Friday, October 17, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Inherent Vice


With noticeable--and admittedly, perhaps avoidable--shades of Big Lebowski coming along for the ride, here is the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson. When it comes to his work, I am both a huge fan and not a fan at all. He generally makes movies I love, even if I never need to see the majority of them more than once. So, the art and beauty is high, but the re-watchability is low, I guess is what I'm saying. Not always, of course, but often. At least for me. Your own opinion may vary. Whatever the case, he's undoubtedly a fantastic film maker, and after seeing this trailer, I can't wait to see the film. Great cast. Great look. Seems funny. I'm interested. Inherent Vice is based on a book by Thomas Pynchon of the same title (available here). I haven't read it, but it's on my list now.

Here's the synopsis: It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex- girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is just another one of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble... 

I'm a sucker for a hard-luck PI, man. Especially in L.A. Jake. Fletch. Dude. And now Doc. Awesome. I love it. Now, unfortunately some people have taken to calling this type of film "Stoner Noir", but hopefully that's a term that never catches on, because it's stupid.

Fingers crossed. In the meantime, let's check out the trailer...



Can't wait. 
Jon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Interstellar (Final Trailer)


My opinion of Christopher Nolan's various films often vacillates between frustratingly obtuse and out-right genius. Interstellar looks like it's going to fall on the genius side. I hope. I don't know if it was just his general disinterest that killed his third Bat-flick, or if it was just to hard to make a new story after the death of Heath Ledger, or maybe a combination of both, but the result was a terrible mess of a film. Ugly and stupid. It is everything that is bad with the genre. That, plus a litany of bad story choices and behind-the-scene decisions sunk the film. It was almost bad enough to sour a guy's opinion on a film maker. So, with Interstellar, it's good to see that he might be headed back into the realm of "good", and that this might even be his attempt at an Oscar film.

Maybe. We'll see. It certainly seems "epic".

I've mentioned this film before, of course (here and here), but in a nutshell, the story appears to be this: The Earth is dying. We've finally caused too much damage. Matthew McConaughey is an astronaut. He and a crew of other astronauts--including former It Girl turned creepy Glee Club Songstress and Social Pariah, Anne Hathaway--are sent on a mission into deep space, tasked to find a new planet, a new home, all while his daughter--who eventually grows up to be Jessica Chastain--waits for him back home on our slowly dying planet.

Here's the big "story" trailer (a concept I've talked about before).

Let's watch...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Entangled

Here's an interesting short film. It's called Entangled, and it's written and directed by Tony Elliot. He is one of the writers of the super awesome TV show Orphan Black, which I have professed my love for on more than one occasion.




Here's the film's official synopsis from the TIFF site:

Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life.

Sounds interesting, maybe... but why is it called Entangled, you ask? Well, the big hint is the appearance of the word "quantum" in the synopsis. That makes me think the film will deal with something called Quantum Entanglement. It basically (kind of) work like this: One thing existing in two places at the same time. A little more complex than that, but whatever. It's a pretty neat idea, one that pops up in sci-fi stuff quite a bit actually. I think Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle figures in there somewhere, maybe. Not that that is really relevant, but y'know... Breaking Bad was a real cool show. Anyway, I've seen Quantum Entanglement used in stories as a kind of long distance information transfer, or as a type of teleporter or even as a cloning device type of thing. In fact, the first time I ever heard of it was in a JLA comic back in the mid 90s, but all I remember from that was the idea itself and the part when Batman vanishes--poof--during a critical moment. It's kind of hazy after that. None of these examples were probably all that technically accurate, but... duh. Whatever. Like I was saying, the film's probably called Entangled because of something to do with Quantum Entanglement.

Let's watch.


Hmmm. Not bad. Not bad. Nothing too flashing, but I liked it. Nice performances. And it looked good. Plus, I totally called it on the whole Quantum Entanglement thing. 

Kind of cool, right?

Jon

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Harris


You may or may not have heard by now, but... my short story HARRIS has been available for download to your various e-reader devices for a few days now... well, pre-order, but hey... why would you want to waste time, right? Beat the rush. The early bird gets the worm, as the kids say.

But now the long pre-order nightmare is finally over, kids. Today. Finally. Today you can go online, you can order my story, and you can get it, all within moments. Think of the instant gratification! You know how much you like instant gratification, right? I know I do.

