Thursday, August 21, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Automata


I really like the trailer for this film. 

A lot. It's not like it's wildly original or anything, there's definite shades of Blade Runner here, not to mention a general Gilliam/Blomkamp aesthetic going on. It kind of looks like what you would've wanted from I, Robot... if it hadn't sucked. I'm generally a big fan of the various elements on display here individually, of course, but I really like the way they've all been put together here specifically. I've never seen anything by Director Gabe Ibanez before, but I think I'm going to have to change that and check out some of his other stuff, because this looks good. Really good.

The film's synopsis goes as thus: Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) is an insurance agent for ROC robotics corporation, investigating what should be a routine case of someone illegally modifying a robot. What he discovers instead will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

Okay, sure, nothing too shocking there, right? I mean, you can probably guess what the oh so mysterious thing he discovers is going to be without even seeing the trailer. Seriously, people, never trust a robot, that's just human survival 101... But like I said above, yes, it's not exactly original, but it does look really fun. At least I think so. And Antonio Banderas looks ready, don't you think? He looks right for the world of the film. Melanie Griffith, on the other hand, looks a little more rough. I mean, I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but I couldn't really tell if her face was supposed to be all weird due to special effects, or if it's just the horrifying result of way too much plastic surgery. That shit is sad, man. She looks like she's had a stroke.

Whatever. Either way, I'm in.

Let's take a look at the trailer, eh?



Was I right or was I right? Pretty cool, huh?

I'm definitely looking forward to this one,
Jon

Friday, August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: A Who's Who



So, by now I'm sure most of you out there are all well aware that I am more than a little excited for The Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I've mentioned it here and I've mentioned it here too, probably a few other places as well. Yeah, old news, right? What can I say? I tend to obsess a bit. Whatever. All that having been said, it occurs to me that no matter how often I've spazzed-out over this recently, I bet there's still a few of you out there who are all like...



Well, good news, kids, because today I'm gonna lay it all out for you. Today, I'm gonna tell you all exactly what it is that I've been "talkin bout". You're welcome. My pleasure. Especially since the movie opens today... Convenient, right? So, pull up a chair and let's get to it, okay? Great. To begin, let's start off with the latest trailer. I like this one. It's very indicative of Director James Gunn's particular joie de vivre (He's a big reason to watch the film, honestly), but it not only sets the tone of the film, it also does a good job of laying out the story.

Let's watch. Cool?



So what do you think? Looks pretty Star Wars like, right? Totally. But in a good way, I think. What we're seeing here is a good old fashioned epic Space Opera and it's been a long time since we've seen one of these. Think Star Wars, but pulpier. Think Indiana Jones, in space. Hell, think Ghostbusters meets Galaxy Quest, ya' get me? You see what I'm saying here, right? It's got some good comedy and it's got some good action. It looks fun, at least I think so (obviously). And the initial responses have been very positive, and not in a frothing hyperbolic geek type way either, people seem to have really enjoyed it. There's a lot of positive comparisons to the films I mentioned above. So what does that mean to you? Well, here's how I look at stuff like this, folks; this is how I weigh critical responses from a large group. The secret is, it's all about tone. I look at the tone across the board, and in this case, the tone is very consistently positive. Sometimes that says a lot more than any particular individual reaction. In a nutshell: I'm hearing good things.

Interested yet? Yes? No? Maybe?

Well, at least you're still reading... So, let's take another minute here and check out the video posted below. This is a quick featurette that helps to introduce some of the main characters.


So awesome. I love it. Plus, the film is surprisingly star-packed, right? And also, I think...it seems pretty familiar once you get a look at it right? Of course it does. The film, the setting, the characters, they may look strange, but it's all working with some classic themes and tropes. This is stuff you will recognize and relate to, so don't let the aesthetics throw you. And for those of you out there who aren't the biggest superhero movie fans, this one is more Star Wars than Avengers, if that helps. Does that help? Do you need more?

I haven't seen the film yet (I plan on going on Sunday), but what the hell, I can make some guesses. How about I break it down for you with a little character break-down...

