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Spring Fling Means...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nothing to see here. Keep moving. I'm taking a break today. Enjoy the spring weather. Eat good food. Drink good drinks. Make sweet, sweet love! Don't worry. Be happy!

YA MON!!!

Glee Review: Born This Way

Friday, April 29, 2011

Amazing how one terrible song can ruin multiple good ones.

Shit went down at McKinley this week. Will is finally addressing the fact that no one in the club except Brittany and Mike can dance, so he decides it's time for his little song birds to brush up. Unfortunately, even he could account for how bad a dancer Finn is. Not even five seconds into the first warm up, and already Rachel is suffering from a broken nose, courtesy of everyone's favorite dimwitted tenor. Under guidance from her doctor, Rachel heavily considers getting nose job to repair the damage as well as update her look.

This leads into another look at body image, with Quinn taking a central role. Since she's, like, the epitome of beauty, Rachel wants to look like her. Everyone in the club is against her changing her appearance, except Quinn. This is all explained as certain "aspects" of Quinn's past are brought to light, thanks, in no small part, to Lauren.

All this talk about flaws inspires Will for the week's lesson. The club will work on accepting who they are, individually, and embracing that which they think brings them down.

Meanwhile, Santana is still feverishly trying to win Brittany. Somehow, she discovers Karofsky's big secret, and threatens to out him to the school unless he does exactly what she wants. What she wants being go out with him so they can win Prom Queen and King, thus impressing Brittany enough so that she will leave Artie. But Santana has another request.

And thus concludes Kurt's brief stint at "Tolerance Narnia". With Santana's goading, Karofksy issues a heartfelt apology to everyone's favorite male soprano, and promises to support him from now on. With no threat of bullying from the closeted pigskin player, Kurt returns to McKinley, with the support of Blaine and The Warblers.

And Emma tries to work on her OCD, and Lauren makes a bid for Prom Queen with Puck's help, and Finn learns how to dance, and HOLY SHIT there was a lot of plot in this episode.


Regarding my throwaway remark at the top of this article, this music in this week's episode was aces! That is, until the club started singing Lady Gaga's worst song. Quinn and Rachel's melancholy mash-up of "I Feel Pretty" and "Unpretty" was gorgeous. Blaine and The Warblers serenading Kurt with Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" and brought the house down. Kurt had a solo, crooning out "As If We Never Said Goodbye", and it was the best thing he's sung on the show yet. Finn had a fun number, and the flash mob dancing in the mall to Duck Sauce's "Barbara Streisand" was stupid, but really fun.

And they go and fuck it all up with "Born This Way". Seriously, I know it's just because of the whole Gaga factor that that song is getting so much play, because if it were from everyone else, it would be universally declared a catastrophe. It's really an awful song, and basing a whole episode around performing it for the finale just sunk it. All the other songs ruled, but this one, the focus, brought the whole thing crashing down.

Humor wise, there's not much to write home about, shockingly. Santana had some winner lines int he beginning when she points out every glee club member's flaws. I especially like what she said about Finn's nipples. And Puck's shirt exclaiming his flaw ("I'm With Stupid" with a big arrow pointing to his cock) was easy to miss, but worth searching for. And that's about it. This was a plot episode, not a humor one. To be fair, Sue's not in it at all, so maybe that had something to do with it.

It was a good week, with well written plot and almost flawless dance lineup. A lack of solid laughs hold this one back, but it's friggin' "Born This Way" that really does the episode in. Seriously. I hate that song!

Trailer Trash: X-Men: First Class & Harry Potter 7.2

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You can wait until tomorrow for the Glee review. It's time to root through some spectacular trailers. What sorts of extremely awesome things will be alluded to today?

First up, X-Men: First Class. If the first trailer wasn't enough, this'll do it. Showing off more footage than any other advertisement, this trailer makes me furious. Why? Because I will be in France on June 3, and won't be able to see it until July.

Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy look great, and the rest of the cast ain't no slouches either. Can't wait to see more of Jennifer Lawrence looking hot and Kevin Bacon as a villain.

Plus, Magneto stopping dozens of missiles with his hand? More please.



The X-Men: First Class trailer is awesome. But, it is no more than a whimper compared to the almighty BANG of the new Harry Potter trailer.

