Thursday, March 28, 2013

Great Moments in... Sadistic Trailers

Bill Murray has a lot of great work to his name. His presence could pull me in for anything (except What About Bob?) - that's no lie, I've watch his serious movies, like The Razor's Edge, and anyone's an idiot if they think that the man is only good for laughs.

For many, experience with Groundhog Day proved that Bill Murray could go beyond irony and sarcasm to play crusty jerks who get their comeuppance. It wasn't the first time that he portrayed someone who was both easy to despise and hard to dislike - the trailer for Scrooged is still great fun, after all this time. It's not just funny, it's a great preview of the kharmic ass-whupping that Murray's in for...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inappropriate Soundtracks are Inspired

Inspired by Something Awful, Boonehams has an unpredictable wit, a strong imagination, and a great love of movies. This person basically alters the music track of a movie scene in order to add, well, an inappropriate soundtrack. The selections aren't always perfect, but I've laughed very hard at about half of the clips I've seen so far.

Unfortunately, certain policy issues seem to be a problem. Despite the work's fair use of video and audio material for parody purposes, some have been removed. Apparently, certain websites just take stuff down without paying attention to the underlying ideas and concepts at stake here.

And now I'm torn between wanting the material to get attention, and being concerned about it. Below, you can check out Road Warrior meets It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. If you're not in the mood for anything long, just skip to the next vid.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

McFly Xing

The other day, I'm out walking. I want to pick up some lunch and run a few errands. Every now and then, I choose not to jaywalk, just for variety.

Then the red light goes away and I can't help but notice the sign and think:
"How thoughtful! They're including people who are fading out of time..."

Monday, March 25, 2013

CinemaSin's TDKR Treatment

TDKR gets some entertaining coverage from a group I've been enjoying since this January - the CinemaSins gang:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Question for the Week of Mar 25-31: Comedian/Actor

Is there a comedian or comic group that you expected to have bigger film careers than they actually did?
Hmm... I've reviewed their one real movie before, and I'm willing to stand by it. I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to top this sequence from Penn & Teller Get Killed, even after I've had more time to think about it...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Errata, I know I know

I was moving on my mistakes more quickly in the past, but this is one of the very few places where I can afford some imperfections. I've basically worked, slept, unpacked, and fed myself for most of the last two weeks. I'm falling asleep in bed at 10PM.

Nobody pointed it out, but I know that the last several posts had a couple of small mistakes, and (cliche warning) if I do something, I like to do it well. Two of the 12 posts visible on the main page right now need to have some paragraphs broken up. I wrote Kurt Russell's name twice in one piece, but one time lacked the second "l" (no prepping posts on my cellie again) four days ago. I'll get to it this weekend.

Over the last two weeks, I took over a new space, but I have so many things - specifically, kitchenware, clothes, and toiletries (from when I had short hair) - that it takes a while to set everything up. And I'm doing this without writing during my day job. And unpacking my assorted junk, making some new moves for my future. I was packing for three weeks before that.. I'm juggling like seventeen balls right now, and only a few of them are paying me, and I know what to prioritize.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Question for the Week of Mar 18-24: Best Final Frame

What movie made the best use of its final shot?
That's an interesting and thoughtful question! It's like a painting that makes use of its frame to embellish and/or elaborate on the picture's subject.

Normally, I'd warp the question a little, and try to talk about the closing moments of Tarkovsky's Solaris. I was watching a badly-translated VHS copy in 2002, and so there were many things that didn't get across to me well. Yet the final moment - the astronaut's emotion and the imagery of the scene - was very clear, and beautiful, and effective. Big-time SPOILER WARNING for a foreign masterpiece, ya'll:

But today, I'm not in the mood to answer in a way that I normally would, and I want to be both literal. I also want to go with something different.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Remake Escape From NY!

A good amount of the news I've posted here has come from AV Club; I've almost exceeded the point of feeling merely grateful, but I made an effort to focus on things that I find elsewhere, hence the drop in remake-itis and sequel-itis news. I get an extra thrill when I catch an update on another site before reading it on AVC, like this announcement.

Of course, "a thrill" is very difficult for me to feel when The Daily News informs me that Escape From New York is going to be remade. Once we've gotten to the point that Hollywood is remaking cult action films from over 30 years, someone needs to stage a f--king intervention.

The sadder part is that this isn't even a decision by a massive studio like WB or Fox: Joel Silver's Silver Pictures has teamed with StudioCanal, and I have to assume that there were maybe 5 people involved in pitching and approving this. So this isn't even due to over-sized corporation stupidity...

Mr. Silver: I know you love money, and movies, and you are partly responsible for some great films, but FOR F--K'S SAKE, PUT THE REMAKES DOWN; "A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCH IT WHEN IT AIRS ON TBS" IS A POOR REASON TO FILM A PICTURE TWICE. You could try re-releasing the first picture, and then prepping a movie that passes the story of Snake onto someone else if you want to franchise this.

