Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reindeer Games, My Holiday 2014 Review

You won't get my annual Year-End Round-up in time for New Year's Eve, but my holiday review is ready for you all. I hope you all have a fun and safe time tonight - unless you're a lousy person, in which case, please have less of those things than I will.

It was a good year for movies, but one of my relatives is dying and a close friend underwent so much emotional trauma as to have a nervous breakdown in my direction. My point: 2014, you were a good year for films, but horrible personally. F off and don't come back.

Reindeer Games is all sorts of insane. It's a John Frankenheimer action film from 2000 with Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Gary Senise, Clarence Williams III, Danny Trejo, James Frain, and Donal Logue AND Ashton Kutcher in a humiliating cameo that will surely warm all our hearts. The movie features violent Santas, gun play, torture with darts, hypothermia, immolation, brutal injuries, prison fights, lots of Charlize naked, implied incest, possible sexual assault, robbery, murder, and betrayal.

So you can see how this is a perfect candidate for my yearly holiday review. It fits right in with shark attacks in the Bahamas during Yuletide, the siege of Nakatomi Plaza, cruel Finnish elves, and a man who dies on his way home before coming back as a snow man who wants to teach his son the perfect slapshot. For now, let's ignore that DJ chose a classy film for his one holiday review.

Rudy (Affleck) and Nick (Frain) are cellmates with a nice rapport. Nick reads aloud the love letters from his pen pal while Rudy does pull ups and teases Nick about what will happen when the woman finally meets him. Over 10 minutes, we get a sense of the friendship between a repentant car thief (Rudy) and a righteous murderer (Nick). But then some guy just out of solitary tries to shank Rudy, and Nick steps in the way for his friend. The cellmates were due for release at the same time, but only Rudy walks out.

Chef takes his cafeteria fare very seriously.

Great Moments In... Fake Band and Song Names

They're not on the screen very long, but there's a huge list of fake band names that are shown on a computer near the end of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. I know that movie has a terrible reputation, but its flaws are few (if large) and I think they're overcome by its exceptional cast and by a whole lot of very funny jokes.

I mean, it's a movie that cast Motley Crue as another band, and yet still had them play this song at the film's start:

Anyway, the list of bands and song titles are - like much of the Renny Harlin-directed, Daniel Waters-written movie - out-of-the-blue and somewhat demented... and I've always thought these quick jokes were funny as hell. If you look closely, some are linked to prior films by the producers of Fairlane.

You should follow the links I provided, but band names include:
-Brain of the Scarecrow
-Alba Varden
-Heather, Corey, Heather Cory and Young
-Todd Times Two

QftWo: 12/29/14-1/4/15 - Imposters #79 - I just couldn't help myself

Because as happy as I was to make Interstellar the last ever poster entry on this site, I had to show it to you.

There's no actual release date, just a month, the tagline is boring, and someone needs to tell the art department that it looks like JLo has a teenage male growing out of her left breast.

More importantly, the second I saw the stupid title of this sure-to-stink "thriller," I could only think

This Winter:


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Big Hero 6 Review - Sooooo Funny

Big Hero 6 was unexpected viewing for me and my friends. We went out to see Whiplash, only to find that many others had the same idea over the sleepy holiday weekend. Our showing was sold out, and we didn't know what to do. As we looked up movie times, suddenly one voice said, "Big Hero 6?! That's supposed to rock! It's starting in 10 minutes!"

As we walked to the other theater nearby, all I could think was (a) that my go-to review site had given it a mediocre grade (a B- is mediocre for this kind of film) and (b) that it didn't really matter - I would just go and try to enjoy a movie in good company. A transit problem had me walk almost two miles home after a sleepless night.

My expectations were torn apart. Quickly, too.

Big Hero 6 tells a story set in some semi-futuristic world where high technology is readily available, people hold underground (and illegal?) robot battles, and the town featured in the movie is called San Fransokyo. We begin where one of those robotic gladiator matches is taking place. Hiro, an undersized kid, steps in and tries to fumble his way through a match... And after five minutes everything goes to hell.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Under the Skin Review: Accents & Plots Indecipherable

"Taxicab Confessions Goes to Scotland, Turns into Species by way of Upstream Color"

That was the impression that I got about 15 minutes into this movie. What's amazing is that Under the Skin is very multi-faceted, despite being rather opaque.

We open with a deeply-unnerving score - a shrill screeching noise of rapidly-played violins that raises tension effortlessly. And the first scene proceeds without words: a guy on a motorcycle stops somewhere, walks away from the camera toward a beach, then comes back with a woman slung over one shoulder. The biker puts the woman into a van, and next we see her on the floor of a creepy, 2001-style all-white room. The silent, immobile woman is played by Scarlett Johansson.

Then another Scarlett Johansson comes into the frame, standing over the one on the floor. This doppleganger removes all the clothes from the prone body before slipping them onto her own form. When the last bit of clothing is gone, we see the victim leak a single tear out of one eye.

From there, Dopple-Scarlett travels the roads of Scotland in the van. She slows down and pulls over every time she sees a man by himself. She asks for directions. She offers to give the men a lift. And, after some banter, she invites them back to her home. Although I think I know what's going on, it won't be clear to every viewer. What is clear is that the events in the film are unsettling and horrifying.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

QftWo 12/22-12/28 - Imposters #78: Interstellar

So, between October and early December, I kept running past posters for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. By now, you should have read my review of the movie, as well as the follow-up entry about flaws in the film. And whether or not you loved the film, I think we'll agree that this poster on the left is neat.

Despite the four main roles listed at the top, McConaughey's spacesuit with the Arctic-style background fills up the frame and makes for a compelling image. Nolan's name is left off (how humble!) of the bottom, but his pedigree is listed in bold (Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) to draw people in. Then, the different formats are noted with the release date below everything. Above all that text, you get the nifty tagline, "The end of Earth will not the end of us." I think the all-caps makes the line sound appropriately urgent.

What was even more interesting was spotting the next poster. Sorry for the reflections in some of these, but it was impossible to avoid - and sometimes I had to shoot in the street, when a red light stopped traffic.

Friday, December 26, 2014

World War Z Mini-Review

"Then the origin could have come from anywhere." -Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt)
This incredibly slipshod line sort of encapsulates the movie, right there. Instead of saying that the origin "could be anywhere," or "the virus could have originated anywhere," we get a bit of dialogue that shows a... very poor command of language and grammar.

Then again, we're talking about a zombie movie that's so extreme (cue "edgy" guitar riff) that (a) the zombies are faster and more agile than living people are, (b) we witness total "super-destruction" of the type that would appeal to teens who only listen to metal/punk, yet includes (c) a shocking lack of blood for a... "horror" film? I wasn't gonna write this mini-review, save my noticing it's still on Netflix - I'm amazed anyone even cares...

