Sunday, September 30, 2012

On your mark, get set - GO! (except if you're on the west coast)

Dammit! This is that awkward time of the Horrorthon kickoff where the east coasters are bathing in horror while the Californians are forced to sit back and wait... because midnight is still over an hour away.
While I'm impatiently sitting at my computer I'd like to take this time to thank Catfreeek for the awesomely unexpected "scare package" that included a couple of must-see-movies, this animatronic evil clown -
and these triptacular tye-dies (the picture doesn't do the colors justice). Catfreeek - Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love ya.

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day ONE, do you hear me, ONE!!! Now SCREAM!!!


Well, today is the day. One last day to stock up on Twizzlers, chainsaw oil and popcorn. One more afternoon to stack up your dvds and fill up your holy water Super Soakers. One last sliver of sunlight while you check and double check the padlocks on the door of your mutated half-sibling's basement cell. It's Horrorthon and I say scream.

SCREAM AAAAHHHHH IIIT'S HORRORTHOOOOOOOONNN!!

IT'S MOTHERFUCKING HORRORTHOOOOOOOONN!! AAAAAHHHHHHHH!! TONIIIIIIIGHT!

NO, SERIOUSLY, IT'S GODDAAAMMN HORRORTHOOOOON!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOO!!!


A couple last minute bits of business: This has already been mentioned but Mr. and Mrs. AC will be travelling in week four. We get it, guys, it's real life, we will keep the cauldrons hot for you. Tune in when you can.

And also have A GOOD TIIIIIIIMEE!!! TOO BAD THEY DON'T SHOW HORROR FLICKS ON THE PLAAAANE HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

WOO!

Horrorthon!


Next bit of business: I just now discovered while uploading this stack of pictures that, if you're loading a bunch, you are no longer required to upload in the reverse order you want the pics to appear. So that's nice.

OMIGOOOOD!!! OCTO THAT WAS SOOOO BOOOOOORINGG!! JESUS CHRIIIIST, WHAAATEVERRRRRRRR!!! HORRORTHOOOOOON!!! HORRORTHOOOOOON!!!


But really, remember when I was bitching about Facebook last week, how it's just too much to keep track of? This is what I like: this blog, this group of people, this month. It's our big party and I have to admit I'm kind of slightly somewhat pretty excited.

THAT IS TOTALLYYY TRUUUUUUUUUUUE!!


And I was looking at my Day One post from last year and it was on a Friday, which means Leap Year screwed us out of a Saturday night Horrorthon start... but don't worry. I looked ahead and 2016 and 2017 are gonna rock.

FUCKSAKE OCTO YOU'RE JUST TYPING AAANYTHIIIIIINGG!!! YOU GO SCREAM NOWWW!!!


SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAM!!

SCREEEEAM SOME MOOOORRRRRRRRRE!!!

OH MY GOOOD SCREEAAAAM!!!

Now slap your butt!

Horrorthon!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 2! Computers and Monsters!


Good afterdawn! Forgivings, please, as I extra-sized my sleeping today!

Anyway, good morning. It's still morning where I am. More than that, let's remember that HORRORTHON starts at midnight TOMORROW. Throw off the shackles of boring old September!

For today's chattertop, I wondered if there's anything new to add to our forever ongoing discussion about Computer Generated Images in movies and whether or not they can ever be scary. The concensus among us has always gone back to the perceived threat -- when you can tell something isn't really there, it's hard to find the fear. I feel the same way.

As CG gets older and better (presumably), can the situation be improved? The reasons one can tell a CG element isn't really there can fall under two general categories 1) flaws in the reproduction of reality, the usual tell being the unreal nature of CG character animation, or 2) the fact that the viewer knows it can't be there because such things don't exist.

My guestion is, can improvements in the former category ever overcome the latter? Can you think of a CG monster that you found effective? Maybe even scary?

If the answer's an overwhelming "NO," let's cite some of our favorite fails on the matter.

And for some interesting background on the subject, check out the Cracked article The 7 Most Common CGI Screw-Ups (Explained). Very helpful and informative, and filled with things you know you've seen but maybe didn't know how to identify.

Monsters!

Ghost monsters!

