Archive | September 2012

Wilfred (US)

I’d been eagerly awaiting the conclusion of season 2 before writing an article on this most superb of television series. Wilfred is one of the most interesting and well-done series I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve not been gripped like this since I first stumbled upon Being Human. Starring Elijah Wood as Ryan, it’s the story of a lawyer who quits everything because he’s tired of living his life the way he’s been told to. After retreating to his home and vowing never to leave his basement dwelling existence, he’s greeted by his neighbor Jenna and her pet dog Wilfred. Now whereas everyone else sees a grey mutt, he says a man in a dog suit. He talks, smokes, drinks and does everything else a dog would do if they had thumbs.


The series opens up with the most delightful ditty and a quote pertaining to the theme of each episode which is centered around an event in Ryan’s life and how he learns to grow as a person while coping and dealing with everything. Episodes range from Ryan’s overbearing sister to his affections for his neighbor Jenna and his envy of her boyfriend. Wilfred acts as the best friend and confident (as every good dog does) by offering seemingly terrible advice which can turn out to be genuinely terrible or surprisingly wise. Regardless of his role in the episode, Ryan grows as a person as he learns to cope and handle the various strenuous situations that rise and occur in our lives.


The camera work is spot-on, and the sound effects and music are succinct, just enough to add flavor to everything without drowning out the rest of the elements in the scene. But the humour is what really does it for me. It’s occasionally cheesy and they love to slip in quotes and references here and there. It’s sparsely utilized but to great effect. The acting is just the right amount of dramatic without being overbearing. It’s a perfect balance of all the elements and never ceases to entertain. When I first began watching this one Saturday with my beau we quickly became entranced and didn’t stop watching it until we realized we had just seen the first season in its entirety. The smoke-out sessions at the end of each episode during the credits is like that little bit of dessert at the end with Ryan and Wilfred just hanging out in the basement smoking pot from a homemade piece whose water is never changed and gradually turns into brown sludge by the end of season 2. Speaking of the ending to Season 2, the brain-shocking multiple twists surprised even me and the cliff-hanger final minutes only serve to mock the viewer further as to Wilfred’s true identity. While there are only two seasons and a third hasn’t been confirmed yet, rest assured they’d be fools to not renew this bit of televised fried gold.

Ip Man

I’ve seen many a kung fu film over the years thanks to my dad’s love of martial arts, in particular Jackie Chan films. And I do profess to a great appreciation for all the stunt work he does. But nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the superb choreography present in the film Ip Man.

Ip Man


Every fight is incredibly fast paced and beautiful to watch. Blink and you’ll miss several blows, kicks and blocks as fast as any fight I’ve seen in cinema and all perfectly timed and executed. The story itself is well paced and many of the characters are likable, even the bandit that shows up to challenge the martial arts masters of Fo Shan. While Ip Man himself is quiet and humble, he doesn’t need much for the story that is told. He doesn’t need characterization because the real man he was based on was equally quiet and humble in his later years. While the story is of course an exaggeration of the real life Japanese invasion of China, it can be forgiven in the way that the various characters try to persevere the hardships. Ip Man’s wife seems to come off initially as standoffish and a bit strict, but she stands by him in the end and shows that she really does care for him and her son greatly. It is this loyalty in the characters that gives them that little shine that endears them to the viewer.

Ip Man vs. The Northern Bandit


But the real meat and potatoes of the film is every fight scene that only get better and better as the film progresses. The fight between the bandit is fun and exciting, the fight between the ten black belts is mind-blowing, and the final fight between General Miura and Ip Man in front of the remnants of the city of Fo Shan is heart stopping. While I’ve not seen the sequel, considering that the same choreographer is involved I’ll be sure to check it out myself and may make a quick article on that. Nonetheless, be sure to see this ASAP as anyone would really enjoy watching this. And lack of curse words, blood and gore (except for the occasional wrenched limb, but nothing that would shock or scare) makes this perfect for sitting back to watch on any evening.

This fight lasted all of 2 minutes and every second was glorious.

Pogo

I first stumbled upon the musical workings of Pogo years ago. I can’t remember how or why, except that it must have had something to do with my penchant for Alice in Wonderland as his song Alice was created using soundbites from the movie. It had this mesmerizing beat and a sort of druggy trance vibe that suited it to a T.

