Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#22 - Grindhouse Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (2007)

Sorry for the delay, I got caught up this past weekend doing nothing and loving it so I missed a couple of days and apparently there are people that have been waiting for this, so that makes me happy and I'll try my hardest to keep up with this now more than I have in the past. With that out of the way let's start.

This movie was the best, the best!, movie going experience I have ever had. As a young person I had missed the good old days of going to the movies and seeing multiple movies in one day and experiencing the real type of grind house movies. There was no place like that around me and going to the movies as a child as a once every couple of months sort of thing. So when I heard that this project was coming together I couldn't wait to see the end result.

So after months of this movie being hyped by the studio, the directors, the actors, and mostly by myself I couldn't fucking wait to see it, the more I heard about it the more I wanted and couldn't wait. Opening day comes and I go see it in a packed theater with a couple of friends and to say I fucking loved it was an understatement. I was in love with the concept, it was so kick ass and it was the best time I had seeing a movie. EVER.

I saw this movie three, THREE!, weekends in a row. Each time with a different set of friends. I enjoyed it that much. I loved Rodriguez's take on zombies, it was unconventional but still awesome. The cast was great and the gritty, dirty, layer of it was just awesome. The action was great and for a movie with a chick that had a machine gun for a leg it had a lot of heart and a bunch of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Planet Terror was a great opener, and there was so much more left to see.

The trailers were so great and so funny. Machete was a blast (I can't wait to see the full length movie coming out later this year), Werewolf Women of the S.S. was weird, but cool, the Nic Cage cameo was fantastic. The Edgar Wright trailer was hysterical. And what can I say about Thanksgiving that hasn't been said by everyone who saw the movie.

Death Proof was everything I loved about Tarantino and more. This is where a lot of people are split on the film but I just fucking loved it. Tarantino shone brightly during his half. All the scenes with the girls talking were classic Tarantino and as of huge fan of writing, and writing in general, I just ate it up. The scene where Stuntman Mike kills the first set of girls was my favorite scene of any movie I saw that year. The repeating of it and watching how each girl died was fucking brutal and dirty. The second half had one of, if not the best car chase scene in the history of film. It was so exciting and terrifying and adrenaline filled. I was on the edge of my seat the entire fucking time. Nerve wracking is putting it lightly. And the ending was surprising but still satisfying.

The music in this movie was just great. I loved the main theme of Grindhouse and I loved how you heard it all throughout Rodriguez's half of the film. He can make a great score, Sin City being another great example. Tarantino's half was filled with great music and like all his others there was a bunch of stuff I never heard but liked immediately and fit the movie so well.

I loved the whole presentation of film as a whole though I have to say that being the Tarantino fanboy that I am I loved Death Proof a whole lot more. Mostly because it was like watching 2 different movies within the one.

It was because of this film that I got to meet my favorite director. I was coming home from college for spring break and I had read online that Tarantino and Rodriguez were doing a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in NYC. I had to fucking go, I had to, if I didn't I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. The signing was the next day at noon. I got home the day before around 9 at night, I couldn't sleep, nothing new, and ended up falling asleep after 3am, I woke up at 430am to get ready to catch a 5am train to get to the city by 6am. I was the first one online and I got to meet and shake hands with not only Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez but also Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowen. I missed out on Rosario Dawson because she got in late. But I didn't care. I got the Grindhouse book signed by all four of them and it was amazing. There's even a youtube video of it here.

So that's that. Thanks for reading, comment if you like. Shout out to my friend Max for posting comments I appreciate it, and I'll try to be back tomorrow with #21.

Friday, June 11, 2010

#23 - Clerks Directed by Kevin Smith (1994)

I think that I'll forever be a Kevin Smith fan. He's directed some of my favorite movies, some of the funniest, and he's written really great comics as well. I have to thank him for actually getting me into comics, but that's a story (blog post) for another time.

Kevin Smith was a big part of my life in high school. One of my friends introduced me to his films and I fucking fell in love. They were dirty and disgusting and hysterical and heartwarming. They examined relationships and friendships to see what they truly were. And they were and still are funny. I probably reference this movie a lot more than I realize, hell, probably all of Smith's movies.

But I'll be honest with you, Clerks wasn't always my favorite of his films. It's great but for the longest time Mallrats was my favorite. And Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the one I watched the most on a repeated basis. It wasn't until I saw Clerks 2 did I realize how much I actually loved the original Clerks.

Seeing Clerks after graduating college and working a job that most of the time I didn't like really hit home. I was directionless and all I did was work, sleep, and hang out with my friends. So going through that time period after college and not knowing what the fuck I was doing and trying to figure that out I identified with the characters in Clerks more. Especially 10 years later and seeing Clerks 2 and knowing that sometimes good things happen and they happen for a reason.

