Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Girl On A Motorcycle Tribute

I do love this movie ever so... I'll do a review soon, but, till then, enjoy some Grindhouse era awesomeness starring the amazing Marianne Faithfull. If you've not seen the film you should, just the right mix of intelligent trip into the mind of a conflicted woman that doesn't know where to go, sexpolotation, late 60s drug culture, beautifully done promo art, and Marianne Faithfull in leather.... hehe... anyway here we go...

and finally, the one thats my pc wallpaper at the moment.. i had to squish it to fit it here, so click it and you'll get the full hi-rez of this beauty...



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Making sense in the wake of Wolverine

I got this from who's opinions on alot of movie things i tend to share, and though i felt that my write up on Wolverine and the horror that it was, and my disdain for the third X-men movie was pretty clear, I think maybe this could express my feelings on FOX Studios just abit more.. so here we go...

Originally Posted on

Can I take a moment here to talk about Fox and Wolverine…you know, again?

First, I want to tell you the story of The Fantastic Four movie you’ve probably never seen. It involves B-movie extraordinaire Roger Corman, the guy behind Death Race 2000 and Piranha, two films being remade for modern audiences. He was also behind Little Shop Of Horrors (the original one that will be seeing a remake), which he claimed to have shot in two days and one night, and a number of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations while partnering with writer Richard Matheson.

In 1992, producer Bernd Eichinger at Constantin Film, a company known for making Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns in its time, was having quite the dilemma. Constantin had optioned the rights to a Fantastic Four movie from Marvel, and unless the flick was underway by December 1992, the rights would default and go up for grabs (much like what happened recently with Sin City 2 and The Weinstein Company). Eichinger knew that a Fantastic four movie with that many special effects would probably cost a good $40 million in 90’s-dollars and knew that he couldn’t pony it up to make the film.

Somehow, Eichinger contacted Corman and the two settled on making an ashcan copy, but with a special twist. Something dubbed an “ashcan copy” is material produced purely for legal reasons. It’s a term that developed during the age of Golden Age Comics. So, you do something quick to maintain an option, or to have something produced for copyright. The intention is that these ashcans only circulate internally. But, since Corman was told to make a Fantastic Four film on absolutely no budget,

Corman had his film written and cast by people who were not told that the Fantastic Four movie they were making was not intended for release. Some actors and crew members worked for less because they were told that if the film didn’t get released, it would be used as a backdoor pilot for a TV series. It’s not mentioned in any documentation I can find, but some of them had to be Marvel geeks psyched to work on a film adaptation like this.

Principal photography ended January 1993, and the cast was sent out to conventions and to do interviews as the studio announced a 1994 premiere at the Mall of America. Needless to say, because chances are you haven’t seen this film, the flick was pulled. It was never intended to be released, it was just a slick way to maintain the rights and get the actors and crew to work for less. The reality of the “backdoor pilot” suggestion was never known. The film disappeared into Comic Cons as unlabled VHS tapes and the Roger Corman Fantastic Four was never seen.

In 2005, 10-years later, Constantin Film and Bernd Eichinger brought Tim Story’s Fantastic Four to cinemas, followed by Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfur and a proposed re-boot of the franchise, even though the sad memories of watching Rise with my head in my hands are still fresh. The company behind these crap-fests? 20th Century Fox.

Now think about what Marvel Studios is trying to do with the properties they managed to keep: Iron Man, Nick Fury, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel is going to attempt to build an inter-connected “Marvel Universe” on screen and it’s an exciting prospect. However, Marvel also managed to sell off the two most profitable properties, cinematically: Sony got Spider-Man and Fox got X-Men.

Giving up Spider-Man is sad because he’s a flagship character, but the X-Men property has so many characters and such a rich back-history that Fox has treated with disrespect since X2: X-Men United ended on a Dark Phoenix cliffhanger…

Rules For A Fox X-Men Film Thus Far:

1. The title must have “X-Men” in it because people like sequels. X2 is snappy, but X2: X-men United? That’s profit. People don’t understand prequels, nor do they have to in this reboot age, so we can’t just call it Wolverine, it has to be X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

2. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have to show up. Women love Hugh Jackman, geeks love Patrick Stewart. Women in tight superhero costumes look the same, so screw it.

3. People are ignorant, hate mutants. Easy social commentary. Sub in “black,” “retarded,” “atheist.”

4. Someone falls in love, but it can never be, except when the climax happens, then love saves them, sorta. Bonus points if this is Wolverine’s storyline, which it always has been.

Pile on top of this the Wolverine Leak and Fox’s knee-jerk response to include “multiple secret endings” that have no bearing on the story of the film whatsoever. Not to mention that the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine has a nod towards the upcoming X-Men: First Class.

Add to that recent news: “Shwartz wrote the prequel while Wolverine was in production, and that the screenwriter was asked to do a rewrite during the film’s post production. The rewrite would reflect some of the changes that were made on set and in reshoots, so that the timing “matches with First Class.”

Explain to me how Fox isn’t doing this to ape Marvel’s unified strategy? Espeically if one of the Wolverine endings brings Deadpool’s character to a place where Ryan Reynolds can start a franchise (SPOILERS).

Or how about this hypothesis: Wolverine could have been an ashcan flick if they didn’t spend so much damn money doing it.

Here’s the overall problem I have with Fox and the X-Men property: they made Hugh Jackman and we have them to thank, in part, for bringing about this, the age of superhero cinema. But it appears as if NONE of the decisions made after Bryan Singer left the property have been motivated by anything other than maintaining the rights to a franchise that has the ability to juice money out of fan boys for years to come.

I’m gonna see Magneto and First Class when they come out. I’m no different. But, having seen Wolverine, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that a story about sibling rivalry between mutants might have been better served if those two mutants had more than one dramatic scene that didn’t involve Victor Creed growling and prancing around like a lion on stunt-wires.

I understand that people like to see things blow up, and in a comic-book world where a portion of people have the power to do whatever SFX trick is popular that year, the X-franchise must be really tempting. Why have any character work at all?

But, as far as my opinion goes, X-Men: Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (both film sets rife with rumors that Fox was infringing on the director’s control) might as well have been ashcan movies, because Fox is just keeping this property until they let someone with real Singer-esque-pre-Superman’s-kid talent comes through and wants a shot at one of the REAL X-Men stories.


Now with that said back to me, I happen to own a copy of the 1990s Fantastic Four movie of which he speaks, and yes, its, not a good film, its infact one of those so bad its awesome movies, infact there is one scene where Doctor Doom is running, he stops, turns around and does this sort of Jazzhands pose that still makes me laugh today, and I've always said that The Thing looks more like the comics in that version then in the big budget ones, and the casting was pretty much better, even though in the big budget ones, i do love fellow Lowell Mass. boy Micheal Chiklas as The Thing, he's got the voice and personality down, anyway, it is a far better film, plus, come on, its Roger Corman, how can you not love Roger Corman's work?

As for the X-Movies, again, they're right, FOX is simply keeping them just to stick tit to marvel, just like Sony is, see, its like i've been saying, there is a certain way you need to do a superhero movie, it can't follow the same formula plot that every other hacked together film does, it needs to be both innovative, and also respectful, in a sense creating new, while showing love to the old, and if done right, people will forgive the... transgressions... that don't pay off, like how in Spiderman back in 2000, no one really cared that the Gwen Stacy death scene was done with Mary Jane Watson instead, and had a completely different and unrealistic outcome, its not that no one cared about the scene, it was that the film was so good that we allowed for change. X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine, didn't earn the right to change things, like previous marvel films had, they were just bombs. Hopefully someday FOX will see that.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

And I Thought Twilight Couldn't Get Any Worse....

See these guys? all homoerotic'ed up with their lack of shirts and lack of knowing they look like the cast of a dude on dude porn film?

