Thursday, July 19, 2012

Batman is brainwashing voters. Says Rush Limbaugh. *cough*

The title says it all, no further words are needed on my part to explain what you're about to watch, except to say Hey, here's one more proof that Al Franken was right all along

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fringe: Comic Con 2012 Panel

No secret that Fringe is not only one of my current favorite shows but also one of my all-time favorites as well. No secret either that I'm still baffled by Fox's decision to NOT screw fans over and give the series a proper (albeit short) final season.

As most of us (except the complete offline weirdos) know, last weekend was San Diego's Comic Con which has very little to do with comics anymore but who cares, it's the geek rendez-vous of the year. And as such the Fringe gang were once again guests of honor for their own panel, sadly their last, where some discussion was held of the upcoming final outing as well as reminiscence from the past 4 years.

Of course I wasn't there, but this cool dude naming himself Ennaxor filmed the whole ordeal and was kind enough to post it online. So with a choke in the throat and mouse in the hand, here's in its entirety Fringe's Comic Con 2012 panel.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SCENE IT: Steeeee-Rike!

The Naked Gun's Baseball Bit

Leslie Nielsen had all but retired or decided to by the late 70s after decades of playing the straight man and never really reaching the artistic fulfillment he had been looking for as a thespian.  He'd gotten a few starring roles back in his late 20s/early 30s (chief among them the cult classic Forbidden Planet), but then had bee relegated to mostly generic supporting parts increasingly similar to one another. Another one of those came in 1980, but this time in a movie that fame fun of what populated Nielsen's career. 

The success of Airplane! gave the actor and his benefactors an idea: do the same kind of parody about cop shows. Didn't work ratings wise (Police Squad was canceled after only 3 airings, out of 6 episodes produced) so they did the next logical thing: increase the budget and make a major motion picture. 

The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad is composed from start to finish of priceless, classic moments of movie comedy which all deserve a spotlight of their own. Yet for this week's Scene It my fancy will be to feature the side splitting sequence where Nielsen's Frank Drebbin goes undercover during a baseball game where he quickly gets the gist of what a referee does on the field. 

REVIEW: The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of what Sam Raimi did for the character. I love Raimi, don't get me wrong (Army of Darkness is one of my all-time favorites) but those movies were just not good. Aside form the second, which still turned the villain into a "victim" when he should've been a straight-up bad motherf***er. The faults are too many to list, so let's keep it at not good.

Enter Marc Webb, a newbie who's one and only other directorial film credit rested on the amazing chemistry between Zooey Deschannel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Was he the right man for the job? I said so loudly back when, and I feel I was quite right by now. For he made a film that's entertaining AND good AND fresh to watch despite 50 year-old source materials and four sizable stumbling blocks: it's way too soon for a reboot, the summer is already being pilfered by two other HUGE superhero movies, people are getting fed-up with superhero origins stories and the one with a bad case of Topher Grace gave us all spidey fatigue. Those things are still true when watching the film, but I dare say I liked it a LOT, much more than the previous franchise anyway.

"Watch out for that tree...."

First off Andrew Garfield, even at 28, plays a way better teenager -AND Peter Parker- than Maguire ever could (or was allowed to). And thus HIS Spiderman makes sense; he has the posture, the demeanor and the hairdo (...) of a true angst-ridden, hormonal teenager. This one is truly the diffident smart-ass that Peter/Spidey should be, which makes sense when he starts shooting his mouth off at criminals behind the mask. Mechanical webslingers? YES, finally, someone gets it, this kid's a genius trapped in an awkward body. A brainy girlfriend? YES, finally, Kirsten Dunst's sleepy damsel in perpetual distress was really getting on my nerves. 

The rest of the cast is just as brilliant as it sounds on paper, in particular Uncle Ben and Aunt May, who both never felt so realistic and grounded. Martin Sheen is especially such a commanding presence, even when playing a blue collar worker, that you actually wish Uncle Ben wouldn't buy it just yet, at least not in this movie. And I strongly feel Sheen could not have been paired up with someone stronger than Sally Field to play his over-caring wife. My only disappointment is Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. I was really hoping he'd go all Tommy Gavin on Spidey's a**, but saddly the man who mimicks Bill Hicks tones it down -WAY down- to a point where is role is almost generic. Meatier than what James Cromwell was given to play last time around, but still disappointed.

"Show me all the data you want, costumes DON'T HAVE NIPPLES, period".

As for the story, it does feel at times like Webb is deliberately trying to steer clear of what Raimi did, but overall it does work a lot better too, especially when concentrating Peter's story toward the mystery of his parent's death which never was even hinted in the previous films. If not for comic fans, at least for general movie goers it does freshen up the character and offers a renewed interest in seeing 2 more of those. Combined with a grittier tone and an..."amazing" attention to details (like the explosion-like discharge from the webshooters) and it's a film that truly has its place among the top blockbusters of the summer. I just wish this version had been the first to come along, so that this reboot wouldn't feel like a precipitated attempt at striking a little more while the iron is hot.

