Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creepy Pedro Reviews "Generation X Video"

I arrived early to Mistress Quickly's tavern and found Dr. Johnson, as anticipated, already arguing and drowning in his cups.

"A theatrical performance can be appreciated only from the height of a man's two eyes!" he was shouting at Quickley's dog. "Your opinions lack stature, in every sense of the word! The day I take seriously the theatrical criticisms of a BEAGLE is the day I deign to piss in the cup of a Scotsman!"

To this the dog expelled a fart so enormous it should have filled the very halls of Pandemonium (if not it had a natural inclination toward ascension), and so gusty that the lamps flared in a dangerous fashion, and so rank of gas that Madame Quickly must have feared for the health of her customers if she were not lost in merriment, cackling wildly, dugs a-heaving, one hand slapping the unfortunate Dr. Johnson's recently-singed peruke.

"Oh dear Samuel!" she whooped. "Put that dog's arse-trumpet i' your dictionary, under the letter BRAPPP! It hath twice the politic of all the Beedle's bollocks you've wrote so far!"

"'That fart was wise indeed," Dr. Johnson admitted. "Mingere cum bumbis, rec saluberrima est lumbis."

"Where be our guest tonight?" I asked the silent tapper, and the he nodded to the tavern door. A man of great distinction stood on the threshold. "Two bags of oats for my mount, and don't forget the sauce!" he yelled to the Hostler. "My mare doth love the sauce!"

"Dearest Pedro!" cried Dr. Johnson, raising his bulk and motioning to Mistress Quickley for another bottle of sack. "You've tarried so, we half expected to find ye lost or slain!"

"Only one of those briefly, and I charge each of you to divine which," he said, and even the Tapper laughed at so clever a jest.

"Lost, I gather! How now, Boswell, this shifty rogue in the sheepskin doublet is weaver Pedro, a man of wit, a master artisan, and the creepiest fellow I have ever had the fortune to meet."

"I have heard of you, slimy toady," said Pedro pleasantly as we shook our hands.

"A weaver you say?"

"Aye, the halls from St. Peter's to far off Araby are graced with my warp and woof."

Mistress Quickly, having arrived with the sack and seeing entry for another fulsome jest, shouted, "A better treat then we experienced not 'alf an hour hence, which were this doggie's FART and woof!" All fell about in that curious British way so often acted in Shakespeare's bawdy "Carry On, Dead King," of holding wide the mouth and turning head from viz to viz, accompanied by a scattershot laughing as loud and regular as Antwerp's artillery fire.

"Mistress!" Dr. Johnson wiped a tear from his eye. "I grant you, though art quick!"

"How could one doubt it...'tis my proper name!" And once again we cackled, as was our comick nature. But throughout the merriment our weaver, Pedro, had been wiping something from his eye, and afore long Dr. Johnson made note of his sad countenance.

"Enough of these quibbles. Pedro, what troubles you? Why the creepy frowning viz?"

Pedro shook off Dr. Johnson's embrace and rose from the table, commanding the attention of all in the tavern. "I mourn the death of an idea, a dream, the final passing of culture, the end of the most companiable banter on our old and noble isle...the closing of our beloved entertainment vendor, Generation X!" Pedro collapsed to the table and sobbed, schoolgirl-like, into his sack.

"Have you not grown reconciled, dear Pedro?" asked Dr. Johnson. "It has been sad for us, true, but 'tis no reason to cry in your drink. For everything there is a season and an allotted time. Even the jolliest of men shall die before he wish. May we all go in the manner of Generation X -- in our hearty primes -- before we descend into ignominity and penury, our metaphorical halls and stages used only for wenching and bear-baiting and games of 'Throw The Apple at The Captured Esquimaux.'"

"Oh, the porn, which I so craved..."

"Man can live without porn, and without arty foreign films too. I have explained all this to Boswell."

"Mr. Johnson is right," I said. "There is peer-to-peer file sharing."

"Pah!" said Pedro. "Barely 300 baud in my wattle-and-daub hut so far from the city. It's trouble enough for a man to play a full game of Hunt The Wumpus or Schmoo, let alone to download the entirety of 'Michael Palin's Dugs-a-Plenty' in high definition."

"Patience, Pedro...drink of my sack."

"And where will I see YOUR films?" cried Pedro. "This latest--"

Dr. Johnson slapped his brainpan, sending his peruke into the fire. "Blast it man, I told you, I am not that blackamoor actor you prate upon!"

