Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World"

All right, and welcome back to Part 2 of our inaugural double feature.

So, I mentioned in my introduction that I'm a bit of a video game lover. Well... I figured that since this exists, why not pair an action film with a different kind of film? Expendables covered the 80's...

And this movie covers a whole ton of retro gaming references and romantic plots.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22 year old bassist for the rock band Sex Bob-omb who has no real life to speak of. Enter Ramona Flowers (Mary Elisabeth Winstead), a girl he sometimes sees in his dreams. It’s true love at first sight for Scott, and then they hook up and have a happy relationship. The only problem is… Scott has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes before he can have her heart. And so, he ends up having to fight them as they end up coming to him one by one.

All right, so right off the bat I have stuff to talk about. The entire enterprise of Scott Pilgrim is… well, incredibly stylized. The entire thing looks and feels exactly like a live-action realization of a combination of an old-school beat’em up game and a comic book at the same time. (Fitting, given that it’s an adaptation of a series of graphic novels simply titled “Scott Pilgrim”.) Think about the survival rules of Zombieland that pop up. Imagine that, taken to a whole new level of ludicrousness; onomatopoeia is tossed off left and right, some of the objects used in a fight get surrounded by 8-bit pixels, and some old-school video game sound effects are even used. It even goes right down to the 8-bit Universal logo accompanied by a .MIDI arrangement of its fanfare that would sound right at home on an NES when that comes up before the movie starts.

The high-stylization of basically everything in the movie may throw a few viewers off, but Edgar Wright uses it extremely well. It certainly makes for some really awesome-looking action scenes (some of the best I’ve seen all year, by the way), and it makes for a few really good gags as well. It might go into sensory overload in some places, but its tight stylization ensures that it maintains some level of consistency.

And the irreverence definitely doesn’t stop there. The dialogue manages to be extremely funny by virtue of how ludicrous some of the situations are. The writing for all of the characters is extremely witty, and while hanging lampshades, tossing off obscure references to various nerdy things, and letting various non-sequitors fly across the screen, it’s hard not to laugh at a large portion of the movie’s dialogue.

But at its heart, the movie also works as a romantic comedy, if it gets off on the wrong foot. There’s really not a whole lot of development on Ramona’s end, and thus, some people might wonder what the hell Scott sees in her other than a pretty girl who changes her hair color every week and a half. We don’t really get to understand why Scott has an attraction to Ramona in the first place.

But no matter what, it’s still there. And there’s something incredibly honest about the whole enterprise once the movie gets going. In addition to the whole seven evil exes deal, there is some real romantic and character development on Scott’s end when the going gets tough. And when the going gets tough, honest emotion resonates through the off-kilter presentation and all the funny lines.

The entire presentation is off-kilter, and for this Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World delivers on almost every level. It works as an action movie, it works as a romantic comedy, and it works as a straight comedy all on itself. While the central relationship does suffer from slight underdevelopment, it does also get genuine emotion from its characters. If you’re a geek you’re going to love it. If not…

Give it a chance anyway. You might like it anyway.


Most definitely worth checking out.

And that takes care of our double feature.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'm happy to be on Blogspot, and I'll see you next time.

"The Expendables"

All right, so to kick us off today, we have a double feature lined up! So, for those of you that didn't follow me on DeviantArt and ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, sometimes I did this double feature thing where I featured two movies with a similar topic. Well... fairly similar topics. So the week's topic?

Action, Action, Extra Life!

In other words, we're getting a very action-packed Sunday today, starting with sh*t getting blown up, and ending with people getting kicked in the face. So...

Without further ado, I'll move the action to the first movie today.

The Expendables

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads an elite group of mercenaries that call themselves the Expendables. Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) hires the mercenary group to overthrow a dictatorial regime on the island of Vilena, where General Garza (David Zayas) is running a drug operation with rogue CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts). Together with a knives specialist (Jason Statham), a martial arts expert (Jet Li), an explosives expert (Randy Couture), and a weapons specialist (Terry Crews), Ross sets out to stop them.

I think we know what happens next, right? Stuff gets blown up, mooks get killed en masse, and fight scenes are had! It's been mentioned several times that The Expendables is a loving homage to 80's action movies. And on this, I agree; I was never a fan of the 80's action genre myself, but I can see why people really loved this aesthetic.

Sure, the plot is incredibly thin. Sure, the only characters that get any kind of personality are Stallone and Statham's characters. (Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in this movie, but he's more like a throwaway cameo to make the trailer look pretty than anything else, really.) Sure, the one-liners are cheesy.

But who the hell cares? It's stuff being blown up and people being awesome. And that's really what 80's action movies are about. My only real complaint is that the action is filmed a little too close for comfort; in a few places it's a little hard to tell what's going on since it resorts to the shaky-cam closeups that I really hate in action movies these days. But when we can see what's going on, it's glorious, glorious action. Explosions? They come in spades, especially towards the end of the third act. Awesome fight scenes? You got 'em. Mooks getting gunned down. There's plenty of that.

In other words, The Expendables is the quintessential 80's action homage. It's honestly all about turning your brain off and sitting back to enjoy the impressive pyrotechnics. And while we can't always see what's going on and the plot is about as stiff as you'd expect out of an 80's action movie, in the end, what does it matter? The movie delivers on what we need to, and it's a very fun ride.


If you want to see it, go see it. If you don't want to, don't.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys in a few hours with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Welcome to the blog!

Hello, everyone! I’d like to personally welcome you to Herr Wozzeck Reviews!

So, for those of you who don’t know who I am…

Well, I’m a rather hyperactive conservatory student who resides in Boston. I’m also a geek (and quite proud of my status as a geek, if I do say so myself), and quite like the movies and video games. As such, I like to have places to express my love for movies.

So for around a year now, I’ve been reviewing movies as an amateur critic who loses money because I go to see these things. I used to stick exclusively to and the That Guy With The Glasses forums, but… well, I thought I’d branch out. So here I am on Blogspot. Forgive the presentation; if I get far enough along, I’ll get a rehaul of this page’s look. But only if I can find someone who can do it, given how I suck at visual art.

So yeah. Things you can expect from me? Well, when I first started I didn’t really plan to go see a movie every week, but… As I’ve done these reviews I’ve picked up that habit. So, you can expect to see a movie from me every weekend. Usually, these will be on Friday nights, but sometimes I might go see something on Saturday or maybe even Sunday. If I have to take a break due to various circumstances, you can expect to hear from me later.

And now that I’ve moved to Blogspot, I think I should take it upon myself to do things other than current movies. So expect one update on the movie of the week on the weekend, and then expect something else during the week; perhaps some musings on a topic within the movie, or an older movie that relates to the week’s movie. Expect more than that.

So other than that… Well, that’s all I have to say. So here we are.

I’ll see you guys soon with a double feature review to kick off this event!