Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Movie Night

Wolf Creek (Unrated version)

I'd have to describe myself as "unimpressed". It's essentially Texas Chainsaw Massacre set in the Australian outback, only it's just one guy instead of a family of psychos, and it lacks TCM's sense of humor, if you can call it that. Three young tourists in Australia get kidnapped and tortured by a sadistic psycho. Now, I’m not going to say it's a bad movie just because it's a misogynist torture-fest (that would be hypocritical: I do own a copy of Bloodsucking Freaks in my DVD collection, after all). But it’s a bad misogynist torture-fest.

It had two major problems, as well as most of the usual minor problems (characters doing inexplicably dumb things*, for example); some spoilers may follow:

1) At the start, it claims to be "based on true events". But there’s a big chunk of the film that depicts events that went unwitnessed by the only survivor, and the recap at the end says that "No trace of [the other two] was ever found." If you’re going to claim to be a "true story", you need to make sure that everything you show was either witnessed by someone who survived to the end, or could have been pieced together/inferred from the evidence the police find later.

2) It uses what I would call the "super-competent serial killer" – For example, out of a garage full of cars (from his prior victims), how did he manage to be hiding in the back seat of the ONE CAR our protagonist got into and tried to start? He’s also an absolute dead-eye shot with a rifle from hundreds of yards away. Just supremely skilled at everything he does. You can kind of get away with that sort of thing if your killer is supposed to be supernatural (e.g., Freddy Krueger), but if he's just a crazy guy, it breaks suspension of disbelief when he’s that lucky and that good at absolutely everything.

Nice cinematography of the Australian scenery, though. Probably not worth sitting through just for that. The movie does start off with some promise, because we spend about 40 minutes before anything horrific happens, just following the characters on their trip. I almost said "getting to know the characters", but that isn't really true, since they don't really have identifiable personalities, they're just sort of generic "carefree young person" templates. But once the screaming starts... put it this way: It's not the worst horror movie I've ever seen, by a long shot. But if I want to watch pretty scenery, I'd rather put on the Discovery HD channel; if I want to watch a scary/disturbing horror movie, I'd rather stick in Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and if I want to watch a misogynist torture-fest, I'd rather subscribe to one of the hundreds of S&M-oriented internet porn sites. All of which renders this film spectacularly pointless.

*By "inexplicably dumb things", I mean, for example: If you've snuck back into the killer's lair, while he's otherwise occupied, for the specific purpose of finding a getaway vehicle ("If I'm not back in 5 minutes, start walking."), why, in the name of all that is holy, WHY would you climb down into a HOLE in the GROUND underneath a water tower? And then act all shocked when all that's down there is the rotting corpses of the psycho's past victims. What did you think you were going to find? A subway station? That burrowing vehicle from The Core, maybe?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reading is Hard!

Wasn't this an episode of "Yes, Minister"?

From Reason's Hit and Run:
In April, 327 members of the House of Representatives voted for a classified intelligence bill, thereby authorizing some of the administration's anti-terrorism measures. 96 voted against it. And according to The Boston Globe, approximately a dozen representatives read it...

It really doesn't come as a surprise to me that our lawmakers don't bother to read laws before voting on them. This certainly isn't the first time it's been reported on, even discounting BBC sitcoms. That doesn't make it any less disturbing, mind you, just less unexpected.