Sunday, December 27, 2009
I feel dirty.
Not the regular kind of dirty like after you've done some heavy work and you're dripping with sweat.
Not the good kind of dirty like when you're in a strip club and you're being massaged by the best tits money can buy.
Not even the literal kind of dirty like when you've fallen into a mud puddle after stepping out of your carriage and misjudging the first step. (...If you so happen to travel by carriage, I suppose.)
The layer of filth that seems to have coated my very being is unique.
It has stained my skin, my eyes and possibly even my very soul. (I'll only know for sure once I visit a clairvoyant. Only then will I be in a suitable position to decide which lies I shall believe in order to attempt to heal my corrupted aura.)
Until then though; I fear that this sickening sense of putrescence that clings to my form like film upon rotting meat will be with me for some time.
What could have caused this grimy residue imbued with such gag-inducing potency?
Well, how about the face-paralysing experience of witnessing a film concerning teenage zombie rape.
Yep. You read that correctly.
Teenage. Zombie. Rape.
Aren't you glad you visited my blog today?
Allow me to now provide my report a la some kind of pseudo-coroner upon the cinematic corpse that is DEADGIRL http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0896534/
(Oh yeah, I'm not going to spoil the journey for y'all by laying the plot out on a slab. But hey, I've already mentioned 'teenage zombie rape'. If that triple-threat combo of words does not inform you as to whether or not this is the film for you, then perhaps you need to do some soul searching. Light some candles. Find yourself, y'know? Have fun.)
- This horror film is, appropriately and refreshingly, horrifying.
It's about time a flick came along that lives up to the implications pertaining to the HORROR genre.
This is a greasy, unpleasant film that leaves a thick layer of retch-worthy after-taste in the back of your throat.
It's like eating something rotten on a hot, sticky day...and you have no beverage available to rinse your mouth out with.
You can even almost smell this film.
The stale sweat. The sickly musk of old sex and body odour generated by the exertions involved in such an activity.
Waves of scent seem to radiate out from the screen and place you in the middle of these disgusting events.
And that face that you generally pull when you smell something offensive? The way your nose lifts and your top lip curls back slightly as if trying to recoil away from the source of the odour? Yeah, that face is the mask that you will wear throughout the duration of this film.
I put my mask on during the first 'sex scene'...and never took it off.
It's still on as I type this.
Damn, I need a shower. I hope soap can rid me of this feeling. Perhaps I have some heavy-duty cleaning products in the cupboard. It's worth checking...
- The Dead Girl's face is simply terrifying.
Even before it has been, well, ...worn out, so to speak. Ahem.
Her expressions display a perfect blend of ravenous fury and corpse-like mindless vacancy...yet with eyes that seem to still hold a faint echo of her past humanity.
And when she 'grins' she becomes the mascot of nightmares.
I'll be seeing this gal in my mind for years to come.
Perhaps I should adopt a drinking problem...
- Noah Segan's performance as JT is excellent. He did solid work in BRICK http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393109/ (Just watch it. NOW) as Dode, and yet I didn't even recognise him here; so different was he from that previous character.
JT is one frightening chap.
He's that kind of friend that is always just one small situation away from snapping, y'know?
You could see in his eyes that there was a pendulum just waiting to swing away in the wrong direction and the right set of circumstances were all he required to swing away and smash everything to pieces.
- The 'shopping for a new girl' scene at the gas station is disturbing...and yet it manages to catch you off-guard and take an unexpected turn.
The scene could have played out predictably and still succeeded; yet the curve-ball that is tossed at the audience allows our minds to fumble briefly before being led off onto a new path in this disturbing journey.
- This is a TRULY original take on the whole zombie movie genre. A most impressive feat, indeed.
There are no head-shots.
There are no mall scenes.
There are no shambles of zombies laying siege to a structure that contains a holed-up band of distressed survivors with suitably diverse backgrounds.
It basically ditches the bulk of zombie movie cliches and decides to tackle the subject from a VERY different angle and have the players be anything but heroic survivors.
Heroism is nowhere to be found within these halls, kids.
These characters are just plain...wrong.
- Far too many so-called “horror” films these days are stale, formulaic affairs that deal with text-book scenarios that, at best, barely manage to elicit a giggly shriek from the audience.
True horror should do as the name implies.
They should stay with you.
No other genre of film; and I mean NO OTHER GENRE, manages to stay with you afterwards as effectively as horror.
...Provided it is done right.
Take a quick run down a general list and you'll see:
ROMANCE = “Oh, wasn't that lovely. I feel romantic. Let's kiss and maybe you'll get a handjob on the drive home later. Where should we eat?”
COMEDY = “Oh, wasn't that funny? I liked the part where I laughed. Hahaha. Where should we eat?”
ACTION = “That was awesome. That explosion was...explosive. Where should we eat?”
DRAMA = “That made me think about things. Let's discuss it before our entrees arrive and then our relationship issues will take priority. Where should we eat?”
Yet with HORROR, you should get:
“...That was awful. I don't want to be alone tonight. I think I need a bath. What? No. I don't even feel like eating. Let's go.”
Horror stays with you.
It makes you look at the darkness in a different way.
You try to open the car door quicker.
You make sure you double-check the door and window locks.
You don't want to be alone afterwards.
Your mind has now been conditioned to believe that all of those things you just experienced on a screen...have managed to follow you THROUGH the screen, out into the real world.
THAT is a truly memorable experience.
Some may cry that such films make you feel bad or scared and why would anybody desire that from a film.
The watching of films is supposed to be a leisure activity. Why would you desire a negative feeling?
...But therein lies the whole trick to horror films and good films in general.
THEY MAKE YOU FEEL SOMETHING.
If they 'get to you', regardless of genre or subject matter, then the film has served its purpose...and then some.
It makes for a richer experience and the level of immersion is raised considerably if you happen to take something away from the film, long after you've safely pressed the STOP button and sighed with relief as you remind yourself that it is “just a movie”.
I still cannot rid myself of DEADGIRL's disgusting taste.
It is horrible and this, ...this is a horrible, HORRIBLE film.
And I mean that as a MASSIVE compliment.
I am speechless.
My jaw is literally still open from when this film made it fall to the floor at the beginning.
MARTYRS http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029234/ Whoa.
I am not going to go into detail about this film, for to spoil it would be unforgivable.
I can only say that it is absolutely brilliant.
Believe me or do not.
I could not care less.
But if you choose to disbelieve me, then it is your loss.
It is easily one of the best films I have ever seen in my life and I believe that it may be the BEST HORROR FILM I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.
This film is like getting hit by a truck.
...If you had never seen a truck before.
You'd be like, "What the fuck is that?" and then it would slam into you with such force that your mind never had a chance to process your own question before the answer obliterated your very existence.
Yeah. It's powerful, yo.
I shall write one of my usual posts about this film sometime in the future; but for now, I must leave you all with nothing but my highest of recommendations and a few little morsels:
1. The breakfast scene stunned me senseless.
2. The bathroom scene terrified me.
3. The 'final stage' had me doubting my own eyes.
This film is NOT an easy journey and you MUST have a strong stomach, but if you feel up to it, then please; witness this film.
Yes, it is disturbing and unpleasant...but the experience is unforgettable.
As I said; I shall return to this film again in a later post.
I have to go and think more about it now...
Sunday, December 6, 2009
No...I believe it was 4 times, if I'm to be truly honest with myself, and I must. For if I fill my own ears with lies and deception, then who knows what that could lead to.
I may grow angry.
I may stalk through the night, blade held tight, stepping in the memorised locations upon the old wooden floorboards of this house that yield no creaking moans of protest.
For I do not wish for my location to be revealed.
I must precisely execute every step of this remembered dance so that I may infiltrate my own sleeping chamber...without waking myself up.
For if I catch even the slightest scent of my own approach then it will be curtains for us all.
I will unleash considerably more than a simple “moan of protest” if I learn of my own vicious plans for this evening. If I am discovered then I will surely tear the wallpaper of this shabby dwelling with screams that would shatter the teeth of a whole choir of sinister angels, rendered deaf by a birth defect that was no mere accident, contrary to what the newsreels will have us all believe.
I'm losing focus...and I cannot afford to do so.
The steps...I must recall the correct steps...
What was the next one? Think!
Something...has just caused a vibration in that area of the memory-web that causes the plump abdomen of the mind to pulsate in anticipation of a delicious new recollection.
Well-timed, too. For I have grown hungry.
This nostalgic morsel will help me maintain my stamina.
This is no memory.
This...this is a...an understanding.
How could I not have noticed?
It was so clear.
“Moan of protest”...
Why did that particular current in my stream of consciousness self-punctuate as if it was in third-person?
Almost as if...it was heard...
Now I hear something...