HOLY SHIT!!!! I AM SPEECHLESS!!!

I might as well buy my midnight ticket now!

The Black Hole Presents: Top 5 Music Acts Who Need To Score A Film

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Composers are all well and good. If traditional composers weren't struttin' their stuff all around the studios, we wouldn't have amazing scores like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Blood and Bone. (That last one was a joke. Funny, right?).

But, if Daft Punk and Trent Reznor showed us anything, it's that a popular music act from the modern era can not only make an effective film score, but they can do it damn well, eschewing the traditional symphonies and bringing something new to the table. Hell, Mastodon wrote the music for Jonah Hex, and that was the only good thing about that piece of crap. Castor beat me to the game with this one, but who's to say I can't come up with my own list? Here is the Black Hole's list of the Top 5 Music Acts That Need To Score A Film. Bet you can't guess who number one is.

To make this list, the act needs to be able to craft interesting and appealing music without the help of lyrics. I know it worked for Eddie Vedder, but, put simply, most film scores won't have lyrics outside of the closing credits. Plus, it presents more of a challenge for the artists, and we all know how much we love a good challenge. Leap with me.

Dream on!


Runners Up: Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead/Thome York, Robert Plant, Lady Gaga, John Frusciante

5. Jack White: Capable of doing pretty much anything on the electric guitar, White's powerful, blues tinged riffs would be great for something along the lines of a western or action flick. He already wrote a Bond theme, and it actually turned out alright. No reason to suspect he can't capture the magic again.
Genre: Western, Thriller
Director: Who Knows?



4: Arcade Fire: Probably the most important music act of the last decade, Arcade Fire could very easily bring some of there big band swag to the big screen. There music has already been used to great effect in trailers, so a score shouldn't be that hard. Lots of acoustic guitars, plinking pianos, and a healthy does of violins will make for something rather excellent.
Genre: Indie, Drama
Ideal Director(s): Spike Jonze



3: Bruce Springsteen: Easily one of the most recognizable acts of modern times, The Boss already has an Oscar under his belt for Original Song. Up next, Original Score. His bluesy, melancholic tunes would be perfect for any down to earth drama, while his foot stomping, saxophone wailing anthems would be a great fit for pretty much anything. I could see him scoring an action pic even. It'd be nice to see him delve into this darker side for a score.
Genre: Drama, Action
Director(s): Darren Aronofsky



2. Godspeed You Black Emperor: I'm listening to a recording of a show of their's that I was at just over a month ago as a write this. It's spectacular. So ethereal and layered, and not a lyric in sight. There music can be lovely and quiet one second with a solitary guitar mournfully plucking away, and then blowing your head off with sound the next as the drums, bass, and violins come screaming in to create a wonderful amalgamation of all that is good. One of there songs has already been used perfectly in a movie before. No reason it can't happen again.
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director(s): Danny Boyle, David Fincher



1. Muse: Duh! First off, they were tapped to write the music for Clash of the Titans, but that fell through. This mishap only further implants into the mind that Muse seriously needs to get on that shit! They could write for any genre. Their thundering, guitar based songs from the Origin of Symmetry days would fit any action movie, and there more restrained, symphonic stuff from The Resistance would be right at home in the most ambitious of epics.
Genre: Action-Adventure, Epic
Director(s): Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow



Thoughts?

Cinematic Captions #17

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alright folks. Cleverness caps on. Time to impress me.

YOU FAILED!!! I DIDN'T GET ANY NEW BLOOD!!! THE COMPETITION CONTINUES!!! PHYSICALLY FORCE PEOPLE TO TAKE PART IF YOU HAVE TO!!!

And now, the winners of last week.

Honorable Mention: "Evolution of Man - Shorthand" (Courtesy of Univarn)

And the winner is... FLETCH!!!!


I confess, I didn't see the arrow until after the comments started rolling in. Does that make me daft?

The Leaderboard
Castor (4)
Fletch (3)
Simon (2)
Kai (2)
Univarn (2)
Rachel (1)
Aiden (1)
Hatter (1)

This week, in honor of my disappointment in you all, is filled with rage and lasers!!


Amuse me!

Isn't the Internet A Marvelous Thing?

