Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tron 2 Trailer

Here's a good post idea: what constitutes a fanboy? Am I a fanboy because I am excited about about a sequel to a movie 26 years old? Am I a fanboy if I don't know whether fanboy is two words or not?

Anyway, here is a really shitty bootleg of the Tron 2 Trailer from Comic Con. I mean seriously, my four year old could have done a better job shooting than this dude. Okay, so watch the trailer and answer me this. Is Flynn the new MCP?

Thanks to Jeremy at the martini shaker for the link.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Say You: Robert Downey Jr. In Blackface

On August 13, Tropic Thunder will hit theaters. If the trailer holds true, this looks to be a great comedy about Hollywood and action pictures. And as the spoof to end all spoofs on method acting, Robert Downey's character Kirk Lazarus surgically has the color of his skin changed to play an African American soldier in the movie.

There have been more than a few articles written about Downey's character in this movie and I guess I'm a little surprised. Of course it's impossible to look at this role historically and not think of Stepin Fetchit, Amos 'n' Andy even Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. But I certainly wouldn't put Downey's character in the same controversial category as these other roles. But hey, maybe I'm just an insensitive white guy.

Should Downey's character in Tropic Thunder be scrutinized along with the others, or have we all just become a bunch of politically correct ninnies?


Monday, July 28, 2008

An Actual Conversation About Escape from New York

GABE: So they've made an entire island a prison?

PIPER: Yep. Manhattan Island. Daddy's going there on Monday.

GABE: You're going to a prison on Monday?

PIPER: No, this movie is fiction. It's just made up. I'm going to the real Manhattan Island.

GABE: So they've made an entire island a prison?


GABE: Where do the good people live?

PIPER: They don't live there anymore. They've just left all of Manhattan to the bad people.

GABE: What?

PIPER: Look. It's like if they put a gigantic wall around all of Kansas City and just dumped all the bad people in Kansas City. There wouldn't be any good people there because they will have left. Bad people could be living in our house right now if all of Kansas City was a maximum security prison.

GABE: But this is an island.

PIPER: Yes. And Kansas City is not.

GABE: You know, there's a real prison on an island.

PIPER: I know, it's called Alcatraz.

I never knew how complicated the concept of Escape from New York was.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 12 Movies Meme

RC at Strange Culture wrote a post recently about Diablo Cody getting to choose 12 films to be featured at the New Beverly Cinema. Reading this news made me think a couple of things. My first thought was "jeez, they're letting anybody choose movies at New Beverly Cinema these days." And second was "this is a really good idea for a meme." RC gave me permission to run with the idea and so here I am presenting you with The 12 Movie Meme. The Meme that asks what if YOU could pick 12 movies to run at the New Beverly Cinema? On the surface it seems fun and easy, and yet scratch the surface a bit and you'll find a very daunting task because what you choose is a personal reflection. And you can't willy nilly it. Your 12 movies should be like a good mixed tape. Strong at first, brought down a little right after, then up again, solid in the middle with a big finish.

So here are the Meme rules:

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

My selections represent my overall taste and curiosity in movies. I am a lover of the strange and unpolished, and yet I am a also a hopeless romantic at heart which is why you'll find two of my favorite romantic comedies in the middle. I grouped my selections in two to reflect similar themes or to show how one paved the way for the other. The fact that Battle Royale kicks it off will could be a brilliant start or a big harpoon to the whole thing.

Monday - Tuesday

Battle Royale - Kinji Fukasaku (2000)

Three O'Clock High - Phil Joanou (1987)

Wednesday - Thursday

Song of the South
- Harve Foster/Wilfred Jackson (1946)

Coonskin - Ralph Bakshi (1975)

Friday - Saturday

Escape From New York
- John Carpenter (1981)

Streets Of Fire - Walter Hill (1984)

Sunday - Monday

High Fidelity
- Stephen Frears (2000)

Punch Drunk Love - P.T. Anderson (2002)

Tuesday - Wednesday

The Brood
- David Cronenberg (1979)

The Royal Tenenbaums - Wes Anderson (2001)

Thursday - Friday

All The Presidents Men - Alan J. Pakula (1976)

Zodiac - David Fincher (2007)

And here are my selections

Fletch at Blog Cabins

elgringo at He Shot Cyrus

JA at My New Plaid Pants

Caitlin at 1,416 and Counting

Alan at Burbanked

Fox at Tractor Facts

Jonathan at Cinema Styles

Ross at Anchorwoman In Peril!

