Sunday, July 18, 2010

Invisible Green

Twitter Sonnet #163

Expanding grass blades become misplaced leaves.
Vertical sheets catch cold robot salmon.
Stretched pelts make foul smelling thin summer eaves.
Tar pits suppress all stone aged backgammon.
Disastrous viscous fluids convene.
Grey double rainbows are full on neutral.
Lava at one pole makes the other green.
Drains draw the dreams of ice command central.
Invisible twins forget their manners.
Every leg on a spider is useful.
Etiquette is a mall full of Scanners.
Knowledge of foreign flora is helpful.
Dye dots leaves as far as the eye can see.
Ted Turner's skull grins from a rain soaked tree.

Muscle time!

Last night, Tim and I saw Predators, which I liked, though I agree with some of Devin Faraci's review that a lot of the ideas work better as concepts than they did in execution. Particularly the sword duel between the yakuza and one of the Predators--the guy didn't seem like he could use a sword very well, but I've been spoiled by the duels in Kurosawa films, which are very quick. That's the nature of the Japanese sword--it's not a very good defensive weapon, it's more about who hits first. Not a lot of parrying involved. But of course, that's not very cinematic in most people's opinions.

Meanwhile, the beginning of the film suffered from the opposite problem--moving too quickly. I can see it's concern over the short attention span of the audience that causes exposition to be dumped on us at a rapid pace, but I would really have liked some time to build up the characters more organically, particularly since in its current state it forces Adrian Brody's character to do something rather out of character for him by not killing someone who's firing a minigun at him.

Brody's good in the movie, though--he plays it unabashedly Clint Eastwood, with the low, steely voice and the emotional disconnect. In fact, I'd have liked it if he'd been even more like the character from Leone's Man with No Name trilogy. Faraci complains about the guy barely having an arc, but I don't see why he really needs one at all.

And I'd have liked the female lead, Alice Braga, to have been more like Vasquez from Aliens--then we'd have her being bombastic playing off him being cool. It would've been sort of like the Tuco/Blondie relationship, actually, except heterosexual.

I also wish the movie had had more Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne. The Matrix films had caused me to forget Fishburne's a good actor, and it's great seeing him with a really weird character to chew on. His totally inward personality, from years of isolation, did better to establish the environment of the alien planet than any of the special effects.

Trejo, I suppose, is being saved for Machete, a preview of which came immediately before Predators, causing many people to shout out, "Machete!" when Trejo showed up in Predators. Unfortunately, the new Machete trailer is doing a really shitty job of selling the film. They ought to have just gone with the original fake trailer from Grindhouse;

Anyway, I realised it'd been something like ten years since I'd watched the original Predator last, so I watched it to-day while eating breakfast. I don't think I'd ever appreciated before what a good movie it was, and it has something that's lacking in every other Predator oriented movie since--a really good setup.

The group of characters are well drawn, and there's a great sense of the Predator's game violently upsetting the normal world for these guys. They know how things are supposed to work, they're the best there is at what they do. But preparing for ambushes and blowing the shit out of the forest in front of them doesn't work all of a sudden. When Jesse Ventura's character dies, we get scenes of another guy mourning which is just about totally unheard of in action movies nowadays. We get a sense of just how wrong this is, that someone so badass could be taken out so easily.

And I really loved Elpidia Carrillo as Anna. First of all, I can dig a chick whose name sounds like a kind of reference book, but also for some reason I don't remember her being so damned hot.

It doesn't hurt that she looks eerily like chess grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, either.

I also loved that she told a story about her ancestors encountering the Predator. The idea of the Predator being tied to native folklore is something I really wish hadn't been abandoned.

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