Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

So This Is the New Year...

Tonight, as the seconds tick by until the arrival of 2015 (Or maybe it's already arrived wherever you are reading this), I'd like to share my favorite song that has to deal with, well...the beginning of the new year. 

It's by Indie rock group Death Cab for Cutie, and they've been one of my favorite groups since Senior year of high school when I bought Narrow Stairs on iTunes, and I've been a fan since. I love that it's a melancholic song about the biggest non-even of the year and how Ben Gibbard wants to pretend "that we are wealthy, for just this once," on this one night. The song "The New Year" is the opening track off the band's third record, Transantlanticism, which is an incredible record in of itself, including "Sound of Settling," "Title and Registration," and the title track itself, so definitely seek this song out, as well as the rest of the record, because it's worth the listen.

I also want to take the t…

Cowardice

I was looking forward to watching the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy The Interview on Christmas Day, even more so than Angelina Jolie's WWII drama Unbroken, or Rob Marshall's Into the Woods. I like what the writing and directing duo of Rogen and his pal Evan Goldberg have done with comedies like Superbad, Pineapple Express and their debut feature, This Is the End. In light of Sony being hacked (which now appears to be North Korea's doing) and threats of attacking theaters that carry the comedy, three things happened today:

1.) Every major theater chain - AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Arclight, etc, had decided to pull out from showing The Interview on its scheduled release date.

2.) This prompted Sony Pictures to basically cancel the release date of the film amid threats of blowing up theaters.

3.) Both Sony and the theater chains basically caved into the demands of cyber terrorism from North Korea.


Are you fucking kidding me?

We just caved into terrorist demands from a country that …

Disappointed

There is a fantastic scene in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that has nothing to do with the battle itself. We see Thoirn Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) walking across the halls of Erabor, the halls itself covered in solid gold. He has a vision of himself sinking to the abyss of the halls that have melted down to liquid, screaming and crying out for help, but only sinking faster. The last time we left his company, they had driven the dragon Smaug out from under the Lonley Mountain, but let him loose on the people of Lake Town. The son of Thrain, son of Thorn has his home again, but has gone mad with greed over the treasure. The pissed off former residents of the town, led by Bard (Luke Evans), along with King Thranduil (Lee Pace) demand he honor his promise to share in the wealth of the Mountain, or else they'll reign Elvish arrows down on his ass. Blinded by his greed, his own company begins to turn on him, including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who tries to make a d…

Everything Isn't Awesome: The Top 10 Worst Films of 2014

It's that time of year again! The time where critics, amateurs and everyone in between start compiling and evaluating the year that was in film and come up with lists that say whether this was a great year at the multiplex, or one we can and should delete from our collective memory banks. For me, the year was when I personally avoided crap that I knew would be dreck, like the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore reunion from The Wedding Singer/50 First Dates days romantic flick Blended, or sequels I hated the first time and wanted no part in again with The Purge: Anarchy. That still doesn't mean I could escape bad or uninspired filmmaking, because eventually, when you're a movie junkie like myself, you do eventually run into some really awful crap. Today, I'm taking it to the movies that made me suffer; the ones I only have to re-visit because they're on TV and there's no other option available to me.

10. The Giver - This half-baked film adaptation based on the award-win…

You Have Been Terminated

Every boy growing up in the 80's or 90's has an action hero we latch onto, or action movies we loved. These movies were rated R, of course, because we loved seeing violence, corny one-liners, and bewbies! There's a thrill we all got by watching something we're not supposed to be watching, like John Rambo mowing down dozens of bad guys in the Rambo series, or John McClain taking out terrorists in the Die Hard movies. For me, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator movies. James Cameron's The Terminator and his sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day are classic sci-fi action pictures in my book, and personal favorites of mine, and anytime they were on TV, my butt was parked on the sofa to watch the future Governator kick ever manner of ass. 
Today, Paramount Pictures told me, the fans of the first two movies, and Jim Cameron, that we can go fuck ourselves, in the form of Terminator: Genisys (due out May 2015).

Yes, it is nice to see Schwarzenegger back as the T-…

The Force Awakens

A trailer is tailor made to do a few things:

1. Get the audience excited for the film the studio is marketing. It should give you an idea what the story is about, but give little away as possible, something many trailers seem to forget these days.

2. Get a buzz going about its release. The more people talking about it, via word of mouth or by social media, the better.

3. Get the fanboys and/or fangirls (the built-in audience who read up on movie sites every nugget of information on the movie or film series that they can find) excited about what is coming their way in months or in a year's time.

