Sunday, December 20, 2009


Go fuck yourself, Hollywood. We don't need this. Not like this. Please, not like this.

I mean, another Ghostbusters movie would be just fine, if it was awesome. None of these ideas are awesome. Bill Murray would be back as a ghost? "...a sort of Slimer character?" The baby from the second one's a ghostbuster now?

Bill Murray as a ghost is a terrible fucking idea. Actually, reviving old franchises in general is a terrible fucking idea, because it has never gone well. Die Hard 4 was fucking bad. Indiana Jones 4 was really fucking bad. Ghostbusters 3 will probably be pretty bad. I don't know how I could possibly trust this. This video pretty much sums up how disastrous Indiana Jones 4 was in comparison to the other movies:

I think the inherent problem with bringing back old movie franchises that were so awesome back when they came out is that they were genuine back then. They meant something. The audience would root for the hero to overcome his obstacles, get the girl, and save the day. For some reason, people just aren't capable of that anymore - everything has to have a wink to the camera, like Indy 4 addressing his age every five minutes. It's the same as a friend you really like trying to tell a long story, but he keeps being self-deprecating and apologizing for telling it in a shitty way - and, hey fuckhead, if you didn't spend so long apologizing about how you're telling the story, you wouldn't need to apologize about how you're telling the story. You'd just be telling the fucking story. Stop kicking your own ass.

Don't get me wrong, the film had way more problems than that (I'll recommend a damn fine explanation of its shittiness that my buddy Dan Luke wrote), but that was a pretty big issue that I've noticed in other career revivals, too. Half of the new Rocky movie was devoted to convincing us it'd be possible for a man his age to fight the young cocky new champion. I don't want to see a Bill Murray ghost as your way of sidestepping his fucking age. Old Bill Murray is more than worthy to put the proton pack back on. Think about it, that trailer films itself.

By now my blog's catchphrase is pretty much becoming "stop it," as I scold the film industry like a child, so I'll indulge myself one more time.

Hollywood, stop it. Stop it.



Celebrity down!

I'm, of course, referring to the sad recent news of the far-too-soon death of one of my personal favorite young starlets of our day...

Yes, Dan O'Bannon, writer of Alien, Total Recall, Heavy Metal, Dark Star, writer and director of Return of the Living Dead (totally worth watching), died Thursday of complications from a 33-year fight against Crohn's Disease. Ain't It Cool News ran a piece on him that mentions the disease possibly being the inspiration for the chestburster alien from Alien. That's fucking awesome.

You'll be missed, Dan.

Oh, wait. Brittany Murphy also died today.

I guess that's sad, too.


Paramount has announced a third Jackass "movie" currently shooting in 3D for a release on October 10th, 2010. Johnny Knoxville's quote (that he clearly spent all night thinking of):

"We're going to take the same 3D technology James Cameron used in 'Avatar' and stick it up Steve O's butt. We're taking stupid to a whole new dimension."

I really didn't think they'd ever let these assholes do this again, but I can't deny a morbid curiosity. Okay, that's an understatement, I'll probably see this thing in theaters. It's disgusting and formless and stupid, and I'd never call it a real movie in any capacity... But there really is something to be said for experiencing the depraved depths these guys will go to in a packed theater. Damn the DVDs to hell unless you've got a big enough crowd - seeing these things in theaters, watching half the crowd walk out and the other half scream and vomit, my god. It's just unparalleled. My capacity for gross, shocking imagery has been strengthened beyond belief thanks to being a part of the internet generation, so I'll be enjoying the show put on by both the movie and its audience.

Is it weird that I can't stop thinking they'll just shoot this like a fucked up version of the Muppet 3D show at disney world? You know, where they do all these gimmicks, like a pie floating over the audience, or a huge trombone or something coming out of the screen. I feel like they're just going to tackle this in that sense, and do sick things with 3D gimmicks. Mark my words, this will be Digital 3D's first scene with people fake-vomiting on the audience.


A little background music. Just let this play in the background while you read this piece.

