YouTube: The Movie

08/04/2010

Anyone who has seen the trailer for the upcoming movie, The Social Network (video), which chronicles the rise of Facebook, is sure to see the similarities of that preview in this parody. This is the story of YouTube, written and co-directed by Jeff Loveness.

(Video Link)

The real movie looks amazing, and probably is, since it’s directed by David Fincher. There are few directors with his kind of staying power in Tinseltown.


Car Models That Are Movie Titles

05/06/2010

I can only think of six cars whose model name is also the title of a well-known movie. I set the rules pretty straightforward that – with the exception of the word “the” removed – it has to be an exact title. No Explorer, Odyssey, or oh-so-close-but-no-cigar Mitsubishi Outlander. Anyone who can add to this list is invited to do so, but this is what happens when you spend a few years pumping gas for a living. It sticks with you. Anyway, here they are.

1. Ford Maverick

2. Chevy Silverado

3. Chrysler 300

4. Toyota Matrix

5. Toyota Highlander

6. Jeep Patriot

Go on and tell me what I missed, but remember the rules. It has to be an exact match (forgiving “the”). So no AMC Gremlin for you!


A Remake I Could Get Behind: Coma

04/28/2010

Image: MGM

1978’s Coma is a great story, based on bestselling author Robin Cook’s novel, and spearheaded by Michael Chrichton. Litter Box favorite Michael Douglas plays a minor leading man, and there’s tension throughout the film. The above shot is the centerpiece of this creepy tale of purposely putting people into comas to milk insurance money (or organ harvesting, or something). Thereby being a huge draw for anti-healthcare crowds and moviegoers who’d like to see bodies dangling mysteriously by wires.

I think if Hollywood wants to remake older films, this (along with previously opined Starman) should be one of them. Here, see for yourself with the entire movie online:

(YouTube Link)

Here’s the Money Sequence, complete with a convincingly comatose Tom Selleck.

(YouTube Link)

It has potential to be a really creepy update on a theme not touched on much anymore.

She didn’t like the word coma. It had a sinister, stealthy sound. Wasn’t it Latin for “sleep of death?”

-Stephen King (The Dead Zone)

Hmm, come to think of it, The Dead Zone… remake?


Great Movies That Don’t Get Major Play

02/07/2010

For some reason, cable television will always be in a rut of showing the same 40 movies each year, and that sucks.  Variety is the spice of life, and exactly what’s missing in the realm of “well-known” movies that populate channels like TBS, TNT and AMC, among others.  So, in a state of nostalgia, and an attitude of recommendation, I offer (what I think is) the most under promoted/worthy movies out there (and there’s a bunch out there).

1. Wonder Boys

I meet many fans of Tobey Maguire that only know him from Spiderman, and have never seen his earlier genius in stuff like this and The Ice Storm.  I can only conclude that this excellent character study of a film is not prescient due to the main character (Michael Douglas, no!) being quite the stoner.  Too bad the powers that be missed the message completely on this one; the scene where he throws his bag down is ultimate.

And the characters in this movie all seem to interact like a force of nature, yet are consumed by the very trappings that come with being writers.

2. The Sugarland Express

Early evidence of Steven Spielberg’s cinematic prowess can be found throughout this 1974 flick with the tagline “A girl with a great following.”  It has the intimacy of a heartfelt human drama as well as the expansive, chaotic elements inherent in 70s era Spielberg fare (many scenes from Jaws come to mind).  Based on the true story of Robert and Ila Fae Dent, Steve’s first theatrical film features the first use of a tracking shot in a car from front to back seat, and signified the beginning of a career-long partnership with composer John Williams.  It’s basically a chase movie with an uncharacteristically negative ending for Spielberg, but it’s a lot of fun getting there. (WATCH IT)

3.  The Ghost and the Darkness

Every once in a while I’ll see the cable networks showing Heat, the other excellent Val Kilmer flick made around 1996.  This one, while similar in themes of violence (albiet animal savagery, not human), is a suspenseful gem of the highest caliber.  The way the story plays off the similarities between the pair of marauding lions and the two men (Kilmer, subdued, and Michael Douglas, fantastic) tasked with hunting them down is a brilliant touch.  And yes, Douglas makes this list twice.  Dig this:

4. Fandango

For me, this was the movie that helped bridge the gap between teenhood and adulthood.  I actually broke off a part of my sunglasses in order to channel the character of Gardener Barnes, played with acerbic Texan wit and depth by Kevin Costner.  The road trip story is a non-stop adventure the likes of which are rarely caught on road trip films, filled with laughs and thoughtful moments.  The sequence where Judd Nelson’s character skydives is a perfect blend of plot twist, suspense, and score.  Everyone should be aware of this movie. (WATCH IT)

5. On the Waterfront

The video above is just a taste of the awesome power of this movie.  Karl Malden’s indignation, Brando’s doubts, Eva Marie Saint’s vulnerabilty are all on perfect display here, and the entire film is an exercise in doing it right.  (WATCH IT)

But basic cable being what it is, we’ll just have to settle for the worst, and hope for the best. At least I keep seeing this one on AMC, and it never gets old…

(WATCH IT)

(Credits> Wonder Boys: Paramount, The Sugarland Express: Zanuck/Brown, The Ghost and the Darkness: Constellation Entertainment, Fandango: Kevin Reynolds)


Killer Concept Art for Green Lantern

02/02/2010

Count me among the teeming masses that can’t wait to see Green Lantern when it comes out in 500 days.  The franchise, about a race of aliens scattered among the planets (we get Greenie) and endowed with superpowers will be a fresh, and apparently artistic endeavor.  So far, at least in concept stage, it looks promising.


