Monthly Archives: March 2011
Even a film like Limitless has its limitations. It tries to deny them, overlook them, and even, at times incorporate them, but they are there. Read the rest of this entry
As a collector of fine swords and admirer of fine ladies, Sucker Punch was my go to film for the year. The amalgamation of swords, guns, dragons, mechs, and fetishistic fantasies should grab a hold of and keep my attention. Not only should it do that, but it should succeed on all other fronts as well. Read the rest of this entry
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Sucker Punch is an adrenaline charged action-adventure movie that makes no sense at all. It’s a modern-day fantasy that takes technology and imagination to dizzying extremes only pausing for some of the worst plot and character development ever put on film. Still, even with its flaws, I think Sucker Punch is a fun and good movie.
Black Swan is a movie about ballet. Men and women dancing in unitards to orchestral music. Ballet. Wait…no. It’s not about ballet. It’s about the principle of morality. NO…BALLET!!! MORALITY!!! BALLET!!! I’m really of two minds on the issue.
This week Rene Alvarado and Mike Pampinella are joined by blog contributor Mike Cho. The discussion focuses in on I Saw The Devil, from director Jee-woon Kim, but that doesn’t stop them from talking about horror films and the Korean film industry as a whole. Check it out.
Give us a listen because we got us one of them Korean fellas to talk about them thar Korean films.
My Neighbor Totoro is just one of those classic movies that everyone has either seen or is told that they should see. The two most common words I’ve seen to describe it are “quiet” and “gentle”, which isn’t to say that it’s boring. Like the title characters themselves, the movie may be quiet and gentle, but also may be one of the most adorable and endearing things that you will ever see.
You’d have to search pretty hard to find a single person-of-a-certain-age in the Western world who has escaped childhood without having seen E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or a single Star Wars movie at least once. If you were young, receptive, and imaginative enough the first time you saw them, some of their images and themes (and the emotions they evoked) probably will stay with you forever, whether you like it or not. Such is the power of sci-fi, particularly of sci-fi movies: their pervasiveness in our lives, popular culture, and collective memory make us feel that we’re not alone, not only in terms of extraterrestrial life, but for the even stranger creatures that walk the earth – us, each alone, wondering if there’s anyone else who feels the same way and remembers the same things that we do. If you need proof that you’re not alone, here come Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and the movie Paul.
This past weekend from March 18th through the 20th, The McCormick Place in Chicago held it’s 2nd annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo better known as C2E2. For the 2nd year, my fellow comrade on this site Mike Pampinella and I attended the event. After being veteran comic-con attendees for years we were pleasantly pleased with the 1st C2E2 held in 2010 and were wowed by 2011’s event in many ways.
You wouldn’t think it’d be such a big deal to make an alien invasion story that makes a bit of sense. In Battle: Los Angeles, the aliens need water, so they invade a planet that is 70% water. It makes sense. They begin their invasion by crashing into Earth’s oceans before rising up to take over the land, coastal cities first. It makes sense. Having crashed here inside meteorites, naturally their tech looks a bit rough, a bit battered and thrown together, and more importantly, they’re shown to us in a way that makes us feel that the human race actually has a chance. It makes sense. These aliens, when shot or cut open, have blood and organs that appear to be even more water-based than humans (who are at about 60%). It makes sense. I couldn’t help but think of, for example, the invading aliens in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs who, Wicked Witch of the West-like, have water as their one and only weakness – THEN WHY WOULD YOU INVADE A PLANET THAT IS 70% WATER?? I digress…
To make a movie you need a script, actors, a director and at least one camera. In order to make a good movie, you need a good script, a good director and at least one good actor. I don’t think budget has anything to do with it. You can make a movie with your iPhone and if it’s a good movie, it’s a good movie. Pretty simple concept. Read the rest of this entry
Sharing the screen for the first time is mega blockbuster actors Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. With two major draws like that the movie can’t miss….right?! Past films have shown us that there are hits and misses for this recipe. For every Mr. & Mrs. Smith there is a Gigli or even an Australia.
