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Superhero Problems – Batman’s Got a Problem

January 8, 2013

Superhero Problems 2

Toy Considerations provided by my son.

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You Wouldn’t Like me When I’m Angry and Watching Movies

January 2, 2013

 

looperAs a new dad my time is limited where entertainment is concerned.  I love movies, but can never find the time to watch them.  I love books but can’t find the time to read.  I like to draw, but my primary medium of late is coloring books.  I’m not complaining, it is simply a fact of life.

ruby sparksSo, when I find that rare 2-hour period to watch a film, I try to make the best possible choice.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve had three occasions to watch a new film; Django Unchained, Ruby Sparks, and Looper.  People would say it’s impossible to compare these three very different films, a period revenge fantasy, a time travel ‘would you kill Hitler given the opportunity’ film, and a romantic dramedy about a dream girl spontaneously created from one man’s imagination, but you’d be wrong.  It’s easy. All three endings  fall quite short of expectations when you consider their very ambitious plots.  All three films give in to the easy Hollywood ending.  In true American form, they give us a protagonist that gets the girl, the cash, the revenge, the treasure, and gets everything he or she ever wanted.  This is my biggest problem with American cinema of late.  There is no real fear, because Universal pictures, Sony, Disney, MGM,  will not let the protagonist lose.  Sure, the Police detective’s partner will always die, and it might seem like the couple will never get back together in time for the wedding, but you know they will.

I’d like to offer some alternatives to these three films, where you might sit a little closer to the edge of your seat:

time crimesInstead of Looper watch Time Crimes (Los cronocrímenes), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480669/ . Time Crimes explores the concept of paradoxes, fate, and avoidance of your fate through time travel in such tragic and moving ways.  When you get to the end, you’ll want to put it on again to see what you missed in the first half hour.  This film could very easily have been called Looper, and I’d be willing to say it out loops Looper at least three times over.

sliding doorsInstead of Ruby Sparks watch Sliding Doors.  Ruby Sparks, which was a wonderful film, is 104 minutes long.  It should have ended at 103 and it would have been perfect.  I’m not going to say anything beyond that, because it is a wonderful film, as I say again, and I do not want to spoil the end.   Sliding doors is another very engaging romantic comedy with a Sci-fi twist, which explores alternate universe possibilities for a woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow.  The film follows two timelines, using whether or not she makes it onto a train as the divergent moment.

Instead of Django Unchained watch The Great Silence (Il Grande Silenzio) – www.imdb.com/title/tt0063032/ –  directed by Sergio Corbucci . Really, you can go see any spaghetti western though.  Europeans, particularly Italian directors, were enamored with our wild west.  It was one of the last places on earth that ‘civilized’ man had yet great silenceto conquer in the 1800s.  It was a lawless place where men and women did what they needed to in order to survive.  Tarantino embraced the anarchy and grey morals of the spaghetti western, but then disregarded it quickly in favor of cartoonish violence … There was so much blood in one of the final scenes that I thought I was watching Evil Dead 2.

There is a formula to a Tarantino film.  The formula is as follows:

-Everybody wants something and is willing to kill for it.

-Everybody experiences small side adventures/ horrors on the way to what they want.

-Everybody still living converges on one location and has a witty conversation for about an hour.

-Everybody pulls out their guns.

-Everybody dies except for one (maybe two) people.

-A really cool retro song, which will enjoy a sales spike on itunes,  will bring the closing credits up as the survivors ride off into the sunset.

I’m not knocking Tarantino.  I  like the formula.  I like the witty dialogue.  I like his ability to take a character that should be a villain in any other film, and make the audience care about him or her.  All I’m saying is that there are other films that don’t adhere to his formula which might surprise you like The Great Silence.

Membrosia & Deathsticks: Star Wars Ep. VII?!?

December 20, 2012

Wes Anderson Star Wars

Star Wars Episode VII has quite a few fan boys and girls clamoring for information. Who will write? Who will direct? Will it pick up right from the end of Return of the Jedi?

I have none of these answers. What I do have are a few “What if?” scenarios considering how my favorite (and no-so-favorite) directors might tackle a film in the Star Wars Universe. So I wonder, what it would be like if Jim Jarmusch directed the next Star Wars Installment?