Horrorthon!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 3! There Are No Rules! Except Actually There Are Some!


Good morning, you groovy cats! I thought I'd go over our procedures today and save the weekend for goofy stuff. We had some new rules last year that worked out great, and this year we have no new players to induct into the games, so this should be easy. I'm going to lead off with the basics.

Follow these easy steps!

1. Watch horror movies between midnight on September 30th and midnight on October 31st, with a grace period for the movie you started on Halloween night that didn't end at midnight.

2. Post reviews of your movies on Horrorthon to get them counted.

3. Maximum of two reviews posted daily, but this limit is revoked once the deadline is a week away (that last part can be called "the Octopunk clause" after my last-ditch behavior in 2011).

4. Maximum of five movies viewed that are only one hour (or less) in length.

5. ALL reviews must be in by midnight local time on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend (November 25th this year).

6. Winner is the one who watches the most movies.

Last year everyone wrapped up with their Best Of post and then we did a post in which we voted for some of our favorite 'thon activity from our fellows (which for now I'm calling "Fan Favorites" because it's catchy).

Best Of categories:

All-Around Favorite Movie
Best Hidden Gem Movie
Worst Movie
Best So Bad It's Good Movie
Most Disturbing Movie: Carved
Goriest Movie
Scariest Movie
Best Looking Monster
Most Memorable Death
Most Avoidable Death

Fan Favorite categories

Straight-up Most Movies Watched (obviously we don't vote on this one)
All-around favorite review
Funniest review
Best So Bad It's Good review
Best discovery
Most obscure discovery
Best coverage of a theme or series
Best screenshot
Funniest comment

At this point I want to suggest a change. Instead of doing the latter set of votes in the comments of a post, I wonder if maybe everyone should present their Best Ofs and then Fan Favorites in one big Wrap-Up post. You know, first talk about your own 'thon and then about others'.

I haven't gone into some of our regular categories like how to use the 5-star scoring system or what qualifies as a horror movie. We covered a lot of that in last year's Horrorthon lead-up which you can review here. (And check the discussion, too. There's a lot.)

Today's challenge is more about chatter. Sound off if you like the plan, and as ever suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Oh, and also...

HORRORTHOOOOOOON!!! My first pile of discs arrived yesterday and I am SO amped! Kinda can't believe I can't watch any until midnight Sunday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 4! Stuff You Hate


Holy crap we got through Hump Day and now it's the easy days and then the weekend and that's IT. EEEE!

Big Octopunk thanks for the best-attended HHD contest in a long while, and shout out to lovable lurkers HandsomeStan, Mr. AC and my lovely wife for sounding off! (Yes I know instead of lurking they could be just ignoring us, but I can pretend.) I have a current favorite haiku, but since the entries just keep piling up I'll keep the contest rolling until Sunday, aka Horrorthon Eve.

For today's project I want us to compose some big, sloppy lists. We talk about making category-based lists of movies we've reviewed, and I have faith that someday Johnny Sweatpants will do exactly that (we're all thinking that, right?). But for today, I'm going to call out my three least-favorite genres of horror movie and then I'm going to spit out the movies that fit those categories as I think of them. What I want from you guys is to shout out movies that I haven't thought of, AND, more importantly, lay down the genre of horror that YOU like least, so we can start helping you out the same way.

What I hope for the end result, besides fun, is a potential resource for someone (maybe even someone who isn't Johnny) to actually start lists of these various genres. I'm going with genres that we dislike to narrow the field a little, because a free-for-all barrage of you crazy people yelling out all the horror movies you like just isn't something the internet can take.

I'm considering this a pretty loosey-goosey affair. Feel free to jump on anyone else's bandwagon, mention movies you have or haven't seen, or point out movies that overlap the categories we've already chimed in on. The only guideline is to be clear which category a movie belongs to when you bring it up. And so here we go.

HORROR GENRES OCTOPUNK GENERALLY DOESN'T LIKE

Predicament horror: Real-life or kind of real-life survival situations

Mad Hillbilly horror: In which the bad guys are unbalanced hillbillies

Depraved horror: Particularly 'round the bend stuff. You know.

Disclaimers!