Marilyn at Ferdy On Films

Adam at DVD Panache

And of course RC at Strange Culture

Good luck everyone. And even if I haven't tapped you feel free to include what your 12 movies would be in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Remembers The Catchphrases

It's every filmmakers dream to create a movie that is beloved and remembered for generations. And probably right below that is to create a movie catchphrase that weaves its way into pop culture only to be repeated ad nauseum.

At boring parties I will randomly throw out a movie catchphrase and if anyone bites, I'm hanging with that person for the rest of the night. I have a long list floating around in the brain. But here are my top 5, in no particular order.

1. "What's my name? Fuck you, that's my name." Glengarry Glen Ross

2. "How about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?" Weird Science

3. "Baby, we're going to be up five hundy by midnight." Swingers

4. "Look eye. Always look eye." The Karate Kid

5. "You're going to need a bigger boat." Jaws

Monday, July 21, 2008

Actin' All Crazy

There's been a lot of talk about Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in the new The Dark Knight. Serious talk. Posthumous Oscar talk. I wrote about it a bit here, but that was before I had seen the movie. So now I've seen it and the question on the table is this: is Ledger good? He is. Everything about him works. His look, his clothes, his laugh. His performance of the Joker is good enough that it makes Jack Nicholson's take look like the kind of stuff for Saturday morning cartoons. One wonders how good would he be if Nicholson never played the Joker, but that's fodder for another post.

So then the next question on the table is this: is he Oscar good? Not really. Make no mistake though, this role is the kind of stuff reviewers drool over. And probably academy voters as well. But the problem with his performance is it's about this deep (you can't see this, but I'm putting my index and thumb very, very close together). There's nothing much to it. In the movie, what makes the Joker terrifying is that he's motivated by nothing. He doesn't want power, he doesn't want money, he doesn't want fame. He just wants chaos. That's a pretty scary thought and it gives the Joker some legitimacy among the bad boys of Gotham. But it's not real. I'm sure that 75% (probably more) of America goes to sleep believing that the terrorists are motivated by nothing more than chaos, and they would be wrong. To be motivated by nothing is to have no emotion. It's scary in thought, but it doesn't play very well. Or real.

There have been lots of actors who have played crazy in the past. And it's made me wonder how hard is it really? To laugh inappropriately. To have weird and obscure ticks. To act like nothing matters. It's not hard. And that's why I don't believe Ledger deserves an Oscar. Because behind those crazy eyes, there's nothing. It may make for a great performance in a middle of the summer blockbuster, but it doesn't make for performances that deserve an Oscar.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two Movies That Changed The Movies.

The Last Emperor might have won nine Academy Awards but did it change the movies? No. It’s just a movie nobody saw that won a lot of Oscars. Today I recognize two movies that changed the way we watch movies and changed the way movies get made.

Jaws. In 1975 Steven Spielberg directed a movie about a shark. Not just any shark, but a great white shark that created panic in a fictional summer resort town, and it went on to scare the shit out of anybody who ever dared jump in any body of water after that. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw as police chief, marine biologist and shark hunter set out to kill the menacing creature as we nervously ate popcorn on the edge of our seats.

Jaws was the first blockbuster of summer. Without Jaws, would there be a Star Wars or Independence Day, Jurassic Park or Mission Impossible? Jaws was a game changer.

Jaws created such buzz during early screenings that studio execs decided to distribute it in wide release. It worked. Jaws was the first film in motion picture history to hit the $100 million mark. Every summer there will be another movie that studios designate as potential blockbuster. This year – there are at least two – Iron Man and The Dark Knight. These movies open on hundreds of screens simultaneously and the success of Jaws helped pave the way.

Pulp Fiction. In 1994, Quentin Tarantino directed an adrenalin rush of a movie with equal parts humor and violence. The film was Pulp Fiction and it’s nonlinear storyline and pop culture references caught the attention of the general public. The crime drama also proved to resurrect the career of John Travolta, who had reached great heights in Saturday Night Fever but had been wallowing in a career low with Look Who’s Talking.

Most significant about Pulp Fiction is that it is an independent film. The success of the movie, which won Best Screenplay and garnered many nominations, gave new hope to legions of aspiring filmmakers with access to a typewriter and a camera. It also served as a wake up call to major Hollywood studios that people will pay to see a great movie, no matter who makes it or how much it cost to make it.

