Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great New 2001 Fan Trailer

Most film fans love and revere Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. One clever person decided to remix the trailer to give us an idea of what the teaser would look like if that movie had been today. I learned about this through The AV Club (as I so often do), and they called this the "Michael Bay" version of the film.

That's not doing Film School Rejects, or their Youtube channel, MoviesWithFSR enough credit. This isn't simple Bay-mockery, this is a genuinely enjoyable trailer that not only totally perverts the original material, it makes a good commentary on how these things are done (badly) today. In this case, tho, I actually like the soundtrack.

I disagree. I think this is more in the style of the Resident Evil flix, and those awful Aliens Versus Predator pictures, or pure action fare like Gamer and Crank. Yup, if Uwe Boll or Paul W.S. Anderson had made a 2001, this is what the trailer would look like. Please watch and try not to laugh so hard that you worry your coworkers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Question for the Week of July 30-Aug 5: Princess Bride Countries

What's so odd about the names of the two nations in The Princess Bride?
Sure, it's been two weeks since I tackled a Question about The Princess Bride, but this is a weird little fact I noticed years ago, and I keep forgetting to post it. Let me get this out of the way now before moving on.

One of the funny things about this great romantic comedy is how familiar and unfamiliar it is. After all, we can't really get a sense of where this pic takes place, because they have both magical monsters and Sicilians. How can you have a world that's so impossible, but clearly references real-world things, and yet only mentions a familiar nation once, in passing?

Throughout tPB, tho, we keep hearing the names of the two major countries in the story: Guilder and Florin. About 8 years ago, I was watching clips from the movie, and the word "florin" struck a chord for some reason. So I decided to research both names. Prince Humperdink is from Florin, and wants to murder Buttercup and use her death as a pretext to war with Guilder.

I LOVE that the other guy is named "Tyrone."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

TDKR round table, Batman link round-up

I had a good idea, and my fellow reviewers agreed: to post 2-3 paragraph opinions of The Dark Knight Rises by every contributor on Man, I Love Films. I figured it's one of the few movies we would all see, and that we should each get a brief crack at it. The round table is up now, and you can click here to check them out.

I think what impressed me the most is that the 7 of us had very different opinions, and we all approached our reviews differently, too. Naturally, I don't agree with everybody, but it was really cool to work on this together. I finished that mini-review before I completed the full version for this site, yet I worked to make both entries distinct.

It's worth noting that Batman has received a lot of attention on this site. My last Question was about why Bruce Wayne would fight crime with his fists instead of his cash. Last month, I featured a series of Fan-made paintings which contain film characters, Batman among them. May's entries had several Fan-made Gems involving the Caped Crusader: Batman False Start, Gotham City drug PSAs, and the great B@tman musical,  as well as my new favorite, Don't Get Chris Nolan's Batman for your kid's party.

Of course, you should also check out my old favorite Batman Fan-made Gems, the great reviewing duo who tackled all the films in the franchise (but haven't yet reviewed TDKR), as well as my own reviews for The Dark Knight and Batman Begins (which is still my favorite). There will be at least one The Dark Knight Rises double-dip in the future, in addition to any new Fan-made Gems that I think are worth posting here. I wanted to put all these links here to save you the trouble of clicking the search box and entering "Batman..."

As a final note, I should've written this before: regarding a certain real-life tragedy involving TDKR, I feel that the awful loser behind this really wants attention. I think that's pretty obvious, and so I just don't want to give him any attention at all. I'm serious - I've been avoiding news reports since the instant I heard about this. Let that piece of s--t rot in anonymity, I say.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pixar Worker's Fan Storyboards

Josh Cooley is a storyboard artist at Pixar - one of my favorite film-making studios (now owned, sigh, by Disney). He has worked on Ratatouille, Up, both Cars films, and is uncredited for his work on The Incredibles.

Apparently, he's not just a workman who takes his job as clocking in from 9-5 (or more likely, 9-5 the next morning). He's a fan of film, and a skilled artist. I was very happy, in the third week of June, that Uproxx showed off the art in his new book, Movies R Fun. It's a bunch of storyboards of moments from movies, and they are very, very impressive.

