Sunday, October 12, 2008

no clever title...

I refuse to take back anything negative I've written, or said, about "True Blood" but I have to admit it was interesting enough to keeping watching and over the last two episodes I've started to enjoy it more.  Which is to say, instead of rolling my eyes and feeling resentful about the whole ordeal, I've been laughing aloud at the show's sheer ridiculousness and stupidity.  I'm not sure what's intentional and what isn't, but I'm starting to view the show as high camp.  Actually, I don't really think it's intentional at all, I get the impression that the show takes itself very seriously, and that because of that it's hilarious."True Blood" is sort of a failed sex comedy, which fails because it has no sense of humor (or style) and also no apparent knowledge of the mechanics of hetereosexual sex beyond the poles of hardcore porn and, well, softore porn.  It's all either animal fucking or lace nightgowns billowing in the breeze.  It's totally silly.  Beyond that, I appreciate the casting of b-movie veteran and Joe Dante regular William Schallert (the Man from Planet X, Them!, the Incredible Shrinking Man) as the town's mayor.  Schallert has always been a favorite character actor and it's great to see him still spry and working at 86 (yet another reason for Joe Dante to make another feature, because as much as I may hope for it, William Schallert, Dick Miller and Kevin McCarthy [who's 94!]  aren't going to live forever).

I dunno, maybe I'm just getting stupider.  TV remains kind of blah in general this season.  I'm glad "Dexter" is back but it just isn't quite as good as the two previous seasons.  I mean, it's still pretty good, just not as good.  Some of the characters seem to have become really awkwardly written, with otherwise capable characters tripping over lines of dialogue that no real human being might ever actually say ever.  It's kind of cool that they've added Desmond Harrington (of the great indie horror flick "Love Object") to the cast but so far he's done slightly less than nothing, or at least his character has.  Jimmy Smits is good too.  I hear he accidentally stabbed someone on the set.  Crazy.  

"Pushing Daisies" is still good.  I'm glad we're seeing Alex Cox vet (Repo Man, Straight to Hell, Walker, Sid & Nancy) Sy Richardson as the coroner a bit more.  He's one of those character actors (like Dick Miller and William Schallert) that's just good to have around ("True Blood," to its' credit, also boasts William Sanderson as the sheriff.  Seriously, though, it's fucking stupid show).  "Pushing Daisies" has, I believe, the strongest ensemble cast on TV right now, with Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride and Kristen Chenoweth.  I dunno, just the tone and pace of the whole thing works for me (my friend called it "Tim Burton-esque," so I told him to go fuck himself.  That's an amusing anecdote about my personal life).  It's cool to see a TV show that has a style that isn't just faux-documentary, or high melodrama, but actually has a viewpoint and an aesthetic all its' own.  (Tim Burton?  Seriously, man?  No fucking way.)

Meanwhile, my cinematic explorations remain somewhat moribound.  Last night I just barely made it throuigh the US/Spanish slasher co-production "Edge of the Axe," from 1988.  This film just barely bordered on being good, nearly, as it copped the dusty, Southwestern ambience of Donald Cammell's "White of the Eye" from a year or so earlier.  I wouldn't necessarily expect that Jose Ramon Larraz, the director of this film, would have seen Cammell's underrated, and underreleased, mini-masterpiece of post-psychedelic anti-capitalist apocalypse art, but the similar setting and titles suggest, maybe.  I dunno.

Anyway, in "Edge of the Axe," you have way too many characters wandering around some Arizona or New Mexico town whilst a black-clad slasher in a creepy white faceless mask does them in with an axe.  Any other story nuances beyond this, or the differentiations between most of the characrters, was mostly lost on me.  There's a young guy who likes computers, and his girlfriend, and his buddy, and his buddy's older wife, and his buddy's mistress, and like maybe a cop or something, and some other guys, maybe, like more cops, or something.  Maybe the mayor?  It certainly doesn't help that the cast mixes American and European actors, some, or most, or all of whom seem to be dubbed.

The thing is, this film is almost kind of alright.  It's stylishly enough shot, and the killer's white mask, though little seen, is creepily effective.  Some of the murder sequences, such as an early scene in a car wash, of all places, are inventive and well (enough) mounted.  Some of the dialogue is kind of snappy, even though the acting is bad, and the characters' use of computers, in a film from 1988, is a stylish and nearly intelligent touch, bordering just so slightly on a little tiny bit of cyberpunkishness.  Still, the whole thing is pretty senseless, plotless and pointless, and none of what works is really good enough to make up for that.  Which makes "Edge of the Axe" the worst of all worlds- a mediocre movie, neither meaningful and good nor entertainingly bad.  Oh well.  I tried...

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