WHO'S WHO?

Star-Lord


I've always hated this particular code-name, it's awkward and dumb, but it's a good nod to its pulpy roots. Besides, I've always like the character of Peter Quill. He's your basic Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, John Crichton type of character, the only difference (at least in the film) is that he left Earth as a kid and has grown up among a band of mercenary outlaws in space. Which would be really awesome, I think. He's your standard-issue charming rogue, swaggering and cocky and a little over-confident, your basic Han Solo... basically, but with the added wrinkle being that he knows about Star Wars and cockily considers himself a "Han Solo". In a nutshell, he's the audience... ahem... Anyway, Quill is being played by Chris Pratt. He plays Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec, and as everyone of taste knows, he is hilarious. The only downside is, it's hard not to see his version of Peter Quill as just the Adventures of Burt Macklin, FBI... in space. Not that that is a bad thing either...

Drax the Destroyer


Drax is a weird character. I'm not really clear on how much of his past they're actually going to be using in the film. I'm not 100% on it in the comic either, but as I understand it (without bothering to google, because who cares), he used to be an astronaut or something, a human guy, basically, but then Thanos killed him and his family and he somehow ended up in this super strong alien body... as you would expect. Then, perhaps understandably, he went nuts and vowed revenge, probably right before muttering: "Also... fuck shirts." From the trailer, it looks like they're only going to use that last "revenge" aspect, plus the shirt bit. Drax is being played by Dave Bautista and normally I'd be a little snarky about that, because... duh... but from everything I've seen so far, his delivery seems like it's gonna be super funny. I hear he's great. I'll just assume he can pull the action stuff off, right? I mean, look at him... the guy is a monster, which is why I tease him from the safety of the Internet only.

Gamora


Gamora is the daughter of Thanos, the Mad Titan... I know, I know: "Who?" Relax. I'll get to that. Anyway, she's the daughter of Thanos and she has been raised from birth to be the perfect killer. Okay, she's not really his daughter, not by blood at least, but when Thanos says you're his daughter, well... it's decided. Which is probably bad news for your actual parents, since they're probably dead. Anyway, she's a bad ass of the highest degree. She's a killer-diller, people. Look out. In the comics she was originally dressed in a massive cape, two straps, a belt, and a band-aid, so kudos to the folks behind the scenes who have recently put the character in pants. She is played by Zoe Saldana, who at this point deserves some kind of award because she has been working her ass off to be in all the sci-fi movies she can. I think she's been in a billion of them at this point... or four, actually... whatever. Shut up.

Rocket Raccoon


You people are going to love Rocket Raccoon. Y'see, he's a raccoon and he like, burps and farts and swears and stuff. You'll love it. Seriously though, he's awesome. I'm not clear if he's an alien that looks like a raccoon, or a raccoon from Earth that's been kidnapped and augmented, but... six of one, half a dozen of the other, amirite? He's a bounty hunter who likes big guns. It's probably fair to say that Rocket is the type of character who likes two things: Kicking ass and chewing bubble gum... and he's all out of bubble gum, pal. Interesting side-note: Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper, which seems like the most ridiculous, out-of-left field choice you could think of, but when you hear it? I didn't expect it, but it seems to work.

Groot


Groot is an... odd character. He's a living tree, kind of like an Ent from Lord of the Rings, but not really, because he's in space. If he gets blown up and a splinter is recovered and potted and watered regularly and gets plenty of sun, he will grow back. That's definitely a species bonus. The downside for me, of course, is that I would probably be considered the worst monster their species has ever known (I'm not a good gardener, see?). Also, he can only say one single phrase: "I am Groot", just those three words and only in that order, but every utterance is layered with deep and specific meaning. He's Rocket's partner in crime. He's funny and sweet, but is strong enough to "pull the ears off a gundark", to use the classic parlance. Groot is played by Vin Deisel, Senor Fast and Furious himself, a man who has spent the last few years desperately trying to get Marvel to like him. So, congratulations, Vin, my man! You have finally succeeded, and all it took was your pride.