Just follow the Uproxx link above and enjoy the 22 images in their gallery. I'm not sure on the release date for the book, as Amazon is being kind of buggy about it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

I write Indie Spotlight reviews for Man, I Love Films, and I love doing them. Almost each week for the last little while, I've posted Reviewing with Others entries on this site, and they all link to my work there.

Last week, Sebastian (another Man, I Love Films contributor) got the chance to review The Dark Knight Rises for the site. I suggested that - within a week of the TDKR release - every Man, I Love Films contributor should get to post a capsule review of their own thoughts, as the pic was a big deal. People agreed.

As such, sometime today you'll be able to find the thoughts of myself, Kai, and several others on that site. Below, however, you can find my complete review. I hope you look at and enjoy both.

There are so many ways to begin, it's nearly daunting. I could talk about high expectations, real-life tragedy, or how hard it is to get IMAX tickets in New York City. Sure, I'll skip spoilers until the inevitable Double Dip entry, but simply put - screw all that noise. So what's the story? Deep breath time:

The Dark Knight Rises picks up 8 years after The Dark Knight. Gotham's organized crime has vanished. New legislation (coughSocial Issuescough) gave the police broader powers, and over 1000 criminals have been jailed as a result of the Harvey Dent Act (coughPatriot Actcough). The same night that Dent died, Batman became falsely-known as a murderous vigilante - after which Bruce Wayne hung up his cape and hid himself away in his new mansion. He's gone all Howard Hughes on us.

However, a new super-villain has popped up out of nowhere: Bane, a cryptic, strange-looking war machine who's very smart and very brutal. He kills without warning and his men gladly die for him. The goals of Bane are a complete mystery for the first 45 minutes of this nearly 3-hour film. Tom Hardy's Bane, then, isn't nearly as enjoyable as Heath Ledger's The Joker - Bane shows up and does incredible, evil things before disappearing time and again.

Still, the sudden appearance of a wide range of serious threats is enough to bring Bruce out of retirement. This older, more frail vigilante/detective is a man who's full of doubt and regret, haunted by his past. As the threat worsens and envelopes the city that he loves, though, Bruce Wayne fights back, channeling two of the most powerful, positive feelings: hope and determination. Will it be enough? This new guy's like a combination of Ra's Al Gul and The Joker - he wants to destroy everything, but he also wants to bend Gotham to his will.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 11: Trek Nation

Last week, I saw Trek Nation, a documentary by Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek's creator. My thoughts are up now at Man, I Love Films. I hope you enjoy it, tell me what you think...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Question for the Week of July 23 - July 29: Bruce "KickBoxer" Wayne?

How does a martial arts expert/civic-minded billionaire with a grudge decide he can't do better than fighting crime in person?
I've had some soft-ball Questions before. Sometimes brief responses are best, or I write something simple that occurred to me. However, click on the Question tag and look through my entries; no sign of laziness there, huh?

With this batsuit, I can - Wait, should I just invest in infrastructure?
I guess I'm trying to tell you that I've got a brief Question for the Week this time, but since The Dark Knight Rises came out last Friday, at least it's something topical.

In Christopher Nolan's Batman series, Christian Bale depicts a smart, savvy, brave, principled, and physically strong young billionaire. This one happens to be focused on (literally) stomping out violent crime in his city. So, for this week, I have to ask: based on the "real-life feel" established by Nolan for BB and TDK, does it make sense that a socially-inclined billionaire couldn't do better than fighting criminals in person?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Star Wars Telenovela

I didn't want to post two Fan-made Gems in 1 week, yet I couldn't sit on this one any longer - and yesterday's video was just terrifying. It's been a light week here for this Half a Film Student, but I've been working hard and prepping new entries, as well as freeing up time so I can also watch and rate the new Nolan/Bale Batman movie. Next week's gonna be damn interesting...