Runner’s up: Enter the Dragon, Spinal Tap

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Would Also Sleep With Helen Mirren

Previously I stated that I would sleep with Julie Christie. She's 67 and beautiful as ever. Recently, Fox at Tractor Facts posted the picture above of Helen Mirren and I'm here to say I would sleep with her as well. There has always been something about Mirren. I grew up getting just a slight tingle in the nethers from her roles in Caligula, Excalibur and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. And I would say that just like Sean Connery, the woman gets sexier with age. Just look at that stomach, would you? You could bounce a quarter off that thing. Or chip a tooth on it. Damn.

And let me just say that if this makes Julie jealous in any way, she can fight Helen for me. And if that happens, I want to watch. And I'm taking bets on who would win.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some Movies Are Better Left Remembered

My noggin is a plethora of movie knowledge. It is jammed with remembrances of past movies. Of scenes. Of lines. Of shot techniques. I can't remember birthdays of loved ones, but I can sure as heck remember who the director of photography was for The Limey (Ed Lachman and by the way he also has a cameo in the movie just in case you were wondering). But the memory is a funny kind of thing. Sometimes a memory can be harsher than it has to be. And sometimes the old memory has a nice pair rosy colored glasses on. I'm sure a lot of how memory works has to do with the time, the occasion and the state of the world. For example, I saw The Glass House a couple of days after 9/11. I loved it because it was exactly what I needed. I'm sure if I revisited it again I would no doubt hate it, but at the time it was a nice fuzzy warm blanket.

Some movies are as good as I remember. Sometimes they're better. There's nothing more rewarding than discovering a movie is even better than you remember it. Or means something different today than it did several years ago. I am always amazed at how much richer The Royal Tenenbaums becomes with each new viewing. I suppose those movies would move into the classic category for their ability to capture a storyline or emotions that are timeless.

Then there are movies that aren't as good as you remember. For instance, I recently re-watched Brian DePalma's The Fury. When it comes to old-school Brian DePalma, I'm unapologetic. I love Phantom of the Paradise. Dressed To Kill. Body Double. I feel that Blow Out is not only a good movie, but a masterful one.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I would have added The Fury to that list. My memory of the movie was of brilliant snippets. Of the opening scene at the beach. Of Amy Irving walking the beach with her red locks of hair and girl-next-door innocence. Of the beautiful slow-motion mayhem towards the end of the movie. My memory sort of glossed over the other parts. The awkward conversations about nothing that involved strange camera angles as if DePalma was saying "yeah I know this scene sucks, but I have to have it so at least I'll make it interesting looking." The idiotic attack on the middle-easterners. And the random and unnecessary car chase between Kirk Douglas and the police.

Truth be told, seeing The Fury again really bummed me out. Seeing it again reminded me of why I avoid his more recent movies because they are without a nucleus. Of random sometimes brilliant scenes that are somehow not related. To me, DePalma is the essence of that film movement. Self-indulgent, sometimes brilliant with a slight chance of implosion. Seeing The Fury again made me wish I left well enough alone. To just remember it as being a much better movie than it is and to recommend it right up there with all the others. Stupid memory.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) For The Teenagers

Those crazy kids. Not a care in the world, except boys, girls, popularity, friends, peer-pressure, clothes, dating, parents, school and who's having the party Saturday night and whether or not you're cool enough to be invited. It's a tough life, really. So let's show those teens some love. Not creepy love. Just good love. Give me your Top 5 Teen movies. Here are mine in no particular order.

1. Sixteen Candles The quintessential teen movie. No teen movie list would be complete without it.

2. Superbad Just when you thought the teen movie was dead, here comes this gem. A good reflection of today's teenager that's just the right balance of cynical and softy. And no I'm not McLovin.

3. Heathers The anti-Hughes movie. All the cynicism without the sap. It's a good addition to the mix.

4. Weird Science The teen comedy taken to absurdity, and yet it still all works. I quote this movie constantly which keeps me out of most intelligent social circles.

5. Better Off Dead The beginning of Cusak's brilliant career really started taking shape with this dumb comedy. Fear the paperboy.

This Movie Has Been Formatted For TV

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. I'm on my couch flipping through the channels when a movie like Raiders of the Lost Ark comes on TV. I've already missed 45 minutes of it. I know there will be commercials about every 5 minutes. I know that the good gross parts will most likely be cut out. I know that the formatting will cut out the sides. And here's the kick, I own the damn movie on DVD. And yet, I watch the movie. On the TV station. I don't go down stairs and grab the movie on DVD and pop it in to watch it from beginning to end with all the good parts still in tact and no commercials. I sit there and watch it.

