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Alpha Mike Foxtrot

There are times, especially when I don’t watch the news, where every day feels the same and when I notice it my daily life almost feels like some kind of unbelievably boring time loop. Like Groundhog Day, except I’m making vain comparisons to a film I haven’t even seen. It really doesn’t help that it seems for weeks, if not months, Yahoo! Mail has had the same news piece about “South Africa denied dream start by Mexico” in its top stories box. For weeks. I think they sometimes changed the country name, but it otherwise did a fantastic job of feeling trapped in a time anomaly while simultaneously remaining aware that the few remaining days of the year are just slipping by like plastic bags in the wind. Thanks a lot, Yahoo! News.

I haven’t seen a lot of standout movies lately, and although I’ve seen four in the past few weeks I haven’t even commented on them yet. Here’s some hurried-out slapdash opinions!

The A-Team: Saw it yesterday. A reasonably enjoyable romp. I can’t vouch for how accurate it is to the source material – people actually get shot (and die!) with guns, it’s only near the end when cars flip over at the slightest provocation, and there’s a fair amount of swearing, including some poorly silenced usages of “motherfucker.” It’s also got a strange blend of stark seriousness and acknowledged goofiness, but let’s face it, who’s going to care about the serious stuff when the characters fly a tank? Fly a tank, honest to god.

The actors all do great jobs, and Liam Neeson brings a real presence to the film, plus the dude who plays Pike looks like a real life version of Johnny Fiama. I know the guy’s meant to be a tough-as-nails asshole villain, but seriously, those eyebrows! Paint him green, put him in a suit, give him a monkey bodyguard and I swear they could make a live action Muppets film just with that. The action’s a bit variable – the fisticuffs is typical Batman Begins bollocks of fast-paced camera cuts that mean you can’t tell what the hell is happening, effectively draining any intensity and excitement from the scrap. On the contrary, the shooting scenes are a lot more passable and climax is suitably impressive. It’s very much a lads movie – I know the original TV show was pretty much men-only, but it still remained wholesome family entertainment, at least in my eyes, even if Hannibal’s original actor did basically chew out any woman who became a regular on the show. Should I complain about how the only important woman in the story, although vital to the characters’ wellbeing, is continuously referred to by everyone as a bitch? Or is this just my white man’s guilt flaring up?

It makes entertaining use of its two hour runtime, it never feels like a drag at any point (it takes a little while to build up at first as the first, but that’s more because it’s not until they reach the hospital that the action scenes become satisfying), and hey, watching shit blow up on the side of people throwing “pity” and “fool” into every sentence isn’t bad.

The Warriors: My buddy LVK138 has been hyping it to no end ever since we began chatting years ago, primarily because he’s a big brawler game buff and thus he’s a fan of all the movies that basically inspired the look and feel of many of them. For that purpose, it’s a very intriguing watch – you can practically feel the Final Fight influence radiating from every frame, from the scrappy run-down city dwellings to the wackily dressed thematic punks.

Watching it as a film, though, it’s okay. There was less action than I was expecting – what action there was wasn’t bad, but I guess my experience with the likes of Streets of Rage and other games that already recreate the same kind of antics but in a more tightknit manner leave it rather mundane in comparison. It’s a little slow-going, but it adds ambiance that way, just getting to see those environments more. It’s also nice to hear the original version of “Warriors! Come out and plaaay-aaay!” rather than someone doing a botched imitation.

Romancing of the Stone: Very fun flick, like Indiana Jones but with less whimsy, more romance and more dudes-getting-their-hands-eaten-off-by-crocodiles. I’d happily watch it again in the future, and I look forward to seeing the sequel!

The Incredibles: I sometimes wonder why I bother reviewing movies when inevitably my opinions all border around “enjoyable to some degree.” My thoughts on games tend to vary enough due to the involvement they require, but for movies it’s more a matter of whether or not I feel it was worth taking the time to watch it. It’s nice to finally see The Incredibles, but at the same time I could easily have lived without it. Some decent action and a fun performance by Jason Lee as the bad guy, though all the drama did nothing for me. I’ve heard that originally it was going to be even more dramatic with more deaths and so on, but, come on, it’s a cartoon. I’m all for mature cartoons, but when it’s superheroes with disproportionate cartoon bodies and secretaries with stick insect figures and general goofy action sequences, it trying to say “look at me I’m dramatic” captures the same mental image as a pouty child in a fairy costume. Otherwise, not a bad flick! Probably wouldn’t be impressed if I paid to see it, though. Good thing it was on TV.

Today’s lamentation: It’s a pity that Rip Rig & Panic don’t have a terribly appealing sound, as “Another Tampon Up the Arse of Humanity” is a great name for a song. Same thing with Death By Stereo, which is probably the only band I actually genuinely hate, but I do commend them for the song title “I Wouldn’t Piss In Your Ear, If Your Brain Was On Fire.”