Category Archives: movies

Mock trailer for THE PUNISHER

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of comics. I more or less subscribed to The Phantom and, as I got older, Spawn. But I sometimes would look into other comics, like Judge Dredd and The Punisher and I always enjoyed them.

This mock trailer for The Punisher, called Dirty Laundry, is an ode to Frank Castle. It’s directed by Phil Joanou, written by Chad St. John and produced by Adi Shankar. Enjoy!

Five Last Flicks we watched

Here are the last five flicks I watched, usually accompanied by Lady C. I have tried to avoid any spoilers in this article, but feel free to harass me in the comments.

Dawn of the dead (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)I found a list of the top 30 zombie movies of all time, most of which I had already seen, when I realized I had never seen the original Dawn of the Dead by Romero. I immediately got a hold of it and convinced Lady C to see it with me. This movie still holds its own, and I must admit it is way better than the 2004 remake (with faster zombies). This flick is a mixture between serious zombie survival and humorous slasher film. Since its production in the late 70s, some of the social caricature roles in cinema have changed, so it took a while before we understood that e.g. Roger’s character was more renegade than goofy and stuff like that. But the movie had a nice pace, with many intriguing scenes and the more speculative questions we ask ourselves facing this end-of-the-world hypothesis. We really enjoyed it!

Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited AwayThis flick has been on my to-do list for quite a while, ever since an anonymous /. user shared his opinion that Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi was the most beautiful film he had ever seen. Lady C was skeptical even though I seem to recall that we both enjoyed Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989). With a running time of 125 minutes it may be a bit much when you’re not already into anime, but Spirited Away turned out to be a great, fantastical experience which can be enjoyed by anyone with an imagination. The movie contains some of the most well-known anime creatures, that are really expressions of human desires, longings and quirks. The road this movie takes is also unpredictable and keeps you guessing for what’s next, in a good way. Put this movie on your list!

Godzilla (2014)
Godzilla (2014)There hasn’t been a good monumental monster movie since the creature of Cloverfield upped the game in 2008. In this sense, Godzilla really delivers! And to be sure, it also erases our shameful memories of the embarrassing flick from 1998 that everyone wanted to like but didn’t. With these other two in mind, how does the new Godzilla fare?
First of all, this movie harkens back to the good old days of Gojira lore. Not only does it establish a convincing background story, but the characters, the plot development, the music and some of the scenes really pay tribute to the old Godzilla movies which featured (a man in a costume as) the enormous, towering creature that was worthy the title of god-like. Second, I think it ties in with Cloverfield without actually claiming to do so. This alone should make your monster boner tingle.
There are some weak points to the flick though. The humanization of Godzilla goes a bit too far. We must not forget, that to Godzilla (and also the Cloverfield creature) we can be no more than ants. This is also what the film says, but not what it does. In addition, I’m not convinced that the choice of having a non-VIP main character follow the first hand experience was a good one. The Godzilla event was global so there is no reason why the movie could not have followed the creature from the perspectives of several characters. Finally, Bryan Cranston’s predictions don’t seem justified, but the jury is still out on this one, while we wait for a director’s cut.

Europa Report (2013)
Europe ReportI suspect this movie fell in the shadow of Hollywood’s Elysium. At least I hadn’t heard of it at all before someone mentioned it on a forum post of interesting sci-fi movies. This film follows the private space mission to Europa, which is funded by a live television broadcast from the ship back to Earth. (This is actually a real possibility for the Mars One colonization project.) You have to pay attention to the film, because it follows a non-linear storytelling; but it follows it through successfully and it makes for an exciting ride and keeps you involved in the plot. This movie may give the impression of being low-budget. I could only recognize Sharlto Copley (lead character in District 9). But that only speaks volumes for its successful execution! I recommend this to anyone looking for a Sci-fi adventure. This movie has character and harkens back to some of the classic sci-fi of the 1970s and 80s, but is modern and provides an interesting piecemeal storytelling which adds to the experience. Great flick!

Spring Breakers (2012)
Spring BreakersIf you bought this movie thinking it would provide tits and college humor, you’re going to be disappointed. This was another accidental find for me, I can’t even remember why I watched it originally. Perhaps I was looking for tits and college humor. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. But compared to my non-expectations this was a breath of fresh air! This movie reminds me somewhat of the 1998 Hurlyburly feat. Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey, in terms of atmosphere and feel. It is as sexual as it is cynical, but underlying the entire movie is an existential depression which expression comes forth in the four girls’ spring break break with society. This movie has gotten a bad rep, for reasons unknown to me. If you’re into exploitation and decadent films, this is a new item for your collection. It is a ride of moral relativism and could easily be mistaken as politically incorrect; but I find it an interesting comment on society instead, though to a somewhat more implicit extent than Hurlyburly.

RIP Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman was just found dead, the Wall Street Journal reports.

He was one of my favorite actors, since he brought style and presence to any scene he took part in. He made it seem effortless. Who’s gonna play me now? He was perfect for that role.

RIP, man. You will be missed.

Five last flicks I saw

It’s been a while since I did this, so here are the last five flicks I saw.

World War Z (2013)WWZ
This. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Not a zombie movie. But THIS zombie movie. The albeit cheesy title made me think that this was just another fundraiser for some Jewish wedding in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s not a good zombie movie, it’s a great movie. It has story and depth, and comes across as the exception to the rule of zombie movies necessarily having to be superficial.

Without going into much detail, I found that WWZ had intriguing plot twists that I couldn’t predict, which is getting harder and harder to come by in the average film industry. It had a solid variation of pace, which really made the experience enjoyable. You got your cheap thrills, awe, teh funny and edge-of-the-seat shit scary. The pacing of this film really drew me into it. I laughed out loud (along with a couple of other nerds) when there was a recognizable Left 4 Dead moment towards the end, and it was also nice to see Gollum back in the game:

Mireille Enos and Gollum

Mireille Enos in WWZ and Gollum

What’s up with all the skinny chicks in Hollywood at the moment? Have a burger, already!

