Thursday, May 30, 2013

Question for the Week of May 27-Jun 2: Saddest Swan Song

Most bittersweet last role?
Hands down, it's Raúl Juliá in 1994's Street Fighter. On the one hand, you have a great performance from an amazing actor. On the other hand, it's in a laughably-entertaining movie based on a two-person fighting game with Jean-Claude Van Damme as the lead.

Raúl finally succumbed to the cancer that was taxing his body while filming - and he died before the film was even released. For an exceptional actor like Mr. Juliá, a class-act with such a fine career, this was an unfortunate note to end on.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 40: Arrested Development Documentary Project

I just watched and reviewed Arrested Development Documentary Project, the movie that forced me to actually watch seasons 2 & 3 of Arrested Development in about a week. No, this wasn't a labor of love, but a blessing - the TV series was one of the funniest experiences I've ever had in my life.

If you want to find out what I thought about the documentary, though, check out this page on Man, I Love Films.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Site Update: More Reviews

I was going to post a Reviewing with Others entry today (for the Arrested Development Documentary Project), but decided to hold off until tomorrow. Why is this worth typing about? I realized I should probably give everyone a little bit of notice: there are going to be many more reviews coming up over the next month or so, and I'm going to cut back on some regular entries in order to post them.

I have over 20 screeners waiting to be seen and reviewed, and I'm decently settled into my new home and new job. However, things are still not so easy that I can post more often than 4 (possibly 5) times per week. As such, I will probably scale back on one of my regular weekly entries. Fan-made Gems aren't going anywhere, and I already plan for one "random" entry every week, so I may soon take a break from my weekly Question posts.

As much as I love doing the Questions, a lot of them have been "what's your favorite X" entries, and that's not as gratifying for me (or you?) as the one wondering why The Matrix made Neo a lousy savior from the get-go, why Wesley never wrote Buttercup over seven years, and why Luke would toss his lightsaber away at the end of Jedi.

So if I don't find more inspiration like that after the next two weekly installments, you can be sure that reviews will appear in their place until I'm all recharged.

Monday, May 27, 2013

HISHE's Super Cafe: Trailer of Steel

I haven't checked in with the How It Should Have Ended crew in a couple of months. It's not that I like them less than I once did, I'm just trying not to stick to CinemaSins, Honest Trailers, and HISHE too much.

One of the cutest and funniest things about this series of videos is that HISHE often set up this random diner in which superheroes chill out with a cup of coffee and converse. Since the beginning, Superman and Batman have been mainstays of this (their appearance in The Avengers' HISHE vid is great), sitting around and teasing each other like two old college friends.

This December 2012 video, wherein Supes and The Bat talk about the trailer for Man of Steel, is simply hysterical. It makes sane people laugh like they've lost it altogether.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 39: The House I Live In

Happy Extended Weekend, everybody! I've watched and reviewed The House I Live In, Eugene Jarecki's fine documentary about America's Drug War. This indie film takes aclose look at the topic - policy-makers, local cops, dealers and grieving relatives are joined by the narrator in discussing the roots, results, and problems of 20th Century drug policies in the US.

You can read me review over here at Man, I Love Films.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Question for the Week of May 20-26: The Online TV Run

What about the ability to watch TV quickly in this online age? Do you watch TV series straight through, or take your time?
A fine question, and a fitting one - Netflix's plan for their original content (e.g., House of Cards) is to make the entire season available at once, and my roommate is an Arrested Development fan who is going to burn through all the new eps this weekend. However, these days, you didn't have to spend 60 minutes in front of the tube for seven years to catch 45 minutes of Lost every week. I've tried both styles, and I'm sure these differing options must have an impact on the experience.

On the one hand, a great deal of anticipation gets to build up through the old viewing model. Show writers can build great suspense for the audience right before the act breaks, as well as tension for the next installment at that episode's end. This sort of excitement is powerful and is part of what gets people talking and thinking about their favorite shows.

