Monday, January 30, 2012

Whiny Brits and Lucas, greedy studio, 3D news, uncut star wars fanfilm, & Hello

Yes, I break from tradition a bit to cover 4 news articles and 2 vids. Something for everyone!

Lionsgate wants to make more Twilight features, and they don't care that the story ended with the third novel. They're considering everything from further movies to a TV show. I understand that the studio needs cash, but the statements made by the Lionsgate CEO sound like such cheap shilling.
“It's hard for me to imagine a movie that does $700 million-plus doesn't have ongoing value."

Wow. Feel the passion! Was this stupid series so popular with YA readers due to its value? 3 posts ago, I wrote about studios' self-defeating obsession with names, and that's at play here. Maybe they'll just wait 4 years, then remake the whole trilogy.

If you want an example of real passion, look no further than the new video that combines Star Wars scenes reenacted and filmed by fans of the original movie. Casey Pugh began crowd-sourcing for a collectively fan-made remake 2 years ago.

People responded, and this excellent idea took off. The various scenes have been spliced together, giving us a fan-made version of the whole picture. It's incredible to see how inspirational a Lucas film could be.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Night of the Comet Review

More 2010's movies should be like Night of the Comet. Not completely - it's a little cheesy, had a low budget, and the 80s costuming is hysterical. But NotC tells a new, fun story with different leads than we're used to. It doesn't try to be deep, complicated, or set up a sequel, and neither insults the audience nor does cheap things to rope them in.

I've gotten too used to big budget and small budget failures. I've gotten too used to "tried too hard" failures and "didn't try hard enough" failures. I was happy to look to the 80s for something just middle-of-the-road, and it's to NotC's credit that I don't need to give it a long review. The story:

A nice, deep narrator's voice tells us that Earth is about to be visited by a comet. It also says that the comet was last seen when the dinosaurs died out, so we can already tell that things will turn out badly. As LA is preparing to watch the light show, our hero, the 20-ish Regina, goes about her job at a movie-theater.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Question for the week of Jan 16-22: Indiana Jones

Do you think neo-nazis hate Indiana Jones movies?
He's an appealing character and they're fun pictures, but is his beating on their idols a serious problem? Or do they accept that their social and political ancestors lost WWII anyway, and just enjoy the ride like everyone else?

Do they root against Indy as he's fighting the guys on that truck?

Is Temple of Doom the one that's considered OK?

Monday, January 16, 2012

What's in a name?

There's general agreement that the 2011 flood of reboots, remakes, and "out-of-nowhere releases" is all about brand recognition and names.

For a movie industry that's dangerously profit-minded, it's all about the brand, right? I'm not just talking about the fact that Battleship is only one of the many boardgame movies in development. The choice of what to even call a movie is also a big part of green-lighting spinoff features.

There were 3 X-Men films released in the 2000s, which were named X-Men, X2, and X-Men III: The Last Stand. They were about a super-powered team, so the titles fit the pix. Later, though, there was a spin-off focused on the star of the first entry; it was called X-Men:Origins:Wolverine. The obvious dumb thing here is the title's absurd length and complexity. The other dumb thing is that X-M:O:W has nothing to do with the X-Men at all. I'm not sure whether to write "oops" or "duh" or both.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rerelease, Rental, and (Old) Industry News

Let me start with some new news before I mention two belated pieces from the middle of last year.

Time Warner is distancing itself from Netflix. Thanks to AV Club for pointing out the news to me. In essence, The Hollywood Reporter was first to reveal that the media super-giant will make (a) Netflix buy HBO DVD (to rent out) from a 3rd-party source for a higher fee and (b) will make Netflix, Redbox, et al, wait 56 days before they get their hands on any Warner Bros. movies.

This latest development is another sign of the market pushing back against what may be the most profitable player in the video biz. As more people decide to forgo cable and simply rent or watch online, the companies that make, carry, and subsidize the actual movies are going to want to protect and improve their own profits. If I could really connect this to Netflix's price-hike last year, I'd have a snarky "greed begets greed" line to throw out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Evil Dead 2: Horror. Comedy. Whitesploitation?

Sam Raimi has a gift. He writes fun, clever stories, then films them with an excellent, distinctive style. Evil Dead 2 (1987), then, is an experience. It's also a great introduction to comedy-horror and Raimi himself.

I saw it when I was a teenager, and twice since then (once at a midnite show). People rave about ED2 (an abbreviation that's ruined by modern medical euphemisms) and for good reason. I won't write the type of review that I usually give to films I enjoy this much.

For those who don't know the story: A couple takes a cabin retreat in the woods. They settle in for a nice weekend, but find an audio tape left behind, and there's always one jerk in the room who has to play it, right? Here the problem begins, because our lead breaks (by proxy) a classic rule of horror cinema: don't read a weird old book aloud.

The creepy tome is basically a dark magic bible, and the tape recording is the diary of the professor who found it. The audio plays with a perfect creakiness, the record of a scientist studying an artifact.

What he just said.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ok, fine, I'm a joiner

Bob doubling for Vader. So cool.
At least, I am today, and I am about this: Bob Anderson has died. He was the greatest sword-fighting choreographer in Hollywood, and he passed away at 89.

The reason I'm a joiner is that I wasn't going to post about this at all. I read this news on New Year's day, while recovering from my night of fun. I immediately knew the name (of course), and felt sad to hear of Bob's death. But I figured that the tribute I saw on AICN was good enough, and I don't like chiming in unless I have something special to do say or write.

Forget all that. Just becase AICN and AV Club put in their two cents doesn't mean that I shouldn't. His death is very much like the passing of John Barry last year, so I'll just keep it short and simple.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Amazon's Bad Video Marketing

Welcome to 2012, and my brief article to kick off the year. Many friends have complained about how skittish Netflix's recommendation system works. I've had people talk to me for 20 minutes because a "gritty" or "visceral" suggestion ends up being unappealing, uninteresting, and unentertaining. I've argued that it needs improvement, too.

Amazon, however, seems to go above and beyond in terms of trying to sell me on stuff for which I have no interest. Every single week, I receive an email telling me about all the great new and upcoming Amazon digital videos to rent or own. And every single week, I see nothing of interest.

This weekly nuisance has happened for months now, but today was a new low. This was worse than movies I didn't care about; my time (all 20 seconds of it) was completely wasted.