Apparently they're "The Wolf Pack" in the new Twilight movie "New Moon" and they will apparently appear in the already written and being cast third Twilight film "Eclipse", they are, as you can probably guess, werewolves, because you know how it goes, where vampires go, werewolves apparently half the follow. Yeah, thanks for that underworld... ya friggin jerks.

Anyway I find this hilarious in a way, first apparently we find out that Werewolves are all of native american decent, which, i had no idea, you know with the werewolf myth starting in central europe before we ever knew there was an america and stuff, plus also, they've yet to confirm if they sparkle like vampires apparently do, another thing i'm not really used too.

I just, dunno, its all friggin hilarious to me, its like good lord, can you make this crap any more gay then it already was? Oh yeah, add a pack of shirtless firewater drinking werewolves... who happen to look gay.... yeah good job with that.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Posting issue

fixed the posting comments thing, now anyone can comment, my bad i thought it was default that way...



Monday, April 20, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Xmen Origins: Wolverine:
Or How A Comic Book Film Can Go Completely Wrong,
But I don't learn to Love The Bomb

Its never been a hidden fact that I am a very big comic book fan, and its in that truth that I feel I must also at this time state that though I do love the characters that I love, as any good comic fan does, I am in the minority of fans who enjoy, and in some cases welcome change when a comic is adapted to the movie or television screen, I welcome the idea of improvement or change, I find it refreshing and sometimes enough to bring new life to a forgotten, obscure or not “top level” character, like how the X-Men movies made Bobby “Iceman” Drake and John “Pyro”Allerdyce seem like characters people could actually care about, instead of flat cardboard cut outs doomed to the background role of supporting cast for instance, and sometimes changing a character fails, like in X-Men: The Last Stand, when Jean Grey's Phoenix storyline was relegated to a brief hardly explained subplot that really made no sense at all and kind of made me, and a lot of others from what I gather, angry that the story that drew them into comics as a child was barely a subplot that was tossed in at the last minute believing just because the Phoenix appeared on screen, comic fans would eat it up and cheer. Instead it become an example of how sometimes, these drastic changes are just too much and push the character past re-invention, into the realm of completely mishandled shlock put on screen only to make money off the characters who appear in it, with no regard or thought given to the source material at all. Such is the case with the new film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where I am left to wonder if the writers had any clue of who they were writing or what the story was about. As I said, change in comic book properties can be good, and when they are, normally they are very good, but when they go wrong, they become very bad, and sadly, Wolverine is very bad. So bad infact I kind of wonder if it was made simply to tank the X-Men franchise before Fox Studio's contract to make movies in the series ran out, sort of theatrical sabotage if you will, because there is no logical way I can fathom anyone thinking this film's script was a good idea.

Now, the general idea for many years has been that to properly make a movie about Wolverine, you would have to split it into two films, one telling the story of his childhood in northern British Columbia Canada, and end at the end of his adult life in the logging camps in Manitoba Canada, and the next explaining how he got the metal skeleton and the entire Weapon X saga. Told separately they are both rich and detailed stories that would each bring in a great deal of money at the box office, and they would showcase the rich history of the character and those in his life. However, this new film, does not do this. Infact it really only takes about five persent of the character's history, adds in a lot of characters who were not linked at all, and somehow have changed powers from what they should, and then fills in the rest as they go. The best wording I could use to explain this script is horrible fan-fiction, and I'm talking worse then those Star Wars, Star Trek, The Smurfs, Transformers, Golden Girls, Twilight, Harry Potter, etc, ones where people write themselves or some role playing character they made up for some table top role playing game involving graph paper and 20 sided dice into the story simply so they can save the day and end up in a hot tub in the end with all the female/male characters or both depending on how the writer rolls, sort of Fan-Fiction here, like the kind you would find on the hard drive of someone thats never seen a member of the opposite sex thats not a jpeg or doesn't know of life outside their parent's basement or garage. I'm sure you get the idea now.

The film starts out where it should, in a stately old manor in upper British Columbia Canada, with no statement of how long ago it was, its supposed to be the early 1850s or so, we see a little sickly boy in bed coughing, while an older boy who is carving something with a knife sits near by, the young boy in the bed is James Hewlett, though his last name is never given, he's simply called James, James' father walks in to check on the boy and to thank Victor, the older boy for watching his son, you then hear Victor's father, a man Identified as Thomas Creed outside the door yelling, James' father looks at Victor and says “your father's come looking for you again, he sounds angry and abit on the drunk side” with a sigh, Victor looks at him and says “With all do respect sir, its not my name he's calling out.”. James' father lets out a sigh and says “you stay here with James, I shall handle this..” next you hear some yelling, and shouting, and then a gunshot. Victor looks to the door shocked as James jumps out of bed calling his father's name and then yells horrified to see that his father is shot dead on the sitting room floor. He stands over the body, looking over at his mother, and at Thomas Creed, he lets out a yell, three claws made out of bone rip from the skin of James' forearms, as he runs at Thomas Creed spearing him into the wall killing him, with his last words he tells James that he was his father, not the man he believed to be, he pulls his claws out of Thomas Creed as he dies, and looks at them in horror, his mother, on the floor near by looks at him crying, yelling “What are you? You're a monster! You are not my son, you're a monster!”, James panics, Victor comes running out, says to him that they have to leave because the police will blame them, James agrees and they go running into the woods of northern British Columbia Canada. At one point they stop, Victor tells James that after the revelation that they are brothers, it means they need to stick together, because brothers look out for each other, they both promise to always care for and look after each other, no matter what. The next scene shows them running through a field, and as the camera pans back you see them get older and it transitions into them as they fight side by side in every war there has been sense that time; The American Civil War, World War One, World War Two and The Vietnam War are shown, the first act ends with them in Vietnam decimating a village that was believed to be a hide out for Vietcong, with Victor, killing the rest of their unit after their commanding officer orders them both to stop killing the villagers, they are then put to a firing squad, they both joke about how they'll survive it and how they'll get a laugh out of seeing the faces of the people doing the shooting.

This is the first 15 minutes of the film, its ment to represent a mix of the story “Origin” which tells of Wolverine's childhood and how he ends up with out his family, and some mashed together half mentions that are made by both Wolverine and Victor Creed in passing over the years in the comics. The problem with this is, you can't take a story like Origin, which was a very well written story with a rich cast that all had meaning, cut out half of the cast, change character's names, change the ending, and mash it all down to 7 and a half minutes, its impossible, you can't put somewhere near 300 pages of story into that little of screen time and change it that much, the changes are mostly in the concept of James' paternity, its never really stated if Thomas Logan, the man Thomas Creed is based on, really is James' father, though he is drawn to look exactly like a grown up Wolverine, only taller, and Thomas' son is never actually called Victor, he's simply called “Dog”, that is the only name he answers too, James does kill Thomas after he kills his father, but James' mother does not call her son a monster, she instead cradles Thomas' dead body and then kills herself. Dog is left with a three line scar across his face from James when he killed Thomas, this is simular to the scar sometimes drawn on the face of Victor Creed, who Dog eventually grows up to look like, though its never stated that Dog is infact Victor. After the kills James does escape and goes on to be a logger in the Canadian wilderness instead of fighting in war after war after war until the 1970s, but he leaves with the character of Rose, a redheaded girl who is his tutor and best friend, and eventually becomes his love interest, she's also ment to represent the reason why Wolverine is attracted to the character of Jean Grey in both the X-Men comics, and all the other media as well, I have no idea why she was left out of the film, personally I felt if they wanted to make this more of a “character driven movie” as they stated instead of a “standard comic book movie”, they should have made it about them and how that life ended tragically with Dog returning and killing Rose, causing James to run off into the woods alone to become a wildman or sorts with Dog chasing him, which would be a great segway into another film where they did the whole Weapon X program, where you see how James becomes Wolverine and gains the adamantium skeleton and does all the black ops stuff before his memory is scrambled.