And you can find it all right here.

Muy convenient, huh? You're god damn right it is. Check out my sweet cover too. Totally sweet, right? Now, some of you out there probably remember the last time I was talking about this story (remember?), back when it first came out in the local sci-fi anthology Cifiscape Vol. 2--which is still available here, btw--Well, this is the same story, almost the same. I've added some new content, nothing major, just a bit of fleshing out here and there. If pressed, I'd say it's a deeper experience... but if pressed. If you've read it before, you probably won't notice, so read it again, what are you doing that makes you so busy, huh? And if you haven't read it before now, oh boy, are you in for a treat. And let's not forget about the price? $.50 direct? $1.00 from Amazon? Come on, man! That's a bargain, baby... That's a bargain!

Also, if you love it, leave a review.

Thanks,
Jon

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

URBANCE


I don't know much about this. I came across it on Vimeo, and it was kind of cool, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's not a short film, it's a trailer for a Project TV series directed by someone named Joel Dos Reis Viegas and it's called Urbance. 

Here's the synopsis: "In the big city, gender war rises. Sex is prohibited because of a genetic deadly virus. Ruled by hate and anger, boys and girls grow up apart from each other, forming rivals gangs. Among these lost teenagers, Kenzell and Lesya will fight adversity and defy all the rules in order to live their love and restore peace."

Crazy. "Gender war rises" and "Genetic deadly virus" is a bit awkward, so is "live their love" actually, but whatever. I don't know if this show ever came out anywhere or not. I don't even know what Project TV is, to be honest. Probably something the kids do, with their twittering and their who-sa-what-its, I bet... Joking aside, from what I've seen, I like this Viegas guy's stuff. I mean, yeah, I don't know if the show itself is any good, story-wise, but shit... at least it look cool.

Check it out...


Cool, huh? Pretty slick, some good style.

Turns out there's a KickStarter, if you're interested.

Jon

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rick and Morty

It's still about nine months until the 2nd season of Rick and Morty starts. Summer 2015, they said. That's just terrible. Terrible. I don't know if I can make it that long. What a sad and gray world we live in, right? Wait... what? What did you say?

What's Rick and Morty?


In a nutshell, this show is amazing.

Amazing. It's one of my favorite things ever. Incredibly high-concept, fast-paced, sharp as a tack, it's everything you want from a show like Doctor Who, but without all the crap you don't want that you usually get in spades. Plus, it's one of the most ridiculously funny things ever. Seriously, I can't talk enough about how clever and funny and crazy imaginative this show is, so I won't try. Here, @FilmCritHulk did a fantastic write-up on the show awhile back over at Badass Digest, you should read it. Ignore the All-Caps; it's an intentional thing. They're there to make you take your time, so you might think about what you're reading. And you should, because he's very insightful for a Hulk.

Anyways...

As far as the show goes, it's a pretty easy set-up, really. It's kind of like the continuing adventures of Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly, if Doc Brown was a more successful inventor and actually kind of a mad scientist, plus way more belligerent and sarcastic and aggressive, and often really drunk. And if he were Marty's Grandfather too. And if Marty was more of a nervous geek. Basically.

Except that's not the point of the show at all and there's never any references to Back to the Future in any of the episodes whatsoever. At least, none that I saw. So forget I said all that. But also keep it in mind, as sort of a touchstone...

Whatever. Here, this gif will better explain what the show is like...


Rick and Morty is a show about family. It's about grandsons and grandfathers. It's about inter-dimensional port stations with ridiculously strict security screening requirements. It's about sentient booger men who are born, live, and then die, like a candle in the wind...

WHO'S WHO?

Rick                                                        Morty

Beth                                              Jerry                                          Summer

All right then, ready? Let's watch the opening credits...


See? It's like Doctor Who, but without all the crying and the "feelz" and is actually funny and imaginative and well written... ahem... Anyway, the first season is done and available all over and like I said, there's still more than enough time to catch up on the all of the episodes before the second season hits the airwaves with a type of righteous awesomeness not seen since the days of hair metal guitar solos. What? Too busy? No time? You gotta make some time, fool! You'll thank me.

Still unsure? Don't worry, I got ya' covered. Try browsing through my handy-dandy episode guide, just to whet your appetite. Kind of like an amuse-bouche before digging in.

