Movies

The Big Friendly Giant and Seed of Creativity

Steven Spielberg is making a movie of The Big Friendly Giant. (squee)

The BFG was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  It is hard to explain how much this book means to me. 

I grew fast.  I was almost always the tallest kid in my class.  When I read this book for the first time, I found two characters I could identify with, but so much more than that, I found a world that I wanted to spend more time in.  I pretended I was the giant, and acted out not only scenes from the book, but I invented new ones.

When I was in the third grade, I volunteered to write our class play, and of course, I based it on The BFG.  It was the first thing I ever wrote.  I even starred as the BFG, and I directed the play.  I even set up a foley artist (though I didn't know that word at the time) to do sound effects off stage.

This is one of those books that had such an effect on my life that I can say I would be who I am or doing what I do without it.

Igniting your child's imagination

Books like this one have a special power over our imaginations.  They are important for children, but in many ways, they are even more important for adults.

Somewhere along the way, many of us are taught to stop playing, stop using our imagination.  We are all lessened by this.  Imagination and play are tools to not only help us relax, but also to grapple with abstract concepts and work over problems in different ways.  Play is important.

I plan to see The BFG when it comes out, and I hope it awakens parts of me that went dormant long ago.  What reawakens your sense of childlike wonder and play?  If you can't think of something, what are you going to do to try to bring it back?

Many dark dreams for the Crow reboot

Round and round goes the planned Crow reboot film.  New names added, Old names fall away.  I could go on and on like others about the no name director and the actor I have never heard of, but that combination is what made the first one great, so I will hold my tongue.

Normally, when a great movie is getting a reboot, I am the first one to sigh, roll my eyes, and ask why the movie needed to be made.  This is different.

While the original is a gothic masterpiece that I still watch every year, there is so much in source material that was left out of it.  I would love to see some of that brought into a new movie.

The comics are a stunning meditation on love, death, hatred, justice, and revenge.  It paints a sweet yet violent picture of a man who lost his love and his life in a random act of violence.  In return, he returns to the land of the living to destroy those who killed them.

The Crow is a visionary masterpiece (I know I have already used that word before, bur it is the only one that fits).  A hypnagogic nightmare of love, loss, and agony, the books paint visions of inner pain and turmoil that I have not see the like of since Blade Runner.

I can only hope that whoever makes this movie, they will make the wise choice and include some of this scenes.  From the valentine with hollow eyes to the stampede into barbed wire.  If the director can create the same hallucinogenic terror from the book, the new film will be different and spectacular.

The biggest danger is that they will simplify the story down to an action film or a horror film.  It needs to be both, or it will not work.

Prometheus is Pointless

We went to see Prometheus, and I am glad I will not remember this film at all in a week.  It was dull, boring, and poorly written.

So many people have tore this movie apart, I don't want to follow them.  I want to take a different tact.

The Pointlessness of Life

This movie is little more than a nihilist propaganda film that works way to hard to teach you several things:

  1. Religion is futile.
  2. Science is futile.
  3. Belief in anything is futile.
  4. The Sontarans created man before they shrank.
  5. Drugs lead to death.
  6. Sex proves you are not a robot, unless you are a Cylon.
  7. Androids don't die.
  8. Goo makes snakes.
  9. Women can walk, run, jump, fight, lift heavy objects, and repel down great heights immediately after a cicerian.
  10. Aliens are brutish and dumb, but not the ones you are thinkin of.
  11. Prequels are rarely ever good.

 

New John Carter Story Trailer With Rant

The new trailer for John Carter is here:

I have read a couple sad reviews of the trailer from people who have never read the books, so I  thought I would take a moment to respond.

While I am not yet convinced this is going to be a good or great movie, I take umbrage with the people who are saying that this movie is a knock off of Star Wars and Avatar...

The first Barsoom book was published in 1912.  That is all that needs to be said.  The books came first, and the movies that came after it inherited themes and imagery from it.  I know it is a lot to ask from internet folk to get their facts straight, but they need to do it.

I hope the film benefits from the technology used in Star Wars and Avatar, that will only make it a better movie, but that does not mean it copied them unless the filmmakers went off script.

Ok, has Netflix just lost its mind?

"Ok, has Netflix just lost its mind?

Netflix is rebranding its 12-year-old movies-by-mail service as Qwikster and adding video games to its catalog, Reed Hastings, the company's CEO, announced Sunday night. The Web-streaming portion will continue to be called Netflix, he wrote on the company's blog.