The soft, disappointed moan of creaking wood was enough to make me turn...yet this reaction was predictably late.
My eyes had only a chance to barely locate my assailant, but not focus on them, as the blade seemed to vanish from my grip and appear elsewhere.
Unfortunately, 'elsewhere' happened to be buried 5 inches into my chest and by the time I understood that brutal fact about my own bodily geography, it was too late.
I did not hear another floorboard creak as I crashed to the floor.
Perhaps, I struck a rare silent board? It could happen.
After all, those boards were integral locations in the many steps I'd committed to memory that made up the 'dance' that allowed me to get close enough to my own sleeping chamber and murder myself while I slept.
I've never been a good dancer.
Perhaps that fact should have tipped me off that this endeavour was doomed from the beginning.
Surely I should have realised that I would learn of my own sinister intent?
Was I simply too arrogant to acknowledge this fact? Did I consider myself...stronger than myself?
If so, then I must be laughing heartily now.
I hear something...
The moan of another floorboard?
The soft, raspy laughter that comes from a parched and cracked throat that has known nothing but the flow of endless insults and hostility from the darkness within for years.
That laugh is familiar.
For it is my laugh.
I know it well.
I lie upon the floor and wish I could join in on the mirth...but a punctured lung, shattered rib and flooded chest cavity do not allow for much in the way of vocal expressions of joy.
I listen to myself laugh as I stand over my convulsing body.
The heaving sounds and corporeal shudders have reached a regular rhythm, and I realise that I have done this so many times now, that I can almost perfectly pinpoint the exact moment when 'body' transitions into 'corpse'.
It's a skill. One of many.
I should set my watch to this moment in time.
Where is my watch? No matter.
I utter a bubbling gurgle of fluid and bone fragments as I try to begin a fit of giggling, but I do not hear it because my own laughing has increased in volume and I hear nothing but the cacophony of joyous echoes as they fill the room like unnamed guests at a dinner party.
The laughter sounds like a party, actually.
The wind from the night outside was ideal for masking my footsteps, but now I can barely hear it.
The laughter has drowned everything... and I know that, I too, am drowning.
I try for another gurgle.
Perhaps a bark of final defiance...or a simple giggling word...
...Nope. No good. The laughter is too loud.
Strange; I thought I would feel worse, considering my situation.
Instead, I feel...calm. A sense of satisfaction seems to be a side dish to the main emotion.
Perhaps that laughter really is infectious.
I don't know.
I'll just close my eyes now. I'm tired of looking up at myself.
I never liked myself from that angle anyway.
I can't even hear the wind any more.
I can only hear myself laughing.
I could use a lozenge.
I have things to do. I'm glad my eyes are closing.
My eyes are closed.
The change will happen soon. I'm glad. Right on schedule. I don't need my watch.
I can only hear my laughter.
I cannot hear anything except laughter.
I CANNOT HEAR ANYTHING...except...laughter...
...and the moan of a floorboard from behind me.
It seems louder than usual. Clearer.
My laughing stops.
I cannot look down at my body...or is it a corpse now? I can't tell. There's no time.
I cannot turn around. There's no time. Where the hell is my watch?
I only heard the floorboard.
I only feel the hands alongside my head...as my neck is snapped.
I wish I heard the crack.
I wish I could still hear my laughter...
I open my eyes and blink until I'm satisfied with the clarity.
My mind echoes, but I can't remember the point of origin.
Perhaps I'll remember later.
My throat hurts.
I lick my lips and wonder when was the last time I drank.
Even if I had my watch, it could not provide such information.
The room is dusty...and I can easily see the footprints that I've left upon the floorboards.
Only my prints.
It looks like some kind of dance has taken place.
I lean forward and shift my weight onto a nearby floorboard; one that has no footprint.
...It creaks, like the groan of a disturbed homeless man.
Just as I thought.
I was lying...and it looks like it worked.
After all; I'm an excellent dancer.
(Just writing to see what comes out. This came out. I wrote most of this a couple o' months ago, I think. I can't remember the exact date.)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
If you haven't seen this film; then please send me an email with your first-hand opinion on the advantages of living beneath a rock. In the meantime, I'll give you a brief synopsis:
Two people fall in love on the wrong boat.
Wacky hi jinks ensue.
“Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch. Let's stretch her legs.”
Let us begin, shall we...
- The most convincing piece of evidence, in my opinion, that this film is amazing and effective is the fact that EVERY time I watch it, I STILL want them to miss the iceberg.
I felt that way on my first viewing and I felt the exact same way on my recent viewing.
I've lost count of how many times I've sailed upon this ship, but each time I return it feels like the maiden voyage again.
- Jeanette Goldstein has a small role as a the 3rd class Irish mother. It'd be awesome if, when the Titanic staff are holding off the lower classes behind locked gates, she clicked into her Vasquez persona (wielding her Colonial Marines-issue smart gun) and screamed “LET'S ROCK!” before unleashing hot rounds of penetrating death upon the cowering employees.
I also want to see a xenomorph clog-dance against Jack during the steerage party scene. He seems a bit cocky at that point, and I feel his getting served by a chitinous, ebony nightmare with mad dance skillz would've appropriately humbled him a smidgen. Perhaps the alien could go on to win Rose's heart and steal her away from our charming, streetwise artist, eh? Then we could all have been treated to the sight of Rose getting orally impregnated via face-hugger in the back of a jalopy as the xenomorph drone watches, drools and fogs up the windows with panting, hot breath.
Now that I think about it, when Rose and Jack are being pursued by Lovejoy and they flee through the engine rooms, I always expect Charles S. Dutton to jump in and have a manly fistfight against an alien.
Seriously, Dillon was a badass, yo and Alien 3 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103644/ is underrated gold, folks.
Go watch it again.
- Victor Garber's 'Mr. Andrews' performance is hilarious if you take it out of context.
He does an amazing job all round...but if you ignore his lines and just focus on his actions, then it's almost like he's slowly going insane as he wanders a damned ghost ship, trying to comprehend who these spectres are that persist on haunting his leisure cruise and chatting to him during meals.
Just try it. Watch his face and imagine he thinks he's surrounded by ghosts. It's great.
Someone could do an amusing editing/hatchet job on this.
Post it on YouTube if you do.
Think of the laughs, children.
- When the ship is starting to sink, Captain Smith basically loses his shit...but he chooses to do so in a quiet and dignified manner. He elects to simply wander around the ship and stare blankly in a state of catatonia...like a well-groomed, short-bearded Santa Claus who just came home to discover his elves running a train on Mrs. Claus.
That'd knock the lemon out of your tea, I'd say.
Then again, perhaps the traumatic situation at hand had nothing to do with Smith's fractured mental state.
Personally, I blame Grima Wormtongue's poisonous influence. He was probably lurking around in steerage; eating rats and waiting for the Titanic to dock at Mordor.
(NOTE: I consulted a weighty textbook on the subject, and I discovered that the Titanic was not scheduled to stop at Mordor. Grima was misinformed.)
“The ship is fiiiiiiiiiiine, Captain. Relax. Let's have a brandy...”
- I saw this 5 times at the cinema.
Coincidentally, I too am an artist and my then-girlfriend's parents hated me as well, so it seemed to fit, no?
...Okay, I didn't freeze to death in the ocean while clinging to an expensively ornate door, but she did go on to live a good life, I assume. So there were some parallels.
I do wish that I could say that I sketched Billy Zane's woman nude, though. That'd be well received during dinner parties, I feel.
- Cameron is a god. Simple.
That being said; I've never understood why douchebags mock the “King of the world!” line + Cameron's usage of it during his Oscar acceptance speech.
Cameron was understandably proud of his achievement and I think that his reaction was actually quite subtle, when you consider how MASSIVE said achievement was.
As for the line in the actual script; even it makes sense and is not worthy of ridicule. Jack had most probably never been in a situation like this before. Yes, he mentions his travels etc but he's still just a starving artist getting by on limited means and, frankly, I'm surprised that he didn't just whip it out and start beating off right there on the foredeck while Fabrizio cheered him on as he aimed for a happily leaping dolphin.
So shouting that he's king of the world? The man showed impressive restraint if you ask me.
"I'm gonna create some awesome."
- The old-Rose lady annoys me.
Nothing against her or her performance, it's just personal taste. She bothers me.
There's an SNL skit where she gets beaten and that brought a satisfied grin to my face. It was quite therapeutic.
It all boils down to her actions, basically. Many people undoubtedly lost jobs because granny threw the Heart in the ocean and decided to live out her final hours as a diamond-wasting, selfish hag. (There's even a deleted scene where Brock mentions the whole financial angle + resources + employees that stresses the magnitude of his whole operation. Sure; he's a treasure hunter...but he's a treasure hunter with investors and employees who all have bills to pay, Rose. But you don't care, do you? Nah. You got your centrefold and you stole a guy's last name...oh, and his life too. Nice.)