Instead of that, the film splits completely from what we know of the history in the comics and kind of makes up its own story with minimal bits of the comic's history tossed about randomly to fill in the plotholes in this hacked together story. Act Two picks up after they've been shot for disobeying orders in Vietnam, James and Victor are in a cell when they're visited by William Stryker, who some of you might recall as the main villain in X-men 2, he tells them of how he's putting together a team of people just like them, mutants (with attitude!) and he could really use their help. The two smirk at each other, and agree to join his team of mutants (with attitude!) which is called “Team X”. The team consist of James and Victor, John Wraith; a Teleporter, Wade Wilson (deadpool), who should have a healing factor simular to James and Victor, but instead has gained the mutant power of being able to use a sword really good while not shutting up, Agent Zero, who is an asian man with the mutant power to shoot guns really good, instead of being a canadian man with the power to absorb kinetic energy and afew other neat powers like he was ment to be, with the characters of Fred “The Blob” Dukes a character who can absorb and channel any form of energy he is hit with into strength or speed, however the build up of energy leaves him looking morbidly overweight, Blob is the movie replacement of Mastodon, a character who served as the teams “muscle” before his death, and finally Chris “Bolt” Bradley, who can control electrical things with just a thought, he is the movie replacement to Silver Fox, who though in the film, is not officially a member of the team itself, instead she fills the role that Rose would have played had they went the Origin route with the film as I mentioned earlier, in the original material, Dukes and Bradley were never members of Team X, infact, Dukes has always been played as a villain, and until half way through the film is made to appear kind of tall and lanky. Bradley was a last minute script change addition when the writers realized their original casted character, Barnell “Beak” Bohusk, was an anthropomorphic bird-man, not able to control electrical things. If this mix up should have been taken as the film's first nail in the coffin I'm unsure, but I wouldn't be against anyone else stating that fact.

Act Two follows Team X around, as you see them doing all sorts of super secret Black Ops work for the United States Government, though which branch is never actually stated in the film, though assuming they haven't changed it from the comics its a branch of the CIA. The centerpiece of the second act is the team acquiring an asteroid that looks to be made of a silver like metal for Stryker, who seems intent on getting it. The scene is pretty neat as far as action scenes go, though its really just ment to introduce you to each character and show off their powers. I'll admit with the exception of Agent Zero and Wade Wilson's made up abilities and Duke's being skinny they did get the others pretty much right, finally getting Victor Creed's movements which are similar to that of a large wild feline correct, something no other version of the character on film of tv has been able to do, instead going with the sheer size and mental instability of Creed, both of which also are part of the character's personality as well, which I found to be a good touch. After the second act finishes with them in the village where the asteroid that Stryker was looking for is, it shows them terrorizing the village, the act ends with James, now for some unexplained reason being called “Logan”, stops Victor from killing someone who has information on where the villagers hid the Asteroid, he looks around while still holding Victor's hand back from killing the man and decides he's had enough of what they were doing, he then quits the team and leaves them in the jungle.

Act Three begins some time later, James is living in the pacific north west, logging and living with a school teacher, an Indian named Kayla Silver Fox, who is ment to represent the Team X member Silver Fox, who was once in love with Wolverine, its this part of the story where you see how James takes the name Wolverine, its from an old Indian story Silver Fox tells him, which I kind of like better then the real story of how he got the name, being compared to the actual animal. You see James being happy, living a nice solitary life, though he's plagued by nightmares, he wakes up screaming most nights, even popping his claws out and shredding bedsheets. Silver Fox seems to be unscared by these things and infact she encourages him to talk bout what torments him. Next you cut to a carnival in the southern united states, where you see Chris Bradley working as a side show act, apparently this is what he did after eventually following James' lead and leaving Team X. He makes an alright living, and spends his night alone in his trailer, which is completely full of electronic things, which he keeps powered just as a way of using his powers, he hears a knock on the door, he answers it, and its Victor. Bradley knows why he's there, and snarks “I always figured it would be Wade or Zero..” implying he knows that Victor is there to kill him, which he does. Next we jump back to James, who's working at his job as a logger, when he stops and notices two scents he remembers, William Stryker and Agent Zero, who show up to tell James of Bradley's death, and tell him that Victor killed him, and that they believe Victor is going after all of their former team mates, they ask James to come back with them and fight back against Victor, but he refuses. Stryker pleads with him to return, but he refuses, driving off, leaving them behind as he goes back to his work. Hours later he stops dead and starts to sniff the air, he recognizes the scents in the air, he knows that Victor is near by, as is Silver Fox, who is on her way to pick him up, James realizes what this means and runs off into the woods following their scents. You see a short scene where Victor comes out of the woods, cuts the front of Silver Fox's car all to bits and then you see James in the woods as he finds what appears to me her bloody murdered body.

This leads James to track down Victor, who is sitting at a local bar, in a sense waiting for him to find him. This leads to the big fight scene between the two characters, because, well there has to be atleast one. In typical action fight scene fashion with the brutality and the trash talking, Victor, in true villain style says how they both live for the violence and how they aren't that different, you know the standard issue trash talk, nothing all that new, some great moves, but thats about it, in the end Victor says “you can't beat me” and buries James under some logs, then stomping down on James' bone claws breaking them. James next wakes up in hospital operating room as they're about to give time of death, he wakes up in a fury and starts to yell about how he needs to find Victor. The camera pans to the right and you see William Stryker standing there, as he states that he can help James become strong enough to defeat Victor, who Stryker believe has gone completely insane. After a boring and contrived argument, James agrees to go with Stryker, who takes him back to his lab and dubs James “Weapon X” and explains that they're taking part in a program of the same name, he then explains that the asteroid they found earlier in the film allowed them to make a metal called Adamantium, which is stronger then anything on the planet, and then explains that he believes with James' healing ability they believe the metal will bond to his skeleton if pumped into his body.... this is the point of the movie I started to finally realize just how little these writers knew of the characters that they were writing about, and started to wish for the end to come, but it got worse.

Stryker asks James what name he'd like on his new dog tags, James just says “have them say Wolverine.”, and thus the character is named. Next you see the tossed together attempt at explaining how Wolverine's metal skeleton came to be, he almost dies in the tank, but survives and pops out of the tank all naked and roaring with his new metal claws out. I was kind of hoping they'd do some of the actual Weapon X story, and maybe we'd see the classic Weapon X shot of Wolverine wearing that info helmet and stuff thats so iconicly linked to the story of Weapon X and Wolverine himself, you know to maybe save this gamma sized bomb even if just alittle bit by means of giving a little fan pander scene or two, but no, that didn't happen and this bomb couldn't be saved. Oh well...

Next you see Victor, in a high school tracking down a young boy who happens to be Scott Summers, the mutant known as Cyclops, the eye beam shooting leader of The X-Men, he chases Scott down and tranquilizes him, he then radios Stryker saying he's gotten the boy, revealing that the whole thing to get James back into the group was a rouse by both men. Next you see James in Las Vegas where he meets up with now retired John Wraith, who tells him that Team X broke apart not long after he left, he then tells him what they were doing after James left, they went from special ops, to rounding up, and in some cases killing, mutants “They made us hunt and kill our own kind..” Wraith says, he then says that Victor never really recovered from James leaving, and grew more and more unstable, and eventually caused everyone to leave except Agent Zero and Wade Wilson. Wraith then says he doesn't know where they were holding the mutants they were capturing, but he said that Fred Dukes knew, because he was transferred there for a short time, he then states that “retirement wasn't easy on Fred.. he's different”, this is when we first see Fred Dukes as he's known in the comics, very tall and morbidly fat, but fast and strong as anyone. After a pretty funny boxing match in which James calls him “Bub” which Dukes misreads as “Blob” a name he hates being called, Dukes goes into a frenzy and after seeing no matter how hard he hits James, he can't put him down, and a final headbutt with his new metal skull, Dukes tells James where to find the only person to ever escape the holding location, a man named Gambit, and says he will need to help them get inside, given that all Dukes did was supervise transports, with blacked out windows he had no idea where the actual location was.