Yondu


Everybody loves Michael Rooker, and by "everybody", I mean nerds mostly. He's a current "It Geek". I'm not sure why. I don't disapprove at all, I myself am a nerd and so therefore like him, I'm just not sure of the specifics as to why we're all so hot on him. Whatever. Bottom line: The people love him. So, when it was announced that he was playing Yondu, folks gleefully shit themselves, because... yeah... like I said: mystery. Anyway, Yondu is maybe the one character in the film who's not like his source material at all. In the comics, Yondu was on the original Guardians of the team and that comic took place in the year 3000-something, and he was from a species that was very tribal and favored energy bows. Also, his people have giant red fins on their heads, and as you can plainly see in the picture above... no fin. It's more of a... stubby mohawk, I guess? Because of that bit and the fact that the film takes place in modern times, not the far flung future... he's different. Non-canon, as the kids say. In the film, Yondu apparently leads a gang of mercenary outlaws called The Ravagers. He raises Peter Quill, and he starts chasing Quill across the galaxy after Quill steals a certain valuable orb from him. I will just go ahead and assume it's the one in the picture above.

Corpsman Rhomann Dey


Wait. I take that back, Rhomann Dey might be the character the most changed from his source material. In the comics, he's the guy who pulls a Green Lantern origin story basically, and makes Richard Rider into the hero Nova, a character who doesn't appear in this movie and as a result, is not important information for you to retain. Forget I said anything! Ahem... Dey is part of the Nova Corps. They're space cops. From the trailer, he seems like he's going to be playing the part of the put-upon and somewhat wry career cop who occasional appears and is wry, oh how the harsh realities of life on the space beat have ground him down... Somewhat fittingly, he is being played by John C. Reilly.

Nova Prime Irani Rael


Whoa. That's Glenn Close, and she's playing Nova Prime Irani Rael. What? Who? How? Don't worry about it, it's just one more person in the craziest cast for this type of movie ever. Anyway, as you can probably guess from the "Prime" in her name, Rael is in charge of the Nova Corps, at least in the movie. In the comics? I don't know. And it doesn't really matter. Moving on. Glenn Close, man!

Nebula


Like Gamora, Nebula is another daughter of Thanos. ("Who?" Shut up...) Also like Gamora, she isn't really Thanos' daughter, but close enough. Also, still very much like Gamora (jesus lady, get your own schtick...), she will easily kill the shit out of you and everyone else you're hanging out with. Naturally, all of this can only mean one thing: GIRL FIGHT TONIGHT! Green vs. Blue, bitches. Get ready. And in an "interesting" crossing of the streams, Nebula is being played by Karen Gillan. She played Amy Pond, everyone's favorite companion to the Doctor, so all this alien whosa-whatsis-hoo-haa is old hat to her. Plus, she actually shaved her head for the role and looked phenomenal afterwards. That's extra bonus points.

The Collector


If you happened to stick around through the credits of Thor: The Dark World, you might remember a scene with Benecio Del Toro dressed up like a weirdo and acting like a crazy person. Well, mostly that was just Benecio Del Toro, but also he was playing a character named Taneleer Tivan. Taneleer Tivan is one of the Elders of the Universe. That group-name kind of makes their whole deal self-explanatory, right? Most likely so does the reason why Taneleer Tivan is often called "The Collector", at least I hope so. He has the Aether thing from Thor's last movie on his ship and the nerd-word on the street says the orb that Peter Quill steals is a similar object of power, and just as rare too, so... perfect for The Collector's collection...

Korath


Korath the Pursuer is a bio-augmented hunter/soldier. From what I can tell from the trailer, he is also after Peter Quill for the orb. Notice the pattern here, people... I'm pretty sure he's in the employ of a person named Ronan the Accuser, who I'll introduce next. Ronan is in the employee of Thanos, the Mad Titan (I'll get to him too, I promise). I don't really know anything else about him though. He's a mid-level bad guy, I think, basically inconsequential I would assume. He's the one the heroes deal with early on, before the main bad guy gets there. Korath is played by Djimon Hounsou, who was in Blood Diamond, which was a dumb movie that decided the guy who was trying to save his kidnapped son from being forced into becoming a child soldier should really be the secondary character to Leo Dicaprio's arc-less mercenary character. It was kind of weird, but he's good.