Monday, April 25, 2011

So, I don't know if you've heard, but there's website out there called YouTube that people can upload videos to. Well, someone has finally uploaded a full length film. Girl Walks Into A Bar is directed by me Sebastian Gutierrez, and it's actually pretty good. Well written, clever, with some solid acting. Here's the full thing. Check it out!

New Decade, New Rules, Same Story

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It seems that, for every trend that rears its head in the horror genre, we will have a Scream film to go with it. Nearly a decade after Sidney, Dewey and Gale last defeated Ghostface, the little bastard is at it again, returning to Woodsboro, the place where it all started, to carve up some teenagers. The question everyone asked when Scream 4 was announced was, "Really? Do we need another one?" Perhaps not, but we're thankful for it. Though it is a tad unnecessary, Scream 4 is actually not bad. It's not as good as the original, but it wisely does away with the problems that sank the first two sequels, those being, all the problems that sink horror sequels. Spruced up to fit in the 21st century, Scream 4, sorry, Scr4m is an enjoyable bloodbath that unfortunately sacrifices scares for laughs, but still manages to keep you consistently on edge.

When he's not killing people, Ghostface is actually a pretty chill guy. 

Following one of the most meta openings to any movie I can recall seeing, we start off in classic Scream fashion, with two characters immediately getting mutilated by a guy in white mask. Conveniently, this occurs right when Sidney Prescott, the survivor of the original Ghostface murders by Billy Loomis, Stu Macher, Mickey, Mrs. Loomis, and Roman Bridger in the first three movies, decides to return home for a visit. And, of course, Ghostface is out to cut her, and everyone associated with her, to ribbons, in an effort to create something far more elaborate and relevant than a simple sequel. This time, the killer is out to stage a remake of the original, bringing a whole new set of rules to the table. Soon, everyone with a pulse is a target as the body count soars, the rivers of blood overfill, and survivors try to stop him/her before it's too late.

Scream 4 is well told, to be sure. It treads old ground quite a lot, but since the focus here is making fun of remakes like Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, old ground is the name of the game. Thankfully, it treads that old ground very well, and succeeds where the original succeeded, in delivering a funny look at how ridiculous horror movies are, while being an effective one at the same time. The revelation of the killer is a genuine surprise, even if it stretches the realm of believability a little too far. Otherwise, it's business as usual. The second the camera pans away to follow a character we weren't really paying attention to, you know its only a matter of time before said character is proud recipient of a combat knife to the gut. Tried, but true!

Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox all return to reprise their roles from the first trilogy. The do a fine job resurrecting their characters, but it's, more or less, the same schtick we've seen from them. Sidney's still badass, Dewey's still a fool, and Gale is still a bitch! They are good though, so don't bother bringing tomatoes to throw.

The new additions to the case are far more interesting. Since remakes are main attraction, a whole new slew of teens needed to be brought in to "recreate" Sidney's high school days. Emma Roberts take the steer wheel as Jill, Sidney's cousin, with Hayden Panettiere, Erik Knudsen, and Rory Kulkin along for the ride. They all do a fine job as well, with Roberts and Knudsen standing out from the rest of the pack, Roberts with her beauty and Knudsen with his comic timing.

Ok, fine! Most people don't go to horror movies with the intention of analyzing performances. They only want the blood. It's the truth, but it's a bit unfair when looking at the Scream franchise, because it's one of the best acted of the genre, and Scream 4 is a continuation of that.

Why doesn't anyone in these movies ever look behind them?

Now, I may be alone on this, but I think the original Scream is absolutely brilliant. It's scary, funny, exciting, and exceedingly well written. It perfectly blended satire with genuine horror, and since then, the sequels haven't quite found a way to match that. Sure, they all had their own cliches to make fun of - Scream 2 has the sequel cliches and Scream 3 had the trilogy cliches, but none of them ever fully lived up to what the original did. Scream 4 comes the closest of all the sequels, doing the best job of making fun of the genre conventions while reveling in them at the same time.

