"the new movie criticism" by which i mean i talk about me as much as i do about the movie

July 6, 2008

EB, JZ and I went to see "Hancock" last night. Of the 4 summer would-be-blockbusters I saw this year (that Hulk, that Indiana Jones, "Wanted", and Hancock) it was pretty clearly my favorite. The juxtaposition of the "shiftless" black male type with the "superpowered being" worked really well... I guess they have that sense of "other" and alienation in common. (Pro-spin: he's then an invulnerable, superstrong guy who can fly. Con-spin: who whitey than talks into putting himself in jail.)

buddy icon from the offical site sort of gets it
This is one of the most kinetic superhero portrayals I've seen -- he has good but not perfect control over his flight, makes slightly rough landings, and the opening hungover, maybe still a little drunk, flight to catch up with a van full of baddies was fantastic. It's different than the usual portrayal of Superman, who seems to have utter mastery of intertia, not just gravity.

Lately I've noticed how strongly I respond to the portrayal of flight in games and movies. Sometimes to JZ's annoyance, like when I'd give up the mission in Earth Defense Force 2017 and just fly the helicopter around (theoretically to use its missiles, but it was a habit I continued even after our handheld weapons were dwarfing its firepower.) Or in GTA4, getting the "helitour" unlocked so I can 'jack copters and soar through Times Square at night was my #1 priority.

Exchange of a Past Moment
"I wish I could fly..."
"...I wish you could fly too."
--Me and Michael Ullman, I think in his non-fiction writing class at Tufts. circa 1995 or so. It was a very good response to my almost-deliberately-random wistfulness.

Anyway, back to Hancock. EB + JZ saw more of the "surprises" blatantly telegraphed than I did, saw the twists coming a mile away. My mom was always better than me at that too. I guess I take too much at face value. And I know various comics have done the whole "ordinary guy with powers" thing, and at times the plot gets a little strained and convoluted with some strong human elements.

Over all I thought it was a great flick...

Related Article of the Moment
Slate on movie criticism and boxoffice performance. The upshot: while critics might seem a bit out of touch, with their ratings largely unrelated to box-office performance, it feels like that performance is mostly a factor of how many screens the movie opens on. If you look at the per-screen results, the unwashed masses and the critics are in better alignment.

Nice idea from the article:
If I were a publisher, though, I'd hire the best critic I could find and have him or her write two reviews: a short one, to be printed the day or week the movie opens and that gives away little of the plot but tells readers whether it's good or bad (the service aspect); and a longer, more in-depth review that discusses the entire film, to be posted online (the critical aspect). Then I'd put a message board beneath the in-depth review and sit back. Most people don't want to hear about a movie before they've seen it but would love to discuss it afterward. Boy, would they ever.
That reminds me of some of the subjective and long-term perspective that "New Gaming Journalism" is aiming for.

iPhone... "dead strips", boo. Free replacement from Apple Store despite being EXACTLY 1 year... yay! *Everything* synching - double yay!
So sick of slow websites where I can view source and see everything is pretty much loaded, but nothing shows because of offsite includes.