James and Wraith set off to New Orleans, where they find Remy Lebeau, the man better known as Gambit. Who apparently was able to escape from this holding location because he won his freedom in a card game with the guards. I remember yelling outloud to myself “Gambit's power isn't to be good at poker, thats not a damn power at all”, I guess if I was going to get anything out of this film that was of any worth I'd have to make it myself, You actually meet Gambit in a poker room in New Orleans, where he's playing cards with some guy thats a world poker champion, I can't remember his name cuz well, I could care less about world poker champions, James sits down at the table and after a deep theoretical anti hero to anti hero talk, James explains that he's there, Remy believing he's there to take him back attacks him, apparently not only has he gained the mutant power to play poker really well, but he can also control cards and make them fly in slow motion at people, oh and also his charging things to energy to make them explode powers are there, this ofcourse means they superhero-fu fight now. While this is happening, you see Wraith outside the poker hall in the alley waiting for James, out of the shadows comes Victor who after Wraith holds him off pretty well, is killed by Victor literally holding out his hand where Wraith materializes, which anyone that knows their comic book science nows, that will kill a person, but, just for added effect, and i'd assume so he's not walking around with a dead body on his arm, Victor rips his hand out of Wraith's body, which now slumps to the ground.

James soon gets knocked through a wall into the same alley, and while he's trying to explain to Remy that he needs his help getting inside the location where all the mutants are held, remember that, that was the whole point of this scene right? Just as he's gotten him to believe him, Remy looks up to see Victor, he then believes its a set up again, until he seems James fighting him off, after James and Remy fight off Victor, Remy agrees to take him to the location where all the mutants are being held. The next scene is this kind of stupid wedged in buddy picture scene that falls just shy of a “whats the matter, the fall will probably kill ya..” to fully rip off just about every hallmark from that genre. After going over their plan, where James infiltrates the building, and Remy lands his plane then meets him inside, James then jumps out of Remy's plane, which he apparently won in a poker game, skipping on the water till he hits the shoreline outside the compound, and guess what? SURPRISE!!! Its famed nuclear meltdown site Three Mile Island! Because you know, where else are you going to play Maniac Manson with mutants other then a nuclear reactor thats been dormant sense it had a meltdown. I'm at this point wondering why a super top secret uber black ops holding location doesn't have good enough security to not only notice a small leer jet coming in toward it, and landing on its grounds, but also why it can't detect a lone person literally walking up to his side gate and walking right in almost completely unnoticed, you'd think there would be security or something right? Guess no one thought of that.

The last act, as i'm sure you can guess is the whole big climatic fight, James finds out that Silver Fox is alive, and she was keeping him in check for Stryker until he felt he needed him again, you have another big fight with Victor, and you find out that Silver Fox is only helping Stryker because he's got her young sister, an unnamed mutant who has one of the powers of “The White Queen” Emma Frost (and is billed as her apparently), you find out why Stryker's been playing mutant pokemon (gotta catch'um all!), its to build the perfect mutant. And that mutant is made out of Wade Wilson, the only member of Team X you haven't seen sense the first part of the movie, but now his mouth is sealed shut, this leads to the sarcastic yet horribly timed statement “I guess someone finally shut you up Wade...” (ugh!), also I'm not aware of how the full length sword that comes out of Wade's arm is even possible, I mean its a full size sword, how could it actually fit up his arm? It would need to fit the whole length and that would mean there isn't a bend in it, but he can clearly bend his arm... Thankfully this horrible shlockfest of a movie is almost over, I can't take much more of this, not even Fast and The Furious was this big of a stankbomb. As this fight happens you find out that Stryker's implanted Wade with all of the powers of all the mutants they've come across through the entire film, James' healing, Victor's agility, Wraith's teleportation, Wade's apparent skill to use a sword good, and the eye beams of Scott Summers, who they captured earlier, they don't really show anyone else's powers in the fight. Half way through the fight they end up on time of the big smoke stack on top of Three Mile Island, James falls in, but is grabbed by Victor, who's apparently showed up out of no where, and delivers that horribly bad line that I knew was coming “No one kills you but me..... brother.” I cringed at this, I really did. Following this, they team up and fight the supermutant that used to be Wade Wilson, apparently metal claws can deflect eye beams that are powerful enough to cut through a building as they do earlier in the film, thats some amazing metal, seriously. They end the fight by cutting off Wade's head, and apparently the future plans for Marvel Studios to make that movie about Wade they been talking about for years, oh well, that was 10 years of talk down the drain. As the building is falling around them, Victor looks at James and says “this changes nothing between us, brother.” and runs off.

Next you see Silver Fox freeing the mutants held here, including her sister, who may or may not be a young Emma Frost, among the children that are escaping, comic book fans will recognize Banshee, Quicksilver, Storm, Mastermind, and afew others, non-comic book fans will recognize no one, because they are not comic book fans and wouldn't know who any of those people are. Next you see Stryker, who's frantically packing things so get out of the compound because he knows that James is coming for him, he loads a gun with bullets that are the same metal thats in Wolverine's skeleton, and when told they won't kill him, Stryker says “Its ok, I have a magic bullet, and all I need to do is shoot him in the head and he'll forget everything he's ever known” how this was proven I've got no idea, its never explained. James finally catches up with Stryker outside near the way out of the compound, they have another villain to hero monologue, as you cut between this and the kids getting away, which leads them to the same place where James and Stryker are apparently, this leads to Silver Fox being mortally shot, and James shot down trying to get to her, two shots to the head, and apparently he loses his memory. I still don't know how that works, but i'm kind of wishing I could lose my memory at this point honestly. The children run off after Silver Fox is shot, and end up outside the grounds where Charles Xavier, also known as professor Charles Xavier, found of the X-Men saves them, unknown to anyone else, the movie then cuts back to Gambit coming to get Wolverine, claiming they need to leave before the police get there, Wolverine looks at him and yells “who am I? I don't remember who I am”, Gambit says “your name is logan, and you're a good man..”, they start to run away, Wolverine sees Silver Fox's body, and goes over to her, claiming a vague remembering of the face, but can't recall anything of her, and thats where the film ends.

Now, as I'm sure you can tell that I'm not really a big fan of this film, and I guess maybe my knowledge of comics got in the way, I don't really know, but I can say this, if you are a comic book fan, or were a comic book fan at any time, you'll probably hate the film, even though the action scenes are pretty cool, even the one where Wolverine kills Zero, which was kind of a bland unneeded to be mentioned part of the film, but I guess if you aren't a comic book fan, you could enjoy the film, but otherwise, I'd avoid it, like I said at the start, reinvention is fine, but this just changes everyone so much that its almost as if you're watching a bad attempt at a direct to video action film, and not one of those good ones either, like a seriously bad one. So I guess watch at your own risk, if you're up for watching this.



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Top 30 Movies Of All Time Part 3 of 3


Number 10: Grave Of The Fireflies

Remember what I was saying earlier about how its rare to find a movie that mixes the whole impact of war and innocence of children thing? Well this film doesn't really show the impact during war, this movie focuses on the aftermath of war, as told through the eyes of children. Infact, this one is conciderd by many to be one of the top two anti-war films ever, second only to Schindler's List. Grave Of The Fireflies tells the story of two children, a teenage boy and his younger sister who are left alone after their mother dies in the firebombing of Kobe Japan, their father is away on a ship in the japanese navy and is unable to care for them, and isn't even aware of the horrors that have happened at home. The film shows how the two children go through the city trying to find a new home and food and general survival. Its a tragic story that touches every emotional part of the human condition, and I've honestly not met a person yet that can get to the end of the film and not be effected in some way.