EPISODE GUIDE!

1. Pilot
“I’m gonna need you to stick these Mega-seeds up your butt, Morty. Way up there.”


Rick introduces his grandson Morty to the seemingly endless beauty that is the Multiverse, the wonders of inter-dimensional travel, and the dangers of cosmic smuggling. Meanwhile, back at home Beth and Jerry debate whether or not to put Rick in an old folks’ home and Summer mourns a classmate who was frozen to death and then shattered, that Rick had NOTHING to do with...

*Note: The 1st episode is not the best one, either in quality or as an example of the show, just fyi...

2. Lawnmower Dog
“Where are my testicles, Summer? Where are my testicles?”


Rick makes the family dog smarter in order to keep Jerry, Beth, and Summer occupied while he and Morty attempt to “inception” Morty's math teacher into raising his grades, but end up being chased deep into dreamland by the nightmare monster man, Scary Terry. But is Scary Terry really a monster, or is he just misunderstood? Back at home, Snowball figures out how to boost his own intelligence to genius levels, and—upon seeing the oppression his canine brothers and sisters toil under—becomes a world-conquering revolutionary bent on enslaving all mankind…and getting some revenge for his missing testicles.

3. Anatomy Park
“Don’t worry about your Christmas, Jerry, I’ll be with Reuben in my workshop while you guys are out here having another day in Phil Collin’s proverbial—urp!—paradise.”


It’s Christmas time again and Jerry is determined to make it a traditional one. Unfortunately, his parents have brought their new young lover to Christmas dinner. Plus, this new young lover is black, so Jerry is finding it difficult to complain and not end up looking like a racist. Meanwhile, Rick has shrunk Morty down and injected him inside a dying homeless Santa named Reuben—a man Rick has built an amusement park inside of—in an attempt to save Rick's investment after all of the diseases escape from their enclosures, threatening the entire park. But when Reuben dies, Rick only has one option left. Christmas is definitely in danger of being ruined, until the giant naked corpse of a bum in a santa hat is spotted floating in orbit...

4. M. Night Shaym-Aliens
“If there’s a wiener on that monitor, I swear to God, Stu…”


Jerry is having the best day of his entire life, he's succeeding at work and he got to make love to his wife. Unfortunately, he's actually trapped in a massive computer simulation. Y'see, the Igerians—the galaxy’s least successful species of con artists—will do anything to get their hands on Rick’s recipe for concentrated dark matter, including imprisoning him in a holographic simulation of his life. But they didn't count on Jerry accidentally getting brought along. Too bad the Igerians are all really uncomfortable with nudity…

5. Meeseeks and Destroy
“I’m Mr. Meeseeks, look at me! I just wanna die!”


After being forced to kill evil clone versions of his family that were possessed by demons from an alternate dimension’s future, Morty wants to quit adventuring. To mollify the boy, Rick lets Morty choose the next adventure, and as a result, a Jelly Bean King attempts to molest Morty in a Public Restroom. Back home, things get even weirder as Jerry, Beth, and Summer try out a Mr. Meeseeks box, a device that creates happy blue men whose entire purpose is to fix the one problem you ask them to fix so that they can then die. Unfortunately, Jerry asks his Mr. Meeseeks to fix his golf game and Meeseeks aren't supposed to stick around more than a few hours or they start to lose it a bit...

6. Rick Potion #9
“Thank God? God’s turning people into insect monsters, Beth. I’m the one who’s beating them to death. Thank me.”


Jerry and Beth work on their marriage while Morty gets ready for a school dance. He's crushing hard on Jessica, a girl at school, so he pesters Rick into making him a Love Potion. Unfortunately, it’s also flu season and there are some unforeseen side effects. Soon the entire world has violently mutated into insect creatures who want to mate with Morty and then kill him, and then Rick ends up accidentally turning them all into shambling Cronenbergian horrors. Rick and Morty are forced to flee to another dimension, and then, well… things get a little dark, but hey… at least Beth and Jerry are able to repair their marriage in the ruins of the old world.

