Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reviewing with Others Pt. 58: Rewind This!

I meant to do more of these off-site reviews this month, but that hasn't been... the smartest use of my time given my schedule. I saw Rewind This! two nights ago, and you can read my review over here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Silent Hill Revelations Review, for a Friend

I used to go to an eatery in Midtown almost every single workday. I have a bubbly, friendly personality, so I often chat with the people who work in a store I frequent, especially if we can talk in Spanish. One particular woman was always very nice to me – super-kind, really. And we talked about movies a lot once she learned of this site.

One day, I strongly recommended that she check out Looper while it was still in theaters. The next time I saw her, she told me how much she loved Rian Johnson’s fine film and, and seeing how she had followed my suggestion, she gave me one of her own – to go see Silent Hill: Revelations. Today’s post is dedicated to this wonderful woman. I think she is back in her own home country now, so I can’t speak to her directly in any other way than this post.

There were two problems with her request: as much as I’d hate to have someone do what I say and then not return the favor, I have been burned by a lot of horror films that were made after, roughly, 1996. The other part was just awkward... I could hardly respond to her intent appreciation for SH:R by saying, “Yeah, I was offered the chance to watch this for free and interview the director, and because the prior 2006 movie got horrible ratings, I turned it down.” It would’ve been true, but would also have seemed dismissive; instead, I just agreed – and hoped it would come out on Netflix soon.

I am, however, someone who strives to be honorable and I will always repay a debt, obligation, or promise. So when this film did come out on Netflix, I made damn sure to watch it. And that brings us to the review.

Silent Hill: Revelations starts with a dream sequence that instantly informs us that the lead, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) has serious problems, and that her dad, Harry (Sean Bean), is accustomed to her vivid, shouting-out-loud nightmares. It’s clear that they bounce from town to town because they’re running from some sort of threat. Soon after, we’re with Heather on her first day at a new high school, and we quickly understand that she wants to avoid attention and emotional attachments.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Moments in... Film Screams (Schwarzenegger Ed.)

In late January, my good friend over at Wasted Degree sent me a link to a great Filmdrunk supercut of Arnold Schwarzenegger's screams. Yes, the unique (yet brave and strong) groans and cries from all of Arnie's films.

It's a lot of fun. This starts at 1982's Conan the Barbarian, and moves right up to 2002's Collateral Damage. Red Sonja is included, but The Terminator and its sequels aren't, as his cyborg actually never cried out - despite all the punishment he took. What a trooper!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Equilibrium Review - Very Unbalanced

2002's Equilibrium is an unexpected and difficult work. I actually remember hearing the early buzz about the picture on AICN - at the time, I think it was called Lithium or some such - and I was very interested in it. If you ever read Brave New World or 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, then you understand how appealing the "future dystopia" idea is. You might have also seen this in movies like Logan's Run, The Running Man, and Escape from New York, but I think it's best to stick to literature...

It's best, because Equilibrium feels like a combination of the three novels I just mentioned. In the future of the film that Kurt Wimmer wrote and directed, all emotions are outlawed (1984), everyone takes mandatory drugs (Brave New World) that dull any and all feelings , and cops harshly crack down on any offenses, which include the possession of literature and art (Fahrenheit 451). The setting of this Christian Bale film is fleshed-out quite thoroughly, a world where humanity has been deeply, deeply changed, with limited-to-no freedom of expression or thought.

So, of course I was interested, and of course I was disappointed that the studio gave the pic a shamefully-limited release (301 theaters, at the most). I rented this the day it came out on DVD, and I simply stood back in shock. Sure, it was changed a bit from what the early releases described, but Equilibrium seemed to make one big mistake for every impressive choice that it displayed.

Above all, this was an incredibly-ambitious movie that tried to go all-out with its ideas, and that deserves praise and respect. In this case, the lead is the best super-cop out there - but rather than stopping robberies or murders, he's destroying people's poetry collections and paintings. Christian Bale's high-ranking Cleric, John Preston, kills people, he doesn't save them - and every lower-ranking officer pretty much fears him.

QftWo 10/21-10/27: Imposters #13 - The Best Man Holiday

A most unusual call is The Best Man Holiday. The title does not really give a lot to work with. And it doesn't name any of the cast, even though the actors are clearly solid choices.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

David Lopan Style!

A while back, I promoted the gloriously-funny fan-made vid, "Batman Maybe." I did this in a post that was loaded with Batman-related goodies. Although I don't have a similar grab-bag for everyone today, I do have a pretty good video to share.

Yes, the same people who created "Batman Maybe" went on to make a parody of Psy's hyper-popular song "Gangnam Style," and they earned my love by making it about one of my favorite cult movies, Big Trouble in Little China.