Avatar Easy Target For Haters

12/21/2009

Even before the movie was over, I knew the haters were going to sound off about the overrated state of James Cameron’s Avatar, primarily due to the derivative nature of the plot.  I thought Oh, so it’s like Dances With Wolves Meets The Matrix.  That’s cool. And it is, really.

Update (4/9/2010): Since this is such a popular post, I highly recommend perusing my updated opinion on the nature of this story.

That is the main complaint right out of the gate, though, and even startup buzzkill complaints like what frakking font they used for subtitles can’t escape the comments section mob.  They all huddle under the banner of Originality.  They decry the sin of spending so much money on a project, and not letting some of it go to a creative story.  I’m on the opposite pole.  I think Cameron’s shrewdness is stellar, because “creative” can often spell doom to a film as ambitious as this.  If I was investing 300 million on a world like Pandora, I would want to tell a story that’s tried and true.  Tested and well-received.

Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai told similar stories, yes.  But we eat that shit up, and therefore it’s not lazy of Cameron.  It’s a business decision.  Anyway, setting that nitpick of story aside,  you have a serious success in the presentation of a movie.  And, the next big step in visual effects, especially 3-D technology.

I can think of another movie that took one of those big steps, and its story was a blatant rip-off of every myth story imaginable regarding The Hero’s Journey.  What was that film called, again?



Star Wars Is Sad

12/12/2009

(YouTube Link)

It’s funny how some people become so involved in a narrative, and when it’s over, they tend to focus on the sad elements.  This woman just finished watching Return of the Jedi, and apparently her emotions were triggered by Darth Vader’s line, “Let me look at you with my own eyes.”  And then there’s that whole thing about Artoo getting fried.  These visceral images overshadow their tamer, happy-endingish outcomes.  Vader got to have a proper Jedi cremation, and Artoo was fixed at the end.  But some emotions need talking out.


Shootouts!

12/09/2009

AskMen has put together what could arguably be called the most spot on top ten list regarding shootouts in movies.  They’re all here, the cremé de le cremé.

10. Unforgiven. I remember being so skeptical of this movie when it came out, and was so blown away by what Mr. Eastwood did with direction.  Great shootout with a villain you love to hate and his goons.

9. Boondock Saints. Even though Overnight depicts director Troy Duffy as an egomaniac, I remember also being blown away (okay, no more of that) by the two centerpieces of this thriller, and the shootout was elevated to cult status once again.

8. Tombstone. The epitome storyline.  The reason we have shootouts is because of the story of the OK Corral.  This is the best version of that story.

7. The Untouchables. The first one that came to mind when I read the title.  Odessa Steps, baby carriage, classic.

insert shootout here.

6. Hard Boiled. Hat tip to John Woo in general, methinks.

5. The Matrix.
Second one that came to mind, but I would extend AskMen’s title of The Lobby to The Rescue of Morpheus, because you have to include the chopper scene.

4. The Professional. You think Leon’s going to fall for that knock?  You better bring more guys, Oldman.

3. The Wild Bunch. I’m so happy my favorite western made it so high on the list.  From the article:

Believe it or not, more blank rounds were discharged during the production of The Wild Bunch than live rounds were fired during the Mexican Revolution of 1914. Now that’s dedication!

2. Scarface. Natch.

1. Heat. Hell Yes.  Michael Mann’s epic shootout not only makes kinetic shootout cinema… the scene mirrored a real life Los Angeles bank robbery that used similar guns & tactics, only that time the criminals were killed.  This scene however always manages to blow me away (Sorry).

By the way, each entry at the site hosts YouTubage of the scenes, a rundown of Notable Guns, and Estimated Body Count.  Awesome.

Go to AskMen.

What they left out: Open Range, The Usual Suspects, Saving Private Ryan, Shoot ‘em Up, Terminator 2,  ……more?


What I Learned by Watching “Up”

11/23/2009

Up hit a lot of nails squarely on the head: heartfelt, funny, magical, exhilarating, etc.  But I left the movie with three lessons learned that will forever be associated with it.

  • Wives should put ties on their husbands every day.
  • The “Cone of Shame” is an absolute and true euphemism.
  • South America is really fucking weird.

It’s a decent Pixar effort, though.  Lots of fun for us adults as well as eye candy for the kiddos.


2012 Is Awesome and Tight

11/14/2009

I could rant against the ridicule of the slow here, but I’ll just go ahead and conclude this is more entertaining than the disaster porn that is 2012.  Actually, it pretty hilarious. More of Hey, That’s Awesome! here.


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