Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Godzilla

Godzilla. King of Monsters. He's on his way.


I know, I know, I can hear you all right now: "But, Jon... you're the best (Thank you, thank you), but didn't they try an American Godzilla before?" Yes, my friends. Yes, they have. A couple of times. And they were all awful. Really god damn awful. Unbelievably awful. Remember the one when Jean Reno and Matthew Broderick were being chased around Madison Square Gardens by the plagiarized scene from Jurassic Park? Ugh. Terrible.

But let's forget about that shit for the moment.

You've seen Monsters, right? I know I've mentioned it before now, I'm sure I have, but I can't remember when. Forget it, let's just recap like it's the first time again! Woo! Here we go! So, Monsters is set in a world where a meteor crash-landed on the Texas/Mexico border that was teeming with alien animal and plant life, aggressive animal and plant life. That life immediately set about taking over its surrounding, terra-forming, basically, just like any invasive species would. But not with an agenda, this wasn't like War of the Worlds, it was more like zebra mussels clinging to fishing boats and infesting new lakes all over Minnesota. But, instead of little striped clams, we've got huge walking octopus-like beasts and giant jurassic-looking plants. The Mexican and American governments tried to burn them out and blow them up and poison them, the whole nine yards, but eventually they have to surrender a huge chunk of Mexico and Texas to the things and build huge walls to keep the "monsters" out (spot that metaphor), but there are still people who live there, left behind by the powers that be. So anyway, the movie is about a photographer who gets hired by a rich man to get his daughter out of the Quarantine Zone and back into the States. He agrees and things kind of go like you would expect. It's fun. The really cool part about this film though is that huge parts of it are improvised on location in Mexico, but never come off feeling mumbly or awkward, and even though the effects are all in-house, they still look good and are used and shot in such a way so as to not expose their flaws. It's all around a really good, cheap, interesting, and independent, original sci-fi flick. It was written and directed by Gareth Edwards.

And he's directing this new Godzilla, which is why I'm willing to give the project a chance. 

Let's take a look...



Nice, right? There are several things I like here right off the bat. I like the way they're handing the tone and tension. I like the fact that they're holding back on the monsters (reportedly there are three), but not pretending like we don't already know what Godzilla looks like. I also really like the implication that it's a direct sequel to the original Japanese film, and I like the idea that the bomb tests were actually an attempt to kill the monsters. Finally, I love the size of the monsters and the scale of the destruction.

In the end, most of all, I love Godzilla.

Love him.

Can't wait,
Jon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Guardians of the Galaxy

Brace yourself, people. Seriously.


It finally happened. It's finally here.

The first full trailer for the upcoming film: Guardians of the Galaxy.

I've talked about this comic book before this. Remember when I said I was going to read it? Maybe not, it was a year and a half ago... Well, long story short... I did try out the comic. And... I'm not really that big of a fan. It's not the subject, mind you, it's the execution, ya' get me? However, I still love the idea. Guardians of the Galaxy is a big-ass space opera. It's Buck Rogers meets Farscape meets Star Wars. It's ships that look like they were built by people in a dirty and dangerous universe. I love that. I've always loved that. I also love the fact that it was James Gunn that was chosen to direct this weird, crazy-ass gamble of an epic, not-really-superheroes comic book space opera action film. It's totally his type of thing, but he's totally not the guy you'd expect the studio to tap. I love that Vin Diesel is doing the voice of Groot and that Bradley Cooper is the voice of Rocket Raccoon. That's awesome. I love Groot and Rocket Raccoon too. In fact, I love the whole cast. Look at this list: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Karen Gillain, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close... GLENN CLOSE!?!? I swear, Glenn Close. That's crazy, man.

So, me being me, I've been crazy with anticipation for this film and for the past few weeks they've been releasing little bits and pieces, dribs and drabs just to whet the appetite. Teasing me! But last night was finally the night. Last night on Jimmy Kimmel, they finally debuted the full trailer. Lucky me, right? Well even luckier, Internet-people posted the trailer on-line early enough that I didn't even have to watch Jimmy Kimmel at all! Huzzah!

Anyway, enough of the bullshit, huh? Let's watch this baby...


Holy crap, this is going to be awesome.

Epic. Epic. Love it. The feel and the designs they got going on here? Love it. There's some really good alien stuff in the background too. All over the place. Good stuff, man. It really looks great. It's a bit of a blur narrative-wise, but what do you expect with such a weird and unknown property, right? This is a pure intro-to-the-masses trailer, a tone-setter. And I'll be honest, I really wasn't expecting them to showcase this franchise's pretty goofy elements right up front, but I'm glad they did, because it means they're not trying to disguise it, which is something that can really backfire on a film when it comes to general audiences. Them folks do not like tonal shifts, know what I mean? 