If, like all good people, you love John Carpenter's "BTiLC" as much as I do, you should get a kick out of "David Lopan Style." Follow the jump link to the post's page and get ready to tame the burning blade!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gravity Review

With 2006's Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron got on my list of must-watch directors. Children was my favorite movie that year, largely on the strength of several virtuoso long takes that created indelible images.

So I waited for Cuaron's next film. And waited. And waited. When news of Gravity first hit, I was excited that Cuaron was working with big stars (George Clooney, Sandra Bullock) but the plot description was maddeningly thin. Astronauts get stranded in orbit? Is that all there is? As the film got closer to release, I expected more details, but that was all I got. Deep Water in space.

Surprisingly, given those expectations, Gravity turned out to be one of the largest, most satisfying theater experiences I've had in years. Running a beautifully lean 91 minutes, Gravity provides an experience that is simultaneously small movie ascetic and blockbuster luxurious.

Friday, October 18, 2013

QftWo 10/14-10/20: Imposters #12 - Catching Fire

Easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Catching Fire is set to make a lot of noise next month, and it's not just going to be for the sight of Woody Harrelson with a gorgeous mane of hair. In the time since Jennifer Lawrence starred in its predecessor, The Hunger Games, her star has risen quite high, and quite quickly.

I was extremely skeptical of tGH. Only a sick day and a perverse sense of boredom got me to watch it. And, although I have no plans to see Round 2 in a theater, I do not expect it suck as I did the initial installment.

And I like the poster. The split image looks good, I like the eye-catching color scheme. Despite the lack of info that can be gleaned from the overall work, I really do appreciate the tagline. It's at least kinda cool, and I can't remember the last time that a poster's catch-phrase was (what seems like) a line from the film itself. This poster is a good job, in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bill Murray Ongoing Baseball Exceptionalness

Another two weeks, another time to show some form of affection for the excellent Mr. Murray. This one won't be as long as the last, though. For one thing, I wanted to take some time to put into words just part of why I think he's so easy to respect and appreciate. For another, it needed some set up - y'know you might be wondering why the hell Bill Murray was with a member of the Armed Forces and jumping out of a plane.

This time around, all you need to know is that th beloved actor is a part owner of the St. Paul Saints, a professional baseball team that operates in a league outside Major League Baseball. The crowd is entertained by an enthusiastic chap they call "St. Paul Sieve." The guy zip-lines into the stadium and then goes toe-to-toe with Bill Murray! Let's watch:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looper Has What Films Should Have

My biggest problem with Looper was trying to find an appropriate way to express how much I loved and enjoyed Rian Johnson's third picture.

Looper gives us the set-up immediately via Joseph Gordon-Levitt's opening narration. Thirty years from now, the three biggest differences in the world are that (a) many people have telekinetic powers, but only to a weak degree. (b) Motorcycles can hover a bit above the ground (woo-hoo!). Oh, yeah, and (c) the mafia of the 2070's got its hands on time travel technology, which they use to send people to the past - to kill those people secretly.

This brings us back to J G-L in the present day as he explains the film's title. "Loopers" are the killers in the past who are employed by the future mob. A hooded-and-bound victim arrives at a specific place and time, the Looper shoots that person, then incinerates the body. The targets also come with the killers' payment, and when the Looper receives gold instead of silver, they know that they have just "closed the loop" - by killing their future selves. It's cold, right?

As you might imagine, Gordon-Levitt's character, Joe, is not a very good person. He lives up to the flaws one would expect of a person who signs up for such work: he thinks he's "going steady" with a hooker who's just on the clock, and he takes a lot of drugs. Yet he's better than his peers - he's studying French and saving a (literal?) ton of his earnings for an eventual retirement in Paris.

Then one day on the job, Joe kills himself, and we see his future flash before our eyes.

Here's that moment - please don't watch unless you've seen the movie!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 57: Cartoon College

I had a blogging snafu last night. Yesterday's post - another off-site review, was nearly ready to publish. Then I went out to meet some excellent friends of mine for a couple of hours. This experience turned into a 4-5 hour festival of fun, booze, and great conversation. I expected to get back home, wrap up my last edit, and then go to bed. That's not what happened at all - but at least it was for the best cause ever: fun.

Now, almost 24 hours after last week's post should've gone up, I can invite you to check out my review of Cartoon College. It's a documentary about a school in Vermont that provides training and an MFA degree to people who love to work in the artistic medium of comic books and graphic novels. I had a lot of fun with this doc, and I think many other people will, too.

If you'd like to read my review, please check it out here at the Man, I Love Films site. I will, however, return to my normal schedule. Please stay tuned for the review I worked super-hard to complete and polish - for Rian Johnson's exceptional sci-fi action pic, Looper.