Unfortunately, it makes one big mistake. It's too funny. The original was so good because there were comedic elements, but the horror aspect was the main focus. Scream 1 is really scary, even now, fifteen plus years after the fact. Scream 4 has some scares, to be sure, but this time around, everyone involved is in on the joke, so the horror aspects are pushed to the side. There's a scene near the end, where the killer beats himself/herself up to make it look like he/she's a victim, and it's HILARIOUS!!! When Billy and Stu did the same thing in the first one, it was chilling and gruesome. Here, it plays like that scene from Fight Club where Ed Norton goes all medieval on his own ass, only funnier.

Maybe it's the whole Saw factor, but it seems like director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson thought an extreme amount of blood would be enough to spook audiences. It doesn't really work, but the efforts appreciated, especially when you see how far they went. Scream 4 is disgusting! I've always been amazed at how much the characters in this franchise bleed, but DAMN!! There's an extended kill sequence near the end of the first act that would put Eli Roth to shame. There's also a fifteen second sequence involving Anthony Anderson that's almost worth the price of admission alone. Icky stuff.

But, qualms aside, Scream 4 is fun. When the third act bloodbath gets going, you're having a hell of a time, and when the killer meets his/her fitting and inventive end, you can't help but cheer. The original Scream reinvigorated the slasher film way back in the nineties. Scream 4 doesn't quite do that, but it's certainly the best example of the genre to come out since... well, since Scream. It's not much, but I'd wear it proudly on my chest.





The follow post will be printed, in a condensed form, in the May issue of Bard College's newspaper, The Free Press.

Branching Out

Friday, April 22, 2011

I have reached out the greater public, and am now writing for something else. My school's newspaper, The Free Press, is always looking for people to contribute, so I finally got in contact with the people, and, voila, I'm now writing for them. This past issue had a horribly shortened and more formal version of my GasLand/Mark Ruffalo post (They said they would also get my review of Sucker Punch in there, but I guess not). Now, I have a legitimate excuse to go into town to see movies. This weekend? Scream 4, if I can just find a way to get to Kingston to see it. (This is why I need a car! Hint hint, Mom!)

Also, since I'm, like, the only guy that I know of who writes for them that actually gives a shit about theatre, I'll be covering a lot of that as well. The next issue, God willing, should have a good amount of stuff from me. Check it out, and be nice. We may be pretentious little hipsters here at Bard, but at least we're honest about it.

http://freepress.bard.edu/wp/

Glee Review: A Night of Neglect

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yeah, sorry I didn't write a review of Original Song. Slipped my mind, and then God bestowed me with catastrophic computer troubles, and since then it just didn't seem worth it. Anyway...

Hot off their win at Regionals, the club discovers, to no one's surprise except their own, that they are still the bottom on the barrel when it comes to social interactions. Even Santana is getting slushied now. But they soldier on, the like the ill advised, precocious little pricks that they are. They need a shit ton of money to pay for the trip to New York for Nationals, so Holly has the grand idea to have a benefit concert. All good, except no one shows up.

Meanwhile, Sue gets Terry, Sandy, and that absurdly douchy guy from the first episode of the season who coaches Vocal Adrenaline together to for a Legion of Doom to destroy the glee club. Every plan she comes up with goes down in flames, but it's what we expect from her by now, so, whatever.

Mercedes out divas even herself in the episode when Lauren convinces her that she is not getting the attention she deserves. This leads to her making egregious demands to the club in exchange for her performing at the benefit. Basically, she makes me hate even more than I already did.

Yeah, nothing really happened in this episode, save for Holly finally exiting the picture and brief segment that only served to remind us that the whole Kurt/Karofsky thing is still going on and that we shouldn't have forgotten about it, even though no one has said anything about it for the past few episodes. Boring.

Why are you here, and why do you look like a chipmunk?!?

Songs were eh this week. Sunshine makes a sudden reappearance, sings "All By Myself" and then disappears again, just as suddenly. Not worth the press, if you ask me. Holly has an ok song, and Mercedes has an ok song. They are both good, but neither of them go much further than "ok".

I also think this might be the first episode in the entire series where Rachel doesn't open her mouth to sing once. Not even for a choir position. Wow.

Humor wise, it faltered a bit, but still delivered some winning jokes. I laughed uproariously when Sandy referred to himself as "predatory gay", chuckled amicably as Mercedes' demand for a fresh puppy to dry her hands on, and got a kick out of Vocal Adrenaline's coach coming with for different ways to say "I'm hot" in one sentence.