But will it sell the film? 

That I can't say. I'm sold, that's for sure, but the coming months are really what's going to determine if the greater part of the unwashed masses come to Jesus or not, y'know? Time will tell. Until then, I love what I'm seeing. Basically, first impressions? This completely feels like a James Gunn film, so violent, a little profane, and also funny? That sounds good to me.


I'm so into this shit, man.

Totally sweet,
Jon

Monday, February 17, 2014

PostHuman

We're all good geeks who love William Gibson and Akira, right?


I know I do, and apparently so does writer/director Cole Drumb, as evidenced by his short animated film called: Posthuman that I have posted below. From the website: "Set in an adrenalized future of espionage, assassins, and out of control super science, PostHuman follows a genius hacker and his dog as they help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subject of a black ops ESP test lab." Well, that seems perhaps a little bit generous for a synopsis, but let's be honest here, all I'm really looking for out of this one is for somebody's head to explode...

Let's watch.


Hmmm... boobs, blood, some explosions, a dash of witty banter, and the now seemingly mandatory Tricia Helfer appearance too? The guy obviously has a copy of the Playbook, man. What else could you want? Well, y'know... except for a little more narrative maybe, but then these things aren't really short films, so maybe it's not fair to ask for that. These are more Proof-of-Concept scenes really. And from the looks of it, Youtube is full of them. Nothing but Proof-of-Concept footage and idiots hurting themselves, that's all there is on Youtube. That and cat videos, of course...


Jon

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The First Wave


David Freyne's short film The First Wave was meant to be a prequel to a feature film in the same vein as BBC show In the Flesh--about a world that has gone through a zombie apocalypse and come out the other side. However, in the rush to move on from such horror, the survivors seem to be neglecting the trauma the former ghouls still carry with them, even though they are now cured.

It's an interesting topic, I guess. I'm enjoying In the Flesh a lot more than I expected too (Here's a link to a trailer for the show right here. There's a nice use of Daniel Johnson's song Deviltown too, if you're interested), but as a general rule I prefer my zombies to be dead, dumb, and incurable, light on cheap metaphors, and with most of the focus on the human survivors.

But y'know... when in Rome...

Let's check it out.



I don't know if the feature film is going forward or not, but my initial reaction after watching this is they're a little overly morose, right? I mean, sure, granted: Zombie Apocalypse, I know, it's probably pretty sad, but what's the point if it's not a little fun to watch, right? It does look good, but I'm not sure how interested I'd be in this particular vision drawn out for two hours or more. I'm interested in stories about surviving a zombie apocalypse, I'm interested in stories about recovering and rebuilding after a zombie apocalypse, but I'm not sure I'd be interested in the story of a former zombie going to therapy.

Thoughts?

Jon


Saturday, February 15, 2014

PROJECT ARBITER

I came across a new short film I thought I'd share...


Project Arbiter was written and directed by Michael Chance.

From the Project Arbiter website: "Set in 1943, the height of WWII, this is a story about an experimental O.S.S. unit code named Project Arbiter. Thousands of feet above Northern Europe a small plane carries a skeleton crew of the Allies best, including Special Fields Op. Captain Joseph Colburn. His handler, Major Thomas Hardy does a final review of the mission's grim intel: infiltrate a mysterious villa on the Polish border and uncover its secrets. Colburn emerges donning a prototype suit, which can temporarily render its occupant invisible. As the plane's bay doors howl open Colburn begins to put on the skull-faced helmet when the plane is rocked by an anti-aircraft shell. Rapidly losing air pressure and altitude, now there's no question... this is a one-way mission." 

A somewhat clumsily written synopsis, perhaps, but let's let the work speak for itself, shall we?



Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

This is maybe more of a Proof-of-Concept than an actual straight-up short film and it's definitely got more than a little bit of Syfy channel cheese-stink  to it, but whatever, I enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for the whole secret super-powered history of WWII genre. I just like the look and feel of it, that's a big part of the reason for my love of Captain America really, and this film satisfies that interest... somewhat. The helmet design and the way they do the invisibility is actually kind of cool, but man, they really thought that whole heated-up knife blade thing was a god damn top-drawer cool idea, huh? Weird.

What do you think?

Jon

Monday, February 3, 2014

Films I'm looking forward to - Captain America: The Winter Soldier



I don't know about you kids, but to me the highlight of yesterday's Superbowl was obviously the on-line debut of the full length trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Peyton who? Russel what? Touch where? Bruno when? Captain Mother Fucking America, folks. I've mentioned this movie before, at great length, so let's just watch this one and then giggle like giddy little schoolgirls, eh?



Epic comic booking awesomeness,
Jon