So there’s been some hubbub about Netflix recently. Something about how the short-sighted movie studios seem to not be willing to share potential profits, not realizing that by not sharing they may actually be eliminating income streams that they can’t replicate themselves. The result is that Netflix will be splitting into two entities: Netflix will focus solely on streaming content; and Qwikster, which, with its horrible moniker, will take over the dvd distribution (and add games to their massive catalog). The result of that is that our subscription has now doubled in price as it is, in effect, two subscriptions. The result of that is that we will be ending our dvd subscription at the end of this billing cycle.
The result of all of that is that we have been trying to cram as many dvds into the last few weeks as possible. While that may sound grand, we still really don’t have a whole lot of time for such exploits, so the following list is actually pretty modest.
Andrei Rublev – Tarkovsky’s masterpiece doesn’t really count for this post, as I watched and returned it before Netflix made their historic announcement. But I had the dvd for over a year before I found the opportunity to watch it, and I think I may have dallied in sending it back until the rate increase announcement was sent out. I was most impressed that this movie came out of communist Russia. Granted, the original version suffered some to government censors, but it still amazes me. It’s the type of movie that almost requires one to watch it multiple times in order to understand it, needing at least one trip around just to comprehend its language. Bobby Maddex has a wonderful little discussion about it as part of his Orthodox Moviegoer podcast.
District 9 – I had wanted to see this movie in the theaters. And have been anxious to see it since it became available on dvd. Despite the wait, I thought the movie was excellent. Possibly one of the best movies that I never want to see again. The science fiction story that it tells of a alien race stranded on Earth, trying to get home, is given a dark twist. Shot in a documentary style, the movie depicts how the aliens turned refugees are forced to survive the slum-like conditions of their camp, and how the humans have come to despise their presence, often treating them inhumanely. The movie shows, quite convincingly, the dark monsters that we humans can be. It is not really a feel-good movie. There is a segment that seems perhaps over the top, where the ‘evil corporation’ is discussing harvesting the main character’s body parts, in his presence. But real world analogs can be found easily enough, such as Nazi medical experiments. All it takes is for a person to view another as less than human, and suddenly that gives the one license to do whatever to the other. This human characteristic is indicative of most of our social problems. What makes this movie even more amazing in my eyes is how it got made. The crew was originally assembled to make the HALO movie. When that fell through, the director pitched this idea that had been bouncing around in his head for years. Despite, or perhaps because of, their small operating budget, they were able to assemble the masterpiece that is District 9.
Zombieland – Rule #32: Enjoy the little things. Zombieland is a fun movie that takes a slightly different angle on the pervasive zombie trope. It’s not quite Shawn of the Dead, a little more gore substituting for a little bit of farce. I guess I don’t have too much to say about it other than that I enjoyed it. It has a couple of brilliant moments in the middle concerning a certain cameo. And it left me yearning for Twinkies…
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – I’ve not read the graphic novels. I even managed not to play River City Ransom, which was a major inspiration for the work. But I still really enjoyed the film. Naturally, I enjoyed the way video game tropes/elements were used to help tell the story. I especially enjoyed the integration of the special effects with the live action. The icing on that was the lower resolution rendering of Gideon’s sword. A gleeful romp that ends with Scott not being quite the dick he starts out as.