After the separation, people who subscribe to both services will have to log into two separate websites, Netflix.com and Qwikster.com, to manage their movie queues and account information...  (via cnn)

I was one of the few who didn't freak out about the new pricing structure Netflix introduced. As a person who works online, I understand the need to make money on those endeavors, but now seeing that they are spinning off part of their service I am not sure I understand it at all anymore.

Why split off the DVD part of their service? 

The only thing I can think right now is that Netflix has decided it is their mission to kill physical media. 

This feels so premature. After the studios pulled out or instituted stalling tactics on streaming rentals my Netflix streaming dropped.  After all If their streaming offering was better, I could see how this is a good move, but right now... ugh.  To compensate I had plans to keep both.  Renting DVD's for those few things I wanted to see right away and that was not available for streaming.  For the rest I would just wait for it to show up on streaming or never bother watching. 

I was fine paying a little more to have both physical DVD rental and streaming rental in one convient place.  The convience of managing my ratings and que was one of the biggest draws to Netflix.  Like most we live a busy life with our time divided and enough inconviences that no one wants to pay for another one.  On top of that the extra step is one I know I will forget to take...

Then that name: Qwikster.

Really? That sounds like something Randal from Clerks thought up one morning after recovering from a heavy night of binge drinking and salsa shark attacks. Time to cancel the DVDs?

Video game rentals sweeten the deal, but I haven't turned my 360 on in about 6 months.  In addition to that I tried a seperate Video game rental service but the inconvience added an extra step that I did forget to take.

And then their subscribers drop and stock drops.  Not a suprise here.  They claim they made the split and price changes for 4 reasons:

(1) to create a dedicated DVD rental division that takes pride in great execution and maximizes the opportunity for disc rental over the coming decade;
(2) to enable us to improve our global streaming service even more rapidly, because it is not meshed with a domestic DVD business;
(3) to enable us, with the growth in revenue, to license more streaming content and thereby improve our streaming service even more;
(4) to remain very price aggressive, with $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of a huge library of TV shows and movies, and $7.99 per month for unlimited DVD rentals, 1 out at-a-time.  (via  Online Video News

  1. Didn't they already have a great rental division that had pride?
  2. A big improvement to streaming would be providing a service in which I could manage both my streaming videos and my rental videos.  By the way wouldn't the extra cost help to pay for them to make streaming improvements?
  3. Wouldn't it be easier to streamline costs when both divisions are under one roof verses two seperate companies?
  4. Sadly they forgot about and now are loosing the convience and service of one que one rating place.

 

First Look At American Pie 4: American Reunion

I love the photo booth trailer, watch the video above.  It's a brilliant piece of promotion showing me little but telling the emotional story of the next American Pie move American Reunion.  I get a wonderful sense of nostalgia when watching this trailer.

When the American Pie movies first hit the scene I underestimated it presuming the movie to be throwaway entertainment and hoping to maybe get a laugh out of it through crass humor.  Much to my delight I was very wrong.  The series has it's low brow humor, which is also very funny, but it also has a brilliant insight on life, friend and growing up.  It's predecessors were also well done with American Pie 3 American Wedding really bringing the quality back that the first movie had. 

 

I'm really looking forward to watching American Pie 4: American Reunion. 

Plot:  It was summer 1999 when four small-town Michigan boys began a quest to lose their virginity. In the years that have passed, Jim and Michelle married while Kevin and Vicky said goodbye. Oz and Heather grew apart, but Finch still longs for Stifler's mom. Now after a decade has passed these lifelong friends have come home as adults for a long-overdue weekend to reminisce about—and get inspired by—the hormonal teens from long ago.  They will discover what has changed, who hasn't and that time and distance can't break the bonds of friendship.  (Wikipedia)

Pixar's "Brave" Trailer and Poster

Pixar's 2012 movie Brave looks great.  They also have a great cast involved with Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson as just a few to mention.  It's set in a 10 century Scotland with a touch of fantasy.  Watch the Trailer above.

Plot:  Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In Brave, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor . Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin , surly Lord Macintosh and cantankerous Lord Dingwall. Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.  (Wikipedia)

Brave is scheduled for release on June 22, 2012.

Shop Pixar's Amazon Store here (affiliate link)

 

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Trailer

I want to like Ghost Rider.  In theroy everything about it should be awesome: motercycles, fire, rider of vengance.  Unfortunately I'm not that excited. 

