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.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

RIP Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams

Just a quick word about the film-world tragedies that came out in the news this week:

Lauren Bacall was a beautiful and talented actress, and she passed away at age 89. I was very sad to hear of her death because Bogart and Bacall films have been a staple of my movie-watching since my childhood. I know 89 isn't exactly a young age, but I felt like she would be around forever.

I'm sure that some younger folks only know her from her brief appearance in The Sopranos, but I really hope that this inspires people to look back at her CV. They'll realize that she was every bit the powerhouse as Katharine Hepburn, and as much of a beauty Veronica Lake.

I only wrote about her three times - she came up in a "15 Questions Meme" post, when I declared Lauren and Humphrey to be my favorite film couple, and when I reviewed the excellent To Have and Have Not, which was the only one of the quartet of Bogey and Bacall movies that I hadn't seen.

Words cannot express how much I respected her.

But a young death is, of course, more tragic than one that comes in old age. Robin Williams, at 63, passed on so much before his time. And it's worse because he committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and three children. For both Robin and Lauren, we can try to remember them in their best moments, but Mr. Williams' death complicates such simplistic thoughts; to that end, I hope everyone takes a long look at depression, and does whatever they can to fight it, in their own lives or the lives of others.

Depression is a terrible thing, as bad as cancer and probably as hard to treat. Please, if you or people you know are having a hard time with it, seek help. Call a friend, get therapy, calla suicide prevention line; hell you can contact me about it if you want...

I'm sorry if this interview makes you cry a bit, as it did to me:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cronenberg's Crash - Unlikeable

David Cronenberg's Crash made me want to throw up, emotionally. That doesn't mean it's a bad film, but it's not usually a compliment to say "it was very well-made, but the characters were ugly and troubling in an unchallenging way, and I never want to see it again."

Not everything or everyone is meant to be liked. Not everything or everyone intends to be liked, at some time or another. A smart, experienced person should be able to tell when they're in these situations, and judge matters accordingly. That's art - and life.

James (James Spader) is a film producer. He and his wife, Catharine (Deborah Kara Unger) seem to have lost their passion for each other, tho they do spend a lot of time screwing their many various lovers. Then they get into a car crash with another married couple.

Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter) is the wife of the other driver. Her hubby is killed in the wreck, but she's more or less okay, as is Catharine. James, meanwhile, is less bothered by his need for a brief hospital stay than by a moment that's more pivotal to him: when he saw Helen climbing out of her wrecked car, one of her breasts popped loose from her blouse as she unbuckled herself. Soon, James begins an affair with Helen, and she introduces him to Vaughan (Elias Koreas), an artist/cult leader type who restages famous car accidents that for crash fetishists.

Then, life goes from kinda creepy and skeevy to definitely creepy and skeevy and insane. These folks are turned on by wrecks, and danger - hell, James' accident happened because by Helen was screwing her husband. Now, everybody starts f--king everyone else, and we follow folks who see danger, violence, and injury as a massive turn on. Seriously, at one point, SPOILER ALERT, Spader screws a large wound on Rosanna Arquette's leg. Holy f--k.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bad Lip Reading Tackles Twilight III

Sweet Lord this is so damn funny:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

I love foreign movies, and this thing looks like it could be a great ride:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

QftWo 84-8/10: Imposters #63 - The Purge: Anarchy

I really like this poster. The picture is unusual and has a bit of depth to it - so many elements, but it's not a cluttered image - which makes it interesting. The mostly grayscale color palette does a nice job of offsetting the ominous look to the guy and the dystopian look to the background. This coloring also does a lot to make the red tone of the title stand out.

And, hey, anything that makes that title work better is a blessing. Anyone who saw the original (I didn't) or read up about it (I did) knows that the movie's premise is one night when total anarchy reigns on the streets. It would've been far better if they had just given it the title, The Purge 2: Even Purgier or The Purge 2: Purg-atory (oooh).

In short, this ad really pops, and the makers deserve a lot of credit for it - even if I have no interest in seeing The Purge: Anarchy. Sadly, the second subway promo isn't as impressive:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

USPS Shills for Spider-man

And I'm not against it. I don't know if you follow the news, but the Postal Service is always losing money, they get their cost-saving measures blocked by Congress, lobbyists for other delivery services always try to undermine them via legislators.

So if it takes advertising a blockbuster like Amazing Spider-Man 2 to keep them properly funded, I say go for it. I just wish the image was more than a slight improvement on the subway poster I reviewed...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Commando: The Musical

I've been a fan of Jon and Al Kaplan (or "legolambs" on Youtube) for a long time. The Predator Musical is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and I really liked their Hunger Games/Running Man Musical as well. So now, I allow them to continue their fixation with Arnie by embedding the vid for Commando: The Musical. It's a hoot.

Monday, August 4, 2014

MRQ XVI: Random Netflix Viewing

Today's MRQ, which is also the 777th(!) entry on this site, tackles 6 films available for streaming on Netflix, as well as one film I saw via HBO Go. This time out, I'm offering a complete grab-bag of genres: Water's Edge, Valkyrie, Bernie, Man of Thai Chi, Bobby Fischer Against the World, The Collection, Hellraiser. Enjoy!

Water's Edge

Oh, wow, it's been so long since I've seen a b-grade thriller that wasn't awful. This time out, I tuned in because the movie stars my spirit guide, Nathan Fillion. I reviewed Serenity, the Firefly film recently, and just discussed his turn in Much Ado About Nothing, so what better way to glean some insight than to see how this actor did back in 2003. Which brings us to Water's Edge.

The premise is simple: Robert (Fillion) and Molly (Chandra West) are devastated by the death of their child. Broke, they move into Robert's father's cabin while Robert tries to write a new novel. But soon, Robert spies a cop who's about to murder a young woman, Rae (Vaugier). Now, the couple must face local corruption while trying to learn why the beautiful female was nearly killed.

To be honest, I was surprised both by the cast that was assembled, as well as by how good everyone was. It's true that I always expect Fillion, Daniel Baldwin, and Emmanuelle Vaugier to be solid - and damn if Fillion isn't in good form here. But even the actors that I didn't know were just fine.

Similarly, the film puts careful, solid effort into slowly unspooling Robert and Molly's backstory, in addition to keeping the audience guessing about Rae and her motivation. Characters are introduced appropriately, with nice little callbacks and foreshadowing and surprises strewn throughout the picture.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Trail(er)s: Picture Perfect

I had to put this trailer here because it didn't fit anywhere else. What really got me was the plot description on the Youtube page:
Kate Mosley (Jennifer Aniston) is having difficulty getting ahead in her career because her boss believes that only married employees deserve promotions. To get the position she's earned, Kate pretends to be engaged to Nick (Jay Mohr), a man she recently met at a friend's wedding. In the beginning, her plan works perfectly, securing a promotion and helping her catch the eye of a coworker (Kevin Bacon), who only dates women who are already in relationships. But, when Nick reveals that he is falling in love with Kate for real, she'll have to reevaluate her priorities and decide if she is meant for true love.

Now the trailer - which is kind of terrible - doesn't mention the work problems, which is what I want to focus on. How does a professional woman in 1997 invent a fiancé to get ahead? Why not simply file a discrimination suit in court and lodge a complaint with her state's department of labor?

If you've got a college degree, you should know that it's totally illegal to favor or punish employees on the basis of things like gender, orientation, religion, age, and marital status. It's one hell of a stretch and I know that romantic comedy are based on crazier oversights, but still...