Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Upstream Color

Recently I re-watched the movie Primer again.

A twisty-turny little indie sci-fi film written and directed by unknown first-timer Shane Carruth, it's about a couple of Engineers who make a Time Machine in their garage in their spare time and end up in a mind-bending cycle of repeated time-lines as they are forced to repeatedly travel back in time in order to rectify previous mistakes. It's a thoughtful, original and surprisingly well-done film that's totally worth a watch if you can find it. It's one of the few low budget genre flicks I've ever seen that takes a massively weird sci-fi idea like time travel and through simple ingenuity and a strongly written script skirts its budgetary constraints and completely sells the premise.

And just as a helpful fyi, if you've seen the film already and are still a bit confused, you can read more about it here. Also, here's a link to a pretty right seeming graph charting the flow of all the intersecting timelines. And, of course, if you haven't seen the film, but clicked on that last link and felt your eyes start to cross, just relax. It's a complex film, the type you have to pay attention to, but it's not that complex. You should check it out.

Anyway, that was nine years ago...



That was the trailer for Shane Carruth's new film Upstream Color. It looks great, I have no idea what it's about, but I'm interested. Carruth plays with crazy big ideas in weirdly grounded ways. He's got a great eye and a lot of heart and passion and he knows how to put it on film. Plus, he's obviously a big geek for this stuff. I can't wait to see it.

Don't forget to check out Primer,
Jon

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pacific Rim - The Wondercon Trailer

This trailer played at Wondercon this past year and it has finally hit the Internet. It is one of the most awesome things ever. Don't believe me? Check it out. I'll wait.


How awesome is that?

So awesome, that's how awesome.

Watching this feels a bit like a fever dream to me. It's just too unbelievable that it's actually getting made. A giant robots versus giant monsters movie? With real money behind it and isn't coming from Japan? Films like this don't get made. Hollywood doesn't do super awesome things like this, right? Unbelievable.

Obviously, I can't wait. It's right up my alley. I'm actually glad it's taken this long to make a film like this though. If this movie had come out in 1986, it would have killed me with pure unadulterated joy. I would have stroked out from excitement and happiness, there in my theatre seat, just seizuring and frothing and throwing popcorn everywhere. Can it be so awesome? Is that possible? Time will tell. Of course, being that it's a Guillermo del Toro film there is still more than a fair chance that it may suffer story/character-wise, so I'm trying to temper my expectations a little bit, but... did you see the part where the giant robot hits the giant monster with a tanker ship?

So awesome,
Jon

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Elysium

In a blatant attempt to produce some content after a long sullen dearth of activity, I have a couple of trailers and short films lined up that I'll be posting over the next week or so for your viewing enjoyment (hopefully). Like yesterday's post, this trailer isn't exactly new, but it is fantastic looking and it took a project I was only marginally aware of and rocketed it to the top of my list.

Right off the bat you can see, Elysium is an original science fiction project, which makes it extra-interesting to me. Most of the sci-fi films we've been getting (and will be getting) these days are either based on an already existing property (or even worse: a really shitty already existing property) or it's a remake. Now, it's a well known fact that I love Marvel's superhero flicks and that I also hearted the re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead big time, but generally speaking, when it comes to the re-makes, or re-imaginings, or even just the movie version of something you can already get in another format... these aren't usually the most interesting or creatively stimulating of projects.

But this? Elysium? This is new.

Or, at least based on less common tropes, but hey... beggars and choosers, amirite?

And it's not the only one out there either. It actually looks like it's going to be a good year for original sci-fi. Okay, maybe Oblivion is all show and no go, but there's still After Earth (maybe), Pacific Rim (Wooo!), Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron!), and The World's End, (Yes!). There's even a new Mad Max and a new Riddick movie... both of which could end up being terrible, sure, but hey... hope springs eternal.

Anyway, not only is Elysium original sci-fi, but it's also the sophomore effort from the Director that brought us District 9, a fun new twist on the aliens-among-us film from way back in '09 that brought a little bit of social allegory along on it's good-time, sci-fi explosion fest of a story, a once long-standing tradition now seemingly forgotten by most of the current output. This time out, it looks like it's a pretty good bet that the allegory is going to be: Class War. Or, the necessity of regular showers... Time will tell. Otherwise it appears to be filled the brim with some good old fashioned sci-fi classics: Dystopian social breakdown. Power-assist exo-skeletons. Orbital Satellite Habitats. Personal space ship hot-rods. Security-droids. All wrapped up in the snug little blanket of the classic heist plot. Basically, it's everything a body needs for an awesome sci-fi breakfast. Plus, Matt Damon is in it. Everybody loves Matt Damon. I love Matt Damon. Especially for saying this.

Anyway, take a look.

Elysium



Good stuff,
Jon

Friday, April 19, 2013

Man of Steel

Have you seen this yet?

I'm not a big fan of Superman usually. I do like Director Zach Snyder. I loved his re-imagining of Dawn of the Dead. And I really liked Watchmen, despite its myriad flaws. I wasn't a big fan of 300 actually, but that was more due to Frank Miller's hacky bullshit, then Snyder's directing to be honest. Also, I did list Suckerpunch as the worst movie of the year when it came out, calling it one of the dumbest movies ever, so... I guess ultimately Snyder has got more pros than cons when weighed out, but the spectrum swings wildly.

Anyway...

Like I said, I'm not usually a big fan of Superman. Partly because he's boring. He's a hero and that's great, but he's a pure hero and that's kind of boring. There's rarely any inner conflict. He really is a big blue boy scout and I just don't get into that too much. But it's not just that, most of the reason I don't get into Superman is because nobody ever does him completely right. Sure, sure, they've got Clark all bumbling. Sure, sure, they've got Lois smart and stubborn and trouble-prone. Sure, sure, they have the swelling orchestra to go cheek to jowl with him saving a bus full of kids about to fall into a volcano or whatever, but what no one ever does is challenge him. He never has to struggle physically. And somehow, everyone always has a chunk of Kryptonite. Everyone. Like it grows on trees or something.

Blah, blah, blah, fart...

So I wasn't really looking for much out of this. I wasn't even paying attention, honestly. I assumed it would just be one more flub in DC and Time/Warner's long and continued road of mishandling their gold mine of bankable superheroes like a bunch of stupid blind idiots flailing about cluelessly in a dark room, despite having the easy to read map of Marvel's successful example to light their way. That's what I expected.

But then I saw this... and it looks kind of awesome.



I'm interested,
Jon