As a film buff, I have to wonder if Paltrow's imitation of Wallis Simpson for her history class had anything to do with The King's Speech winning big at the Oscars. Either way, it's hilarious to hear her referred to as a "hermaphrodite Nazi sympathizer".

But, let's be honest, Glee wasn't all that this week. There's only a few episodes left in the season, so let's hope they can muster the troops and come back hard.

So, how bout that chick who spoiled the whole prom king/queen surprise for us? Bitch!

In Other News: Gordon-Levitt and Cotillard's Dark Knight Characters Confirmed

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Following the swill of rumors regarding who these two would be playing (JoGo was this close to being confirmed as Alberto Falcone, and Cotillard was most heavily applied to Talia Al'Ghul), we now finally have confirmation, IGN reports.

"Cotillard will appear as Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member eager to help a still-greiving Bruce Wayne resume his father's philanthropic endeavors in Gotham.


Gordon-Levitt will play John Blake, a Gotham city beat cop assigned to special duty under the command of Commissioner Gordon."


There you go! Rather than have them playing roles fans of the comics know and love, Nolan is placing two of his most talented actors in roles he created. Now the rumors begin to brew as to what parts these two will play in the grand scheme of things. Is JoGo's John Blake assigned by Gordon to hunt Batman down, or is he instead going to be covertly aiding the caped crusader? Does MaCo's Tate only want to elevate Bruce Wayne, or does she have something trickier in mind?

Dear God! Why can't this movie exist now? We don't even have one production still, and I'm already dying from the wait!

It's LAMMY Time

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Break it down!

It is that time of year again folks. If the Academy can hand out awards to their favorites, then so can the LAMB. The 2011 LAMMYs have kicked off. You know the drill. Head over to the poll and nominate me your favorite LAMBs for everything under the sun. But, no really. Please vote for me. I'm really proud of how much my site grew over the last year, and I would love a nomination. Even so, regardless if you don't vote for me, you should still get out there and let your voice be heard, because there are countless LAMBs that are deserving of at least one of the awards. Follow the link. Do your civic duties!

http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/521956

Cinematic Captions #16

Alright folks! Cleverness caps on! Time to impress me.

But first, a PSA. I love that this thing has caught on, and has developed a following, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say that I want more people taking part. So, here's what's gonna happen. Pass along the feature to your friends and blogging buddies and tell them to take part. The more new blood the better. Most importantly, tell them to tell me that you sent them. The person who sends me the most fresh faces gets something special (to be determined later).

In no way does this have anything to do with the fact that the LAMMY noms went live yesterday, and I really want this to get nominated for Best Feature!

And now, last week's winner!

Honorable Mentions: "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!" (Courtesy of Castor), "YOU...KILLED...A...MARMOT????" (Courtesy of Rachel [f.g.i]).

We have a new addition to the board this week.

The winner is... Mad Hatter!!!!


It grows ever bigger (that's what she said)!!!

The Leaderboard
Castor (4)
Fletch (2)
Simon (2)
Kai (2)
Univarn (2)
Rachel (1)
Aiden (1)
Hatter (1)

This week's took me awhile to choose. I grabbed four screens from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and all of them were equally hilarious. But, I finally went for this one.


Amuse me!

Flocculent spiral NGC 2841

Flocculent spiral NGC 2841
Star formation is one of the most important processes in shaping the Universe; it plays a pivotal role in the evolution of galaxies and it is also in the earliest stages of star formation that planetary systems first appear.

Yet there is still much that astronomers don’t understand, such as how do the properties of stellar nurseries vary according to the composition and density of the gas present, and what triggers star formation in the first place? The driving force behind star formation is particularly unclear for a type of galaxy called a flocculent spiral, such as NGC 2841 shown here, which features short spiral arms rather than prominent and well-defined galactic limbs.

In an attempt to answer some of these questions, an international team of astronomers is using the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) installed on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study a sample of nearby, but wildly differing, locations where stars are forming. The observational targets include both star clusters and galaxies, and star formation rates range from the baby-booming starburst galaxy Messier 82 to the much more sedate star producer NGC 2841.




NGC 2841 – click for 1000×800 image


More: here, here, here, here

Ha!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just HA!