That's the job of a trailer. A teaser, on the other hand, works the same way, but with one big difference: A teaser is like foreplay (for lack of a better word); it's designed to get you excited and whet the appetite for the audience. A teaser is basically something the filmmakers want to show off. The effects aren't completely done yet, the final product is still in the editing…

Puppets, Tangled in Strings

Toward the end of The Hunger Games: Mockingay - Part I, Madam President Alma Coin (played by the wonderful Julianne Moore), she gives a rousing speech to her citizens of District 13 about a great victory they have just won under her direction. The monologue basically tells her comrades in arms that soon they will storm the Capital with the backings of the other Districts, that a new world will be born where they will become one people, once voice, and that all will share in the wealth and prosperity in this new Panem. And then....cut to black. Time to go home, tweet about how awesome this installment was, tell your BFF's to see this movie, and make sure you come back to spend more money on Part II now! The speech about unity and sharing among each other in a new, harmonious community comes off feeling hollow and empty; not because Moore doesn't sell this brave new world well, because she's one of the bright spots in Part I of this two-part finale. The reason this feels hol…

This Is Fucked Up, Fucked Up

I've watched some strange, disturbing and messed up movies in my time. From the Saw series and Human Centipede: Full Sequence, to this year's God's Not Dead, I'd like to think that there isn't a whole lot that can honestly get under my skin and have me shaken. Leave it to director David Fincher and first-time screenwriter Gillian Flynn to have, what I feel, is the final word on watching a fucked-up movie.

Gone Girl is not just your standard kidnapping thriller/whodunit murder mystery. Calling it twisted and disturbing really doesn't do the film justice. All I can say is that what you see in two hours and twenty-five minutes will shock you and have your jaw hit the ground. Based on the bestselling novel by Flynn herself, Gone Girl begins innocently enough (well, about as innocent as a Fincher movie does): Nick Dune (Ben Affleck) comes home in preparation for his wife, Amy's (Rosamund Pike) five-year anniversary, only to discover his wife is missing. He calls …

The Force Awakens Into The Woods

First things first: I've got a backload of films I've seen that I need to review, including Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, David Fincher's Gone Girl, and The Judge, among others. There's also Marvel's Phase III lineup that was announced last week and how excited I am over two new heroes entering the fray, its significance, and what it means going forward & preparing my annual list of the Best and Worst of 2014. Today is a day for celebration for both Star Wars fans, and fans of musicals and/or Stephen Sondheim.

J.J. Abram's Star Wars Episode VII (due out December of next year) has a new title! And....

.....yeah.

That's the title, folks. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What, did the Force get smashed last night and now it has a massive hangover? Did it awaken only to learn that it had a one-night stand with a Trekkie cosplayer at a sci-fi convention? Or did it wake up in a musical with Rapunzel, the Big Bad Wolf and Cinderella? Elaborate, Mr. Abrams…

Ultron's Got No Strings

Last night, Marvel announced that the trailer to Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015) would make it's world debut on ABC alongside next Tuesday's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Almost 24 hours later, it leaked online. 
In a word (poor quality an all): wow.

There will, no doubt, be a better high-resolution quality version of the anticipated first look at the superhero team-up sequel, but it looks pretty damn good. It is fitting that the trailer music uses the song "I've Got No Strings On Me" from Walt Disney's Pinocchio soundtrack, not because Marvel is now a subsidiary of the House of Mouse, nor because the malevolent robot Ultron (James Spader)   pretty much references the song when he threatens Earth's Mightiest Heroes; rather, it is fitting because it takes the origin story of the title character and turns it into this bleak, twisted form. Instead of lying and disobeying his maker and then redeeming himself for his transgressions, Ultr…

A Plea From Me, to Jeffrey Wells.

Dear Jeffrey,

Despite whatever I've said about you (and I've said numerous things on this blog, on your site, and on Twitter), there's one constant about you that I've always respected when reading your articles on Hollywood Elsewhere: it comes from a deep love of the medium. I love that you get jazzed over smaller, obscure movies that, otherwise, wouldn't be (or should be) on my radar. I admire that you don't buckle to public opinion and base the film on it's merits alone. You write and speak without much (or any) fear of how someone will perceive of your work. I wish I had that kind of streak in me as a writer.
But the rub has always been that you take this quality about yourself too far, and the initial response has been to think that you're being a huge jerk, or in inconsiderate ass. Exhibit A: how you espoused that if a child with down syndrome can't keep quiet during a screening at the local theater, then management should have the right to th…

The Hunger Games: Divergent

In the distant future, North America is in ruins. Entire factions have been split into Districts, as they all fall under the evil totalitarian rule of...oh, no, not this again! It was bad enough that I had to play "Name That Sci-Fi Film Reference!" when I reviewed Oblivion last year, but now again with Divergent? You know, it's just one reference; I'm sure the premise will get better as the review goes along.

Ok, so this isn't Panem, There aren't twelve Districts, and Donald Sutherland isn't the totalitarian bastard running the show. But it is the near future, and it appears that anything resembling North America has been wiped out, save for the remains of Chicago, for some reason. In fact...how the hell is the Windy City mostly intact? Did whoever fired off the nukes hit every major city in North America and accidentally left off Chi-town? Crap, I'm thinking too much about this, so let's just roll with it.

Anyway...in this brave new world, there …

Movin' On Up!

Starting September 22 (perhaps sooner), yours truly will be the newest contributor for the television section of Awards Daily.com! I'll be reviewing stuff like the new Fox crime drama Gotham, dealing with the origins of the city's two heroes, Bruce Wayne and a young detective James Gordon, as well as the origins of beloved Batman foes, Penguin, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, to name a few; along with Season II of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, perhaps a few more shows if this goes well. I'll still do my regular movie reviews here, but i'm branching out to the world of the small screen, and I cannot wait to take on this new adventure. I'll be joined by great writers for the site, including Clarence Moyer, Joey Moser, Megan McLachlan and the guy in charge, Craig Kennedy, who is also featured on the Oscar Podcast with Sasha Stone and Ryan Adams. Wish me luck!

The Kids Are Not Alright

Monday night I was at my local hangout (read: a bar), enjoying the last hours of summer, Sam Adams Oktoberfest in hand, when I begin seeing Joey, another Twitter friend and fellow movie geek (BTW: check out his blog, Movie MoJo, and you can see him talking television at Awards Daily TV!) ranting about the latest Lifetime TV movie about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the popular 90's teen sitcom, Saved by the Bell. Here's how bad it got for him watching it:

The CGI in that Screech shirtless scene is so bad it makes that boat scene in #TheRinger look like Avatar. #UnauthorizedSavedByTheBellStory
— Joey Moser (@JoeyMoser83) September 2, 2014
Needless to say, I was intrigued by how bad the TV movie had gotten for him, so when I got home, I decided to give it a look. The last time I checked out a Lifetime movie, it was the universally panned Lindsay Lohan movie, Liz & Dick, a movie that made my year-end worst list of 2012. As laughably bad as it was, I couldn't com…

Thoughts on Christy Mack, War Machine and Victim Shaming.

I said last December that my blog would make time to comment on things happening outside of movies, and I feel that this warrants it. Before I continue, I was going to make my comments about the heinous murders on the UCLA campus by a lone, disturbed gunman, and his final message he left on You Tube the day before; and the "Yes All Women" movement that took social media by storm after the tragedy. The reason I didn't is because I wasn't confident in my abilities as a writer to talk about subjects on gender equality and misogyny. The story in question, coupled with the lack of empathy have spurred me into writing this piece, along with advice from one of my social media friends, Ryan Adams.

By now you all should know the name Jonathan Koppenhaver, aka: "War Machine", but if you don't, here's the short version: the mixed martial artist fighter was being hunted by police for beating his then-girlfriend Christy Mack, at her home in Las Vegas, who was la…

Trapped In a Sea of Sameness

Going into The Giver, I was expecting the worst. For starters, they changed the age of the lead character Jonas, from a naïve 11 year-old boy to a swoon-worthy, naïve 18 year old. The same with his friends - both Asher and Fiona are now teens as well. Next was they way they marketed the film, as a cross between 1984 and Brave New World meets some teen melodrama you'd find on ABC Family. But mostly, I am just nearly burnt out by seeing studios take hot young adult novels and turn them into mediocre ripoffs of better-done adaptations, and given how poor Divergent, The Host, Ender's Game and The Fault In Our Stars turned out, you could understand my hesitation over seeing the final product.

Imagine my surprise that the film version of author Lois Lowry's dystopian sci-fi thriller wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. For starters, the cinematography and color palette by Ross Emery is how I imagined this world would look like. This bland, colorless world feels and l…

Mr. Brown Goes Into the Storm

Say, you liked disaster flicks like Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, The Perfect Storm and 2012; and you flocked to watch found footage/POV features like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and the Paranormal Activity series, so here you go, America - a natural disaster flick with shaky camera work! It's a sure-fire hit; just step back and watch the money roll in!

Maybe I'm being too harsh. I'm sure this wasn't how first time screenwriter John Swetnam and producer Todd Garner pitched the film when the script was given the green light to start production. But I really do wonder if the people inside of the pitch meeting at Warner Brothers had a moment of pause and thought, 'Isn't this just a remake of "Twister" but with found footage slapped on?' Then again, this is the same town that thought Movie 43 and Catwoman had decent scripts to go into production, so I guess this shouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

I will say this about Into the Sto…

Summer's Pallet Cleansers, Or: A Vacation From the Extrodinary

I love summer movies just as much as the next person. Hell, this season's crop of popcorn escapism are actually better and more satisfying than last year's disappointing slate of blockbusters. But there's only so many big-budget, effects-driven extravaganzas I can watch before I burn myself out. In that instance, a break from blockbuster fare is sorely needed, and i'm reviewing two movies that help cleanse the pallet, and one that...doesn't . Yep, you can even find bad movies at an art-house theater. But that's beside the point. These movies, regardless of your opinions coming out, are good to experience because these are filmmakers who aren't beholden to the studio's bottom line of making a profit. They're doing smaller work, but nonetheless engaging. Most of the time.


Belle - Remember the name Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She's the best thing in an English drama that has so much right going for it. First, it's superbly directed by Amma Asante, who comb…