Not only was Vampire Hunter D one of the first anime released in the U.S., but it was also the first I had ever seen. Without getting too nostalgic, I had seen VHD on a UHF channel in Chicago that had broadcast anime late Saturday nights, sometimes uncensored even. It was great, because I not only got to watch something that was considered one of the first and best of its kind, but I also felt like I was getting away with something. There was cursing, it was gory, and it had nudity. I was like a kid in a candy store, if candy stores had excessive gore and animated topless women. Read the rest of this entry
Satanists, punching, driving
Add up to nothing
In a million years, I never once thought I could admire such a gangly, discolored looking fellow, but I really do like Johnny Depp…I mean Rango. But really, they are one in the same, no? Read the rest of this entry
I Saw The Devil is a Korean horror movie that follows one man’s need for revenge to its ultimate consequence. Min-Sik Choi from Oldboy stars as a true monster of a human being. He’s a serial killer that makes Hannibal Lecter look like Charlie Brown. He murders with delight and takes enjoyment in tormenting his victims and the police pursuing him. He doesn’t hide his identity and doesn’t care. Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and The Bad from The Good, The Bad, The Weird) plays a Korean Secret Service agent whose wife is one of the victims of the serial killer. Once he discovers who the murderer is, he becomes obsessed with tormenting and chasing a human demon in one of the best cat and mouse stories I’ve ever seen.
A film like Hereafter could easily become exploitative. Playing on people’s emotions in connection to death or the hopefullness connected to the afterlife. Pandering to crowds looking for a definitive answer regarding what the afterlife might look like. In the theater I attended there were hordes of senior citizens, on a Sunday morning. There are two things that could contribute to this: Heavy advertising in AARP magazine due to Clint Eastwood’s involvement or seniors are looking for answers due to their own looming mortality. Now, this is not to imply that Hereafter exploits these notions, but perhaps the way the film was marketed implied there were answers to be found.
The first thing we see when The Fighter begins is Dicky Ecklund being filmed for a boxing documentary. He’s definitely seen better days. Drugs have destroyed his body and mind. He shows the classic signs of a drug addict. Not just someone addicted to one drug. This is a person addicted to every drug. Ecklund talks about his career in the ring and the fight of his life against Sugar Ray. He talks about living on the rough streets of the suburbs of Boston, how drugs have changed his life but one day he’ll be back in the ring. He even mentions about how much he loves his little brother, Micky Ward. Ward’s a boxer working in the New England boxing scene. He says he hopes Micky makes it bigger in boxing than he did.
This week we give out our Golden Pitchforks to the films, perfomances, and moments we loved best. Jonathan, Rene and Mike give you there picks, in between the moments of hysterical laughter. And beware, there are spoilers ahead.
Give us a listen and this will be the last time we talk about the films of 2010…maybe.
NOTE: We did experience some technical difficulty, but nothing that should impair your listening pleasure.
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In the late 80’s there were two feature length anime that were theatrically released here in the states. The 1st, most popular and critically acclaimed was Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. The 2nd was The Fist of the North Star. This movie was based on the manga(or comic, for those of you not hip to the term manga) in Japan known as Hokuto No Ken written by Buronson and illustrated byTetsuo Hara. The manga dropped in the land of the rising sun in the early 80’s and spanned 27 volumes that collected 245 chapters of the series. So popular was the series that it spawned a 2 weekly TV anime series in the early to mid 80’s, Hokuto No Ken and Hokuto No Ken 2. Both series combined are over 250 episodes. Naturally the TV series was a smash that a 2 hour feature length anime film was made in Japan in 1986. The creators developed a very long and deep mythology w/ Hokuto No Ken. Or as deep as you can get w/an ultra-violent, post-apocalyptic, martial art story about saving the world. Read the rest of this entry
Let’s face it: the world loves to see Matt Damon run. Why else would he be hoofing it so much? There has to be better ways of escaping danger; the public must be demanding to see his galloping stride. Graciously, for all of Damon’s running, jumping, and space-dimensional warping in The Adjustment Bureau the camera remains steady and the edits are regularly placed so one knows what the hell is going on (*cough* Paul Greengrass *cough*).