Yes, Variety is reporting that director Bryan Singer has signed on to helm X-Men: First Class, a prequel to the X-Men movies, focusing on the first years of that wacky mutant school. Here's a little history - get ready for me to flex my movie-news-nerd muscles:

Singer directed the first X-Men movie, which you could argue was the first good comic book movie. Its success is what started the whole superhero movie boom - it didn't shatter any records, but it turned a pretty good profit, and that's what made Fox put out Spider-Man, and then, yknow, everything else happened. Singer also directed the second X-Men movie, which was totally awesome. Here comes the drama: while prepping what would have probably been an amazing third movie, Warner Brothers (rival of Fox, who owns the X-Men franchise) offered him Superman Returns, and he jumped at the chance, saying he'd still do X-Men 3 afterwards. Fox got pissed and fired him, and then rushed into production on X-Men 3 for the sole purpose of beating Superman Returns to the box office. That's why X-Men 3 sucked so bad (oh, god, did it suck). What made this worse was that Superman Returns also totally sucked (there wasn't even a single fight scene in that 2.5 hour movie), so everybody lost, with the exception of the Fox studio heads when X-Men 3 still banked and Superman Returns tanked. And then we got Wolverine, which was the absolute bottom of the barrel, seriously painful to sit through shitty movie. I never thought I'd stop thinking Wolverine was cool, but here I am.

Hoo. I'm a little out of breath from all that. Anyway, I'm hoping Singer was just good at making X-Men movies, because for some reason Fox has welcomed him back for this new one. I think the story's kind of stupid and I don't really care how the school got started up, I'd rather see the main characters I love in a good movie again, but after Wolverine I'll honestly take anything as long as it doesn't hurt me as much as sitting through that. That movie was astonishingly stupid. Melodramatic, corny, pretty much the antithesis of what made the first two X-Men movies so good. I don't want to see Wolverine cry. He's supposed to be this hardened badass who can't even age or die, so he's just amazing at killing people.

I also don't want to see a million stupid cameos of different characters from the comics just for the sake of having them in there - tell a story, and only include the characters who are important to that story. It's just condescending to throw in Gambit in the third act "for the fans." It's clearly a demand of the studio - the whole fucking narrative of that movie was like a list of studio demands. "Gotta have some action, some fighting, but keep it PG-13, and we gotta have a love story. Gotta bring in the tween crowd and appeal to everybody. Oh, and those nerd-boys in the audience? Fuck 'em, they're easy. Just shoehorn in some of the funnybook characters and they'll be happy as pigs in shit."

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Hopefully, Singer'll avoid that, but I don't know, he might not want to get fired again.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'd call this movie news because this is basically a documentary that has premiered on the internet. Somebody on youtube just released a 70-minute video (split up into 10 7-minute segments) review of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

Really. Watch that. His explanation of the necessity of a protagonist in any given story is so impressively thorough that it more than proves his credibility as a film critic. My justification in watching the whole fucking thing is that it's just a very nerdy but legitimate educational documentary.

I can barely believe I seriously just sat and watched this whole thing, but yeah, I did. There's a running gag throughout the videos that the narrator is in fact a shut-in serial killer, which I guess serves to dodge anybody telling him he has way too much free time. Beyond that, though, it's a finely crafted, perfectly structured video essay - he begins the video with his hypothesis, "Episode I was a horrible movie in which nothing made any sense," and proceeds to prove his point beyond any reasonable doubt over the following 70 minutes. It's unbelievable. His argument is so airtight that I just know if George Lucas (yknow, the guy who made star wars?) himself were to watch this thing, his only response would have to be silent tears - by the end of the video there is literally no possible defense for the man to take. When he cuts in archive footage of Lucas himself discussing the movie, it's just salt in the wound. He even provides alternate ideas that would have strengthened the narrative - just watch the first minute of this part:

I found out about this through Slashfilm, which has an article indexing all of the videos, or you can find them at the guy's youtube page.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Yep, nothing to complain about here. I just saw James "Terminator 2 Means I'll Always Be Worth Your Time" Cameron's first movie in twelve years, AVATAR. I caught a 3D IMAX showing at Navy Pier. And, holy shit, the flick delivers.

I'd like to tell you a lot of stuff about why it all worked in what was ultimately one of the more satisfying narratives of the year, but I don't want to spoil anything (which is not to say the plot has a lot of unexpected twists and turns - it's just worth seeing the fucking thing for yourself.) The 3D is unobtrusive and works very well for a lot of the epic imagery, the visual effects are top-rate (you can totally see the budget in every frame of the movie) and the story totally grabbed me and planted me in its world.

Shut up, bitter haters. So many people told me they thought the visuals looked cool, but the story would probably suck. Well, you guys are wrong, and you hadn't even seen the fucking movie before you started talking bad about it. Maybe "South Park" made fun of it for having blue people, but get over it - the aliens are blue.

Seriously, I can't recommend the experience enough. Go see it in theaters - there was a sense of wonder I can only compare to when the lights went down at the theater I was seeing Star Wars: Episode 1 at in fifth grade. It's more a fantasy story than sci-fi, but there are enough elements of both to satisfy my nerd-needs. It's just a great story told well, and as escapism it works phenomenally.