Your Sunday Funny #10

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pay Attention Honkies!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LAMB Movie of the Month makes it triumphant return today. Every month, the whole community gets together to discuss one particular flick. Headed up by an exclusive LAMBcast, and backed by articles written by others, one film is heavily scrutinized, as only the Large Ass. Movie Blogs can do it. For it's triumphant return, the community decided that the first Movie of the Month would be Black Dynamite. Hell yeah!

I'll admit. Blaxploitation is not a realm of film I am very well versed in. In fact, I wouldn't say I'm versed in it at all, as I haven't seen one example of the genre. That being said, I am well aware of the quirks that define films of that sort. The crazy, over dramatic, sudden zooms. The completely unnecessary explosions. The afros. The machoness. The saturated colors. The white villains. And so on and so on. Lately, there has been an influx of mainstream grindhouse pics, thanks to Tarantino and Rodriguez popularizing the medium, but most of them have taken themselves completely seriously... or, rather, as seriously as a film like Hobo With A Shotgun can be taken. Black Dynamite, on the other hand, is a spoof. It does not take itself seriously in any context, and is full to bursting with joke after joke after karate chop after joke. It's a smart, savvy, witty, stab at everything blaxploitation. And, funnily enough, it teaches valuable life lessons on the etiquette of interrupting someone's kung fu. You won't learn these things anywhere else kids. Pay attention.

What did you just say about my hair?

In a world where corruption rules the streets, kids are shooting drugs, and The Man is coming down hard on you and your brothas, one man takes a stand. That man is Black Dynamite, a nun-chuck wielding, woman loving, kung fu master who don't take no shit from no man. Never one to crack a smile, he patrols the town, delivering the ass whooping, and defending his lady love. When his brother is mysteriously and suddenly murdered, Black Dynamite takes matters into his own hands to bring the killers to justice and discovers a conspiracy that reaches into the very halls of Honky House. Along the way, he has sex with four, no, EIGHT, women (at the same time), shoots a donut, and battles a Chinese Kung Fu sensei. You know...  normal things.

Oh, sure, look at it in any objective manner, and you'll find plot holes aplenty, bad writing, and weak progression. But, that's kind of what makes these movies so enjoyable. You welcome all the absurdities getting thrown at you with open arms, so that when Black Dynamite and Co go on a five minute trivia rant in order to figure out the effects of an adulterated malt liquor, you just shrug and keep watching. Bad guys are suddenly good guys; good guys are suddenly bad guys. The woman falls in love with the man instantly, and Black Dynamite very clearly kills someone, only to pick him up, dust him off, and send him home. It's not good on any level of integrity, but who gives a crap?

Michael Jai White, one of the most badass people alive, plays BD. You'd be forgiven if you were a tad worried about his abilities as an actor, since his most high profile thing to date has been a barely there role in The Dark Knight. But, Black Dynamite is his brain child, and he gives the role it's just deserves. He's hilarious, tough, and five kinds of awesome! Black Dynamite is a man who can throw an axe and have it strategically cut off a man's arm 30 seconds after he has entered the room, has fathered pretty much every single kid on the block, and other brag worthy exploits. Jai White does a bang up job with the character. He has serious comedic chops, something that hasn't really utilized in anything else. It's refreshing.

That's about it as far as performers go, because White is really the only "name" attached to this. But, everyone does a good job, tapping into their respective wells of over-the-topness and ridiculousness, and they are all hilarious.

Fiendish Dr. Wu, you done fucked up now!

Jai White and director Scott Sanders succeed the only way a movie like this can succeed. They both obviously love the genre they are satirizing, and not only that, they love the stupid parts above it all. And rather than go the Shaun of the Dead route and make a version of the film set in the present day, they opted to go the route of Tarantino and Rodriguez and recreate a blaxploitation flick down to the minutest detail. So, you'll get the crazy afros, the jivy funk soundtrack, and all the black empowerment you can get in a two hour package.

Of course, this a comedy, and Jai White and Sanders are not afraid to poke fun at the genre. So, you'll get boom mikes entering the frame. You'll get an incredibly over the top monologue about one character's experience in Nam. You'll get an actor getting replaced by his stunt double, mid-scene. And not just that. Jai White and Sanders do a great job of playing with the conventions that plague movies like this. Example: A man is talking loudly about his plans to start a family, only to be the proud recipient of a spear to the chest not five seconds later. To which Black Dynamite replies "Who saw that coming?" That's only one example in a sea of goodness.

Yeah, I can't really find anything to complain about. Sure, viewed on any objective level, and the film is a massive failure. But, that was the point, so, in reality, it's a resounding success. Look. All of the film's intentions and motives are thrown out the window when you realize that the film is friggin' hysterical! That's all you really need to know. Well, that, and never interrupt a man's kung fu! Seriously! Bad things will happen! Don't do it!



Trailer Trash: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Friday, April 15, 2011

Time to root through some trailers. What sorts of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

Rise of the Planet of the Apes?? Christ, that's a mouthful! What was wrong with simply Rise of the Apes? I think the same point would have been sent.

Anyway, ROTPOTA chronicles the beginning of the war for supremacy whose aftermath was the subject of a bunch of movies staring Charlton Heston. It sees a genetically superior ape get injected with a serum that, unbeknownst to the scientists administering the thing, rapidly increases intelligence. Soon, said ape is at the head of a merry charge, leading his brethren in an all out assault on the human race.

James Franco is the head science guy. I don't know much of what he's doing here, other than injecting apes with none too savory formulas, but the same can be said about the rest of cast as well, which includes Freida Pinto, Tom Felton, and Brian Cox. They aren't the point of the trailer.

No, the main point of the trailer is too highlight the special effects used to create the apes, courtesy of WETA Digital. Rather than go the Tim Burton reboot route and douse the actors in makeup, all the apes here are mo-capped, with everyone's go to guy in the field, Andy Serkis, taking the role of the main monkey. The special effects actually look pretty decent, and there are some really cool shots in the trailer.

We won't have long to wait until the apes rise; the movie drops on August 5th. While I'm still holding out until I see more, suffice to say, this trailer has got me intrigued. This could be one of the sleeper hits of the summer. We'll see. Where's my banana?

According to the Movies #29

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If the movies say it, it must be true!

This week's lesson is in honor of Scream 4 being released this Friday.

One of the scary things about living in the Scream universe is that the Ghostface costume is so easy to come by. If their not giving out the things at movie theaters or hanging a bunch of em' in a studio closet somewhere, you can find one in your local Spirit store. So, that means, anyone could be the killer, since anyone can get their hands on the getup. And since you are a rational human being who doesn't want to get gutted by Sydney Prescott's latest would be murderer, there are some things you should do.



Lesson 1: Pay attention to your local costume stores. If someone buys a Ghostface costume, hunt that bastard down, slap them, and burn that thing.

Lesson 2: Ban Ghostface costumes.

Lesson 3: If you are going to get stabbed in the back, make sure you have Dewey's back. Seriously. That thing is friggin' resilient.


Poor Randy. That was uncalled for.

My Cinematic Alphabet

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm cashing in on this. Enjoy.

(500) Days of Summer


Apocalypse Now


Black Swan


Children of Men


The Departed


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Fargo


The Godfather


Hotel Rwanda


Inception




Jurassic Park


Kung Fu Hustle


Let Me In


Moulin Rouge


North By Northwest


Ocean's Eleven


Pulp Fiction


Quest for Camelot
(didn't see that coming, did ya?)


Raiders of the Lost Ark


Se7en


Tron


United 93


V For Vendetta


WALL-E


X2: X-Men United


Y Tu Mama Tambien


Zodiac


Cinematic Captions #15

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alright folks. Cleverness caps on. Time to impress me!

But first, last week's winner.

Honorable Mentions: "YOU'RE IN THE WRONG FUCKING LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!" (Courtesy of Simon), "Man, this midget blowjob thing sounded way better when we left the house." (Courtesy of The Rapid Reviewer).

And the winner, for the second time is... UNIVARN!!!!!


And no, Univarn. You don't get points for doubling down on the references, although this one was really well played!!!

The Leaderboard
Castor (4)
Fletch (2)
Simon (2)
Kai (2)
Univarn (2)
Rachel (1)
Aiden (1)

Alright, I'm feeling digital this week. Here ya go!


Amuse me!