At the same time, some people are so curious, lack patience, or need downtime, that they would rather not wait at all. Some don't have VCRs or DVRs, and internet piracy (and overprotective industry practices) has pushed a lot of networks to stop airing re-runs. Others viewers simply have limited time and access to watch these long-form stories play out.

One peculiar thing about this, to me, is what these opportunities do to people as fans of a show. If you watch a show most every week for seven seasons, you really become attached to it. The difference in the investment of time is vast when you consider not only the advertisements we sit through, but the wait between individual episodes, as well as between the start of a season and its end (and the start of the next season).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game of Thrones/Princess Bride Mix

Uproxx has a knack for posting great fan-made film and tv parodies, tributes, and similar labors of love. In the middle of March, they shared yet another gem: Peter Falk's reading The Princess Bride to Fred Savage, but blended into HBO's hit series, Game of Thrones. As with many PB-related things, it's great, and it would be great even if all it did was remind me of this excellent film:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Great Moments in... Film Scary Stories

It really is one of the greatest things I ever saw as a child, and it really is one of the best-told scary stories ever. You know what I'm talking about, my friends:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Question for the Week of May 13-19: Sharon Stone's Sexist Skirt

Has anyone else ever pointed out to you a moment of film sexism that really stands out and that you didn't notice?
First, let me note that it's always great when old conversations - little throw-away moments between you and another person - become sort of practically useful in the future. At the time, of course, it's just two people connecting, sharing ideas and entertaining each other; later, it's something that you can reasonably share with others.

In college, I had a friend named Vik, and she and I saw a lot of movies together. Like me, she had the gift of gab and put some thought into her pastimes. One day, she went off on 1985's attempt to put Richard Chamberlain into competition with Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones: King Solomon's Mines.

Now, clearly, Stone had at least one movie with genuinely controversial nudity and sex in it. And KSM did not show her naked body, nor were there intense sex scenes in it. However, it was the soon-to-be-starlet's fourth film role, her second major part, and her first time being a co-star. Ms. Stone is pretty, and the film played it to the hilt.

How? What was the problem that Vik rightly pointed out? Sharon Stone's skirt length:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Something I Forgot: My Favorite Posts of Year 4!

Wow! When I was making my 4th anniversary post, I wondered whether I'd missed something: don't I usually add a list of the best posts from that year? I forgot to follow up on that until last week.

Turns out I did. Hence, to the post from April 23rd. It may seem tedious, but I do like that particular tradition - even if I was too busy and tired to remember. So let's get to it now:

When I decided to go weekly with my Question posts, instead of just bi-weekly, it was because I had a nice little collection of things to ask - both little things that movies didn't answer as well as things to speculate about or discuss. But one of the earliest weekly entries was inspired by my pique at seeing the new cinematic Peter Parker sporting a hairdo out of one of the Twilight films.

Honorable mention goes to the one about the third Indiana Jones film, and the entry envisioning Commando with Freddy Mercury as the villain. That one made me so happy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Literal Trailer Music: Iron Man 3

Fortunately, the weekend give me time to rest and catch up with my hobbies and my other jobs. And, while taking a few minutes to relax, I came across a great new Fan-made Gem. Thank heaven for small diversions.

Youtube uploader Tobuscus has been making "literal" songs for the trailers of various movie and games. As a lover of language, I gotta say, one of my favorite things is to be very literal. Several years ago, I had the following exchange at work:
coworker, pointing to bag on a table between us: is that you?
me: no, that's a bag, I'm a human being.
The work this creative uploader puts into the clips is fine. And even though he's simply turning the on-screen visuals into the lyrics of a song, it's very hard not to laugh at the results. I haven't watched more than one of the video game trailers, but this person's dedication to being literal was enough to leave me doubling over a few times.