Cliff's notes: AVATAR is in every way worth your time. Go see it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


the news-part real quick: New movie's coming out, called The Crazies. It's a remake of an older movie of the same name, by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead director, he pretty much invented zombies.) I didn't see the original and I doubt I ever will, it just doesn't look worth going out of my way for. Anyway, trailer got released for the new Crazies. Check it out.

Looks pretty fun, actually. Timothy Olyphant's always a good time to watch (save for that horrible fourth Die Hard), and I'm all about stories where people fight their way out of horrible situations in quarantined towns that may or may not involve zombies. Yeah, this trailer's actually pretty g- heeeeey, wait a minute! That's the fucking song from Donnie Darko again! Stop it!

Yes, Gary Jules' cover of Tears for Fears' song "Mad World" showed up in the ending sequence of Donnie Darko in 2001, that movie every kid in my high school that shopped at Hot Topic fucking loved. The entire appeal to that movie is in the end montage set to this song. Quick film tip for all you aspiring directors out there: throw in a montage at the end of your movie with a soft indie-pop cover of an older song. In this montage, make every character in your movie just kind of look sad. Boom. It's a hit, and everyone will think it actually means something. (It's actually a pretty enjoyable movie, I just really hate that montage.) Check out the ending of Donnie Darko to see what I mean (spoilers are in the following video so don't watch if it's on your Netflix queue):

Yep. Then that song blew the fuck up and started getting used in all kinds of stuff, trailers, tv shows, you name it. They even used it in the commercial for Gears of War, possibly the manliest video game of all time. That's the game with the gun that is also a chainsaw, for crying out loud.

The kids seem to like that "Mad World," though, so they went ahead and used it in the commercial. To reiterate, in that game you have a gun. This gun has a chainsaw attached to the underside of it. You use this chainsaw when you are close enough to an enemy to chainsaw through their face, until they are dead. Blood fills the screen, it's actually pretty rewarding. Still, let's give this ultra-violent testosterone video game a good indie commercial.

Here's a look at the Wikipedia's list of TV shows this song has been used in:

Guys, stop it. Stop using this song. Get another one. I know, I know, it works so well in montage form, but so do a lot of other songs - explore music a little. Maybe start listening to music on your own! Get an iPod, Hollywood, and start shaping your own taste in music. Then, you can say to yourself, "Jeez, I really need a song for this trailer like that 'Mad World,' but (and this is the important part) I know I can't actually use 'Mad World,' it's been done to death already, I guess I'll have to just keep listening to new music until I find something that fits!"

You know you've noticed this in other songs, too. Here. Read up on it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Spider-Man 3 was seriously terrible. I could go on, at length, about why, but all I really need to do is show you this scene, which actually happened in the movie:

Scenes like that are totally why I was into Spider-Man as a kid. Oh, wait, no, I was into the 90s Spider-Man cartoon growing up because he was a wise-ass, who was always cracking jokes while alternately getting beat up by or beating up enemies three times his size. As a smart-assed little brat myself, I could really get behind back then. The big problem I have with the spider-man movies involves there being no wisecracks and entirely too much on-screen crying.

Nevertheless, director Sam Raimi (who I'll always have to like for the Evil Dead movies) is moving ahead with a fourth film, and casting news is already starting. While they haven't signed contracts yet, apparently the safe bets for the villain roles are John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway (according to this article on movieline). Malkovich is in the running for the Vulture, a bad guy from the comics who steals peoples' youth for his own strength. Or something. It's been a while since the cartoons but I do remember that episode where he takes Spider-Man's youth, then takes off Spider-Man's mask and leaves him there, comatose and wrinkly, so when the effect wears off and Spider-Man's young again everyone will see who he is. Then Spider-Man just woke up and beat him up as an old man, or something.

Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous.

Anyway, one would assume Anne Hathaway's in talks for The Black Cat, a voluptuous, athletic, totally hot cat burglar who Spider-Man runs into all the time and is always trying to seduce him, putting stress and Spider-Man and Mary Jane's relationship.