Number 9: Harold and Maude

Suicide is painless as a certain song says, but what they don't mention is, at times, suicide can be funny. Take the case of Harold Chasen, a young man who has an unusual problem. He wants to die, no matter what his family tries, he continues to try and end his own life. He's obsessed with death in general, he drives a hearse and is constantly talking about death and dying. He attends the funeral of a person he's never met before, and thats where he meets Maude. Maude is alot older, infact she'sa survivor of the holocaust, and the movie tells the story of how she changes his life, its probably the best dark comedy ever made, and true to its form it has elements of drama, and it has its hilarious moments, plus, a hearse made out of an old jag xke.. how can you not love that?

Number 8: Killer of Sheep

This is probably the greatest movie you've never seen, its a rare 1977 collection of shorts centered around life in 1977 Watts, a ghetto in Los Angeles involving a man named Stan, who works at a slaughterhouse, the movie just follows around Stan and his friends, kind of showing just your average few days in the ghetto, its a perfect snapshot of ghetto life in the late 1970s. What makes it so interesting too is, really the only professional actor in the film is the man who plays Stan himself, everyone else is either related to or a friend of the director or a member of the staff, and some aren't even that, and are just people that lived in the area at the time. Its amazing how its gone almost completely unnoticed and unseen in most places for its entire life. Which really is a shame. If you can find a copy of it, i totally recommend it.

Number 7: The Birds

Remember how I was talking about Jaws earlier? And how that movie made people afraid of the water and stuff? Well this movie made people jump every time they heard a bird call. Plus, I also wanted atleast one Hitchcock movie on here, and with Psycho and Rear Window being so overdone these days, I figured i would go with The Birds. Most people know the story, one day, the birds of the world decide they're pissed and take out out on the human race, horror ensues, bad stuff happens, and all that. See, what makes this special for me too is, this was the first Hitchcock movie I had ever seen, I remember watching this when I was about 5 years old on a saturday afternoon with my grandfather Luke, who really was the one that got me into movies in the first place, my grandmother telling him not to let me watch stuff like that, and him telling her that it was good for me to see fine film making, because it would make me know early in life whats good and whats not. And well, he was right. So for my grandfather Luke, that is why this is here. I know he's where ever we go when we die watching me write this and is smiling, cuz i've made him proud.

Number 6: The Mighty

This is another of those dead on arrival masterworks like Powder was, though not for the same reason. See, at the time this movie was released one of its stars, Sharon Stone, was still riding the wave from her two sexplotation movies "Sliver" and "Basic Instinct", both huge box office draws that put Sharon into the sexpot category, with comparisons to the likes of Jane Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe, so instead of marketing the film with anyone else who's in it's names, like Meat Loaf or at the time rising star of the X-Files Gillian Anderson, or even the two boys who are the movie's real stars, they felt the need to market it just on her, with no real telling of the story, or mention of the book its based on, none of it. Because of this, The Mighty never really got the spotlight it deserved. The Mighty is the story of two young boys who become friends simply because they live next door, one of the boys, Kevin, suffers from a rare illness called Morquio's syndrome, which leaves him unable to walk with out races and often ill, he is called "freak" by many of the children who know him though he doesn't let it bother him, he tends to not even mention his disability, instead he lets his imagination guide him through life, he believes himself a knight of valor and courage, the other boy is Max, a larger heavy set boy who has a very strong case of dyslexia, though everyone believes him to be stupid, he lives with his grandparents because his father is in prison and his mother is dead, Max is in a sense the squire to Kevin's knight, aiding him in his adventures and generally learning from him. On Christmas Day, Kevin gives Max an empty notebook and when asked what he should do with it, Kevin says to him "Write", Kevin dies that night from his illness, Max withdraws in mourning for his friend and then one day starts to write in the book, he writes of their adventures in Kevin's imagination, and how it changed him, the books final words are the movies final narration So now you have heard the story of Freak the Mighty, who slayed dragons, saved maidens and walked high above the world.". This movie, touches me so deeply, that I have spent 11 years looking for a copy of it, to no avail given its rarity, and I will continue to hunt for it until i find it, for it is just so amazing.

Number 5: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I know this choice might be abit daft to many of you, but hear me out, I wanted to make sure that cult cinema was represented, and what better way to do that, then by the epitome of cult cinema? Now I know alot of people will look at me strange for this, and thats fine, but think about it, this movie, which alot of people might argue isn't that good, has survived at the forefront for 34 years, it is a constant sale in the dvd and cd market still, and every year on Halloween, somewhere in america, and other countries now too, you can find a theater doing a midnight showing where its acted out on stage infront of the screen and you do all the interactive things they tell you to bring with you to the show. Sure its a bad movie, sure its really just a screenwriter's inner struggle with his closeted homosexuality played out on screen in the form of a young couple who get lost one night and happen upon the strangest Halloween party ever, and it changes them forever, but no one cares, because its great fun. No other movie has been able to reach the iconic levels of cult cinema that Rocky Horror has, not its sequel Shock Treatment, hell not even Star Wars or the Star Trek and Lord of the Rings movies have been able to touch it, so sure, maybe some might not see this as one of the best movies of all time, but when you look at the stats, I do, and well its my list so, deal.

Number 4: West Side Story

This is another of those timeless stories that still holds impact, West Side Story at 48 years old is still a major influence to many, oh sure musicals aren't really culturally relevant anymore, and they've all kind of faded to the wayside, atleast the good ones, i refuse to acknowledge those horrible "high school musicial" style ones where they're just singing pop songs instead of ones written for the film and have an actual importance. You can't find a person alive today thats either not seen or heard of atleast one scene from this film, sure, most people remember the hilarious "Everything's Free In America" from the rooftop dance scene or "Keep Cooly Cool Boy" from the build up to the big rumble scene, and ofcourse the beautiful "Maria", but when you think about it, when you sit down and you really watch this film, its truly a work of art, sure its just a 1950s style retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but thats ok, no one is bothered by that, they're more dazzled by the singing and the sets and the fact that 1950s street gangs had this uncanny mastery of traditional and modern dance. Its just such a great film, and such a great way to spend an afternoon really.

Number 3: A Clockwork Orange

I had a hard time deciding between this film and the 1972 version of Last House On The Left to be honest, but in the end, as it tends to do with me, A Clockwork Orange won out. I don't really know why, its a barrage of sex, drugs, cockney rhyming slang, classical music and just enough of the ultra violence to make you slightly worried you someday might die by being beaten to death with a large penis statue. I don't know if its because I, like all of us, are ment to see a part of ourselves in main character Alex DeLarge, not so much the talking in a mix of rhyming slang and russian, or later having a massive fear of Beethoven's music, but the whole completely uninhibited and living outside of the rules of society, well until those rules come down crashing around him and he ends up in jail, its painful to watch the prison scenes, where you see Alex trying to retain his personality and knowledge of self, but is constantly forced to do otherwise, this is what leads him to the experiment which he partakes in as a way of getting a shorter sentence, atleast in my belief. I love how the film leaves you wondering if Alex really was cured, or if in his mind he just replaced one predeterminate desire with another.

Number 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey

What I have always loved about 2001 is that its a film you either love, hate, or just don't get. Oh sure, its alot of stuff floating around in space to classical music, but what you need to understand as a key part of understanding this film, the entire movie is a metaphor for the human race. The apes represent our early years as a creature, where we learned to think and build, and protect and hunt, and how we learned to fight for territory just like any other creature on the planet, the next part is ment to represent our reaching the stars and creation of computers and how advanced they become, and how if we aren't careful, that technical advancement will be our downfall, and the rest of the film is ment to represent thousands of years in the future when we've left the confines of earth and her moon far behind and are out exploding the infinite beyond, discovering new things and new creatures and all of that. It took me about 12 times through to fully get the film personally, so if it doesn't make sense to you don't feel bad,I sometimes wonder if Kubrick intended the film to be that way.

