you believe the fanboys) is not charismatic enough to turn Marcus Wright into the kind of new iconic figure the film needs. Still, McG can stage a clear action scene: unlike most action films these days, I could--mostly--follow what was happening in the massive robot battles, something that certainly can't be said for the first Transformers. Plus, we get some bad-ass Stan Winston robots.

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Me and You and Everyone We Know is sort of a smaller-scale Magnolia or Shortcuts (although not in the same league as those films). When I saw it in theaters, it struck me as occasionally cloying, overly whimsical in the way that too many small indie films are these days. But watching it again on DVD, I found myself pretty caught up in it. Like those aforementioned films, it explores the connections (and missed connections) between a group of seemingly disparate characters. Here's an example: Miranda July (the writer and director, who still annoys me) plays an artist who attempts to pass along a tape of her work to a gallery owner, who blows her off and insists that the tape must be mailed. Later in the film, we see the gallery owner with the tape on in the background, still being ignored until it comes to an end and July herself appears, speaking directly to the gallery owner and saying "I'm sure you'll never make it to the end of this tape and never see this etc etc." The gallery owner is suddenly mesmerized, personally connected through the seeming disconnectedness of technology. And technology plays a role as well in the film's most-often discussed storyline, which involves a very young boy who inadvertantly becomes part of a cybersex conversation. Naturally, he has no idea about sex, writing things like "I want to poop back and forth with you, using the same poop," which has the unexpected effect of turning the woman on. They later agree to meet, and their encounter on a park bench (a young boy and a thirty-ish year old woman) is very funny and very sad at the same time. July lets it play out wordlessly (and then partially ruins it with a shitty indie song in the background). But the film has enough moments such as this (I still love the mysterious opening where a man sets his own hand on fire to impress his children), that it's more than worth a look.

6 comments:

  1. McG sucks DannyGlovers DickBloodMay 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

    No one is allowed to comment on this movie for it is that suck!

    if you comment -- we'll beat the crap out of you with a goddamned T-140 or some such McBullshit! I hate the McG... and I should never have allowed him to take my precious dollars that I could have spent on The Girlfriend Experiment in HD that I could have watched and jerked myself off to in the comfort of my own home!

    --Damn you, McShittie... Damn you for (wait for it) RAPING MY CHILDHOOD

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  2. I suspect Soderbergh is one of the only directors who could make Sasha Grey boring! Even McG could direct Sasha Grey!

    Yet I too plan to watch Girlfriend Experiment before it disappears from OnDemand this week.

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  3. I'm still too irritated by the sheer suckitude of T4 to provide ample comment. Thing that irritates me the most: the scenes we enjoyed the most: they were not shot by him. They were composed and shot second unit. He INSISTED that he direct the Connor scenes because he sought to evoke powerful emotion from them.

    People wonder why Bale went bug nuts on this thing. McG is trying to get him to emote powerfully... and he went shit loco.

    --No comments on this fucker. It should be destroyed! The Blog is shut down til up. EVERYTHING SUCKS :). Wow... I almost sound like...

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  4. The blog will reopen if I see Girlfriend Experience!

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  5. I think all our blogs will reopen if we see the girlfriend experience.

    --But Travers declaims it for being a cocktease!

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  6. Yeah -- "grim" and "joyless" are perfect adjectives. < shakes head > I do not approve of this film. If directors called "McG" are going to make shitty movies like this now and forever, I kind of want the machines to win.

    P.S. "McG" sounds like something you order from the Dollar Menu.

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