Also the story that comes along with the making of this movie is truly great. Huge film fan sells his comics to make money to make a movie. If that's not dedication to the art form than I don't know what is. Because it's really inspiring to see someone dedicate themselves to something so much that they're willing to do anything to see it through. It's amazing. And one of the many reasons I love this movie.

Tune in tomorrow for #22 which I'm real excited to write about.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

#24 - Adaptation. Directed by Spike Jonze (2002)

Here is number 24 on the list. Adaptation. Brilliantly directed by Spike Jonze from a beautiful and amazing screenplay from Charlie Kaufman. This film was my introduction to the world of Charlie Kaufman and boy was it just great.

I first saw this film in college in one of my English courses. We watched it and then we talked about. We talked about it to death. This was one of the first times in life where talking about a film went past that scene was awesome, that scene sucked, I liked when they did that, I didn't like when they did that. We broke this movie down to it's core. We broke down everything, from Donald's screenplay "The 3" to when they talk about the ouroboros. I've never done that in my life with a movie. And it was a blast and an eye opening experience because I now saw film with a different eye. Now I'm not saying that all films need to be analyzed and broken down but if you've ever seen a Kaufman movie you know those need too be.

I love talking about this movie. This is probably one movie that I've talked about more than any other. And besides breaking it down and doing all that I found it to be a sweet film about 2 brothers. The acting was all around top notch, all the main actors got nominated for Oscars and Chris Cooper was the only one to win it. I loved Nic Cage in this movie. I know in recent years he's become a parody of himself but I just really enjoyed his 2 performances, it was great to see him play off himself and argue with himself in a scene. (I haven't seen much of Nic Cage recently but I loved him in Kick-Ass.)

What else can I say but thank you to my professor who decided to show this film in class and thank you for introducing me to Charlie Kaufman. He's become one of my favorite writers in film and I've seen all his movies except one, his directorial debut is a fucked up masterpiece of film that doesn't get enough credit.(Synecdoche, New York.) But I'm looking forward to seeing more of his films. Spike Jonze also deserves a lot of credit for making this movie just fantastic. I just wish he would direct more movies because I loved Where the Wild Things Are.

Thanks for reading, comment if you like and I'll be back tomorrow with #23.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#25 - The Thing Directed by John Carpenter (1982)

Deciding on my last favorite movie was a struggle because I needed a 25th director. Originally I ended up picking American Beauty by Sam Mendes as my 25th favorite film, but to be honest with myself and you fellow reader, I was kinda pulling that out of my ass. Don't get me wrong I loved American Beauty, but I haven't seen it in a few years, and I feel that I should be picking movies I watch multiple times since they've come out. So I was struggling with this choice and then out of nowhere it hit me and made perfect sense. John Carpenter's The Thing.

I fucking love this movie. From the first time I've seen it to the many times I've seen it since. I don't know why, but I love movies that take place in the cold, in the snow, because to have it constantly snowing and cold this place has to be pretty remote and isolated and that so much more tension to a horror film because just like space horror films, there is no one that is going to come to your rescue.

There are many things to like about this film and I'll mention as many as I can. The atmosphere of the film. The opening credits that pay homage to the first film version of the story of The Thing, filmed in the 1950s, which was actually a pretty good movie. Kurt Russell is fucking badass as MacReady. Hell, I enjoy everyone that was cast in this film. It's a great ensemble of "I've seen that guy before" and they all work well with each other, feeding off their paranoia and the increasing tension of knowing that something is going and and if we don't figure it out soon, some bad shit is going to happen.

One of my favorite things about this film is that you never seen the monster in it's true form. It's always some half way there mutation combined with the replication of someone in the group or a dog. And boy is it fucking nasty. The special effects still hold up to this day and and honestly, as a fan of makeup and masks it warms my heart that someone can make me sick and disgusted like that with something real that was physically on set with the actors, than relying on something made on a computer.

This movie is awesome and if I remembered it sooner it probably would have been up higher, but honestly, with the exception of the #1 position the movies are in no specific order.

The poster I used up top was made Tyler Stout check out his website and he has a lot of awesome drawings. Tomorrow I'll post #24.

Top 25 Favorite Movies

One of the things I do and have always done whenever I was in a classroom and trying to stay awake was to make a lists. Lists of anything from trying to come up with a least one band for every letter of the alphabet or what the current line up for all the Avengers books were at that time. I guess I bore easy but entertain myself even easier. I remember being obsessed with Guitar Hero II and trying to make a list of not only all the songs in the game and what band played them, but what order they were in the game. That was always a challenge but it was fun for some weird reason.

