Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Learn to count, with the movies.

Alonzo Mosley made this great short, that uses 100 different film quotes to count down from 100 to 1. See if you can name all the films shown.

That's right, I wrote a piece of hate mail....

To know what I am talking about you can read Jenny Karakaya's Cannes Film Festival review of No Country for Old Men here.

From: movieshowjoe@gmail.com Joe Scott
To: jenny@joblo.com
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 08:27:43 -0400
Subject: RE: Your 'No Country for Old Men' review....

Dear Jenny,

In your review of "No Country for Old Men", you wrote:

"In this latest suspense crime drama, the Coens take us on a graphic
and brutally violent killing spree to exemplify how evil is unleashed
when a southerner is crossed."

I just wanted you to know that this is one of the most retarded
assemblages of English words between a capital letter and a period
that I have ever seen. No joke. All in all, the reviews you have
written as part of your Cannes coverage have been tolerable at best
(this is mainly because I am aware of the fact that you haven't
written many reviews, so I thought it best to give you a break), but
what you said in the sentence above was so ignorant, and well, again,

I am a Southerner, and the sentence you wrote 'crossed' me - 'crossed'
me real bad.

But did you notice the utter lack of evil that was unleashed? Yeah,
that's right. I am not going to hunt you down like Anton Chigurh and
kill you at the flip of a coin. I mean Javier Bardem's character isn't
even a southerner for Pete's sakes, at least he wasn't in the book.
However, even if Chigurh - as Bardem is playing him - is a southerner,
that should in no way make him an example of how the rest of us rural
southern types would behave.

At any rate, let me suggest an alternative sentence which won't cause
a good number of people who read your review to think you are a

"In this latest suspense crime drama, the Coens take us on a graphic
and brutally violent killing spree to exemplify the sheer terror that
is unleashed when an evil man is crossed."

Remember, you got a cool gig right now. You get to see some of next
year's most eagerly awaited films and write what you think about them.
Next time, try not to be so insulting -- not only to entire groups of
people, but yourself and your profession as well.

Good luck to you,
Joe Scott

Monday, May 21, 2007

John Rambo trailer

Have to admit, I really wasn't looking forward to John Rambo, not until I saw the following clip anyway.

No, I really don't care much for the plot, but the graphic beheading and the scene where Rambo blasts that one guy into bloody mash with the machine gun give me hope, at the very least, that no one is going to try a Die Hard 4 and make this thing PG-13.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Hilarious 'Mac/PC' comercial parody...

...with Spiderman and Superman.

BTW, regardless of how much it sucked, Spider-Man 3 made $149 Million at the American box-office this weekend, and a $375 world-wide total. That means the film, which was rumored to have cost upwards of $350 million is already in the black by the first domestic weekend. Guess they don't call Spidey 'Amazing' for nothing.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3--A real 'knee-grabber'.

If there was ever a situation in my life where I needed to access a time machine, it would be right now. Why? So I could go back three years ago and tell myself that the follow-up to Spider-Man 2, one of my favorite films of that year and the best comic book movie ever made, would be terrible.

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(Scientists believe this may be the best position to assume while 'enjoying' Spider-Man 3)

See, I was ready for the follow-up the moment after that first midnight screening for part two had ended. However, now that I have seen Spider-Man 3, I am heart broken.

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(What's this woman training for, you ask? Why, for Spider-Man 3 of course!)

It's difficult for me to wrap my head around how awful and poorly made this newest installment is in comparison to the second - and even the very modest first - film in the series. The first two Spider-Man films were made with a solid thematic vision of what they were about--for part one, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) learns that 'with great power comes great responsibility,' and in the second one, he finds that he doesn't have to bear said responsibility alone. Unfortunately, this is a luxury that Spider-Man 3 could not afford, what with three villains, alien goo from the sky that turns Spidey into his own worst enemy, a dance number, two musical performances, and a second potential love interest for Spider-Man. Add all of these things with Spidey's Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), his job as a photographer for a city paper, and the desire to propose to the lovely Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and it's clear that as far as a thematic core is concerned, there was simply no room left.

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(A mother teaching her child how to perform the yoga technique known as 'Spider-Man 3.')

Many critics have already made a game out of giving a synopsis for the convoluted storyline, so I won't even bother. There were so many ins and outs, ups and downs, all of which make me upset to recall because of their sloppy execution. It's almost like no one learned anything at all from the last three Batman films before Christopher Nolan's much needed reboot of that franchise. The only story I am concerned with, however, is how something like this could have happened. How could they take a critically and financially successful franchise, retain nearly all of the talent from the prior films, and make a $250 million bomb?

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(A group of men use prayer and strong support to prepare their friend for Spider-Man 3.)

The first person I would blame is director Sam Raimi, not so much for his work behind the camera as the hiring of his brother, Ivan, to write the screenplay. Ivan's previous works include two projects credited to "Alan Smithee Jr" and Army of Darkness. The Alan Smithee's notwithstanding, I love Army of Darkness, but I never once watched it, and said to myself, 'Y'know, someone should let the guy who scripted this write a Spider-Man film!' The producers should have given Alvin Sargent, whose screenplay was the biggest reason Spider-Man 3 was so good, anything he wanted to write this film. However, since he is only the third person to be credited for the screenplay, I suspect he might have only done some minor polishing.

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(As you can see, there is more than one way to enjoy the act of Spider-Man 3)

Also implicit in the movie's failure is producer Avi Arad, who used his executive powers to force Sam Raimi's hand to include Venom in the film. Raimi has said during several interviews and public appearances that he always hated the character - something that's apparent after seeing the final result. Venom pops up in the final twenty minutes, and goes down like a chump. Johnny Knoxville had a better fight against Butterbean in the first Jackass movie. While Fanboys have been begging for Venom's entry into the series since day one, this was simply not the way to do it. If they wanted to do the character any justice, Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) should have been introduced in this film, only to transform into Venom during the final scene, thus giving audiences something to look forward to in part four.