After the first Ghost Rider, should by all acounts rock was more of a meh, this trailer has a lot of work cut out for it.  I first saw it in 3D which looked bad, very bad.  The fire effect left my eyes hurting and was not helped when Conan started showing me what good 3D fire should look like.  Thankfully the 2D looks a lot better and gives me some hope.  Watch the trailer above.

Plot:  "Set several years after the first film, Johnny Blaze is in self-imposed exile from the world. Blaze has become a tormented soul, convinced that his powers are a curse. Former stuntman Blaze is then approached by Moreau, a member of the monastic order of Michael, the warrior angel. Moreau seeks a protector for a mother and son duo who are being pursued by a figure named Roarke – a fellow with a detailed knowledge of the Ghost Rider and his different identities over the centuries."  (Wikipedia)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengance will hit theaters 2-17-12

 

 

Underworld Awakening Let Loose The Hunters

The trailer is out for Underworld Awakening and it looks awesome!  watch the trailer above.

This is set after Underworld Evolution. Looks like we will get to see human hunters enter the fight between the two clans and some hints that Michael might return as the abomination.

 

Plot:  "Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.

 

Underworld Awakening will hit theaters January 20, 2012.

More Underworld on dashPunk

John Carter Trailer

John Carter is a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars).  I like the look of it from the trailer but then I'm a huge fan of swordplay.  Check out the trailer above

Based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.

John Carter is slated to hit theaters March 9th 2012

CONAN THE BARBARIAN - Red Band Trailer

I'm excited to see Conan The Barbarian my only regret is the title I wished they would have distinguished it from the plethera of other Conan movies, shows, and books with a change in the name.  Afterall there is already a move named Conan the Barbarian why not call this one Conan the Cimmerian and truely gain geek cred.

Jason Mamoa definetly pulls off the look of Conan plus Ron Perlman who is a satple for these types of movies. 

After his father is murdered and village destroyed, Conan ventures into an unforgiving world where he survives as a thief, pirate, and warrior. On his path of wanton adventure and women, Conan chances upon the warlord responsible for his tribe's destruction. As he tracks Khalar Zym, Conan battles monsters, Zym's henchmen, and Marique, a powerful witch. (via Wikipedia)

stars Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Saïd Taghmaoui and Ron Perlman. The film is directed by Marcus Nispel, and written by Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood.

Conan the Barbarian hits theaters August 19th.

Theater or Renter: Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters July 22nd raising the question:  will I watch it in the theater, rent it, or don't even care?  Before making that decision lets watch the trailer above.

I will probably see this in the theater mainly for the awesome cast.  There are many concerns over the look epsically for Captain America who looks more like a plastic action figure in the trailers.  I suspect this is due to the studios foolish choice of making 3D special by making everything look wierd in 2D.  This is one of the major flaws that hurt Green Lantern and will probably be a big problem with Captain America as well.  

The film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super soldier Captain America to help the war effort. However, Captain America must stop Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and leader of a terrorist organization, who intends to use a mysterious tesseract energy-source for world domination. (via Wikipedia)

 

A Steampunk Three Musketeers Movie?

My first reaction to a Three Musketeers movie comming out was meh.  I love swashbuckeling movies but the 1993 Disney version was great why make another...

Then I saw the trailer above!

Wow a steampunk version of The Three Musketeers!   This could defenitly make it better.  Little did I know that flying airships is what was missing from the original Three Musketeers movie.  Then add to that Milla jovovich and I'm there.

It is scheduled for release on October 14, 2011.

 

The New Planet of The Apes Promise

 

After watching the trailer for the new planet of the apes I have hope.  They promise a movie with improvements which is the main point of doing a remake.

What made the old planet of the apes so great was the social message in it.  From what I can see is that they will continue with asking those questions of quality of life, equal treatment and second class citizenry. The original Planet of the Apes are a Sci-Fi must see for the story and social messages.  Even if the effects and look are a little cheesy by today standards they did an incredible job with the very restricted budget they had to work with.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters August 5th.

