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This is Saint Jackson’s Day

I can’t tell if it’s creepy, appropriate, or coincidental that the major Halloween release this weekend is Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).  Does the premiere date make this concert rehearsal documentary into a ghost story?  Or is it worse to see it as a morbid cash-in on the King Of Pop’s recent demise?  In the legacy of MJ, those questions won’t even register as a footnote.  This iconic performer has been everything from a dancing zombie to a Disneyland ride.  He invented the moonwalk and made the crotch grab into a dance move.  He is arguably the greatest child-star success of this era.  Amid all the accolades of his music and his talent there was also an elusive, bizarre, and troubled celebrity. The one area of critic consensus is that this film is focused on the former instead of the latter. This is a film about Michael the performer and the comeback performance he had planned.  Whether you view it as a tribute or a tribulation, if you’re curious about what a massive retrospective MJ concert would have looked like, (insert title here).

this_is_it“This may be as close as we’ll ever get to knowing the strange boy-man who was one of the greatest entertainers — onstage, on record and on video — of the 20th century. He comes across as ageless and timeless, just like the songs he sings.” Jon Bream Minneapolis Star Tribune

gottobethere

Is it insulting to call young Michael ageless?

“What this strange yet strangely beguiling film does is capture one of pop culture’s great entertainers in the feverish grips of pure creativity.” The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

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Fever Grip!

“One of the best documents of live performance that I’ve ever seen, a rehearsal diary that’s more intimate and immediate than a traditional concert film.” Slate Dana Stevens

I feel bad making jokes about this movie.  The reviewers that speak with reverence want to celebrate the man and what could have been, but some people saw a hastily-constructed documentary rather than a MJ tribute.

“While this memorial to Jackson’s talents will satisfy some, if you’re looking for insight or understanding about Jackson’s life and ethos, this ‘documentary’ is not for you.” Jennifer Merin About.com

“At best, it angrily demands to be rechristened This Is It! Too often, however, an incredulous This Is It? seems more apt.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Nathan Rabin

michael-jackson_captain-eo

The picture is the answer. The quesion is: What do George Lucas, Jim Henson, Walt Disney, and MJ all have in common?

And then there are the haters.

“Strictly pressed factory floor sweepings, packaged and sold with questionable intent to a public aching for closure…takes Jackson’s musical legacy and squeezes it for every last remaining nickel.” Brian Orndorf BrianOrndorf.com

“There are two ways to look at Michael Jackson’s big screen B-roll dirge: Either it’s a touching documentary tribute or only slightly classier than stringing up Jacko’s corpse by its wig and making him perform a post-mortem marionette moonwalk.” Mike Ward Richmond.com

And the award for most cringe-inducing review goes to…that guy.  Or maybe he was trying to insert some Halloween horror into his review, either way this movie is about a man and his music.  If you’re a fan of one or both of those things, I hope it’s not too cold standing in line.

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This is the preferred connection between MJ and Halloween

“Fan or not, in This Is It, you don’t see death, just life. There is no sadness or tears; you walk out with a smile. Forget the controversies, this is truly who Michael Jackson was – his music. It’s a film that you don’t want to end.” Clay Cane BET.com

And if MJ doesn’t fit your movie tastes on Devil’s Night, how about vigilante justice?  That’s what you get from the sequel to an indie-cult hit about two brothers who like to look cool shooting people for God, Boondock Saints 2: All Saint’s Day (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

a“The result isn’t art but it is an improvement: a scurrilous, lowdown, sub-Tarantino action comedy that, unlike the original, doesn’t make you want to claw your eyes out. How’s that for praise?” Boston Globe Ty Burr

Well, that’s one of the more positive reviews.  So that’s pretty good I guess.  Sort of.  Maybe.

“You’d think Troy Duffy would have learned something in the decade since he blew his golden ticket with The Boondock Saints. “ Brett Michel Boston Phoenix

Wait, what did he do to his golden ticket?

“Duffy orchestrates the resulting carnage like an inebriate spinning fourth-rate Peckinpah tales.” Keith Uhlich Time Out New York

So, it’s like a drunk copy of someone else’s carnage?  I’m starting to think the real scares in this roundup are in the reviews for this movie.

“Cloaking vigilante justice (not to mention casual racism and homophobia) in religion eventually turns Boondock Saints from merely a bad movie to a distasteful one.” Jake Coyle Associated Press

“John Woo outgrew stylizing movies like this in the ’90s, but Duffy is still chasing his perfect slide-and-shoot, except now with more self-satisfied posturing, awkward pop-culture referencing, casual homophobia and racism, and the most vulgar co-opting of religious iconography this side of Dan Brown.” Village Voice Aaron Hillis

michael-jackson-moonwalker

The Boondock brothers could have learned something from a real smooth criminal

“You wouldn’t call The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day a taut thriller. More like a fleshy, messy, jangled frenzy of shootouts and much discussion about the mechanics of romantic entanglements that bloom between prison inmates.” New York Post Kyle Smith

pat-j-avatar

PDJ hopes your Halloween is filled with more treats than tricks and doesn't involve romantic entanglements between prison inmates

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2 Responses

  1. Nice work on this one, turkey. Funny shit here.

  2. I pick the Boondock Saints.

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