Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lazy lazy lazy

I've been meaning to talk about a couple of movies lately. 2 that I've seen (one I even liked), and 1 that I'm not interested in.

Unfortunatley, I've been distracted. Distracted by...Star Wars Battlefront (and Battlefront 2). My friend and I played Battlefront 2 until 5:30 am. But we beat it!

You get to fight all the battles from the movies. Pilot an AT-AT on Hoth. Help the Wookies defend the beach on Kashyyk. Defeat the droid army on Naboo. Or better yet, rewrite history by killing Princess Leia on the Deathstar! It's so great.

Um, so I'll get back to talking about movies when I'm not so busy playing Battlefront...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Returns? Maybe he shouldn't have...

I didn't really do much this past weekend, which can only mean one thing...I watched tv. And on my tv, what do I find? A movie starring such fine actors as Michelle Pfiefer, Christopher Walken, Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton... no, not Johnny Dangerously, that only had two of them.

No, I'm talking about Batman Returns, the 1992 sequel reuniting Michael Keaton and Tim Burton in Gotham City.

And what a stupid fucking movie it was. It was just terrible. 14 years ago, I saw this in the theater and loved it. Thought it was the greatest movie ever (replaced the next year by Jurassic Park), but I was a mere child, and apparently very stupid. What did I know?

In a lot of ways, the movie seems cheesier than the old tv show. Catwoman's dialouge never feels natural. Saying things like "You're catnip to a girl like me. Handsome, dazed, and to die for. You're the second man who killed me this week, but I've got seven lives left." She meows! She falls into a truck hauling kitty litter. And not just hauling it, but hauling it loose in an open top dump truck. What are the odds, even by Hollywood standards?

Or the Penguin...he has fins for fuck's sake. FINS! Instead of hands. And he says things like "I was their number one son, but they treated me like number two." He uses a mind control device to send attack penguins into Gotham City.

Warner Bros spent $80 Million dollars making this movie. And somehow the neglected to spend any of that money on a good script.

Batman Returns makes Aeon Flux look good by comparison.

It's a sad thing though, to realize that something you enjoyed as a child is so completely horrid.

Which reminds me, I owe you an apology George Lucas. You may have made some bad choices in all the alterations to the Star Wars trilogy, but at least you didn't make Batman Returns.

Look at the crab!

He pinches.

I like that commercial.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Something is missing

I'm sitting here eating some apple sauce.

That's my post.

No, I'm kidding.

So the apple sauce, it's not bad, but it's missing something. It's made with granny smith apples. It's bland. Very bland. It doesn't have the flavor I would expect from a granny smith apple. The tartness, you know?

That's how I felt leaving Silent Hill. It wasn't a bad movie. I didn't dislike it. But it felt like it was missing something. And I can't figure out what. The visuals were good. The story and acting were ok. I didn't have any complaints about it, but it felt...lacking.

The movie unfolds much like a game. A clue, a piece of a puzzle. Find a knife, use it then lose it. Like a game each objective is placed before you and you move to accomplish it. Since it's a movie based on a game, this makes sense.

I liked the way that the city of Silent Hill existed on two seperate planes, and I liked the way that that was presented.

I'm curious to check this out on DVD with a commentary and some behind the scenes kind of stuff.

I know what was missing, the dread. The tension. It felt, to me, like every time a little tension was building, that it kind of sputtered out. Build build build the tension of Rose in town, and cut to Chris someplace else.

I did like the movie though. Just, it felt lacking, kind of like my poor apple sauce. sauce. I should make it myself again.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Of all the brilliant ideas I've ever heard...

This is one of them.

I know you've always wanted to be a part of a independant movie. A zombie movie at that. But, you can't act and you don't know any aspiring film makers. I understand. Well, here's your chance.

The Forever Dead is looking for sponsors. That's right. And they're doing it on eBay. For a $1 donation, you get your name in the credits of a feature length movie. Donate $50 and you get a copy of the DVD AND a DVD of they're prior short film, Second Death. But that's not all, you'll also get an invitation to the film's premier in North Carolina this October.

And thank you to Stacie who writes Final Girl for writing about this before me and bringing it to my attention.

Sponsor a zombie movie on eBay

Friday, April 21, 2006

Analyzing: Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace

Episode 1, how I've loved to hate you these 7 years. In 1999, you held promise. Promise of something that could transcend time. A new hope, if you will, for another classic trilogy that would rival the original in both technical ability and scope of the story. And for years, I felt both betrayal and curiosity.

I camped out waiting to buy tickets an entire week in advance. I delayed the start of a job for you. I almost lost another. I saw you not only at my time on opening day, but also the following showing in the same theater. I watched you twice, back to back.

