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Posts tagged “dvd review

Netflix Monday: “Reign of Fire”

I’ve been thinking a lot about art that is so bad it’s good. Why is it that movies so often fall squarely in this category?

And yes, Reign of Fire definitely qualifies. The plot has more holes than the proverbial cheese enjoyed by yodeling boys and girls on snow-laden mountains, accompanied by cgi worthy of last year’s video games and acting (by plenty of famous faces) that is truly cringe-worthy…

That’s not to say it’s another King Kong. When I watched that LOTR-profit-fueled epic disaster in the theater, it ended up becoming one of the most enjoyable movie-going experiences of my life. The audience laughed their heads off (at all the wrong moments) and all but threw things at the screen. Yep, truly bad art has a way of uniting all of today’s MST3000-lovin’ hipsters into singing kumbaya and collectively sneering at Hollywood’s excesses from behind their designer eyeware.

Reign of Fire is more of a guilty pleasure, on the lines of The Mummy, or (yes), Avatar. What can I say. It has a castle. And skydiving.¬†And dragons. (Interestingly enough, it was apparently titled “Salamander” in Japan…I’m not sure if that makes their culture utterly badass for a nonplussed relegation of fire-breathing killing machines to that level or complete wimpified in that they consider salamanders “dragons”…)

In my defense, I’ve never spent money on the movie–I first watched it at midnight on tv while on a trip, trying to fall asleep, chuckling quietly as to not wake my wife.

…she’s laughing at me now, so I guess it’s time to go watch a French film with subtitles to redeem my reputation.


Netflix Monday: “Sweetgrass”

Every now and then, I miss working outside all day long. And watching this documentary, it’s easy to prescribe reasons why these “cowboys” should continue sheepherding in the wilds of Montana. Still, this isn’t a romantic look at a dwindling profession (the way the farmers sling newborn lambs is far from PETA-approved, there’s more than one amusing profanity-laced meltdown, etc); Sweetgrass shows it how it is–as much as any film can–in part by avoiding narration, musical cues, or overt narrative. As such, it requires quite a bit of patience from the modern viewer (but not nearly as much as the monastic retreat that is Into Great Silence!)

Since I’m stuck in the suburbs for at least another year, for now, I’ll content myself with a lustful visit to Land and Farm after a long day–and, of course, watching this (exquisitely photographed) documentary.