"Snakes On An Omnibus, Dr. Johnson! 'Twas your finest role! Ever since I first set my viz 'pon the premiere performance of Pulp Fiction at the Globe--"

"I have said time and time again--"

"Three encores! And John Travolta dancing!"

"Enough!" Dr. Johnson bellowed, and the babble of anachronistic cross-generational dialect ceased. "My peruke is in flames once again, Pedro, as is so often the way when we meet. I will trade all the porn in the world if you will stop this tiresome contrivance of mistaken identity."

"I shall consent, Dr. Johnson, if only you would enact a bitter moment from 'Do the Right Thing.'"

At this the enraged Doctor lurched into the thousand ticks and vapours to which he was subject in times of distress. "A turd i' your teeth!" he shouted. "Johnny Bums in Scratchland!"

Pedro rose from his seat. "Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure, but I must be off...Generation X is disclosing its wares and I must secure 'Michael Palin's Arsey-Turvy' before it is gone. You will excuse me." I tilted my hat, and Dr. Johnson, unable to cease his strange hopping perambulations, merely scowled from beneath his armpits.

"Let's rob a carriage and dominate a play!" shouted the fat knight in the corner, but for once nobody was listening to him.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mike D Watches a Movie #3: The Human Centipede

Yup, I finally got around to watching this one. Not that I didn't want to see it, just that with the amount of hype surrounding this movie, I felt the need to wait until they hype subsided before finally watching it.

That being said, you can't wait as long as I did to watch a movie with as much hype around it without hearing about it. By the time I finally watched The Human Centipede, I already knew what seemed like a large chunk of the plot, so there wasn't a whole lot of the movie that really shocked me.

For those who don't know, the movie follows two American women traveling in Germany who find themselves kidnapped my the Mad Surgeon Dr. Heiter, who surgically connects them, mouth-to-anus with another, male, also kidnapped by Heiter. Heiter attempts to domesticate his new "pet", with obvious results.

I found the movie very predictable, and rather boring. Once you get over the mouth-to-anus bit, there isn't really much else it does to scare the audience. There was one very suspenseful scene, that I felt was done well, when the Centipede tries to make an escape near the end of the movie, but as a whole, it kinda fell from the fairly low expectations I had of it. At several points throughout the movie, I kept wanting to scream at my TV, because the characters kept either making incredibly stupid decisions or weren't making the decisions they should have. For example, trying to turn a human centipede made up of 3 people you kidnapped and surgically connected against their will, that's a stupid decision; *spoiler alert* slitting your throat with a shard of glass instead of a)killing said mad scientist with it and/or b)cutting yourself free from the centipede, that's just being stupid.

Between the predictability and the stupidity of the characters, I just didn't enjoy the movie, but at the same time, I didn't really expect to enjoy it either.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maggie's Top 10 Movies of 2010

I watched just over 300 films last year, though the bulk of them were older numbers, and I didn't get to see certain films around which there is still a tremendous amount of buzz--so before getting indignant about Black Swan and The Social Network not being on this list, didn't see 'em! Sure they're fantastic! Will get around to them in time.

In the meantime, what I did see from this past year was pretty darn awesome:

1. Toy Story 3

An existentialist children's film with shockingly well wrought symbolism and metaphor. 'Nuff said! (Chris said it best anyhow!)

2. A Prophet

Jacques Audiard's stunning treatise on the function of prison in creating hardened criminals. Full review here.

3. The Secret in their Eyes

A tremendously graceful fluidity between past and present marks this Argentinian film about a retired legal counsel's pursuit of a long-unresolved murder investigation. The stylization of this film brings viewers quite unawares to its chillingly conceived resolution. Sadly, I only wrote my review for this film in my head, but I'm sure a couple of the reviews here aren't entirely brain-numbing!

4. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

A lifetime's narratives are condensed in this latest work by Werner Herzog. Full review here.

5. Exit Through the Gift Shop

This documentary follows the man whose compulsion for filming brought him to the world of street art, and Banksy. Or is this film at all what it seems? Full review here.

6. Inception

I gripe a lot about suspension of disbelief being key for my enjoyment of film. Well, Nolan masterfully handles a concept of immense fantasy in a gripping and detail-oriented manner. It doesn't matter that you know where this film is going to take you. It matters that this film makes you more aware of the devices at work in story-formation throughout all contemporary film. Sadly, I didn't get around to reviewing this film at the time, but the internet is abuzz with people still trying to "make sense" of the piece. (Hint: It doesn't need to be analysed to be enjoyed, so if you don't "get" it, you're fine. Relax already.)