And then the excitement died and the backlash began. Was it deserved though? Here is a movie that serves only to introduce characters and set a series of events in motion that will cover some close to half a century in a galaxy far, far away.

You have a mentor in Qui-Gon Jinn who is a master in the ways of the jedi. And at times is seen as a bit reckless by the young Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Qui-gon is not reckless. Like anyone who is a master in anything, he knows that sometimes, the rules aren't rules. Sometimes the rules are just guidelines, there to be ignored in extenuating circumstances. Such as the discovery of a boy who has no father and has a high concentration of midi-chlorians.

Midi-chlorians are, of course, mystical bacteria who exist in everything. They are also criticized as a bad addition to the series. But why? Isn't it natural to try to explain what causes something we don't understand? Perhaps it's an over simplication of what the force truly is in much the same way that Apollo carrying the sun with his chariot is a simplistic way to describe why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

This boy is of course Anakin Skywalker. The future Darth Vader. Though, as a boy, you see nothing in him that would cause such a thing to happen. It's almost unthinkable that this innocent child could become the scourge of the galaxy.

And let's not forget, everyone's favorite Gungan, Jar Jar Binks. The comic relief. The helpful idiot. People hated him, and I'm not sure why sometimes.

See, here's the thing, aside from being a family friendly PG movie, this is a child's movie. Not that it's intended specifically for children, but it's about children. It's a beginning, everything is young. So, it makes sense that since your main character is a child you yourself are immersed in a childish world in order to relate to young Anakin.

See, and that's where I think a lot of people (myself included at times) have a problem with Episode 1. It's kind of the Muppet Babies version of a Star Wars movie. But, in a lot of ways, it works. Here you are in a universe just before the storm hits. Everyone is still a little naive. They have no idea what's about to happen. There's a prophecy about bringing balance to the force, but no one really knows what that means. A series of events though are about to be set into motion that will begin and end two seperate wars, undo a galactic republic and seat and then kill an emperor. These are massive events on a national scale, can you imagine a galactic scale?

And because of the naivety of the characters, the tone of the film is a relfection of them. They are all like children trying to grasp at the consequences of seemingly inconsequencial actions. And they can't. The forest is so thick that they can't see the trees.

Thematically, that's what this movie is. It's childlike in it's approach to galactic politics as a reflection of the childlike characters. And that's what I mean when I say it's a child's movie.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This is actually, a rarity for me so far...

...something about Silent Hill. And trust me, like everyone else, I'm more excited about this movie than can possibly be healthy. Which is maybe a little odd. You see, I never played any of the games.
Maybe that's why I'm so interested in it? I have no idea what to expect out of it. The story is completely unknown to me. And, I won't be able to bitch about it straying too far from the game!

It's kind of the same way I felt about Resident Evil. Only I had played the game. I hated the RE games. I never liked the controls. Yeah, I'm one of those. The one who wouldn't play because the controls were stupid. Sorry. But I liked the movies. For the most part, I'm a fan of video game adaptations of games I didn't play religiously at some point in my life (sorry, Doom).

So, the reason I'm posting has 6 clips from Silent Hill up. So, I went over to YouTube and of course someone had it posted there which means that I can put them here. So, Enjoy! Or don't! Whatever!

Trust me on this:

It's just the radio:

We've all lost our children:

There's no room 111:

It's happening again:

Be careful what you choose:

Now, I know some people don't want to know too much about the movie before it comes out and won't watch the clips. That's fine. To be honest, *I* may not watch the clips. I haven't decided yet. We'll see what happens later...though, more likely, I'll forget and watch Deadliest Catch on the Discovery channel.

Think about it this way...I may stop talking about it soon.

I keep talking about Lady Vengeance, but I have, until know, only been able to talk about when it was playing near ME. Well, now, maybe, it's playing near YOU. See that, I'm not as selfish as you thought. I don't do this just for me. If I did, I wouldn't do it. What would be the point? I've seen the movies already. I know I liked it. And for a revenge movie, it was very light hearted.

I think the real question now is why exactly is Detroit so high on the list? We're ahead of LA!

New York City, NY April 28
Detroit, MI May 5
Los Angeles, CA May 12
Irvine, CA May 12
Boston, MA May 19
Washington, DC May 19
Bethesda, MD May 19
Chicago, IL May 26
Tucson, AZ June 9
Atlanta, GA June 16
Portland, OR June 23
Salt Lake City, UT June 30
Huntington, NY May 26
Nashville, TN June 30
Dallas, TX June 30
Austin, TX June 30
Houston, TX June 30
Atlanta, GA June 30
San Diego , CA July 28

Sunday, April 16, 2006

In honor of the holiday

So, it's Easter today which is a celebration of the day that Jesus rose from the dead. We celbrate by nailing chocolate rabbits to crosses. You don't? Really? Well...hmm.

