Friday, September 12, 2008

before I hit the hay, a few thoughts on the new Microsoft ad. Microsoft decided to spend a bunch to respond to Apple's Hodgmanian ongoing smack down. Jerry Seinfeld was paid a pantload to help in the effort. and Bill Gates his own self was in the mix. my thought was to mimic the Apple ads but offer Gates as the antagonist, and Seinfeld could represent the Microsoft side. that is not how the commercial went, alas. instead, it was a Jerry cliche. he goes thru his shtick of enforced whimsy. he connects with Gates, and the commercial becomes oddly homo-erotic. I mean, they meet cute, Jerry gropes the richest foot om earth, and they... well, whatever. Jerry asks for a sign that there will be edible computers, and Gates wiggles his (his own) ass to adjust his (his own) underwear. there is confirmation here that Seinfeld is fully over and that Microsoft suffers in the mode of overdog. you have to think that you could do better, what evidence exists that you could not?
watched The Scorpion King. I watched it on Hulu, where you can stream movies and tv shows for free. not an enormous list of items, but a reasonable range of stuff. as I recall, this was an outgrowth of the remake of The Mummy. Vince McMahon was executive producer, and The Rock starred. it is basically Conan, but with more energy than I recall those movies having, but not quite the production values. Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been oppressive to me. in comparison, The Rock is subtle, varied and easy to take. the movie started with some sort of plot stuff, which included The Rock rescuing his brother from some anti-Akkadian creeps. after the rescue there's some more plot stuff, in which The Rock, his brother, and another guy go off to do something. there's a guy that looks like Eric Bana, and quite a few who look like they've worked for McMahon in the squared circle, tho I could not name any of them. the big plot centers on Memmnon, a bad ass king, who has a sorceress who can tell him which battles he will win. the Rock and his team invade a camp to kill the sorceress, I am not sure of the particular impulse for this. brother and other guy get killed but The Rock manages to kidnap the sorceress, who is suitably slinky. um, comic relief guy, who is in a lot of movies in the same role, becomes part of the team. utterly surprisingly, The Rock and sorceress become enchanted with each other. well who would have expected that? okay, there's a scene in which The Rock goes alone against 11 assassins, in the employ of the badass king. there's a sandstorm, okay? and The Rock chases this crew into cave. in a, like, sinister way, he kills off the assassins one by one. it's totally like he's magic. he's free of the constraint of physics, but he's not magic, man. okay. so we got the love interest, the weasly comic relief. do not worry, the cute urchin appears. there's Amazon fighting force, and the guy who happens to have figured out how to make gunpowder. oh, there's the chunky warrior who begins as an adversary but succumbs to the Rock's charm (patented lift of one eyebrow, of course). this crew makes an assault on the city, which happens to be Gomorrah. check it out, there's quite a battle between Rock and hard place, aka bad ass king. simultaneously the big warrior, who is convincingly big but not convincingly agile, fights a mob, the Amazons have a crew of well-timed combatants to defeat (well-timed as in: wait till the guy ahead of you is defeated before you rush in madly), the weasly guy and the inventor have their scene. the denouement occurs when The Rock gets hit by an arrow. he is down, may be out. just like in every Coppola movie, there is a simultaneity of events, each group with their dark night of soul. the weasly guy, desperately breaking free from some guards, sets gunpowder afire, which sets the good vibes a-vibing. The Rock rises as if from the canvas, pulls the arrow from his back, and nice touch, notches it to his bow. it has already been established that the bad ass king can catch arrows, but The Rock outquicks him something fierce, and that, dear friends, is that. as with the best of such movies, it is refreshing to have physics relaxed, so that we can watch The Rock perform felicities of physical nonsense. he has a lot of style as he moves thru space. he should not be given more than 2 sentences in a row to recite, because he has issues with sincerity. he had a good wrestling rap, as I recall, but his conversation come out more like urged declarations. there's a comedic touch there, and he is likable, unlike Arnold. a classic film experience of how small bits of plot and whatever can be coaxed into something almost larger than the what you expected.