7. True Grit

Everything I didn't like about A Serious Man--the intelligently wrought scenes pushing towards an overwrought argument for the absurdity of trying to find meaning in our lives--was honed to a point in this startlingly self-aware western. Again the Coen Brothers prove to be experts, too, at literary adaptation. I don't have the most accessible of reviews for this piece, because it immediately set off the literary critic in me, but I do have a review of sorts here, if you don't mind the academic tone.

8. The Kids Are All Right

This film, following a lesbian couple as their full-grown children seek to reconnect with their biological father, is an eminently familiar "dramedy" with a few expert twists on age-old genre crises. Full, nit-picking review here.

9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Our abiding desire to find what is good in life amid the hyperbole of modern technology finds a beautiful home in this graphic novel adaptation (set explicitly in Toronto!) about a meek band member and videogame geek who suddenly has to defeat seven evil ex-boyfriends. Playful, sweet, and self-effacing, this film is eminently re-watchable. In fact, I was too busy re-watching it to review it. Sorry!

10. Restrepo

Documenting a combat scenario in which we are currently embroiled is never an easy task, but this effort is impressive. Its approach to foregrounding footage of a year with one platoon stationed on Afghanistan's deadliest front line cannot fail to sober viewers as much as it informs them of the complexities of this unending, unjustified, and un-winnable war. I didn't even know where to begin with a review for this piece, so let me just emphasize that this is a hard, but essential film to watch.

YOUR TURN, FOLKS! What did you watch and enjoy most from 2010?

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 # 166 - #176: A Rush to Finish 2010's Reviews! - The End!

#166. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Not as much of a Christmas movie as I'd hoped, but I loves me some James Stewart and this was no disappointment.

#167. American Pop (1981)
Neat animated film chronicling the history of pop music throughout the 20th century by following the descendants of one immigrant boy. There's one portion of the film (or one character, I should say) that's hard to like, but such is life.

A 70s movie from Japan where an alien race attempts to destroy earth with their Mechagodzilla, Godzilla comes to the rescue! Unfortunately a bad scientist has created Titanosaurus and uses him against Godzilla. It's pretty much exactly the way it sounds!

#170. Network (1976)
Was pleasantly surprised by this one; an intriguing drama about a television network: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm going to take this anymore!"

I grew up with the 1994 remake of this classic, and boy am I glad I finally saw the original.

#172. TRON: Legacy (2010)
I don't suppose we'll be getting this one in now, but hey! Why not add it to the reviews? I found it provided a good source of entertainment, perhaps a wee bit long though.

#173. Black Swan (2010)
As a wise man named Posen told me today, his three questions of the week are: "How was your Christmas?" "What are you up to for New Years?" and.. "Have you seen Black Swan?!?" I
thought it was the best film of the year, though I haven't seen every one, but it seems to be a wide-spread consensus among those I know.

#174. Chinatown (1974)
Second Faye Dunaway film I watched this week and both were excellent! Jack Nicholson was so good back in the day, I wish he and Robert De Niro would come back to life.

I loved Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure growing up, so it was only a matter of time before I had to check this one out. It started off really strangely, but I ended up laughing a fair amount. Also, it references this next movie!

#176. The Seventh Seal (1957)
It almost seems fitting that the last film I saw this year would be this one, especially since GenX will soon be closing. It wasn't done on purpose, I just didn't have the time to watch Throne of Blood before tomorrow night. As such, my last film would be a seemingly bleak one, but one that has hope and a sparkle in its eye. What a wonderful way to end the year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 # 135 - #165: A Rush to Finish 2010's Reviews! - Part 2

#135. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
A really good adaptation of the graphic novel series, and also by one of my favourite directors Edgar Wright. I loved it, but Hot Fuzz is still my favourite.

#136. Knight and Day (2010)
Not a completely awful film, but I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were looking
for a completely stereotypical romantic comedy.

#137. I'm Not There (2007)
Really good. I love it when people take a different turn on bio films (like getting six different actors to play Bob Dylan.) Cate Blanchett was definitely my favourite.

#138. Inception (2010)
I saw this at the BFI Imax in London, England! Haha, alright, bragging done. I liked it quite a lot, but not as much as everyone else seemed to.

#139. The Runaways (2010)
All I wanted was to see a film in Cannes, but the only one I could find was in this dingy old theatre showing a movie already out on DVD in Canada. Wasn't bad, I surprisingly liked Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in it!