But I doubt that she'd even still have it. She basically stepped off the Carpathia like Jason Bourne in a corset. Wouldn't she have sold the rock so that she could finance her new identity as “Rose Dawson” and enjoy a life of endless horse, rollercoaster and plane rides at Cal's expense?
(NOTE: I just had an awesome image of Rose DeWitt Bukater looking all beautiful as she beats the crap out of NY guards a la Jason Bourne. That would be sweet. Hello sequel.)
Paxton should've just followed the ALIENS http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/ trend, adopted his Hudson persona and shouted, “Game Over!” as he rib-kicked her till she coughed up Le Coeur De La Mer.
The cinema would've clapped, I tells ya.
“I'll sketch ya', Granny!”
- People seem to be compelled to mock big ol' grand cinema experiences that seem kind of 'old Hollywood', for want of a better term. That is unfortunate and makes up the bulk of my theory on why AUSTRALIA http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455824/ was sneered at.
Why this attitude? It baffles me.
As if 'new' Hollywood is so flawless and serves up gold after gold.
There's nothing but remakes, yo.
Stale ones, at that.
- Kate Winslet/ 'Rose DeWitt Bukater' is amazing. (Yes, I agree that Leo carries equal weight in his role and does an excellent job, too. Hell, I'm a big fan and DiCaprio has been doing exceptional, solid work for YEARS, yet it seems like only recently that the masses have realised this. High praise to him, for sure.)
This is probably my favourite Kate Winslet role, along with Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I cannot praise her enough.
Can you blame me? I mean, Rose digs artists and poses nude. That's my kinda gal. She's simply awesome.
Now, would I freeze to death for her?... I'm not sure. BUT, I'd be willing to discuss the matter and hear what she has to say.
Tommy Ryan says that “You'd as soon have angels fly out of your arse than get next to the likes of her, boyo.”
That sounds like a challenge, sir.
So, in order to land a classy dame like Rose all I must do is meet her during her suicide attempt that interrupted my stargazing on a luxury cruise liner that I've found myself upon after winning a lucky hand of poker.
...Okay. Simple enough.
Unfortunately, I hate poker. Damn it.
No matter; I guess I'll just have to enjoy my time with Rose while I have it.
That brings me to another wonderful thing about her; Rose, and this film by association, feels like that amazing girl that you met while on vacation and fell in love with. But then the time came for you to both part ways...and she disappeared.
Now, you find that when you see her again every time you watch this film, the memories flow in thick and fast.
I love returning to that feeling and the whole experience still gives me chills.
- The VFX have already been spoken about to death by one and all, so I'll not spread another layer upon the thickness. However, I do feel that the costumes and Rose's wardrobe in particular deserve a mention. Her dresses are simply beautiful and her red/black 'suicide dress' plus her flowing, paper-thin 'survival dress' are my particular favourites. The image of Rose moving along a flooding corridor in that wet dress while carrying a fire-axe is one of those cinematic moments that instantly gets locked away in my memory banks under the 'CLASSIC' heading. She looks so beautiful, yet terrified.
Rightly so too, for that entire sequence with the lower-decks flooding and causing electrical malfunctions has an eerie tone of menace that lends the proceedings a horror movie vibe which becomes quite unsettling.
(Wet chick + Axe = Hot)
- I must briefly draw attention to the deleted scene involving Lovejoy hunting Rose and Jack through the flooding dining rooms. Yes, I agree with Cameron's opinion that it is unnecessary at that stage of the story; but it is still a damn good scene. Take the time to check it out on the DVD.
- Billy Zane is a king amongst lesser men when it comes to being a cad.
Cal is the type of gent who thinks of words – hesitates – then chooses a hearty slap over discussion. Classy move, that.
This upstanding young gentleman also chooses to chase after Rose + Jack...and shoot at them while the ship is sinking. That's commitment to being an asshole, right there. If you're gonna do it wrong – do it right.
I guess the best way for me to express how awesome Titanic is, is by the way it makes me feel when I'm 'on board', so to speak.
Even though the ship is doomed, I want to be on it.
I want to sketch with Jack, hang with Tommy Ryan, dance with Rose and have as many other experiences as I can manage within that limited time frame until the inevitable comes crashing in.
It's the same situation presented within Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Hogwarts, folks.
These are universes and places that, when you visit, you do not want to leave; and when you finally do step outside the borders, you eagerly wish to return.
I don't care if the ship is going to sink, y'all.
For the chance to spend time with Rose, I'd buy a ticket.
Hell, I'd buy 5 tickets.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I'm not a big fan of sunshine...but if I was, I assume this film could be equated to that warming glow that those harmful rays provide.
Except this marvellous film won't give you cancer and make you look like beef jerky in your later years.
So, let us look at 5 points why (500) Days Of Summer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1022603/ is awesome.
...Yes, I could be poetic and do 500 reasons if I really tried, but that's a bit much, no? I love delicious Oreos, but if someone offered me 500 of them to eat in one sitting (milk optional), I'd throw them a fist.
It's just not reasonable, people.
So 5 it is.
1. The entire experience is bittersweet.
You fall in love with Summer...then she's taken from you, and while your heart utters a tiny whimper that goes unanswered within your newly found emptiness, you're still left with a feeling of satisfaction. Sure; you're lonely now and there's that hollow echo of loss within...but you feel like you can cope with what is on the horizon and there's a subtle scent in the wind of the possibility that another person may come along to fill the void left by Summer's absence.
It's such a beautiful film that contains a subtle, painful honesty about life and how it works. Or rather, does not work.
The bittersweet aftertaste continues in that I took away from this film a sense that Tom was only creative and got his act together once he was free of Summer.
Hmmm, so (happiness) + (girlfriend) drowns out creativity?
I like tits as much as the next sailor, but if having them in my hand means less time with quill and paintbrush in my hand, then forget that.
Can you only be creative when you're alone and/or heartbroken? That's something for poets, artists and scholars to debate.
...But not on date night, apparently. Hmmm.
I'm a big fan of 'love' stories such as this and other films, like Secretary http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274812/ and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/, that aim for the audience member that doesn't want to watch yet another mindless rom-com *retches* where Regular Boy meets Plain Girl and happiness is grown together in between scenes of 'love-making' where the chick leaves her bra on.
That dog won't hunt.
Guys hold their stomachs in, people can decide to stop loving you mid-conversation and chicks take their bras off, yo.
Reality, folks. Pull up a seat and take it all in.
Films need to cater to the other sides of the love coin, now and again. Everything DOESN'T always work out. Problems don't get solved sometimes. Relationships aren't just experienced by flawless, mannequin-like droids with perfect dental work that grin at each other lovingly as they share a straw at the local malt shop.
That crap is only seen in greeting cards and weak films.
Now don't cry foul and reach for the pitchforks, torches and (insert Romantic DVD Boxset purchased for last Valentines Day to persuade partner into leaving the lights on for once) ...for I have nothing against love stories, so to speak.
Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe in love and I like it when I have a Bonnie to my Clyde; however, I just heavily DISLIKE it when most romantic comedies are nothing but weak, cookie-cutter piles of reheated tripe designed to be “date movies” in order to fill 2 hours in an evening spent by couples who fear an actual conversation.
(500) Days Of Summer pleased me because it's a romantic film that displays that there's far more texture and substance to love and relationships than most films give them credit for.
2. Zooey Deschanel is simply a magical entity. I'm convinced that she is not a human; but rather, an alluring being of myth. Similar to a woodland nymph or some other hypnotically playful sprite of lore.
I was captivated by Zooey when I first took note of her in The Good Girl, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279113/ (Check it out. It involves Jennifer Aniston showing why she's 1 of the only 2 cast members with a post-FRIENDS career)
where she played a cashier who advises a customer that ginkgo is helpful if urine is splashed on your face.
What a gal.
Here, Zooey's Summer character is a classy dame with style and a kind of librarian-meets-Katy Perry fashion-vibe going on. Love it.
I mean, seriously; how can you not fall for this chick? She pushes Tom into the porn section of a video store, watches the selection with him and then suggests that they incorporate a new act into their bedroom repertoire when she spots a technique that piques her interest.
In the shower, no less. Outstanding.
I'd put a ring on that girl's finger, yo....if I had any money left after buying crate-loads of porn in order to fuel her imagination further.
(She's, like, kinda magical.)
Summer also introduces Tom to The Penis Game.
How many girls have you met that are up for a game that involves saying the word “penis” in public with a progressively increasing level of volume in order to ante up the stakes?
I haven't met any. What's the world coming to?
Dames need to be up for more cock-based games, yo.
I also love the way they describe Summer as being fairly normal and yet they use the term, "The Summer Effect", while describing the amount of double-takes she receives from onlookers during her bus ride and such.