So, a month or so ago I was still in school and I was extremely bored. So I decided to make a list. No surprise here on what kind of list I made. I made a list of my favorite movies. I think that it's a decent list and very representative of myself and my tastes. The only reason that I didn't make this my top 25 movies of all time is because it's not. The first thing I said to myself before making the list was that I was going to limit myself to one (1!) film per director. So it was more challenging of a list to make, in deciding what one film by a director I would pick and hoping that I had enough of a diverse taste in film that I could make a list of my favorite films that were directed by 25 different directors. I succeeded. (I kinda cheated on one, you'll see.) I made this rule for myself because the top ten would have been all Kubrick and Tarantino.

If you know me and we've talked film it will come to no surprise as to what my favorite movie is. I think it's cliched, but I don't give a fuck. I'll explain why I love that certain movie so much. If you want to cheat you can take a look at the list because I posted it on Facebook and I started a thread about it on the Bendis Board. Also, I was featured in a guest spot on a friend's podcast called The Sarcastic Voyage as part of a segment called ClusterFlonk. There's a long explanation to all that, suffice it enough to say that I was asked what my favorite movie was and we talk about that. Click here if you want to listen to the podcast. It's a great show and very funny, if you like it check out other episodes.

So after all that, later today I'll post the first, or twenty-fifth favorite of my favorite films. And go backwards from there. Hope you like it and feel free to leave comments.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Why I Hated Iron Man 2.

Iron Man 2 hit the theaters this past month and it was a huge success. People loved it, comic nerds and the general public alike. It deserves its success. Everyone that had a hand in making the film should be proud of themselves. It was fucking epic, having said that, I did not like this film.

Did I hate it? No I didn’t, that just a way to get you to read this blog post. But I didn’t love it and was extremely disappointed with it. And I’ll get to my reasons. I just want to make clear that I’m not going to bitch about Terrence Howard being replaced by Don Cheadle as Rhodey. This kind of shit happens in Hollywood all the time and to be honest it wasn’t an issue for me. I think that they’re both fantastic actors, but they really didn’t bring anything special to the character. Also, I’m not going to bitch about the comics and continuity and if the film got anything wrong, the only Iron Man stuff I’ve read in the last few years before and since the movies have been whatever comic Brian Bendis was writing him in and when Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca launched Invincible Iron Man, as a tie in to the movie and as main Iron Man book in the Marvel Universe. (If you haven’t read Fraction’s Iron Man, fucking do it now, it’s an amazing comic.)

I’m going to start at the beginning, all the way in May of 2008, when the first Iron Man film came out. I was so fucking excited to see this movie. I couldn’t wait. I thought the cast was perfect and everything that I saw from the film, the trailers, the tv spots, the actors and directors talking about it, I was fucking pumped. My only gripe was the use of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, because the song had nothing to do with the character, but I understood why they used it, because if you don’t know the opening of that song or the guitar riff to that song then where the fuck you been man? Seriously.

I saw this movie in the theater twice. What does that tell you? I fucking loved it. It was fantastic, the focus on the man in the iron suit as opposed to the flashy looking superhero. It was a great look at the character of Tony Stark. Was it a perfect film? No. But it was very enjoyable and is up there as one of the best comic book movies of all time. I honestly believe that. There were some flaws. The final battle between Iron Man and Iron Monger (That was the bad guy’s name even if they don’t say it in the movie) was way too short. But, who cares, the end of the film was fantastic. I smacked myself in the face when the SHIELD Agent reveled that he was working for SHIELD, I couldn’t believe I didn’t figure that one out. Tony Stark looking into the camera and saying he was Iron Man was fucking bad ass. It was all attitude and ego but it worked. It was awesome. I was pumped for Iron Man 2 as soon as the film ended, and then the excitement was multiplied by 10 when we get to see Sam Jackson as Nick Fury at the end. BAD ASSER!

I want to add as an aside and as a (7 a letter words in a row!) fan of Robert Downy Jr. that this movie did not, I repeat did not bring back his career in Hollywood. Did it help? Of course it did, how could it not, but RDJ was doing great films before Iron Man came out and he’ll do them afterwards too. RDJ did Zodiac (Fincher), A Scanner Darkly (Linklater), and a couple other movies, and also Tropic Thunder, because that movie had to have been made either right before or right after he filmed Iron Man, so he wasn’t cast in that because Iron Man hit big, if anything Tropic Thunder used it to its advantage.

Flash forward almost 2 years later. Iron Man 2 is coming out. The actors and director are doing press, prescreening the film, showing clips on late night. Everything you need to do. Hyping the fuck out of this film. I bought in to it. I’m not gonna lie, like I said, I was waiting for this movie since the first one ended. The trailers were fantastically put together and mixed with the awesomeness of AC/DC it made it even that much better.

So opening weekend hit and I went to see Iron Man 2. Actually I was so excited I bought my tickets the day before to make sure that I would be able to see the film the day it opened. I was fucking excited.
I left the theater so disappointed.

