Thursday, July 02, 2020

Apotheosis Foul

Artemis Fowl (Kenneth Branagh, 2020) is utterly insufferable, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Smug and self-important and clueless in a way that is uniquely Disney, a cancer on art that seems to have corrupted even the great Kenneth Branagh (and composer Peter Doyle, for that matter).

The screenplay is insipid, utterly overflowing with hoary old cliches that are meant to make characters sound cool or dangerous or funny, but wind up as simply infuriating. The performances are annoyingly twee or so pretentious and , again, smug, that audiences are left with no one to root for or empathize with. Even the sound effects are annoying, and the usually-brilliant Peter Doyle's score is the stuff of bad 1970s Saturday morning cartoons.

Story beats are utterly predictable, including the death and almost immediate resurrection of a supporting character that was clearly supposed to fill the role of "badass audience favourite." He dies, there are tears shed, then literally seconds later a force field lifts so a faerie can use her magic and boom, he's alive again. Seriously, it's worse than the Chewbacca fake-out in The Rise of Skywalker, and that was bad enough.

The incompetence on display here is truly remarkable. Or perhaps not incompetence, but a complete lack of desire to reach beyond mediocrity in any aspect of this production.

Foul indeed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The World of Null-Canada-Eh

Thanks to the rain and COVID-19, Sylvia and I did absolutely nothing for Canada Day. It was wholly unremarkable. Poor effort on our part, but some days you just don't have the energy to be creative...

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Friar’s Campsite

I feel like I crossed a threshold with this little scene. I'm not sure that the subtleties show up terribly well on camera, but I tried to add some depth and texture to the items by using different shades of the various greens and browns you see here, along with some dark washes to bring out details. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Letterboxd Collections

Not long ago, Letterboxd added a "Collections" feature to users' statistics pages. If you click to embiggen, you'll see which of those collections I've seen. For most people, the interesting thing won't be which collections I've completed, but which groups of films Letterboxd chooses to collect; some of these are far from obvious. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Artificial Idiocy

Oh, they may look dumb now, but they're learning...they're learning...

Monday, June 22, 2020

Men with Brooms, Man with Opinion

I'm probably giving this a half-star more than it deserves out of a fondness for Paul Gross' work in Due South and Leslie Nielsen's work in...well, everything I've seen him in, really, including a great guest turn on Due South.

As for Men with Brooms (Paul Gross, 2002), well, if you're not put off by the incredibly creepy CGI beavers that open the film, you might enjoy the performances (Molly Parker is particularly effective) and the and the few sitcom-level jokes that don't fall completely flat. Oh, and if you like curling, you might be amused by the scenes that take place on the rink. Finally, there are also a handful of love stories, two of which are kind of sweet if you're sentimental (as I tend to be). All told, however, most of the humour is stale, the drama flat, and the plot beats predictable. It's not that the film is terrible, but it does have an awful lot of wasted potential: a mildly interesting central idea, a strong cast, and a chance to explore one of the few aspects of Canadian culture someone outside the country might be able to name.

Someday someone will make the great Canadian curling movie. This isn't it, but writer-director-lead actor Gross deserves credit for taking his best shot - even if it misses the button by a couple of kilometres. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

Looks like dad and granddad are playing crib here. I hope they're enjoying a game together on Father's Day today. Or if not crib, maybe crokinole, or maybe they're out at a celestial ball game together. As long as they're happy.