And finally my number one movie of all time...

Number 1: Seven Samurai

This is it, the number one film of all time according to me, and what a film it is, this is so powerful and so influential, and just a beauty to see. Sure, call me a Kurosawa fanboy if you want, I don't really care, I just love this film, I will sit here and watch it over and over and over and never tire of it. Plus, you can't deny the importance of a film that has been remade over 30 times in every language there is, most notedly america's wild west epic "The Magnificent Seven", one of the few western's I can personally sit through, as well as the anime series Samurai 7. You can not deny this film its rights when you look at the legacy it leaves behind, no doubt in my mind. The film itself is a great story as well, the tail of an older samurai who is asked to defend a poor Japanese village from bandits, he agrees to do so and goes about gathering 6 samurai to aid him in defending the village, each with their own special talent which will be needed, the film follows their story as they prepare for battle as well as showing the villagers that not all samurai in japan are corrupt and only out for money now, some still fight for the honor of their country and themselves, it follows them to the very end of the battle with the bandits, and in the end, leaves you wondering just why these men did what they did for these people. Such a masterpeace, and so important to me, and to the world of film, if you haven't ever seen this, I urge you, please, please find a copy of it and watch it, you will not be sorry.

Well thats my list of the top 30 films of all time, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed writing it, I have afew runners up, but I think i'll just keep those to myself for now... after all, a true film lover's list of the greatest of all time is constantly changing. :)



Monday, April 13, 2009

My Top 30 Movies Of All Time Part 2 of 3


Number 20: Häxan

Some debate if this Denmark/Sweden made documentary was the first non-short attempt at horror, given that alot of the re-enacted scenes are on so graphicly violent that it would seem harsh even by today's standards. It does however have the honor of being the first film to be heavily censored, though shown in its untouched glory in both Sweden and Denmark, most counties edited the film do to graphic depictions of violence, sex and "unholy acts", and infact it was the first film to be banned in the United States. Infact the complete unedited version of the film was never seen outside of Sweden and Denmark until the recorded dvd release in 2001, 79 years after it was originally created. The film's english translation is "The Witches" or sometimes called "Witchcraft Through The Ages" and tells of how cultural and medical misunderstandings of both sickness and mental illness and false information and the paranoia that comes with miseducation or lack of on these matters can spread into witch hunts, much like those which swept Europe and most notatedly Salem Massachusetts in America in the 1600s. The film re-enacts alot of what it talks about, showing the real and the false depictions of what witches really do, setting both both sides of the argument out on the table for the viewer to choose which they believe, as a good documentary should, sure alot of its information is outdated now and deemed misinformation or propaganda believed to be truth do to saturation, which isn't uncommon in pre-World War 2 Europe when the church pretty much dictated things, but still, with all of that, there is sort of this eerie but beautiful feel to the film. I love that about it.

Number 19: Rashomon

Rashomon is the first of two films by the great Akira Kurosawa on my list, and though its kind of film school basics to admit the greatness of Kurosawa and how he's influenced everything from Star Wars to the Westerns that were so prevalent in american culture in the 1950s and 1960s, most people dismiss Rashomon as one of his greatest works, but I guess thats alright, I mean how can you seriously pick a masterpiece among masterpieces? Thats like putting two gold bricks together and saying to pick which one is more gold. Rashomon tells the story of the murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife, told through four different perspectives, The Man accused or raping the samurai's wife, the samurai's wife, the woodsman that found the Samurai's body, and through a medium, The Samurai himself. It might seem like a classic film nior style film, and in its own way it basically is, just asian'ed up, time displaced and abit of sci fi added. But there is just something about it, i love the way its shot and how its written and acted, Kurosawa was a genius thats of no dispute, and it is such a joy to watch his visions come to life, its almost religious in a way for me.

Number 18: Vanishing Point

If you haven't realized this by now, I do have a special love for the Grindhouse era of movies, and if you hadn't, well you know now. One of the best of those types of films is Vanishing Point, a film that is so iconic that to this day, its ending is still debated and theorized on, it was just the perfect blend of late 1960s American art house counterculture and the underlying need to be free and to rise above all that can go wrong in life. Vanishing Point actually starts 2 minutes before the end of the film, and then goes backwards telling the story of a man named Kowalski, who literally has lost everything in his life, but he's not given up. He works as a car delivery man, the movie tells the story of how he's paid to transport a white 1970 Dodge Challanger that has been modified into a street legal race car, he has to transport it from Denver Colorado, to San Fransisco California in three days, but he makes a bet along the way that he can get it there by a certain time the next day. This bet, is how Kowalski gets on the radar of the police, who chase him through the entire film, as he tries to get to San Fransisco before the deadline of his bet. As the film goes on, you see Kowalski flash back and you find out how he's lost everything, and ended up where he is now, and how all of whom he meets he leaves impression on, all the way to the point where the movie begins, and then leaves you sitting in your set wondering what the hell has just happened. Its truly a work of art, that gives you an almost perfect snapshot of 1971 American counterculture and how it spread across the country. If you go looking, don't get the 90s remake, its complete crap.

Number 17: No Country For Old Men

Every now and then in modern hollywood, you will come across a movie that literally hits you upside the head with just how good modern storytelling can be, its kind of like looking for gold in a river of mud, but you do find some every now and then. No Country For Old Men was one of those movies. Its dark and gritty and it stands true to what its tag line says, there are no clean getaways. From the story it tells of a deadly game of hide and seek that is played out in a boarder town on the Texas/Mexico line, where a Vietnam veteran who happens across a drug deal gone bad, finding all those involved dead and the drugs and money still there, he takes the money and some of the guns, and heads off, feeling uneasy about it hours later he returns to investigate, he finds the drugs and the bodies gone and discovers some people there looking at the area, he avoids them but they get his truck's plate numbers, this leads him into the path of possibly the greatest movie villain sense Hannibal Lector, a hitman by the name of Anton Chugar (said "sugar"), who is also being tracked by a sheriff who knows both of them. The movie is brilliant in the fact that at no time, are the three main characters ever on the screen at the same time, nor do they ever actually meet face to face, making you wonder just who is really hunting who. The ending is one of those hit you in the jaw kind of endings, where you find out that sometimes, things just end, no happy ending, no sad ending, none of that, just an ending. Plus Javier Bardem is just friggin amazing.

Number 16: Lord of The Flies

Lord of the flies is an amazingly complex movie for something that was made so simplistically, most of the film's dialog was improvised on the spot, with all the stars having never read the book, given that it wasn't really age appropriate for them, they were given an explanation of the scene, and then let loose, thats pretty amazing for movie that stars a bunch of kids. For those that don't know, the story of Lord of The Flies is the tale of the power struggle tht goes on among a group of boys who survived a plane crash on a remote island in the pacific ocean. It tells how they are almost constantly fighting for control and are all leery of each other, it teaches us that no matter what, we will always give into our darker urges and ideas. Its scary in just real it all seems, its truly a beautiful bit of work.

Number 15: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

there are alot of movies that tell you about the horrors of war, and the innocence of children, but not many have ever really told you about the horrors of war through the eyes of innocent children. The film tells the story of two young boys, who become the best of friends, even though there is a fence between them. That fence was the razorwire, see, one of the boys is the son of a high ranking Nazi who runs a concentration camp, and the other is a jewish boy who's imprisoned inside. You find that the boys don't really understand the world around them, even though it is surrounding them, all they know is the childish innocence that we all wish we could continue to have as we get older. Its a beautiful film that makes me cry when I watch it.

