Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Because I love embedding stupid crap into my blog posts

I seriously enjoy it. It will never get old. And you all get to see these things, and I get off the hook for a little bit for not actually WRITING anything. I'm seein Pirates tonight, there will be stuff up tomorrow, depending on how much I wind up liking it).

In the meantime....

From the people who brought us "Brokeback To The Future" comes...

X-Men: The Last Standing Ovation

Monday, July 10, 2006

Because it's funny, and because I hate the term "emo"

I found this great little video awhile ago. I'm going to try and get it to work on here, but you know me and my failings. But this encapsulates about a third of my arguement against MySpace, which I shall get into at another, more appropriate time.

Here's hoping it makes you laugh. If not, then go to "How To Write Scripts. Badly" and re-read the Rapebear posts. I pee myself laughing every time.

By the way, it being laundry day yesterday, and knowing that a certain young lady wasn't going to call me back or hang out with me at all, I felt I could successfully wear my Rapebear shirt with pride. And dammit I did.

I must be emo.

A Scanner Darkly - reposted review

I saw that A Scanner Darkly opened up in a few cities this weekend, and should be opening more in the upcoming weeks.

I saw the film back in December, after a shitty day. And I'm a huge Richard Linklater fan, so I am biased. And I met him afterwards, which was a thrill and a half. I digress. In honor of the film finally being released, I decided to repost (instead of write anew because I'm lazy) the review I had written. I'm sure things have changed since I saw it, but I really did love it. In fact, I believe I put it on my list of top ten flicks from 2005.

Here goes, enjoy:


So, I come home right after seeing Kong, and I'm checking the email, when what do I see but an invitation to a test screening of Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly. Hells yes, I am going. I am an unabashed Richard Linklater fan, and I was curious as hell to see how he'd adapt Philip K Dick's futuristic tale of drugs and the men responsible for maintaining the law with these drugs. I knew Linklater was doing it in the same animated rotoscoping form he used with Waking Life, which intrigued me even more. I could not wait to see this movie, and a chance to see it, even if it's not completely finished yet, was something I would not pass up on.

And I'm glad I didn't. A Scanner Darkly delivers. At least, it delivered up to my expectations. They may be very high expectations, though, I realize. It is a dense movie, that is not going to be easy to understand in one viewing. Even I'm not 100% sure about what happened. (Not as bad as with Syriana, though).

Here's the basic story: In the near future (eight years or so, if I remember correctly), in Orange County, California, there is a substance that is sweeping the area called Substance D. Undercover narcotics agent FRED is trying to infiltrate the confidence of a dealer named Bob Arctor. Bob Arctor is a dealer as well as a user of the D. He lives in a crazy home, sharing space with users Barris (Robert Downey Jr) and Luckman (Woody Harrelson). He casually dates coke whore Donna (Winona Ryder), and is occasionally visited by Freck (Rory Cochrane), who is so deep into the use of D, he constatnly sees aphids that aren't there, as well as other things. Oh, and Arctor is so heavy into the D himself, that he doesn't realize that he's also Fred, the agent pursuing him.

That's not really giving anything away. If you pick up a copy of the book, it tells you that right on the back. Fred's brain has split into two battling hemispheres that are constantly playing tricks on him. He's not exactly sure what is real, and what we witness is his degradation through this world. Paranoia sets in, big time. I won;t tell you where the story ends up, but it is definitely not what you'd expect. Thankfully, it's also not a mindless ending, or an ending that's changed to entice masses, like most of Dick's work.

Now, the film looks gorgeous. As I mentioned, it's the rotoscope process used in Waking Life, where the action was shot with the live actors on digital video, and then animators painstakingly draw over every frame into this crazy stylized hyper real world. Some found that to be irritating in Waking Life, but I enjoyed it. It was something new and exciting visually. A Scanner Darkly ups the ante, because the animation remains, for the most part, consistent, as opposed to different styles throughout Waking Life. The important thing is, it looks great. An important plot device is a suit that constantly changes it's appearances, so as if to blend into a crowd with hundreds of different parts flashing. I can't describe it, and if this movie were done live action, it would look impossibly fake. But here, it works with the environments, and it's awesome to see.

The scanner referred to in the title are the surveillance devices installed to spy on citizens. the same scanner Fred uses to watch Bob Arctor and his insane friends' ramblings and paranoid delusions. These scenes are highly animated, from both visual look, and from the actors within.

The acting works perfectly, by the way. Keanu does confused well. But he looks badass, and is quite fitting. Downey and Harrelson steal the show with incredibly animated characters. Who never shut up. There's a scene where Downey creates a silencer for his pistol that has to be seen. He's really good in this. Reminds me of Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. (More on that later). And he and Harrelson act off each other wonderfully. Winona Ryder is good as well. (Funny to note how all these actors have been associated with drugs and trouble making throughout their careers, and here they all are turning in outstanding work). And Rory Cochrane, who you might remember from Linklater's Dazed and Confused as the stoner Slater ("check ya later"), is awesome as Freck. He's far too gone to make any kind of sense, who are usually the people who make the most amount of sense at the end. But he has this fantastic scene where, well, I'm not gonna say how he got there, but i will tell you it ends with a thousand eyed alien reading a list of his sins. It's gotta be seen to be believed. But he pulls it off well.

