Category Archives: Films
Thoughts on films that have gotten our attention (for good or bad).
A group of people you don’t know are conversing nearby, as you exit a building. You clearly overhear the phrase “lamb’s blood.” Though you are a bit alarmed at this phrase, and have no idea of the actual context of the conversation, part of you would find it amusing to approach them and interject the following:
“Excuse me, but you aren’t planning on killing a djinn by chance, are you? I only ask because in order to destroy that particular supernatural creature, the lamb’s blood needs to already be on the dagger or it won’t work. Also, it’s a good idea to have backup on hand as the touch of a djinn can render you incapacitated via psychic attack as it feeds off of your life-force.”
You have concluded that the following is the best way to describe the brilliant, twisted, comedic weirdness that is Michael Bay’s new film, Pain & Gain:
The film has the same sensibilities as the movie Step Brothers, if (a) the brothers had decided to become criminal “masterminds” rather that start a marketing company, and (b) it was based on a true story.
The characters’ behavior in both films are equally illogical and wickedly funny, except that if one of the characters from Pain & Gain told you, “Don’t touch my drumset,” it would be wise not to test them, lest you be wearing said drumset as a hat due to possible “‘roid’ rage”.
Having recently discovered this interview segment with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, on the “Pixarification” of today’s film industry (by which he means a trend toward appealing to “family friendly” audiences at the expense of the visceral, thought-provoking, grown-up movies of the 1970s). I thought I’d share his thoughts with you, my avid readers. What are your thoughts on the points sai Boyle brings up? Does his new film, Trance, meet his intended goals?
You are excited by the following trailer for Elysium, an upcoming film written and directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame… and yes, Sharlto Copley is in it, too.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 245 (or “Is that a terrifying, classic film villain on your TV screen, or are you just happy to see me?”)
The thought occurs to you that if your younger self from twenty years ago were suddenly transported in time to the present, the world would seem very both fascinating and a bit scary, just based on the fact that you have a digital video recorder that allows you to record high definition versions of television programs without a VCR, which you can use to fast forward commercials.
Furthermore, two of the television shows on your DVR are centered around terrifying film villains Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter, the latter being broadcast on a major television network, which bewilders your younger self even as it confounds your present self, considering that people once found shows like Married With Children and The Simpsons edgy and controversial.
Having read the first book and seen the first movie in the Twilight Saga, and loathed both with a passion, you have avoided the work of Stephenie Meyer and the subsequent film adaptations that have occurred. As such, when you first saw the trailer (provided below) for the film adaptation of Meyer’s supposed “science fiction” novel, The Host, you were shocked.
Why the shock? While you haven’t read the book, you have seen the film Bowfinger, a comedy in which a terrible director secretly films a famous actor without his knowledge in order to make a science fiction film called Chubby Rain, about aliens invading Earth via raindrops.
Thus, you exclaimed, “I can’t believe it… The Host is basically Chubby Rain being filmed for real!”
Behold, and judge for yourself.
Someone interrupts you while you are watching Vikings on the History Channel, saying, “For a second, it looked like you were watching Sons of Anarchy,” to which you reply:
“Actually, one could say that Norse Vikings were the Medieval equivalent of biker gangs… awesome beards and hair included.”
*Yes, I know, two consecutive Vikings posts. I couldn’t resist. I cry your pardon… a little.*
After you recently watched the R-rated teen comedy film Project X, about an out-of-control birthday party for a high school kid that devolves into a flame-ridden riot, you make the following comment:
“I began watching this movie thinking it was a remake of the 1987 Matthew Broderick film, Project X, about a secret airforce program that trained chimpanzees to fly in aircraft simulators. Boy was I wrong!”
To which someone tells you: “Obviously, you never saw this movie’s trailer… and you are probably the only person that even remembers that they ever even made another Project X in 1987.”
While you are viewing the film Shadow of the Vampire for the first time in years, you remember why this John Malkovich/ Willem Dafoe movie is arguably one of the best vampire films of all time… it’s equal parts creepy and hilarious. Released in 2000, this film presents a fictionalized account of the making of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 film, Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror). The version of events presented in Shadow of the Vampire has Murnau (Malkovich) hiring an actual vampire in the role of Count Orlock, telling lies to his cast and crew about his star being a “method actor” named Max Schreck (Dafoe).
What follows is perhaps one of the greatest examples of an egomaniacal director trying to control a difficult, uncooperative star… though in this case, the star is a bitter, ugly, centuries-old vampire who wants to eat the crew. Dafoe’s “Orlock/ Schreck” is what a vampire should be: dangerous, scary, evil-looking, and tragic. You find yourself repulsed by him, and yet sympathize with the sadness that permeates his immortal existence.
It is during this latest viewing, that you wish that they would make a prequel to Shadow of the Vampire depicting the agreement first made between Murnau and Schreck prior to making Nosferatu. You envision the film being shot much like My Dinner with Andre, in that the whole movie is a conversation between Murnau and Schreck about their agreement as well as their views on life, its meaning, and their life experiences.