"The Summer Effect" is real, folks.
Such a phenomenon is to blame for much neck trauma that I have suffered as a result of witnessing many a breathtaking dame with Summer-like qualities. That first glimpse is like a shining beacon that draws your eyes back to the source of this pure beauty that entrances onlookers and makes them snap their heads round for a second look to make sure that what they're witnessing is true and not a trick of the light or fevered imagination.
Powerful beings, ladies are...and "The Summer Effect" is a fitting name for such power.
3. The Expectation vs Reality sequence is amazing. I'm gonna type that again and capitalize that shit.
It is AMAZING.
It was so simple, and yet so remarkably accurate. I bet EVERYBODY out there has had whole sequences like this in their lives. I know I have.
...And unfortunately, the reality only rarely equals the expectation.
The whole scene had me feel so happy for Tom...while simultaneously feeling gutted as I watched his reality fracture and branch off onto the path that lead to the numb, sobering ache of reality.
We've all been there, and seeing it displayed so well on the screen in such an elegant fashion, further proved to me that I was dealing with something special here.
That scene plus the 'day-after happiness' dance sequence make it clearly evident that this tale is treated with more care than most. You feel Tom's euphoric state of mind and triumph as he dances along the street and I even found myself bouncing along with the music and wanting to be able to congratulate him myself and join in alongside the animated bird and dancing pedestrians. I would've liked it to go on a bit longer actually, but alas, the story must go on...
4. “You like The Smiths?”
There is that 'eureka' moment in the elevator where Tom realizes that he's falling for Summer.
I'm still waiting for my Summer, unfortunately...
I've had those moments in the past...but, usually, some boyfriend has already had the “You like The Smiths?” moment with the girl LONG before I even entered the elevator, so to speak.
That's just annoying.
In fact, fuck The Smiths.
5. The Photocopy Room make-out scene.
I was worried that they were going to pull that ol' cinema trick and abruptly cut out from the kiss to show that it was merely Tom's fantasy.
That would've pissed me off.
Why? Because I WANTED TO MAKE OUT WITH SUMMER IN THE COPY ROOM!
Let me have that fantasy, cinema.
Don't slap me twice like an abusive husband with memory issues by showing me that my FANTASY is also a fantasy. Allow me these small concessions, please.
Thankfully, the kiss was legit, and I – plus Tom – was grateful for that fact.
That'll do for now. (Until I watch this film again after buying the DVD.)
Yes, I cheated and crammed multiple points into single numbers, but oh well.
I'm tricky like that.
I finally got around to watching MIRRORS. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790686/
In the past, I'd placed my ear close to the ground and heard the distant rumblings of others as they stalked across the land and muttered that it wasn't a fantastic film or anything and that I need not saddle my steed and head off to the cinema /video store at full gallop; carelessly trampling pedestrians under-hoof in my determined quest.
However, I did hear comments made about a particular scene.
A scene involving...jaw-breaking.
That was all I needed to hear, y'all.
To paraphrase Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire; you had me at “jaw-breaking”.
Here are some thoughts:
- The aforementioned jaw-breaking scene.
I gotta say; it impressed me. I know my way around a horror movie or two and if your story isn't that strong, then you have to even up the balance with some interesting violence or an ample serving of gratuitous tits.
Simple arithmetic, really.
It may even be one of the Commandments. Something along the lines of “Thou shalt include hearty servings of bangin' jugs in thine horror flick”. Don't quote me on that, of course, as I'm no theology professor or anything. (I dropped out just before graduation to pursue a career in the field of Personal Awesome.)
But I digress; this scene is brutally good. I heavily recommend it.
Watch it alone.
Watch it on a first date with a girl. (Tell her it's a new rom-com starring Amy Smart. The trap will be as good as set)
Watch it with a close chum, simply so you'll be allowed the opportunity to remark, “Holy baked shit! Did you just see that chick's jaw get ripped open? Swell!”
I feel it is my duty to pass on such horror gems to you people. It's just the kind of guy I am. Think of me like...Santa Claus.
But instead of spreading gifts, good-will and countless elfin bastards; I recommend scenes of horrific, ghost-influenced skull trauma.
Compose a mall-worthy carol out of those elements, yo.
- The mysterious plot involving the mirrors and so forth is rather bland and starts to outstay it's welcome. Sam and Dean Winchester would have solved this whole fiasco in one night, with time left over for last call at the bar, a couple o'rounds of hustled pool and Dean to bang some floozies in the Impala while Sam...I dunno, did demonic shit and used his laptop. That would've been better. I love Supernatural.
- This is possibly the only film in existence where you can see the grandma from Dawson's Creek play a nun who explodes after being 'filled'...*ahem*... by too many evil spirits, and then turns into a demonic nun who can scurry across walls.
Pacey never would've been able to deal with that kind of crap AND Joey. High school is already hard enough, kids.
- The mother in this film has a rather impressive rack, which she proudly displays to the audience by defending her home and children from vengeful spirits...while wearing a soaking wet singlet top.
Perhaps such attire offers a tactical advantage? Who knows? As I've mentioned many times in the past and in numerous foreign courts; I'm no priest. Who am I to judge whether or not spectral entities from the afterlife are frightened away by dripping-wet, glistening boobs. That sort of topic is not comprehensively covered in most text books that I've flipped through.
All I can say is that if I was a cursed spirit held captive behind a mirror and I saw those goodies; I sure as shit would try and breach my way into their world. I'd watch them like the newest episode of LOST, yo.
Ghosts still got needs, right?
(Who you gonna call?)
- Kiefer Sutherland wanders around in this film and looks equal parts pissed-off, confused and...not really frightened, but more irritated that someone ruined his day. Jack Bauer should be used to this kind of thing by now. (Isn't Season 5 of 24 about angry ghosts who have a nuke or something? I don't pay attention anymore, frankly.)
But 24 jokes aside; let us take a moment to focus on the cold hard facts; ...Kiefer played a badass vampire in The Lost Boys http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093437/ so when all of the reflective surfaces in his life started giving him attitude, Kiefer should've just clicked into David mode and screamed “I'm an 80's vampire and don't even have a reflection so eat shit, Spooky Mirror!” before riding off on his dirt bike through Santa Carla and listening to saxophone music by a sweaty, pony-tailed, muscleman.
Besides; the kids these days really love a sassy vampire, so I don't know how this opportunity was missed.
- The climax REALLY caught me off guard. Seriously.
Just when you think the dust has settled; the acrobatic demon-nun appears and an action scene begins that is reminiscent of Ash's fight against the pit-witch Deadite from Army of Darkness http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106308/
This unexpected showdown finally culminates in a COMMANDO-flavoured death where the nun gets impaled on a steam pipe a la Bennett. Hell...yes.
I was shocked.
If Matrix was here; he'd laugh too.
- This movie has the most Twilight Zone-y ending ever. I don't know what it is with Alexandre Aja and his 'twist' endings, but they're not really doing it for me. I'm a big fan of the guy, but he needs to leave the twist ending shtick alone.
That's about it.
Once again; this film isn't the freshest meat on the counter; but it has some decent moments and besides, say it with me, people; “JAW...BREAKING...SCENE.”
(This is the wrong film.)
Oh yeah, MIRRORS is a remake of the South Korean film, Geoul sokeuro
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372937/ I haven't seen it but after watching this, I think it'd be worth hunting down.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Onion Hair: http://cabinetminister.deviantart.com/art/Onion-Hair-137501306
Girl 02: http://cabinetminister.deviantart.com/art/Girl-02-137508074
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Stop on by...
Skateboard Deck: http://cabinetminister.deviantart.com/art/Dawn-Of-The-Deck-136986109
New ID: http://cabinetminister.deviantart.com/art/DEV-ID-Temple-137281898
Friday, September 18, 2009
Back in my college days, my amigos would often throw Bond, A View To A Kill and Max Zorin references about the classroom with mirthful joy. While I was a dedicated supporter of Christopher Walken, I had not seen said Bond film and new that I must do so before too long.
The years passed and life got in the way like a plump, sweaty woman who refuses to move at an acceptable pace in the buffet line, and I suddenly realised that I had still not yet caught this cinematic gem. I was not overly concerned though, for while I have nothing against the Bond franchise, as such, I've simply never considered myself a 'Bond fan', so to speak. Sure, I like promiscuous sex, flashy gadgets and exotic locales ripe with flashy, promiscuous harlots but the series just never really managed to get its hooks into me.
...That is until I finally sat down to watch A View To A Kill. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090264/ It opened my eyes and made me understand why all those years ago, my friends spoke of this Max Zorin character in the same way that monks speak about Buddha or idiots speak about Twilight.