I haven't seen a Spanish soap since I was just a child. Clips that I've seen tell me that it's like an American soap opera, just gloriously on crack and in another language. How can I explain to you readers the sheer passion? How can I explain how grateful I am to Daily of the Day for posting Galaxy of Passion?

This is an altered-subtitles take on scenes we all know from The Empire Strikes Back. And I love knowing that the Spanish word for "gundark" is "gandark." I speak the language, so I can tell you that it's just a straight word-for-word Spanish version of the original film dialogue; the result, tho, is very clever...

Yes, the Wookies have a word for "Space Slut."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Holy F---ing S--t My Chri-t

Ever get someone to perform for your kids' birthday party? Ever had your parents get a performer for your birthday party?

Wrong! Those questions don't matter, because they're rhetorical. What I'm about to show you was brought to my attention last month, thanks to the hard-joking folks at Cracked.

People were hired to play popular comic book characters at a childrens' birthday party. For totally unexplained reasons (pcp?), they... a man dressed as Venom shakes his butt right in a child's face. Yes, I suppose that's in character since Venom is evil, but then what the hell are Spidey and Iron Man are up to?

Brace yourself; this is one intense WTF moment you're about to have:

Yup, you just watched it, and like that little birthday boy biting his fingernails, you can't un-watch it. Of the many, many things about this that I'll never understand, I'll stick with "why do people want to see a bunch of comicbook heroes dance?" Sure, it's different, but don't the sneakers sorta spoil the illusion?

Bonus points go to the guy who dressed up like Batman and left the dance floor once things got all tribal/creepy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 10: Mansome

Last week, I saw Mansome, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, the director of Super Size Me. This time out, Spurlock delves into the growing trend of metrosexuality and male grooming. This follicle-focused documentary has Justin Bateman and Will Arnett doing skits at a spa while Zach Galifianakis and others contribute interviews. My thoughts are up now at Man, I Love Films, please read them there.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Question for the Week of July 16 - July 22: Princess Bride Time Gap

Why did Westley never reach out to Buttercup before she was engaged to Prince Humperdink? His ship was raided five years earlier.
The Princess Bride is one of the best romantic comedies ever. I can't argue much when this funny, warm meta-comedy is on all-time favorites lists - great action, vivid dialogue and characters, charismatic and exceptional acting all around... I've barely watched it again, cause I don't ever want it to get old.

Peter Falk is the best. Brilliant casting, all the way.

I guess if you don't know the story, there are SPOILERS after this point.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 9: Cook County

So what if I'm a day late. I don't really have to stick to a working-week schedule for my posts, but I prefer to. This was a crazy-busy week, and my several jobs demand a lot from me. Since I don't give a half-effort to anything, I've been forced to releasing a review on Saturday. Say it with me : awwwwwww......

Last week, I saw Cook County, a drama about a man who leaves prison to rejoin his family - which is currently under the thrall of his Jim Jones-esque brother, a strung-out meth manufacturer. I was blown away by the quality of the movie and its fine performances. My opinion is up now at Man, I Love Films.

You should check it out and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Question for the Week of July 9 - July 15: When Kirk Enabled Khan

How the hell did Kirk strand a deadly, ambitious genius on a planet without leaving any warning for other ships that might find Khan in the future?
I love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The movie is excellent, the action is super-exciting, the dialogue is sharp, and the acting is exceptional. Best of all, it is anchored by a story that would work for someone who knew nothing about the Star Trek series. One size fits all, baby.

The themes are strong, mature, and clear: aging, change, missed opportunities, regret, revenge, split-second choices, and friendship. These are timeless concepts that are - contrary to most modern sci-fi entertainment - genuinely explored, not merely referenced.

However, the 1960's TV series already set up the movie: decades earlier, Kirk and his crew found a drifting 300 year-old spaceship from Earth. They found people preserved in stasis, and released them while trying to learn more about them and figure out what to do with them. By the time they learn that they've found an ancient conqueror & his followers, the Enterprise is over-powered.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ron Perlman is a god + Spidey News

There's a lot to like about Ron Perlman: he's not handsome and beautifully-manicured and groomed like so many of Hollywood's male stars; he's appeared in a string of unusual movies, like The City of Lost Children (he spoke, literally, no French, but lead a French film); he's a character actor, not a star (the difference between a star and an actor is that actors convince you they're someone else, while stars convince you that someone else is them).