Until tomorrow,

Half a Film Student

Friday, October 11, 2013

600TH POST! It's Love/Hate Time!

I am so happy to have hit this milestone. It's taken a lot of work, aided in part by the mass of screener DVDs I have received this year - seriously, I have over 40 sitting on a shelf in my bedroom, just waiting to be watched and reviewed.

I almost don't know where to begin, so I'll start with some site business first. On Tuesday, I added a quick site update, mainly to note that I would be attending an advanced screening of Carlo Carlei's new Romeo and Juliet, which comes out this week. I had a crisis at work, though, and had to cancel.

This is actually kinda fortunate, given the unflattering reviews.

I will have a new Movie Review Quickie up this month, and will try to complete two more for November and December. & I'll continue to write about posters each week until I have fully fleshed-out Question entries. My weekly Review with Others have returned from their September hiatus, but I've prepared several reviews for this site as well - some, of course, are for horror films, as is befitting for the month of October.

So back to the matter at hand: my last milestone post, for Net-flixation's 500th entry, was blessed. DJ's exceptional friend got us tickets to Marvel's employee screening for Iron Man 3 at NYC's premiere movie house, the Ziegfeld. I have no such pre-release gift to share with you today, so I will tell you what work I'm proudest of between #501 and #599, and then I'll talk a bit about the site.

It's been 5 months since that IM3 review, and it's actually not too hard to pick my favorites. If you ever wondered why I turn to poster critique as a break, just consider the amount of time and thought I put into most of the Question entries for which they are a substitute. Talking about bigotry issues in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom took a bit of effort, but I was rewarded by receiving more comments for it than I used to receive in a whole month.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

QftWo 10/7-10/13: Imposters #11 - Ender's Game

So, this week's poster is for the forthcoming film based on the insanely-popular futuristic scifi book series by Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game. That series was on my siblings' bookshelf forever, and yet I've never read it myself...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Schedule Update

I'll have an off-site review for Sunday. More poster entries will come up as I'm not ready to return to proper Question posts yet.

I'm invited to an advanced screening for the new Romeo and Juliet film, for which I am excited...

See you all Thursday!

"Werner Herzog" Recites Curious George

We all know and respect Werner Herzog, right? I enjoyed Rescue Dawn, as you can read in my review of same. And this fine German filmmaker came up just last month when he made a very important no-holds barred 34-minute PSA about the consequences of texting and driving.

But today's post isn't about this fine artist's voice - it's about his literal, accented voice when he speaks English. Some clever person made a nice video wherein someone impersonating Mr. Herzog reads aloud an adventure with every one's favorite monkey, Curious George. It's a hoot.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Great Moments in... Film Disgust

Ace Ventura Pet Detective is an insane movie. It has tons of flaws but also a lot of laughs, and it performed very well in 1994, when Jim Carrey's popularity was starting to blossom. Since I just used the word "blossom," it's appropriate to stop writing now and just play the first clip.

Ace is reacting this way because Einhorn, who is the aggressive local police chief, kissed him very deeply just the other day. But that's not the real masterpiece of disgust that I want to get to today. It's all just setup for the next clip, which occurs at the end of the film:

Friday, October 4, 2013

QftWo 9/30-10/6: Imposters #10 - Riddick

So... chiseled, mean-looking dude's face; dark background, with nothing else visible; goggles; and glowy eyes.

This isn't really aiming high, is it? Also, if you're going to call back to the premise of the first film, which boiled down to "badass... with perfect night vision!" shouldn't it retain the original's title, Pitch Black?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reviewing with Others Pt. 56: Dressed

After a break for my September blowout, my Reviewing with Others entries are back!

This week's post is for Dressed, a documentary about a guy who was abandoned by his parents and left homeless. Rather than being a depression-fest, this is a triumphal story about a guy whose hard work helped him overcome such bad circumstances in order to make his dreams come true: displaying his own clothing line at New York's world-famous Fashion Week.

If you'd like to read my review, you can check it out here at Man, I Love Films.

Quick Schedule Update

Long story short, my off-site posts will return, starting with a documentary review that will go live at 6PM today. They should appear every week, but I can't say more than that at the present time.

I was proud of what Net-flixation did last month, truly, but I want to keep the pace going and get even more hits this month. While I could not prepare a review of The Ipcress File for September, it should appear on this site before the year is over. October will have 4 posts per week, as I've done all throughout 2013, with the same schedule I've maintained this year.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Literal Trailer Music: Catching Fire

Tobuscus decided to have some fun with the frankly overwrought trailer for The Hunger Games' sequel, Catching Fire. I very much approve.