Linklater has worked wonders. You can tell he really wanted to tell this story in a visual way. And the ending of the big is kind of hard to pull off, but he managed to do it. Kudos. But there's never a doubt in my mind that he's in charge, and showing u what we need to see. It's very exciting filmmaking.

Since it was a test screening, I realize that it might change when it's released theatrically. I hope it doesn't. (Although, I would like to hear a new Radiohead score, if that rumor turns out to be true. The temp score had some good Radiohead Kid A and beyond songs scattered throughout, and that worked nicely, but an all new score would kick an obscene amount of ass). It's a tough movie to understand, and I definitely want to see it again, but I feel that general audiences would probably not appreciate it all too much. I realize that sounds kind of elitist, but I have a feeling that most people won't like it. I am not one of those people, and I loved this movie.

I actually ran into Linklater after the screening. This was kind of a trip for me (as I was still disoriented after the movie), but I managed to get myself together, shake his hand, and express what a fan I am, and how cool it was to meet him. We spoke a little about the movie, and he seemed kind of nervous about the test screening process. I agreed with him, and felt that marketing this will be a very hard sell. And it will be a hard sell, but I know this movie has a fair amount of movie lovers looking forward to it. I tell you, it's worth it. In hindsight, I should have asked him if I could buy him a beer after the whole studio process was done with, but I barely held it together as is. If he reads this, Mr. Linklater, I'm a huge fan, I loved the movie, and if you're ever back in town, I'll buy you that beer.

(Also, in hindsight, I should have asked him about the Radiohead score rumor, but still, it was an honor to meet one of my heroes/role models).

On the sheet of paper they made me fill out after viewing the movie, it asked "does this movie remind you of any other movies?" I totally drew a blank while responding, but I had some time to think about it, and I came up with two. 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I realize they're both Terry Gilliam films, and this movie is as close to Gilliam as Linklater will get. It has that aura of paranoia, wrapped around drugs, filled with crazy performances, topped with damn fine visuals. They're same in tone, mostly. If you like interesting films, then I can't recommend this movie enough. When it comes out in March, I suggest you go see it opening weekend, or the very first chance you get. Unique, challenging, and a feast for the eyes, this is a movie for your brain.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Does anyone like "Crash"?

And not the weird Daivd Cronenberg one where people have sex after car crashes. (Which was on the TV one time in the background while I was having sex and it kind of freaked me out).

(Yes, I felt you needed to know that) .

I speak of the one that robbed The Devil's Rejects of the Best Picture Academy Award this year. The movie that is pretty good, but is a little overly simplified. But the acting's pretty damn fine in it. Even though it subscribes to the "Philadelphia" school of discrimination.

Anyway, I was trolling through the "interweb", which they now have on computers, and I came across this very funny summing up of Crash.

Simplistic? Most definitely. But spot on.

Check out some of those other scripts this guy has dutifully summed up for our convenience. I remember the Phantom Menace script written awhile ago. the best character was Samuel L. Jackson.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I found this today.

I'm not very impressed.

Kind of saddened, actually.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns... (too many stupid ways to end that sentence)

The biggest mistake the projectionist at the Burbank AMC 16 did when he put Superman Returns together that fateful evening was to put the Spiderman 3 trailer as the last thing you see before the feature presentation. If it wasn't for that, I might have been a bit more forgiving. But let's face facts: I'm a Spiderman-man, not a Superman... man.


Superman Returns is a really good movie, but it's not a great movie. It doesn't provide more than a requisite number of thrills and some emotional splattering around the rim. (Wow, there's a blurb and a half). When compared to what we as fanboys have been exposed to of late with the Spiderman films, Batman Begins, and even Singer's own X2, Superman kind of feels like a more competent version of Daredevil. At least on par with Hulk.

I'm coming off more negative because more time has passed between when I saw it and when I'm writing this. I've had some time to think about it, and I have some problems with the flick. It doesn't mean that some of the action scenes aren't truly mind blowing, nor does it mean I'm not gonna see the movie again on the 3-D IMAX screen, because that would be a pretty damn cool way to see this movie. It's just that I have a lot of problems with the film that prevent me from liking it more, which is something I really wanted to do.

Where to begin...

Let's start with the good things about the flick, which there are many. I liked the acting from Brandon Routh, taking on a mighty big role with little experience in the field. He plays both Clark and Supes well, and I believed him in both roles. He was a damn good find, although I think I might be in the minority on this one. For what it's worth, I really liked him. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was fine, if a little slight. (More on this in the negatives). Still, he wasn't playing the role as a lark, and truly believed in the evil of Luthor. (Best moment is in the very beginning with the pen). Parker Posey was really good as Luthor's flunky, and she kind of made me wish that she was playing Lois Lane instead. Frank Langella was alright as Perry White, but I guess nobody's gonna beat J.K. Simmons in Spiderman as the newspaper chief from hell. White is actually... a nice guy. Weird. Oh, and James Marsden (Remember him as Cyclops? It took me awhile) as Lois' boyfriend is a nice guy, which is a change of pace for these roles. He's not weak, and seems like any normal guy who's a little jealous of his girlfriend's past boyfriend. Regardless that it was Superman or not. (Although, that can't be too good for the ego).