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(Just because your day job involves working in the mud, doesn't mean you can't enjoy Spider-Man 3.)

Perhaps the biggest problem with Spider-Man 3 is that it was made as if there wouldn't be a next film. Sure, the stars might be ready to jump the franchise, but I honestly feel that Spider-Man could continue without Maguire, Dunst, and even Sam Raimi. Who knows, the series could even improve itself a la Jame Bond in Casino Royale (2006). However, because of the 'get it done before the music stops' rush, Spider-Man 3 resembles Daredevil in that it had enough story for three separate films, causing none of it to be told well.

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(You can even enjoy Spider-Man 3 on the beach!)

The last thing I want to address is the film's budget which is rumored to be over $300 million. Spider-Man 3 lacked the spectacle of a $300 million dollar film. Hell, it didn't look like it was made for $200 million, and that's how much the last film cost. The special effects, other than the scene where Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) takes his first steps with his new powers, were pedestrian, and the action scenes were sparse, and the very definition of a rip-off.

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(This cat was found trying to Spider-Man 3 a small dog. Strange.)

I would say that no one should go see Spider-Man 3, but if you enjoyed the second film as much as I did, it's too late - you can't help yourself. So what I will say is that if you plan on watching it, try not to put yourself out. If you have a final exam to study for, don't be like my roommate and put it off so you can see the film. Do everything that life requires of you first, because believe me, Spider-Man 3 will still be there, waiting to rip your heart out and stomp on it any time that you feel ready.

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(You can even enjoy Spider-Man 3 on the beach!)

This film gets a negative from me, and a very strong one at that.

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(I know, I know.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wait for Monster Squad DVD is finally over....

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If you asked me even two days ago, I would have never believed I was going to say what I am about to say right now: "Thank you, Lionsgate."

Yes, I know they are the same company who brought Crash to undeserved Oscar glory and a never ending flow of Saw films into the world, but yesterday, they announced that they would be the ones who would also take The Monster Squad out of DVD purgatory.

What is The Monster Squad?

Well, if you are a) a guy, b) cool, and c) had access to Cinemax sometime during the 80's, you should already know. The best way to describe the film is to say that it's a cross between The Goonies with all the classic monsters from the early years of Universal Studios, and yes, this movie features a Wolfman who has nards.

The Monster Squad stars Tom Noonan (Manhunter) as the Sloth-esque Frankenstein's monster, and Movie Show favorite Jon Gries as the Wolfman in human form. It was also one of the very first works from Shane Black, who wrote nearly every action film in the 80's.

The independently-produced film was acquired by Tri-Star pictures, which was acquired by Columbia Pictures, which was bought Sony. Afterwards, no one really knew who owned the rights to The Monster Squad, which gave free reign to all eBay bootleggers with crappy VHS copies and a DVD burner. People would pay upwards of twenty or thirty bucks for a blank media disc copy of the film which was brutally cropped to meet old school home video standards. Sad, yes?

Looks like the bootleggers will have to looking for a new source of income, since an official DVD - with a brand-new anamorphic transfer and an extra disc of features and supplemental materials - will be hitting stores on July 24.

Y'know, this is such good news, that it's almost enough to make me forgive how god awful these brand new Big Lebowski action figures look. Almost.

And if you're still not convinced as to how awesome the news of a Monster Squad DVD is, here's the original theatrical trailer:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Monster movie proves Host to interesting satire.

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Having seen nearly every Godzilla movie ever made, I’ve always wondered what would happen if a filmmaker were to take the reptilian monolith seriously. Think about it, here is a gigantic, fire-breathing reptile with the destructive force of a natural disaster; if Godzilla steps on a car, stubs his toe on a house and falls on a skyscraper, thousands of people die.

If Godzilla movies were not so invested in the destruction of miniature cities and armadas, there could be scenes of people mourning the lives of dead loved ones or friends. This is perhaps the best way I could describe the South Korean monster film, “The Host,” which began playing at the Carousel this week. While the mutant fish creature in The Host is not as large or unstoppable as Godzilla, the havoc it creates seems more realistic simply because the movie offers the victims’ families a chance to react onscreen.

The Host focuses on the slightly dysfunctional Park family, who run a snack shop beside the Han River in Seoul. When their youngest member, daughter Hyun-Seo, is taken by a horrible river monster during a bloody rampage, the rest of the family spirals into deep depression. Making matters worse, the government and rabid news media also begin to spout disinformation which leads the grieving Park family, along with anyone else who was exposed to the monster, the be quarantined due to a supposed viral outbreak.

When the Park family is quarantined, they get a desperate cell phone call from Hyun-Seo, who has miraculously survived her capture. She’s trapped in the river monster’s lair, but when the Parks attempt a rescue, they are constantly thwarted by doctors and government officials who almost mockingly insist their daughter is dead, and that the phone call was the result of dementia wrought by the alleged virus.

I will admit that some of the film’s intentions might have been lost in translation. Several attempts at humor fell flat for me, and the scene where the Parks wail furiously at a shrine for those lost in the attack while photographers prey on their sorrow like vultures was rather obvious and ham-handed. However, at its core, The Host is a satire of the grief caused by national tragedies, and how the government, the media, demonstrators and other random opportunists attempt to exploit – and ultimately harm – those who are forced to survive them. In the end, the only people in this film who exhibit true strength and valor are the family, their children and those who have the heart to truly care.

While the movie is set in South Korea, it very much reminded me of the way my own country reacts when a major tragedy like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina comes our way. Now that we are in the wake of the VT Massacre, I see it happening all over again.