Max Brooks' WWZ novel is supposed to be really cool (he's the son of Mel!), so it's a shame to get a watered-down action movie instead. And while the novel creates a global picture of many incredible sieges and struggles for survival among large groups of characters... We're stuck with Gerry Lane, a retired Jack Bauer-type, running about, trying to save the world (almost) single-handedly.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

OOPS, a Schedule Update

Long story short, I never stated what the schedule and plan for the site would be. It's a big oversight, since I announced my retirement from blogging, then said I just had a few movies to cover because I was obligated to.

Well, there is no schedule. The reasons I stated for stopping - mainly lack of time, being busy - still stand. Also, I revealed that I'm helping to care for an extremely sick relative, and that makes my free time even more precious.

But there is something like a plan. I have been seeing a lot of this year's movies over the last while, and I want to cover those. So, coming up are Under the Skin, Big Hero 6, and maybe Guardians of the Galaxy (it was a gift, yet I might not watch it soon).

I also will try to see and review: Whiplash, Selma, The Immigrant, Inherent Vice, Two Days One Night, and Blue Ruin. A lot of my recent viewing includes the "big" movies of the year, and I think a nice way of closing out the blog would be to take a look at all those. In 5 and 1/2 years, I've never tried that...

There are some big movies that I won't get to look at, though. I have no interest in what Lars von Trier has to say about sex so Nymphomaniac (both one and two) is out. I got Grand Budapest Hotel as an Xmas gift, but I may not watch it soon, and I might take forever to review it. I don't know that I'll find the time for Boyhood, Gone Girl, and Birdman, but I may cover some 2013 pictures like Only Lovers Left Alive, Twelve Years A Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street...

It'll be fun, right?

I won't add much of any other entry types. There will be one or two fan-made gems, my promised look at Interstellar posters, my year-end wrapup, and my thoughts on the films above. I may add some notes about the TV shows I've seen this year, and a Bill Murray post. I may also continue my annual holiday reviews, with the appropriately inappropriate Christmas film, Reindeer Games.

Anyway, I hope you all are enjoying the holiday. I'll try to update this site's about page with this info. There's more to say, but I must be off!

Movie Dance Party

We have dancing or live music in my house roughly once a week. It's... it's just great, and I say that as a guy that can make up at least one decent song each week. I've been unlucky enough to have had many rough times, but the adversity teaches you (I hope) to respond to new crises in a good way. Staying calm is important, keeping perspective is important, and finding happiness wherever you can is the icing on the cake. As I described earlier in the month, these really have been rough times.

And a house full of music really helps on that front. The other day, I couldn't help but introduce my flat-mates to some fan-made gems that are generally dance songs. Those of you who've come here since 2012 should recognize something that starts out hard then becomes more mellow, like "Say What Again" by Pogo:

This next work of art, however, is actually holiday-appropriate. It's the audio-only version, so you won't see the film moments that help make the song so fun, but this should be very familiar to those who've followed me for a while:

That vid is my favorite thing of ever. I love everything about this video and song - including the reminder that the world was so much cooler with Phil Hartman in it. I felt like this about it even before I learned that the song's title is "Jungle All the Way." F--K YES.

It's genius, but what else can you expect from a guy who made this video on the Scottish referendum:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Babadook Review - Fine, Suspenseful, Women-Centric

The Babadook is a simple film that builds suspense and tension with ease. It's hard... While I don't want to spoil the story, but I also want to encourage you to see it.  In an effort to achieve both at the same time, I'm going to review the movie this way:

In September, one of my roommates, a film student and horror fan, made a point of telling me that the movie was great, used highly-effective suspense to generate most of its scares. And damned if she wasn't dead right on that score. The Babadook is very scary, but it doesn't use gore to achieve that goal. It grounds the growing sense of dread and fear in the characters and the situations around them.

When I started reading the critical response in November what stood out was how uniformly glowing the reviews were. And I swear that skimming through them didn't clue me in to what really made my jaw drop: researching for this review last week, I learned the film is by Jennifer Kent, a first-time writer-director.

Genuinely good horror films are a bit rare these days to begin with. Great debut entries aren't common in any genre, much less horror. But a foreign debut indie horror film written and directed by a woman? Rock the f--k on. Given my longtime support of indie film, horror, and women in the industry, I was bound to see this - and to tell everyone to see it, too.

Another point in this movie's favor: the story centers on a woman. And while it's not rare for the horror genre to feature a female lead, women in their early 40's are generally not represented enough in movies - even better, she's a single mother. I've seen a lot of articles over the last two years about women being underrepresented, in front of the camera and behind the scenes, so I'm thrilled to promote an excellent film that features both.

So what's the story? Amelia (Essie Davis) is a widow with a hyperactive 4-5 year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Woken from a nightmare about her husband's death, Amelia carefully shows her son that there are, in fact, no monsters in any part of the house. Yet, from the beginning, we see that this loving home has a lot of underlying tension - when Sam leans in for a very tight hug, his mother stops him as if she feels offended, or threatened.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

QftWo 12/15-12/21: Imposters #77 - The Interview

This poster for The Interview really is wonderful. The hyperbolic nature of the Asian style is different and eye-catching. It reveals very little directly - note the untranslated Korean words at the bottom - but the bombs and such do give an idea of what you're in store for.

But who cares if you can't understand it? The graphic has a great use of color, with the white and title text breaking up the top and bottom of the image. The font for the film title is pretty neat, too, and I like the Korean translated below the stars' names.

I have to appreciate how creative and distinct this poster is - anyone would look twice (at least) at this work...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Netflix's Great Nod to Arrested Development

I am, at times, rather sentimental. And the holidays, as well as the end of the year, always have a big impact on me. I genuinely believe in cleaning house, in every way, before the New Year. You say anything you have to say this year that you don't even want to think about next year... you clean and inventory everything you own ... and you write the blog posts that you'll regret not writing later... So:

November 29, 2014 was a nice day. You don't know why? Well, I was screwing around on Netflix for an hour, and soon after I logged in and scrolled down, I saw this:

So, first thing off, I'm half-ignoring the screen until I notice the title of this row. I nearly zoomed past it. Then, I start laughing hard because I see the second title and say, "The Vanishing of the BEADS?!?!?"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dr. Clooney rescues my mood, but is he Indian?

Well, my family's embargo on the news is over: one of my immediate relatives has one of the worst forms of cancer. The aftermath of it all (my new phrase of 2014 is "receiving catastrophic care," yaaay) is horrible, but it's equally daunting to manage the daily grind of life - work, chores, friends, future plans - while trying to maintain oneself through it all.

It's less scary, in a way, because you join in the familial effort to "steer into the skid." But being a grown-up means not only accepting bad news and helping out instead of feeling self-pity, it means adding this new burden to all that you had going on before. It means not snapping at annoying co-workers, or being harsh with a roommate when they screw up. It means showing up to a party or a date in good spirits. It means not taking your personal pain and drama out on others, because that only makes things worse - and represents a failure to act like a proper adult.

