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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 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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

United 93 (Retro Review)

(written in 2006)

DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE… if you have trouble watching reports about 9/11, know anyone that was directly affected by the tragedy, work or are married to someone in the airline industry or have anger issues related to the events of that day.   Viewing this film gave me one of the most visceral reactions I have ever experienced.   I was at the verge of tears at times, my stomach was turning at others and I wanted to dive into my TV set and strangle people at others.  I knew what what coming, I knew what it all lead to yet my emotions were being manipulated like few films before it could.

Everyone knows the events there is no reason to describe them; we all lived it in our own way.  Paul Greengrasses approach is not that of a typical Hollywood film.  The events of that day are treated with class, instead of big names actors you get is a bunch of no names actors, there is little use of music and mostly of the visuals consist of first person POV hand held camera to bring you right into the scenario.  Once you immersed by the incredible events you are not pulled back into reality by quick cuts or heavy handed directing.  This is why the film is so effective, you live that day over int he shoes of those involved, not just as a spectator of an over produced, sleek blockbuster.  The subject is treated with the respect it deserves.

Being both married to a flight attendant and a frequent flier; knowing the lingo, the relationships of the people on those planes and just the ins and outs of the industry often made the events too real for me.   Some of the dialogue in the film are conversations I have had or overheard my wife having her airline friends.  I had a difficult time not "being" on that plane, reliving my worst fears of that day as I wondered about my wife's safety.   It is a tough film to watch.

If you are considering seeing the film please proceed with caution.

9 stars out of 10

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Great Scott!! Nike is rolling out Marty McFly's sneakers for sale (auction) to consumers - UPDATED

According to web reports, the Nike Air Mag will be hitting shelves soon with and unveiling in the next 24 hours.  These are actual sneakers you can purchase, based on those worn by Marty McFly in "Back to the Future: Part II".   Big question: Will they be self-lacing?  Below is a trailer for the sneaker, that was hinted at in a Tweet by one of the producers of the BTTF2.  That's right there is a teaser for a SNEAKER.  If my calculations are correct when these suckers hit stores shelves in the next few months, we're gonna see some serious shit.

UPDATE: Apparently, Nike has only produced 1,500 pairs of the sneaker and is auctioning them off with proceeds benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.  As most people know, Fox has been dealing with the disease for over a decade - so dig deep.  I myself do not think my pockets are going to be deep enough - the first pair was auction off to an unnamed buyer at $37,500.
A description of the sneaker in the press release says, "The 2011 NIKE MAG shoe was designed to be a precise replica of the original Back to the Future II. The aesthetic is an exact match, down to the contours of the upper, the glowing LED panel and the electroluminescent NIKE in the strap."  Pretty cool, but I have to pay off my student loans first.  If only I had a time machine and a Sports Almanac.  Good luck bidders.

They are legit, here is your first look:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oscar Says "Otay" To Eddie Murphy As Host

American film fans can breath again. After a treacherous attempt at hosting the biggest entertainment event of the year, the duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco will NOT be returning as co-hosts of the Oscars. Surprised? If you watched the event, I am sure the answer is no. The replacement has been announced and it is both surprising and obvious at the same time...Eddie Murphy.

Why did the Academy choose Eddie?
It seems like an annual tradition, The Academy Awards loses some viewers and everyone starts asking how to fix The Oscars.  The funny thing is, The Oscars were not broken until they tried to fix it.  The focus has shifted from the films and toward attracting new viewers through big openings, risque comedians or the latest buzz star.  It is as if The Academy has lost faith in what made them so successful and had resorted to parlor tricks.   At one time they were prestigous, respected - the royalty of the entertainment world.  But, as the desperate pandering for viewers became the focus, the awards felt cheapened.

If the producers want to return to the glory days of The Oscars the focus needed to return to the films.  The attempts to build on target demographics was a failure, there have been no significant gains in new viewers no matter what demographic were aiming for.   Last year, not one teenager upon hearing who was hosting last year's Oscars thought, "hey, James Franco likes to twitter and smoke weed just like me, I am going to watch the Oscars!"  (other than Jesse Winkman of Somerset, Iowa).  It seems that last year's reviews finally got through to them; instead of attempting to build hype they chose to start rebuiding the empire they once had.  They brought in an A-List celeb - not the latest and greatest, but someone that had been around the block a few times, someone that will remind you Hollywood is not a five-year-old inststution. Will he improve ratings? Unlikely... but he should retain the numbers from last year and begin the return toward prestige.

