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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season's Greetings!

As you may have noticed, the volume of original articles has decreased over the last few weeks. Due to circumstances beyond my control - the time and focus needed to keep the site freshly updated have not been available to me.

There were plans for a "Best Holiday Films For People That Hate The Holidays" article that just did not fit into the end of year schedule. Rest assured there will plenty of new articles and reviews in the new year... and if you are lucky, maybe just maybe that article will see the light of day next year.

In the meantime, feel free to make suggestions for articles you would like to see on the site in the future or just drop a line to tell us how you like the site.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the FilmSnork. As a gift I have provided you with one of the best trailers of all-time. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer

For those of you whose inner geek needs a little encouragement after a year of disappointing superhero films - Pete Jackson and some furry footed friends may be just what you need.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FilmSnork Bad Idea #2 - We're Not Gonna Take It - "Rock of Ages" Trailer

Somethings are better left alone. On stage this is a hell of a good time; cheesy, over the top and unstoppably awesome - the embodiment of 80's Rock'n'Roll. On film it looks like the a multi-million dollar mistake, a pretender an imposter. Big name actors dressing up and playing pretend. Having Catherine Zeta-Jones sing a Twisted Sister song seems like sacrilege.

Some people would say it looked good on paper. My response: no it didn't.

If this is your idea of rock music I fear for our youth.

Judge for yourself.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Three Stooges Trailer



I hate to say this, even though I am a 3 Stooges fan and wanted to hate it, this does not look as bad as I had expected. The impressions seem spot on and the physical comedy works. What does not work, the jokes are more Farrelly Brothers than 3 Stooges style (mainly the swimming pool joke) and Snooki, of course.

It may actually survive in the so bad it is good category if it does not cater to modern audiences too much. What it's biggest hurdle will be - a feature length running time. The original Stooges running times averaged at about 16 minutes; 90 minutes is a long time for a Stooges impression or even the original Stooges.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hugo - Film Review

Charming.  Not a word usually associated with the films of Marty Scorsese.   If you called Cape Fear, Goodfellas or Casino charming you may find yourself under mandatory psych evaluation.  Well, there is always a first.  "Hugo" is a film that's content is completely foreign in comparison to the rest of the director's filmography, yet retains much of his cinematic style.

The story begins following an orphan named Hugo that lives in the clockwork of the main train terminal of Paris; but then becomes so much more.  Since the boy’s father passed away, leaving him with a secret message, Hugo has searched for the answers that may or may not ever arrive.  He works tirelessly to try to repair an automaton that his father had been repairing, assuming that this machine would be the messenger.  His attempts to fix the automaton lead him to a run in with an old man that sells wind- up toys in the train terminal - this is where the adventure begins.  The film becomes a mystery and ends as a love letter to film itself.  For your sake I will let you unravel the mystery in the comfort of your own theater seat.

The films does start a bit slowly but eventually picks up momentum when Hugo attempts to run the automaton for the first time. At this point the magic begins and continues throughout the rest of the film.  Visually the film is stunning.  The use of 3D, at times, helps breathe life into the visuals, exemplified with the beautifully recreated exteriors of the long since gone 1920's Paris, which are just stunning. Another example is when the camera passes through the clock work from one room to another in one continuous camera shot - classic Scorsese.

The performances are all up to snuff.  Newcomer Asa Butterfield’s performance as Hugo is solid enough to carry the film, although he does get swallowed up in scenes when sharing the screen with the great (when cast correctly) Ben Kingsley and the chameleon Sasha Baron Cohen (playing Hugo's nemesis, the trains inspector) who does a wonderful job adding some comic relief.  Chloe Grace Mertz, whose character is quite charming (there's that word again, charming - has Pesci ever been charming in a Scorsese film?) does some great work when not killing crooks or sucking blood (as seen in some of her more recent roles NOT "Hugo") ...she has a bright future.

My top complaint about the film, besides the slow start, is that it does seem to require a big bite and takes some time to consume and digest. There are essentially two main storylines entwined with several other, lesser threads.  It is not that there are any that are not interesting; but based on the family- film expectations I had come in with, 130 minutes is a bit much.  The problem there is that some of the scenes that are not crucial to the film's central storyline do add some much needed sweetness to a fairly grey film, so they have their place.  Also, the use of 3D is at often times a waste, not adding or at times even distracting. I kept wanting to look around items in the foreground of shots; scenes that would have never been shot in such annoying fashion if shot in 2D.  But as I said before, the 3D does make for some breathtaking shots of Paris (which happens to be the setting for two of my favorite films of the year) so I will deal with it.

I have to question if this is really a film for kids as it is being marketed as the story, the pacing and some of the themes are more akin to an adult audience. However, one audience I definitely recommend the film to are those that love film itself.  To you, leave the kids at home, do yourself a favor and see this.
8.5 stars out of 10

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Artist - Film Trailer

I heard about this film a few months ago and thought the premise was intriguing.  It is now hitting theaters in limited release and based on the trailer it looks like a winner.  The premise, the sound era of film is on its way sending a panic through the stars of the silent era of film - many of who do not have the skills to survive in a film where they need to be heard not just seen.  I believe the majority of the film is silent, not in widescreen and in black and white.  This may be a deterrent for many people that come to this site to read about Darth Vader and The Muppets - I am sure some minds will be changed after viewing the trailer.

Watch the trailer and tell us what you think about the film bang, bore or bust?



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Muppets - Something Better Just Came Along (Movie Review)

It happened 12 years ago.  Just like that, I knew it was over.  A part of my youth I had clung to had come to an end.  The Muppets were dead.  Muppets From Space was so far disconnected from the Muppet spirit that I could not help but think, barring a miracle, the true Muppets were no longer.  Well, finally, after a string of lackluster television movies the miracle occurred...Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother/ naked in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

Not the miracle worker one would would be expecting.



But Segal's love for The Muppets has single-handedly breathed life into a franchise that had lost its way and nearly died from mismanagement.  The story in short is Segal, a life-long fan of Kermit and company; had noticed the lack of direction for The Muppets. They lost the charm and innocence which had allowed the band of felt puppets to resonate in the hearts and minds of children, even as they were raising children of their own. (I said short story.  I need to work on that.)  He decided to approach the studio with an idea of his own to not only put another Muppets movie on the big screen, but also to return them to their original form.  The studio took the bait and ran with it.  When I heard the news I was ecstatic.  Not only would The Muppets return to the big screen, but someone who loved them was bringing them there - NOT someone that was simply looking to sell stuffed animals and DVDs.

Now, several years after the news broke, the film has hit the big screen and I can honestly say all is well at the Muppet Theater.  The film shadows the real life condition of the Muppets - they have been forgotten (a fact I would have found hard to believe had I not tried to buy a Kermit the Frog doll 3 years ago, only to find they were no longer in production and, in turn, had to go to eBay to buy it).  The Muppets have disbanded, started their own lives and their studio is about to be taken over by an evil oil tycoon (the only kind out there.)  When the news reaches Kermit the Frog, via the newest Muppet, Walter, it is up to them to get the old gang together and raise enough money to save the theater from demolition.  Classic storyline.

Segal not only wrote the film, he also stars in it.  He plays Gary, a resident of the perfect little town of Smalltown, USA. that heads out on a trip with his brother Walter (the puppet) and girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles.  Mary and Gary are taking the trip to grow closer to one other and Walter wants to visit The Muppets studio since they are the only creatures he feels like he fits in with (remember, he is a puppet.) 

Overall the film is a great success. It restores the Muppet magic that has been missing for over a decade and also creates a film that will ingrain The Muppets into the hearts of a whole new generation while simultaneously reviving the interest of previous generations that have lost that loving feeling.  This is accomplished by revisiting the foundation of The Muppets- all the original characters are back, the old TV theme song is performed, even the Muppet theater is restored to its state from the glory days (there's more, but I will not spoil it for you.)   Besides the visit to the land of nostalgia, some of the newer elements also refresh the old formula - new songs/dance routines, a new character (Walter), cameos from old and new stars and even a rendition of a Nirvana song.  Expect numerous cameos; some newer stars, some ooooolder and one of the cooler cameos I have seen in a long while.

The new songs which (cool fact here) are composed by Bret MacKenzie of "Flight of the Conchords" fame are quite good.  Although nothing will match the songs of the original film, the new ones are catchy, even if you may not be humming them on the way home.  Which brings me to my two complaints about the film: 1) Too many popular, well-known songs. When you include Starship's "We Built This City" you can use some editing - 10 minutes cut would have been sufficient, 2) Where the heck was Rizzo the Rat?  Being a Muppets purist, I was originally turned off by his ever growing presence in the franchise, yet soon grew to love and accept him.  But even if you are not a fan - he didn’t even get one line!  A shame.  A few of his one-liners would have added some needed adult laughs.  Maybe we will see him on DVD.... please.

I can go on and on about this great film - there is a lot to like.  It is fun, funny and a much needed return to form for a group of puppets I have loved for decades.  Thank you, Jason Segal. Part of my youth did not die; it was just waiting for you to treat it correctly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drive-In Classics: The Intermission Films

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the first drive-in theater here are a selection of drive-in intermission films from several different decades. The memories. They all have their charms and all did a tremendous job convincing you (even though you knew better) that the snack bar food was worth getting out of your car to go and track down. It wasn't. But, if eating some terrible pizza and cold fries meant the drive-in would stay ooen for years to come - then it was my duty. Enjoy the videos and make sure you hunt down and support your local drive-in.   (6-6-2012)
In my opinion, the best of the all. Makes the refreshment stand sound like fine dining - when you got there it was run by a bunch of slacker teenagers, the food was dried our from sitting under heat lamps and the coffee was terrible. JUST THE WAY I LIKED IT.


The ad for the mosquito deterring rings you burn in your car. Eventually it was learned that these rings did not deter mosquitos, but they did attract zombies.  The poor people of the Holiday Drive-Inn did not stand a chance.

5:33 in you'll find a message for the lovers in the audience. Lucky for me their fogged up windshields prevented them from reading this or I would have never been born.

"Let's go out tof the lobby."  CLASSIC.

 
 1:33 in "Corn dogs are made of PEOPLE. They're made of people!!!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Did FilmSnork Save Arrested Development? The Show is Officially Returning


After years of rumors it seems as if the Bluth Family has found a new home and a wounded company has finally found a lifeline. "Arrested Development" has found a new home at Netflix. Starting in 2013 new episodes will be exclusively on Netflix.

Beating out other giants such as Showtime and Hulu, Netflix has earned its first bit of positive press after months of such comically poor business decisions that you may have thought you were watching a Bluth run company. I would not take a few jabs at the poor decisions of Reed Hastings/Netflix. AR had a field day breaking the fourth wall, slyly attacking Fox for the poor treatment of the show in their first run. I would be disappointed if they didn't throw a few punches here.

Ron Howard, series narrator and executive producer said, “After a long hiatus, I’m dying to finally get back to the narrator’s microphone. Of all the projects we’ve been involved with over the years, we probably get more questions about Mitch Hurtwitz’s brilliant Arrested Development than any other — everyone, ourselves included, seems to feel like the Bluths left the party a bit too soon. Bringing a series back from cancellation almost never happens, but then, Arrested always was about as unconventional as they get, so it seems totally appropriate that this show that broke the mold is smashing it to pieces once again.”


Although details are scare about returning cast members it has been mentioned that no contracts have been finalized.

On thing that is certain, many industry insiders (to be cited later) believe there is no coincidence that this announcement is being made so soon after the show's inclusion to a FilmSnork article naming 12 Must Shows For Movie Fans. We don't like to throw around the term hero, but in this case... well, you get the picture.

As more details arrive they will be reported here. What do you think about this announcement?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman Trailer



My first response to the announcement of a Kristen Stewart film is to make other plans for that weekend to avoid the screaming fans and manly Jacob vs Edward debates. My second response is to question, just what is up with that girl? If you have ever seen her in an interview or accepting at an award show (People's Choice and MTV only, real awards do not go out to the Twilight series - sorry) she is a bit off. Surprisingly, this trailer looks fantastic. It has everything action, adventure and an ageless Charlize Theron.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Official Trailer

Check out the review here.





What do you think? Did you read the books? If so, does this trailer meet your expectations?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Everything Is Not O-Tay - Eddie Bows Out of Oscars After Ratner's Dismissal - UPDATE: A HOST HAS BEEN NAMED


As if you did not sees this one coming.  Yesterday Bret Ratner "exited" the role of producer after comments he had recently made had come to light.   Today his friend and the star of his most recent film, Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy has also backed out of the show himself as a show of support for Ratner.  

The questionable comments including use of the word "fag" and detailed discussions about his sex life on Howard Stern's SiriusXM program.  In more detail topics covered were his relationships with Lindsay Lohan, masturbation, Olivia Munn, the size of his genitals and more topics that might offend a nun, but are common place on Stern's show.

The Acedemy released the following statement:
Beverly Hills, CA (November 9, 2011) - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," said Sherak.
Commented Murphy, "First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."


As a whole this is a huge embarrassment to the Academy that suffered its worst reviews after last year's Anne Hathaway and James Franco debacle - what many call the worst Oscars of all time.  When announced a couple months back, Eddie's decision to host was greeted with great fanfare - creating the most positive buzz the Oscars have had in years and possibly enough to turn around the ratings slide and the public's growing disinterest.  Now only four months before the event they are both host-less and producer-less.  Something tells me this is about the time they dig up Billy Crystal - an eight time host and fan favorite.

The Oscars have been considered to be sliding in prestige and popularity - unless they find a quick and buzz worthy host then the only they may be able to become less popular is rename themselves Qwikster.

My early guesses for hosts:  Ricky Gervais (unless NBC/Golden Globes locked him in), Neil Patrick Harris (a go to guy), Billy Crystal (old reliable), Alec Baldwin (popular SNL host), Conan O'Brien (before TBS he was a big name) or Todd Bridges (everybody loves a comeback.)

According to PageSix  The Academy is considering going with an ensemble of "hot" presenters which is that absolute worst idea of them all.  This is the Academy Awards, The OSCARS, not the Teen Choice Awards or even worse the People's Choice Awards?  They got cold feet after a few "risque" comments were made and lost the best idea for a host in years and are now considering lowering the prestige level monumentally by giving us the "hot" celebs we all have come to know and hate.  Save that for the lowly award shows - have some respect for the best and find one REAL host.  In an era where there are no longer any Johnny Carsons or Bob Hope makes the task much more difficult.  You can't just turn to The Tonight Show any longer and pick a winner host - that is unless Jay Leno is your idea of entertaining - if so you probably always complain "I never heard of any of these films," during every Oscar presentation anyway.

We will see how this all comes together - check back for updates.  My money is on Billy Crystal.

UPDATE:
And the host is... Filmsnork, you are never wrong - Billy Crystal.

He wrote, "Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show."

More on this later.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spielberg Finds Bus, Throws Lucas Under It....Again

You may not want to "friend" Steven Spielberg on Facebook just yet.  Don't worry, you won't get a virus - you won't get much a of a friend either.  Sure he has some great qualities: he is one of the best directors of all time (Jaws, Schindler's List, Close Encounters), he has some Oscars, he seems like a nice family man, he has an awesome beard - beyond that is where his struggles begin.  As a friend, he will stick by you think and thin. Great!  But, he lacks one important trait - the ability to tell a friend the truth.

A good friend has the guts to tell it to you like it is, to protect you from yourself and your own stupid ideas.  Spielberg has failed that test multiple times.  A few weeks back he has made the decision to redeem himself for a mistake from his past; his foolish digital altering of the classic, E.T.  Admirable to admit your mistakes and better yet, fix them.  Where he falters is he did not use that redemption as an opportunity to grab his buddy, George Lucas, by the beard and shake some sense into him to do the same thing.  George needs a good beard shaking, someone to tell him to stop altering his films - that beardshaker was supposed to be his self proclaimed friend Steven Spielberg.

During my youth, if my friends never steered me in the right direction from my poor decisions I would probably still be sporting a mullet and possibly would have given up my dream of becoming a dentist and gone into a less lucrative career in the arts - oh wait... well at least they got me to ditch the mullet.

Now again, just a few weeks later, Spielberg is proving again that he may not be the level of friend worthy of singing the Golden Girls theme to.  He spoke with the press about the mistake made with the last installment of the Indiana Jones films, "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" and used the opportunity to throw Lucas under the bus.  Nice friend.  Sure he took the hit on one poor aspect of the film - the infamous Nuke the Fridge sequence (video below) - but he also took the time to point out that Lucas made the worst decision ever executed in an Indiana Jones film, (SPOILER) the inclusion of (I SAID SPOILER) aliens.  Not only did he blame Lucas for the huge misstep, he also admitted to not doing anything to stop it - in other words he not only let Lucas keep his proverbial mullet he was in the barber shop with him and did not offer the much needed friendly hairstyling advice.

"Blame me. Don't blame George. That was my silly idea," he told Empire.
"People stopped saying, 'Jump the shark'. They now say, 'Nuked the fridge'. I'm proud of that. I'm glad I was able to bring that into popular culture."

Despite the criticisms, Spielberg said he was "happy" with the film but "sympathises" with people who didn't like the extraterrestrial plot developments.
"George and I had big arguments about (that). I didn't want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in - even if I don't believe in it - I'm going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it.
"I'll add my own touches, I'll bring my own cast in, I'll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that."

Steven, that is all fine.  You are excused...from nothing.  Shame on you.  Big finger of shame!  A friend needed you and you threw your hands in the air and walked away.   Would Thelma step out of the car when Louise wanted to go on a one way trip, would Lewis tell Clark he did not feel like walking today, would Piglet not help Pooh find the honey?  Hell no.  Friends stick by their friends.  I once wanted to invest all my high school graduation money into a converting my old Mercury Cougar into a convertible, my friends talked me out of it.  So, I used the money to buy a timeless media device, a Sony Discman.  (Who doesn't have one of those on their belt clips?)  That is what friends are for.

Spielberg also admitted during the interview that a new Indiana Jones was in the works.  Let's just hope Steve can find it in himself to man up and tell George what the truth - otherwise we may be watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Howard the Duck.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rob Zombie's "Halloween" - Tricked, No Treat (Retro-Review)

Let me start by saying this will be a very bias review I am a huge fan of the original "Halloween".  With that said, I stand behind every word, except the word timid - I should have used a thesaurus.
If you have not seen the original you may as well skip reading this until you do since I often reference the Carpenter version.

One of my all-time favorite films is the John Carpenter horror classic, "Halloween".  It gave birth to a horror film icon and did so with the use of  minimal blood, a simple story, a ton of suspense, a killer score and the unstoppable shape of evil personified - Michael Myers.  Upon hearing of Rob Zombie's planned remake I was hit with mixed feelings.   As a fan I wanted to see the Halloween franchise (which looked to be defunct at the time) continue, but was not sure if having musician Rob Zombie remake the classic film was the right way to go.  Actually, was there any reason to remake the film at all?

After seeing the first trailer I was relieved to see some familiar sights and sounds, mainly Dr. Loomis (the doctor that is obsessed with stopping Myers) and the haunting theme music.  My expectations were high - not only did I anticipate a pretty good horror movie, but possibly a great addition and a possible kick start to the Halloween franchise. Well, one out of two ain't too bad.

This film about a small town massacre on Halloween night, massacres the spirit of the original film. SPOILERS AHEAD (breaking my no spoiler rule already).  It took only a few minutes of viewing for me to come to terms with the fact that I never really wanted a remake of the film that shaped my nightmares as a child.  I am attached to the original, having seen it at least 30 times, subtle changes to the story or characters were going to noticed and frowned upon... then again, it is a remake I have to expect some minor changes.  Much to my dismay, there were not many subtle changes, instead it was a complete overhauls.


Below are some comparisons of the two versions of the film.

THE OPENING:
The original:  A brief, yet effective setup. Halloween night.  A young Michael Myers walks into his sister's room, still wearing his Halloween clown costume, and kills her.  He is found by his parents still holding the bloody knife with a blank stare on his face...his is pure evil.  Flash forward 20 years and introduce his shrink - Dr. Loomis.

The remake: A ONE HOUR setup. Michael Myers is a disturbed kid that wears a mask at all times. His parents are trashy, foul mouthed wretches.  His sister is simply a slut.  He kills animals, kills classmates and eventually is locked up. For the next forty minutes we watch Michael's stay at the institution - therapy sessions, mask making, etc. TOO MUCH INFO. Michael was creepy when he had unknown motives, unknown power - Zombie cheapened him, turned him into an everyday serial killer - no mystery at all.  The therapy sessions a overlong and at the same time revealing nothing interesting.  Eventually we flash forward twenty years and find out that Michael has a massive hulking figure, still making masks, still not talking, still not interesting.



 LAURIE/LOOMIS:
The original: Shortly after fast forwarding to Michael as an adult we are introduced to all-American girl, Laurie Strode (played by a young Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. We learn about them and connect with them. Michael appears and disappears sporadically inciting chills and setting and an all around creepy Halloween feel.   Loomis as played by Donal Pleasance, races against time begging for support to hunt Myers down and stop a tragedy.

The remake: Little screen time is given to Laurie and her friends, not enough to establish any interest in the characters. Loomis pops up here and there, babbling garbage and selling a book.  Really!?!? Believe it or not, Malcolm McDowell's version of Loomis is the most successful interpretation of the original.


THE KILLINGS:
The original: Michael systematically kills Laurie's friends as he works his way toward his final kill, his sister, Laurie. The scenes are simple kills, shot to scare the living shellac right out of you.

The remake: After taking out a number of additional cast member, the friends are killed off one at a time. The settings and timings of the kills are changed, instead of slow paced scary killings he works his way through his victims quickly.  This is what the prolonged build up leads to?


THE CLIMAX:
The original: Laurie and Michael have one last confrontation - one of the scariest sequences of all time. Minimalist scares techniques, huge results.

The remake: Some similarities, but the subtle (and extreme) changes destroy all of the classic shocks. Remember Laurie running across the street, hysterically trying to wake Tommy so he could open the door to evade Myers?  The unbearable moments of Laurie screaming for help as you see the silhouette of Myers coming up behind her?  Zombie found a way to deplete the intensity.   How do you ruin that scene?

THE ENDING:
The original: "It was the boogie man." "As a matter of fact it was." Followed by one last shot -- MICHAEL MYERS IS GONE. AMAZING!

The remake: "Was that the boogie man?" "As a matter of fact... I do believe that was."   Followed by 15 more minutes of film and a final confrontation in a swimming pool. Are you kidding me?  When I see the original ending I get the chills... the Zombie version, not so much.


There are some positive elements to Rob Zombie's version of Halloween, the sets are great, capturing the feel of the original. The characters are fairly well cast with a few important misses. The most successful, even though they alter the character way too much, is Malcolm McDowell as Loomis – a good choice. Unfortunately, he is overwritten and has too much compassion for Michael instead of fear and obsession needed. Annie is played by Danielle Harris, the star of Halloween 4 & 5, she fits the part although like all the “current Day” Haddonfield roles it is cut down to accommodate the overlong back story. Laurie Strode, the Jamie Lee Curtis role in the original, is played by an unknown, whom after this role will probably stay unknown – she brings nothing to the role, while removing Jamie Lee’s strong but timid approach. The casting of Michael as both child and adult are not very successful – the younger is pudgy and annoying, the older, as stated before, looks like a WWE wrestler rather than the average guy he should have been. I guess if you are going to remove the “supernatural” element you “need” to explain his strength.  One bit of odd casting was the return of Police Academy’s Callahan – thought she was dead years ago.  Welcome back?

As mentioned earlier, the film spends way too long creating a back story that alters Myers from a possible supernatural killing machine, into a disturbed serial killer found in so many films. The soul of the film has been removed, stripping away what made the original a classic and replacing it with heaps of gore and explicative language. As you wait and wait and wait for the introduction of Laurie and Co, you are delivered instead a prologue goes on so long I started to wonder if they had removed the entire storyline from the original. (Zombie, sometimes less is more.) By the time the film gets to the familiar setting of Haddonfield the damage had already been done; the film’s timing, themes and characters are all skewed. As a horror film, the movie does provide some scares and an all around uneasiness that feels like familiar territory, but this will not do for a Halloween film.


Supposedly Zombie loved the original film.  After viewing his version, I almost question if he is talking about the same film.

As a horror film – 4 stars out of ten
As a Halloween film – 3 stars out of ten

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Brand-Spanking New "The Avengers" Trailer

Is the world ready for another superhero film?    It better be, because more are on the way. After cramming superhero film after superhero film into our theaters The Avengers trailer has finally been released. The film has been a hot topic since Samuel Jackson mentioned the word S.H.I.E.L.D during his cool cameo after the original Iron Man film. After all the hype, all the fan boy buildup, the billions spent to bring most of The Avengers to the big screen in their own films - I have FINALLY watched the trailer and......meh. Yup. That's it. Sure it looks good, but after so many superhero films these last few years it is tough to get too excited.

Sometimes less is more. That has never been more evident than in this trailer. This film looks like it is going to suffer from an overload of characters fighting for screen time. Reminds me of X-Men United a superhero so jammed packed with character that it lost he heart found in the previous entry. The promo starts nicely, but toward the middle it turns into a catalog trying to fit all the items on the page.

The saving grace for the film Joss Whedon the director has a great track record and a history with the characters is not going in the hands of some rookie director, or worse, in the hands of someone that directed Charlies Angels.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Netf***ed : Can the online DVD rental company stop its free fall? - UPDATED 10/23/2011

It seems like Netflix can do no right these days.  The same company that single-handedly took down the behemoth, Blockbuster, (with some help from the clueless execs at Blockbuster, of course) has quickly taken dragged its name through the dirt.  As recently as last year, just about everybody who used the service loved Netflix.  Its unique approach to video rental provided movie fans a new experience,  no more video store trips, no more late fees - instead we received DVDs at our house to be viewed as long as we would like.  It was a new approach to an old business and it took the industry by storm.

But all good things must come to an end and right about now it looks like the Netflix's good thing may.  In just a matter of months the company has gone through some drastic changes due to increased competition and increased operating costs.

For those of you unfamiliar with the changes, here is a brief history of some of the changes that started the backlash:

1) Delayed Release:  In an attempt to increase slumping DVD sales several studios delay delivery of new releases to Netflix up to four weeks.  If you want the latest film the day it comes out, either buy it, go to Blockbuster or set your computer date back several weeks and pretend the film has not been released yet.  You got us good studios, I guess I will start buying DVDs again.

2) The Biggie:.  Instead of free streaming with just about every subscription, there would no longer be free streaming with ANY subscription.  In order to stream you need to pay and additional $8 a month, in some cases a 60% increase.  People loved the idea.

3) Loss of  Starz: Netflix's streaming service had one huge complaint, the films were not the newest releases.  That changed when they partnered with Starz, the cable movie network.  Suddenly, streaming was not just for fans of old TV shows and indy films, it was for everyone.  As of last month, plans for the end of that partnership have been announced.  As of next year, no more Starz streaming.  Starz wanted too much money for the rights - they have since walked away from the bargaining table.  Starz will soon go off to being the pay movie channel no one has ever heard of, again.

These changes to their system, some their choice others forced up upon them, has lead to increasing resentment from the once faithful users.  Ultimately this led to this: 

4) THE Letter:  an email was sent apologizing for the recent, let's say less than popular changes to service.  Oh yeah, and by the way, we also breaking the company in two, a streaming company (Netflix) and a DVD company (Quickster).  This means two accounts, two queues, two bills.  Too much??  I personally thought it was a joke.  Apparently, so do many people out there.

Though many may, it is not fair to pin this entirely on Netflix.  The biggest catalyst for the unpopular changes pf service was the studios that supply the content finally seeing the light.  The light being Netflix's untra-successful/profitable approach to rentals and streaming.  The studios got wind of the massive profits associated with creating a easy to use, non-traditional approach to video rental and now want the money for themselves.  Like the music industry which allowed Apple to steal the power to distribute right from under their feet, the movie industry has been sitting back for years enjoying the money, continuing to offer the same antiquated delivery system.  When they realized the Netflix stock was going for close to $300 as they were struggling to survive, it was time to come collecting.  Netflix built a successful system, but if it wanted to keep it going as is it would need to pay more for content to the lazy studios.  The same geniuses that put out Paul Blart: Mall Cop still have the power, they still have the content.

These next few months are going to make or break Netflix.  The company once seen as a video rental messiah - freeing us from late fees, offering us a wider selection than ever before and allowing us to watch what we wanted when we wanted (on our phones, Xboxs, Wiis, etc.) is facing its toughest days.  Now, as so often happens, the loyal will stay and weather the changes and others will leave and bitch endlessly on the way out.  The free lunch has come to an end, it is time to start paying up or time to starve.  Thanks Netflix, it WAS delicious while it lasted.

UPDATE 10/10/2011 Goodbye Qwikster, We Hardly New You: 
According to the New York Times the plans for a split in the streaming and DVD-by-mail services has been cancelled after an overwhelming negative consumer reaction which cost them millions of subscribers.  The company admitted it moved too fast when it tried to spin-off the old-fashioned DVD service into a new company called Qwikster. 

“We underestimated the appeal of the single web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”

Netflix tried to be crystal-clear about it, issuing a press release that was titled “DVDs Will Be Staying At Netflix.com” and sending e-mails to subscribers about the news.
Well it seems that someone has come to their senses.  Unlike some companies that are too proud to admit their mistakes (i.e. Apple with their buttonless mouse) Netflixand loss of millions of subscribers and billions in stock value.

On top of the cancelled split service new partnerships have recently been announced for their streaming service, Dreamworks and AMCShrek and others to be part of your updated queue as early as next year.

One bit of bad news for people that want it all, but do not want to pay for it - the recently announced price increase will remain in effect.  This explains the aforementioned improvements to the streaming catalog.

UPDATE 10/23/2011  - Oh oh.
According to The Wall Street Journal, more bad news for Netflix, "The movie-rental company's shares sank 26% in after-hours trading.
Netflix reported 21.45 million streaming subscriptions at the end of the third quarter and 13.9 million subscribers to its DVD-by-mail business, with a good bit of overlap between them. The company said total U.S. subscriber base by the end of its third quarter was 23.79 million—below expectations of roughly 24 million. Netflix lost 810,000 subscribers between the second and third quarters."

800K lost subscribers is nothing to laugh at.  Wall Street is nervous, the name Netflix has become synonymous with sneaky corporation instead entertainment - that is bad news.  Once you gain a reputation it is hard to restore your name, just ask the class whore at your school.  See you just thought of someone in your head.

Netflix is going to need to pull out some big guns soon or the slope will become even more slippery.  The competition is not offering a helping hand either, more like a kick to the stomach while they are down.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

FilmSnork now has a Facebook Page - "Like" Us Now


This story is here to announce the new Facebook FilmSnork page, the page that will contain links to all the latest FilmSnork stories including a link to the announcement of the link to the announcement that you are reading now.  I think we just opened a hole in the time space continuum.  Great Scott!

"Like" us now before it is too late.  It is easy, just click HERE and click "Like."

John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe - Serial Killer Hunter in "The Raven"

As a normal thing, I will continue to post trailers for films of interest.  Feel free to recommend some to me.  This one combines three items of interest: Serial Killers, Edgar Allan Poe and John Cusack.  A match made in heaven or one that will have you muttering "nevermore" to Cusack film.

I personally, want my twelve dollars to see this film.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs - Visionary Inventor and Entrepreneur - RIP



The world lost a man that not only changed computing, entertainment and communications; he changed the way we live.  Beyond the tangible legacy left are the thoughts of a great mind.  Below are a few quotes from a man whose influence will be felt for generations to come.
RIP Steve.  Thanks for your contributions to mankind.

a few of his best quotes
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
"A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players."
 “I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much — if at all."
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
“When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.”
 “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
 “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

FilmSnork's Bad Idea #1 - The Arrested Development Movie - The Worst Thing to Happen to the Bluth Family Since the Banana Stand Burned Down?

This past weekend at an Arrested Development reunion at the New Yorker Festival the creator of the show, Mitchell Hurwitz, released word that there are now plans to bring the show back to television for a shortened season, followed by the much talked about feature film.  News spread quickly over twitter, facebook, delighting fans whom after numerous false alarms and misguided reports had finally received news that feel concrete.  While many people are overjoyed about the news I can only think, "Noooooooooo!"  This is a bad idea.

Sure, I would love more Arrested Development, but I would also like a 3rd arm at times - sometimes, it is better not to get what you want.  Here are a few reasons I think we should move on and remember Arrested Development for what it was:


What's left to say - As the third came to an end the original storylines were completed in a satisfying fashion.  There were attempts to save the series, to have it picked up another network, but they never came to fruition.   Maybe the networks realized there was no place for the story too go without reinventing itself.  Cancellation gave the show what many TV series wish they had, a positive legacy.  Many shows overstay their welcome, look at The Simpsons.   Arrested, like all shows, had begun to show signs of aging, minor age lines, but they were there.  By the end of season three it wrapped up the central plotlines and headed for the exit.  Congrats.  It was this decision that secured its spot as one of the best shows ever on television (a list that once contained The Simpsons).   Sure good things are hard to walk away from -  Dickens could have added another chapter to "Great Expectations," "What Happened To Pip Next," but he knew better.  A great storyteller knows what he/she has to says it and ends the story.  The Bluth story has concluded, perhaps it should stay that way.

Sequelititis - And since story line was complete, this new series/movie will essentially be a sequel to the original series.  Haven't we learned time and time again about the consequences of making sequels successful stories that stood on their own.  How many Blues Brothers 2000's or Caddyshack 2's do we need before we learn our lesson?  Sequelititis - I define, in part, as a film that possesses the following characteristics: rehashed storylines, well received secondary characters given expanded roles, the addition of characters (or a well know celeb) in an attempt to cover for flawed writing, forced/predictable/uncalled for romances.   Basically, any sequel that is not created to tell part of the story, but rather to squeeze more money out of a popular title, character.  These films are almost always unsuccessful at capturing the magic of the original and often leave it with a black eye.  There are sequels that succeed and the team behind Arrested have a great track record, should it be tested?

Too much time has passed - Since the original series came to an end 5 years ago the cast has aged, economies have changed.  Do the Bluths still fit, unforced, into this day and age or will they be a square peg?  It seems like the new series will be created for the sole purpose of reintroducing the Bluths into the modern world, making a better transition from small to large screen than just creating a feature film.  The short period of time the original storyline took place over supported the arrested development of the characters, made it feasible.   Will that hold up with a storyline that takes place 6 years later, the world moved on, the characters didn't.  For example, the children stars are now college age?  I do not want to see the equivalent of Danny Cooksey, (Diff'rent Strokes) filling the hole left by the aging of Michael Jr. and Maeby.  Please no.

I am incredibly selfish - Have you ever found an undiscovered cozy little restaurant with great food/service, had the night of your and never told anyone about it in an attempt to keep it as something special for yourself, fearing new crowds woud destroy what made the experieince special?  That is how I feel with Arrested Development.  I found it when it originally ran on television, I tried to get people to watch it,  I supported it, I bought the DVDs...me.me.me.  It is MY show.  Now it is going to be released again to the world, to a new breed of fan - the type of fan that will use it up and dispose of it like the peel of a banana.  Remember when Austin Powers was popular (before the terrible 3rd film)?  Everyone was saying "Yeah baby" to finish of just about every sentence.  "Check out her dress on her, yeah baby!'  "This burrito is spicy, yeah baby!"  "We are going to have to amputate, yeah baby!"   It started off harmlessly, but by the time Kathi Lee Gifford was saying it I wanted to finish anyone's delivery of the two words with a punch to the stomach.  Let's not do that to Arrested Development.  When I see a half naked man, painted blue wearing jean shorts at a Halloween party I want to  have the urge to congratulate him on the costume, not punch him in the stomach.

With all that said, I would love to see an Arrested Development film/series IF it does not reek of Sequelititis.   I wished for a second Matrix and. damn, that was a mistake.  We have the TV equivalent of the Mona Lisa here, do we risk tampering with it.  These guys have the talent to create a brand new show and not risk blacking the eyes of AR.  Just think, what it Rob Thomas never moved on from Veronica Mars we would not have Party Down, it Joss Whedon continued to only focus on Buffy would we ever have Firefly?

Producers, whatever you decide to do with this series reboot I support you.  I want a the best for Arrested Development but, one request.  Please, no Ted McGinley.  Sorry Ted.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SONY WANTS YOU...To Pay More For Their Crappy 3D Films

What do you do when the wave of the future turns out to be more of a ripple?  Charge people more money for the ripple.  That is exactly what Sony is planning to do starting mid next year as they increase the already ridiculous cost of seeing movies in 3D by not fronting the bill for the glasses.

After the initial surge of business brought about by film's new frontier, 3D, the numbers have dropped considerably.  Avatar broke box office records and brought people to the theater in droves to check out the new and improved 3D - it was impressive.  Audiences would shell out the extra money to see just about anything they slapped the 3D label on.  This is where the problems started.  It was not long after its debut that studios were slapping a 3D effect on everything.  The integrity of the new medium was already compromised before it even had a chance to become a mainstay.   It did not take long for audiences to react. 

All 3D was not created equal.  Authentic 3D films are conceptualized, designed shot by shot and filmed using special processes and equipment to maximize the 3D experience.  2D films converted to 3D go through a conversion process in post to create an effect with less than stellar results.  No planning, no special equipment - just parlor tricks.  It is like putting frosting on a loaf of rye bread and calling it cake.  The single biggest issue for audience was there was no to know beforehand which process was used to create the 3D effect.  Of course, the promotional materials were not boasting "Shot in Amazing 2D (and then converted).  So, it was not until they were sitting in their theater seats after shelling out their the additional money that they discovered if they paid for a true 3D experience or bread with frosting.  With the poor 3D transfers,  a lingering recession and the every growing options of home viewing the moviegoer had it, sales plummeted. 

Now Sony,  the studio that gave us the classic film Smurfs 3D, drops a bombshell announcing that it will no longer supply the glasses with the price of admission.  Instead they are putting that financial responsibility in the hands of the theater owners.  For those of you that are not too knowledgeable about business this translates to to the savings will not be passed down to you, expect to pay more.  As a result we can expect an increase in the already jacked up 3D movie prices by what is estimated to be $3-5 for a grand total somewhere between $16 and $23 depending on where you live...FOR SMURFS 2 IN 3D?!?!?
Sony whines how they lose $5 to $10 million dollars with every 3D release due to costs associated with the special glasses.   So what, I lost $34 when I paid for two tickets to The Green Hornet in stunning, half-ass 3D.  Sorry Sony Pictures, but that $10 million is the SFT (Sh*tty Film Tax) that you'll have to pay for putting out low rate films, wasting our time and ruining our dates.
 
How the theater owners react will be interesting will they fight it, will they develop a new system to recycle the glasses or will they just lay down and raise their ticket prices.  My guess, is a rebellion where all theater owners across the US unite to stop the oppressive ways of the studios, finally giving the consumer a break.  Nahhh.  Just kidding, I expect higher ticket prices and little else.

Will you pay these prices?  Is this the death knell of the 3D film generation?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Anne Hathaway Exposed!

Thanks to the paparazzi there will be no surprises when it comes to the costumes in the next Batman feature Dark Knight Rises (check out the review here) as shots of her in costume have been released around the internet.  It looks pretty tame, much more like a throwback to the costumes worn by Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar on the Adam West television show from the 60's than the psycho-sexy getup worn by Michelle Pfeiffer for the Tim Burton film.  Luckily, nothing close to the cheeseball, forced (attempt at) titillation of the Halle Berry incarnation - a total dud in so many ways.  By the way, those of you that came here looking for nudity or porn we know who you are.  Yes, I mean you Jim.  Get back to work, perv!

Some observations of note - the costume does possess the trademark ears, even though from these picks they seem a little deformed, it puts at ease the fanboys that got their panties in a bunch when the first image of Catwoman hit the web.  The biggest omission is the whip which was made a necessity through the years, but these are only a few production pictures from a full feature - I am sure we will see the whip again.   She has been given a new utility belt and high heels - as if she can't make up her mind whether to go to a night club or fix the dishwasher.


an example of mom jeans
As of right now, sadly to say after so much anticipation, the costume is a disappointment.  It lacks the allure of some previous versions and is actually kind of leaning toward a mom jeans look.  After the fine job done by Nolan's team with The Scarecrow and The Joker, this take on Catwoman seems a bit uninspired.

Beyond the costume, the question still lingers, does Hathaway have the sex appeal to sell the character?  She is one of those actresses the bounces between stunning and (let's say) unique looking.  I think she has the chops to pull it off (unless she is trying a British accent) and Nolan has yet to disappoint.  At this point, I will wait to pass full judgement until the film but as of right now:  VERDICT - MILD FAIL




Hitting the gas

Michelle Pfeiffer
Halle Berry
Julie Newmar




One of My Favorite Commercials - IFC/Green Day

A few years back IFC and Green Day collaborated on series of promos using clips from that month's broadcasting and the song Jesus of Suburbia (by Green Day, of course).  I felt for a fan of film they were a must see.   Sadly, no on I knew had seen or even heard of them.  The promos went off the air and unlike everything else under the sun, never made it to Youtube (that I know of).  I searched for months and with the help of a Green Day fan found some lead and eventually the spots.  Here they are in all their glory.  I am sure fans of independent film, rock and awesomeness will enjoy them.  If anyone knows where I can get better copies of them please let me know.  

Feel free to name as many movies from the promos as you can in the comment section.  ENJOY!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Extended Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trailer

For those of you that have not read the book, seen the Swedish version of the films, been told they must read the book, sat across from four strangers on the train all reading the book, been recommended to download the book for Kindle by Amazon.com or found a copy in the your brother-in-law's bathroom, here is the trailer to get you up to speed for one of the top film releases of the year.  Something about tattoos, nipple-piercings and Daniel Craig screams holiday season release. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (retro-review)

If while growing up your trips to the roller rink meant spending all couples' skates in the arcade in the comforting glow of Dig Digg, if you stopped dead in your tracks to watch over someone's shoulder to see a stranger beat the high score at Missile Command or spent more time discussing how to ace a screen of Ms. Pac-Man than talking to the opposite sex - this film is for you.   It is a study of championship, old-school arcade game players and the cut throat world they live in.  That is not a joke.  These guys do not just play games they live them - attending yearly conventions, practicing daily, playing the full size game in their garages in attempts to beat world records while ignoring a family member's begging for their attention.

The tells the tale of a classic rivalry, a David and Goliath story.  The Powerhouse - successful world champ, the biggest name in the sport; Billy Mitchell.   His cocky attitude and evil looks make him a much more natural fit to play the villain than many actors cast in fiction films.  Mitchell was featured in LIFE magazine sporting a mullet and holding the title of undisputed Donkey Kong championship.  25 years later, he still sports the mullet (now it is more of a power mullet), but has a worthy challenger attempting take his thrown.  The Underdog - the unemployed, perpetual loser, father of two and relatively unknown in the professional gaming circuit, Steve Wiebe.  He gained national attention (in the gaming world) with some very impressive Donkey Kong scores.  As he desperately, almost fanatically attempts to become the King of Kong, going as far as having a Donkey Kong arcade game in his garage where he practices day and night, Wiebe becomes the target of Mitchell's cross hairs.   Only one of these men can hold the title Donkey Kong World Champion. 

Although the underdog tale is extremely entertaining, the film misses out on as it only brushes over the colorful cast of characters that make up the competitive video game playing universe.  The supporting players are interesting enough to be featured in their own film, but many are barely have any screen time.  Some insight on the other players, like the guy that is the world champ at Mappy (who the hell plays Mappy?!?) would have really fleshed out this interesting world.  I personally would love to see what a day in the life of the gentleman that walked around the arcade alerting other gamers about the potential Donkey Kong kill screen moment (a kill screen is the moment a game prematurely ends, not because the game is over, but because the old school game did not have enough memory to actually load that many levels.)

To help escalate the on screen rivalry to a new level,  the directors use some great, over-the-top music to accompany the even more over-the-top players; making what could have been just a showdown of geeks, into a cinematic battle of good and evil. 

The film will not gain you much support if your significant other is one of those that thinks gaming is for nerds, kids or social outcast - there are too many of glaring examples that will back the argument.  It is a funny, intriguing exploration of an often ignored realm of the world most adults have never experienced or, for some, forgotten.