And, fortunately, it's not too hard to maintain my perspective, because I've grown up in terrible neighborhoods, because of attempted muggings and beatdowns, because of managing the family medical business at 17 years old under great pressure - with a loaded gun under my desk. Big problems shouldn't overwhelm a proper adult - and, if you're like me, it means that you try to let hard times bring out what's truly best in yourself... Even if at the end of the day you find yourself having a drink or two to help decompress.

It gets hard, though, as the initial shock at the news fades into months of sleeping in spare hospital beds and scheduling visits. But, in times of crisis, I find it helps to turn to a doctor - and not just the ones I am related to.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Interstellar Problems and Thoughts

Christopher Nolan makes some fine films. Really, I didn't like The Prestige much at all, and yet it was a well-made, inventive, and original movie. And yet I've repeatedly had to write follow-up articles about the flaws in his pictures. Inception needed one Double Dip entry, as well as two Question entries to discuss thoughts about and common issues with that dream-heist story. The Dark Knight Rises required similarly protracted consideration. All of these ambitious narratives are packed with issues, both small and large - and if you click on my "Christopher Nolan" tag at the right side of the page (or at the end of this post - oh, f--- it), you can see me wrestling with that fact.

Sadly, no one sings "A Whole New World" like in Aladdin.

But only an unrealistic, childish fool expects perfection from others - especially in the field of art, where one may not always understand what a director is doing, or where one's complaints may have more to do with personal preferences or baggage than actual "objective" and "valid" criticism/critique. Interstellar is full of at least as many problems as tDKR, so the following list spells out those problems, as well as my thoughts on them. Let's get started, with one SPOILER WARNING for anyone who hasn't seen the movie.

First, the emotional miscues:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Interstellar - Nolan's Field of Dreams

On a rainy December night, I left work early with some of my favorite people on the planet to see Interstellar on the second-biggest IMAX screen in the world (I hope frogs eat your crops, Australia!). I had an exceptional time - as did my companions... Yet this movie makes you say "uh, so..." or "but wait" quite often. This is clearly a Nolan directorial trait, as I felt that way about his last several pictures.

What's the story? Well, you'll be amazed by how natural the early exposition seems, as the movie so neatly conveys that: in the not-too-distant future, Earth has been suffering extreme crop blight for a while. The whole planet's turning into the Dust Bowl of the early 20th century, and can barely feed itself. Mankind has abandoned its ambitions (like war (sigh) and scientific progress), since scientists are not needed as much as farmers are. The farmer we focus on is Matthew McConaughey's Coop, a former astronaut-in-training.

Coop is a single father trying to ensure a good life for his teenage son and his 10 year-old daughter. But a series of inexplicable events starts to disturb life on their farm. Coop's daughter, Murphy, informs him that there's a ghost in her bedroom, and everything for this family is turned upside down when he sees evidence of it for himself. The search for answers reveals not only some hope for the future, but some of the world's greatest secrets.

The amazing thing for me was realizing how much this movie is like Field of Dreams. That 1989 pic was also located in the Midwest, and centered itself around familial relationships and faith - in people, in the impossible, in struggling on despite great difficulty.

While no one would likely categorize FoD as a sci-fi film, it too involved secret messages from ghosts, time travel and causality, and incomprehensible beings who turn natural law on its head for benevolent purposes. Both movies are intelligent, yet simultaneously display an incredible amount of heart. And both movies are packed wall-to-wall with corn.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December Defined

5 posts were scheduled already for this month (including my overall review of 2014), but now we'll add reviews of the fine Aussie horror pic, Babadook - and Interstellar, which I found time for.

In addition, I cancelled one Reviewing with Others entry (lack of time), but will still do the one I couldn't get to last month.

Also, I got to view some more 2014 releases, and may add reviews of those, too. It's not entirely clear where I'll find time for that, but it's an idea that's percolating due to changed circumstances.

Given that Babadook is an indie film with a great central female character, I really want to promote it. And, thus, Snowpiercer won't be my last review here, so now it's starting to seem appropriate to add a few more films onto the queue...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Update on the Goodbyening

I explained the situation in this month's second post - I just need some time. November's Bill Murray entry went up today, and it was just my notes for the post...

At least I can say sorry by offering a new upload of one of the greatest songs to ever be constructed from preexisting audio:

I was genuinely pissed (it happens rarely) when the video was taken down, and I'm so glad to be able to share it again. Hopefully, the removal of the video means that content persecution a****les won't interfere with someone sharing this song.

I chose to do couple of favors by agreeing to cover two movies, and those Reviewing with Others entries will go live in the next two weeks. Probably a Sunday or Monday release for each of them.

And I decided to add two more Imposters entries, for Interstellar and The Hunger Games: Mockingbird: If We're So Hungry Why Don't We Eat the Mockingbird?. Wow, I'm imagining a Seinfeld version of The Hunger Games, and I want that so badly now. Elaine is Mistress of her District!

Cosmo Kramer won seven consecutive Games

My situation is the same as it was before, but I decided that I could/should find some spare time to add those entries. Sadly, seeing Interstellar in a theater may be impossible, so I won't be able to write it up here. What little I know of the pic reminds me a lot of Contact, 2001, and Solaris, which makes it a must-see... Then again, a lack of entries here and me skipping out on an anticipated movie are minor complaints, at best.

Thank you for coming here and reading my old posts - or the handful of new ones yet to come...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Great Moments In... Pranking Your Friends IRL

The video explains it all, so I won't make you sit twice through an explanation of why Dominic Monaghan pranks LotR cast mate (and fellow hobbit) Elijah Woods over the phone:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Delayed Goodbyes

I was going to put up a "goodbye" post this week, but first I had one of the best Halloween Nights of my life, and then a relative had to go to the hospital. It's quite serious, and I don't have time to attend to everything else and complete the entry.

I think a Great Moments In is scheduled for this week, or maybe a Bill Murray post. That will be all that goes up this week. Wish me well.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Life of Crime

I post this less from excitement to see this film and more because Hollywood is finally releasing the occasional picture starring a woman, let alone (gasp!) two women. Sure, it's here because it's being backed by Aniston and Fisher, but this happens too f--king seldom.

One day, I'll use this post to explain to my hypothetical children, "that's why Daddy watches independent movies. Because some of them tell stories about women that are not comedies (or biopics)."

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I've seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a TV two or three times, and in the theater three or four times. I was lucky enough to have a girlfriend and a roommate who were both well-versed in the live show, and shouted most of the audience lines while we watched a copy at home before doing the live version that same night.

The story is simple. Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) have just attended a wedding. Overcome with love - and being enough of an a--hole to write on a church door - Brad proposes, and Janet accepts. Next, the couple is driving on a stormy night, and their car breaks down. The only sanctuary is a spooky castle... the home of Dr. Frank N. Furter (a very young Tim Curry!). The ominous inside of this large manor houses a dangerous and beguiling collection of unusual nutjobs. Will Brad and Janet keep their lives, or their innocence intact? Will they even hold on to their dignity?