“Membrosia and Deathsticks” – Star Wars Episode VII by Jim Jarmusch

Jarmusch’s take on the Star Wars universe would be a veritable tour of the many galaxies touched by the Empire, the Rebellion and their seemingly never-ending war. The film would consist of four 1/2 hour scenes, each scene would feature the same conversations between two iconic SW characters as they meet and converse over membrosia, a Star Wars universe alcoholic beverage, and deathsticks, the Star Wars annoyingly obvious cigarette substitute. These conversations would focus on what each of the two characters think about the interim leadership of Luke Skywalker now that Emperor Palpatine is dead. The first scene would feature a bruised and battered Boba Fett, revealed to have blasted his way from the Sarlacc Pit’s digestive track talking with a Jawa, who is trying to sell a carbonite storage system on Tatooine. The second scene would feature Luke and Leia on Coruscant in the Jedi Temple arguing over who’s going to lead the Jedi. The third would be Ghost Yoda and Ghost Ben in the afterlife on Daghoba, and the last scene would feature Chewbacca and Wicket, both speaking their native languages, with no subtitles, over a game of holo-chess. All CG characters would be portrayed by Roberto Benigni. The script would be 15 pages, but the film would be exactly 120 minutes long. The credits would read “Jim Jarmusch thanks you for taking the time to watch his space movie.”

Wes Anderson“Batch ST987 Star Wars Episode 7” would be about a batch of Storm Trooper clones that matured with a twist to their genetic soup. In the virtual education phase of their development before being assigned to the various tasks they would perform on the Death Star 3.0, they were exposed one wrong holodisc. What should have been alien languages R through U, was actually a collection of the galaxy’s best stand up performers. As a result, the empire experiences something which they never have before, laughter. The film will feature all of Anderson’s trademark camera moves; The Goddard swish pan, the Truffaut thoughtful pause, and the Fellini tracking shots. The proudest moment Anderson will experience will be during the long take featuring a built-to-scale cross-section of the Death Star 3.0 as he tracks a Storm trooper from level to level attempting to make it to the one comedy club on board before they close the list for performers that night. This scene will feature a classic Brigitte Bardot song ‘L’appareil à sous’ listen to it here à http://youtu.be/tMCfnLAKRl8

Paul Thomas Anderson will begin production on Star Wars Episode VII – working title “The Universe,” but will never complete it. It will devour the rest of his life as he is never satisfied with it. Feeling incomplete, he will continuously add more and more and more characters. Only one screening will ever occur after Paul Thomas Anderson’s mysterious death, and it will be for George Lucas, who will utter this phrase after seeing Star Wars – The Universe. “Jar Jar, I’m sorry. I didn’t know…”

Michael Bay’s episode VII “The Force” is about a race of robots from another space quadrant who are able to transform into x-wing fighters, star destroyers, land rovers, etc. This new race consists of both good and evil robots which have been locked in battle since their home planet Robotron was destroyed. The humanoid protagonists will be played by Shia Labeouf and some random model from the latest Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The Force will feature many swish panning cameras, explosions, and characters longingly staring at each other while the camera pans and things explode. It will gross all the money on the planet, but have no story whatsoever.

Wacky Wookie Weed....

Wacky Wookie Weed….

David Gordon Green‘s take, Falcon Express, would be about a process-server working for the new republic played by Danny McBride and Wicket, his Ewok marijuana dealer, who winds up on the run from Chewbacca after stealing the Millennium Falcon, after they witness a corrupt Storm trooper murder an even more corrupt Jedi while trying to serve papers to him. It’s a Sci-Fi Drama.

Hope you enjoyed my what ifs. Please feel free to share your own in the comments below.

(Some of these concepts were contributed by an awesome writer I know, Apryl Lee, my wife.)

Much Ado About a Release Date!

November 30, 2012

muchadomovie

Joss Whedon’s self-proclaimed ‘fancy’ film thrived in the film festival circuit and is on its way to a theater near you on June 7th 2013!  Being a bit of a Shakespeare nut, I can’t wait to see what one of my favorite superhero demon-fighter TV Movie writer directors is going to do with the Bard’s work.