Why did Eddie choose to do it? At first it is a bit shocking. Superstar, Eddie Murphy? Really? Then you simply remember his last couple decades of films, from bad to terrible is pretty much the range in where they fall.   Sure he had a couple successful roles, but what seems to stick in most people's minds are rolls, fat rolls... from his numerous fat suit "comedies."  Once the funniest man on the planet he  has lowered himself wearing latex fat suits and telling repetitive fart jokes. A shame. The most shocking part about it is the man is still funny.  Other comic actors may resort to fat suits and gimmicks (Looking at you, Martin Lawrence), but as seen in his earlier films and even as the voice of Donkey in "Shrek," Murphy is a true comedian.  His problem is not only his lack of critical praise for his films, nor a lack of box office successes (Norbit made about $100 million - shame on you, America), he also has been known to be quite difficukt to work with.  Perhaps this is his attempt to redeem himself, in the eyes of Hollywood and the public.

I believe, Eddie Murphy may be one of the best choices in years. He is the perfect bridge between old and new Hollywood, a true fallen A-lister and a also a true entertainer.  Quite a nice combination of qualities to get at a discount price.   Sure, some people may want Billy Crystal back, but he just seems like a retread.  Murphy, unlike most hosts over the last decade has something to gain from this... perhaps more than the Oscars can gain from him.  He will have to swallow some pride to host these awards (since they did not give him his shoo-in win for Dreamgirls) and in doing so perhaps makes some steps toward a comeback.  I know, I know - he's loaded.  If you consider having money the only measure of success then you are a fool.  If all goes well with this Eddie experiment it may hit the trifecta; ratings for The Academy, some redemption for Eddie and an entertaining show for the audience.

If you believe in second-chances and redemption this may be the show for you.  I for one, cannot wait to watch them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

"House of the Dead" (Retro Reviews) Shame on Ewe - The Worst Movie EVER!

Retro Reviews are reviews I had written in the past about movies that deserve some recognition, good or bad. If you have seen it already, feel free to comment.

(originally written February/2004)

I have seen the future of bad film direction and its name is Uwe Boll.

The man beats out any director whose less than brilliant work I have ever had the displeasure to witness; not based on just one bad film, but back to back terrible films - The House of the Dead and Alone In the Dark.  If you have heard of the legendarily bad Ed Wood, his work is like Citizen Kane (or at least Weekend At Bernie's) compared to Boll's schlock.

Upon viewing, I was absolutely floored by the head to toe poor quality of the  "House of the Dead"; a plotless, poorly acted, scareless, senseless film.  The plot pretty standard for a horror film, a group of college students take a boat to a rave party on an island, only to find when they arrive there is no party, but there are zombies. Ohhhhh scary. In terms of plot, that was it.  The rest of the film is just a series of killings.  The film would have been more interesting if it was about a group of people that cannot afford the boat ticket and have to pickpocket zombies to get home.   No such luck.  A big tip off to the quality issues was that the biggest name in the film, Clint Howard - a bad sign.

Worst Creative Decision: During fights scenes Boll chose to edit in in actual shots of the video game to replace some of the action.  Perhaps, this was done because the production ran out of money or maybe some footage was destroyed.  Whatever the case, this was one of the poorest film style decisions I have ever seen.  Can you imagine someone discussing this during a creative meaning and it being authorized.  What really amazed me was this was not a technique used only once, it continued throughout the entire film. Simply terrible. Worst movie I have EVER seen.

By the way, it is called House of the Dead.  Where is the aforementioned house?  I feel cheated.

I went into Uwe Boll's next film not knowing he had directed it otherwise it would never had been viewed in the first place.  It was not until the cinematic turd known as "Alone in the Dark" was over that I forced myself to sit through the credits just to see who directed.  To my surprise it was genius director, Uwe Boll. Are you kidding?  They gave this guy a second chance?  He should have been tarred and feathered and run out of town.  (On a side note, I think this world needs more good old fashioned tar & feathering.  Ah, the good old days.)   "Alone in the Dark" is the story of Detective Carnby (Christian Slater - where did you go wrong Christian?) a man who investigates the supernatural. This broken story has a Slater trying to stop a mad scientist that wants to continue his twenty years worth experiments merging demons and humans.  Sounds great huh? It's not! The story is a jumbled mess only made worse by deplorable acting, cheesy sex scenes, numerous cliches and bad casting. NEVER scary, NEVER interesting.  Just what you may need to put you to sleep on a restless night.