(spoilers on that last point: no.)

(but maybe they think they did)

More than most any film before or since, Rocky Horror is perhaps the easiest and best example of a glorious failure. The same elements that make it a cinematic misfire are what endeared it to audiences so strongly that it's still popular - and still in theaters - 29 years after its release. Movie creators may dream that their work's success could inspire such a following, but no one imagines that their work could fail so well.

And fail it must. If the movie had been merely mediocre, it just wouldn't have generated so much interest. Instead, all of those weaknesses became strengths and the profound way that lines and scenes are dumb or fall flat actually engages the audience all the more... But I don't want to discuss much the things tRHPS gets wrong. Those are obvious: script, acting, execution, and sudden, ill-advised changes in tone are just the flaws at the top of the list.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

QftWo 10/27-11/2: Imposters #76 - Dracula Untold

Today's is a special edition of Imposters, as this one deserves nothing more than mockery. Please follow the link, press play on the video, and listen to the song as you scroll through the pictures.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Home-made Clock Tower BttF

Yes, somehow I went ages without ever doing a post about CineFix. Now, in one month, I've promoted their 8-bit versions of films, and I'm following up with their home-made version of the famous clock tower scene from Back to the Future.

I don't have much to say, save that this fan-made gem is inventive and commendable, and makes me happy just by reminding me of a cool scene from a good picture. I think if you look at the Cinefix team's own side-by-side version below, you'll be similarly impressed by what these folks did with it:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Blackhat

Michael Mann is not the big draw for me here - or if so, it's in a different way. This picture will either tank with me or it'll be pretty good. I'm not dying to see this in a theater, but I am interested enough to follow the reviews. If it gets very positive feedback (or sounds deliciously insane), I'll round a up a few friends and check it out.

Oh, also, at the 1min 2sec mark, there's a guy that looks like Jeffrey Paymer got himself a clone about 30 years ago:

Seriously, that guy is "young 21st Century David Paymer." Try an image of Mr. Paymer with glasses ("glasses on, hair down"):

Thursday, October 23, 2014

QftWo 10/19-10/26: Imposters #75 - Fury

I'm just a little conflicted here, mostly because I don't approve of the confusion that may occur between this picture and De Palma's 1978 picture, The Fury. However, I really like the general composition of the first poster: Pitt looking off in one direction while the cannon and turret point the opposite way, the busy aspect of the lower half being balanced by a cloudy sky above...

I'm also fond of the contrast between the color of the title and the drabness of the rest of the picture. I'm even a fan of the tagline, though it's not all that informative.

For some reason, however, I like the second poster much more. It's vey evocative, with the sad/anguished expression on Mr. Pitt's face being balanced by the title, Fury. Sure, it's a big picture of the star - and it omits the tagline to just to promote Pitt and the release date - but he's not staring at the viewer, and this image isn't glamorous in the least.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

20 Free Music Documentaries

One year ago, David Anthony at AVC promoted a great pitchfork article, and I'm here now to bring it the attention of anyone who may have missed out last May. Long story short, Pitchfork did the world a favor and informed its readers that there were 20 fine music documentaries that were available to stream for free.

The wealth of artists presented here is nothing less than important: David Bowie as he transitioned from the Ziggy era to Diamond Dogs, the Rolling Stones getting wrecked on drugs, the Grunge movement being "embraced" by labels, major German bands of the 60's-70's, British Synthpop, a 1965 documentary on Leonard Cohen, Paul Anka, Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Sex Pistols...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Moments in... Stupid Threats

Sigh, it's from Can't Hardly Wait, so feel free to immediately mock me for watching this 90's teen romcom. As delivered by Peter Facinelli's character, Mike, it's just perfect. But, for me, the best part is the grammatical inaccuracy:

I tried to explain it once to some very intelligent friends, but they just didn't get it. I guess none of them are writers. See, the way Mike said the sentence doesn't mean "I'm going to kick the ass of everyone here," it means I'm going to bring everyone in the world into this room, and then kick their asses here." It's just so much funnier if you love writing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Inherent Vice

[Note: This installment is going up on today instead of Sunday, like past Happy Trail(er)s entries, because I hope this Sunday is when I'll post my review of The Twisted Death of a Lonely Madman. Just fyi. And we're moving on...]

A well-received book (Inherent Vice) written by a long-respected author (Thomas Pynchon), which is then brought to the screen by a director who values story and character and has an exceptional visual style to boot (Fincher): it is physically impossible for me to not want to see this film:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

QftWo 10/13-10/19: Imposters #74 - The Judge

I love that Robert Duvall is still taking roles, and that he's still headlining movies. I will say, though, that RDJr's look and posture kind of instantly makes me lose my interest in this picture. It doesn't matter that I generally like Robert a lot. The undone tie, the hands in his pockets, and the lack of an expression on either man is somewhat off-putting. I keep expecting it to be a more childish/snarky version of Shoot from the Hip, and we all know how that turned out:

The composition is actually nice - I appreciate how the leads are positioned in regards to one another, and the look of the courtroom scene around them. They might have achieved a stronger balance of light and dark if they'd framed this slightly higher - seriously, the bottom of the frame is Downey's crotch - and I think that the image would have been more pleasing for it. Then again, maybe it wouldn't have helped much, seeing as the brown is deeper than the white is...

But the bratty pose and that lame-ass tagline really sort of do me in. "Defend your honor." Really? That's kind of terrible as it is, but if Mr. Downey Jr is playing a lawyer who's defending Duvall's judge character then it's somehow even worse than just a bad combination of words. The only interesting thing about that tagline is that they put a closing period at the end of it, as if it were a sentence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bill Murray Impromptu Advice Niceness

This great bit of Mr. Murray news came to me this May, by way of a post on the Concourse. Apparently, if you corner Bill Murray and ask him to speak to an assembled bachelor party, he will refuse. As well he should - you're intruding on his private life and also putting him on the spot.

And then, Mr. Murray will return, and make you laugh your ass off while being even a bit endearing - or hell, quite endearing at times. God, I should've just called these posts "An Endless String of Reasons to Love Bill Murray":

But that title was way too long, and you get my point: he's the best.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Great Moments in... PSYCH!

Hahahaha, thought you had a friend:

I could talk about the movie Outbreak for an hour or two, honestly - tho mercifully today is not that day - but this scene makes me just laugh my ass off.

Actually, almost every scene in Outbreak makes me want to laugh my ass off. That's just the most comical one that I could find on youtube.

[Update: Firstly, there was a typo in the link, so no video was visible until about 11:20AM. Secondly, fyi, I scheduled this post months ago, before the US began having serious Ebola scares following a rash of new cases and the spread of the disease in Africa. I sometimes employ dark/off-color/gallows humor - but that would've been low-class of me, and I try to run a quality operation here.]

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Delay of Game

My intended off-site review is taking a little more time than usual, so it will go up next week, not this one. I just gave up on completing it an hour ago..

