25m… How High Can You Saw?

I spent much of the weekend working on the final mix for the Extra Extra pilot, and I’m happy to report that it’s about 95% complete. Another few days and it’ll be as good as it’s ever going to be, at least with me at the helm. Sorry about that.

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and as my family prepares for the forthcoming monsoon of sugared confectionaries and a plethora of resulting cavities, I’ve been looking at a slew of horror films.

SAW IV
RATING: 7 out of 10

Well, whaddya know? I quite enjoyed Saw IV. That’s not to say that it’s a good movie, but it’s a pretty decent piece of entertainment… and come to think of it, I’m not 100% convinced there’s a difference between the two.

The plot is more of the same: death, traps, and little mini-casette tapes. I enjoyed the way in which Jigsaw remained part of the story after the rather conclusive ending to the third film. And I also admired the photography, the sound design, and, as always, the ingenuity of the puzzles.

But I did NOT enjoy the multiplex audience. This was easily one of the worst theater-going experiences of my life, as I was surrounded by annoying teenagers on all sides. And I’m not saying all teenagers are annoying, but there were tons of cretins in this particular screening.

Folks, please SHUT THE HELL UP and let me watch the film!

What galls me is that the crowd members weren’t even TRYING to keep their voices down… people were just talking in the same normal tone of voice they’d use at home, or a restaurant, or a park. For the WHOLE MOVIE. Pretty insane. Enjoyable film, but a lousy audience.

HELLRAISER
RATING: 3 out of 10

Huh. So that was Hellraiser. At first I felt guilty that I’d put off seeing this film for so long. Now I wish I’d waited much, much longer. A few of the shots were visually interesting, but that’s hardly enough to make this thing watchable. A big ol’ bowl of “ick.”

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
RATING: 8 out of 10

Yep… this movie still rocks my world. Perhaps the most lovingly photographed horror film of the last twenty years, and the score is a stunner as well. Keanu Reeves is badly (even comically) miscast, but the rest of the actors are more than up to the challenge, and Sadie Frost (“Lucy”) is so beautiful it hurts. A film that would be worth watching for the eye candy alone, even if the story wasn’t great. A Halloween tradition for me.

And, in less horrific viewing:

THE KING OF KONG
RATING: 8 out of 10

As a recovering Donkey Kong addict, I was utterly entranced by Seth Gordon’s The King of Kong, a fantastic new documentary about two guys determined to kick each other’s ass at one of the greatest video games ever made.

Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell are two middle-aged men whose lives revolve around classic video games. I found Wiebe, a science teacher, very likeable if a little unfocused with his priorities, but hot sauce king Mitchell just gave me the creeps. And hey, I’m speaking as someone who, like Wiebe, once owned a Donkey Kong Junior arcade game with a Donkey Kong Senior logic board installed into it. (Addicted? Maybe just a little bit.)

Unlike those guys, however, my high score hovers around 130,000.

There is a fantastic sequence in which one of the guys explains that the average Donkey Kong player will never get past the third elevator round. Indeed, this is where I *always* die. I can usually get to that round (which is the 11th or 12th screen) without ever getting killed, and then I lose all my lives on that board. Mario hates me.

And I never knew about the Donkey Kong “kill screen”, athough I’ve seen the one for Pac-Man.

If you like classic video games, or portraits of obsession, or both, then go see this. NOW.

-CSJ

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