I don't think Hathaway's really the right girl for the role (she's a good actress and all, but, guys, cast a model or something. I don't think the role's main priority is acting talent - but, oh wait, this is the Spider-Man series where everybody cries. Nevermind, go ahead.) Still, good idea to sell tickets - introduce the cleavage-heavy hot young female villain. In the article, though, it claims they're rewriting the role a little so it won't be like in the comics - The Black Cat is being replaced by The Vulturess, the Vulture's daughter, a female variant of his costume, who still steals shit and tries to seduce spider-man and all that - but in a bird-themed getup. Like this:

Whoa, wait, what? Guys, come on. That's just silly. That's just fucking silly. Put the girl in the tight leather costume and make her try to seduce Spider-Man. You're all just being silly. Go make a Spider-Man movie with hot girls and sweet fight scenes and a minimum of crying, for fuck's sake. What happened to Hollywood?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I've known for a while now (and the rage has been simmering in me) that The Karate Kid, one of my favorite VHS tapes from childhood and the reason I fell in love with Elisabeth Shue at a very young age, is being remade. Jaden Smith (son of Will) is taking the role of the titular kid, and Jackie Chan (yep) has inherited the Mr. Miyagi role (that originally got Pat Morita an Oscar nomination). If you haven't seen the so-cheesy-but-so-lovable 80s flick, familiarize yourself with the trailer below. It basically tells you the whole movie.

What kept me not-so-angry, though, was that the remake was to be titled The Kung Fu Kid. That's really all I need, so it won't share much of a shorthand reference with the original in conversation (for example, if I say I'm a fan of the Pink Panther movies, people not as into old Peter Sellers movies will instantly think Steve Martin garbage. Incidentally, this remake of Karate Kid is being directed by Harald Zwart, hack director of the Pink Panther remake's sequel. Yikes.)

Unfortunately, Slashfilm just posted 4 officially released photos from the remake, and the news that it now bears the original title of The Karate Kid, as well as a plot synopsis. One of these pictures and the synopsis follow:

"Jaden Smith plays Dre, a skateboarding video game buff who is forced to move to China after his single mother (Taraji P. Henson) is forced to transfer to China for work. Of course, unable to speak Chinese, Dre finds it hard to settle in, and gets beat up by the local bully. Jackie Chan plays Mr. Han (the Mr. Miyagi character), a maintenance man who spots Dre’s black-eye and offers to teach him both martial arts and Chinese, so he can defend against the students of Li Quan Ha’s Fighting dragon school of Kung-Fu."

Yes, that's a scene taking place on the Great Wall of China. My own personal bias aside (although I'd like to ask one more time why they're still calling it The Karate Kid when the story bears more of a resemblance to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) I'll pose this one really nerdy but legitimate complaint: Why the fuck does it take place in China? I ask this question mostly because it takes about five seconds of wikipedia research to learn that Karate is from Japan. Did nobody look into this during pre-production? I'm assuming they don't care and they just want whatever sales-boost they can get from association with the original movie (though I can't imagine any kids today care, which is not a complaint because god knows I didn't care about 25-year-old movies as a kid).

What I'm getting at is that it doesn't even make any sense to call this movie The Karate Kid, especially after changing it back from The Kung Fu Kid (and five more seconds of wikipedia research tells me Kung Fu is a term for Chinese martial arts, so if your movie's about a kid learning to fight in China... dude, just call it the The Kung Fu Kid.)

Seriously, Hollywood, go make your bad movie, but don't bring my childhood into this. It won't actually affect me much at all, but, c'mon, it's the little things.


Just kidding. Apparently I wasn't the only one uncomfortable with the announcement of Adrien Brody headlining the new Predator movie (now titled Predators. I see what they did there.) I'm honestly a fan of Brody as an actor (he's awesome in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam) but I just don't think he's right for a testosterone-fest on par with the original Predator. I'll sum up my original post with this sweet picture I made for it originally:

After noticing all of the raised eyebrows in response to his casting, director Nimrod Antal (seriously?) talked to

"He plays a mercenary in the film and if you look at the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan today, they're not 'yolked-out' Schwarzenegger-looking guys. They're all very wiry and thin guys, and I think it's going to play well."

I'd like to take this opportunity to respond to Antal's comment. Nimrod (can I call you Nimrod?), of course real mercenaries don't look like five-time Mr. Universe, seven-time Mr. Olympia champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. What I think you're not grasping here is that this is a fucking movie where men fight aliens. There's an important divide between entertainment and reality. One could argue that realistic casting would have worked for another sci-fi movie called Pretty Woman, in which a rich socialite falls in love with a filthy hooker (played by Julia Roberts). Julia Roberts looks nothing like an actual prostitute, but she worked for the romantic comedy because she is attractive. Real prostitutes are generally not very attractive.

To illustrate my point, I made another picture:

You see what I'm saying here. You're making Predator, sir. Not The Hurt Locker. This isn't a drama, this is fantasy - it's escapism in the form of sci-fi action. I'll leave you with an example of the approach that made the original film so good.

Thursday, November 05, 2009