Anyways, in the spirit of the holiday, I'd like to talk about zombies. And why they scare me.

Zombies are slow. They can't think. They shouldn't be scary at all. But they are.

Zombies, of course, are the dead reanimated. Moving corpses with an insatiable hunger for human flesh, or brains but generally flesh. Nothing seems to be interested in eating brains anymore. So, zombies are a very specialized predator. A predator designed to be the new top of the food chain. Of course the downside to their bloodlust is that they eat and eat all they can, but cannot digest their food. So, rotting flesh piles in their stomach until it bursts. Which brings us to the next part...

Zombies don't feel pain. Step on a thumb tack and you jump up, grabbing your foot. It hurts! Zombies don't care about thumb tacks. Or broken glass. Or fire or barbed wire. Shoot a zombie's leg and it crawls toward you. It doesn't care.

And this is what scares me the most, they're unrelenting. They just keep coming. Kill one and more appear. You keep running, they keep chasing. You think you outrun them, then no, they're still giving chace. It lulls you into a false sense of security.

And it's not just one zombie. It never is. It's a mob, groaning, clawing at your walls, trying to get to you. They're always there. 24 hours a day until something happens. Either they die on their own, which does eventually happen, or more likely, they get to you. They either break in becaue fo their unrelenting assault, or you screw up and get sloppy.

In a zombie attack, the odds are against your survival.

So, Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So far, yes I am remembering

I still think you should see Lady Vengeance. I know I want to see it again. And, I remember, I posted a thing about the Detroit Film Theatre showing Lady Vengeance May 5-7. That's going to be $7.50 well spent.

I don't know where, or when it's playing in your area. I would tell you if I knew. April 28th maybe? Damned limited releases!

Now, to find out where I can buy that poster...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Finally! Someone gets it

Check out cinematical

What a wookie

I'd like to take some time today to discuss something that means a lot to me. Something I think about on a daily basis. Something that can probably never be replaced in my life. A part of my life than has been near constant over at least the past twenty years.

I'm of course talking about the original Star Wars trilogy. More importantly, how George Lucas has ruined all that was pure in my life.

Now, there are plenty of people, much smarter and coherent, than me who have discussed this in the past. So, where I'm going to come in at is the Audio Commentary on the DVDs, I'll stray from there...

I've been checking out the commentaries over the past week. Included are Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, Carrie Fisher and of course, Lucas. George is the only one I have an issue with. Would you like to know why? Wrote a song about it, wanna hear it, here it goes....

I wanted 1 thing from Lucas in the commentary track. I just wanted some insight into why. Why George, why did you steal my innocence?!? Um...I mean, why make the changes. Offer some BS if you have to. Instead, he doesn't even ACKNOWLEDGE them. The Special Edition, the DVDs, changes made for both of them, HUGE changes, never mentioned.

Now, say what you want about them being his movies, his ART, that he has a right to make them into the movies that he wants them to be. As a director, he has that right. So, as much as I may hate it, I will give him a pass on Star Wars. However, he did NOT direct The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, that would have been Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand respectivly. Did THEY have a say in the changes? Did they want to go back and BASTARDIZE the movies that they had made? You see, as soon as you get out of the director's chair, you lose the right to your artistic vision, ask any writer who had their novel wrecked by making into a movie. And I now Lucas didn't get Marquand's direct approval because he DIED in 1987! So, Lucas took it upon himself to change a movie that, in a lot of ways, WAS NOT HIS.

At this point, these are not the movies that I grew up with. It's like DaVinci looking at the Mona Lisa today in a museum and adding a car in the background because paint brushes are made better now and he'd always imagined someone driving across the background. At that point, it's not the piece of art you've always known. It's something altogether knew. And it detroys the original, much like Lucas won't acknowledge that there are people who want Star Wars back the way the remember it.

Really, all I can do is deal with it. I just wish that Lucas would acknowledge the changes and give a real explanation for it all...

Next year is the 30th aniversary of the release of the original Star guess is that Lucas takes Sir Alec Guiness out and replaces him with Ewan McGregor.

I'm not kidding.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I liked it when stuff was blowing up

Sometimes, a movie just looks so promising, but in the end kind of leaves me Such was Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes.