I was in such disbelief of how much I did not enjoy the film at all. I was heartbroken. Honestly, I don’t know why but I was hurt that I didn’t love this movie.
So what was it? Mostly, it was the pacing of the movie. Sure there were awesome action scenes, like the fight between Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) and Iron Man at Monte Carlo, it was bad ass. But a lot of the movie was set up for the finale battle and the final scene which was fucking short as hell. This was supposed to be an all out struggle and personal fight between Iron Man and Whiplash. Whiplash had so much hatred for Tony Stark, and its one thing to say it but another thing to show it. He had plans but at the end for him to just give up so fucking easily was a cop out, it was bullshit and it didn’t make it any more personal. He just laughs and that’s it, kaboom, over.

One thing I liked about the first film was the way it ended and to have this movie end with the hero getting a kiss from the damsel in distress was such a cliché, Christ did I not need to see that, I got the point that he needed to prove that he deserved her and he had to prove himself but honestly, it’s a cliché for a reason.
Other things I didn’t like the birthday scene where he’s drunk and acting like a fucking asshole. Again, I understand why he did it but Pepper and Rhodey are suppose to be his friends and he can confide in them so I didn’t feel sorry for him in that scene, it was more pathetic than it being a struggle with inner demons, and the Gallagher impression was fucking stupid and unneeded.

The Cap shield being used a prop was dumb, no reason for it except, hey look at that. Too much Nick Fury, way too much Nick Fury. And the scene saying that they’re not taking him into the Avengers, really? Are we honestly supposed to buy that? That Iron Man isn’t going to be in the Avengers, especially since anyone with half a brain can put together that these movies are setting up an Avengers movie, and not having (as of now) the most recognizable hero of the team not on it. Come on. Give us a break. There’s other stuff I didn’t like that I won’t get into but mention real quickly, too much Jon Favreau, not enough Scarlett Johansson, the fight between War Machine and Iron Man, and the loss of charm the first movie had. Tony Stark was an asshole in the first movie, but he was charming and funny in the first movie, I don’t know if it was that the charm wore off or the script but this time around he was just an asshole.
Was the movie a complete waste of my time? No, that’s a little harsh. There was a lot of stuff I did like, such as the Monte Carlo scene at the racetrack, Mickey Rourke’s performance, Sam Rockwell’s performance, and the after the credits scene that I won’t spoil for the 1 person (if that) that reads this blog post.

So, with all that said, I’m looking forward to the Thor movie, not really crazy about the Captain America movie, but I’ll see it, of course I’ll see it. And with Joss Whedon rumored to be directing and helping out with the writing of The Avengers movie, well I’ll totally fucking be there for that.
Thanks for reading, comment if you like.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Orion by Metallica

It starts off with a slow bass intro, yes it’s the bass and it keeps getting louder. Then the drums slowly creep in until you realize that they are being played. The two different pieces of music don’t sound like they go together, but they do. Then all of a sudden you get thrown off your ass the crunching sounds of guitar come in. The same chords being played over and over. I think of everyday life knocking you on your ass, the same shit different day mentality. Nothing ever changes. It’s a fucking build up to and explosion of emotion, it’s uncontrollable.

Then the chords change, something’s different. Something has affected you but it doesn’t matter because you go back to the same chords as before. It’s like a struggle, like a hole you can’t get out of, no one is coming to the rescue so don’t fucking expect anything.

The same chords are now being played over by a solo, an amazing solo of fight, of strength, something that you don’t have. It’s giving you energy to do something about your life, change it in some way. But what can you do if you face the same shit over and over again and again. But you keep on fighting, because the sameness goes away and you’re left with is yourself, and not the struggle of life, it’s nothing physical, it’s all in your head, mental.

Slow bass solo, another guitar solo, those long notes remind you how everyday is long, drawn out, and you’re by yourself. Just you inside your head with your thoughts. All those thoughts that drive you fucking crazy. It’s all shit that you need to get over, depression, loneliness, you need to find something that drives you, something that inspires you.

Now! Now you’re fighting, fighting all these idiotic thoughts that you don’t need, that are just there to fuck with you. You don’t need this shit, let all out, change something, just fucking do it.

Then is goes back to the same. As much as you want to change you know you can’t. As much as you try the basic human condition will never let you forget these thoughts, it will never let you let them go because in the end when we’re alone, it’s all we have, and for some reason that helps us grasp onto some sort of reality, and if you’re lucky you have something worth fighting for, because if you don’t, you’re just going to end up doing the same shit every single day. It’s your own personal hell, and since it’s yours you deal with it any way you can.
This is how I feel whenever I listen to Orion by Metallica, off the Master of Puppets album. It is without a doubt, my favorite Metallica song, maybe my favorite song of all time. I go through so many fucked up emotion and the strongest one I feel is struggle, inner struggle. I feel like this every time I listen to this song. Every single time, and I fucking love it.