Worst Creative Decision: Casting Tara Reid as a scientist.  She would have trouble playing a corpse and yet the casting director thought she could play a scientist.  Nice call.  It reminds me of when someone made Denise Richards a nuclear physicist.  I guess Jennifer Connelly and Meryl Streep were not available.

The most amazing fact is he is lined up to direct three more movies... all based on games.  Proof that Hollywood executives are fools.

1 star out of 10

I have not determined if the one star rating is either an average or accumulative, I did not feel like thinking about this dreck any time is too valuable, Uwe Boll already stole three hours of my life.

House of the Dead - Trailer:

Alone in the Dark - Trailer:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Force WAS With You - Evil Unmasked: Lucas Further Destroys Star Wars

In a time not long, long ago... many a boy (and some girls too) entered theaters across the country to see a movie that would define their youth; a movie that was still so intertwined with their memories of childhood that it is impossible to separate the two.  A movie that had them yearning for action figures, buying trading cards and fighting over who would get to be Han while running around during recess. Of course, I speak of Star Wars.

Over the years people began to sense a disturbance in the force, a being that seems to have been overcome by the dark side and now wants to single-handily destroy the Star Wars universe and the attached memories.  One that attacks from within.  The only one with the power to actually destroy The Force, the dark Lord himself, George Lucas.

Georgie Boy has taken upon himself to crush our once glowing memories of Star Wars with one swift stroke.  He has decided to make another round of change to the beloved film trilogy that gave birth to toy collecting-virgins-nerds across the globe (seen here in a hilarious video).  Lucas has tinkered in the past when he released the "Special" Editions, making changes to the originals, that would be an understatement to say annoyed fans.  These changes were bad, but the it was the release of the prequel trilogy that proved the force was weak in George.
Let's face it Lucas got lucky with the original trilogy.  The power of nostalgia protected the series for decades without the criticism most films deal with.   It was as if he possessed The Force himself and used it to control our minds - not many complaints, if any, were made about the first 3 Star Wars films - they were untouchable.  That was until the prequels - a series so widely hated (by those not in denial) that what used to be considered sci-fi blasphemy is acceptable now to admit.  Simply put, the original trilogy is no Godfather.  The first Star Wars (now known as The New Hope) was a good film with an exciting climax, but is often kind of...boring.  The second, "Empire," was a tremendous film with a better storyline, darker tone and of course Yoda; the dirty secret is that the film that is widely considered the best in the series was not written by Lucas.  "Return" got a free ride for years - now as adults, the Ewoks alone are enough to make some fast forwarding required during viewing.

Even with the numerous flaws of the original series many could get past them thanks to nostalgia.  Not so much with the prequels, many of us have gotten over the prequels by convincing themselves they did not exist (similar to the last two Matrix films); no Jar Jar, no cute mini-Darth, no wooden performances, no Midi-chlorian and no newly created Darth Vader screaming "Nooooooooo!"

Unfortunately for all those that have used denial and suppression to deal with the now tainted Star Wars universe, Lucas continues to pick at the scab that is just barely healing.  One wound that may never heal was his turning one of the best anti-heros in history, Han Solo, into a softy by having Greedo shoot first.  Now he is taking perhaps THE greatest villain of all time, the heartless, more machine than man, Darth Vader, and committing a character assassination and giving him a heart.  In the scene found below you can witness how with a simple word Lucas can take ruin a beloved character - turning the toughest m'r f'r in the universe into an over-sensitive, protective daddy.

If you just watched the video, I apologize for destroying your youth.  You may ask yourself, why?  Why would Lucas do this?  It is simple - ego.  Lucas made one huge mistake in the most watchable of the unwatchable prequel trilogy  - when Anakin transformed into Darth Vader during "Revenge of the Sith" he stands up and does something completely out of character, he screams "noooooooooo."   I remember it like it was yesterday, seeing it in the much anticipated film in the theater.  I remember the crowd, that stood in lines for hours to see the film, laughing.  I remember trying to convince myself that it was not as bad as it seems.  It was, perhaps worse.  Darth Vader died that day in many fans'minds and Lucas heard about it from distraught fans.  Besides Greedo shooting first and Jar Jar existence this was the most complained about of all Lucas' poor decisions.  Now ten years later it is as if he thinks he can sneak in another "noooooo" into a key scene of the original trilogy to justify they poor decision made in "Sith" and some how no one would notice.  People noticed and people are upset.    Some have even gone so far as to call for a boycott of the soon to be released Blu-Ray set.

