Cowboys & Aliens (graphic novel)

Wow.

I … I really don’t know how to say this, guys. I’m really… I’m really sorry.

I know we all really liked the movie version of Cowboys & Aliens, Daniel Craig did a really fantastic job running around in chaps and hurting people a lot. Really, everyone did a rousing performance in that movie. We enjoyed the way they made the aliens look. We like that the shitty kid got hurt a lot. In general, we just really liked the film.

And in really liking something, we tend to want more of it. So we go around looking for things that can prolong our experiences. Things to make us happy. Things that will bring back that joy we felt while watching shit blow up on the big screen.

Which might lead some of us to the graphic novel. And those of us who find it might become very excited. We might order it on Amazon and wait anxiously for it to be delivered. Once we get it, we might sit for a while, just looking at the cover (a new cover, by the way, not the old one, this one is mighty pretty). We might, then, crack it open to the front page, ready to nestle into our favorite reading spot and relive our glee.

Then we might find ourselves very, very disappointed.

It’s kind of like when you see somebody do something really stupid, but they don’t end up hurting themselves. Or watching a car blow through a red light right in front of a cop, but the cop doesn’t do anything about it. It’s that kind of let down. Enormous. Soul crushing (Okay, that might be going a little too far, maybe).

Pretty much the entire thing is different from the flick, and I can really see why they’d choose to change everything right down to the character’s names, because really, other than the concept, the whole thing sucks. From the start, right to that very last page, you’re going to find yourself wondering what the fuck you just read. Then you’re going to wonder why the fuck you just read it. Believe me, you won’t find a good answer for that. All the reasons previously stated, all that wonderment brought about by the movie, and that need for more of it, it’s going to be gone. Right down the tubes.

Luckily, the movie is so completely different from this bound colorful wad of paper that you won’t even be able to bridge your disappointment of the one to the other. It’s like you’ve seen a Muppet movie and decided to read a how-to guide about frogs to further your fun. There really are only very vague similarities, and those you can ignore or wipe from your mind completely. Don’t fret too much over it. It can be forgotten. I’ve nearly already done so, and it’s only been a couple of days.

I suppose I’ll keep the thing around, because the cover is really very pretty, and I spent money on the thing, so I feel bad doing anything else aside from letting it have some shelf space. But I feel like I really need to spare you from the same fate.

Do not buy it. Do not even read it. If a friend has it and offers to loan it to you, they’re likely trying to pawn it off on you, don’t fall for it. Say ‘Thank you, my good friend, for your thoughts of me on this subject matter, but I must respectfully decline on the basis that you are a liar’. And then maybe quickly leave before your friend tries to sneak it into your car or backpack.

It does make me sad that I have to write words like this about something that should have been good. But I cannot bring myself to lie when things are bad. It’s unfair to the rest of the world. I suffer so that you do not have to. Don’t let my suffering be in vain.

The Vanguard

I know this was a requested movie. Somebody said that they wanted me to review it, but I can’t think of who it was now.

Whoever you are? I’m sorry. But I couldn’t get any further than about 10 minutes in. It was so very bad. The acting was horrible. The story stopped appealing to me entirely right away, and even the way it looked turned me off.

I’m not a big budget snob, I’ve had plenty of low budget films I’ve enjoyed that look low budget, but there was something about this one I couldn’t tolerate. Maybe because of the other factors. I don’t know.

I tried. I’m so sorry. But I did try.

But obviously I can’t give this a full review.

The guy on the bike also pissed me off for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint.

The Fourth Kind

I really thought that I was going to enjoy this movie. I really did. This was one that I really wanted to see in the theater, and I was disappointed when it didn’t happen. I was excited for it to move to first place on my Netflix list, and excited when it came in the mail. I excitedly opened it up and excitedly put it into my DVD player.

And now? Now that I’ve seen it how do I feel?
Well, I’m glad that I didn’t waste my money seeing it in the theater. I’m kind of sad that I invested any time into it, and wondering how it happened that I was so excited and I am left so… not. So quickly.