Whedon’s Much Ado is a modern take and  will feature Whedon veteran players Like Amy Acker and Nathan Fillion along with some recent additions to the Whedon-verse such as Clark Gregg from the Avengers, and some even newer faces, like Jillian Morgese as Hero.

Given my love of comics, theater, TV and films, I think this might just be the perfect film for me.  I might not need to see another film ever again after this.

For more info: http://muchadothemovie.com/

 

Superhero Problems

November 19, 2012

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Krypton! With a C-R-I? Well, actually, it’s Krypton with a K-R-Y-P-T-O-N.

November 6, 2012

Krypton is real!  They’ve found it! Well, sort of.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York City, was tasked by DC comics with finding an actual location that the planet Krypton could exist.  After some celestial searching, he found a planet orbiting  the red dwarf star LHS 2520, a cooler and smaller sun than ours.  As an added bonus, Tyson will appear in the next issue of Action Comics #14, titled “Star Light, Star Bright” which comes out Wednesday November 7th.

Up next hopefully we can find Themyscira, Atlantis, or the Bat Cave.

For a full article on the discovery of Krypton, please see: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=supermans-home-planet-krypton

Abbott & Costello Meet Anderson & Tarantino – The Blogging Dead!

October 27, 2012

The Super Ultimate 2012 Cast!

I’m embarrassed to reveal that I never saw Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein until last week. Dave Ebersol (@debersol) , A great writer, playwright, and graphic novelist, told me it was a part of his Halloween tradition, so I said “I should check this thing out.” So I did.

To make a long story short, it was frickin’ hilarious. There really isn’t much else to say.

Except…

Viewers today call the Joss Whedon film The Avengers a super-film, because it brought together lead characters from multiple film franchises. Well, I believe this might have been the original super film. Abbott and Costello were regarded as comic geniuses in their own time. Pairing them with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney who had smash horror films made for an instant Hollywood Classic.

Thinking about this and the recent success of the Avengers, I wondered what a remake of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein might look like in the hands of some of the best directors working today, and this is what I came up with.

Paul Thomas Anderson cast:
Abbot – Philip Seymour Hoffmann
Costello – Adam Sandler
Dracula – Philip Baker Hall
Frankenstein – John C. Reilly
Wolfman – Luis Guzmann
Dr. Sandra Mornay – Julianne Moore

P.T.A. would tell a multi-layered story centering on their multiple lives intersecting on a dark and stormy night.

Quentin Tanantino cast:
Abbot – Uma Thurman
Costello – Bruce Willis Samuel Jackson (edit)
Dracula – Christoph Waltz
Frankenstein – John Travolta
Wolfman – Quentin Tanantino
Dr. Sandra Mornay – Tim Roth

Quentin’s interpretation would take place in down town LA, and remain true to the original, except for the drugs,gratuitous violence, long pointless snappy dialogue, and incessant vulgarity.

Judd Apatow cast
Abbot – James Franco
Costello – Seth Rogan
Dracula – Steve Carell
Frankenstein – Jason Segel
Wolfman – Paul Rudd
Dr. Sandra Mornay – Katherine Keener

The Apatow version would be really funny, but ultimately a sappy in the last five minutes.

Spielberg cast:
Abbot – Tom hanks
Costello- Tom Cruise
Dracula – Tom Cruise
Frankenstein- Tom Hanks
Wolfman – Leonardo DiCaprio
Dr. Sandra Mornay – A computer generated female, who would go on to marry Tom Cruise.

Spielberg’s will be GREAT, but a year later you’ll struggle to remember what it was about.

Muppet cast:
Abbot – Kermit
Costello – Fozzy
Dracula- The count
Frankenstein – Christian Bale
Wolfman – Animal
Dr. Sandra Mornay – Janice

Christian Bale will be all ‘method’ and declare that he’ll never work with Fozzy Bear ever again.

Wes Anderson Cast:
Abbot – Owen Wilson
Costello – Luke Wilson
Dracula – Gene Hackman
Frankenstein – Bill Murray
Wolfman – Kumar Pallana (Mr. Littlejeans/ Pagoda)
Dr. Sandra Mornay – Angelica Houston

Wes’ will have lots of zooming, New Wave inspired swish pans, and quirky quirkiness. It’ll win ALL the Oscars.

Let me know if you have any other Super Casts you can think of!