Since my initial viewing, I have watched this film numerous times and have accumulated a robust collection of thoughts and musings.
Let us now enjoy them together...
Mayday: (in awe) “Wow! What a view!”
Zorin: (enthusiastically) “To a KILL!”
- I still don't know what that means.
Now I'm a pretty intelligent guy and I've watched this film enough times to have a joke ready whenever someone brings up butterflies during a dinner party, but I still have no freaking idea what the hell 'a view to a kill' is supposed to mean.
Maybe it's more a niche reference. Perhaps only an elite cadre of power-mad industrialists understand such a witty jape and were Zorin to deliver such a line in the company of his peers, I have no doubt that he'd be on the receiving end of many a hearty back-slap and all the kudos you can fill your pockets with.
Besides, anybody who didn't get the joke and throw back their head in approving laughter would probably just get their ass tossed out of a zeppelin.
Fuck that noise.
If that's gonna be the outcome; then I'll keep my mouth shut about views, kills and any resulting combinations.
Bah, the film should've been called 'Floods n' Blimps' anyway.
...And the poster should have had a picture of Stacy Sutton in a wet t-shirt with Zorin cackling maniacally above her with a whole Elvis 'sex on the beach'-movie vibe..
In fact, I'm putting that on my artwork TO DO list right now. Superb.
- During the iconic James Bond opening sequence when Bond shoots the unseen gunman, why the hell does the gun barrel rapidly fill with blood? That's absurd.
Even if Bond was having an awesome day and pulled off a bullshit shot that punctured an artery or something, I doubt that there would be an instant steady flow of blood that would easily flood a gun barrel. I'm no physician, but I'm not convinced that there's sufficient medical evidence to back this all up, Fleming.
Bond also always talks himself up in order to gain access into the moist confines of various women's undergarments, but I dare say that he leaves out the parts where he's killed numerous hemophiliac snipers and watched them drown beneath a crimson sea of their own unclotting juices.
That's a prick move, Bond.
(Yep. Just stand there and watch him gurgle.)
- “Neither the name 'Zorin' nor any other name or character in this film is meant to portray a real company or actual person.”
That disclaimer is actually displayed at the start of this film. Hilarious.
That's like stating that Darth Vader is not real or sincerely advising that the audience not go out and decapitate the nearest Scotsman after watching Highlander in order to drink of their delicious Quickening.
Sure, that would be awesome with a side of fries, but logic and common sense would prevail, right?
When the power of Zorin is concerned, logic is unconscious in an alley with a stoned hooker and common sense is nowhere to be found.
I like to think that the producers hastily attached that opening disclaimer from fear that after witnessing the pure, refined awesomeness that is Max Zorin, hordes of people would flock to his banner and try to emulate his style.
Just think of the chaos, people.
Skies filled with blimps and every Tom, Dick and...Max Jr. sitting at Starbucks, typing up their earthquake/flood schemes on their laptops and trying to buy equine steroids via eBay.
Personally, I never go to Starbucks and I'd love to look up each day and see countless blimps happily bouncing along; so I don't really give a shit what people do under the influence of Zorin Fever. However, I see what the disclaimer is getting at and t'is an admirable goal, to be sure.
(NOTE: The DVD commentary actually provides a factual reason for the disclaimer...but facts and research never got anybody laid, so just take my word for it.)
- Okay, so there's this ridiculously successful spy movie franchise and for the latest instalment they need something gripping to serve as an opening action sequence that'll pin the audience's collective ass to the seat while making them choke on their popcorn in goggle-eyed wonder.
What do they decide to do?
They serve up a skiing sequence accompanied by “California Girls” by The Beach Boys.
...Yeah, that'd be my first choice too.
Seriously, what the fuck did they DISCARD in favour of this? I really hope somebody got fired for that. Sure as hell wasn't the director, John Glen, who's idea it apparently was. Thumbs up, Johnnie.
But hey, he must've been doing something right, because he directed a handful of Bond flicks, including Octopussy, ...a film that I just wanted to mention because I'm childish and I like cephalopods.
(Nature is awesome.)
- Bond's colleagues mention a “highly sophisticated surveillance machine”...which turns out to be some kind of dog-droid, technological mistake that looks like it was hastily thrown together in a panicked frenzy when someone lied to the prop department and said that Bond required a hip new sidekick named Barkytron who would inevitably betray him in the 3rd act and efficiently sleep with his woman.
This thing is pure rubbish and I'm glad its presence is minimal. That being said, it would be amusing to add it into the background of various scenes throughout the movie, for I'd assume that, out of context, a nightmarish canine/toaster hybrid would warrant quite a few laughs in any situation.
- I've always felt sorry for the Frenchman who dies during the restaurant scene in Paris.
Imagine how his family must have felt when they were informed of his demise and the inevitable trauma that they'd suffer upon reading about the details in Le Monde, which would probably go something like this:
“...killed while dining when a poisoned butterfly was plunged into his cheek by a suspicious ninja-like figure who incorporated the gentle art of fly-fishing into macabre ballet of death...”
I bet his kids just said, “...car crash...” when asked relevant questions at school later on.
- May Day is a terrifying creature.
I think Grace Jones is pretty badass and all, but May Day is like some chocolate Amazon who doesn't seduce men, but rather crushes them to a pulp in order to extract vital juices and nutrients from their crippled husks like a giantess who is picking ripe grapes for her sexual wine.
...I'm not a drinking man, but if she offered me some of that, I'd be all like, “Yes, ma'am. Just don't squish my puny frame for your next vintage.”
She'd then probably penetrate me and mock my unmanly tears.
Sure, I'm man enough to admit that she frightens me, but can you blame me? She shows Bond who's the boss in the bedroom and Zorin only gains the upper-hand with her after he judo-throws her to the ground. If that's what dating strong women requires these days, then count me out. You'd go in for some lovin' and end up being hip-thrown into a china cabinet. Foreplay or not, that's not cool, lady.
But as I said, Grace Jones is badass and any dame that hangs out with Conan is groovy in my book.
(Yes, ma'am. Anything you say.)
- During the mine scenes, I always wish that Mola Ram from Temple Of Doom would suddenly drop out of a tunnel and that would lead to a kickass villain team-up moment. Such an alliance would be a sight to behold. It's like two different ends of the awesome spectrum coming together to make a focused beam of uber-awesome.
Seriously, that unity could be that foundation for a sitcom that'd never get old.
“Floods huh? So...what do I do with this heart?”
- At one point, Max Zorin says the line, “Would you be interested primarily in stamina?”; delivered in that, too-often poorly-imitated yet brilliant, Christopher Walken style of speech that could charm the bank account details out of a sober cobra.
Of course he happens to be referring to the quality of horse that Bond is interested in buying, but I choose to ignore this concrete fact and instead look upon the phrase as the cutting edge of pick-up line material.
Seriously; next time you're out prowling the night and the hunger grips you, saunter up to a suitable dame and channel your inner Zorin as you confidently question her thusly; “Would you be interested primarily in stamina?”
If she's receptive to your advances, then hastily retire to your awaiting blimp and allow nature/booze to take hold.
If the coldest of shoulders is what you receive...then perhaps she's just not interested in what you're selling, sir. Worry not, for the following options are open to you:
1.Hire May Day to strangle her while she goes through a car wash.
2.Trap her in a library elevator shaft and set fire to the building.
3.Call her a bitch and spit in her overpriced cocktail.
- I've always been interested in the potential back story involving Zorin's uncharacteristically helpful right-hand man, Scarpine.
...Who actually has a scar on his face.
I like to think that during the interview for the position, Max Zorin read out his name and then proceeded to study his face for what became an awkward amount of time and then decided that Scarpine was missing something.
Scarpine would've had only a brief second to be confused before comprehension dawned on him.
And by “dawned on him” I mean, May Day probably knocked him from his chair, straddled his chest and held him down while Zorin sliced open his cheek and gifted him with a painful memento that would befit a suitably-named employee such as he.
Too make matters worse, Zorin would probably always bring up the scar and it's shady origin when he and Scarpine were at social functions, thus leading to Scarpine having to impress Zorin with his comedy improv skills as he regaled listeners with a colourfully fabricated tale concerning the genesis of his facial deformity.
Zorin would laugh and applaud if he did well, I assume.
What a shitty boss.
- I only noticed on my most recent viewing that Dolph Lundgren has a tiny role in this film.
How did I not catch this before? I must be slipping.
In my defense; he just stands off to the side of the screen, and basically does nothing.
Still, it would've been awesome if he stood in the scene and did nothing...but was dressed in his He-Man costume from Masters Of The Universe.
Would I have noticed him then? Who knows.
(He blends in well.)