It’s not that the story wasn’t intriguing, because it was. I love a good alien true story. Fire In The Sky. I also love fake aliens. Such as those found on X-Files. It’s not even like the acting was bad, because it wasn’t. It was really good, honestly. In fact, this really had all the elements of being a very good movie. But it just wasn’t.

How does that happen? you might ask. How can all the elements, all the ingredients, be right, and yet it’s all so bad once put together?

They used real footage and real audio of things that happened in Nome, Alaska. I believe that what they were going for was to validate the dramatized scenes, making everything creepier because you’re seeing what actually happened. I can see the thought process behind it, and I could even see myself having the same idea if I’d been behind the making of this movie. It didn’t quite work out the way that they’d hoped. At least not for me. Instead, it worked against the film, hugely. Monumentally.

Firstly, putting in the footage and the other stuff felt like an interruption. It broke me away from the story and took me out of the moment. This resulted in me not caring about the characters or what was happening to them. I was so roughly jolted out of the movie that I didn’t have a chance to connect to any of it. I also found myself having to rewind and watch scenes again, not because they were incredible or interesting, but because I felt like I’d missed something. This is a bad thing to have happen in a movie, you don’t want your viewers to think that they blinked during an important part, or might have dozed off. And it happened more than once.

The second thing is; instead of validating the movie with reality, I found myself doubting the reality. Those scenes in which they cut away from Milla Jovovich and her costars and go to the real footage feel fake. They feel like they were made for the movie, and they feel forced. The woman, the doctor, comes off as a drugged up loser. I find no passion behind her words and no conviction. She tells her story but it doesn’t convince me. I felt as if all of it couldn’t be trusted. That the “actual footage” was just more actors. Putting these scenes in, using the real audio, made it so it was those scenes, not the dramatized ones, became fake in my mind.

I feel like they should have either just made a documentary using the real footage – there was more than enough of it – or, they should have dramatized the whole thing and put the real items in with the bonus features. There, people could see the real accounts of what happened in the movie, and in this removed situation would probably be more liked to be seen for what it is. Evidence. Proof. People would be awed by what they are seeing. I felt no awe, no wonder, no anything seeing these clips in the film.

I just don’t think combining them works. I am not finding myself intrigued by the happenings of this movie, thus dulling any want to investigate it further. In fact, I have a rather empty and disappointed feeling. The movie was lackluster.

Boring, even.

Which kind of makes me sad. This could have, and should have, been brilliant. The facts are enough on their own to be really fucking creepy. Dramatizing all of it would have taken away absolutely nothing from that. I think it would have made everything come together better, actually.

I can’t even recommend watching this. There’s nothing to be gained from it.

The Virgin Suicides

I only recently got to see the movie adaption of this book. I read it a few years ago and discovered that I really liked it. It wasn’t until after I finished that I made the mental connection of the author of this book being the author of Middlesex. To say that I enjoy his writing is an understatement. Since I read Middlesex, I’ve gone actively searching for things Jeffrey Eugenides has written. Which means that at the time that I picked up The Virgin Suicides, I likely knew exactly what I was doing, but by the time I actually got to it (through my large stack of books-to-read) I’d forgotten.

I wish now that I’d seen the movie before I’d read the book. It’s the only way I can come up with that I might possible have enjoyed myself while watching. If I hadn’t known how it was supposed to feel, maybe I could have felt anything at all.

This really makes me sad to say. Considering how much I love the writer and I love the book. It really kind of hurts. But this movie really fell flat.

The insertion of real people into the characters went well. They picked some very good faces to fit into what I had imagined. So I don’t know if it was their acting, or if it was the directing that caused the problem. I hate to say either. But considering I’ve seen these particular people in other things where they aren’t lifeless and empty, I think I might have to lean toward the directing.

