Monday, September 1, 2014

Great Moments in... Film Interludes

Student Bodies is a little-known horror parody that came out in 1981. It is, in essence, a totally gonzo film: victims are killed by suffocation in plastic bags, the killer occasionally gets winded while chasing people down, and the high school principal and counselor are both clearly insane.

The movie is far from perfect, and it may not have aged well, but several moments reveal not just a gift for slapstick and parody and demented humor, but a nice knack for some a few clever jokes.

My favorite, of course, is the scene wherein the story completely stops so that some narrator can explain to the audience that the filmmakers want an R-rating:

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Enjoy these last days of Summer while you can- I know I am...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Gone Girl

Well, I know nothing about the book save that it's highly regarded. For me, though David Fincher is a director who merits respect and attention. The trailer looks pretty solid:

Friday, August 29, 2014

QftWo 8/25-8/31: Imposters #64 - Get On Up

This poster is just fine. I may not like the lens flare to the far left, but I do like the blue & gold color scheme, the font, and the title.

So far, the biggest problem I've seen is the tagline, which was left off the landscape-style subway posters and is only used on the portrait style ones. I don't mean to sound like a snob but, "The Funk Don't Quit" doesn't exactly say something special to me...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bill Murray Sexiest Man Funniness

Yes, I waited until the end of August to give you my monthly entry about Mr. Murray. August has been a little turbulent for all of us, and it made sense to keep some cheer in reserve. And, turmoil around the world aside, I have my birthday coming up shortly, so I think the timing is just about perfect.

In this month's post, we get Bill Murray as he riffs away with Joy Behar after the announcement of the Sexiest Man Alive. And since I know from personal experience that women dig funny guys, it begs the question: why didn't Mr. Murray make the cut at some point?

It's the world's loss, is all I'm sayin'...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

(Street-)Found Fan-made Gem!

So I'm walking down the street and something just manages to catch my eye. Peripheral vision can be a pain, but sometimes it is quite rewarding. Like, "Manhattan + Jaws" rewarding.

Whoever was crafting this surfboard sure knew how to transfer an image beautifully. They also have good taste in movies. And now some little part of me is imagining that Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are watching some poor lady desperately swimming away from a great white shark in the East River.

The odd thing is that, in my mental juxtaposition, Woody's dialogue in the film wouldn't change at all.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Picard & Kirk Into Space

I have to say, this trailer makes clear that with the power of geek, one can accomplish the unimaginable:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

QftWo 8/18-8/24: Imposters #63 - A Dame to Kill For

As before, Frank Miller's ability to produce fetishized images goes unabated. As I've said before, I'm a fan of a big contrast between light and dark, so this is quite pleasing to my eyes. The shading, the little flashes of red, the white of her eye. This is very nice.

The tagline, too, is pretty good. "Especially bad" means she's either done something terrible, or that she's always a bit bad and she's managed to outdo herself...

It bears keeping in mind, in case you don't know Frank's work or the prior Sin City film, but Miller has this trend of making the most extreme story out of a familiar genre or trope. So 300 becomes more than Zulu or Spartacus, it's Zulu or Spartacus on a potent combo of steroids and meth. So, too, Sin City is a noir film that prostitutes itself day and night to support its heroin/crack addiction. It's a caricature, if an occasionally enjoyable one.

When it works, it works - and when it flops, it flops. I know some of the scripting in the first picture was painful, clearly words that read better on a page than would be heard aloud.

But it's hard not to appreciate how the general sensibility and aesthetic of the noir/pulp thing has carried over into every element of the movie - including the ads...

Take, for example, how the font for the subtitle "A Dame to Kill For" looks appropriate for an actual pulp novel, while the "Sin City" font looks more suitable for a comic book. Hell, I'm just glad Judi Dench isn't playing the Dame.

Now, that poster above and to the right was in a movie theater I went to recently. The one below, however, is the actual subway ad:

And now you can see that this lovely shot of Ms. Green is just taken from a group shot featuring the whole cast. Or maybe it's the other way around - one of the advantages of a movie made entirely on green screen, I suppose. I just hope they went with Eva because she seems to fit the title of the film, not the fact that she's quite good-looking...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Things: Amazing Spider-Man 2

1) It's better than it has any business being.

