Secrets of the French Connection Chase Scene


(YouTube Link)

This clip features William Friedkin being interviewed by AFI about the making of The French Connection, particularly the iconic, frenetic, and wonderfully edited chase scene. I had heard that they filmed it on location in New York without telling anyone, but Friedkin has a hilarious story about the elevated train, and how they pulled off filming on it for an hour.

And now, the fruit of their efforts.

(YouTube Link)


Run That By Me Again, Top Gun?


The opening sequence in Top Gun features Maverick and Goose buddied up with Cougar and Merlin. They are tasked with dealing with a couple of bullying Russian MiGs threatening to breach the personal space of an aircraft carrier. Maverick achieves missile lock on one, and the MiG breaks off, headed “home.” Unfortunately, the situation is opposite for wingman Cougar (John Stockton).

Even though he broke right and high, to “see if he’s alone or not,” and looked like he had a good vantage point to see that there were two planes, right next to each other, passing Maverick, he somehow got one of them on his six; now he’s got a missile lock on him. Maverick flips his plane (and the bird), Goose takes a Polaroid, and they head back to the boat because they’re on fumes. But Cougar freezes.

As Maverick flies 150 miles away, gets everything perfect about his landing, bolts at the last millisecond, and flies 150 miles back to Cougar, we see a man petrified with fear. Did he really think the MiG pilot was serious? He seems overcome with adrenaline as he rips his oxygen mask away, but frozen into non-action.

via AviationSpectator

So, Maverick manages to talk him into a landing pattern, and after some stock footage of F-14 Tomcats dipping their wings haphazardly, he lands. Cut to the Commander sitting at his desk as Cougar enters, and turns in his wings. He says he doesn’t want to orphan his son before he even has a chance to meet him, says he’s lost his edge. Apparently the missile lock put the fear of death into him.

Run that by me again?

This is the guy who would have gotten into Top Gun ahead of Maverick, and while I can understand the “holding on too tight” to family thing completely, here’s where the whole reasoning fails. If he was afraid he was in danger of dying, having just been spooked, but nonetheless freaked out by it, wouldn’t he just want to land the plane? Yeah. He’d be the first to turn that thing around and beat Maverick back to the safety of the ship, where he could get out of the deathtrap that threatens his current existence. As much as I’ve always liked Mr. Stockton (he was also in Losin’ It with Cruise) and Tony Scott, this is a lame, failed mini-character arc.

But at least there’s this tribute:

(YouTube Link)

Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Retrospective


Get to the chopper, get down, and get ready for some major NSFW language as the man from Austria tells a tale.

(YouTube Link)

First of all, this one’s for you, Charles. I wouldn’t have had a year’s advance notice about The Expendables without you, and your love for old school Planet Hollywood. Second of all, I’ve always admired the guy for doing what he does without any conceit, and look forward to his cameo alongside Bruce Willis in Stallone’s brilliant film idea.

Catman (and Compassions)


Um, Christopher Nolan? Could you please make this a reality? Found at the most wonderful comic book blog, Compassions, in which I whole-heartedly agree with her opinion on the news that Chris Evans (The Torch in The Fantastic Four) has agreed to star as Captain America:

i’m not even a marvel fan and i know this is wrong. you can’t have the same fucking actor play two heros from the same universe. thats fucking stupid.

They must be playing by JJ Abrams rules where you can just use alternate realities.

It’s still a slap in the face to cast this guy as the Captain.

I’ve seen other actors who seemed to have their choice of roles ahead of them… they just stop showing up in movies, and this dude survives the technical failure that was the F4 movies?

Aye, no.

Epic Beard Man, Mortal Kombat Style


(YouTube Link)

This got churned out nice & quick!

For reference.

Update: After seeing this, I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of EBM.  It’s a complicated meme, full of society’s uncoolest ills, but the mere fact of its popularity is spawning what some are calling a memeplex.  As far as the black/white issue goes, I think we all need to work a bit harder to make that go away once and for all.  On a more skeptical note, the very fact that this exploded is most likely due to inherent, seething racism.  However, EBM’s tearful revelation about his Mom dying, along with his reference to Vietnam, could be the most touching American story generated from a spontaneous moment caught on film, and posted to YouTube.

Update 2: This  officially crowns this meme~~

The Other Avatar


When James Cameron’s Avatar came out, quite a few people I spoke to about it thought I was talking about Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Being parents, they were familiar with this children’s tale that I’ve never heard of, and all I could think of was, “Wow, somebody didn’t get the memo about duplicate titles in one year.”  Anyway, here’s the Super Bowl ad for M. Night’s attempt to return to relevance… and it looks pretty dang good.  Maybe.  Never Forget.

Killer Concept Art for Green Lantern


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.