7. Raising Gazorpazorp
“Great, now I have to take over a whole planet because of your stupid boobs.”


Morty badgers Rick into buying him an alien sexbot as a souvenir, but after humping the shit out of it all day, it turns out the sexbot is actually a baby-maker and Morty ends up fathering a half-Morty, half-alien baby obsessed with war and growing quickly. Meanwhile, Summer sees her chance to go on an adventure with Rick. He isn’t interested, because girls are lame, but shit happens and the two end up on the baby’s home-world. There they find a planet of men warring and killing and humping sex-bots all day, all of it controlled by an evolved society of women. Unfortunately, Rick farts in the ladies’ presence—big time—sentencing both he and Summer to death, and only Summer’s really super cute top can save them.

8. Rixty Minutes
“I’m better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says: Don’t run. Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everyone is going to die. Come watch TV.”


After being forced to endure the Bachelor, Rick upgrades the TV so the family can watch shows from all over the Multi-verse: A movie about a guy eating a bowl of shit, the world news from a dimension run by the Hamsters living in people’s butts, cop shows like Baby Legs Detective, a crime show from a world of intelligent corn, even the non-stop action extravaganza that is Ball Fondlers. But while Rick and Morty are enthralled by the endless possibilities, Beth and Jerry discover their lives are much better in most of the alternate dimensions, while Summer simultaneously discovers she had been aborted in those same dimensions. The implication is clear. She decides to run away and only Morty can get her to stay, and only by sharing a dark secret and a hard-learned insight.

9. Something Ricked This Way Comes
“Grandpa! Go home and drink!”


Summer is feeling neglected and gets a part-time job in a creepy thrift shop run by a man named Mr. Needful. It turns out that he’s the Devil and is giving away cursed items, because... evil. Rick decides to fuck with the guy and sets up a shop across the street to remove the curses off of the items. The battle of wills between Rick and Mr. Needful ultimately leads to the Devil trying to commit suicide and Summer arrives just in time to save him. But is this just another one of the Devil’s evil tricks? Will it lead to Rick and Summer bonding in the most awesome way possible? Meanwhile Jerry has decided to help Morty with his Science Project and declares Pluto to be a planet again, an announcement that makes the Plutonians very happy…

10. Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind
“Wherever you find people with their heads up their ass, someone wants a piece of your grandpa.”


All across the Multi-verse, Ricks are being murdered and Mortys are being kidnapped. The Council of Ricks—a gathering of alternate world Ricks—detain Rick, believing him responsible. Rick and Morty promptly shoot their way free, leading the other Ricks on a chase across dimensions. It’s gets weird, man, there’s chairs ordering take-out phone dinners on cellular pizzas while sitting on humans… The Council of Ricks end up staking out Beth and Jerry’s house, and Jerry makes friends with the idiot Rick from the shit-eating universe. The other Ricks taunt them. Meanwhile, Rick and Morty have a falling out because Rick is often a jerk, but before they can make up, they discover an Evil Rick hiding beneath a dome covered by hundreds of nude and continually tortured Mortys. While Evil Rick monologues at the captured Rick, Morty leads the other Morty’s in revolt. The Council of Ricks show up for Evil Rick, but soon realize maybe it wasn't Evil Rick behind it all… maybe it was an Evil Morty?

11. Ricksy Business
“Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!”


Jerry and Beth go on a Titanic-themed date. Jerry is super excited. Beth is not, so she has an employee stand in for her, but the woman tries to rape Jerry in the old-timey car like in the movie. Meanwhile, Summer and Rick throw a massive party, despite Beth promising to cancel all future adventures if there’s any problems. This pisses off Morty, because Rick doesn’t seem to care. The party has the usual suspects: Glip-glorp, Brad, Squanchy, Birdperson, Gearhead, Bling-blong, even Jessica, Morty’s crush. Morty gets distracted and accidentally sends the party to a Testicle Monster dimension. To save the party, Rick sends Morty and Abradolph Lincler—the failed cloned mix of Hitler and Lincoln—to unwittingly score drugs. Realizing this, Morty loses it and shuts the party down, and only Birdperson can help Morty realize the deep bond he and his Grandpa share. In the end, Summer, Rick and Morty freeze time in order to clean the house before Jerry and Beth come home, and take a break to watch Titanic. They all agree: It’s a terrible movie.

And that's it, bitches! That's the first season! Watch the show, it's great! WOOOO!


Love,
Jon

Friday, September 26, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Jupiter Ascending (The Story Trailer)


I'm a fan of the Wachowski siblings.

