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Dark Dungeons (2014)
Faithful adaptation of the Chick tract, with easter eggs
In the 1980s, Jack Chick Publications produced an extremely fundamentalist Christian tract denouncing the dangers of playing RPGs. This film is hilarious precisely because it is so self-aware in following the fantastical tract, even one-upping it at times(LARP and Cthulhu, anyone?) The story follows two Christian girls, Marcie and Debbie, as they go off to college and become ensnared by the glamorous, underground bacchanal that is Dark Dungeons gaming. But things are even darker than the bags under the girls' eyes after playing all night -- Mistress Frost seeks to use the girls to call forth demons into our world. Watch who lives, who dies, and who falls to their knees to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior.
Above all, watch for the references to gaming, to other Zombie Orpheum productions, and to Maven of the Eventide from the That Guy With The Glasses website.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Napoleon, die tonight!
I watched this movie because I'd never heard of it before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Having seen it, I'm still waiting to see what the fuss was all about. I'm literally hard-pressed to think of a worse movie I've seen, and I've seen some doozies. It was so bad I couldn't even make fun of it, as I could with that awful new dragon movie with John Rhyes-Davies in it. And I thought I could MST anything!
I've been told the comedy is dry and satirical. Being dry and satirical myself, I strongly disagree. The movie plods along, sprinkled with painful dialogue uttered by characters whose patheticness makes you want to put them out of their misery, with no discernible end in sight until the last 20 minutes where a predictable "happy" ending brings everything to a long-overdue conclusion.
It's not plot-driven; there is no plot. It's not character-driven; none of them have any personalities. It's not a coming of age story; nobody learns anything of value. It's not 80s nostalgia; Uncle Rico is about as close as you get to that. The best I can figure is that it's early to mid-90s nostalgia from Loser Land (and having come from Loser Land myself, I'm in no rush to go back.)
The only good point was that the actors playing the students actually looked like "realistic" teenagers, i.e. not perfect bodies and not ten years older than their characters.
Perhaps I am biased. I went to school with a few Napoleon, Kip, Deb, and Summer clones. Maybe the movie wasn't funny because I have already lived it. Having said that, I still think "ND" sucked like an F5 tornado. If it's meant to be satirical, clearly nobody knows that the point of satire is to make something appear ridiculous in order to change public opinion or to bring about change. If it's meant to be over the top, it missed the mark by a long shot. If it's meant to be absurd comedy, well . . . it met half the criteria, at least.
The writers ought to be ashamed of themselves for coming up with such crap, and whoever accepted the script should be crammed into one of those skinny lockers.
Everything the critics said and more!
Amidst the eagerness and anticipation I had going in there was a little niggling voice that said, "But is it going to be everything you hoped? The critics loved it but can the reviews be trusted?"
The answer is: yes. This movie is anything but slow. It is fast-paced but never loses you (even at 2 in the morning, and I mean that literally.) Some scenes felt a bit disjointed but that will probably be remedied in the obligatory Special Edition Extended DVD. The scenery was fantastic, especially Minas Tirith and Mount Doom, and the CGI critters like the oliphants were less "fake" than they were in FOTR and TTT. Even Arwen's intrusions were not out of place and helped move the plot along in some cases. Be warned: the ending is a tear-jerker, just like the book.
PJ may have penchant for gore and a dislike for magic but he has the eye of an artist and the mind of a poet. But keep an eye out for his little jokes (like that old guy in the Shire.)
Tries to please everyone; pleases no one
I went into the theatre with high hopes. I came out disappointed and feeling vaguely guilty about not liking it.
LXG simultaneously tries too hard and not hard enough. It plays to movie-goers seeking fast-paced eye candy by providing plenty of gunfire, fistfights, explosions, the obligatory sexy half-clad woman, and special effect metamorphoses. At the same time, it has so many in-jokes referencing Victorian literature that you'd have to an English major or someone obsessed with Victorian literature to pick up on half of them. (Guilty on both counts.)
The problem is the movie-goers who went looking for action were bored by the literary references, and those who went to see characters from famous novels interact with each other were put off by the totally anachronistic weaponry and action sequences. I'd suggest sticking to one genre next time but I can guess which part the producers would choose to cut. And it wouldn't be the big guns.