With the growing popularity of streaming media and services like Netflix and Redbox it is well known that Hollywood is trying anything and everything it can to get people in seats. It’s an odd time for the film industry and studios have decided that it’s not shy about showing that it only cares about one thing, money. These days it’s all about ticket sales, with the endless stream of sequels and remakes it’s apparent that if a franchise made at least a small amount of money in the past, you bet they’ll revive it. This year we have reboots of both the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises being released, both of which are less than 5 years old. Last year we learned that director James Cameron is working on a post processed conversion of his 1997 release Titanic. Now the Hollywood Reporter reports that a post converted 3D version of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace will be released to theaters on February 10th, 2012, the next film in the series being released the year after. Read the rest of this entry
Closing out our actor spotlight of Harrison Ford, I was able to catch his latest but far from greatest new release of Morning Glory. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill, Changing Lanes) brings us the latest rom-com type movie. Taking a bit of 1987’s Broadcast News then throwing in some different aspects Mitchell shows us the life of a workaholic television show producer.
When you mention Japanese movies to people you get a few reactions. Sometimes you get blank stares. Sometimes you will hear someone talk about how much they love the ultra-violent gory movies that have recently made their way to our part of the world. Maybe you’ll hear someone mention the old samurai movies that used to be shown on American tv. When you mention anime (the genre of animated movies and tv shows from Japan) depending on the age of the person you ask, you might hear about things like Dragon Ball, Bleach or Pokemon. When I think of Japanese movies and anime I think of Akira. One of my favorite movies and what I consider to be the best anime and animated movie of all time.
To add to the confusion, we’ve decided to alternate our actor and director spotlights with a genre spotlight. So every third month we will spotlight a different genre. This month we are going with “anime”. Dating back to the sixties, and perfected in the eighties, anime is a true art-form that we’re recognizing this month with, Akira, Fist of The North Star, Vampire Hunter D, and a surprise fourth film, so surprising, even I don’t know what it is.
From viewing of the trailer for Liam Neeson’s new movie Unknown one can’t help but be reminded of his 2008 action flick Taken. Other than a few short scenes and Neeson himself, comparisons stop there. After viewing the movie and thinking back to the trailers, I have to say this was very misleading and the makers of Unknown tried to ride the success of Taken.
Hey all been away for awhile doing what I do…in a world in which I do it. With a plethora of Super movies on the way, it leaves me wondering is it too much??? Within the next two years the major names in comic book super heroes will be fighting it out in the superplex. Captain America, Thor, Xmen: First Class, Green Lantern, Batman, Spider-Man,The Avengers, and Wolverine. A year ago the word on the street was that the superhero franchise was slowing down. Making way for movies filled with realism and depth. That most certainly does not seem the case. Read the rest of this entry
Alex Pettyfer stars as Number Four, one of nine aliens sent to earth as children when their homeworld of Loren was destroyed by the invading evil Mogadorians, and kept hidden by their Guardians until the time that their Legacys (superpowers) manifest and they are able to protect their new home planet from the Mogadorian hordes. Naturally the Mogadorians (or Mogs) want to stop this happening, but some mysterious reason prevents the evil nasty aliens from simply killing the young Loren warriors as they please. I don’t remember it properly being explained in the movie, though a little bit of web-based research into the book on which the movie is based revealed that it is to do with a “charm”. Instead, they must be hunted down and killed in numerical order. We get to see Number Three’s demise at the start of the movie, in what is a rather well-filmed and creepy jungle chase scene, so, after having to flee their home after an alien symbol appears in a burst of light on Four’s calf in front of onlookers, Four and his Guardian, Henri, (Timothy Ollyphant) know he is next on the list. Read the rest of this entry