It started off pretty cool with the murder of some scientists and then the nuclear tests over the opening credits. Then we meet the Carter family. Going on vacation. Driving along in their automobile. Stoppin to get gas and being informed of a "shortcut" by the helpful but creepy gas station attendant. And by attendant I mean the only fucking person within like a hundred miles. So, maybe you write off the creepiness as a side effect of the isolation. I can buy that.

So, the Carters , not the Kotters...though, really wouldn't that be kind of interesting? The Hills Have Eyes vs Welcome Back Kotter? Epstein could sign the letters from his mom with her actual HAND! "Up your ass with a pickaxe"! Come on! Am I alone here? Anyone? You know, screw you guys, here I am with a good idea and you don't even care!

...Um...right...where was I?

Ok, the Carters take the shortcut. And their tires get blown out and their TRAPPED in the middle of nowhere. At this point I got bored, it had been too long since something had died. Wow, that sounded kind of mean. But then something DIED! It was a dog and then one of the family fell and hit his head. Like I said I was bored at this point and started to space out. And unfortunatly, I never recovered. Until like the last 30 minutes.

It was alright. I don't know. It wasn't terrible or anything, it was just...I'm not sure I liked the ambiguous ending either, is that saying too much about it? Sorry. Like I said, it was alright. I guess that's really all I can say about it. It was alright.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I almost forgot to title this!

How do you go from making a movie as unique as High Tension to doing 2 consecutive remakes? Bloody-disgusting and Rueters are both reporting that Alexendre Aja's has signed on to direct Into the Mirror. Yes, that would be the same Into the Mirror that I spoke of only a few days ago.

The thing I don't get is, you're just coming off of The Hills Have Eyes, so why do another remake? I don't know. I liked High Tension and I liked Into the Mirror, so, I have pretty high hopes for this. I hope it turns out well, but it will likely be some time before we know.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More video.

Shaun of the Dead is pretty easily one of my favorite movies. As a result, I became a fan of the British tv series Spaced. Why you ask? Well, it's the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright connection. They worked together on Spaced which led to them writing and making Shaun of the Dead.

So, you can begin to imagine my interest in their upcomming movie Hot Fuzz. Where Shaun of the Dead was their loving tribute to zombie movies, Hot Fuzz is a loving tribute to cop movies. And even though it won't be out until next year, and is only now in the process of filming, here are some video diaries that Simon Pegg has been working on.

It's video-riffic

Chan Wook Park's Lady Vengeance hit's theaters on May 5th. It's a very good movie and I think you should watch it. It's very different from Oldboy in that it has a much lighter feel to it.

I have a present for you though, a trailer. Yeah. Watch it.

You know, I'm really starting to like YouTube.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Only thing missing was Alice.

After this, I'm all caught up. This feels like a rush job, doesn't it? Dammit. I'm trying to take my time. Write what I want to write. *sigh* Well, let's get on with it.

Into the Mirror. Korean movie. A lot of supernatural stuff, but not really a horror movie. It's more of a detective story. You see, there's this department store called Dreampia and a year ago, there was fire. And one of the employees died. And now, she's haunting the store. Ok. I'm in. Tell me more.

Well, the woman's body was identified by four coworkers. Her sister was in a mental hospital at the time and couldn't do it herself. Did I say sister? I meant TWIN sister. That's right. Identical twins. Same face, same dna, same blood type. You name it.

Meanwhile, head of mall security is a former cop (and excellent marksman) who one year ago, in an attempt to save his partner who was being held at gunpoing, took a chance at tried to shoot the hostage holder. Unfortunatly, he shot a mirror. His partner was killed.

A mirror! That's how the ghost is now killing the ones who "identified" her body. One by one, their reflections attack them.

The whole premise is that there are two worlds and that mirrors are the divider. Following? Good. You see, if you die on one side, you can stay alive on the other. Vampires for example, have no reflection, because they DIED on the other side of the mirror. DiVinci, according to the movie may have been the opposite, perhaps coming through from the otherside (speculation because he wrote his name backwards).

And I'll tell you this, the mirror thing is done real well. It looks good when the mirror image is not doing what the person is doing. Like, the reflection slitting it's throat with a pizza cutter and the person's neck starts to bleed. In the reflection, there's blood on the pizza cutter but on the floor, it's clean. Those sort of things are done consitently well through the movie.

Oh! I said this was a mystery, right? So, what's the mystery...well, it's who's killing these people and why. Pretty simple. But, we know who like halfway through, so it becomes a what happened kind of thing. If I say more, I risk giving things away. So, we'll stop the play by play there.

Overall, it was good. I really enjoyed it, which was a relief after being pretty disapointed with the movies I've seen lately. It was definatly a relief to see something that I not only enjoyed, but it made sense. Everything came together well. This is something that I would definatly recommend.

