As long as there are comic books that haven’t been adapted (or adapted successfully) to big screen, we’ll be regularly assaulted with over-the-top, self-aware, tongue-in-cheek, archetypal, good vs. evil, paper-thin stories. Most of comic book culture revolves around fallen heroes, and every once in a while a movie is made that perfectly translates that comic book tone into a film. Everything is life or death, everyone has a specific role, nothing is as it seems and almost nothing has any consequence or logic. On a rare occasion, an action film can successfully subvert tired cliches. The Loses manages to do that, keep a straight face with its characterization, and still look good in the process. It’s just fun to watch.
Here’s a great infographic for Inception that actually manages to explain the movie’s multiple layers. It does so visually, and with a geometrically impossible object – which is the in-joke, of course. The film spends so much time establishing the rules of its universe, as it begins to observe some characters break those rules, the point of following them seems kinda … moot. And yet, with all the underused elements in it, and the obligatory shoot-out in act 3 – I still strongly recommend you watch it. Why?
“For a brief moment there, there really seemed to be an independent film movement. Then it was over.” That’s how Dennis Hopper has described the unexpected and massive popularity of his 1969 movie Easy Rider. The little fill really did come out of nowhere and established Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a very young Jack Nicholson as the ‘fresh new faces to watch’ in the movie industry. It cost less than $500k, and left behind so many changed lives, a couple of generations who have been on the brink of a new way of thinking. The kids needed a little nudge, and Easy Rider was that tiny last straw.
You remember those fake movie trailers in Tarantino’s Grindhouse? A couple of them played just before the first film, and a couple more – during the intermission. Looks like one of them is being made into a real movie – Machete with Danny Trejo. This is either another sign of the looming apocalypse (you know, it’s officially the end of the world when Hollywood runs out of ideas), or just a hilarious ‘idea becomes concept, which becomes product’ cycle, which makes sense – and money. After all, The Colbert Report was originally a promo for a non-existing segment. It became a show.
Anyway, Danny Trejo is filming it, and according to IMDB, most of the people that were featured in the fake trailer are involved in the actual movie. Lohan, Seagal, De Niro, Johnson, Alba, Rodriquez. Seemed like a hilarious stunt-casting at the time, but now you can actually see a plausible (and immensely enjoyable) film in there. Hope Robert Rodriquez (who’s directing it) will get all the creative freedom he needs. Here’s the trailer, enjoy:
For the past 9 years (yes, it’s nine, not a typo), Brad Bourland, 58, of Austin, Texas has been rating/reviewing movies. He’s got 9,331 so far, and wants his site readers/visitors to help him complete it to a nice, round 10k. Obsession, hobby, or just another slick marketing ploy? Visit his site, read up on the … hobby
Disney/ABC is pulling the plug on the popular ‘movie-critics-going-at-each-other’ show in August. It lasted 24 years. As far as I know, At the Movies died when Roger Ebert lost his voice in 2006. Yes, Gene Siskel’s death in 1999 was a big blow to the show, but the two of them have been doing it so long between ’75 and ’99 and knew each other so well that Ebert was able to continue the legacy of intelligent, informed, entertaining arguments about the state of cinema. He had a tough season with rotating guests in ’99-’00 (Kevin Smith and Richard Roeper were my personal favourites). Roeper stuck around for a few seasons as a second chair to Ebert, but the last few years were a big mess. ABC/Disney tried to put in Ben Mankiewicz and Jeffrey Lyons , but got horrible reception, bad ratings, and people just didn’t like them. Besides, what the hell happened to Roeper? Pushed out?
“I’m starting with a man in the mirror.
I’m asking him to change his ways…”
‘Nuff said. We will miss you.
Continue reading “Michael Jackson RIP – we will miss you”
Transformers came out on DVD a few weeks ago, and I was reminded that this past summer, this movie fell through the cracks, and the review was never posted. Here’s the movie review, a little brief, but better late than never. Given all the marketing and ego-power that went into this project (Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg) this could easily have been a really big disappointed. Instead, Transformers turned out to be a better movie than our depressed expectations, and a good blockbuster to fill a summer weekend. Of course, now that we’re nearing the holiday season, and the film is out of theaters, perhaps it will make a good gift.
Continue reading “Transformers (2007)”
Now that the show has premiered, and the insane media spin is slowly fading out, let’s talk about it. Frankly. It’s bad enough this show reminds me of just how wonderful Alias was, and how quickly it was sabotaged by its own creators and network (thanks, ABC and JJ Abrams), Chuck also shows how easily a show can be appealing to wider audience, and still remain smart and engaging. I spotted these things, did you? Here’s hoping the show can find its tracks fast, because all the elements are there, just mix them in proper order, and you’ll have a runaway hit.
Continue reading “Chuck (NBC, Mondays)”
How do you re-invent a tired genre? Quite simple, really: treat the film as if this particular plot was never done before; create three-dimensional characters, put them into realistic situations, and give them just enough screen time to shine without taking away from the story. And finally, if your characters start going through familiar motions (i.e. cliches), treat them with a straight face, giving each of these actions solid motive and reason. Then an old tale will be fresh again. Such is the case with 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of a typical Western movie, which at first glance has nothing new to offer. OK, maybe two things – Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. But only at a first glance. A few minutes into the movie, you know that this is something different, something intelligent, something engaging.
Continue reading “3:10 to Yuma (2007)”