And then I find out from several news sources yesterday that Ron went through 4 hours of makeup because some poor kid with leukemia wanted to meet and get dressed up like Hellboy. Yes, 4 hours of prosthetics and red makeup, just to give one possibly-dying child a glimpse at his favorite movie/comic character. If, for some crazy reason, Ron Perlman isn't going to heaven, then I don't want in, either.

I don't like harping on anything, especially news I posted last week, I can't help but add this: The Amazing Spider-man, so carefully tailored for the Twilight/Games crowd, had a fairly solid 3 day run at the box office. Fairly solid, that is, unless you compare it to the opening 3-day-take of each of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.

Q.E.D., you unnecessary, pandering reboot! You might enjoy some more opinions on this new pic, so watch the funny/smart Half in the Bag review that went up this week over at Red Letter Media.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Best Pulp Fiction Song Mix You'll Ever Hear

Well, thank heaven for POGO... And, as usual, AV Club. My favorite pop-culture website informed me of the 2nd greatest song-movie mix. My enthusiasm feels justified, and I must rate "Lead Breakfast" just below "Put That Cookie DOWN!" (which I've watched so often, I must be the main source of hits for that post)...

No point in writing more, really. Just enjoy and love "Lead Breakfast ('Pulp Fiction' Remix)." You should get as much of a laugh from this as I did! Thank me (+ POGO and AV Club) profusely in the comments box below.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reviewing with Others, pt. 8: Engagement

Last week, I sawnEngagement, a drama/thriller about a man who is completely turned around when he's left alone with the twin sister that he never knew his fiance had. I really enjoyed this movie. My thoughts are up now at Man, I Love Films. I hope you enjoy it, tell me what you think...

UPDATED 8:10 AM - The link is fixed =)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Prometheus: Somehow, Without Spoilers

The critical reception for Ridley Scott's Alien prequel, Prometheus, has been mixed, but all the reviews I've read seemed to agree on one thing: that regardless of whether it was good or bad or somewhere in between, the movie was, at least, ambitious. I have a great fondness for "ambitious," even where it's hamstrung by horrendous execution. When it comes to art, I'd often rather watch someone fail while shooting for the stars than just succeed at shooting fish in a barrel.

So I finally get around to seeing Prometheus, and the question that kept coming to my mind was: where's the ambition at? On one level, I guess it's obvious: someone's spending $200 million on a movie, it's beautifully shot and they even took the trouble of post-converting it to 3D. So yeah, I get that ambition is involved in the undertaking. But in the story?

Let's put it another way. Did any of you guys see Alien vs. Predator (AVP)? Ridley Scott's on the record saying that he just couldn't bring himself to see it. Which is a shame, since he kinda sorta made a remake of it just without the Predators. How ambitious is that?

Hear me out: here's the setup. A pair of archeologists make a discovery of an image believed to be a constellation that's repeatedly referenced in the ancient art of multiple, unrelated, civilizations - including a prehistoric cave painting. As in AVP, an eccentric super-wealthy person named Weyland decides to fund an expensive and ambitious expedition based on some paper-thin archeological justification. As in AVP, the expedition features a misfit crew of experts, ranging from scientists to mercenaries. And once they arrive at their destination, the experts start acting like morons, with deadly consequences (again, like AVP).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hendrix, Netflix US v Canada II, Spidey, & Prometheus News Follow-ups

I don't care if it's a holiday and a rare break from the lawyer-mines for me. I can't resist following up on some news I covered before, even if it means you get 5 entries this week. It's true that I'll post more if you comment here more, but since I'm GGG, I'll give you a freebie now and then.