 

Review: Transformers 3

Transformers 3 is awesome movie. My expectations for a giant killer robot movie are simple. First, giant robots. Secondly, stuff blowing up. Thirdly, see the first two and do many of it lots of robots and tons of explosions. Thats it. As expected Transformers 3 had lots of giant killer robots and stuff blowing up. The pleasant surprise and bonus came in the form of a good storyline that did not seem out of place with nor detract from all of the explosions and giant robots. After the film I discovered that Orci and Kurtzman had nothing to do with the writing, a smart choice by Bay since the writing on this film is way better then the first two. Another pleasant deviation from the first two Transformers movies was being spared the bad acting of Megan Fox. In Transformers 3 we get to meet the beef's new love interest played beautifully by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. I would even go so far as to say her screen presence helped the beef with his performance. The effects look great. This is a must see and the best of the Transformers movies not counting the 80's animated one which will be incredibly hard to beat.

New Green Lantern Not a Pooser

Ok, listen up all you poosers.

Contrary to my low expectations of and the other poorly executed comic movies that have come out this year Green Lantern is awesome!  Quite often I find myself singing the praise of the animated movies over the large budget movies but in this case both are great.

They did a great job with the story staying faithful to the comics pulling elements from even the first showcase presents Green Lantern.  In the non action parts of the movie made sense and furthered the story along.

The effects including his suit looks good in 3d and not so good in 2.  Darn them for making me praise 3d but this time it works.  

Between this movie and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights I'm looking forward to seeing the Sinestro Core War.

If you havent picked up your copy of Emerald lights get it here it's worth it!

Reclaiming the Blade

Reclaiming the Blade is a documentary about the lost European Martial Arts of the sword, and the lost appreciation for the art of swordsmithing. They do touch on Kendo, but it it is more to show what the west lost with the advent of firearms.

The film constantly denigrates fencing, and recreation societies like the SCA, insisting that they, like filmmakers have little to nothing to do with the classical art of swordplay. While I agree, the constant repetition of this point eventually made me sigh as it continued.

The last section of the film is a cry of anguish regarding how poorly true swordplay is represented in film. I had to laugh when one gentlemen took on the Zorro Z cut with so much seriousness.

They do list a few films they like, but I felt they strayed a little bit from the point of the documentary. Eventually, they do thank the high fantasy films for maintaining interest in the sword, but it felt like an afterthought.

Overall, the movie is interesting, and covers the topic well, though I did feel like they were constantly trying to convert me to their point of view. The sword is important to the history of the world. I agree. There is no reason to thank pop culture swordplay for maintaining interest in the blade, then in the next breath go after pop culture for not being realistic. After all, the point of the film is that these arts were lost and are now being resurrected. I am not sure why that bothered me so much. It is probably because I have written my share of sword fights, and felt slighted by the fair accusation of not knowing what I was talking about.

The music was the biggest problem with the film, and when that is the main critique, you know I am stretching to find one.  It was very, well, the best word I can think of is soothing, except when they break out the heavy metal guitars to prove that real swordplay is hard core. I mention it because the soundtrack did the one thing a good soundtrack should never do, it drew attention to itself. I was pulled out of the narration a couple times by the music, but it is not that big a deal.

If you are interested in the sword, than definitely check it out. It was worth the time, and I learned a few things from it. I do wish they would have spent more time with the swordsmith. He was one of the most interesting people they interviewed, and he left me wanting to know more,

Journey to the West Movie

I don't want to let myself get too excited about this, but Journey to the West may be made into a new movie with Neil Gaiman writing, Del Toro directing, and James Cameron advising... maybe on FX?

 

Journey to the West is the iconic Chinese story of the monkey king, Son Wukong, and his many adventures.  Most of us are at least familiar with the story through its adaptation into the original Dragonball.

 

I fell in love with the story when a Korean friend of mine introduced me to it when I was in middle school.  My friends and I used to sit around and listen to him recounting the story.   

Should this movie happen, YAY, if not, it is only a matter of time until someone makes it.

(via Blastr)

Netflix to make Original Programming

affiliate linkThe folk at Netflix decided that is a good idea for them to make their own content by signing House of Cards to an amazing 2 season deal (check out Deadline for more).

I'm not sure this is a good idea.  YouTube and Hulu have done the same type of thing lately, and it all just makes me sigh.

Content platforms should be Platforms, not producers.  There is an inherent conflict of interest when your business is about both, making content and distributing it.  They will naturally push their original content more than the content of others...

I would love to see them take the idea of being a platform to the next stage instead.  Provide tools for independent producers to submit their content easily, and curate that content, to keep the quality of your offering up to your standards.

Am I making to much out of this?  Let me know what you think.