I came into Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a skeptical viewer--I didn't like the 2012 original, and I'm unenthusiastic about the whole idea of this franchise reboot, particularly the participation of the ubiquitous blockbuster writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. I was like the club audience at the end of Purple Rain. However, I was on a long flight, and I'm fascinated on a storytelling level by how everyone is handling all the various comic book franchises that are scattered throughout Hollywood.

I was a little startled, then, when at the end of the film's opening action sequence, I gave a chortle of delight that earned a look from a couple of passengers nearby. I hadn't come close to that sort of reaction when watching the movie's predecessor. I usually wouldn't throw a video this long into a post, but here's the film's opening scene, courtesy of IGN and Youtube:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Imposters #62, Bonus - The Purge Redux

Some clever artist decided to make a nice little statement using an existing poster. Unlike the genius who tampered with the Bad Words poster this year, this is a much simpler, if more surgical, bit of alteration. It's less clever, too, but I still like it:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hook, You're Next... A Crazy Weekend

On Saturday, I had to cancel a trip to watch the Pike's Peak race because someone close to me died.

These sorts of events are a natural consequence of life, sad though they may be. I was, however, unlike many people, lucky enough to have had a really kickass Friday before it.

And, to stick to the film world, I had a couple of good movie experiences before the hammer dropped:

First, I saw Robin Williams in Hook and, miracle of miracles, I actually enjoyed the film for the first time ever. I was a little too old for the movie when it first came out, but I had great company watching along with me - and it was so good to see Robin alive and young. I'd like to think both factors came together nicely.

Also, I found out that Netflix added You're Next to its streaming collection (I reviewed the subway poster last year). I will give it a brief review soon, but YN was very well-made, and it was scary as hell. Seriously, if you have any home invasion worries, do NOT see that movie.

Expect the usual features over the coming weeks. I prepped them all at least two months ago...

Friday, August 15, 2014

QftWo 8/11-8/17: Imposters #61 - Lucy

I often complain that movie posters are just big shots of the lead staring straight at you. I'm not complaining here because 1) it's not a other white male, and 2) there's some artistry to the image. I over the white-on-black background color being mirrored by the black-on-white scheme to the lettering.

This suggests that the film will deal with duality, or perhaps a giant game of chess... The problem is that the poster is mysterious that it risks not telling the viewer anything or giving them many reasons to see this movie.

Scarlett, Freeman, Besson - it's kind of cool and confident that Lucy doesn't even bother with a tagline or other information to gain your interest. But cool color motifs aside, we've got nothing to go on.

The title "Lucy" tells us the film should be about a woman, but that's it. In fact, I'd say that's a pretty weak choice, but I like when Besson uses old-fashioned female names (e.g., Matilda).

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I saw the phone booth ads.

What's fun here is that it's a completely different take on the same idea - instead of including white and black in equal amounts and in opposing positions, everything's grey. The exception made for Ms. Johansson's eyes is a very nice touch as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

RIP Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams

Just a quick word about the film-world tragedies that came out in the news this week:

Lauren Bacall was a beautiful and talented actress, and she passed away at age 89. I was very sad to hear of her death because Bogart and Bacall films have been a staple of my movie-watching since my childhood. I know 89 isn't exactly a young age, but I felt like she would be around forever.

I'm sure that some younger folks only know her from her brief appearance in The Sopranos, but I really hope that this inspires people to look back at her CV. They'll realize that she was every bit the powerhouse as Katharine Hepburn, and as much of a beauty Veronica Lake.

I only wrote about her three times - she came up in a "15 Questions Meme" post, when I declared Lauren and Humphrey to be my favorite film couple, and when I reviewed the excellent To Have and Have Not, which was the only one of the quartet of Bogey and Bacall movies that I hadn't seen.

Words cannot express how much I respected her.

But a young death is, of course, more tragic than one that comes in old age. Robin Williams, at 63, passed on so much before his time. And it's worse because he committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and three children. For both Robin and Lauren, we can try to remember them in their best moments, but Mr. Williams' death complicates such simplistic thoughts; to that end, I hope everyone takes a long look at depression, and does whatever they can to fight it, in their own lives or the lives of others.

Depression is a terrible thing, as bad as cancer and probably as hard to treat. Please, if you or people you know are having a hard time with it, seek help. Call a friend, get therapy, calla suicide prevention line; hell you can contact me about it if you want...

I'm sorry if this interview makes you cry a bit, as it did to me: