Thursday, February 26, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: The Dead Lands

Nope, it's not a zombie movie, The Dead Lands is actually about a young Maori tribesman, the only survivor when his people are slaughtered by a rival group. His journey of bloody vengeance begins when he teams up with an older warrior, and the two basically start whooping ass left and right. Honestly, that sounds perfect to me. Sometimes I love nothing more than a well-done, bare bones, straight-forward action film. It's classic. Plus, I'm a huge fan of the Haka, but hey... who isn't, amirite? Also, just fyi, The Dead Lands is rated R for one reason, and one reason only...

"Brutal, bloody violence"

Sweet. Let's do this...

Oh yeah. That's the stuff. That is the stuff right there.

April 17th, kids.

Can't wait,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I have never, ever, ever been a fan of the Power Rangers. Why would I? I had already aged out of the demographic before they even started, and from what I have seen, they would've been way too dumb for me anyway. I know, I know... I know what you're thinking, all right? I get it. You're saying to yourself right now: "Jon, my man," you're saying, "how can you, a guy who loves tons of kung fu, superhero, comic book, fantasy dragon and boobies nonsense, stand there and suddenly draw this weirdly arbitrary line when  it comes to the Power Rangers?"


It's because The Power Rangers are, were, and by all accounts continue to be, a terribly stupid show of a particularly pervasive low quality. I know, I know... Again, trust me, I know what you're thinking at this point too. I know what you want to say, because I've heard it before. Power Rangers was actually the result of low rent actors portraying story lines that were specifically created for a brainless American kiddie TV show, and those were then cobbled together with parts from a Japanese TV show called The Super Wild Action Force Yeah! (Not the actual title), so because of the unavoidable conflict of tones that comes from pairing those two different sources, it's not the show's fault that it was so awkward and terrible... but guess who doesn't give a shit?


Because the show was still terrible.

Also, I'm also not a fan of fan-films, or fan fiction really, for that matter. Not at all actually. Personally, I think it's kind of a waste of your creative time. And, I think you should want more than the rotted scraps of other IPs for your projects, and that the world is generally better off with more original stuff and less non-canonical digressions. But... whatever. I mean, fanfic is fine, I guess, for practice maybe, when you're in school or just starting out, or even just for fun, whatever... For me personally, I just don't consider it a real thing, and I think you should move on to your own stuff. But like I said, that's just me, if fanfic is what you want to do, great, go do it, but I'm not interested in seeing your work.

Not that that should matter to you either, but... whatever, I'm trying to set a scene here.

Because here's the thing... holy crap... Joseph Kahn has made a Power Rangers short film. It's called Power/Rangers. I'm not sure how you pronounce that. Do you think you say "slash" as in Power-Slash-Rangers, or do you just ignore it? Maybe you say it as if it's just one word? PowerRangers! Hmmm... I don't know, both sound weird. Whatever. It probably doesn't matter. I mean, who's going to talk about this thing out loud where people can hear them?

Not me. This is just between us, right? Nerd-code, bro.

I've talked about how much I love Kahn's film Detention before now, and just as an aside, trust me... if you don't know that film, you need to. It's amazing. Kahn is also responsible for Tay-tay's recent Blank Space video, just fyi. I'm telling you all this so that you can understand why I was drawn to this short film, despite everything else I mentioned, so that you can understand why, when I heard he did this, a violent and dark version of an old children's show made with the express purpose to skewer the uselessness of fan-films, all for shits and giggles, and starring Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek... I pounced, like some kind of giant mechanical robot cat or something...

From the synopsis: Deboot of the Power Rangers. My take on the FAN FILM. Not a pilot, not a series, not for profit, strictly for exhibition. This is a bootleg experiment not affiliated or endorsed by Saban Entertainment or Lionsgate nor is it selling any product. I claim no rights to any of the characters (don't send me any money, not kickstarted, this film is free). This is the NSFW version. An alternate safe version is on youtube.

Apparently Vimeo has yanked the non-NSFW version, the jerks.

Oh well, let's watch...

Not bad. Right? Not bad at all.

I kind of love it. I love how it's a perfect example of the thing it completely skewers.

Most fan-films vary wildly in quality, but even the best ones are often wrong-headed and faux-tough guy lame, projects pushed by myopic and unimaginative weirdos obsessed with poaching the well-loved pop culture memories of their youth, but instead of celebrating those loves, they turn them into these boring, infantile, and frankly laughable "grim and gritty" wank-fests.

Whereas here, we have something truly wonderful, a razor sharp satire so keen that some may not even feel its cut. It's kind of like Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. Did you read that? You should. Anyway, my point is, the book gets shelved in the comedy section, and you'll often hear people bitch about how it's too serious and never winks at you, that it's never overtly funny. Those people are missing the point, y'see, the book--much like this film--isn't supposed to be "ha ha" funny, its mere existence is the entirety of the joke, poking fun at the idiot survivalist industry that popped up in the wake of 9/11, offering nothing of real value, while preying on people's fear and paranoia. Power/Rangers is like that, an indictment of the edifice of stupidity, time suckage, and creative bankruptcy that is fan-films, and that is awesome. So, yeah, maybe it's not "ha ha" funny. but it's still telling a pretty great joke.

Well, maybe it's a little "ha ha" funny too...

But I digress, as I was saying, the film does all that stuff really well, while at the same time, it also does an excellent job of being an actual Power Rangers film. There's tons of callbacks, familiar moments, and easter eggs, so much that even a non-fan like myself can see that the people behind this film were very well-versed in the subject. They know it well and the way they worked it all into the script? That's impressive. So kudos for effort and quality, but then... Joseph Khan is pretty awesome, as evidenced by the fact that the film is also pretty fun.

And kind of kick ass.

So, make sure to check it out, and you better do it while you can, kids, because there seems to be a storm a-brewin'... if this gets taken down before you get the chance, here's why.

Morhpin' time,

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Two Of Us

This short film is called The Two Of Us.

It's a seven minute animated fantasy film by an artist named Pierre De Menezes, who just graduated from EMCA in Paris, and it features music by Quentin Szuwarski, who is maybe from Belgium. Obviously, I am not familiar with either one of them or their work, but I stumbled across this while perusing the Internet, you know how that stuff goes.

Anyway... The Two Of Us is the story of a boy and girl on the run in a fantasy world.

Let's watch...

Simple and clear, I liked that. I loved the colors and backgrounds. It felt very french, I think. There were some cool ideas in there. I liked the Tar Soldiers, that was interesting. I also liked the way the ruins were placed, like the broken aqueducts on the way to the lake. That was good. I like smart background details like that. The animation might not be the smoothest, but it is a graduation film, so whatever.

All in all, good stuff.


Friday, February 20, 2015


Today we have a short film by Eli Sasich, While I don't know much about Eli Sasich's stuff, I did happen to notice that one of the Visual Effects Supervisors is Ryan Wieber of Ryan vs. Dorkman Youtube fame, so that's cool, if you're into Internet Memes, I guess. Anyway, the film is called ATROPA, and according to the ridiculously short synopsis, it is... the story of an Off-World Detective investigating a missing research vessel.

How vaguely riveting...

Let's take a look anyway.

Huh... Well, it certainly looked good, I think. Very reminiscent of Aliens, design-wise. I liked that. I really hope the Syfy Channel's upcoming adaptation of James S. A. Corey's book series The Expanse will look as good. I hope... but I'm doubtful, given Syfy's track record and the really god damn stupid way they spell their name. Otherwise, I don't know. Did I miss something? What was the "twist" at the end about? Now, granted, it may be my own fault, but there seemed to be a lot of innuendo and inference floating back and forth across the table that had no discernable context. I mean, who were they and what the fuck were they talking about? What were they doing? And then it just kind of ended on a seemingly unrelated WTF moment. Am I wrong? Also: "Special Thanks to William Gibson"? Hmm... I wonder what for... I mean, besides being generally awesome.

Anyway, if you've got any answers, feel free to chime in.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: Mad Max: Fury Road (International Trailer)

I've talked about this fantastic looking film before now, more than once even. Check out the International trailer for more amazing visuals. The film needs no further  introduction.

Watch. Be amazed. Get excited.

God damn, this is gonna be so great.

Can't wait,

Poulette's Chair

I'm not usually the biggest anime fan. There's several obvious exceptions to this rule, of course, but I find the genre is too often a slave to its own cliches and tropes, and the fan-service is just plain old creepy. But, while Poulette's Chair does walk some of the same paths as most anime, don't worry, it's definitely not one of the creepy ones. This is a sweet and wordless and very quick short film by Hiroyasu Ishida, and it's all about the friendship between a young girl and her sentient chair.

You heard me.

Seriously, check it out. It's magic.

That was funny and sweet and sad, right? Good animation, well-drawn characters. Really good stuff. I hope she fixed the leg at the end, and then eventually passed the chair on to her own children. Yeah, you know what? I've decided I'm just gonna go with that assumption.

I liked it. You?


Monday, February 16, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro.

I've mentioned him before. He's made some movies, movies I've liked and movies I haven't really liked, and weirdly, with one or two exceptions, that opinion seems to fall almost neatly along the dividing line of his Spanish speaking films versus his English speaking films.

The last time I mentioned the man, I said this:

Geek God of Flamboyant Demonic Imagery, Director Guillermo del Toro has apparently discovered that I am only passingly a fan of his work. I loved Blade 2 and The Devil's Backbone. I enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth. Otherwise: Meh... he's all right, sometimes I find his design work a little too busy, it gets in the way of the movie, in my opinion. And I'll be honest, I was REALLY happy to hear that he was no longer working on the Hobbit. Also, I hated the Hellboy films. Hated them. But ever since Ron Pearlman did this right here... they get a pass from me. We're cool.

Good on you, Ron Perlman.

And all these months later, that still holds true... Good on you, Ron Perlman.

So when it comes to Crimson Peak, I'm skeptical. I want to see it. It could be fun. I want it to be good, but... Charlie Hunnam is in it, so how good could it be?

I don't know, I guess we'll find out in October.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

I have no connection to the old show. Apparently it made quite the cultural impact on the America TV viewing public at the time, but here we are decades later, and I know pretty much nothing about it. Nothing, save for a general recognition of the title as having been a TV show that once existed, and a single off-handed reference to someone on the show often wearing turtlenecks, from the story Apt Pupil, by Stephen King. That's it. I mean, I may have maybe seen it once maybe on some backwater cable channel, but I really don't think so. A lot of these ancient TV shows look a like now, so I might be thinking of the handful of old Mission Impossible episodes I've seen. I mean, I'm a million years old, it's true, but this show is easily 2 billion, right? It's way before my time, is what I'm saying, and as a result, I have zero knowledge of, and even less of an emotional connection with the series.

I know so little about The Man from U.N.C.L.E., that I had to do a google search just for some reference, and except for a few ridiculously un-fun looking dolls, this is pretty much what I found...

Okay, so at this point, I am comfortable in saying I have never seen a single moment of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. I mean, jesus, how could I forget that shit? Look at it, it looks like what the crotchety old man character on a family friendly sit-com dreams about. The actors look like they smell like polyester, basement workshops, pipe tobacco, and martinis. I bet they're willing to talk about the good old days at the drop of a hat...

I only go on like this so that you'll understand that I'm judging the trailer for Guy Ritchie's 2015 feature film update solely on its own merits, there's no nostalgia based expectations intruding or anything. The old series might as well not exist.

That is a pretty sweet car though...

So the story goes like this: Napolean Solo is the suavest, most awesomely cool, super secret CIA agent in all the swinging 60s wide western world. Illya Kuryakin is the youngest, most lethal and baddest of all bad asses that KGB has to offer. They are played by Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer respectively, two men in desperate need of a quality film to star in... Anyway, their characters are enemies, naturally, as the world was locked in the most frigid years of the Cold War at the time. Enemies, that is, until the day some ex-Nazis form an evil (crime? terrorist? boggle?) organization called THRUSH, which leads to our heroes being recruited to work for U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, with the purpose of bringing down THRUSH, which apparently stands for nothing. It's just THRUSH, I guess. During the course of this most dangerous of assignments, I can only presume that both men soon realize that only by working together, can they save the world, and along the way they maybe learn a little bit about themselves... and each other...

I don't know, like I said... I never watched the show.

But this trailer? This trailer, I like. 

Let's watch...

I kind of dug that.

Man... Guy Ritchie, huh? He is like Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, there's just no mistaking their work, is there? It looks like fun though. I love the aesthetic and I really like the tone. Cavill's delivery is fantastic. The cast is good, and I really like that the characters are inhabiting the over-the-top Mod 60s setting, treating it as if it's just their world, accepting its rules and rhythms, instead of spending the whole movie winking at the audience about how crazy the fashion looks--at least from what I can tell from the trailer--so that's a good thing. I'm interested.

I'm going keep an eye out for this.