- How about that unfortunate gent who wanted no part in Zorin's wacky flood caper? What an unexpected day he had. I bet you twenty bucks that he Twittered the wife on his way down;
“Just been dropped out of a fucking zeppelin during a business meeting. Promotion unlikely. Late for dinner. XOXO”
- Any COMMANDO fans out there reading this; watch the scene where Bond goes to the docks and talks to that CIA agent guy. You all TOTALLY expect Bennett to arrive and then see Cooke standing in plain sight with his trusty remote detonator.
- Tanya Roberts was totally bangin' as Stacy Sutton. yo.
I'd never seen her before this, cause I never watched Charlie's Angels and such, but she is a quality dame, indeed. Oh, she also went on to star in a handful of soft-porn flicks (I love the internet) and a film called Beastmaster which has always been on my TO WATCH list and where I can only assume that she 'masters' an assortment of 'beasts' with the hypnotic power of 'awesome breasts'.
Good enough for me, folks.
Stacy Sutton also keeps a shotgun in her house that is filled with rock-salt, so she must undoubtedly be plagued by a poltergeist or some other flavour of supernatural bastard that leads me to fantasize about an awesome team-up that involves Sam and Dean Winchester kicking spooky ass with this hottie by their side:
(I'd watch her burn a corpse each week.)
- What's with the bizarre Blues Brothers-style cop car chase and pile-up near the bridge?
In fact, who gives a shit. The Blues Brothers is an awesome movie and if they ever do a special edition of A View To A Kill where they replace Roger Moore with Jake and Elwood Blues who eventually have a climactic dance-off against Zorin on the top of a rapidly inflating insta-blimp, then I'd probably hyperventilate and blissfully pass out.
(You will NEVER be cooler than these men)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I watched UP http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/ the other day.
It was enjoyable, but I'm disinclined to go along with the majority who claim that it is PIXAR's best work thus far.
Sure, this film is good and I enjoyed myself; it's just that it gets blown away by the likes of WALL-E, Ratatouille and the greatly underrated The Incredibles.
At least UP kicks the crap out of Cars. Ugh, that movie annoys me. It was just like a big-budget adaptation of those irritating BBC kids shows involving sentient vehicles that caper about the village and mockingly cavort in front of humans; their rightful masters.
Burn them all and crush them into a cube, I say.
I wish I could say that'll occur in the sequel, but I know it won't. Shame.
Let's take a look at the highs and the lows of this particular adventure...
- The early montage involving Carl and Ellie's relationship. This was just beautifully done. The film had basically just begun and I found myself already crying. Their early courtship followed by the rise and inevitable falls of life are displayed with such care and emotion that I was hooked instantly.
PIXAR have always stuck to their motto that “story is king” and that belief is backed up by their diligent attention to the little details regarding character interaction. Simple little moments like Ellie gently placing her hand upon Carl's as children, coupled with the painted hand prints during the mailbox scene just provide depths to the story that sucks you in until you finally realise that you're staring at the screen through moist eyes.
PIXAR made me cry with a speechless little robot and they did it again with this wonderful sequence. Well done.
In fact, such an emotional high point so early in the narrative actually left me kind of detached from the later stages of the film, but perhaps that's just me.
- Kevin the bird is great. I'm not able to type volumes of text concerning this character, because, frankly, she doesn't do very much. What she does do though, and well, is stare about blankly in that awesome 'vacant sidekick' kind of way and squawk in a manner that is funnier than any line of dialogue could be.
She must have been fun to write. Just change the surrounding context and the audience can provide their own meaning for the squawk. Worked for me; I was laughing, and while I was underwhelmed by Kevin at first, by the end of the film, I found myself wishing that she had more screen time.
- Dug is the second character who I wished was given the chance to show off more. He's a big, squishy Golden Retriever...with a collar that allows him to talk. That's just awesome, right there. He's eager to please his master (whoever that may be) and he has that that delicately balanced canine personality that teeters between focused attention and squirrel-based distraction. He gets his share of laughs and he's generally always present on screen...but I couldn't help feeling that the multi-lingual collar plus his personality hinted at some wasted potential, script-wise.
Still, his solid visual design makes him a nice addition to the PIXAR roster and it'd be nice to see him used in some shorts or something similar down the line.
(Clearly reading his lines.)
- PIXAR never really fail to impress with their opening shorts, and 'Partly Cloudy' continues this tradition. I'm even inclined to say that I laughed more during this short than during UP. The concept alone is impressive enough to warrant extended praise and without trying to spoil anything, I'll simply say that the storks that deliver babies have a sort of work-like relationship with clouds. It's a brilliantly simple premise that works wonderfully.
...Oh, and there are few things funnier than watching a stork get winded after a baby ram smashes into its chest. Hilarious.
(Poor, poor stork...)
- Russell is a strange character. He's got a great design and there's loads of potential under the surface, but he never gets any really good lines and I just generally found myself wondering when he was going to click into place, y'know? Yes, I laughed when he got whipped across the face by a tent support strut but that wasn't enough.
Usually the sight of a fat kid getting injured is a comedy high-point and enough to make me enthusiastically recommend it to any film fans who'd enjoy the humorous sight of a plump child being accidentally whacked in the face by a plastic rod.
Alas, this time I felt like something was missing.
- The script could've used some more punch. The dialogue and narrative did the job and everything zigged and zagged where appropriate, but I expected some more spice. If someone cooks you a steak and just hands it to you on a plate, you'd be like, “Sure, this is a well-cooked steak, but I'd like a side of fries, some sauce and a frosty beverage to go with it.” THEN, sir, you'd have a meal.
With UP, I still felt hungry afterwards.
I saw this with my brother-in law and young niece and I think it left her unsatisfied as well. During the car ride home, she spoke more about how much she loved Monsters vs Aliens, instead of how funny Dug was.
Hmmm. Not the words of a customer who's just enjoyed a full meal, says I.
(Potentially hungry UP viewer)
- The talking dogs were wasted. I've already mentioned Dug, but all of the other dogs are basically just loud obstacles. Snore.
Speaking of which; the whole opposing force is nothing to rave about. Okay, the whole 'hero becomes villain' angle is not bad, but Charles Muntz just felt like a hollow place-holder. I got the same vibe from Clayton in Tarzan back in the day, who looked like Captain Hook's brother and seemed like he was merely the villain-shaped peg necessary to fill the villain-hole.
I mentioned The Incredibles earlier, and I'll mention it again now for 2 reasons:
1. It's awesome and it warrants repeated viewing.
2. UP has a few things in common with it in the ways that it has been painted with some darker narrative tones in comparison to most of PIXAR's lighter fare.
I should make it VERY clear now that I personally do not consider this to be a textbook negative; au contraire. I yearn for the day when there are countless animated films aimed at more mature audiences. (Hurry up and get released, 9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472033/ )
I mention this purely because I was feeling more down than up during this film, and that was not what I had expected. Especially not when 2 key characters had the potential for far more comedy than what was served to us.
As I write this, I'm detecting a scent of negativity that was not my intention.
This IS a good film and the adventure was worth every step. I guess I'm just not as passionate about this film as I thought I'd be. And, as I've learnt like any artist who explores their craft; my work suffers a little when the passion is not there.
Oh well, no drama.
My advice is to suffer through a painful viewing of Cars again before watching UP; then after being in the company of Larry The Cable Guy and the rest of the lame components that make up that bland, damaged wreck, you'll find your journey far more uplifting.
Seriously; Cars is crap, folks.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Let's take aim and shoot some Nazi's with a full clip of thoughts about Inglourious Basterds http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/ shall we?
- What an amazing month. Cameron reveals the dazzling brilliance of AVATAR and now Tarantino finally unleashes his long-awaited, grand ol' war movie. My 2 favourite directors have definitely spent their time wisely; for while we may have been checking our collective timepieces all along, these two master craftsmen have shown that the waiting period was more than worth our while.
Tarantino spoke often over the years of how he was still working on his “guys on a mission” war script, and to finally see the fruits of that labour up on the screen at long last was a wonderful sight to behold.
Is it exactly the film I expected? No it is not.
But I LOVE the film that it is, and it's that sort of unexpected surprise that adds to the overall charm. I embrace this movie with both arms and hug it firmly to my chest like an old friend who smells of firewood, baked goods and stories untold.
- Yes, the film feels VERY different from the posters and marketing
Yes, it feels like you've been served a different film than the one the trailer alludes to.
But why is that a negative?
This situation is only cause for drama and fist-shaking outrage if the film delivered was poor.
That is most definitely NOT the case with Basterds.
This film is fantastic.
Some may cry foul that the whole “guys on a mission” vibe is not really present, but I do not feel the film suffers because of this.
This was conceived many moons ago and as a writer myself, I can attest to the fact that (unless you do the unthinkable and write your entire final draft in one sitting in a single afternoon) screenplays have a habit of evolving and maturing over time. This tale may have begun in one way...but it seems to have transformed into something quite different as the years went on.