Remember March, when I asked whether Netflix is treating the US worse than Canada? I waited a while to share this, but on June 9th, Netflix revealed that US customers would be able to stream Thor, with Captain America: The First Avenger becoming available to stream in mid-late July.

This same announcement also claimed that, during the June-July timeframe, more new additions were coming - Transformers: Dark of the Moon, that Conan the Barbarian reboot, and Immortals. 2 fantasy movies that are supposedly good-to-decent, paired with 3 other, atrociously-reviewed fantasy films.

Netflix revealed all this in a blog post entitled "Superhero Summer!" I don't need to be negative or persnickety about their upbeat tone, but I have to note: Conan, Theseus, and Optimus Prime are not Superheroes. Thor and Cap, I can't deny...

Anyway, it's harder now to be sure that Netflix treats Canada better than the US - I merely suspect it; hell, our Canuckian neighbors did get those movies first, right? By months, right? And we still don't have those Hulk films, do we?

Oh, damnit, fine - you guys get to enjoy rubgy, soccer, and hockey, and you have Henstridge, and Helfer, and Cronenberg, and Phil Hartman... Fine. Fine. I'm not jealous or angry. But for f's sake, can we at least get more of your TV shows?... Please?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Question for the Week of July 2 - July 8: Neo Sucks at His Job

Did the Wachowskis realize that bringing back Agent Smith means that Neo couldn't - and never did - defeat one single Agent?
I just realized this is the 300th post on Net-flixation! I know, I know, I wrote that one of my old posts wouldn't be included in my official count... but think about it - it's gonna feel weird celebrating some other number. The ticker only reads "300" once, right?

I thought 3 years was the longest I could work on this blog, so every new entry is me beating my own expectations. Thanks to everyone out there who's been so supportive and interested. I try to make it worth your while to be here.

I'd never want to be the only one laughing at a joke I tell, which is why I don't tell bad jokes; I hope it's the same with my writing. If you'd like to continue having a bit of fun with me, you're in luck, because I'm actually considering a serious schedule again:

This month, I'll publish 4 times per week here: 1 random post, along with 1 Question, 1 Fan-made Gem, and 1 Review. If you noticed, I've been leaning toward something like that lately. Suggestions or preferences are encouraged. Think it over, and let's move on to this week's Question.

Many things fell apart with the release of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions: my faith in the Wachowskis, my hope for a great followup to the fantastic original, and any expectation - or desire - for more stories in that universe.

There were so many things to like and be impressed by, the first time out. Among film fans, the antagonist, Agent Smith can come up pretty quickly in a "best villain" list. He's a smart enemy, very unique and with a distinct personality - both from earlier cinematic bad-guys, as well as from his fellow Agents. He's motivated, and bat-shit insane - a rare and deadly combo for a mean-spirited computer program, huh?...

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods Double Dip

Of course I'm giving The Cabin in the Woods the Double-Dip treatment: it's impossible to review properly without spoiling all the fun you'd have watching it. This time out, I'll be more in-depth, and I'm warning you that SPOILERS follow right after the jump. Let's get to it.

The start of the film quickly reveals that something bad is going on, and that our protagonists are in for a really bad ride. The opening, then, disorients the audience - we're being introduced to this world, but in a way that will only make sense as time passes. You'll only understand a fraction of the office talk, but it does not bode well.

It's very bold writing. From the outset, Cabin split its time between the teens who are going on a weekend trip and a group of office workers. Those short-sleeves and tie-wearing workers are familiar, but they feed us information about what's really going on. Mercifully, the conversations aren't all exposition ("you mean, X, our company that runs the..."). It's fairly "natural."

This element, though, is responsible for making The Cabin in the Woods much less scary than I thought it would be. And it makes this genuinely smart movie also a little dumb, in a practical sense.

Two of my favorite reviewers, Mike and Jay of Red Letter Media fame, dedicated part of a Half in the Bag review to Cabin. Mike said that the movie "doesn't make a lick of sense," and he's right. Both he and Jay, however, said they enjoyed it immensely, and that plot holes don't diminish the experience. I agree.

the cast talks about the film's strengths.