Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

V/H/S 2
The first V/H/S movie established itself as a mashup of movie styles: a found footage anthology film that tried to push the envelope of gore and the medium of the handheld camera. Like most anthology films, it was a mixed bag that amounted to about as many misses as hits. Thankfully, V/H/S 2 manages to have more good segments than bad ones, and successfully ups the ante from the first film, even if it is playing things just as broadly as its predecessor. With a more prestigious lineup of filmmakers, including the directors of Hobo With A Shotgun, The Raid, and The Blair Witch Project, there’s a lot for horror fans to enjoy, but much like the film that came before it, that enjoyment is predicated on the viewer not minding the crappy framing narrative and also liking found footage movies and anthology movie. As such, I enjoyed it well enough, but I have yet to see something from the V/H/S series that will make me into a full-fledged fan.
3.25 out of 5

Beavis and Butthead Do America
Do you like dick, poop and fart jokes? Are you entertained by the extremely crude and stupid? Because Mike Judge’s cult hit cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead have been given their own feature film, and it is exactly like the television source material. This time the idiot duo are on a nationwide quest to find their missing TV, becoming terrorists, causing mass destruction, and tripping out on hallucinogens along the way. This is a true adaptation of the cartoon. Even the animation is only marginally better than the film’s TV counterpart, and there is even a music video of sorts in the middle. Beavis and Butthead Do America is largely what it looks like on the label, but creator Mike Judge isn’t dumb. This is a satirical look at American values with the country’s lowest common denominators in the spotlight, and it may be more clever than you think. Or maybe not. Huh huh huh.
3.25 out of 5

Pacific Rim
I’m a sucker for well-rendered, giant CGI robots, and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim delivers them in spades. Del Toro also brings another love of mine into the mix by having the giant robots fight Godzilla-type monsters, and the result is perfect popcorn entertainment that’s both fun and smart without ever getting bogged down in big ideas or preachy subtext. A rift in the bottom of the ocean has allowed enormous extra-dimensional monsters to enter our world, so naturally the human race creates big robots to fight them. The robot pilots are hailed as rockstars and everything seems great until an influx of the monsters indicates that a cataclysmic event is on the horizon. So it’s up to a retired robot pilot and his rookie partner to save the day in the greatest bot of them all: Gypsy Danger. This is a cult movie through and through, and you’ll either love it or hate it. Del Toro knows his audience, though, and packs the film full of nerd culture references (for example, the voice of GLaDoS from the Portal games is also the voice of Gypsy Danger’s computer), but also takes time to establish the world of the movie really well. There are little details that imply some very interesting things about the way culture has evolved in light of the monster attacks, and I feel like sequels and spinoffs would greatly benefit Pacific Rim. Add to the mix a great cast, primarily made up of television actors showing that they can hold their own on the big screen, and a kickass soundtrack by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Ramin Djawadi of Game of Thrones, and you’ve got a damn good time watching robots and monsters duke it out. This isn’t high art, but I got everything I wanted from it and more. Would you rather die here, or in a Jaeger?
4 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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