-- Last year I said I'd tackle Depraved stuff this year, but I'm announcing in advance that I'm whimping out on that, at least as a large-scale project. I'm just not in the mood right now.

-- And I don't really "dislike" the Depraved genre exactly (which is why I listed it last), but it does take some stamina.

-- I have already screened a lot of movies in these categories (particularly the last two), but there are still enough to warrant an organized roundup in some future 'thon.

-- As a non-biddy Horrorthonner I acknowledge that I am obliged to tackle these categories, as indeed that is part of what horror movies are about. But today I make no specific promises.

And now to start some bitching!

(Image comes from here.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Varan the Unbelievable (Giant Monster Varan)


1958 **1/2

I forget exactly which year I started the bad habit of neglecting 'thon reviews and then sneaking them in eleven months later, but I'm glad last year's new deadline put a stop to it. Nevertheless, I still have some unreviewed flicks from 2009 that one of my inner voices is still demanding I write about. And while I have a good memory, even that pesky voice had to admit that reviewing them meant re-watching them, because reviewing a movie I saw three years ago is beyond the scope of my powers.

I waffled between doing pre-thon reviews or just folding them into this year's lineup, and here is the result: for now you get one. One!

"Yeah, I'm gonna knock it down. I'm just having a little 'me' time."

I screened this because the monster Varan has a teeny background cameo in Destroy All Monsters. Tonight I discovered that there's confusion about this film's title. Varan the Unbelievable is the name of the American version released in 1962, which took the monster footage from the original Japanese Giant Monster Varan and added a whole new batch of characters and footage, avoiding lip-synch troubles by replacing every single line of dialogue. They also changed the plot, which involved some army research base studying desalinization on some island or something. So I've never actually seen Varan the Unbelievable, but I thought I had because the 2005 dvd release has the Japanese movie on the movie side and the American title on the picture side. Whuahh?

I think I am better off having seen the Japanese movie, because the plot is way more awesome, and by awesome I mean dumb. It all happens because of a butterfly.

Enter Dr. Sugimoto, who is apparently Japan's premiere lepidopterist and one of the most personality-free cinematic scientists I have ever come across. Nothing he says is as expressive as the Duran Duran white streak in his hair.

"Sorry for your loss. Did you bring butterflies?"

Our story opens with Dr. S. telling an eager class that a rare butterfly has been sighted in northern Japan. Two entomologists dispatched to the area find a tiny village characterized by the level of fear and superstition that movies generally reserve for remote Pacific islands. The villagers are the cautious guardians of a forbidden lake, to which they've blocked access by means of a darling little waist-high fence, complete with an unlocked gate. The entomologists are undeterred, and for their boldness are rewarded with a beautiful specimen of the very butterfly they sought, and also lots of screaming and death in a landslide.

Enter our heroes, a plucky trio with a pretty boy entomologist, the sister of one of the dead ones, and a goofy, comic-relief reporter. After the obligatory visit to Dr. Sugimoto's class, they find the village and traverse the waist-high fence and incur the wrath of Varan, a huge dinosaur thing that's been living unnoticed in the lake for millions of years. He crawls out and trashes the village's meager collection of thatched huts, honked off that his long soak in the hot tub has been interrupted. He then returns to the lake to chillax.

We get a third visit to class with the revered Dr. Sugimoto, this time while two army officers fawningly ask him to lend his butterfly expertise to their important destroy-the-giant-monster mission.

Then it's time to rally the stock footage and model tanks, as the full frontal assault on Monster Hot Tub Lake begins. The constant refrain coming from the army folks is "boy, we better get that monster, because it would really suck if it got to a city." This attitude will prove to be the very essence of reverse common sense, for reasons I expect you can predict.

Sure enough, none of the army's poison or artillery do a thing, save to finally piss Varan off enough that he leaves the comfort of his little valley for the first time in recorded history. And in a surprise move, he does this by slowly extending his armpit wings and flying away.

"Okay, gayer, gaaaayer..."

"Wheeee!!!"