This example has nothing to do with the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic and deserves multiple viewings, or that I'm too lazy to walk down some stairs to get the DVD. It has more to do with the fact that it's a lot more fun to just happen on to a movie than to plan for one. And not only that, but I'm twice as likely to watch a movie I don't like if it's on TV. Something like Wild Wild West. It's not a good movie, but if it's on TV, it suddenly becomes a can't miss opportunity. I actually contemplated watching some of What Women Want the other night and I detest that movie.

Why are these things? How does my brain work differently because I stumble on to a movie on TV? I suppose there's something to the spontaneity of it all. The chance of you flipping through the channels and discovering a movie is somehow destiny, so you must sit and watch. The other thought is that movies on TV are disposable. That it's okay if something comes up and you have to leave for some reason. There is no emotional connection because you're only partially tuning in. It's kind of like getting a bad nights sleep. You may have slept, but it wasn't solid and you'll pay for it later.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Life Like A Montage

This entry is part of The Self-Involvement Blog-a-Thon at Culture Snob. The self filtered through the movies.

I want my life to be like a montage.

Of me traveling the open road with good friends on the way to who cares. Of beautiful countryside settings at dusk and wind blowing through my hair and laughing.

I want my life to be like a montage.

Where I train against what seem insurmountable odds. Where I put my body through rigorous drills on the sides of mountains in far off countries and nothing seems impossible.

I want my life to be like a montage.

Of me designing the perfect machine against a blood red sky. Painstakingly measuring and re-measuring to make sure that perfect machine does what it is supposed to do, perfectly.

I want my life to be like a montage.

The best bits of life without a concern for how we got there or the consequences after. Only the most brilliant moments. Set to a kick-ass soundtrack.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shout Outs Week Of 7/7

First things first, head over to Culture Snob and participate in the Self-Involvement Blog-a-Thon.

Nathanial at Film Experience wants to tell you something about Lindsay Lohan

Some movie deserve to be watched it Summer. It just seems natural. Adam at DVD Panache has listed 7 of them.

Fletch at Blog Cabins asks a pretty damn brilliant question. What year at the movies best defines you?

Evil On Two Legs showcases the fashion of Camp Crystal Lake. In 2 parts, no less.

And speaking of Jason Vorhees... Roderick at Ferdy On Films has a great new feature called Famous First. Here he writes about the Friday The 13th Clan.

And finally, Alan at Burbanked finally admits what we've always known. He is a walking movie cliche.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Needed: A Caption

This ad for Louis Vuitton with Francis and Sophia is begging for one.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Am Pathetic

I am pathetic because I don't know who I am. Because I wander the earth aimlessly. Because I am in a dead-end job. I am pathetic because I have not told the person I hate most to fuck off at the top of my lungs. Because I have not hit someone across the face with a computer keyboard causing them to loose several teeth. I am pathetic because my true calling in life is to be an assassin and I have not yet recognized that. To kill random people because a gigantic loom told me to. To bend bullets around big pieces of meat. To shoot a bullet from a very large rifle and have it pierce someone's brain miles and miles away. Yep, I'm pathetic. At least, that's what Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) says at the ending of the movie Wanted. Directly. To the entire audience in the movie theater.

So evidently I'm nothing until I pick up a gun and put down a couple of people. But here's the thing. I can't say that there's a loom close-by or even within close proximity. But I'm a problem solver and by God, I won't let a simple obstacle like a fate-telling loom stand in the way of me not making myself pathetic. So I'm going to use a sewing machine. Yes, I'm going to get a piece of cloth and run the shit out that machine on that piece of cloth and let the thread falls where they may. And then here's the other thing. I don't have a gun or a license for a gun. But again, let me state that I'm a problem solver here and I make the impossible happen. When I'm cooking, maybe I'm out of eggs or something and maybe I use something else instead of eggs that kind of taste like eggs but not exactly and it still works. Maybe it doesn't taste great, but hey I didn't have eggs and I'm a problem solver.

So anyways, I don't have a gun but I do have a wooden garden trowel. So I'm going to read that piece of cloth with those sewn threads, find a name in those threads and then I'm going to use that wooden garden trowel on some random name and I'm going to put that person down. I may have to bend that wooden garden trowel around a piece of meat because maybe the person I have to kill is standing behind a piece of meat or a nice statue or something and I don't want to break the statue or bruise the meat because that might be a really expensive statue or a nice piece of meat, I just want to kill the person. And if that's the case, I may have to take a couple of days learning exactly how to bend a wooden garden trowel around a piece of meat or a statue, but I'll take those couple of days to make sure I can do that. And then I'll go out and kill some random person so Wesley Gibson doesn't think I'm pathetic. Because I just can't go on having him think that about me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Loves It Some Action

I saw Wanted last night. Hmmmm, more on that later.