Worst case, I believe, is that it doesn't make its money back, sullies the rep of the original works, and doesn't even underperform badly enough to discourage more stupid remakes. What the amazing Kurt Russell did there is hard to reproduce.

It gets worse, of course. I went to Wiki, whose EFNY article has already been updated, 'natch, and I read these toe-curling words:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Zach G Interviews Oscar Buzz Candidates

[3/23 UPDATE - Hahaha, I wouldn't beat myself up, but I deserve to call myself out for this one: I wrote this some time ago, yet decided not to post it for a long while - I really like a website, and (despite always giving credit, except in this post for some reason) I don't want to disrespect their efforts by posting too much of what I find through them. It's either lame or too lame-ish for me. In the middle of changing apartments, I chose this post because the clip is so funny, and I didn't do a proofread or rewrite. Pardon my derptitude, but it was a tough time. Now, join me in laughing at the blunder:]

So, it's nearly Oscar-time, and I'm very glad that I haven't completely lost touch with the internet over these last few days. See the last half of what I read above, please. I think the best lesson I've learned, tho, comes from Zach Galifianakis, who does a great dead-pan-but-insane interview with Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Naomi Watts.

Each of these segments is funny, but I have to think that Waltz's bit takes the cake. The last question from Zach is funny/messed-up, and Waltz's response is just perfect. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Question for the Week of Mar 11-17: How'd it get past me?

What's something that often bothers you in film, but you gave a notable pass to? Why?
Nice one! I've talked about issues with film trends often before - misuse of minorities/overuse of Caucasian males as leads, women usually getting fewer and more limited (or confined) roles than are given to men... One particular peeve is that I don't like the attitude studios express in order to appeal to youths. I'm referring to a shallow, s---ty attitude - think Fox Network's treatment of sex, or the shallow garbage MTV shows its audience.

Or let's go with a quick survey of primetime TV, which tells that the US is obsessed with (a) talent competitions and (b) police procedurals wherein the population declines at a freakish rate.

In this case, though, I'm talking about a different nuisance: the portrayal of young people as being apathetic, bordering on lazy, and as not really having any morals or beliefs beyond "everything sucks."

Although I did not expound on my point when this post first went up, the trend that usually relies on those elements - at least some of them; other signs include (a) a jaded mentality whose apparent cause is either extreme (jump montage of child slavery!) or banal (dad skipped out, man!), (b) the sort of supreme self-centeredness common to one's teen years (justified by the film, of course), and/or (c) non-specific distrust of generally, people/life, or government - in a hollow attempt at saying "damn the man!" or "down with the system" way.

All this disaffected, malcontent mentality is not a bad thing all the time - only when the sentiment hasn't been earned by the film/actor, or it feels like the audience is being short-changed from a good story or decent characterization. It's a lousy (and mistaken) shorthand for stating that someone is "cool."

Example A: JJ Abram's Star Trek reboot. I didn't give it a full review, but I wrote a few paragraphs about it in an end-of-year post. The picture gives us shots of Kirk at the Starfleet Academy, but we don't really see him learning or working - at all; he stares at girls' asses, nearly gets some, and he relives that scene they talked about in Wrath of Khan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Honest Trailers: Inception

The Honest Trailers crew has been busy over the last spell, and I haven't shared all of their work with you - yet. What I will share today is their take on a movie I've written about before, Inception. Actually, "I've written about [it] before" is an extreme understatement.

Just last month, I posted a similar critique by the Cinema Sins crew. I devoted a Question in last October to gripes with the film, while another Question in August was about the ending. It's also one of the few movies to get the full Double-Dip treatment on this site.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Roadhouse Micro-Review

I can't review Roadhouse more simply than this: Insane 80's actioner works on the sheer ludicrousness of its plot and its over-the-top fistfights.

And that's it, really. This is a cult pic that I'm interested around, not actually in. Roadhouse came up before on this site, in a wonderful way. As such, I can keep that trend alive by pairing segments of today's skimpy review with some examples of what this movie has inspired.

It should go without saying that Patrick Swayze was a charismatic man with a lot of physical performer's talents. At various times in this picture, though, he doesn't come off so much like the "in control Zen master/slugger" that the script is going for; actually, Swayze's Dalton can come across a bit stiff or wooden, at times, not so much "centered."

I know it's the same thing that I posted last November, but it's great to see someone take existing footage and manipulate it to rework the tone of a picture. Yes, it's what Uproxx posted - Reel Bastards' great vid of the movie with Patrick Swayze as the villain.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bill Murray Improv Amazingness

The only actor with his own tag on this site is known for pulling comedy out of thin air. But he doesn't just have fun when he's on the show of his buddy, David Letterman. No, he gets playful with Conan O'Brien as well - and with the staff, no less.