I've also had one of the craziest weekends I've ever experienced. The lack of sleep has actually been a positive, as these last five-to-ten days have been a rewarding-but-deadly combination of catharsis on old... stuff, as well as some interesting new developments that would take hours to explain properly.

In any case, writing time is at a premium, especially since I want to do justice by the film and its director. So you all can look forward to five entries next week, and I can process, kick back for some relaxation and sleep. Trust me, we're all better served this way - particularly when I'm riding the hard edge of too much exertion and too few hours of rest.

I'll have something up on Tuesday, and we can continue to wind this blog down with more cool entries. I'm going to have a drink, and maybe run a bath...

Happy Trail(er)s: Interstellar

Mr. Nolan is not the best thing since sliced bread, but he's a solid filmmaker and storyteller, and I have to confess that I am looking forward to Interstellar. At the very least, the flaws in tDK, tDKR and Inception have made me accustomed to actually thinking about his movies - although for all three of those, I had to first turn my brain off so I could enjoy the ride.

Here's a glimpse of what's coming up:

Actually, I might as well round up my critical Nolan entries for your convenience (even though you'd find these by clicking on the "Christopher Nolan" tag): one conversation about gripes in Inception, a discussion of its ending, and its review (plus my post about suicide and Inception); I also expressed my tDKR gripes and thoughts, as well as reviewing it. My lone tDK post is here, and my Batman Begins review is here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

QftWo 10/6-10/12: Imposters #73 - John Wick

It doesn't matter that I like the overall design. The empty white background really focuses (and draws) the attention, helping make that huge-ass font size jump out at you even more than it already would have.

The all caps complete the look, and lend the title - both as the name of the film and, presumably, the name of Mr. Reeves' character - a sense of importance. My first thought was "what hit book series is this based on?"

And it doesn't matter that I really love the ad's use of color, too. In addition to catching the eye initially as well as drawing you to the letters, it emphasizes the rest of the colors in the poster. Those vivid purples, pinks and reds are just gorgeous - many of them are close to neon-brightness, but backed by softer hues... The contrast between those shades and the stark bright white is just excellent, and a masterclass in advertising and using the color wheel to engage the audience.

I keep saying it doesn't matter because (a) those two things are the only things I like about the promo and (b) it is going to take one hell of a positive review to get me to see this movie. I wish it told me a little more than the tagline, "Don't set him off." It's actually the worst elements of the graphic, seeing as that it's provides too little info and yet is still too "meh" to be cool.

That title plus that tagline do not make an increasingly-busy me want to take the time to look up the plot synopsis. It was the creators' only informative opportunity on the poster and they flubbed it.

But even if I never see the film, I sure will respect the guys who worked on the promotional materials...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Films in 8-bit Game-Style Fan-made Gem

Site Update: My letting the site go dark will come next month instead. I'm not reversing my decision, but I found 6 posts that I could slot in to this month, and I wrote 2 new Imposters and Happy Trail(er)s entries apiece, and then I rediscovered a draft of a Rocky Horror review from last Halloween, which just needed vids and pictures. That film is just perfect for the month of October. (Yes, I'm still insisting that Snowpiercer is my last review here; sigh, semantics)

Oh, and, a final factor: my man Will' Terran completed his movie, The Twisted Death of a Lonely Madman, and there was no way I would indefinitely leave online writing without giving him a review. The link I put in the prior sentence is like 1 of 3 entries I wrote about it, so I don't see myself as having a choice there.

Reasons like those made it easy to finish out the month, and now you know the reviews and post types that are coming up. All that you were gonna get was two full weeks and then Great Moments In entries (of which there are two this month). I think this is better... Moving on

Last November, I read a fun article about youtube videos of well-known movies, done in the classic 8-bit style of old-school video games. This clever, enjoyable work is by youtube user CineFix (here's their page), and it's a real treat. I held onto this entry so as not to leech off a site's own posts, and so many more videos have been made in the meantime.

You can check out Cinefix's page for more, but below I embedded their take on the 2009 Star Trek reboot:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: A Most Wanted Man

This picture looks like it could be great, but it's already making me sad for the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

QftWo 9/29-10/5 : Imposters #72 - The Boxtrolls

The poster for The Boxtrolls would do a perfect job of sucking me in if I were still a kid. It's got a clever use of the sides and top and bottom of the frame. It's very colorful, smartly featuring one boy and one girl amid a slew of crazy-looking monsters.

The background is too hard to make out to be useful, though. And the tagline is just kind of boring, with no discernable connection to the story or characters.

But, hey, childhood me would be all over this thing like white on rice...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fan-made Pop Culture Paintings Double Dip!

My Spring 2012 post feels like it was forever ago. I can't relate to whatever different worries and problems I had back then, because I can't recall 'em, and I have enough on my plate right now anyway. But I do remember boosting a really cool artist who recreated famous paintings - with the inclusion of pop culture characters.

I thought Hillary White's work was quite cool, and I was even happier to learn that gunaxin also liked these Fan-made Gems, and she did a HuffPo interview last year, and that the count of painting reproductions is now so much higher!

I haven't had to time to check back on so many of the excellent creative people I've stumped for in the past, but I am very glad that another site put its own spotlight on one. This artist deserves all the attention she could ever get.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Great Moments In... Mel Brooks Interviews

Words cannot express how much I love and revere Mel Brooks. And since words can't do it, I'll leave the videos to speak for themselves.

Here's Mr. Brooks talking to Merv Griffin, in Venice, in 1979:

And here's Brooks talking to Joy Behar almost 35 years later:

I'm pretty sure if you offered your soul in exchange for a wit to rival Mel's, the Devil would say, "that's a tall order. What else can you throw in?"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Final Girl

Much as I was so excited for Tucker and Dale Versus Evil and The Cabin in the Woods, I really do love when people play with the conventions of horror films. As such, Final Girl looks like it might be a real winner:

Friday, September 26, 2014

QftWo 9/22-9/28: Imposters #71 - A Walk Among The Tombstones

[Update: Sorry, a draft went up this morning and stayed up for 9 hours after. I told y'all I was busy!]

A Walk Among the Tombstones has a real honey of a poster. It has a good balance of empty space and use of background objects on the far right side contrasted with the the foreground being quite full on the right. I love the different fonts used for all of the txt in the graphic. And the tagline, "people are afraid of all the wrong things," is quite good.

In fact, the only misstep is that Liam Neeson looks about 15 years younger than he should. But I suppose that many people won't mind that, much less complain about it.

Then, of course, we're left with the masterstroke of this image: everything being in greyscale, save the lake on the right side, which is blood-red. It looks simply beautiful, and it suggests a lot about the plot. You add that to the satchel and gun being held by Mr. Neeson, and you can really start to get intrigued about the picture, or at least start to guess what story is about.