Then I discovered he’d made other music featuring soundbites and clips from not just movies but a few TV shows as well. He’s even begun to venture into the realm of sound captured from life as the song Gardyn shows. His music tends to range from from poppy and upbeat to slow and sweet and every other beat inbetween, all in a strive to create and find that one rhythm that captures the source material. The videos that accompany the music are also great fun to watch as he not only shows where certain clips came from, but he also manages to work other clips seamlessly into a sort of dance video for each song. I’d list my favorites, but his portfolio of work has greatly increased over the years and each one is wholly unique and wonderful in its own right. He’s even gained enough popularity and notoriety that Pixar hired him to make remixes for Up as well as Toy Story. The great part though, is you can find all of his music on his website http://www.pogomix.net where you decide how much to pay for each song.

Brick

I can’t tell if the acting was hammy or just that good. Having said that, most of the actors do a superb job of portraying this grand homage to the noir genre and the protagonist seemed to relish his role a bit too much. The fact that it looks like someone filmed it at home with a shoestring budget only serves to better portray the film. While I’m not a big fan of noir, It was still an enjoyable film with a twist worthy of such an ending. Clever bits here and there are sprinkled throughout, such as when Brendan is dashing away from a hired assassin, stops, turns and trips him into a metal support beam. But I would have to say that placing the film’s setting in a high school really adds to the humour. As I watched the scene where Brendan and the school’s principal are arguing, I was almost waiting for the principal to yell “turn in your badge!”, and I couldn’t resist peals of laughter as Brendan, Tug and The Pin sat in his kitchen and waited for Pin’s mother to serve cereal and juice to their, unbeknownst to her, hostage Brendan. It’s an enjoyable film to say the least in particular if you’re a fan of noir/neo-noir and well worth checking out.

A Serbian Film

This film was honestly one of the worst films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not the gore or shock that bothers me, I could care less about that, it’s how it was used. it was gratuitous for the sake of gratuity and THAT’S not even the worst of it. It’s not like this movie was Jackass 3d which proudly displays its stupidity. It’s not like this movie was Human Centipede 1 or 2 (both of which I adore for their ridiculousness) which at least showcased its gore with full aplomb and didn’t apologize for itself. It was trying to disgust you. No, this film seems almost like someone wanted to make a serious movie, with good color, and cinematography, with real intentions and then devolved into what could have been described as a Hostel sequel. If they had made this with the intention of “How far would a man go for money” in the world of porn films it could have had some actual and real potential. It could have been a deep and interesting look into the depraved world of the human psyche. Instead it showed us a man stumbling from one improbable scene to the next. It showed us someone so drugged up that he was willing to rape and fuck anything he came into contact with, no longer any questions asked.

and then he rapes his own son while his brother rapes his wife without him even knowing it until it is too late. And somehow this is supposed to be worse and more dramatic then an earlier scene where the protagonist Milo stumbles upon a different film by his director where a grown man helps a tied up woman give birth to her child only to immediately proceed to rape the newborn.

It’s just so unnecessary in this film. It really really is. There was absolutely no reason for that scene to be in this film. Either of them. But the most useless and worse scene I watched was not the worst because of it’s violence, gore, shock, depravity or any other number of adjectives. It was the very last 3 seconds of film. After realizing what he had done, Milo returns home to where his wife and child are huddling on the ground naked and bloody. Milo hugs them close to him before proceeding to cry in the shower. They get cleaned up as the mother sings a song to the boy and they all crawl into bed together and just hold each other close. Milo holds the stolen handgun to his wife’s back and as they look into each other’s eyes, the camera cuts to a shot of the outside of the house and you hear the trigger pulled as the bullet passes through the wife, into the child, and out through Milo’s back. It would have been a decent ending to an otherwise crummy film, but the fucking part where the porn film camera men show up in their living room out of nowhere and then the new director says “Come on. Start with the little one” as one of the other men proceeds to unzip his pants before it simply cuts to the credits was the worst. That was just straight up retarded. This movie couldn’t even leave a well enough ending alone without shoehorning in more useless and arbitrary ultra-violence for no discernible reason. This movie was just bad, plain and simple. It was a disappointment in the worst way. It couldn’t even deliver on the gore and ultra-violence is the worst of it.