All the budget of a porno, but none of the fun.

I'm just flying through posting today. Gotta catch up on that backlog. One more after this and I might be done for the day.

Friday night, I watched a movie. It was called...I don't know. Apparently, it is SANADA KUNOICHI NINPƔ-DEN: KASUMI. Or, as it was advertised on eBay when I bought it, Azumi 3. Or Kazumi. It's a female ninja story, in the vein of Azumi, which is a terrific movie if you get the chance to see it, it's sequel is very good, too. This movie, however was a massive pile of crap.

Low buget, that's fine. I'm cool with that. The acting I know, it was subtitled. And this is the fun part. Apparently it was "machine subbed" which as far as I can tell means that the loaded the subtitles into a machine gun and let the words go where ever they felt like. It made no sense. Remember that homeless guy you met downtown? The one with 3 teeth and a radio playing static arguing with himself? Made him look like a mensa member. If you translated something to english with no consideration for tenses or sentance structure, you'd get something like this.

And then there was the sex scenes. And I have to bring this wasn't enough to be considered pornography. Just some boobs. And, trust me, you've seen better (or worse depending on your perspective) on Cinemax. And here's the worst part, it was boring. Like, skip over it boring. As in "can we get back to the funny dialouge" boring.

So, it was bad. It was nonsense. It wasn't Izo bad...but it was close. So, if you ever get the it. No, really. I'm not suffering on my own. You have to watch this. It's worth trying to read the subtitles after a few beers with your friends. You'll get alaugh out of it. And at less than an hour and a half, it's not a horrible waste of time.

But, no, don't, it sucked.

This is short, don't worry...

It feels like I'm catching up on things that I just haven't had the motivation to write about...

<- That there is from Dr Zaius' Replacement DVD Cover Art. A brilliant little site with currently about 20 replacement covers that hopefully, will continue to grow.

The other site I want to mention, mostly because I'm considering stealing the idea, (and I am NOT above stealing an idea from someone... ) is MMM Commentaries, who provide alternate commentaries for movies. Which, like I said, I love the idea of. And am currently thinking about setting up a similar sort of thing. It'll take time, money and...well, motivation...but someday, I just might get around to it.

Arrgh! Thar be movies over yonder

You know, maybe I talk too much about downloading movies here. Specifically, I like to talk about legal downloads. I do this because the subject of downloading movies hits close to home for me.

Huh? No. Wait, did you think No. Of course not. What I mean is that I think that legal downloading is the future, and as much as I hate Digital Rights Management (DRM), I understand that it is going to be a part of this future. It's unfortunate because it's DRM that will ensure that legal downloads will never work. It will be the albatross around the studios' collective necks.

For example...both Movielink and CinemaNow offer legal movie downloads from the major studios. Movielink is OWNED by five of the studios (and hates your firefox browser), CinemaNow is only going to be getting movies from Sony, MGM and Lions Gate. Both sites allow you to PURCHASE (for about $20) a movie and download it to your computer, where it will stay. Forever. Unless you delete it. It will never be someplace a physical DISC that you can play in your dvd player and watch on your tv. No. You can watch it on your computer, or if you have a video card with a s-video out, you can run your computer to your television.

So, as the kind of person who goes to my friend's house with movies all the time, I fail to see this as a wonderful innovation that greets the digital age head on. All it means is that I would have to BRING MY ENTIRE COMPUTER to my friend's house to watch a movie or to at the very least let him watch it.

I love my DVD collection. I love everything about it. I love how hard it is for me to find anything and how much space it takes up. Ok, maybe not everything, but the dvds...I love. Deleted scenes. Commentaries. Video diaries, interviews and making ofs. Love them. As such, I have had no problem justifying the purchase of altogether too many movies. Movies that I had already "owned". Stuff that I acquired (one way or another) and liked and bought. I constantly do this. Why? Because there's nothing like that new DVD smell....mmmm.....half new car and half airplane glue...smells like purple....

Like I've said in the past, just make a simple system and people will come. That was the beauty of iTunes. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was simple. For 99 cents, you can download any song they have. Between the simplicity of the system and all the downloads they gave away with Pepsi and 7-11, it took off. And while it isn't cd quality, and it covered in DRM, it's a pretty good system. It's not perfect, but, for the most part you can do what you want with the songs you buy. And that seems to be the biggest thing still missing from the movie studio's download equation for success is the ability to do what you want after buying the movie. Hard drives are, yes, relatively cheap these days, but not as cheap as blank dvds. And certainly not as easy to deal with. I don't see why it's so hard.