You take that expressive efficiency and simply beauty and the result is a brilliant piece of design. I hope the film lives up to it...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Too Similar #4: Taimak and Marcus Chong

Now, many people won't recall him, but Taimak is well-known to fans of 80's cult films. He appeared in the 1985 movie, Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, a pic that pretty much encapsulates a lot of the era's more insane musical and fashion choices. I may remember it well, yet I can't call The Last Dragon a good film.

The script is not exactly smooth or tight. The picture casts Taimak as Bruce Leroy, a questing karate expert who becomes a savior, then bodyguard, to the gorgeous host of a TV show that's patterned off of Soul Train and the early years of MTV. The main villain is portrayed by Julius J. Carry III, playing a mean-ass street fighter who calls himself "Shonuff, the Shogun of Harlem." Shonuff sees Leroy as his only obstacle to complete supremacy over martial arts in the ghetto.

Shonuff's evil intentions - in essence, ultimate props - are matched by those of a man played by Chris Murney, who portrays a video arcade mogul named Eddie Arkadian. Eddie is trying to forcibly get his Cyndi Lauper-esque girlfriend to become a major singing act - despite her lack of talent. For insane 1980's logic reasons, the popular TV show is seen as the best way to accomplish this. Eddie thinks he can kidnap and then force Taimak's damsel-in-distress/love interest into making Eddie's girlfriend TV's next big act.

Seeing Bruce as the sole (and unbeatable!) protector for the celebrity he wants to abduct, Arkadian forges a pact with Shonuff to destroy their mutual enemy so that each baddie can get what they want. Why Harlem is split between these two fighters, like why the TV studio has zero security, is a mystery for the ages...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Frodo and Sam Supercut

I just cannot stop laughing at this. I personally love the anecdote from a reviewer I used to follow: he saw the movie on opening night, and once the crowd realized how often characters would shout "Fro-do!" the whole audience started saying it, too.

It would have killed the buzz of a legitimately-fine film, yes, but it would have been a hell of a lot of fun to sit through...

Friday, September 19, 2014

QftWo 9/15-9/21: Imposters #70 - Let's Be Cops

It's kind of impossible to really judge this image, and the reason is simple: this looks like a hell of a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bill Murray Golf Victory Humorousness

Leave it to Mr. Murray to not only be gracious following a victory, but to be damn funny as well. I could only hope that he would win most every year after 2011, so we could get more great clips like this:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You're Next Review

When I first heard about You're Next, I felt pretty excited. It got very strong reviews - which I only skimmed, so as to not spoil anything - the kind of critical praise that made me want to catch it in the theater. Unfortunately, I had a very busy schedule at the time, and wasn't able to see it. I crossed my fingers, hoping that it would become available on Netflix's streaming service.

Well, a few weekends ago, I got my wish - and it was so much more than I could have hoped for. Not only was this a well-made film, it was so grisly and scary that I locked by bedroom door and left a baseball bat beside my bed. No joke, this is a home invasion-type horror film that is genuinely terrifying. If you're sensitive to stories about people getting attacked in their own houses - do not watch this movie.

We open with a scene straight out of an 80's picture. Two people enjoy each other's company, have a little sex... and then their lives start getting pretty damn weird. The cold open neatly dovetails into a slightly different scenario with no clear connection to the movie's beginning: a couple in their early 50's taking a drive to their home in the countryside. From there, it's pretty easy to start to figure out that we're looking at a long-overdue family gathering.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vancouver Drug Addiction Documentary is a Youtube Standout

This is an amazing 52 minute documentary about the drug addicts encountered by a handful of Vancouver police officers, yet another of the many free films available on Youtube. If film has a special power, it should be more than mere entertainment - it should be about exploiting its ability to let us hear and see events in order to educate its viewers. In terms of its goals and how it tries to achieve them, this truly is a superlative piece of work.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Reviewing with Others, pt 75: Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

Hey, all! My final (or possibly, penultimate) Reviewing with Others entry is for Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, a documentary about a famous Chinese artist. His work is extremely modern, and his struggle involves some serious brutality at the hands of the police in his country.

Pop on over to Man, I Love Films to check out my review. The one thing I left out of my coverage of the film is that I would have titled the doc "Wei So Serious?"

Friday, September 12, 2014

On Hell, & Indefinite Site Break Starts October

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I'm off writing regular reviews. You'll still get two Reviewing with Others entries - this Sunday for Ai Weiwei, and in a week or two for Kill the Messenger - and then my forthcoming You're Next review is the last one that'll post here (though Snowpiercer was actually the last one that I wrote).

However, after the middle of October, the site will go on an indefinite break. It's been a long time coming - I wrote my July through October posts months in advance - but it stems from 95% good news and only 5% bad news. Either way, my online time is at a premium, and I can't afford to use it here... Great Moments In and Bill Murray posts are prepped through December, and there will be an End of Year wrap-up entry, but that'll be it.

Lots of people talk a lot of s--t about what they can do or what they will do, but you have to be able to back that up. The best way to back up your own hype is... well, it's just by doing:

The proof is in the pudding... And now I want Mexican pudding.

So do you want to know what "Hell" is, if it exists? A look back on my 666th post made me think I should do the same with hell here. I have some longstanding ideas on this topic, although I'm talking about fewer films this time out.

But first, here's one we should get out of the way asap: the end of Death Becomes Her definitely counts, but is unlikely to be experienced literally by... most viewers -

Firstly, Hell is a place where your words and actions have no power. The things that you do have no effect, are not believed, are interpreted the wrong way every time, or are not taken seriously. Christy Brown's cerebral palsy meant he could only use his left foot, and Helen Keller was missing 2 out of 5 senses (sight, hearing), and even those people found a way to communicate. If your method of expressing yourself always has no effect - or one that's the opposite of your intentions - then that's got to be a form of Hell.

In the really-real world, you can screw up and apologize or other people can screw up on you and you can accept their apologies. You can tell people that you love them, or you can explain to people why they should change their ways, or you can get two people to make up with each other. You and teach - as well as learn - new things...

But if people never believe you, judge you in the worst ways possible, or simply don't ever listen, then you have no power, and that has to be what Hell is like. Take it from a white-looking mixed-race kid from the slums of NYC: being powerless must be a key element of unending torment.

Secondly, Hell is a place where you cannot change anything. For many people, the concept of Hell is mere suffering and pain. But the worst pain is always what you feel inside, not what the body suffers. And the scary idea about the worst conceptions of Hell is that it's eternal torture.

One of the greatest truisms is that where there's life, there's hope. So long as you draw breath, you can improve yourself: you can grow and change, experience can influence your actions or reactions, and maturity can temper your perspective and emotions. But death seems like a static condition - at least for the people one leaves behind, it sure is. Your past actions decide how you're remembered, because you don't have any "new" moves to make.

But if you're alive (or, damn, dead and conscious) and in a situation that can never be changed, then hope has to dissipate. And, without hope, you're pretty well f--ked. However badly life sucks, it's gonna keep being exactly that bad.