His part of the clip is only about a minute and a half long, but damn if Mr. Murray doesn't make the most of it.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Question for the Week of Mar 4-10: Best Pre-Movie Ad

What kinds of pre-movie clips can a theater show without annoying the audience?
I already wrote an article about trailers, and how they're important to the experience of watching movies and whatnot. At the time, I did point out that there are different kinds of trailers - some are painful to sit through, while others are so awful that they became entertaining.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The End of An Era

Hell, of two eras, actually. For one, I just left my apartment after nearly a decade. For two, I am now a resident of Brooklyn. I've lived and loved and laughed in Kings County so many times, but I have to wonder if this blog will change now that I'm operating from somewhere other than Manhattan.

It's so momentous, I might as well share Ben Croshaw's fantastic Aliens zinger; what a perfect logo for Weyland-Yutani...

In related news, I've been up 40 hours straight. It was the only way to get the move in time. Fortunately, I prepare posts in advance, so the only big disruption here was that I showed more Fan-made Gems than usual; actually, I've got quite a few exciting Gems to share with you all, but expect to see some reviews back up here soon.

I've lifted, transported, and stacked many hundreds of pounds worth of.. stuff these last few days, and I'm right at the limit of my ability to stay awake (3 & 1/2 days is my record, iirc). It's all exciting, and scary, and (though I don't need it) it's a good validation of physical and mental toughness that I kept everything running fairly smoothly while in the midst of a personal housing crisis.

Actually, what am I thinking? I should pretend that I'm the lead in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Or, perhaps better, a version of Nancy's boyfriend who won't zonk out watching TV when he promised to keep her awake...

Fan Makes Great Film Score Portraits

Youtube user "StefanMiklos" obviously loves movies and their soundtracks. In this case, the intrepid film buff has made 23 videos that are described as "portraits" of the characters from certain flix. However, these character portraits all have a title that lists the cinematic composer first, then the name of the picture and the year of its release.

Scenes from each movie are shown, while sections of the score play out. It's a great way to do tribute to the importance of sound in cinema, as well as the efforts of some exceptional composers.

One particular quirk is that this fan has a real thing for 70s action fare. Once the playlist loads up, you'll notice it - Taxi Driver, Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Mechanic... This person has a specific love for one era in film-making, and a particular ear for the fine soundtracks provided by Jerry Fielding, Lalo Schifrin, and Bernard Herrmann.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Dark Knight, a Romantic Comedy

I actually worried about posting so many Batman-related Fan-made Gems last year. I didn't get bored with them - partly because they were good and partly because I post material that I want to be able to watch at any time. I just felt that I was becoming repetitive, even with material I think is worth sharing with you.

However I have no such ambivalence today. I am thrilled to offer up another Gem I found out about through clipnation - The Dark Knight, reworked as a romantic comedy. This one made me laugh quite a bit, and I hope you enjoy it, too:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Great Moments in... Film Combat

I normally wouldn't share this sort of clip - because I'd be saving it for the day I give it a proper review. I've already written two entries entitled "Peter Jackson's Early Glories," and I mean to cover at least two more.

But it's best to forget about my tendencies. This fantastic sequence from Brain Dead (called Dead Alive in the US) is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. This sort of joy is meant to be shared, right? Let's watch:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Question for the Week of Feb 25-Mar 3: Childhood Not Noticing

What's the biggest shock you had from rewatching a childhood favorite as an adult? Did you notice something that didn't stand out to you before, and that shocked you when you did notice?
Oh, yes! This definitely happened to me on two occasions, and I remember both pretty clearly...

The first happened in my junior year of college. A friend and I decided to watch what is still one of Tim Burton's best, Pee-wee's Big Adventure. We were laughing hysterically - and no intoxicants were involved, it was purely due to the comedy that Pee-wee's so successfully employed... As hard as I laughed, I was also blown away by how demented that film is.

Its sensibilities aren't pornographic or inappropriate, but they are twisted and absurdist - two things that went right over my head when I saw PBA as a child. It was easy to see why I missed it: not only was I less intelligent and experienced, but the picture is so endlessly entertaining that it's no surprise that kids wouldn't perceive much else...

Of course, I am saving the best for last.

Friday, March 1, 2013

How It Should've Ended: Casino Royale

Well, I still haven't seen Skyfall (or Kumquat of Challahs, for that matter), but I did watch Casino Royale. I saw it at the Ziegfeld theater, with good company. The pic was fine, despite massive flaws. Perhaps I was so battered by prior efforts that I was ripe for even modest improvement.

I remember being confused at the start - the basic premise for the film was a pretty big stretch. I followed along, anyway, and it's probably why I largely enjoyed the movie.