Deliciously Beckettish

Monday, April 11, 2011

When it comes to sci-fi these days, for the most part, it's all about the explosions! The effects! The metal on metal! Restrained, other worldly sci-fi is hard to come by in our age. Only Duncan Jones seems to be interested in providing us that, and Source Code had one foot firmly in the realm of EXPLOSIONS. Thank God, then, that we have those movies to look back on. You know, those movies! The ones that are more interested in crafting new and weird worlds, with characters coping with situations far beyond their stations. Though the undisputed masterpiece of this type of film is Blade Runner, one film that flew under my radar until an article by one, Kai Parker, called my attention it was Dark City. And good on me for checking it out, because it friggin' rocks! Dark City is a devilishly clever, creepy, inventive science fiction epic that revels in the absurd and the noir. The guys behind this one certainly love them some Sam Beckett, which is recipe for something wonderful.

This won't hurt a bit. 

A man wakes up in a tub in a room that he doesn't recognize. He doesn't know where he is or who he is. There's a carved up corpse of call girl on the floor in the room. Needless to say, the man is freaking out. Upon discovering his identify (his name is John Murdoch), he is thrust into a strange and terrifying world, run by a group of bald men called "Strangers" with the ability to change the landscape and manipulate the population to such great extents that they can even prevent the sun from ever rising. As he starts to get the bottom of what is going on, and as he begins to experience the same control over the world that his aggressors have, Murdoch discovers the true nature of his existence, and how powerful the "Strangers" really are.

As an initial concept, Dark City has plenty in common with other works, but few come close to matching it in terms of execution. The world that Murdoch is thrust into is so twisting and convoluted, while at the same time being fully realized and fleshed out. The world that the filmmakers created is, quite simply, cool, and when sci-fi is cool, something is being done right.

Rufus Sewell takes the drivers seat, playing Murdoch with a steely resolve mixed with the perfect amount of vulnerability. I had never really seen him in anything until now, but I can understand where all the good press is coming from. He owns the film as Murdoch, commanding every scene he's in with his fiery presence.

Kiefer Sutherland plays a doctor who knows more than he is letting on. Sutherland is far from Jack Bauer territory, delving into his crazy side for the role. He is positively batshit here, speaking in a sharp, staccato manner, limping everywhere, and taking in all the absurdities occurring around him with a casual "eh". I want more of this Kiefer. He's shooting people too much these days.

Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt round out the main cast as Murdoch's confused wife, Emma, and Bumstead, a tired and disillusioned inspector who suspects Murdoch of murder, respectively. They aren't given as much to do as Sewell or Sutherland, but they do it just as well.

The most memorable additions to the cast, however, are the "Strangers". Sporting names like Mr. Hand, Mr. Shade, Mr. Foot, etc, these guys are tricky, cruel, and downright terrifying. Richard O'Brian, aka Riff Raff from Rocky Horror, has the most screen time as the enigmatic Mr. Hand, who spearheads the operation to find Murdoch. It's a subtle, chilling performance that will stick with you long after you've finished.

And how does that make you feel?

Director/Writer Alex Proyas really fell off the wagon after this one. He follows up a movie this good and inventive with what, exactly? Oh yeah, that's right, I Robot and Knowing. Damn, talk about a steep decline. Luckily, he'll always have this movie to fall back on. He crafts a perfectly realized and completely believable world. His blending of the supernatural with the noirish is splendid; there has never been a film that looks quite like this one, and there never will be. Proyas effectively mixes elements of such classics as A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, and others into his crafting of the world. Since the sun never rises, the whole movie is saturated in darkness, and this only adds to the creepiness of the whole thing. The shadow work in the flick is out of this world.

The film does go slightly off the rails in the latter end of the third act, resorting to the classic, action packed finale tropes that so many films fall victim to. It seems as though Proyas ran out of ideas after all the huge revelations that came one after the other, and needed to wrap it all up. I mean, it works, and the final action scene is beyond cool, but still. I would have liked to seem something a bit more tasteful, especially given everything that came before.

Regardless, Dark City is still five kinds of awesome! Beautiful to look at, exceedingly clever and thought provoking, with some solid performances to boot, everything about the movie just works. Since it's been more than a decade since we were first graced with it's presence, it's readily available. You have no excuse. This is one worth investing in.



 

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