Is this just a case of people just needing to move on, to get a life?  If so, who is more in need of doing so - Lucas or the millions of loyal fans.   The popular answer seems to be Lucas; perhaps it is time we just let go.  How much can we tolerate, George?  If I started a list (or you can do so in the comments) of all the issues people had with the Special Editions/prequel it would go on for quite a while.  The opinions of the fans have become more and more vocal, being recorded in film, books, songs, blogs and comedy act.  But, for some reason you continue to manipulate our childhood in post.  Don't you have enough money?   Are you still fighting for some respect?  Do you really think you are improving the Star Wars legacy?  No matter what your motive, you are wrong.  Back away from the editing bay and give people what they wanted in the first place, an un-altered original trilogy on DVD (now Blu-ray).  If you can do that, all will be forgiven.  We can ignore the prequels without having to be reminded of the inadequacies while watching the originals.  This means, no superimposed Hayden Christianson, no Jar Jar, no quick draw Greedo, no extended Ewok dance, and of course absolutely no "Noooooooooooo!" 

You can do it George.  Just put down the Star Wars universe and walk away.  Spielberg did.

(For the record, I finished writing this at 1am - typos will be corrected when I am slightly more awake.)



Friday, September 2, 2011

"Let The Right One In" (Retro Review)

Retro Reviews are reviews I had written in the past about movies that deserve some recognition, good or bad. If you have seen it already, feel free to comment.

(originally written in 2009)

Vampires are a hot commodity in Hollywood these days.  Drivel like Twilight does its best to ruin not only date nights but also the memory of shows like Buffy and the hot and cold True Blood making people unsure if they should keep or cancel their HBO.  As the studios continue take advantage of the craze the on screen results seem to be nothing more than retreads; offering little tin the way of creativity and leading to what may soon be a vampire burnout.

A film that bucks the trend, offering not only a creepy tale, but also a unique take on vampires in good way to describe this foreign film  - "Let the Right One In". The film takes place Sweden (this is quite evident when you see the young star's hair style) in the dead of winter.  Oskar, is a grade school outcast with no real friends and an unappealing family life.  He lives an isolated life which may be what attracts his new friend, a girl named Eli, who is an outcast or her own sort - she just happens to be a vampire.

The core to this film is their relationship, not the vampire lore, scares or even love triangle which seems to be all we see nowadays.  The director never forgets the characters, which is rare in a genre of film full of shallow, one dimensional roles.  What you will find when you watch this is a warm tale of a sweet friendship and some images that might just haunt your dreams.  What you won't find is a werewolf that can't keep his shirt on... thank goodness.

9 out of 10 Stars


Resident Evil: Afterlife (the first original FilmSnork review)

Why do I keep watching this series? Oh yeah, hot, wet chicks fighting zombies - in one word, art.  Far from it.  It is like they producers asked themselves what are all the things that video game players and tried to cram it into an hour an half movie without asking themselves how to make a good film as well.  The film holds the title of thinnest plot in a series not known for good storytelling, cheese ball action meant to excite that only to come off preposterous, paper thin characters literally and figuratively as well.  For some reason when I imagine the savior or humanity from a zombie apocalypse I never thought she would weigh under 100lbs.  If you are watching it for a laugh you are better off... there is no suspense and any twist can be seen long before it actually occurs and when it does you won't care anyway.  For those that like zombie movies, skip the first half to avoid inane, pointless back story.   The answer to my own question; I continue watching because like any book I start, I will not quit it - bad or good I push through until the end - for this series it seems like that will be when Mila retires or it goes Direct-to-DVD which sets me free from any sort of obligation.

3 out of 10 Stars

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A long, long time ago on a couch not far away...

A young film lover and wannabe filmmaker was inspired to finally start a blog.  Here it is.  Down with the Empire.

More reviews (both new and ones written through the years) will be coming soon.  Follow and feel free to discuss.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Andy Richter Stinks!!!

You want a feud, you've got it!  Next time you are on my wife's flight keep your shoes on if you have holes in your socks.  And stop saying thank you so much, you sound like a wussy.
This is just the beginning Richter.