Number 14: David and Lisa

Alot of the time, the best movies tend to be ones that get overshadowed or forgotten by about 98% of the world, such is the case with 1962's David and Lisa, an unconventional love story about two very unconventional people, by unconventional i mean they're both mentally ill, I always love when i find a movie from so long ago that actually deals with mental illness right, its so rare, but its also very refreshing, plus you find yourself starting to love the cast, because they're just so great in their roles. Here is the basic plot, David Clemens is brought to a residential treatment center by his apparently caring mother. He becomes very upset when one of the inmates brushes his hand, as he believes touches can kill him. Cold and distant, he mainly concentrates on his studies, especially that of clocks, which he appears to be obsessed with. We later learn that he has a recurring dream in which he murders people by means of a giant clock. He meets Lisa Brandt, a girl who has two personalities: one of them, Lisa, can only speak in rhymes, while the other, Muriel, cannot speak, but only write. David befriends her by talking to her in rhymes. Following an argument with his mother when she comes to visit him, his parents decide he should leave the place. After staying at their house for a short time, David runs away and goes back to the residential treatment center, where he is allowed to stay. He has a small argument with Lisa, and she takes the train to the city, unnoticed by anyone, David braves his illness and goes out to find her on his own, knowing exactly where she would be, and the ending is a happy one. So beautifully done and acted, I just love this film to death.

Number 13: Female Prisoner 701 Scorpion

I know afew people might be abit confused as to why I picked a Japanese woman in prison movie as one of my greatest of all time, but its simple, I find this to be the greatest of that entire genre, as well as the fact I wanted to have the great Mieko Kaji on here somewhere, mostly because I love her ever so much. So yeah, call me whatever you like for having a selfish moment.. hehe. Anyway, for those of you that haven't ever seen the film or the other three films in the series, Meiko plays a woman named Nami who was set up for a crime by the man she loves, who just happens to be a detective in the local police force, he did it to gain a spot in the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The story is how Nami fights her way to freedom out of a corrupt prison full of violent women and sadistic and lecherous guards, to finally take revenge on her former lover and those who made him put her away. To some it might not seem that special of a movie, but for me, it just is, plus, the image of Mieko in the long coat and hat at the end of the film is one of the more iconic images in asian cinema, so thats an added plus.

Number 12: Jaws

Now personally, I liked Orca alot better, but as far as importance and impact, you don't get much better then the movie that made an entire world scared to go in the water for upwards of over a year. This about that for just a moment, an entire world in the middle of a sweltering 1975 summer were literally scared to go in the water, all because of a movie, some are still scared because of it. Can you grasp the level of impact that is? We all know the story, Jaws is a great white shark who runs ruckshot over the beaches of Amity Island, a small summer resort town in the middle of its busiest time of the year, its up to the local sheriff, his deputy and a marine biologist to put a stop to the shark's rampage. Its just so iconic, and is seen as the first "summer blockbuster" movie in history, given how it just printed money in its time. There is just so much right with the film, how you hardly ever see Jaws, thus proving the concept that what you can't see is more scary then what you can, and plus, how can think of this film with out saying "we need a bigger boat" atleast once?

Number 11: Powder

Now, before I get into this, I need to state something, for me personally, what an actor or director does in their personal life, no matter how bad it is, doesn't effect their art for me. See, alot of people dismiss Powder for the masterpiece it is because its director went to jail for molesting a 12 year old boy on the set of an earlier movie. A masterpiece is a masterpiece, its like how people buy art made by serial killers and hang it in galleries, art is art, it doesn't matter who made it, with that said, again, I state Powder was given a death sentence by most over this fact, and thats just not fair, its a beautiful film and I refuse to let it fall to the wayside like most (Robert Ebert you fat pug faced jerk thats for you). What Powder is about, is how we, as a people, do not really understand or feel comfortable with those that are truly different. We like to believe that we're evolved and understand our surroundings, but really we don't. we convince ourselves we do just because we feel we need too. The film begins with the discovery of Jeremy Reed, later called "Powder", living in the basement of his grandparent's home, his grandfather is dead on the floor upstairs, you later find out Jeremy was trying to save him but couldn't. Jeremy is, well, different, he is an albino who has a beyond measurable IQ and is completely hairless and has this strange reaction to electrical equipment whenever he is near it. He claims he wants to just be left alone in his home, but given the fact he's 16 he's not allowed too do so, he forms a relationship with both the local sheriff and a state social worker who both are amazed at him, the film follows how Jeremy learns to interact with those around him, the other boys at the home where he's placed who mistreat him because he's different then them and that scares them, with a local girl named Lindsey whom he opens up too the most and its implied the two of them fall in love, even though her father demands she no longer see him, through all of this, and the testing done on Jeremy, all he wants is to be left alone and just left in peace, and ofcourse given human nature no one will let him do that. Its kind of based on the theory that if we were to be given actual proof of life on other worlds, or even proof of angels and demons, we would attempt to destroy it while trying to prove with science what we see with our eyes. Most people remember the scene simply called "the hunting scene" or "the deer scene", if you youtube it, its a scene where Jeremy grabs the deputy who's just shot a deer, and while holding the deer's neck and the Deputy's arm, forces him to feel all the pain and things the deer is feeling as it dies. Such a beautiful film that doesn't deserve its death sentence. Also, it was remade as a more successful bollywood film called "Alag" which is very good as well.




Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Top 30 Movies Of All Time Part 1 of 3

I was recently asked by a friend to come up with what I saw as the 30 best movies of all time, now normally i suck at doing lists of this nature, but seeing as I work in film, I had no real choice but to do as asked of me, so here we go, this is my list of what I see as the top 30 movies of all time.

Number 30: Watership Down

when I was a child I saw this movie for the first time, and I have to tell you it scared the crap out of me. See, Watership Down is a kids movie, from an era when they weren't really all that worried about the "mental trauma" that dark and violent images put on screen animated or not, would really do to kids, now that might seem horrific by today's standards, in the late 1970s it wasn't an issue. Which is good, because I gotta tell you, this movie might be about cute fuzzy rabbits all living in a field in England, but a cute and fuzzy tale this is NOT. With out going too much into detail its a dark and at times frightening allegory for human society as told through the world of rabbits. Its dark and haunting and just insanely brilliant. Its based on the book of the same name, and though there are some key changes, they aren't enough to really make the movie unwatchable, infact if anything they make the story more robust and meaningful, even if somewhere in the area of 5 rabbits were dropped from the film adaption. There is also a very rare canadian made animated series that was based on this, it took elements of the book and the movie and fused them all together, and is truly as dark as one can get with out making it horror.

Number 29: It Happened Here

Loosely based on the book "The Man In The High Castle", this 1966 British film which holds the record for the longest production in history (taking 8 years to make). It tells what would happen if we had lost World War 2. Its a tale of how England, and by proxy the world, were betrayed by the British Nazi sympathizers which, well, judging by the outcry of the people of england at the time of the film's release, were still a pretty dark and forgotten part of their past. Kind of like this film in alot of ways, its only real mention in a vague reference in "A Day In The Life" by The Beatles. Given the nature of how the film progresses and the matter of it in general, the whole underground working with the enemy to instill their being able to rule things for them after they take over, that whole thing, it didn't sit well with the people of the world, and among the many controverial films of that time period, "It Happened Here" was saddly and quietly pushed into a dark little corner and forgotten about by most. Which is a shame, its lack of any actual actors, aside from Sebastian Shaw (who later played a young Anakin Skywalker in the original Star Wars Trilogy) and Reginald Marsh (who was well known for many of his television teledrams and sci fi work), makes the film have a sort of film school feel to it, its truly a forgotten gem that should be brought back to life.

Number 28: Doctor Strangelove

In the 1960s Cinema kind of went through this world wide artistic revolution, you had the foundations of modern film making starting to rise up from the teachings of the masters of the golden age, it was a beautiful thing. When it comes down to the argument of the greatest of that era though, many names come up, one of the strong contenders for the title has always been the brilliantly comical cold war allegory "Doctor Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb", a brilliant dark comedy about how the world is always on the every edge for nuclear holocaust, now this probably doesn't found like the kind of thing one should laugh at really, but you need to understand that time of the world, the second world war is far in the rearview mirror, and communism spreading like a rampant paranoia agent across the country, it was the perfect time. It also helps that this movie perfectly showcased Peter Sellers genius, and also made anyone thats ever seen it wanna ride an atomic bomb. Just amazing.

