The Hunt For Gollum

06/25/2010

Not sure why I’m just now finding this, except that the Web is a large place.

Award winning unofficial prequel to The Lord of the Rings dramatising Aragorn & Gandalf’s long search for Gollum. This 40 minute film, made by fans for fans is based on the appendices of LOTR and was painstakingly shot on a low budget as a homage to Peter Jackson’s trilogy and the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Costing less than $5,000 to make, with a team of volunteers, Independent Online Cinema are proud to have brought Middle-earth to the screen once more. We hope you enjoy The Hunt For Gollum as much as we enjoyed making it.

(YouTube Link)

This short film is not only a winner in the fanfilm department, it actually attempts to explain what Peter Jackson left out of the original story. The results are simply amazing.


Free Online: Lords of Dogtown

06/07/2010

Sony Pictures

I hadn’t seen Catherine Hardwick’s adaptation of Stacy Peralta’s documentary, Z-Boys and Dogtown, since it came out in theaters; I had kind of forgotten how awesome it is. From the cinematic style and period-piece ascetic of the clothes, the cars, and of course, those old-school skateboards, to the fine acting jobs (particulary Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch), this film tells a great story of Seventies glory.

I remember seeing this and thinking Emile should play Kurt Cobain in a biopic, or maybe River Phoenix. Acting chops aside, his skateboarding skills are nothing to sneeze at, either.

And at this moment we can watch it on Crackle, with limited ads, but otherwise free. Highly recommended if you like movies that rock. The endpiece is especially poignant and cool. So, if you’re interested, here it is. (UPDATE: no longer available. Sorry, folks.)

Awesome random cast members: Rebecca De Mornay, Johnny Knoxville, and Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner.


Epic Beard Man, Mortal Kombat Style

02/21/2010

(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

02/06/2010

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.


Hope For A “Long Walk” Movie

10/23/2009

Forget The Road, the upcoming Viggo Mortensen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel.  The bleak, dark story with a somehow life-affirming movie-from-book I want to see is The Long Walk.

TheLongWalk-BookCover

As I finish reading this book for the third time, I notice there are others out there who are rediscovering it, too.  Others who also see what I see in this, one of Richard Bachman’s most brutal tales (and that says a lot, since Bachman is the dark side of successful novelist Stephen King, whose mainstream horror at least always has the good guys winning something in the end)…and that is a metaphor for life, and the relationships we forge on our individual, selfish walks through life.

longwalk

Frank Darabont, the One Guy In The World That Can Make Great Stephen King Movies, bought the rights to the book years ago.  You might remember the trifecta of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist as all being simultaneously faithful to the books, and cinematically gorgeous.  As a fan of both, I sincerely hope he’s just waiting for the perfect cast before going through with filming this story.

It’s a parallel reality.  Germany bombed the Eastern seaboard of America in 1945, and now it’s some distant, unnamed time in the future from that.  America is still America, but there is a highly influential military government.  Each year, they hold The Long Walk, in which male volunteers between the ages of 14 and 18 hope to be picked as one of 100 Walkers.  The Walk starts with 100 young men, and ends with 1, who is then awarded whatever he wants for the rest of his life.

Soldiers in half-tracks monitor the walkers, and if one drops below 4 mph he is warned.  Three warnings and then the walker “buys his ticket” courtesy of the soldier’s gun.  Our hero is the odds on favorite, and he makes friends with many of the other guys, sometimes to his benefit, occasionally to his dismay.  It’s dark, serious stuff, but underneath it all is the realization that we’re all on a Long Walk, and while we may think we’re going to cross that finish line, anything may happen.

via Logopolis

via Logopolis

Bachman/King even includes a line in the book where a character feels like he’s in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, which is most likely the inspiration for this social dynamo of a story.  I especially love how the Crowd became a sort of villain in the last third of the book.  I’m looking forward to this movie becoming a reality, but as for now, it sits on Mr. Darabont’s To-Do pile.


Koumpounophobia

03/09/2009

Having just seen the wonderful Coraline, not in 3D thanks to the stupid Jonas Brothers movie taking over the theater’s only 3D machine, I must send this out to any frightened souls who saw it, and suffer now this awful affliction, koumpounophobia: The Fear of Buttons.  I’ll let the writer himself explain.  Take it, Neil…


Roland and Eddie and Susannah and Jake (and Oy)

11/08/2008

gunslinger1

I’ve started re-reading the final three volumes of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, starting with Wolves of the Calla.  I re-read the first four shortly before these came out (in the course of about 18 months!), and now is the perfect time to revisit the third act of that story that I, among many found completely satisfying.
Third Act, hmmm.  Let me explain.  The first three stories, while encapsulated tales all their own, are one long act, with a beginning, a middle and an end.  OK, so The Wastelands ends with a cliffhanger, but that gets settled in a short 60 pages into Wizard and Glass.  That book stands as a centerpiece to the series, serving mainly to tell us a tale of Roland’s past that is a cool story in itself, but not much happens along our heroes’ journey.
The omnipresent thought I have upon re-reading this third act, has to do with the fact that a certain Hollywood phenom has optioned the rights to serialize the books to film.  Will the guy who has so many people sold on a non-story like LOST, and cinematic dumbing down like Cloverfield be able to pull THIS off?  Perhaps, but here’s how I’d do it.
First of all, we have to think about impact.  The first impression is always the best.  The problem with the first chapter of the series is its inherent cinematic blandness.  It’s a great read, and a great story, but it’s confined to three un-theatrical locales.  This first book should be a mini-series, or a block of episodes on television.  I would call the men and women who run AMC on this.  If Mad Men is any indication, this is something they might tackle.  It should be 14 episodes long.
After that, it’s on to The Drawing of the Three as a whole movie, The Wastelands as a whole movie, Wizard and Glass as a whole movie, Wolves of the Calla as one whole movie, and then Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower combined into one final epic.  14 + 5 = 19.
Anyway, we’ll see what happens.  Here’s some art inspired by this sweet work of fiction. 

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