If it's not clear by now, I was not very impressed by this movie. Varan is clearly the slacker in the Toho pantheon of monsters. First he spends millions of years kickin' it in his special lake eating not one single person worth noticing, then when he finally emerges he inflicts the most lackluster rampage Japan's ever had to deal with. While the "we'll get him this time/omigod our weapons have no effect!" card gets played over and over, most of this takes place in the water, a setting woefully free of buildings to knock down. The only bright spot is a delightful moment in army headquarters, when we get to see that the boys who run the Big Map had one of these in their box of little models.

"I need to change his position, sir. Request permission to make little 'RRR! RRR!' noises."

Perhaps you've also noticed that I've made no further mention of our plucky trio; they're still around, but this movie is so boilerplate there's really nothing I can think to mention. Dr. Sugimoto does prove useful by noticing the key detail needed to take Varan down (he likes to suck flares out of the air, making really easy to make him eat bombs). This is the kind of save-the-day info most Japanese monster flicks reserve for little boys in tiny shorts, but I guess they hadn't been invented yet.

In the end I can't give Varan the Unbelievable the three-star stamp of approval, because overall it's just too snoozy. But it is a must for the kaiju completist, and if you take it on you will find a few elements of standout charm. Best of all, it depicts the only known series of groundshaking events literally caused by the beating of a butterfly's wings.

"Because NOBODY suspects the butterfly!"

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 5! It's Horrorthon Haiku Hump Day and the monster today is YOU


Dust off your poetic souls and count out seventeen beans, it's time to revisit the ancient wordsmithing art form of the Far East and also junior high school!

The specifics are your choice, but the guideline today is that you, friend, take the persona of whatever evil boogedy-boo happens to catch your fancy. You are the kaiju, the zombie, the slasher, the thing under the bed. Tell us what it's like to be you! We're on your side today! (Five days to go! Can you believe it!?!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 6! Themes and Sub-Themes, collect them all!


Morning campers! Less than a week to go! If you haven't got a list of stuff going, today's an excellent day to start. I myself will be heading over to my Netflix queue later to see what's what.

And what IS what? What sort of ideas are tickling your brain's horrorthalmus? As you can see above, I'm honoring Johnny Sweatpants's admirably thorough roundup of clown horror from last year. Maybe you'd like some bug movies? Haunted houses? Comedy? Sharks? Funny movies about houses haunted with bug sharks?

As with last year, I want to stress that it's totally cool to keep your plans a secret until your reviews start rolling out. That can be particularly fun if you're planning to go after a whole series of sequels, so we can go "She made it all the way to Jason X? The pain!"

And of course, weird sub-themes are always welcome. I'm still hoping for a partner for Splice's distinctive "mad scientist who sleeps with his creation" element. And I never tire of bringing up one of my favorite horror sub-themes, "movies in which someone is stabbed with a statue of a unicorn head." (In case you've forgotten, they're The Abominable Dr. Phibes and the original Black Christmas. If I find a third one I'll do a little jig.)

Obviously one can't anticipate that sort of thing; you can't plan to watch multiple movies in which a topless woman is impaled on a mounted deer head, you just have to let great art like that flow over you. One of the unique benefits of Horrorthon.

And if you don't have any categories in mind, this could be a good place to discuss possibilities. It's occured to me that "Horrorthonner staff picks" would be an excellent place to start, too. (In which case, see my last post.) Or just go free style!

So how 'bout it, gangalang? What's cooking in your scary skulls?

Monday, September 24, 2012

50% Off at Criterion.com until noon. Hurry!




A friend just hipped me to this awesome Criterion Collection sale. I just snagged copies of Yojimbo, Kicking & Screaming, Mon Oncle and Solaris, all for $69 -- and didn't have to pay shipping because my order was more than three discs.

The sale ends at noon EST, so get in there, now!

Playing Catchup: My "Post Something" Post



I'm using my "Post Something" post to present the most recent release by my awesome band, the Sexies. This was something we did for a Fukushima benefit disc. You can buy the track here. Proceeds go to the Red Cross.

The video is as unofficial as it gets. It's not even listed. This is because I stole the cartoon from...well...Japan, I guess. I could maybe make it an official thing. Odds are pretty slim that someone in Japan is going to lay claim to this arcane bit of Socialism

At least one of the times you listen to it (and you should listen to it several times), pay some attention to the bitchin' bass line. That's me.

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 7! Staff Picks! (That's you! You're the staff!)


