Skip to content 1-Year Anniversary: Reviews Grushenka Loves

by on 2011/02/20

It has been a full year of We’ve learned. We’ve laughed. We’ve loved.

Ok, not exactly.

Both Hacker Renders and I have written our asses off over the last year in the spare moments we can find after long, hard, punishing (punishing, punishing) days of wage slavery.

We do it because we love it – passionately. 100 reviews later, my fingers are pretty sore. Also my brain. My co-conspirator Hacker Renders has written 162 reviews in less than a year. 162.

This has been a year operating in stealth mode, working quietly like geek and goth cobbler’s elves to get everything ready. But when I honestly look back,  I’m mostly tired of Hacker Renders being cleverer and more productive than I am. How I wish he’d stop.

Here are the five reviews that Hacker Renders has written throughout this year that I begrudgingly admit I love and covet with all my gothic heart.

eXistenz (1999)

“To put it as geekily as I can:  If Inception is the Battle of Hoth, then eXistenZ was a trip to Dagobah.  It’s a stunning work, far ahead of its time.  Similar ideas have been explored in films like Tron, Dark City, and The Matrix, but its recursive complexity may finally find acceptance with the popular success of Inception (and the followers that Nolan’s film will probably inspire).  Both meditations on the nature of delusion, escape, and obsession, eXistenZ plays more as caution than action, forsaking sweep for shock, and polish for grit.”

High Fidelity (2000)

“Five reasons to watch — and re-watch — High Fidelity:

  • It contains the single funniest revenge fantasy I’ve ever seen.
  • Freeze-frame the establishing shots of Championship Vinyl and just look around.
  • It’s life-affirming…
  • …yet honest…
  • …with ample style to spare.”

Trancers/Future Cop (1985)

“When the price changes, everything changes. That’s how I happened on Trancers, also known as Future Cop.  It’s one of those B-pictures that lowers the bar for B-pictures.  Hang on to your Brylcreem, and steer clear of the squids.  You’re nearing the outer rim of the Guilty Pleasure Galaxy right now. Inhabiting a bargain bin where five bucks gets you three flicks, this noir-soaked Terminator variant predates the similar Timecop by a decade, and the Assassin’s Creed games by two.  Amateurish in comparison, Trancers is way more fun than any of them.  It’s the best bad movie I’ve seen since Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter rekindled my faith in the indie scene.  Happily it’s got five sequels.”

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

“Despite its sober depiction of freedom’s oft-forgotten costs, Saving Private Ryan leaves me feeling oddly uplifted.  As grim as it gets, it’s not without moments of hope.  As long as it runs, it’s never less than interesting.  Truth and fiction, art and craft, agony and inspiration . . . to this day the movie remains a success for blending them all so well.  Every viewing of it leaves me moved to live an appreciative life.”

This was also the review that received a terrific comment from Amin Bhatia – one of Mr. Renders’ music idols. Very cool.

African Queen (1951)

I originally saw it as a child, in late-night television presentations, before the onset of the cable explosion.  My memories were vague, but warm.  Until now, however, I could never be sure whether that favour was a function of the film’s merit, or simply nostalgia.  Regardless of effects and levels of recognition, I found The African Queen highly satisfying.  I’ve finally recaptured the sense of fun that marked my childhood viewing of it. While I can’t justifiably defend the film as history’s most important, I can maintain my affection, secure in the confirmation that my fondness is more worthy than wishful.”

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