Wanted is an action movie. It's got car chases, foot chases, explosions and lots gun play. Everything a good action movie should have. But it doesn't sniff my top 5 best action movies. Not even close. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Die Hard I said in no particular order, but this would be my number one anyways.

2. Lethal Weapon 2 The first Lethal Weapon is more of a thinking man's action movie. And the second is for the dumb step-brother who is simple and just likes a lot of killing and really, really good bad guys. I want to hang with that dude.

3. Roadhouse I've said it before and I'll say it again. Sam Elliot in a ponytail with a bad knee, gratuitous nudity, rags to riches story, a boot knife and a fantastic scene where a guy gets his throat ripped out. What more could you ask for.

4. Escape From New York I feel weird including this movie here, but it's got good action. And as far as action heroes go, Snake is right up there with the best of them.

5. Raiders Of The Lost Ark A lot of action movies fail because they try too hard to be action movies. They get caught up in the spectacle of it and forget that a good story has to go along with it. This one doesn't miss a trick.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Choke On This

First off, let me state that this headline blows. I couldn't think of anything else. But this headline does have a redeeming quality. It reminds us of the great line from Stand By Me "Choke on my fat one, you cheap dimestore hood." So for that reason, it's brilliant.

Second off let me state that I'm not a Chuck Palahniuk fanatic. There are lots of them, but I am not one of them. I read the book Choke on a beach in Mexico while sipping several margaritas. I'm not sure one should read this book whilst out on a romantic getaway in Mexico with ones wife. Unless ones wife enjoys talk about "white soldiers", "sexual addition" and "butt beads." And hey, if that's your bag, great for you.

The book had an interesting premise but was a bit too interested in pushing envelopes and breaking taboos. But from the trailer it looks as if Clark Gregg's writing and Sam Rockwell's acting give this book a soul. A conscious. And if that's the case, we could be in for a real treat.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Walt Would Be So Proud

I saw Wall-E this past weekend and just like most everyone I enjoyed it very much. I'm going to spare you an additional review, because to me what Pixar did here is a lot bigger than deliver another successful movie. What Pixar did is bring back the glory days of Disney, when animation wasn't just for the kiddies but a more artistic way to tell a story. Some have compared Wall-E to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I was thinking more Fantasia, a pure experiment in storytelling through moving images. Quite the opposite of 1000 mph spectacle that was Cars. With Wall-E, we're not just witnessing a cute little robot move across the screen, we're witnessing American animation putting itself at the forefront once again. And they're doing it smack dab in the middle of summer blockbuster season, so everyone can see.

On a scale of 1 to 10, my respect for Pixar is at 11.3 because at a time when it would be so easy for them to phone it in, they didn't. At a time when they could so easily crank out 10 more movies like Cars and make money every Christmas selling Cars beach towels and Cars pajamas and toothbrushes, they wouldn't. Instead they offer up Ratatouille and now Wall-E. Cartoons that act like the finest cinema. I hope the kiddies know how good they've got it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Makes You Misty

Let me just put this out there already. I cry pretty easily. It's entirely possible for me to not really care for a movie and still cry at it. Here's a good example: the Freaky Friday remake starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lohan. It's not great, but still a parent struggling to connect with his/her kid just gets me, okay? I'm not made of metal people.

There are movies out there that can move people to buckets and buckets of tears. To tap into something generally or personally. You can cry for joy or cry for sorrow, but if the tears are flying, the movie deserves its place right here for Top 5 Tuesdays. So give me your Top 5 weepers. Here are mine.

1. Terms Of Endearment Not so much the dying part, but the relationship between Nicholson and McClain really got me. Especially the scene at the airport at the end.

2. Million Dollar Baby I was embarrassing during this movie, I cried so much. Not sure if this was timing or what, but I couldn't stop crying at the end of this.

3. White Christmas When the general comes into the big room and all the soldiers are back to salute him, I'm a mess.

4. Fandango Yeah, I know... what Top 5 Tuesday can't I fit this movie into? But the end of innocence is a big thing and I think this movie captured it well.

5. The Game It's a little strange that I would list this here, but when Michael Douglas discovers that it was all bullshit and everything was okay, I cried just to let out some tension. That's how effective this movie was.