Good morning, my fellow culture warriors. I hope you're having a good, relaxing Monday, because next Monday IT WILL BE HORRORTHON. YEEAAAAHHHH!!!

Ahem. Anyway, if you're like me you might not have thrown together a cohesive list yet, and a lot of you found last year's Recommendations post quite helpful. So if you've got a favorite flick to suggest, slap it in the comments and I absolutely, 100% guarantee* that it's Horrorthon Review Quotient will double, maybe even triple! (*Not a guarantee.)

To aid your quest, you may want to peruse the Horrorthon Score blog, the awesome Monster List of Horrorthon Reviews, or last year's Countdown post of recommendations.

I don't see anything wrong with repeating suggestions from last year, but with those handy links you can check to see if anyone took your advice and then act accordingly. Hopefully there's something from last year that might be worthwhile.

Comb your brains!

Horrorthon Haiku Hump Day is coming!!!


It really is! It'll be on Hump Day.

I'll be posting today's challenge around 9 am my time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 8! Best Ofs (kinda)


Last year I started off these Countdown posts with an appeal for everyone to complete their uncompleted Horrorthon Best Ofs from the previous year. There's no need to do that this year, as everyone got all responsible and stuff. Sooo...

Think of a new show, or movie, or book, or any other relevant media experience that really left an impression on you in the last eleven months.

My entry is the indomitable Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. I'd been aware of this for a while but since Zack isn't quite ready for it I wasn't checking it out. Then I got to do some work on it (which still hasn't aired so I can't go into details), and after screening just a few eps for "research" I was totally hooked. The characters are endearing, the stories are dynamic, and best of all you never can predict every little bit of it. It is staggeringly original, and it will surprise you.

So, what do you got, 'thonners? What's been blowing your brain out of its boat this year?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 9! What is this thing you call "Internet?"


Good morning! I slept in today, which never happens anymore. Thanks to Julie for that!

Today's challenge/discussion group is a variation on my periodic "What Are You Watching?" posts. What Are You Surfing, my scary pals? What are your go-to websites? What do you have bookmarked? What new sites have you found, or rediscovered?

TELL US EVERYTHING.

(You can leave out the porn.)

A word on getting YouTube videos to fit on the blog (the magic numbers are 420 and 236)


As you've probably noticed, sometimes YouTube videos are too big for our blog's modest column of postable space. The main bummer (in my opinion) is that you can't get to the icon in the lower right corner that lets you expand the action to full screen (see below).




The difference between the top and bottom video is that after I pasted the embed code that I copied from YouTube, I went in and changed the width. 420 pixels is small enough so that the "full-screen" icon can be reached. The only thing to remember is to change the height proportionally so the picture doesn't get all distorted (the number for that is 236). Here's a screencap of the code for the two videos above.


It's entirely possible there's a better solution; this is the fix I know.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What is the most embarrassing album you ever purchased with your own money?


Mine has to be Nelson's After the Rain from 1990. I have no idea what was going on in my 16 year old brain at the time. Apparently their hit single (Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection struck a chord in me. *shudder*

Bell X1 on Letterman in 2009





This is mostly me responding to Octo's challenge, but I was also curious about his comments on changes to the blogger posting interface. I'm also trying some new way to post youtube vids using the built in blogger button on youtube itself. Pretty cool if this works.

Anyway, Kat and I are seeing these guys next week in Ann Arbor. Kind of Talking Heads meets Radiohead if you haven't heard them.

I'm amped for this H-thon and am determined to get back into double digits! No laughing in the back, Catfreek.

The Grey (2012)


(**1/2)

I was pretty psyched to find this on Netflix streaming as it is something of a newer movie and I'm usually disappointed with their selection.  There were parts of this movie that were done very well - the plane crash and the immediate aftermath, for instance, were amazingly freaky.  They create real tension while the survivors battle the elements and what seem like supernaturally powered wolves.  Also, I like Liam Neeson a lot and his character was more then just the "tough old hunter that knows everything" kind of guy.

However, I did have issues.  Which I will discuss in the comments because I'm about to get spoil-y!

Rasing Arizona

(1987) *****

This infinitely watchable and quotable action-comedy is one of my all-time favorite movies, and definitely my favorite Nicholas Cage movie.