And that something different is a most wonderful organism, indeed.
Heck, I hope Basterds does super-business and allows Tarantino the opportunity to make the companion piece to this film involving a group of black troops, that he's has reportedly spoken of. Perhaps that will tell that particular chapter of this overall journey.
- The opening farmhouse scene.
No 1st time screenwriter would ever be allowed the freedom to get away with it. Studios would be like, “Lengthy dialogue? Two men sitting in a room? Nonsense! Open the film with some tits or an explosion. Better yet; an explosion of tits!”
Now, I would be more than welcoming for a film that involved such jug-based pyrotechnics, but alas, such raunchy gimmicks are not necessary here.
The whole 'slap the audience across the face in the first 2 pages' convention is a screenwriting rule that I've always thought requires at least two THICK coats of grey paint. Things are not always that black and white, people.
...Well, not in GOOD films, at least.
You need some room in which to wiggle and be vague. Allow the audience a chance to get comfortable in their chair and be embraced by the narrative...before unleashing your first narrative punch to the groin.
I'm just very thankful that Tarantino has put in the hours and as a result, has reached a point where he is allowed the creative freedom to open a film in such a way...without some studio clown commanding that he change the film to better suit the intellectually-crippled goons whose attention spans are vastly dwindling with every repeat viewing of Transformers 2.
- Dialogue is deliciously thick and layered. Adding to that is the dynamic element of transitioning from language to language at certain moments to properly suit the scene and contribute to the tension and so forth.
One of the many reasons why I love Tarantino's work is his knack for dialogue. The man has a solid ear for speech flow and knows when to throw in a rise, a fall, a pothole or a sudden-turn along the verbal road to keep the journey interesting.
That's mainly why I am not a big fan of Death Proof. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028528/
I do not dislike the film, but I just felt that the dialogue didn't snap-crackle and pop off the screen and into my memory vault of 'Quotable Tarantino Lines', y'know?
Perhaps, I need to go for round 2 with it.
After all, I was not in awe of Jackie Brown http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028528/ upon first viewing and yet, after repeated viewings over time, it has grown to become one of my favourite of Quentin's films and possibly his most underrated.
But getting back to the matter of dialogue; I can gladly say that the speech fired around during Basterds is top-shelf...and Tarantino has also now managed to undertake those interesting verbal journeys I spoke of, in different languages.
I'm a great fan of the English language and many others, particularly French, and I must say that certain moments during this film had me shaking my head, so impressed was I.
My 'Quotable Line Alarm' also went off with a satisfying ring numerous times and I look forward to trying to emulate Hans Landa's delivery of gems like “Could I have another glass of your delicious milk?” during dinner parties to unsettle other guests.
- Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa is hypnotic. I mentioned before how I was very impressed by certain moments regarding language, dialogue and so forth? Well, Christoph Waltz is generally centre stage during said moments.
The guy is simply mesmerising.
He kind of feels like a slightly-unbalanced German relative of Tim Roth. That's a compliment.
This gentleman effortlessly jumps between German, French, English and Italian and it looks as natural as breathing. He also manages to convey this serpentine sense of seductive malevolence and smoothly transitions from a calm, open and friendly demeanor into a duty-driven predator who enjoys toying with his prey.
You really must see for yourself. Waltz is golden, yo.
(Makes dairy products sound sinister)
- The bar scene involving the undercover allies versus the drunk Nazis was amazing and probably one of my favourite scenes...amongst many others.
Michael Fassbender had a badass British, suave manner going and his face-off against the very impressive August Diehl as the SS officer (with frighteningly good hearing) provides a wonderfully tense atmosphere that is tinged with doomed humour which reminded me of Tarantino's similarly brilliant scene he wrote in True Romance http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108399/ between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken.
I'll say no more, from fear of spoilers but trust me; it's excellent.
- Gedeon Burkhard plays a character named Wilhelm Wicki. He is not onscreen for very long and he does not say much...but I instantly want to see this guy in more movies. He's got great screen presence coupled with one of the Best. Voices. Ever.
More roles for this gent, please.
- Hitler kind of looked like a creepy Mandy Patinkin. Weird.
- The film is filled with high-quality characters that are rich in personality...and I kind of felt like I was being hurried past them like when you're on one of those boat rides at Disneyland.
It all felt rather bittersweet; for I do not consider this a fault but rather a strength. I loved these characters so much that I was like, “Please Quentin, let me stay and hang with these guys longer.”
So on that note, I'll just add that I'd like (in future/side films, maybe?) :
1. More Melanie Laurent (This gal was impressive as Shosanna and one classy dame.)
2. More Donnie Donowitz (Eli Roth is badass, yo)
3. More Hugo Stiglitz (I cannot believe that I haven't been watching more Til Schweiger films. This guy is 'angry-action-hard man' dynamite. I'm a fan now.)
4. More Aldo Raine (Pitt is excellent, but as I've said; I wanted to spend more time with him.)
5. More of the Basterds in general. (There's easily another film's-worth of juice you could wring out of these cats.)
...Oh, and guns triggered by the impact of a punch are awesome.
Excellent viewing, y'all.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
District 9 is remarkable.
I shall now do my best and use my honeyed words (and guest star, Charlton Heston) to encourage you to shamble off to the theatre and view such goodness.
“Why the hell should I do that, you filthy blogger, you?”, I hear you bellow from the bowels of the webternet.
Glad you asked.
- I've said it once and I'll scream it again; forget all of this HALO nonsense and somebody PLEASE give Neill Blomkamp the chance to make a HALF-LIFE 2 movie.
Hell, even if that doesn't come to pass and I find myself floating into the afterlife disappointed (and later returning to haunt cinemas until a proton-pack stops me); at least I can cling to this wonderful film, for it is the closest we have to a HL2 cinema experience.
(See how he waits...)
It does a damn fine job of it too. I nearly jumped up and down on my seat when I saw Wicus blast away enemies with a 'gravity gun' and also wreak absolute havoc in a power suit that reminded me of Dog.
Throw in a crowbar and a barrel o' headcrabs and we've got ourselves a solid weekend, y'all.
- Witness what marvellous feats can be achieved by a director with some talent who actually DESERVES his budget.
Apparently, word round the campfire is that District 9 cost about 30 million bucks.
Transformers 2 apparently cost somewhere in the ballpark of...ahem...200 million dollars.
I feel physically ill.
During my Transformers 2 viewing, I could hear each cell in my body, shrieking in pain as they suffered through that ridiculously expensive nightmare of overblown, finely polished crap.
Why is that the so?
If Neill Blomkamp managed to conjure up pure cinema magic with only 30 mill...then shouldn't 200 million shiny gold coins guarantee us all a film experience so mind-blowing in it's awesomeness that it'd be like witnessing Charlton Heston breakdance against that Martian hooker with 3 tits from Total Recall.
No matter where you'd look, your eyes would fill with excellence.
Unfortunately, that's not the way Hollywood works. They prefer the reliable system that involves providing Michael Bay (and friends) with infinite funds to further prove the fact that he's an untalented schmuck whom I would not trust to supervise the catering table...let alone a massive film budget.
Praise Crom, for people like Peter Jackson, Neill Blomkamp and films like District 9.
Seriously; I would rather watch 15 minutes of D9 than have to endure an entire viewing of some other directors' films of late.
I hope this film serves as a wake up call for certain industry folk out there and makes them understand that they need to WISELY utilise the budgets that they're granted.
- Some folk may wish to speak about social-commentary and political subtext and such, but I'm not a political guy.
I'm not gonna go on and wax intellectual about topics that I know nothing about.
I have no doubt that there's some very meaty parallels and details that could be discussed at length, regarding apartheid and so forth, but that's not my business here.
Some other blogger can play that tune.
Instead, I'll simply mention that there are scenes where soldiers get vaporized into a kind of gooey mist by brutal laser blasts.
That's music we can all dance to, friends.
(Deep social commentary...and LASERS! Brrr-zap! Ka-pwing!)
- Come and watch as humans yet again act like jackasses marinated in asshole sauce and demonstrate how NOT to properly handle alien contact.
You might be able to distance yourself from the narrative a bit...if it wasn't so damn accurate. You just know that this is how humans will act when aliens finally arrive.
They were not hostile...yet they were immediately imprisoned and seen as lesser beings.
“They were malnourished.”, the media also informs us.
Really? You flawlessly understand the new alien biology, do you? Impressive deductive journalism, kids. Take notes.
And as usual, it's all about weapons. We could learn VOLUMES of knowledge from this new form of life...but nah. Let's poke them and plunder their armoury.
The best thing about witnessing this stellar example of finely-handled diplomacy is the inevitable moment where our proud species gets ripped to pieces by the valuable knew weaponry...as you happily cheer the aliens on.