All the acting was good, if a bit glum. Ebert was right when he talks about how joyless everyone seems, but I think in a world without Superman, we would be kind of melancholy. Just a thought.

There's also a fair amount of scenes with no dialogue, where the pictures tell the story. Long stretches where nobody will speak. I barely remember Superman speaking at all. But for some reason, this worked for me. I show much respect and appreciation for these scenes. Along with the crowd I saw the film with, who sat silently and appreciated, instead of giggling nervously. Or talking on their cell phones.

The special effects are also, top notch. The scene where Superman does indeed return features an amazing sequence involving an airplane AND a spaceship. Only in my dreams do the two collide. (Although, the plane could have used some snakes on it for good measure)
It's a damn impressive sequence, and one that gets the heart pumping for more. For that matter, the opening credits were top notch as well. An updating of the original Superman movies' credit sequences puts you in the mood for something kind of special. It's a technically well made movie, even if it does suffer from King Kong-itis, where fifteen shots are used when five would suffice. Still, it's a damn pretty picture, mostly. (Some HD stuff is a little "foggy")

However, those sequences and the actors can only take you so far, as the kind of weak script takes a lot of wind out of the sails.

(I'm gonna get into some spoiler territory here, so if you don't want to know ANYTHING about the movie, I advise you to stop reading.)

Seriously. There's a great post later on about Snakes on a Plane.


Let's begin with Lex Luthor's plan. It's really not a very good plan. It's not well thought out, and he would sort of achieve the same results if he, say, destroyed a levee and flooded an entire city. You know, like the president did. (ZING!). Overall, it was kind of weak, and in this day and age of super villains coming up with grandiose plots to destroy humanity (For God's sake, Magneto moved the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE for his attack), this one seems tame. What's Lex going to do, sit on a rock and wait years for someone to fall into his brilliant real estate scheme? Not very good. Sure, it's probably an afterthought, seeing as how the movie is more concerned with "serious" matters like Superman's "feelings" but at least throw us a bone.

Next problem: Lois Lane. I understand that she's a spelling challenged reporter, and that there is spell check. Hell, search this article and you'll see TONS of them. But I'm not a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and there's no excuse for a PULITZER PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST to NOT know that catostrophic contains no "F"s. Come on! It doesn't help that I didn't care for Kate Bosworth's portrayal of Lois. She's kind of bland, and makes a lot of stupid choices throughout the film. It kind of feels like watching a high school student in a play version of Superman. She looks nice, sure, but she's not Lois Lane. Just like I was no Nathan Detroit*. Did not care for the performance, nor the character.

Let's see, what else? Oh, right, the last fifteen minutes of the movie. Dreadful. I understand that Superman would be weakened lifting a giant rock full of kryptonite and hurling it into space. I understand that he'd have a great fall to Earth. What I do not understand is the rationale behind people TAKING HIM TO THE FREAKIN' HOSPITAL! He's SUPERMAN. Earth medicines will have no effect. And how the hell are they going to put him in the hospital standard garb? And why, since he's laying there in bed, will no one (Especially Lois) realize that he does indeed kinda look like Clark Kent?

Then, when he finally recovers and flies off into the night (for which I thought to myself, who is the hospital going to bill for his useless stay?) and goes to Lois' house and talks to... his child. Yes indeed, Supes and Lois had a kid. the kid's about 5 years old. About the time that Supes has been gone. Making Superman the ultimate spokesperson for Deadbeat Dads everywhere! He says some weird things a father might say to the son he just found out he had, but nothing that makes a whole lot of sense. It's prolonged, and at this point, we've sat through two and a half hours of movie. Just end the damn thing.Show us Superman flying over Earth, looking at the camera, and roll the credits!

Which eventually happens. Still, we have to contend with the possibility that they're going to add a child to the franchise of Superman, and if The Mummy Returns taught us anything, this is never a good idea.

And since I'm griping, I have one more. It might seem like nitpicking, but this is something that has been bothering me since the original Superman movies. superman lives and works in Metropolis, mostly. I get this. But why hide the fact that it's New York City? It's foolish, and annoying. Just call it New York. If you call it New York, you can have Spiderman swoop down and save Superman on that great plummet to Earth. (Which, I admit, I kind of half expected him to do, because my mind was wandering).

All these negatives I have about the film came after extensive thought about the film. The film does work, and it's a lot of fun, provided you can get past these issues, which I did, but still feel the need to complain about, because quite frankly, I can. It's not a waste of time at all, far from it. But it could have used a little more work. And given that it took 19 years to get it here, we could have waited the few extra months and been alright.

*Full disclosure: I indeed WAS no Nathan Detroit, beccause I didn't portray Nathan Detroit. Nor anyone in the cast of Guys and Dolls. I ran lights. Both times.