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 10! Post Something!


Yo yo yo my horror homies! That's right, it IS September 21st, and that means it's only a week and a half until we gear up and scare our eyebones silly. I am Octopunk and I'll be your cheerleader today. Ready go!

I'm already pleased that a few non-thon reviews have gone up in the past weeks, but anyone posting just yesterday will notice that Blogger has finally forced their new post format upon us. Perhaps you've already been using it. I thought posting something would 1) help everyone shake out their 11-month off-season dust bunnies, and 2) get us used to the new format.

So far I've noticed only a couple notable differences. The first one is annoying, and it's the one thing that kept me from switching over months ago. It's no longer enough to simply skip a line between paragraphs in your post; the final product will get smooshed together into one big block of text. So you gotta stick in some of these:


(I'm using a screencap instead of typing it because if I type it and publish then it doesn't exist. Such is the way of html.)

EDIT: I should have pointed out that this isn't html code that has an opening line and then a closing one. One of these "break" commands will knock your text down to the start of the next line, then the second one gives you the space between paragraphs. In this post I only use one after each picture, then two to break up the text.

Another difference I noticed (and like), is that if you decide to upload another picture after you've already typed stuff, it gets stuck on the end of what you've already typed, not at the top.

So post something! Post a picture of your butt, or your shopping list, or whatever! Flex those blogging pecs! Horrorthon is a-comin'.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The upcoming Robot Revolution might have a point

I've had an idea. Mostly it comes from a (notably civilised) discussion on one of my flickr groups about same-sex marriage, but it hearkens back to one of the missed opportunities in Prometheus.

One of the guys in the discussion is religious and has a separate blog that I glanced at, and his latest post was about how God created us and the whole world because he loved us so much. And like the characters in Promtheus, mankind has forever wondered and speculated about why we exist and what we should do and maybe if there's some sort of plan we need to figure out, and that's fine. As you all probably know I'm an atheist, and I do believe that discovering your own moral compass is a noble pursuit, which is best expressed by something Michael Ironsides says in Starship Troopers: "Figuring things out for yourself is one of the only freedoms we really have, and why are all you thirty-year-olds just now graduating high school?" (I'm paraphrasing.)

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. One of my gripes with Prometheus was the slapdash way in which the theme of "Your Relationship With Your Creators" was handled, and nothing was more slapdash than the two occasions in which that very conversation was cut short when someone said "Well David, you hang out with your creators, what do you think?" Except they weren't really asking him what he thought but rather shutting him up with a "fuck you, robot." Which is too bad, that was a perfect springboard for some actually interesting discussion instead of what we got.

And here's where my lightbulb went off. If we created artificial beings who were smart enough to wonder about their origins and purpose in life, they don't have to speculate about their creators and make up a bunch of theology to help them cope. Their creators are right there, next to them, every day. They have all the answers we humans will never have, which if you think about it is pretty damn amazing.

If you think about it a little further it's even more amazing, because the answers all kind of suck.

Q: Who made us? A: These stinky, poorly-made flesh bags who sort of have no idea what the fuck they're doing.

Q: Why did they make us? What's our purpose in life? A: To help them, or to put it another way, to do the crap work they don't feel like doing themselves.

It's possible I'm oversimplifying. The God's love that people like to believe in could be paralleldto parental love, which I totally believe in. And it's possible that such love could factor into the creation of artificial life, and it's possible that life could understand that love and return it. I guess.

And of course I'm not the first person to realize this hypothetical relationship, it's all over The Matrix and countless other bad robot stories: "You made us, but we're better than you, so you die now."

But something about a world in which sentient beings live side by side with the beings that created them suddenly intrigued me. It's like that Joan Osborne song. What if God were one of us? And he was down the hall sitting in his wheelchair, banging his cane and demanding cake (also you're a robot)?

(Again, paraphrasing.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sucker Punch (2011)


* 1/2
When I first saw this movie poster it brought me back to the days of the Spice Girls -- all I could think of when I added it to my Netflix queue is "girl powah!"

The resemblance pretty much ends there.