Ronan the Accuser


Ronan the Accusar is part of a race of aliens called the Kree, you might remember them being mentioned once on Agents of SHIELD (BOOOO!), unless you have taste, in which case you don't watch that show. Anyway, he belongs to the Kree's elite Accuser Corps, they are a bunch of really strict military governors and hard-ass judges who carry these huge hammers and smite people left and right. He's a major ass-kicker and kind of a dick. I don't know if they're going to mention any of that though. Well, probably the ass-kicker part, that's a good bet, and that he's a dick, although that might be self-evident...but the rest? Probably not. Especially because, in the comics, the Kree all serve the Supreme Intelligence, which is a giant blobby biological organism in a huge water-filled tank that contains the totality of the Kree's knowledge and wisdom. In the movie though, Ronan appears to be working for Thanos, the Mad Titan (wait for it...). Ronan wants the orb and he knows Peter Quill has it, and he's willing to burn everything to cinders in order to get it. He's played by Lee Pace, who was the best part of the last Hobbit movie, except for Smaug, of course.

Thanos, the Mad Titan


Finally! Right?

Okay so, Thanos is the big bad guy behind all of this. You already caught a quick glimpse of him at the end of the Avengers and you will probably catch a glimpse or two of him in this film as well, maybe as much as a quick scene at the end. You can expect him to be the main bad guy in Avengers 3. Why? Because Thanos, the Mad Titan is a genocidal tyrant. He kills planets. He destroys entire species. He talks during movies. He'll knock your ice cream out of your hand. He takes his sweet-ass time backing out of his parking spot, even though he knows you're waiting for it. He's evil, people. EVIL. He wants nothing more than to wipe us all out and rule over the ashes. So what's his deal? What's his end-game? And why does he want the orb so badly, the one that Peter Quill happened to steal from Yondu on a whim? Well, supposedly this orb, plus the Aether that appeared in Thor 2, and the gem on Loki's staff in the Avengers movie, not to mention the Tesseract from both the 1st Captain America movie and the Avengers movie, are all specific objects of power that in the comic book are known as the Infinity Gems. They are things of great, great power. There are six of them and together they can be assembled into this golden gauntlet called--unsurprisingly--the Infinity Gauntlet, and when that happens... the very pillars of heaven quake. The Infinity Gauntlet gives the wielder total and complete power over reality. Total power. It's basically the last thing in the entire universe you want a crazy-ass, bloody-minded, psychotic Space Tyrant to get ahold of. And the weirdest part of all of this? Thanos is being played by Josh Brolin

Look, just go see the movie. It'll be fun.

We'll talk after,
Jon

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What's new with me. What's new with you?

I've been putting off doing one of these for awhile now, mostly because things have been up in the air a bit lately, but it's just been too long, right? What am I talking about? You long time readers out there can probably guess what's coming... that's right, kids, it's time for some...


Yep. What's up with me? What's up with my writing?

For those of you who follow the Scribblerati blog, you've probably heard about how I recently broke my computer by accidentally shoving it off the edge of the table. This was a bit of a derailment as far as my writing was concerned. At the time, I was in the middle of a new book/thing and it was during a part that was being particularly difficult, so the forced time off during the repair process pretty much sent that writing project flaming and smoking straight into the ditch. I tried to yank it back out of there. I tried to get the engine to kick over and get her back on the road, but... well... 


...I think it's done. At least for now.

So what's next?