After viewing the trailer for Shadow of the Vampire presented below, ask yourself: Who wouldn’t want to see such a prequel?
During a long phone conversation with an old friend, who often takes the opposing view to yours in a discussion, you find yourself defending the legitimacy of Skyfall as a Bond film, in which you go so far as to list reasons why it is perhaps one of the best Bond films, the talks break down when you make the mistake of mentioning the now-defunct Stephen King Dark Tower film adaptation. The impetus of the Dark Tower entering the conversation was your reaction to seeing two actors working side-by-side who were rumored to be considered for the role of Roland Deschain, The Gunslinger, at various times.
The final insult was when he refused to believe you (as he will not read the series, though you have and love each book) as to why Javier Bardem’s Spanish accent doesn’t fit the role of Deschain (the content of Wizard and Glass serving as that reason, in your opinion), and he kept calling the series’ protagonist by a long list of incorrect names just to annoy you even though you had said “The Gunslinger” at least six times.
It was a then that you realized that you react the same way to people making negative comments about The Dark Tower series, when they haven’t even read any of the books, as Marty McFly reacts to being called a chicken in the Back to the Future films
While watching the film Lincoln a few weeks ago, you relished the many anecdotes that Daniel Day-Lewis tells during several scenes, and have to resist the urge to turn to the people you were seeing the film with and say the following:
“You see… that’s what I’m going for when I tell ‘random’ stories! Witness the art of well-told anecdotes! I am humbled and shall strive to improve my technique, this I declare, lest it be said that I have forgotten the face of my father.”
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 227 (or “A science fantasy franchise is sold to a company founded by a crogenically frozen cartoonist…”)
Upon discovering that George Lucas sold the rights to the Star Wars franchise to the Walt Disney Co., to “ensure” the future of the franchise, as Lucas looks toward retirement, you have the following response:
“Well, this might lead to interesting improvements because as far as I’m concerned, the worst thing to happen to the legacy of Star Wars was George Lucas, himself.”
You come across a trailer for an obscure, humorously terrible action movie from twenty five years ago, called Miami Connection, which has been resurrected by Drafthouse Films. Upon discovering that it will be available on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on December 11, after completing a very limited theatrical run, your inner child seems to take hold, making you declare that this film is the inaugural item on your holiday wish list.
Behold that trailer!
*Warning* Not appropriate for all audiences.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 224 (or I don’t see dead people, but I do see poorly thought out plots that rely too heavily on a twist!)
You enjoy pointing out plot holes and illogical elements of the “clever” twists of M. Night Shyamalan films. The resulting conversations are often more interesting than the films themselves.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 221 (or “Is that a rocket in your pocket… or are you just happy to see me?”)
You discover that you make the same excited, cheering noises that most sports fans do, but only when watching things like the following movie trailer for the upcoming Iron Man 3 film. Bonus: Shane Black (the father of the modern action film) was involved with the script.
The following movie trailer for the upcoming Die Hard 5 film, titled A Good Day to Die Hard, leaves you speechless… but you can’t tell if that reaction is a good thing or a bad thing. And yes, folks… it apparently takes place in Russia.
Recently, you were asked to identify your ideal career, which took all of your willpower to not answer as follows:
“Preferably, I’d go with a line of work in time travel, but my second and third choices would be ‘intergalactic explorer/ lothario’ or a maester in Westeros.”
Upon viewing the following video, you exclaim, “This describes everything great about Tron in under five minutes…”
During a graduate school discussion related to Carl Sagan, your instructor mentions the following video after a classmate pointing out a similarity in Sagan’s voice and Hugo Weaving’s voice (as Agent Smith) in The Matrix.
Back from the nether-regions of academic inquiry (or “Are you smarter than a fifth grader… from the planet Vulcan?”)
Fear not, I have returned to you, my loyal readers! I had not planned to leave you as I did, and for that verily, I cry your pardon.
As you may recall, I (your benevolent nerd-guide) have been working toward my Master’s degree in Library Information Science. This past month, I took my End of Program Exam, which is one of the last hurdles to leap in order to be approved for graduation. It was rather involved and ended up necessitating blog-related “radio silence” in order to complete it on time. Had I better anticipated this unexpected communication blackout, I surely would have let you know in advance.
Though less than a month has gone by since my last posting, in the research paper-soaked corners of my mind, it seems as though decades have passed. Now, much like the character Kyle Reese (portrayed by Michael Biehn) in The Terminator, I feel as though I have emerged through a time portal into an unfamiliar alleyway, unclothed and disoriented, screaming, “What’s the date?! The year! What’s the year?!”
I owe you penance, my readers. For the next two weeks, I shall strive to bring you thrice the number of postings each day. There shall be two more on this day, three tomorrow and Saturday, etc.
As the false head worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed before exploding (in the original Total Recall film), “Get ready for a surprise!”