Sucker Punch begins in an undisclosed era, in an undisclosed bleak location, with a troubled blond girl literally fighting off her tyrannical step-father from abusing her and her sister. A cover of "Sweet Dreams" is played in the background by someone trying to sound like Bjork and t.A.T.u. because they called in sick. Film is slowed down then sped up again to emphasize bullets traveling through the air, or to accentuate the gentle golden locks of our protagonist as she is taken away to a mental institution.

It is then revealed, the bleak location of this inconsistent, deceivingly-feminist action fantasy film happens in . . . VERMONT.

Thanks a whole fucking lot, Zack Snyder.

Anyway, the film meanders in and out of inconsistent but visually stunning sequences, with closing action that made me want to hurl and cut off every man's package within a 20-mile radius -- "Girl Powah!" -- but really, how can that many men in a movie all be such bastards?!??

In closing for this pre-Hthon review, I want to make the observation that Sucker Punch, for all its visually stunning credit, could have benefited from the omission of several pouty and worried faces of its lead Emily Browning. The first 45 minutes is like staring into the face of a child who doesn't want broccoli for dinner:
"You mean I have to eat the green stuff?"

Yes, yes you do Baby Doll. And you'd better enjoy it or else.

Star Wars Fan-made Anime



Apparently this is everywhere, but the Yahoo article I where I found it is here.

Thanos Confirmed For Guardians Of The Galaxy And The Avengers 2?


From cinemablend, We’ve heard a number of key Marvel stories come to fruition over the past few days. Many were rumored, and believed to be true. But now we’re getting confirmation on such notices as James Gunn taking over the writing and directing duties on Guardians of the Galaxy. And now we’re getting some information on both Galaxy and The Avengers 2, which you might have already assumed.

Remember the end credit sequence of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, which featured a very brief cameo by Thanos? Well, CosmicBookNews.com is reporting that the mighty cosmic warrior will be the chief adversary in both Gunn’s Galaxy movie and Whedon’s Avengers follow up, which hits theaters in 2015. We speculated on this possibility back in August, mentioning that Galaxy could be following the “Thanos Imperative” storyline from the comics. Now a site reader over at Cosmic Book News claims to have met with Thanos creator Jim Starlin at the Montreal Comic-Con, and was told that a deal “is already in place” to have the character appear in both movies.

Again, this much could have been figured out. Whedon wasn’t going to roll out Thanos in an Avengers stinger if Marvel Studios didn’t have massive plans for the villain. And after decimating New York City in the first Avengers film, many believed that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would have to take the next battle into outer space, as the group often did in the comics series.

I’ll feel better when we hear some confirmation from Kevin Feige or someone at Marvel directly (even Whedon or Gunn could give put our minds at ease with a word of confirmation). Until then, brace for Thanos, but take this news with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, AC!





Please join me in wishing AC a super happy birthday!

When I first met AC, I couldn't get her to even watch Return of the Living Dead.  But just the other day, she said, "Maybe we should watch Saw this Horrorthon."  Wow, apparently wisdom really does come with age :).

Yep, it's that film



Wow, this is the film that is ignighting the world into fury? It's as silly as a Monty Python sketch.

The best James Bond, “hasn’t kept count” of how many women he’s shagged*


From celebitchy, Did anyone read the “50 Years of Bond” article in the October Vanity Fair (the one with Katie Holmes on the cover)? It’s an excellent piece about how Ian Fleming’s creation was finally able to make the leap to the screen. What was especially interesting to me was a story that I already partly knew – that Fleming didn’t want Sean Connery to play James Bond. I knew that already. What I didn’t know was that Fleming wanted Roger Moore to be the original Bond back in the early 1960s. Anyway, you can read the VF piece here – I would recommend it to all Bond enthusiasts.

One of the points that Bond producers made at the time (when they hired Connery) was that Moore was too pretty, and that he didn’t have what they felt was the requisite badassery, the “hardness” to play a cool British spy. Obviously, Roger Moore was charming and suave, but when he eventually took the reins of the Bond franchise after Sean Connery, James Bond just didn’t seem quite so badass. But that never stopped Roger Moore from apparently going to bed with whatever woman he wanted. In a new interview – which seems to originate at The Mail? – Roger Moore talks about how much tail he’s gotten over the years. Dude is 84 years old right now, so I’m guessing his horndog days are over.