#140. The Warriors (1979)
A classic in its own way, but it just didn't quite hit the spot.

#141. MacGruber (2010)
Some great comedic moments, but I don't know if I'd watch it again.

#142 & #145. Sugata Sanshiro (1943) & Sugata Sanshiro: Part 2 (1945)
The first films of Akira Kurosawa (one of my favourite directors) and though it may not be my favourite, it definitely made a good impression. It's about a man who must learn to encompass the attributes of judo not only in practice, but in life. The second film is quite as good as the first, I'd say.

#143. Dracula (1931)
Starring Bela Lugosi as Dracula, this film reeks of being a classic: reeks in a good way, that is.

#144. Repulsion (1965)
Wow, what a good film. It got under my skin and I couldn't shake it off for hours (even days). Catherine Deneuve is stunning.

What a great series. I can't believe I'd never seen them before. I think I liked the first and third ones the most, but they're all pretty awesome.

#149. Zombieland (2009)
A fun zombie themed comedy, good for a laugh.

#150. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Really good: not recommended for pregnant women. Between this and Repulsion (both part of Polanski's apartment trilogy,) I prefer Repulsion
(and I found it creepier).

#151. Death Kappa (2010)
Pretty much just another Japanese monster film, but one I enjoyed and would recommend to lovers of the Japanese monster film genre.

This DVD was a sampling of famous acts that aired on the show throughout its history, really quite a good collection of musicians (John Lennon, Bruce Spingsteen, Tom Waits) and something interesting to listen to if you've got an hour or two to spare.

#153. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
An older Elvis who wakes up from a coma in a nursing home and must attempt to save the other patrons from a mummy who attacks them nightly. Makes for an interesting concept, no? I didn't go crazy for it, but thought it was neat.

#154. Micmacs (2009)
A great new film by one of my favourite directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet; it has his quirky humour, unique visual style and fun atmosphere.

A kind of terrible film, but sort of good in a terrible way. It's pretty much what you'd imagine.

#156. Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A great film to watch on Halloween, though not too scary (which is great for me!)

#157 & #158. Samurai I (1954) & Samurai II (1955)
The first it a pretty good samurai film, but the second made my lose interest and I never ended up watching the third.

I loved the concept for this series. It's basically all those old science videos you used to watch in school, but completely nonsensical and awesome.

#160. Barton Fink (1991)
Please don't go into this movie thinking it's going to be funny. It's really really good, but it's not really funny.

#161. King Kong (1933)
This really is a classic. I'm really glad I finally got to see it and enjoyed it more than I anticipated!

I'd go so far as to say this is my favourite in the series. It just has way better pacing and the story gets a chance to breathe.

I won't lie, I really liked this
movie. The Borg are frightening (I've always found the concept of AI or human/robots to be fear-enducing) and all the usual cast do their part well.

#164. Howl (2010)
An interesting take on the work and life of Allen Ginsberg. It grew on me, I liked the animation, but probably won't watch it again.

#165. Freakazoid: Season 1 (1995-1996)
Just a good old Saturday morning cartoon; I'd forgotten how much I liked this as a kid (the few episodes I'd seen anyway) and I love how self-referential it is!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 # 111 - #134: A Rush to Finish 2010's Reviews!

What with the store closing and all, I decided to take a slightly unconventional turn in an attempt to finish reviewing every new film (new to me, that is) I watched this year. I knew I wouldn't make it writing longer reviews since I have over 60 movies left on the list, but thought that this might at least be fun to read even if it wasn't very descriptive.

My guilty pleasure. Sexy, southern and full of bloodlust; it's like eating a dark, rich dangerously delicious chocolate cake that I just can't get enough of.

Jackie Chan a school janitor? You bet, but as expected he's soon to become a kick-ass martial artist! Good, but not the best Chan movie I've seen.

#113. Batman: The Movie (1966)
"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb." Cheesy, corny, wonderful 1960s fun: "It looks bad, batman. This brassy bird has us buffaloed."

#114. Lifeforce (1985)
A crazy sci-fi, vampire, zombie movie that's bound to blow your mind with it's absurdity, badness and greatness.

#115. Princess Mononoke (1997)
Probably my favourite Hayao Miyazaki film so far. The music, the animation, the colours, and especially the story: everything just blew me away.

#116. Subway (1985)
A neat film directed by Luc Besson and starring a french-speaking Christopher Lambert who roams the subways of Paris while blackmailing the woman he's infatuated with. It's very 80s and kind of strange, but awesome.