8.5 stars out of 10

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spielberg's Redeems Himself (Making Lucas Look Like a Schmuck)



George Lucas offended a legion of loyal fans when he decided on multiple occasions decided to alter the original Star Wars trilogy (as discussed here).  After an original round of alterations were delivered the outcry for him to stop could not be ignored.  It fell on deaf ears.   We could only hope that someone would knock some sense into him.  If he would not listen to his fans, perhaps he would listen to his peers.  It did not seem to matter where the criticism came from, fellow directors, critics, web bloggers, Lucas put his fingers in his ears and hummed the theme to "Arthur."

When it seemed like things could get not worse, Lucas received some support from his "best friend" (his words, not mine) Steven Spielberg.  Steven did the unthinkable, he altered on of his most adored films, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial.   Taking a page right out of George Lucas' book "How to Lose Friends and Disinterest People" Steven decided to digitally alter the film, most notably removing guns from the hands of the government agents.  It may sound minor, but in the eyes of cinephiles it was blasphemy.  Maybe it was peer pressure that made Spielberg crack (I guess we have to be happy his friends did not jump off bridges) or the parents' groups that were upset by some of the PG elements of the film.   No matter what the cause, he made the alterations.  With one altered DVD release of E.T., Lucas' annihilation seemed justified and validated.  Heck, if it was good enough for arguably one of the best directors of all-time, then it was good enough for George.  The film universe was in peril.

That is until this week.  Something happened, something big.  It takes a big man to admit his mistakes and guess what, Steven Spielberg is a big man. In a recent interview he said, "For myself, I tried changing a film once and lived to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but because I was disappointed in myself. I got overly sensitive to some of the reaction to E.T., and I thought if technology evolved, I might go in and change some things…it was OK for a while, but I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T."  It is almost as if Mr. Spielberg himself had read my recent post about Lucas' addition of "Nooooooooooo!" to Return of the Jedi and took my words to heart.  Great minds think alike.  


Of course, Spielberg's admittance of the mistakes and his redemption by way of an unaltered Blu-Ray release of E.T. kind of leave Lucas out to dry.  Already an internet punching bag, the one guy that had his back is suddenly turning it.  Is this a message to George?  Is Spielberg trying to tell us what he was to nice to tell George to his face, that Han should always shoot first?   

Could this announcement conceivably resonate within Lucas?  Is there a New Hope for George Lucas?  It may be too early to know for sure.  Even if Lucas stays true to his meddling ways, perhaps, could do something ultimately grander than fix Star Wars.  Maybe this will be the catalyst needed to start a trend where the artists of the cinematic world begin to focus on creating new classics rather than altering or remaking old ones.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Point Break Remake Uproar Missing the Point

I cannot tell a lie, I am not a big fan of Point Break.  The story of an FBI agent (Keanu Reeves) that tries to infiltrate a surfing group lead by Patrick Swayze in order to put a stop to a string of robberies did little for me.  Apparently there are people that feel passionately about the film - then again there are probably people that feel passionately about Weekend at Bernies 2.  Since the news has broken that the film is going to be remade, the fans and some of the press are in an uproar.  How dare you mess with the "classic???"  I am sorry to break it to you people, the film is not a classic.  Just because a film is older than your VCR (ha, remember those?) it does not automatically qualify it to be called a classic.  That goes for all films.  A film shot in the 40s can just as well be a turkey as a film shot in the 2000s.  I am not saying Point Break is a turkey, but I do question the uproar over the remake of a mediocre film when so many other films have been bastardized with nothing more than a peep from the public. 




Are the fans afraid that a remake will taint the memory of the thespian-like performance of Mr. Keanu Reeves.  Whoa!  Doubt it.  Do they fear the of Patrick Swayze legacy will be compromised?  Don't worry about that, he made enough good films (and bad ones) that I am sure his legacy will remain intact.  The write ups and comments I have observed come across as if the announcement were for a remake of The Godfather.  Sorry, Point Break is no Godfather.  Actually it is barely even at par with the forgettable, disappointment, Hook (Spielberg's flop about an adult Peter Pan). 

Just to show you where Point Break sits on the beloved list based on current standard - it currently has about 159K fans on Facebook, sounds impressive until you hear that Hook has 149K and another 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes has 450K.   Neck and neck with Hook is not he best sign.  This study is not in the least bit scientific, you say.  That is true, I am not a scientist.  Even so, when you you look closer to see that another Swayze film, Dirty Dancing has 11 MILLION fans, Point Break really looks like small potatoes that it is. 

Even if I do not care much for Point Break and I find the uproar to be a little silly; I do empathize with its fans and support them. Not because of any secret appreciation of Point Break - only because I find the remaking of a successful film to be almost always completely unnecessary.  Why destroy the memories of the fans and reshape those new to the story?  The answer, as always, money.  If someone tried to repaint the Mona Lisa in an attempt to replace the original, the public would not accept it.  Yet, with film, it is not only accepted, it is widely practiced.  If they were to remake sub par movies with potential in an attempt to  turn the trash into treasure, that would be acceptable at times.  Instead they are strip mining popular, successful stories in and attempt to recreate the box office

We should have picketed outside their doors when they announced their plans to re-create The Manchurian Candidate, Halloween, Psycho, etc.  Of course, no one did.  We sat complacent another string of remakes such as Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Beetlejuice and a dreaded Blade Runner prequel were all announced.  Now they have come to re-imagine your cherished little Point Break and you suddenly want the world to stop what it is doing and stop the travesty.

We were the guardian at the gates, sleeping while the fortress of film was stormed.  Now is the time to wake up and fight back.  Voting with your dollars may sound cliche, but it is powerful.  Boycott the upcoming remakes and be vocal about it... a silent boycott is near worthless.  Find an outlet like the world's newest, most exciting film blog, FilmSnork, to make yourself heard.  Do not put the money in the hands of those that think it is okay to produce rehashed ideas rather than original content.  Do all this and maybe, just maybe, we can shift the direction of Hollywood.  With a lot of effort endless remakes, unwanted prequels and unnecessary sequels could be a thing of the past.  In addition, for the love of God, boycott all Direct-To-DVD sequels, prequels and remakes - nobody needs to relive the humiliation that the poor fans of Slapshot did when the atrocious Emilio Estevan sequel came into their lives.

So, skip seeing the Point Break remake, not only because you are a fan of the mediocre film, but also because you do not want to see the word's McG's "Pulp Fiction" on a marquee anytime soon.  Of course, there are always exceptions, there always are.  It is the standard issue remake that was approached with reckless abandon that are the problems.  The ones that are not made to celebrate the original, but rather because someone in a suit said, "hey, what movie can we remake to make a shitload of money?"  You know the difference, prove it with your dollars.