I'm working on it. I have identified four (4) ideas that are basically ready to be worked on. Five, if you count The Impossible Virginia Dare, but I don't. That book has been blown up by two different and successful pieces of genre-work so far. Lev Grossman's excellent Magicians series killed my idea for an outcast teen at an American School of Magic-based book, even though it was about different shit and had more to do with alternate dimensions, it was still covering enough of the same ground to make me uncomfortable. Then the fantastic TV show Orphan Black came along with their really cool clone-based story line and detonated my alternate dimension versions of the same person all warring against each other story. Again, it wasn't exactly the same, but fuck it... close enough. In today's market, why step up to the plate with one strike already against you, right? I figure, who needs the comparison, even if it's not an entirely correct one. The world has no time for nuances, people. I haven't completely given up on the story, of course. There's a good character there, there's good ideas there, but it's all in pieces right now, and so I'm stuck in a holding pattern with the story, waiting to see if it's going to show me a new shape or not. Fingers crossed. We'll see...

In the meantime, like I said, I have four ideas that could develop into viable novels...

One is a space opera/broken earth dual story idea that's a spin-off from a couple of short stories I've done, I guess it could be classified as a long distance romance. Another is a dystopian-future crime story based off an article about civilians trespassing on Army artillery ranges in order to salvage scrap metal. The third is fantasy novel about a group of common soldiers trying to walk home through a ravaged countryside after their side loses a vicious war for the crown. The fourth and final one is a super villain heist story. My plan is to write the 1st chapters of each one, just to work the muscles out a little and jumpstart the idea juices a bit and then hopefully I can use that energy to start drafting some outlines. We'll play it by ear, best case scenario, I end up with four ideas pre-packaged and ready to go. Worst case... whatever.

I've already written one. It went well. Three more to go.

Once I've finished that little idea/project, then I'll be moving on to 2nd drafting my book Monsters. You might remember me talking about it from a while back, it was the one that was basically a fantasy Dirty Dozen vs. a Dragon in a post-apocalyptic future rife with wild magic. For you new kids out there, the end result was that I wasn't all that happy with the 1st draft, not to mention the title, so I set it aside to percolate a bit. It's been over a year or so, and in the time since I've had some pretty good new ideas on it, so I think I'm ready to start rewriting/re-drafting it. I've also come up with a new title. 

I'm calling it: Agatha Ironhand.


After that, well... that's several ideas down the road, so whatever. I still plan of re-visiting Gunslingers of the Apocalypse and final drafting that off the last critique I got, but that book's kind of trunked, so no big rush. The zeitgeist has moved on, y'know? I do have a couple of other ideas, but they're still baby-ideas. They're not even crawling, let alone defining their own worlds for me, so they're all on the backburner for now.


Last, but not least, my short story Harris is back again with the good people at Onyx Neon. Here's my author's interview with them... I'm so charming. Anyway, you might recall that they originally published it in their short story collection Cifiscape Vol. II, which you can purchase right here

Or... you can wait.

Y'see, that's the big news here, my friends, Onyx Neon is now doing an on-line short story initiative called Onyx Neon Shorts (Got a short story to submit? Click here), so in just a short amount of time you'll be able to purchase my short story and download it directly to your e-reader thingy. Welcome to the future, people. I am your King. I know a lot of you out there have wanted to give me some of your money for quite some time now, well... here's your chance. Don't let it pass you by. No one wants to look back on that kind of regret.

And that's it, that's what's up with me.

What's up with you?
Jon

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Gone Girl (2nd Trailer)


Yesterday I talked about how much I loved the films of Terry Gilliam and how I expect to love his upcoming film Zero Theorem too. Well, I love the films of David Fincher as well, and have an equal expectation that I will love his upcoming film Gone Girl too. Also, just like Terry Gilliam, I have  talked about this love before. Right here, in fact.

And to nail the hat-trick, much like my post yesterday... here's the new trailer.


Yeah, I'm really looking forward to this film. I'm hoping to get a chance to read the book first, of course, and I probably will. It'll probably be next, I think. I have bumped it up in the To-Be Read stack. Like everybody else out there, I've heard mostly good stuff, of course, so I'm looking forward to it. I've heard some people complain that the characters are too unlikable, but I usually ignore critiques of that type. Much like my politicians, I don't feel the need to be able to have a comfortable beer with my fictional characters before I can enjoy their story. I have also heard a few complaints about the book's ending from some reliable sources, but author Gillian Flynn has said that she actually rewrote it for the film...? Having not read the book yet, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's certainly an interesting thing.