Forget Bond, James Bond. According to Sir Roger Moore, when it comes to women, it’s a case of, well, ‘Moore … Roger More’. The 84-year-old actor claims he ‘mesmerised’ the ladies, bedding even more than the debonair spy himself.

Indeed, Sir Roger, who has been married four times, confessed he had lost count of the exact number of women he had slept with – but knows it’s more than 007.

‘I’ve always been a hit with the ladies,’ he said. ‘Over the years I’ve had my fair share of beautiful women. I couldn’t possibly say how many I’ve been out with because I’m a gentleman. But more importantly I just haven’t kept count. I’ve had more women than James Bond. It was always, “Moore…Roger More”.’

Sir Roger played Bond for 12 years, starring in seven films including The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me. In the 22 Bond films to date, the spy has had 51 lovers, of whom 16 met sticky ends – most notably Jill Masterton in Goldfinger, who suffocated after being covered in gold paint.

Sir Roger said many of his own conquests confused him with Bond or Simon Templar, his character in 1960s TV series The Saint.

He said: ‘I think a lot of the women who threw themselves at me thought they were with James Bond or Simon Templar rather than Roger Moore because I was the same on screen as off screen. I don’t really change. I’m just me. I used to just play myself and I think they were mesmerised by that. The voice and mannerisms are me but not much else.’

He added: ‘Being a famous film star does funny things to people. People are always very nice but they behave differently around you. I was too good looking to be a baddie. I had to be a hero because I looked like one. But I’m actually a coward and nothing like Bond.’

[From The Mail]

He sounds kind of douchey here. Which is weird, because he always seemed like he devoted his post-Bond life to many notable causes and philanthropic efforts (he’s worked for UNICEF for decades), and I thought he was a decent dude. Turns out he was just doing all of that charity work in between banging an international harem of lovers.



*Just kidding, the best Bond is Daniel Craig.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New 'Robocop' costume blows


Remember how cool the original Robocop costume looked?

From hollywood.com, RoboCop, director Paul Verhoeven's satirical exploration of the near future, successfully balanced over-the-top bloodshed with logical reality. The film followed a regular joe cop rebuilt into a techno-super solider after being brutally ripped apart by a Detroit mafia. The titular RoboCop was high tech, but in a recognizably '80s way — sleek, shiny, and clunky.

How the 2013 reboot of RoboCop would faithfully reinterpret those sensibilities has been the major question since the project's announcement, but thanks to some handy on-set photos (courtesy of ComingSoon.net), we have an idea of the direction director Jose Padilha (Elite Squad: The Enemy Within) is taking:



Full article here

Bitch Slapped By A Ninja


A London theater employed ninjas to silence cell phone users, they get my applause.

Read the article here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Artist Takes Every Drug Known to Man, Draws Self Portraits After Each Use

I'll admit, I like the idea of self-portraits in different medium in different mindsets but I wouldn't even try to replicate this experiment. Nevertheless, the results are curious at the very least.



Read the rest here.

Pee Wee voices Lincoln trailer


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Miller's Crossing

 
(1990) ****1/2

Why is this deliciously cast, twisty comedy-noir from the Coen brothers so little known compared to their other works?

The Maze



(1953) **

Kitty and Gerald, have just got engaged to be married when Gerald is suddenly called away to his family estate in Scotland. He writes back to Kitty calling off the engagement but swearing he will forever be faithful to her. Unable to accept his declaration Kitty and her old spinster Aunt Edith arrive at the castle unannounced. Gerald’s weird behavior worries Kitty so she invites a doctor and some friends for a second opinion. Gerald’s family secret is finally revealed when Kitty & Aunt Edith make a trek into the forbidden hedge maze.

Some of these old flicks will keep you wading through lots of fretting and boring dialog waiting for the eventual reveal of the terrifying monster.


 
Here he is. Yup, a giant frog. Correction, a dude in a frog suit who is dubbed with the braying of a rampaging elephant.

 
Kitty’s reaction. Screeeeeeeeeeeaaaaammm!!

Hmmm, Abduscias and I had a very different reaction, we were roaring with laughter.