Whatever mistakes you've made? You're stuck with them. Anything you want to improve? You're stuck with how things are there, too. Wanna see the bright side of things? You can't. Once you reach a certain point, everything looks scary or threatening, and no one has good intentions, because everyone is out to get you.

Please skip ahead to the 2:26 mark. What comes before looks great, but Annie's Hell is truly horrific.

Depression is a pretty good instructor on what Hell must be like. But even without it, I figure Hell involves a lot of fear, self-pity, regret, and anger. I figure it's being trapped in a tiny little box which one doesn't leave. I figure it's devoid of change, or power... I figure it's always assuming the worst of everything and everyone. It's pretty much the opposite of life.

And it's pretty much the opposite of my situation. I've just landed a new (time-consuming) job, made a few other improvements, and have felt an ability to change my lot in life. It's (partly) because of those elements that I have to move on from the site. The time that I had available before is now, simply, gone.

We'll still have four entries per week until mid-October. After that, it'll be a few Bill Murray and Great Moments In posts, as well as an End of the Year wrap up. I'll still respond to comments and emails, but my offline life has been growing steadily busier since May, and I can't commit to this blog, or most online stuff, right now. Let's try to have fun with the time we've got left, okay?

Hell is a place where one has been broken, and that damage is both irreparable and insuperable. Instead of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying something new, you're stuck in the same old mess.

Right now, the future holds a lot of things - for all of us, I hope - and it's worth working toward a better tomorrow with confidence and happiness. Nothing good will come of not trying to improve one's situation, of getting stuck on the past vicissitudes of life and wallowing in misery - nor will it become brighter or happier by focusing on what you can't change, instead of focusing on what you can change.

I've been "lucky enough" to have had so many serious, life-or-death crises in my past that it's easy to see most problems in life as minor speed-bumps. And I've been fortunate enough to have lots of good news and activities and events that whatever makes me unhappy isn't going to bring my whole world crashing down. I hope it's much the same for you, dear readers. Onward and upwards, motherf--kers!

I really wish I had a clip of this whole funeral scene. It's terrifying.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

F--king Glengarry Glen Ross

For this site's 800th post (!), I decided to go with a supercut of scenes pulled from a fine film.

This video of all the curses in Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross really needs no introduction or discussion on my part. I've written about this movie before and don't need to say more about it now. Res ipsa loquitor, baby - the thing speaks for itself:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

QftWo 9/8-9/14: Imposters #69 - The Giver

They're too big. Or they don't need to be in the center of the picture. Or there should be something more going on in the background. At the very least, I like the silhouettes of Streep and Bridges, but I'm not sure if they're additional characters, or if these two kids will grow up into these two older figures.

I will say, I'm glad that they use the book's popularity as a promotion, as it's really a well-known work, though one I've never read. I like the choice to make the "V" in "Giver" large, as it looks nice.

And I respect the decision to give the names of the writers and director, but not the actors. I mean, the novelist's name should be there, but it's a brisk, tasteful choice.

I suppose the only element that confuses me here is that, despite the relative lack of information - no MPAA rating, no tagline to give us a sense of what's to come, and a rather bland, empty background - they bothered to include, in the lower left corner of the ad, the words: featuring the original song "Ordinary Human" by OneRepublic.

Given the scant info provided by this poster, it just stands out as an odd element.

Overall, this ad comes close to being a net win...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

QftWo 9/1-9/7: Imposters #68 - The Expendables 2

It does advertise what you would expect: in short, come see these not-young a--holes in a testosterone-fueled action film. Fair enough, I suppose, but this poster really does nothing more than that. I don't find a group photo and a list of 17 cast members to be especially impressive...

Also, judging by the waistlines alone, I've strongly resisted the urge to call this The Expandables. Oh, wait...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Snowpiercer Review - Nailed It

The story of my efforts to see this movie might make for a decent post, but I won't bother with that now. Suffice to say that I made something like 4 trips to the movie theater, and was shut out every time. The reasons varied, but the results were the same. It's taken a while to write this up, which I just revealed to be my "last" review here - mostly because I promised myself a break from blogging - but I think the post is ready for mass consumption.

Bong Joon-ho is a director I've been following since I first read an early AICN review of 2006's The Host. That movie was an excellent "monster in a city" horror film, and I was simply stunned by its tension, drama, and high caliber effects. And, while I missed his follow-up, 2009's Mother, I was even more stunned to learn his next film would have a mostly American/English cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt... In fact, the only returning Korean figures were Song Kang-ho, the lead in Host, and Go Ah-sung, who has played his daughter in both that film and this one.

Well, no matter the cast or the setting, the quality of Bong's storytelling and filmmaking hasn't diminished one bit. If this writer/director isn't already there, then this latest pic should really place him on a list of people to look out for...

By way of a quick opening montage, we learn that efforts to defeat global warming backfired horribly. A brief opening scrawl tells that Earth in 2031 is a frozen wasteland, all life is dead, and humanity's survivors live aboard a train that circles the globe constantly. Curtis Everett (Chris Evans, playing a role with his own real-life initials) is one of the ill-treated folks at the very back of that train. Curtis keeps insisting that he's not a leader, although his best friends, Edgar (Bell) and Tanya (Spencer), constantly turn to him for orders and advice. Everett, however, keeps passing the buck on to his mentor - the wise, crippled Gilliam (Hurt).

The danger with a science fiction effort like this is that you often receive waves of clumsy exposition that feel unnatural and/or slow the movie down. Yet this movie barrels right into things after that opening montage: in 2031, the world is frozen and all life is dead, except for the people who've lived (or been born) on this train since 2014. And, with that said, Bong's film largely abandons backstory and focuses on providing a sense of what life is like for the unfortunate people in the tail section.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Michael Bay Bombs Like an Amateur Auteur

Site Update:I've completed my last new movie review for the next while, for Snowpiercer. I only finished writing it yesterday, and You're Next was slated first, but the latter is still in theaters (on a late June release? how?), so it should go live tomorrow to provide whatever boost I may bestow.

However, I simply lack the time to do more movie reviews, and to do them right, at the moment. Anyway, I think it's one of my best reviews ever - and there's still much fun to be had with all the posts I prepared months ago, like Glengarry, Frodo and Sam, Taimak, Mel Brooks, free Music Documentaries...

Moving on: I try not to give in to schadenfreude much, but there are some people that inspire zero sympathy and compassion from me. One such is Michael Bay. And, a while back, he was basically hired to give a speech at a demo for a new kind of television set.

This man, whose films have grossed insane amounts of cash at the box office, starts to talk about how he works as a director and what film means to him. It's all a scripted preamble before he is supposed to turn around and describe how these new TVs will provide a great, fresh way to experience and enjoy (his) motion pictures.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Great Moments in... Film Interludes

Student Bodies is a little-known horror parody that came out in 1981. It is, in essence, a totally gonzo film: victims are killed by suffocation in plastic bags, the killer occasionally gets winded while chasing people down, and the high school principal and counselor are both clearly insane.