We'll see, I guess. I'm excited to find out.


Let me know what you think,
Jon

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Zero Theorem (2nd trailer)


I keep forgetting this film exists and is out there... or at least, soon will be... I've mentioned the film before now, of course, right here. How could I not? It's Terry Gilliam, and it is a well established fact that I love me some Terry Gilliam. Not only is he a Python alum, but his filmography is the bleeding edge of imaginative and cool when it comes to genre work. Don't believe me, take a look.

See? I told you.

The reason I keep forgetting about this film is because Terry Gilliam films take awhile to come out. Mainly due to the fact that the guy has always had problems with getting his stuff made. Legal problems, financial problems, it's almost tradition, his sets are plagued with issues. Heath Ledger died in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. And the obstacles were so constant, so great on the set of his continuing effort to make a Don Quixote film that it was turned into the fantastic documentary Lost in La Mancha, a film that if you haven't seen, you should. Basically, he's a director who's never had it easy when it comes to getting his vision to the screen at all, let alone whole and untouched, and when you add to that the fact that his vision often leaves the more mainstream audience a bit cold, well...


Let's just say his films have become more like rare and special events, something more akin to spotting Bigfoot in the wild. They're worth your time, but they also require your patience. Like I said, they're usually slow to get here. In this case though, Zero Theorem seems to be taking longer than usual. That's why I keep forgetting the film is on the way. That's all right though, because it makes the reminders that much more fresh and exciting, getting a new image or trailer is like re-discovering a Christmas gift you've forgotten to open.

And so... here's the latest trailer.



It's very Gilliam, right?

Probably not that surprising, after all, much like other famous visionary Directors like Wes Anderson, Zach Snyder, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Terrence Malick, or even David O. Russel, Gilliam has an unmistakable style. He's a visionary, and the only worry with brash and unique voices like this, is that they might have bloomed early, screaming for the sky out of nowhere like a sudden firework, blowing up bright and loud, but soon enough fading away. The worry is, the thing that once made them interesting and new will become stodgy and airless, their visionary quirks becoming cliches. I don't know if that's the case here, but I've heard so-so early reviews on this one, a couple saying that at times the film felt like an aging and confused Gilliam complaining about the kids and all their twooting-tweeting-whatsits on their doo-dads and gizmos not looking up at the dinner table, blah-blah-blah. Whatever. What can I say, the man is no spring-chicken, folks, so this is not an unlikely possibility...

However, all that having been said, I'll still be there. I'll take bad Gilliam over most of the shit that hits theatres, so we shall see. Until then, I prefer to think sunny thoughts.


Your pal,
Jon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Mad Max: Fury Road


It's been over a year and a half since I last mentioned this film. And even longer since I first heard it even existed. It's basically been in some form of production for forever now. There was a time when it didn't seem like it was going to happen. Production was delayed. Production was halted. Wars, sand storms, anything and everything that could happen to a film set, seemed to happen to this one. It was almost like the hand of god itself was trying to keep this movie from being made. And yet somehow, against all odds, it persevered, and from the look of this trailer, we're all gonna be the better for it.

But you know what, we'll chat after the jump, okay? For now, let's all just take a moment here to drink in this quick draught of cool and refreshing awesome, shall we?


Fantastic. Amazing.

I loved it. I love the style on display, the action beats, the look. It looks perfect. 

George Miller's Mad Max trilogy is one of the three biggies for me. As a kid, he was one of the ones that blew my mind wide open. He's part of what I call: The Three Georges (Lucas, Miller, and Romero). The three of them all made movies that greatly influenced me, hugely influenced me, both in what I like to watch and what I like to do with my free time. They're the root.

Yeah. I'm a fan.