Generally. I didn't like the Matrix sequels, and while I can appreciate Speed Racer, I have zero interest in it. But otherwise, yes... I am very much a fan of their work. And lucky me, their latest film, the eventually someday hopefully coming soon in February epic space opera called Jupiter Ascending seems to contain all of the reasons why I love their stuff so much.

First off, it just looks cool. Yes, the Wachowskis wear their influences on their sleeves for all to see, but... well, I like those influences too, so fuck it. It also looks like the film has got some great action going on, and much like the Matrix, that action seems new and different, not your usual fare. Which is good, because the big end wrestling match at the Fire and Steam Factory bores the poop outta me. It also looks big and dopey and fun, and I really love that. I want genre properties like this to take themselves and their worlds seriously, but I also want them to be human, not so po-faced, y'know? You can usually count on that from the Wachowskis, but at the same time, they also love them some huge sweeping statements, especially "Love will conquer All". It's sappy, yes, but they're a very earnest pair, apparently. They're definitely very sincere. At least, that's my impression. But... this is a difficult line to walk. I mean, this is why the first Matrix worked so well and the Matrix sequels flopped on their faces so hard, right? So, while failure to pull off their big, dopey theme might kill the movie, I still appreciate the effort, because when it works, it works. Plus, sincerity is a good thing. Another thing I like that I see in this latest trailer? The Wachowskis are insanely imaginative. The first two trailers for this movie have seemed insane, just insane, like unbelievable insane, like something straight out of your head and completely unfilmable insane. I'm so excited to see this stuff realized on screen. I hope it works, because it looks amazing. I've talked about this film before. A couple of times. Remember? Take a look. Here's the teaser. And here's the first trailer. Insane, right? I told you, didn't I? Visually stupendous. 

In a nutshell, it looks like the type of wondrous sci-fi that can ignite imaginations.



But will it be any good?

A fair question. That's always a concern with any big film, especially when they skate head-long out toward The Weird like this one does. The narrative ice gets thinner out there. There's more room to run, sure, but if you lean too hard, it'll break beneath you. The Wachowskis are not immune to this trap. It's definitely happened before to them, so I can understand that worry.

But fear no more! Happy day! Happy day! 

What we have here today is what is known as "the story trailer". This is how it usually works, my friends. The teaser is pure appetizer. It's supposed to catch your attention. It's supposed to... tease. Get it? Next comes the first full length trailer, and that one is the big introduction. The first trailer is all visuals and hints and glimpses and a few "cool" moments. It will often give you the setting, but not the context. It's still a tease really, but it's a lingering one. And then, after you've seen the first trailer for a bit and you've had a chance to get comfortable with it... bam... here comes the story trailer. The story trailer is the who, what, why, and where of it all. It lays it all out. It says: "Here's the stakes. Drink it in, people." It's like the back cover of that novel you're considering buying. These are the steps to how they introduce a new film to you. 

This is also how I knew The Dark Knight Rises was going to have issues, by the way...

No story trailer. Big tip-off.

But no such worries here! Upon viewing this trailer (hold your water, we'll get to it...), it looks like the Wachowskis are gonna go big and simple with the story, my friends, they're keeping it classic, know what I mean? Well, "simple" in quotes, of course. There's ancient intergalactic corporations, planetary genocide, reincarnated royalty, some dog soldiers, and some anti-gravity skates too, but otherwise, yeah... "simple". Real pulp sci-fi. Which to me means: fun. Hopefully. But either way, they are definitely going for grand. This film looks epic. Like the type of Space Opera we haven't seen in years... or ever, maybe. 




But will it be good? 

Well, I guess we'll see. Like I said, that big, sappy line of sincerity is a difficult one to walk, and they did push back the release date too. From this summer to February of 2015. The official story is the extra time was needed to complete the special effects. That's a very plausible excuse. However, others say that Edge of Tomorrow's extremely undeservedly luke-warm box office reception made Warner Bros get a little bit of cold feet. This is also entirely plausible, and isn't really the movie's fault, so it could be that. Or maybe the film is terrible. Who knows? Releasing a movie in February is not exactly a vote of confidence, y'know? Whatever. Maybe it'll be good, maybe it won't. We'll find out in February. Personally, I'm hoping for good.

Let's watch the trailer...


Man, oh man... I am so in,
Jon