Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2008.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Movies (August)

Posted 2 September 2008 in movie and review

Pitch Black (2000)

The director, David Twohy, chose to do some odd things that, in my opinion, didn't work. Sure, his choices have some logic behind them, but they don't work. "Riddick has surgically-enhanced eyes, right? Let's do extreme closeups of eyes!" The script called for the antagonist and Riddick to square off in one scene, but Twohy chose to have their eyeballs square off first in a strobe-like sequence that very nearly made me seize.

The script, meanwhile, was full of cheap emotional ploys. One character died painfully, but all he did was yell "Don't pull that lever!" for the first few minutes of the movie. Later, one of the characters turned out to be a girl, which affected nothing. Still later, Riddick played chicken with a monster, only to effect the heroine's death. I wasn't troubled, though, because the heroine was doing such a poor job that the studio executives decided "If this movie was measured in chicks, we could make this thing a literal 100% better by introducing another hottie." Then I guess the execs realized they had already killed off everyone else and were forced to argue over which of the remaining men could pass for a chick in the big revelation scene. But I digress...

The script was bad, but Twohy threw all subtlety and finesse to the wind. 1 star

Tentacles (1977)

Let me just say, when I saw the title of this movie on Hulu I was expecting a completely different film. After clicking through, however, it became clear that this was going to be a run-of-the-mill, ho-hum horror movie that OMG TEH SUMMARY IT CALLS TO ME!

For years my brothers and I have had a running joke about horror movies involving monstrous creatures. Most of our inspiration came from watching bad SciFi channel movies, where they'll show anything that can be described as "Otherwise innocuous creature grows to enormous size for specious reason and terrorizes a quiet seaside community." So when I saw Hulu's synopsis, reproduced below, I laughed aloud and settled in for a terrible treat.

A prehistoric octopus of monstrous proportions, stirred from its sleep in the North Sea by underwater explosions, migrates to the U.S. Gulf Coast and menaces a seaside community.

The movie is filled with bad acting, poor dialogue, sudden and painful changes in audio levels, and an attempt at a leitmotif that will make you angry for having the vocabulary to describe the musical disaster assaulting your ears. Its saving grace was the sense of nostalgia I experienced, as if I'd already seen this movie about something something "enormous" mumble mumble "terrorizes a small seaside community." 2 stars

Lost in Translation (2003)

The story, the pacing, the music, the characters, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson's performances...this is a beautiful movie through and through. 5 stars

Planet of the Apes (2001)

This would have been a three-star movie, but the ending was so nonsensical that I had to dock the whole film an entire star. Generic storytelling? Okay. Plot holes? Alright. But that ending! ... 2 stars

Ghostbusters (1984) 3 stars
Ghostbusters Ⅱ (1989) 3 stars
Minority Report (2002) 5 stars
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) 2 stars
David Cross: The Pride Is Back (1999) 4 stars
Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) 1 star
Lewis Black: Red, White, and Screwed (2006) 4 stars
Behind Enemy Lines (2001) 3 stars