Number 27: Thriller: A Cruel Picture

I should warn you readers now, if you are offended by movies that have unsettlingly graphic violence or brief unsimulated sexual imagery (I'll explain in a minute), then please don't go and find this film, yes its one of the best I've ever seen, but well some just can't get past just how dark it is. See, Thriller falls into two catagories; Sexplotation and Revenge, both staples of the Grindhouse era of movies. What makes it stand out though, is the fact that Thriller basically punches you in the face from start to end, it starts with a young beautiful girl named Frigga/Madeleine, she was raped as a child, which leaves her traumatized and mute. She ends up with a man who gets her addicted to heroin, and then later forces her to prostitute for him, she at one point refuses a client and is stabbed in the eye for it. From this point she snaps inside, she starts to stockpile money, learning how to drive for herself and how to properly shoot the guns she's buying unknown to her pimp, once she feels she's ready, she starts to hunt down and kill every man who's ever harmed her. She leaves a bloody trail all the way to the men that raped her when she was younger. This movie is the main inspiration for the movie Kill Bill, and has never really seen a proper release here in many countries given that the sex scenes are not simulated as in most movies, though a body double was used for the few on screen genitalia images, film people still argue if the movie actually crosses the line into pornography, much like brilliant and important movies David and Lisa, I'm Curious (blue/Yellow), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Baise-Moi and Shortbus, so the debate goes on, personally, I don't care, brilliant, even if dark and twisted is brilliant still, just ben an adult about it.. lol

Number 26: Carnival of Souls

There are plenty of movies that one could argue define horror, infact there are three others on this list, but for me, the definite of old hollywood horrors hs to be Carnival of Souls. There is just something magical about it, how it was filmed, how it was acted, how it was written, all of it, down to every detail makes this a classic for me, every shot could be seen as a picture, and i love that. Sure the plot is abit on the spooky side, an organist survives a car crash that kills her friends, she becomes emotionally and mentally distant to the world and only shows emotion to her organ. Her depression and loneliness drive her to slowly crack and she finally does, outside of Salt Lake City where she becomes entangled with a mysterious Carnival set up on the banks of a river long outside of town which speeds her decent into madness, and eventually gives you the twist ending that knocks you for a loop if you don't see it coming. Oh sure, by today's standards it might not be much, but the twist ending of this film inspired directors like Hitchcock among others to do it too, all the way up to today with directors like M. Knight Shamalah and Steven Black to name afew. Also, if you can, forget the remake in 1998, it was a horrible film and should be forgotten.

Number 25: Five Came Back

I've always loved the old hollywood style, the big lavish productions, the whole feel of it, that magic that any dream or story can become reality, its just such a lovely thing, and is why I became a movie critic infact. One of the films I feel defines that concept best, is 1939's Five Came Back. This film, a disaster film before there was such a term, is possibly one of the greatest studies in human culture and behavior, atleast in context of being played out as a story. A small plane clashes over the Amazon Jungle during a powerful storm, its knocked so far off its target path there is no real chance of a rescue plane finding them, the only option is to repair the engines and get it in the air, while the two surviving members of the flight crew do that, the passengers clear a runway for the plane. Its in doing this that you learn each of them and their backstories, each different and from different walks of life. Judson and Alice, the rich couple eloping because their families don't approve of their love, Henry and Martha, an older couple who seem to be slowly distancing themselves from each other, Pete, the mob gunman who's escorting Timmy, the son of his boss on the flight, Peggy, a "woman of ill repute" (played by a very young Lucille Ball), Vasquez the anarchist and Mr. Crimp, his jailer. With Bill and Joe, the surviving members of the flight crew, this makes 11 total. As the film goes along, you see each of them change in some dramatic ways, some are killed by villagers, villagers who in the end cause an oil leak that will cause the plane to only fly on one engine a short time after it gets in the air, this means that only 5 of them will be able to make it out alive, the rest will be left to die. Truly a beautiful film, plus, it was the inspiration for the 1967 episode of Star Trek "The Galileo Seven", which is, pretty cool i think.

Number 24: And Soon The Darkness

I've always loved a good mental thriller, just something about them I just love, And Soon The Darkness is probably one of the best films that optimizes the genre, its a nice pre-slasher horror film that leaves you guessing till the very end as to the real evil in the film. Its about two british girls biking across France for a summer, and how one day, it all comes crashing down around them in the most horrible way. The poster as you can see makes reference to it being hitchcock like in its delivery, and I gotta say thats not too far off, sure its not on part with most of hitchcock's work, but, well, it doesn't need to be, I love it all the same, I find myself just being drawn into the world the film creates and feeling actual fear and panic, and I just love that, remember thats the goal of a movie, to draw you into the story and make you feel apart of it.

Number 23: if....

As you can probably tell by now, I am a fan of the more expressive and not cookie cutter style of film making, I love brash in your face films which leave a mark on you that stays there your whole life, and stay, to some extent culturally relevant in some way for all of time. The brilliant "If...." is one of those films. It takes place in a british boarding school and deals with the hierarchy of the student body and the social order. The film is infact a 1960s radical allegory for life in the United Kingdom, with the higher level students taking the place of the aristocracy and royal family, and the lower level students taking the role of the working class it shows how the two upper level classes treat the lower level students like slaves, or any other term for unpaid servents. What makes this so interesting is, depending on the boarding school to this day these traditions still live on in the UK. Anyway, the movie follows around a group of underclassmen, or "Scum" as they're called by the upperclassmen who are given police like rule over the student body going by the rules of the school, after what seems like a constant unyielding amount of abuse and humiliation; canings for talking back, and at one point one of the upperclassmen demanding one of the main characters warm a toilet seat for him before he sit on it, the main characters can't take it anymore, and decide to rebel, and they do, in a very violent and chaotic way, which, is very relevant in its own way, you'll understand if you see the film, I'm trying to not give away to much of the plot, its really something you have to see to understand.

Number 22: Wings of Desire

Even though its a German film, and I'm not exactly a fan of German films, I can not help but love Wings of Desire. Wings of Desire is one of those films that when you see it, you know you've seen the tragically beautiful. Because it asks the question that kind of burns inside us all, if we had too, would we choose to give up everything for love. Wings of Desire, much like its later remake City of Angels, follows the story of an angel who falls in love with a human and has to decide, does he want to continue to live forever as an invisible observer of humans and their world, or does he want to give it up and become one, in a way its kind of the choice we all make in life, do we live to live, every day unseen and unnoticed, or do we put our faith in love and truly become extraordinary? Wings of Desire differs from its american remake in the fact that it doesn't have the same ending, where city of angels condensed Wings Of Desire and its sequel Farway So Close! into one film, Wings takes its time and doesn't rush things, and truly makes you believe there are angels among us, even for those who don't believe in such things. Just beautiful.

Number 21: Picnic At Hanging Rock

Picnic At Hanging Rock was one of the first films made by Australian film makers to garner any international attention, and for me its probably one of the best of the early Aussie film ventures, save for afew detective tv shows they had in the 60s, but thats a whole other matter. Picnic At Hanging Rock is a mystery set at the end of the Victorian era at a girl's finishing school Hanging Rock in Victoria Australia, the students take a valentine's day picnic out to hanging rock to enjoy the outdoors, as their picnic goes on, four of the girls and one of the teachers disappear, never to be seen again. The film follows the investigation of what could have happened and the impact it has on those at the school and surrounding area, its a great little murder mystery that leaves you stunned and confused and wondering what the hell has happened at the very end, like a true open ended movie should. Its so beautifully filmed and acted that I just had to add it to my list.