Final Word: 8.5/10

Sunday, July 08, 2012

REVIEW: Lockout (2012)

Genre: Thriller | Action | Sci-Fi
IMDB rating: 6.4/10 from 2,156 users
Directed by: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare

Lemme get this off my chest right away: This film is clich├ęd to the extreme, it defies logic at every turn, and it's the closest thing to an Escape From New York rip-off since Escape From L.A. (the lead character even buries a reference to it inside another reference, when alluding that he wants to party "like it's 1999"). Ergo it's honestly the most FUN I've had watching a guns-blazing science-fiction flick devoid of any brain matter since Sarah Palin's The Undefeated
(Edit: someone just emailed me to say that Palin's movie is actually a documentary that showcases her "success". PffffrrrrouAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

Don't get me wrong, I actually really liked it. It's not AS bad as you'd be led to believe from uptight criticisms written of it in places like Rotten Tomatoes or the National Republican Convention. It COULD have been disastrous (if good looking) had it been for a less perfect casting. Starting with Guy Pearce who hasn't seemed to enjoy himself so much playing a role since... heck ever - the guy NEVER looks like he's having fun, except maybe in full drag for Priscilla. But here, playing the wise-cracking badass Snake Snow, he's downright setting the tone for and carrying the film. Supported efficiently by a cadre of lesser-known yet solid faces, like Brits Vincent Reagan (why ISN'T that guy a MUCH bigger star?) and Joseph Gilgun playing the film's antagonists hilariously named Alex and Hydell (+100 points if you got that one without Googling it), underrated Lennie Jame always on hand for a solid turn, and the always-typecast Peter Stormare as the a-hole of the piece. The rest of the cast matter little, for these few grab all the screen time they're given and run off with it in every possible direction.

Nothing more to say really but to compare this fast-paced piece of fun to the aforementioned John Carpenter classic if it had met The Fifth Element in a bar late at night and decided to procreate. This would be the bastard grand child; all the fun, none of the Hollywood pressure to perform in any way, being a product of French action master Luc Besson (servings a s producer only, but still). No one was aiming for the Oscars here, but everyone is having a blast, and so was this viewer. Although I kinda have to say I'm glad I didn't actually pay to see it - boosts the enjoyment factor that much more...

Final Word: 7/10, purely for the entertainment value.

Wanna watch it? Use this link and thank me later!

REVIEW Take This Waltz (2011)

Genres: Comedy | Drama
Director: Sarah Polley
Writer: Sarah Polley
Stars: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby and Sarah Silverman

I don't think Sarah Polley will ever be a successful mainstream filmmaker. And I don't think I want her to be. Her debut feature, Away From Her, was a beautifully-filmed slice of heartbreaking human drama, a soap-operatic love story treated with honesty and humanity. For that is the essence of an independent movie (not counting those directors for whom the indy scene was either a way to be hip or a backdoor "in"), a quiet human drama. Many will say Take This Waltz feels more like a first film for Polley; I say it feels like a Sarah Polley film, beautiful yet uncomfortable, predictable yet surprising, painfully honest yet visibly hopeful.

Michelle Williams plays child-less Canadian housewife Margo who tries to navigate the thin, uncomfortable line between grown-up resignation and child-like exuberant passion. But try as she may, no matter how much of a nice guy her husband is (played by a surprisingly NOT annoying Seth Rogen), she is visibly suffocated by the routine of her normal, simple life. Her chance meeting with buff new neighbor Daniel (Canuck fellow Luke Kirby, for his best work check out the first season to Sling & Arrows), an artist with a similar passion for his outlook on llife, will put her on the cutting edge of a choice to make. 

Polley's many visual metaphors, though in no way very subtle, are nevertheless visually powerful and emotionally arresting, like the scene of a shared carnival ride that goes from cute to awkward to wild fun but ends abruptly to emptiness and silence. The film presents us a love story in its entire honesty, one we all know by heart from our every day lives but which we try to escape by watching movies about fairy-tale love. For this love story is not about two soul mates who meet, but about trying to live a life of passion without paying the price. 

"I like shiny new things" says one of Margo's friends in shower scene where she and two other "firm" ladies are shown next to their elders sporting bodies which sustained the ravages of time. "New things are what old things used to be" replies a comfortably-naked Sarah Silverman. And that is the essence of the twist pulled on us by the storyteller, that nothing truly ever lasts, and all that remains are the choices you make. For in the end, a love story this is not, but one about life as we truly live it. None of these characters are truly likable, yet none of them can be despised even if we do so. Life, as we know it. 

Bottom line, Sarah Polley's promise as a burgeoning independent filmmaker is being upheld with Take This Waltz, offering a simple and not overly original story and making it something equally sweet and heartbreaking that is impossible to resist, unless your preferences are more directed towards Michael Bay's brand of non-cognitive entertainment. In that case stay away. And I mean hazmat-suit precaution with this puppy.

Final Word: 8/10

Wanna watch it? Use this link and thank me later!