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.