I don’t want to insult Sofia Coppola, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

The book made me actually cry. I was dry eyed through the entire movie. The book moved me, it made me feel things. I kept wondering how much longer the movie was going to take. I felt I knew the characters when I read the book. Watching the movie was like stepping into a crowded room full of strangers wearing masks of my friend’s faces. Everything the book was, the movie lacked. I was not interested in the story as I watched it play out on my television screen. I was not intrigued with what the characters were doing.

So much was left out. Not just scenes, but emotions. Key things. Hints. Clues. Knowledge. A life of it’s own.

The emptiness of this movie was really rather astounding. How can somebody take words that have such presence to them and steamroll them into something so dull?

I don’t know.

I wish I had the answer.

S, Darko

This movie is just as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first found out about it.

At least I got to watch Ed Westwick prance around dressed as a greaser. Sadly, this is the only redeeming part.

To clear up misunderstandings I had previously: Frank is not the same Frank. Yet for some reason, the image of Donnie’s Frank in his Halloween costume, the freaky rabbit, is Sam’s “Dream face”. This brings me right back to the idea that Frank was Donnie’s catalyst and shouldn’t make an appearance in this film at all. I still stand by that.

The guy actually named Frank in this movie is a mechanic and has nothing to do with anything.

Not that any part of this movie made any actual sense. It sort of felt like the writer and/or director of S. Darko didn’t actually understand Donnie Darko, and just took imagery that seemed cool and shoved it into this movie. The entire concept is off.

I hated it. I hated it the whole time. Don’t watch this movie. Run from it. Run screaming. If somebody says you should watch it, punch them in the face and then run. Or set their copy on fire. Either one is fine with me.

An American Haunting

Oh, how I tried to like you, movie. I tried so very hard. You had so many elements that I find enjoying. So very many of them. It started, but didn’t end, with Donald Sutherland. I know, not everything he’s been in is the best thing on the planet, but he’s done better at choosing his roles as he gets older. Knowing more what will have public appeal and what will just fail. So I had hopes for him, I did. You were also a movie about haunting, from everything that was written or said about you – EVER. I do like hauntings, movie. I like them quite a bit. It’s really not difficult to please me in this realm, movie. Even if I don’t think I’ll watch a movie again, I can usually derive something from some part of it and come away feeling as if I’ve not wasted two hours of my life.

But you, movie. You did not pass muster. You did not even attempt to meet up with Muster on the battlefield of cinema. I’m pretty sure, actually, that you couldn’t even see Muster from where you were standing – back there in the woods, over an embankment, hiding behind that tree.

What you turned out to be, movie, was a colossal waste of my time. I came away feeling cheated and sad. Used and put away wet. I feel like you didn’t even try to be a real movie after the first twenty minutes. If we’ve learned anything from Pinocchio, it’s that we must try when we want to be real, we must put effort into life, or it’s meaningless.

You, movie, are meaningless.

I was so disappointed as I watched you and you just kept getting worse. I didn’t think it was possible, but it kept happening. I should have known when my gut said “My, those slaps are awfully silly.” But I didn’t. I tried to reason that away with the excuse they tried to give in the script. I should have listened to my gut, really, I should have.

But that hope, it lingered. It lingered until the very end when I just had to finally give in and recommend that they take you out and shoot you, to put you out of your misery. Because you are a lame horse, movie, and you’ll do nobody any good. You’ll probably just suck on the fence and hurt yourself by trying to run when all of your legs are broken.

I do have a tip for you, movie. Hopefully if you ever get reincarnated, you can hold onto this – if you are putting entire scenes that are use IN THE MOVIE with your “alternate scenes” just to have more padding and content, you are failing. If most of your “alternate scenes” are just the same exact scene from a different camera angle, you are failing. And, should I watch your “alternate scenes” and not actually be able to tell the difference between what I just watched and what is supposed to be new, you have failed completely.

I have to give you an F, movie. In all subjects. Believe me, it makes me sad. But remember, I tried – oh so hard – to like you. I was rooting for you from the start. I was behind you, cheering you on, and you let me down.

I hope I never see you again, movie. Because I feel that if I do, I may have to find some matches.