So today's entry features Tobuscus having fun with the bombastic trailer for the mega-blockbuster Iron Man 3. I love the result so much!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Question for the Week of May 6-12: Leslie's Grave

Leslie Nielsen's grave. Thoughts?
Yeah, I remember hearing a lot about this when the man passed away. Leslie Nielsen chose a beautiful bench bearing the words, "Sit whenever you can" on it.

The plaque on his grave, however, is inscribed with the words "Let 'er rip!" I've looked around on various sites, but it's pretty clear that this is real and not photoshopped.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Question for the Week of April 29 - May 5: Indie v Studio Standards

How do you approach indie movies in contrast to studio films?
Well, in this instance, I'll admit to a bias - but one that I think is totally appropriate. Most of my Reviewing with Others posts are reviews of indie movies. I was at a bar two months ago - for a benefit/Sandy relief cookoff hosted by friends - and when I mentioned this to a playwright, he asked if I only reviewed movies that I liked.

I was shocked by the question, because I wouldn't dream of doing that, ever. And yet I didn't trash any of those indix pix in my RwO's, did I? The worst grade I gave was for Mansome, which received two stars (actually "hearts," as the site insists on a rating). However, several movies, like Sironia and Cure for Pain, received glowing reviews. And I practically gushed over Save the Date in January... So what gives?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bill Murray Patronage Amazingness

Bless my friend, Doc Connor. He's a multi-talented genius, so I suppose he's already blessed, but he saw that I wrote about Bill Murray and Connor pointed me to a photographer's website.

I can't remember if he was responding to this post or this other entry, as I've had plenty of personal (and work) drama in the meantime. Regardless, this gifted person, Olivia Rae James, shoots in a town where Mr. Murray owns an athletic team, and he asked her to take shots of him.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Darth L. Jackson

In late January, I found a fine Fan-made Gem posted by ColbyCornish, a youtube user. This clip uses audio quotes from Samuel L. Jackson's films as voiceover for everybody's favorite film villain, Star Wars IV-VI's Darth Vader.

It's brief, sure, but it's also fun. Not quite The Vader Sessions fun, but it's a small bit of light in the darkness. The site had a little snafu yesterday, but I received some bad news and had to devote time to dealing with it. However, I just found out I have the day off from work, so I can make sure all my posts are ready for the next two weeks.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review: Freaking Weird

What a fitting entry for this site's 500th post, right? On Monday, in the middle of some perilously-boring work, DJ sent me a text, inviting me to attend an advance screening of Iron Man 3 at the Ziegfeld; sounds like Marvel treats its employees well, right? Honestly, after Iron Man 2, I had no plans to catch the third installment, save on Netflix.

But I love hanging with DJ, wanted to catch up with the old friends who scored him the tix, and I work so close to the location that it was a no-brainer: I was given a choice, and yet I didn't really have one. So now I can tell you what I thought about one of the most anticipated films of 2013, and please don't think it isn't one of the biggest releases of the year. Check this weirdness out:

My response was a partial mix of "nice!" and "uhhhhhh... ok?!" Iron Man 3 is ambitious and impressive, a sprawling post-Avengers super-hero mayhem-fest, but I have some reservations. Several, actually, and I'm a fan of director/co-writer Shane Black. His prior work with RDjr is pure gold.

I'm torn on the issue of telling you all of my problems with it - that would involve spoilers for most of the plot. I normally do Double Dips for that, but I don't want to make this first review too weak, y'know? As a small experiment, I'm going to put spoilers in black text and with a black background color, so you readers can highlight those sections and choose what spoilers you get. No real spoilers, just a few plot points. I worked it out.

Under Siege: The Silent Movie

And lo there came a time when some horrific genius calling themselves supercutonline uploaded one of the greatest Fan-made Gems ever: Under Siege recut as a silent film. And people saw it, and were contented.

If you can't take 8 and a half minutes in your day to watch this clip, you maybe shouldn't call yourself a film fan. A far wiser poster, named Vincent Mancini, has noted how Under Siege was a breakaway hit, and how it actually has a special place in Steven Seagal's career.