Really? You need a review? Nah.

#118. Delicatessen (1991)
Colourful, classic Jean-Pierre Jeunet full of funny, sweet, dark and strange moments that are sure to please (if you're like me, that is.)

#119. Super Mario Bros. (1993)
I have no idea how they came up with the ideas they used in this film, but it's pretty fucking crazy and I kinda liked it.

#120. The Ladykillers (2004)
I really enjoyed this one, though that trend is pretty common with
me and the Coens. I'm still not totally sold on Tom Hanks, but hey, he's not so bad.

#121. Twilight: Eclipse (2010)
Unfortunately, it was better than the first.

#122. The Awful Truth (1937)
I love my Cary Grant romances and this is another classic. Perhaps not as wonderful as some of his others, but it seems he really can't go wrong.

#123. Project A-2 (1987)
"But I'm not cooking! So it stays open!" Apparently I thought this Jackie Chan line was so terribly funny that it deserved to be quoted, but I can't for the life of me remember why. I can't even remember what the movie's about. I think he plays a straight cop in a crooked area of town or something...

Crazy disgusting slimy ear bugs. Also, it's quite awesome.

Colourful, nonsensical, neat to watch and Heath Ledger's last film.

#126. Objectified (2009)
Ooo, this documentary was way more boring than I thought it would be. I fell asleep.

#127. Porco Rosso (1992)
Wonderfully detailed, beautifully animated Miyazaki film about a mysterious swine-resembling pilot that takes a begrudging liking to a young girl and the antics that ensue.

Charming in a 1950s musical kind of way. Not my favourite old musical, but it'll do.

A lovely film by Agnes Varda about the life she lead, the man she loved and the beautiful films she made.

#130. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
Probably my favourite series of the year (either that or Skins). It's a great, funny, interesting show about high school in the early 80s and I just can't get its lead, Linda Cardellini, out of my head. (Also starring James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal and directed by Judd Apatow. I know, right?)

#131. The Jerk (1979)
A charming idiot (Steve Martin) somehow ends up alright after leaving his family

#132. Against All Flags (1952)
Errol Flynn. Pirates.

#133. Super Fly (1972)
Pretty good blaxploitation film about a man who wants out of the cocaine dealing business: "Can you dig it?"

#134. Undeclared (2001-2002)
Sort of a continuation of Freaks and Geeks, directed by Apatow, but starring a completely different cast and taking place a few decades later. Also, not quite as good.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fin de siècle

To all of our customers:

This day had to happen eventually so we are choosing to do it now. Gen X Video will cease operation on Feb 28th, 2011 after serving Waterloo Region for 16 years. There are plenty of reasons we are shutting things down but the main one is that we no longer have the passion or drive to keep things going. It has been a fun run but we need to move on to something else.

So what does this mean? We will be starting to sell off our inventory on Jan 1, 2011. If there are titles you are interested in buying, talk to the staff and they will let you know the cost. We will not be doing a fire sale on our product because we know what we can get for them online. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some good deals but you won’t be getting an Out of Print Criterion DVD for $5.00 from us.

We will stop renting movies on Feb 14th (which seems appropriate). We expect all of our DVDs to be returned to us even though we are shutting down. Late fees will still apply. We do use a collection agency for the ne’er-do-wells who try to avoid paying what is due to us so please don’t make us send you there. We have always been fair over the years and we expect you to treat us in the same way.

If you still have rental credits on your account we suggest you use them quickly. If you would like to exchange your rental credits for store credit (so that you can purchase product instead), please let us know and we will come to an arrangement with you.

Your membership information will remain private with us until we can completely delete everything. We have to keep it on file until all of the taxes have been filed with the government but we promise to destroy the information after we have been given clearance.

Our store hours will be reduced during the sell off period. Check the sign outside the store or call our message at 519-888-4369 to get the new information.

Where can you rent the movies that Gen X carried after we are gone? Well, try Steve’s TV (Frederick St Mall), Far Out Flicks (Queen St in Downtown Kitchener) or the WPL or KPL. None of those sources are a complete replacement but you’ll find something worthwhile to watch. Failing that, use the Internet.

Finally, we appreciate your patronage over the last 16 years. We did not make this decision lightly. We have been considering this for the last 3 years. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for us too. We will miss being part of the Waterloo community. So long and thanks for all the fish.


Mike Greaves (owner)

Chris Beckett (manager)