(Heston wasn't human, he was awesome.)
- Sharlto Copley gives an amazingly natural performance as Wicus, as he transforms from goofy, nervous bureaucrat into an erratic, terrified man who is alone, hunted and horrified by what he may be becoming.
The fingernail scene alone had me convinced that I was not just watching some movie, but rather that this was a real ordeal that I was following along with.
The entire piece is infused with that flavour, actually. Despite the aliens, advanced weaponry and overall science-fiction subject matter, District 9 consistently feels like an account of some real life events that are unfolding on our very planet. After watching it all, I felt like if I checked the news that night, I would receive an update on the current situation. It's that convincing, people.
This high level of immersion is greatly due to the authentic documentary/news report segments that are sprinkled throughout the narrative and a level of CGI work that can only be described by saying, “Holy shit. That's a real alien.”
The visual effects on display are right up there on the top shelf with another sci-fi classic that had photo-realistic aliens worthy of awe and coughed-up popcorn; the great Starship Troopers. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120201/ (Yes, it's about time you watched it again. You're welcome.)
Hopefully; unlike Starship Troopers, District 9 will not get robbed at the Oscars when the time comes. That would be a crime.
12 years on and the arachnids from ST still look amazing.
I dare say that 12 years on from now, these so-called “prawns” from D9 will hold the same level of awe with new viewers.
The power of the effects work is also not just the result of impressive modelling work and the like. Christopher Johnson; the resourceful and reliable alien that acts as co-star alongside Wicus, is a staggering achievement.
(Deserves an Oscar more than Julia Roberts.)
It's performance had my jaw-open for most of the film...and the fact that he's a CG creation, never managed to sink in. Just like the T-Rex vs Gallimimus scene in Jurassic Park proved that Steven Spielberg actually managed to capture, domesticate and screen-train a living T-Rex in Hawaii, Christopher Johnson will prove that aliens freaking exist, yo.
Now I love the Lord Of The Rings movies and Andy Serkis is a pure master...but Christopher is better than Gollum. Case closed.
- See District 9 before they, hopefully, make a District 10.
D9 is reportedly doing great business and the ending leaves more than enough room for a sequel that I eagerly await.
Blomkamp has provided a very solid foundation upon which an excellent franchise could be built.
I give District 9 high praise, ladies and gents...and if Heston was still around, he'd praise it too.
“I stole this gun from an ape NOT an alien. There's a difference.”
There sure is, Mr. Heston. There sure is.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I am a writer and I consider myself to have some level of skill.
I do not claim to be the best and I'm not about to go dig up William Shakespeare and challenge him to a manly write-off...to the death...which he would already have won on a technicality in some smug corpse-like fashion.
However, while I am not the most powerful man to ever wield the quill, I am definitely not the worst, and I've been known to dazzle the masses with my hypnotic text-based chicanery on many occasions.
That being said, I am definitely dreading the day in the approaching December when I must conjure up a review for AVATAR. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/
That's gonna be tricky due to a number of reasons:
1. James Cameron is basically my god.
2. This teaser trailer looks like the film will far exceed even my own mountainous expectations.
3. How am I to pad the sentence "This film renders heaven obsolete" so that it fills an entire blog post?
Maybe I'll just cut and paste the word 'AWESOME' over and over until I fill the internet...
Happy Avatar Day, y'all.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
“At any point during this film is there a demonic goat that calls someone a whore?”
That is the ONLY question that I shall ask from now on when I am offered a film to see at the cinema.
...And if the answer is no, then I'm not even going to bother putting on pants.
Drag Me To Hell http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1127180/ has spoiled me, and I feel like a better man because of it.
I love this film.
From the first few moments when the titles smash up on the screen like a slap across the jowls and the credit sequence washes over you with that familiar scent of old-school Evil Dead-era Sam Raimi, I knew I was in for some good times.
Speaking of Raimi, this is a VERY refreshing return to form.
Don't get me wrong; I love what he's done with Spider-Man (except for the embarrassing part 3) and I don't feel that Raimi is JUST a 'horror director', (check out A Simple Plan http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120324/ ) but I felt like his new movies didn't have the same 'spark' as his earlier work.
I confess that I was actually thinking about skipping Drag Me To Hell at the cinemas, for purely financial reasons. (I'm currently unemployed. If you're reading this, you should totally hire me. I'm an awesome writer and I have nice legs. Wink-wink)
Anyway, I'm glad that I ignored my coin-based dilemma and jogged off to the 'plex to catch what I hope is to be the sign of Raimi's triumphant return to horror.
Interviews have informed me that Sam and his brother Ivan have currently got pages of the Evil Dead IV script already written and after Drag Me To Hell showed that none of Raimi's horror tools have rusted or gone blunt over the years, I can do nothing but anticipate that demon-filled brilliance that looms on the horizon like an undead army.
As is my habit, I'll try to only give you the bare-bones synopsis regarding plot and such.
I purposely avoided investigating this film prior to it's release because I wanted to be really surprised by Raimi's horror return and boy, did that pay off.
All I knew was this basic equation:
Pretty girl + gypsy + gypsy curse + demon = X
I left the answer as a blank X.
Because I don't know the best arrangement of words to properly express how I looked as I leapt around my seat and jumped in fright like a schoolgirl locked in the trunk of a clown's vehicle.
My amigo – a fellow Deadite from way back – claimed that he probably jumped about 8 times.
I did not count.
I was too scared.
In order to better express my feelings of terrified shock, I'll throw some more ingredients into the arithmetic stew to further tantalize y'all who've yet to see this film.
Invasive fly + kitten-corpse vomiting + horrible cake
...Oh, and a terrifying handkerchief.
Stop laughing. I'm serious.
I'm also VERY impressed by the fact that a healthy dose of these nightmarish events takes place in BROAD DAYLIGHT. This pleased me greatly. If there is one horror cliché that really makes me reach Gary Busey-levels of anger it's the fact that the bulk of violence/scares/attacks take place at night or in darkness.
Oooooh, the dark is scary. Yeah, thanks for that. What are we? 6 year olds?
Frights will have WAY more punch if you throw them in when people feel safe.
I want to see an attractive young lady get jumped by a cackling goblin and have her rib-cage torn open...while she's mid-conversation on her cell-phone to her fiancee in the brightly-lit frozen food section of a supermarket with heaps of customers around.
Now THAT's gonna spill some popcorn, yo.
Thankfully, Raimi seems to share my thoughts on the subject and gleefully springs some horrific shit on us all when the sun is shining and the birds are all about the tweeting.
There's loads more goodness, but I'll let you all experience those cinematic joys for yourself.
In fact, in order to really get the most out of this ordeal, try and see this in a cinema with damn good sound. The score and sound effects alone are enough to have your teeth grinding and blaming your goosebumps on the air-conditioning...so that your date doesn't think you're a skirt.
In fact; to hell with what your date thinks. If she's not scared by this film too, then she's got brain problems.
You don't want any of her sugar.
I, and legions of like-minded Deadites, would have welcomed a Bruce Campbell appearance, but alas that was not to be on this particular outing. (At least the Oldsmobile cameo is present) Apparently, Bruce was busy with Burn Notice during production and the schedules clashed.
No drama. He is missed...but the film does not suffer as a result. It stands on it's own two hooves and comfortably rests upon Raimi's mantle now, along with his other past work.
I could write about this film all day, but I don't want to ruin any of its potency by overloading you with blow-by-blow information. I'll wrap things up by saying that Alison Lohman does a great job in the lead role and reminds me that I've actually missed her presence. I thought she was great in Matchstick Men, back in the day, but I haven't really seen her in much since. This needs to change.
Another actress who needs to be thrown into WAY more movies after her performance here is Lorna Raver as the gypsy woman. She is flat-out fantastic as Mrs. Ganush. From her powerful mixed bag of emotions in the bank scene to her pure whirlwind of vengeful, unrelenting rage during the carpark attack and more; this woman is two scoops of awesome. She's absolutely terrifying and manages to convey a sense of haunting malevolence throughout the entire runtime...all while looking, basically, like just an old gypsy woman. Raimi doesn't rely on an overload of prosthetics or make-up which could have blunted the performance. He simply hired a very talented actor and had her bring the role to life.
High praise to her.
She created a memorable character that achieved the perfect goal for this kind of film; ...you're glad she's not after you.
So go and watch Drag Me To Hell, folks.
It's high-quality, spooky goodness that fills you up yet leaves you hungry for more.
Throughout the entire course you'll find yourself jumping in fright or laughing...in fright, as only Raimi knows how. I could not be happier that he is preparing this flavour of dish again and I eagerly await the next meal.
Besides, it has a demonic goat that calls a young lady a whore.
That's a spice that not many directors can successfully cook with.