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)Star Trek Into Darkness
We caught this movie in 3D, because every time you see a movie poster these days you’re confronted with serious doubt; “if I see the 2D version, how much am I missing out on?”

In this film, not that much. There’s one scene the first five minutes that is worthwhile in 3D, where an arrow literally hits you in the face. Apart from that, you’re just struggling to find out where the camera man wants you to focus at any given moment. I sincerely feel this is taking something away from the art of cinema, when you cannot even “look around” to get a feel of the atmosphere from the surroundings. Instead you’re continuously looking for the focus spot in all shots, making it more of a chore and less entertainment. There’s the hospital scene where the camera is composing a classic foreground, focus, background shot that does not work at all in the 3D version, because the blurry blob in the foreground is visually pushed into your face. Of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Just don’t be a fucking moron, is all I’m saying. 3D is a fad.

Apart from that I never really got the same sense of Star Trek-ness that I did with the first chapter of this reboot, which is a whole lot better. This film can be a Star Trek movie, and it does have an intriguing story, but I felt it was more like a sci-fi/action movie in general than a Star Trek movie in particular. Walking out of the theatre I was sort of dazed, and felt I was missing the story. Perhaps the 3D just made me exhausted. It’s worth watching if you’re into Star Trek or J.J. Abrams! Other than that, you can do better.

Man of Steel (2013)Man of Steel
When we first saw the trailer for this film in, I believe, the screening of the above Star Trek flick, we immediately decided to get tickets for it. Lady C is a fan of the Smallville and the two penultimate films, while I’m more nostalgic and think the modern renditions are pretty lame. I somehow feel that Superman belongs in the nuclear age, circa 1950-60, when Americans were proud Americans and rightly so in the eyes of the (western) world. Putting that Superman into our world is just cheesy and sort of childish. While the Smallville franchise is more like watching Friends. Might as well just watch Friends, then.

But the trailer to Man of Steel promised more. It promised to take away the gloss of the 1950 super hero and get real dark about it, similar to the promise (and execution) of HBO’s Mad Men. Great, I love that shit. Put it on!

And this film delivered. I walked out of the theatre feeling that I could believe in Superman again. That there is hope (they won’t fuck this up). I have two nitpicky points to make though. The death scene of his father is totally wrong. Nobody bought it. In fact, taking that shit out of the movie and not mentioning anything more about his death would make it a lot better. “But Americans are fat and dumb” you say, “and need everything explained IN CAPITAL LETTERS.” I don’t know.

The second and more pressing point is this: When you are rebooting this series, with a Superman/Batman movie on the horizon, why on God’s green earth would you still include the love story? WHICH DOES NOT WORK with the above realism at all. We have just watched how Superman isn’t just from another planet, he is an alien, and the Lane/Superman coupling is taking the term interracial to a whole new level. She might as well just marry an orangutan, which is much much closer to her own species than her extraterrestrial Superbuns. Also, wouldn’t the movie be cooler if they just had a professional relationship?

But Lois Lane is from the 1950s, and comes across as an easy lay.

What’s up with the CGI cape, people? I mean, come on! And finally, Lady C adds; What is the meaning of making a huge point that 1 little soldier is saved from the bad guys, when some 150 million people died in the making of this movie? While they are all fair points, I find that it doesn’t detract from the entertainment value and interesting reboot of this great genre of films. And I can’t wait to see more! (Note: We saw the 2D version and was pleased that it offered a sane viewing experience. Get off my lawn!)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)Hansel and Gretel
As you can imagine, this is another one of Lady C‘s recommendations. Coming from the sick mind of Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow (2009), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Good thing I didn’t expect too much, then.

Because it is exactly like Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and every other placid, shitty rape of genuinely good stories. This movie tries to be a supernatural Firefly, and fails completely, because it its production screams “make us money” and lacks any charm whatsoever. If you’re into this shit, you will learn the error of your ways once you grow a little older. Say, after you’ve finished Junior High.

Enemy of the State (1998)flick-enstate
I don’t think I have written about this movie ever, even though it is a long time favourite of mine. I have it on VHS, DVD and Bluray, and last night we happened to watch it on television. This movie is better than most people think. It doesn’t try to make technology godlike, as in the intellectual abortion of J.J. Abrams in Person of Interest, while not dumbing it down to Schwarzenegger-level either (the keyboard has a backdoor so you can wipe the hard drive and implode the city). It simply shows some existing technology and focuses on its implications, not its fancy tricks. Story-telling, people. What happened to it?

It doesn’t require that much great acting (though Will Smith and Gene Hackman are cool) since it is a thriller, but it is a great thriller from beginning to end, and I’ll watch it again when I have the time. I’ve probably seen it more than 30 times already.

What’s more, you won’t find a big American title like this after 9/11. Since USA and most European govts went all 1984 with public opinion’s reluctant approval, an intelligent film about the matter won’t reappear until the political winds have changed and people start thinking again. Give it a decade. I find this circumstance makes this movie even more entertaining, it is a really good production on an intelligent subject, with a captivating story. Well done!
(It’s quite obvious now that I wrote this post BEFORE Snowden and the NSA revelations. It just got even more current, which is exactly what this film deserves. It’s a nice Saturday night film if you’re staying in.)

Since I was away at the time he died, I just wanted to add R.I.P. James Gandolfini. The Tony Soprano character really re-created the mobster genre in the long wake after the Godfather trilogy, and was and still is a great inspiration to me. The thought of Antony Sopranos not being a part of my life is not something I can really imagine. Thank you, Jimmy!