The movie is far from perfect, and it may not have aged well, but several moments reveal not just a gift for slapstick and parody and demented humor, but a nice knack for some a few clever jokes.

My favorite, of course, is the scene wherein the story completely stops so that some narrator can explain to the audience that the filmmakers want an R-rating:

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Enjoy these last days of Summer while you can- I know I am...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Gone Girl

Well, I know nothing about the book save that it's highly regarded. For me, though David Fincher is a director who merits respect and attention. The trailer looks pretty solid:

Friday, August 29, 2014

QftWo 8/25-8/31: Imposters #67 - Get On Up

This poster is just fine. I may not like the lens flare to the far left, but I do like the blue & gold color scheme, the font, and the title.

So far, the biggest problem I've seen is the tagline, which was left off the landscape-style subway posters and is only used on the portrait style ones. I don't mean to sound like a snob but, "The Funk Don't Quit" doesn't exactly say something special to me...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bill Murray Sexiest Man Funniness

Yes, I waited until the end of August to give you my monthly entry about Mr. Murray. August has been a little turbulent for all of us, and it made sense to keep some cheer in reserve. And, turmoil around the world aside, I have my birthday coming up shortly, so I think the timing is just about perfect.

In this month's post, we get Bill Murray as he riffs away with Joy Behar after the announcement of the Sexiest Man Alive. And since I know from personal experience that women dig funny guys, it begs the question: why didn't Mr. Murray make the cut at some point?

It's the world's loss, is all I'm sayin'...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

(Street-)Found Fan-made Gem!

So I'm walking down the street and something just manages to catch my eye. Peripheral vision can be a pain, but sometimes it is quite rewarding. Like, "Manhattan + Jaws" rewarding.

Whoever was crafting this surfboard sure knew how to transfer an image beautifully. They also have good taste in movies. And now some little part of me is imagining that Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are watching some poor lady desperately swimming away from a great white shark in the East River.

The odd thing is that, in my mental juxtaposition, Woody's dialogue in the film wouldn't change at all.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Picard & Kirk Into Space

I have to say, this trailer makes clear that with the power of geek, one can accomplish the unimaginable:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

QftWo 8/18-8/24: Imposters #66 - A Dame to Kill For

As before, Frank Miller's ability to produce fetishized images goes unabated. As I've said before, I'm a fan of a big contrast between light and dark, so this is quite pleasing to my eyes. The shading, the little flashes of red, the white of her eye. This is very nice.

The tagline, too, is pretty good. "Especially bad" means she's either done something terrible, or that she's always a bit bad and she's managed to outdo herself...

It bears keeping in mind, in case you don't know Frank's work or the prior Sin City film, but Miller has this trend of making the most extreme story out of a familiar genre or trope. So 300 becomes more than Zulu or Spartacus, it's Zulu or Spartacus on a potent combo of steroids and meth. So, too, Sin City is a noir film that prostitutes itself day and night to support its heroin/crack addiction. It's a caricature, if an occasionally enjoyable one.

When it works, it works - and when it flops, it flops. I know some of the scripting in the first picture was painful, clearly words that read better on a page than would be heard aloud.

But it's hard not to appreciate how the general sensibility and aesthetic of the noir/pulp thing has carried over into every element of the movie - including the ads...

Take, for example, how the font for the subtitle "A Dame to Kill For" looks appropriate for an actual pulp novel, while the "Sin City" font looks more suitable for a comic book. Hell, I'm just glad Judi Dench isn't playing the Dame.

Now, that poster above and to the right was in a movie theater I went to recently. The one below, however, is the actual subway ad:

And now you can see that this lovely shot of Ms. Green is just taken from a group shot featuring the whole cast. Or maybe it's the other way around - one of the advantages of a movie made entirely on green screen, I suppose. I just hope they went with Eva because she seems to fit the title of the film, not the fact that she's quite good-looking...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Things: Amazing Spider-Man 2

1) It's better than it has any business being.

I came into Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a skeptical viewer--I didn't like the 2012 original, and I'm unenthusiastic about the whole idea of this franchise reboot, particularly the participation of the ubiquitous blockbuster writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. I was like the club audience at the end of Purple Rain. However, I was on a long flight, and I'm fascinated on a storytelling level by how everyone is handling all the various comic book franchises that are scattered throughout Hollywood.

I was a little startled, then, when at the end of the film's opening action sequence, I gave a chortle of delight that earned a look from a couple of passengers nearby. I hadn't come close to that sort of reaction when watching the movie's predecessor. I usually wouldn't throw a video this long into a post, but here's the film's opening scene, courtesy of IGN and Youtube:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Imposters #65, Bonus - The Purge Redux

Some clever artist decided to make a nice little statement using an existing poster. Unlike the genius who tampered with the Bad Words poster this year, this is a much simpler, if more surgical, bit of alteration. It's less clever, too, but I still like it:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hook, You're Next... A Crazy Weekend

On Saturday, I had to cancel a trip to watch the Pike's Peak race because someone close to me died.

These sorts of events are a natural consequence of life, sad though they may be. I was, however, unlike many people, lucky enough to have had a really kickass Friday before it.

And, to stick to the film world, I had a couple of good movie experiences before the hammer dropped:

First, I saw Robin Williams in Hook and, miracle of miracles, I actually enjoyed the film for the first time ever. I was a little too old for the movie when it first came out, but I had great company watching along with me - and it was so good to see Robin alive and young. I'd like to think both factors came together nicely.

Also, I found out that Netflix added You're Next to its streaming collection (I reviewed the subway poster last year). I will give it a brief review soon, but YN was very well-made, and it was scary as hell. Seriously, if you have any home invasion worries, do NOT see that movie.

Expect the usual features over the coming weeks. I prepped them all at least two months ago...

Friday, August 15, 2014

QftWo 8/11-8/17: Imposters #64 - Lucy

I often complain that movie posters are just big shots of the lead staring straight at you. I'm not complaining here because 1) it's not a other white male, and 2) there's some artistry to the image. I over the white-on-black background color being mirrored by the black-on-white scheme to the lettering.

This suggests that the film will deal with duality, or perhaps a giant game of chess... The problem is that the poster is mysterious that it risks not telling the viewer anything or giving them many reasons to see this movie.

Scarlett, Freeman, Besson - it's kind of cool and confident that Lucy doesn't even bother with a tagline or other information to gain your interest. But cool color motifs aside, we've got nothing to go on.

The title "Lucy" tells us the film should be about a woman, but that's it. In fact, I'd say that's a pretty weak choice, but I like when Besson uses old-fashioned female names (e.g., Matilda).

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I saw the phone booth ads.

What's fun here is that it's a completely different take on the same idea - instead of including white and black in equal amounts and in opposing positions, everything's grey. The exception made for Ms. Johansson's eyes is a very nice touch as well.