So, probably somewhat understandably, I was a little worried about this film. Of course I was. Who wouldn't be? Should they even bother? How long has this franchise been dead? Thunderdome was nearly thirty years ago. Plus, didn't The Day After come along with its harsh reality and pretty much kill dead that brief moment in B-film history when the Post-Nuclear Apocalypse was all cool and romantic. Sure, sure, Mad Max and Road Warrior both hinted very heavily at Peak Oil and the resulting Sociological Collapse as being the responsible bogeymen, but time, the influence of American Cold War culture and Thunderdome itself has since firmly rooted the idea of Post-Nuclear War as the Raison d'etre. So, with that in mind, is the topic even relevant anymore? Post-Nuclear Apocalypse is a little like Cyberpunk now, right? Have we moved too far past it for it to even make sense anymore? These were questions I had, fair questions, I think. And that's not even mentioning all the production issues either, like I said, it was like God had a vendetta. The whole production seemingly turned Sisyphean. So, wouldn't it just be better to pull up stakes and go home?

But then I watched this trailer and... yeah, I'm really glad they didn't.

Fuck it, man... it looks fantastic.

I've heard that the film is gonna be a "side-quel", meaning that its story takes place at some point between The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, but with the Interceptor appearing in the beginning of the trailer, I'm not sure how that's even possible. I'm more inclined to believe it's an alternate tale, with the story taking place in lieu of The Road Warrior. I actually kind of like that. Continuity is not that important really, especially in loosely connected stories. In fact, at a certain point it turns into a chain, choking your narrative out and dragging it down into the murk. Continuity is a good story tool, but it can also make the best creators slaves to the worst, so fuck it. There's no need to tie themselves down to a story line that was set up in some movies made over 30 years ago.

Especially when you have a new Max.

And how great does Tom Hardy look, right? He looks perfect. And forget about Tom Hardy, what about Chalize Theron? The make-up? The robot arm? Fantastic. I love it. As for the story, I've heard it described as one long chase, and it looks like there's tons of practical effects going on too. This is all good news, people. All good news. I can't wait.

Count me in as officially excited,
Jon

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Before the Dawn


Hey, good news, people... Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens this weekend, and as most you can probably guess from my previous entries about this film (here, here, and here), I am super-excited. Super excited. I won't bother re-hashing exactly why again, because if you're both unaware at this point and/or just can't be bothered to click through on those links, then let's be honest... you don't give a shit.

But that's cool. 

Just rest assured, I am super excited. So, in preparation for heading out to catch the flick this weekend, I recommend you do two things. 1. Watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes if you haven't seen it yet. Or again, if it's been awhile. It was one of my favorite films of 2011. I found it to be surprisingly good, it worked as an homage, a reboot, and it's own stand-alone film. And 2. You should check out these three videos below. They're not mandatory or anything, but since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up 10 years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, these videos can provide you with a nice little glimpse into just what transpired over the course of that decade as the world tried to deal with the fall-out from the last film.

First up is Quarantine.

This film takes place about 1 year after the outbreak of the Simian Flu. It's about how the first cracks in society to show appeared within families and how, once those started to break apart, order and rules followed soon after. This one seems very mumblecore in tone and presentation, but don't let that hold you back. It's not bad.


Next is All Fall Down (Even through the video is titled: Struggling to Survive... which is weird.)

This one takes place 5 years after the outbreak of the Simian Flu and here's where you really start to see the tattered remnants of the old world finally begin to crash down into a new one. Very atmospheric. I love the decay. Plus, while all of these short films focus on the human side of the intervening 10 years between the feature films and there isn't any ape-action or anything, this one comes the closest and does a good job of hinting at the conflicts that lie ahead.


Finally, we have the Story of the Gun.

This one really spans the whole of the 10 years after the outbreak of the Simian Flu and it's one of those types of things where the story follows a specific item's journey as it passes through various hands. The especially quick-witted out there can probably guess that the item in question is a gun. This is probably the most effective piece of the three (and the longest), and it also hints at the main themes of the upcoming film.


All in all, I really enjoyed all of these. They're really well done. They're focused and they don't try to bound past the limits of their budget or ability. All in all, they're all much, much better than the last couple of short films I've featured here, so... hooray, redemption! Anyway, if you're a fan, be sure to check these out and then head out to the theatres this weekend and see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It's supposed to be great. Fingers crossed.

Can't wait,
Jon