Friday, August 28, 2009

Hitler Finds Out Avatar Trailer is Crap

The blogosphere is currently rife with dissenting opinions on the Avatar preview/trailer, and also lots of Tarantino/Inglourious Basterds chatter - so why not, sort of, kinda, combine the two? This is another one of those Downfall parodies that seem to pop up every time there's widespread disappointment in the media about some major event (more Hitler spoofs here). As far as it goes, it's not bad, with some good lines: "Cameron has spent too much time underwater and has taken the Hollywood opiate of putting technology before story!".

Also, if you want more Tarantino/Basterds-related reading material, check these links out: QT's Top 20 Grindhouse Movies & Spaghetti Westerns; Five Things You Should Know About Basterds; interesting piece about Basterds' structure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movie Poster Floating Heads

This is like the movie poster version of the "trailer voice guy", except alas, it's only a spoof, but a very good one that really nails how crappy and boring movie posters are these days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FilmGeek: Best CosPlay Evaaa!

Oh man, I hate the 'Bayformers' franchise and Camaro Bumble-Bee is a big reason for that. This guy in his Transformers CosPlay outfit may just have turned me around however (watch till the awesome end):

It is with great regret, as a former Gateway employee, that this supersedes my previous Transformers Cosplay favourite: Cardoard Box Transformer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Good, the Bad & the Inglourious

The initial word wasn't too promising. When Quentin Tarantino's epic WWII flick Inglourious Basterds premiered in Cannes back in May, the response from critics was kinda lukewarm. Now on general release - and post-editorial tweaking - the critics are still divided, but it's definitely getting way more praise than before. I caught the film yesterday afternoon, and found it on the whole, terrific. While he's yet to repeat something on the level of the Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction one-two punch (how can he?) or the quiet restraint and maturity of Jackie Brown (still his best IMHO), this big, bold, audacious movie is a notch above Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 and Death Proof in terms of his artistic progression.

There remains plenty of gleeful, geeky ol' QT adolescence on display, but generally it isn't as gratuitous this time round. All the movie references and in-jokes - from German director Pabst to Italo B-movie genre hack Antonio Margheriti - do serve their purpose to drive the plot forward and aren't solely there to flaunt his encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema. And maybe more so than any other film of his career, his film obsession manifests itself within the narrative in a most literal way that's thrillingly inspired, indulgent and insane at the same time.

If there's one thing Tarantino's proven to be particularly deft at, it's destroying our expectations, or at least destabilising the traditional movie-going experience. The trailer sells Basterds as a gung-ho, action-packed WWII movie. It's not. It's a freakin' art movie, with lotsa subtitles and protracted scenes of nothing but talking, and more talking - but the talk is truly fantastic: poetic, rich, zingy and peppered with lines that act like little time bombs waiting to detonate. It also appears Brad Pitt is leading the action, but he pops in and out throughout, in a manner that's not what you'd normally associate with a lead actor. There's nothing quite normal about the film. But it is some of the most fun I've had in a theatre in a while.

Christoph Waltz's performance? Scene-stealing joy. The third chapter with Melanie Laurent's character, her theatre, meeting Daniel Bruhl, etc? Really magic stuff, Tarantino working on another level - maybe my favourite portion of the film. The opening farm sequence and the "celebrity head" sequence in a basement bar? Shit my pants. Ok, it's not all perfect: I cringed every time Pitt was on-screen doing his OTT redneck schtick. In fact, I cringed whenever ANY of the American cast were on-screen (Eli Roth! Gah!); is the great divide in quality/style of acting between the Euros and the Yanks an intentional thing? And the ending seems a bit rushed to allow any sort of lingering emotion to sink in - pity since there's a death in the climax that's a real shocker and quite heartbreaking.

There's so much in this film; so much that is great, and so much that is squandered greatness. But such is Tarantino. As long as he's got final cut (which is what? as long as he's with the Weinsteins?), he's going to continue to confound, irritate and entertain us with these crazy, personal art films that look like genre exercises but are not.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trailer: Avatar

Finally found an Avatar trailer that works! Didn't have Quicktime here at the office to watch the one on the Apple site, but apparently that has issues. Anyway here's the French trailer on msn. First impressions? My enthusiasm has slightly dimmed. The trailer has a good build-up but once those creatures come in, the only thing I could think of was 'hmmm'. Maybe the CGI will pop in 3-D but it just doesn't look all that from where I'm sitting. It's no more impressive than say, Revenge of the Sith, and in comparison, District 9's effects are much more photo-realistic. And how corny are those creature designs?!

At this point I just gotta remind myself "It's only a trailer, it's only a trailer...".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FilmGeek: Man makes Go-Kart Batman Tumbler

I bet this guy is simultaneously the geekiest and coolest guy on his block. Next I want to see a Mini-cross Tron Bike!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tarantino's Top 20 Films Since 1992

This is an interesting little clip of Quentin Tarantino listing the Top 20 films he's seen since he started making movies. Judging by the clips that play underneath him, this looks like it was filmed around Death Proof time. Initially it seems like a largely mainstream/populist/US-centric list - with a few expected Asian festival favourites like The Host and Battle Royale - and that Tarantino hasn't seen that many movies - but thinking about it now, most of those films do fit in with the kind of genre stuff he's grown up with and been influenced by. A couple weird curveballs in there (Lost in Translation? Dogville?? - which he believes to be one of the "greatest scripts ever"). I liked his bit about Speed - I'm with him 100% there. Unbreakable is an interesting pick too; for all the critical drubbing M. Night gets, I think it's his best film, and really underrated IMHO. A few more sleeps before Inglourious Basterds opens!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

15 Minutes of Avatar To Be Screened for Free

A lot of people are excited about this, but I'm not particularly crazy about the idea. I don't really have any interest in seeing 15 minutes of any film out of context - that's what trailers are for. Cameron has kept us hidden in the dark for so long, couldn't he wait a few more months and just show us the entire thing in one go? I think this'll ruin the magic of being completely surprised by the film (trailers are just as guilty these days). But if you're keen click here to see the details of the screening times and venues. Here's the first official still of the film that's been released. It's a shot of star Sam Worthington and his avatar in the background:

Friday, August 14, 2009

24 Hour Movie Marathon Returns for Halloween!

It's that time of the year again... that annual endurance-testin' gathering of movie maniacs known as the 24 Hour Movie Marathon is back and best of all, it's all going down on Halloween! There's a new sponsor on board for the event, Vendetta Films (web; twitter), who're one of our favourite DVD suppliers of cult and foreign/festival flicks. This year also marks the marathon's 10th Anniversary, so we're expecting something special and nothing less than than the marathon that'll go down as THE ONE in history books. Join the facebook event here to see what it's all about and get the latest news and updates.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Japies vs Prawns in J-Berg

So I headed along to the Myspace Black Curtain screening of the much-hyped buzz-film-of-the-moment District 9 last night, and I'm happy to say it delivered. But before I go into the film, just wanted to say that whoever's handling these screenings should really clarify the process of obtaining these free passes. Like, tell us EXACTLY what to actually do. I had to text four or five times to RSVP before I figured out how it worked (you had to reply with the town you're in...). It also doesn't tell you what to do with the text when you get to the theatre; are we suppose to exchange it for a ticket? For Black Curtain newbies reading this, when you get there there'll be a Myspace rep waiting with a clipboard with all phone and ticket numbers of people who RSVPed - tell them yours and they'll stamp your wrist. What's kinda silly is giving you the coupon for free popcorn when you're doing this, because it means you have to go all the way back to the snack bar - thus losing your place in a queue - to get your popcorn. Anyway.

District 9. I'm not ready to call it a classic/masterpiece/amazing just yet, but it was ENORMOUSLY enjoyable, pure adrenalised non-stop fun for two hours. It hit the ground running from the very first frame and rarely stopped until the explosive, wall-to-wall-action finale. If you don't know the story - and it's best to know as little as possible - the basic idea involves a population of shellfish-like aliens ("prawns") who are forced to live in the slums of Johannesberg when their mothership mysteriously stopped above the city in the early '80s.

The film begins as a faux-doco piece establishing the scenario, and it's here where District 9 really excels in terms of smart ideas and writing: the backstory is so brilliantly fleshed out with straight-faced talking heads, faked archival news footage and timely-seeming socio-political crises, we buy every frame of it. The more trad second half of the film doesn't have as much to offer for thought, but it's a thrilling, nerve-jangling straight-ahead chase/shoot-'em-up handled with relentless urgency by director Neill Blomkamp. The CGI is superb - love the mothership hanging ominously over everything, and the aliens blend really well with the humans. And the fact that it was all done for only US$30 mill makes it all the more impressive. It certainly blows every other "big" film away this year (I'm looking at you Transfomers 2/G.I. Joe). I'm not going to say anymore, just go see it (Trailer: here).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Machete Nabs Lohan!

Holy crap - Robert Rodriguez's already-eclectic cast for Machete just got more eclectic: troubled paparazzi fave Lindsay Lohan has been confirmed to star next to the likes of Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal (!!!), Don Johnson and Jeff Fahey for the director's feature-length expansion of his fake trailer for his 2007 Tarantino-collab double feature flop Grindhouse. It now rivals Stallone's The Expendables - which has Jet Li, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke - for some wild dream-casting to look forward to. Great to see those old '80s has-beens returning to screen, but can this be too much of a good thing? Here's the Machete trailer:

Friday, August 7, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes

Found out a few hours ago that director John Hughes passed away at age 59. News reports say that he suffered a heart attack during a walk in Manhattan. Hughes left behind a body of work that was one of the most iconic and influential of '80s American cinema. If you grew up in the '80s, Hughes' films served as a kind of guiding beacon throughout your years in school; they spoke to teenagers like very few films did at the time. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off - they're all perennial teen favourites. Planes, Trains and Automobiles - which interestingly enough we've named one of our subgenres after - is probably still one of the funniest comedies of the '80s. Hughes' biggest hit would be Home Alone, which he wrote and produced. I always thought he directed Some Kind of Wonderful, and I think most people think he did Pretty in Pink, but these common misconceptions just show how much of his distinctive voice came through even on the scripts he only penned and didn't direct. Click here to rent some of this films, and here for Variety's obituary.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is 91% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes!

Yes, the rating is based on only 11 reviews, and will no doubt drop when the film opens this weekend, but right now, it's an interesting look at Paramount's marketing strategy where they've chosen not to screen the film to the majority of mainstream US critics and instead selected a handful who they assume would "get" the movie (incidentally, I watched one episode of the original '80s cartoon for the first time since I was a kid last night, and it's pretty damn goofy stuff).

Starring Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the movie is touted as the final big-budget blockbuster "summer event" action pic of the year, and also marks the second Paramount-Hasbro collaboration this year after Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The trailer looks like it could be fun, and I'm slightly excited, though I've placed my expectations pretty, pretty low. I'm hoping it'll deliver at the very least, the kind of brainless escapist entertainment that Transformers 2 failed to do. Read more here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best Rant Ever About Annoying Movie Audiences

This guy left me in stitches. I hate annoying movie audiences as much as the next guy, but this youtuber is way, way over the top. He rants about his recent experience during a screening of the Zooey Deschanel romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer. Warning: contains offensive language. And he goes on for 8 minutes. Too funny.