Saturday, July 10, 2010

Splice, Strange Wilderness + Queen Beetle Conquers Tokyo

Splice. I had high hopes for Splice, a Canadian science fiction thriller about genetic mutations and the unexpected creatures a science lab can create. Disappointing. While the ideas involved in the story were promising, a beyond ridiculous script with hipster scientists (Adrien Brody/Sarah Polley), tossed off moral debates and too many absurd turns near the end for this to be much of a success. Fans of fellow Canadian David Cronenberg will probably like Splice though as this reeks of DC and he's not making these kinds of films at the moment.

Strange Wilderness. Blu-Ray will make you watch terrible movies just because the format is so enticing. That's my excuse for Strange Wilderness (2008), truly one of the worst films I've watched in years. Yes, in years. Strange Wilderness is so bad it makes me doubt my opinion of Steve Zahn as a comic actor. Produced by Adam Sandler's production company, there are a lot of his flunkies in prominent roles that they shouldn't get unless using the attachment of Sandler. The film's story is unfunny, infantile, despicable and highly annoying all at the same time! I don't hate mindless, lowbrow comedy if there is some humor on the screen--Strange Wilderness has absolutely no laughter in it and never comes close. Wretched in every conceivable way. Especially on Blu-Ray.

Queen Beetle Conquers Tokyo. This documentary from director Jessica Oreck has a terrific title and a wonderful poster working in its favor. In fact, this is my favorite poster I've seen all year with its simple, stark graphic that perfectly captures the subject matter: beetles + Tokyo. Isn't that a great poster? I like it so much I'm contemplating ordering the t-shirt version on the website.

Too bad I didn't enjoy the film as much as I liked the poster. I had no idea the Japanese have such an obsession with insects but evidently they are crazy about every sort of bug, especially the beetle. I would have learned more about why various people are into this but Oreck delivers an overly arty, meandering, throw every image at the screen doc with no cohesive train of thought linking people, or culture, to insect. Too bad. Most of Queen Beetle Conquers Tokyo is various adults and kids looking at bugs, either in their house or outside, with a bunch of visuals that have seemingly no connection to beetles or other bugs.

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