Archived entries for movies

My friends and I decided to go see GI Joe on Friday.

Correction, my friends and I and a bottle of whiskey decided to go see GI Joe on Saturday.

The four of us walked out, the previously full bottle of whiskey did not.

We had to hang out in the parking lot for a good hour before we sobered up. And not from the whiskey, but from the beating that shitty movie had given our senses.

And, I’ll tell you this, and the rest of this is going to be a spoiler, but it was a shit movie that you’ll never see anyway, so what do you care?, but I think the original script treatment for the movie might have been good.

Most of the movie revolves around Destro being the main villain, with some creepy scarred guy kicking around in the background talking about nanites and mind control. At the climax of the movie, the scarred guy takes control and calls himself “Commander”. Only to be promptly captured seconds later in some limp-dicked tease at a sequel.

But, there are notes in the movie that make me think something else was supposed to be going on. Early in the movie there’s a bit that Destro’s MARS company makes money by selling both the sword and the shield. In this case, the bad guys are the sword and the Joes and the shield. There are also a few choice lines where you see conflict in Destro, like he’s not the one driving this thing and that he’s frightened of the scarred guy. Both of which are perfect seeds to plant in a movie called “The Rise of Cobra” where the villain for the rest of the franchise is revealed.

What I bet is in the original script treatment is the reveal that Destro’s entire plan was the result of Cobra Commander mind controlling him from the start. That way when MARS goes down and Cobra rises from its ashes, no one connects the two. Also, I bet in the final moment of the movie when the Joes capture the newly revealed Cobra Commander the original script had a bit that varied from the movie by a good amount.

In the movie, Cobra Commander is staring out at a fleet of Joe subs in his badly damaged submarine. He gives up and the movie ends.

In the original script I bet the writers had him given a wry line about the Joes are using the shields he’d sold them, triggering some hidden self-destruct override in their ships and escaping.

You don’t reveal one of the most beloved villains in nerd history just to PROMPTLY FUCKING CASTRATE HIS VILLAINY ON SCREEN. Right now the movie going audience has no idea just how dangerous this man is supposed to be. If he singly handedly stops a Joe fleet and escapes in a “The Game is Afoot!” moment, then you’ve got an investment toward finding out what happens next.

Now you’re left not really giving a damn. Well, not that you should have given a damn in the first place because that movie was fucking horrible.

This is something that popped up while I was out. It is the trailer for Noboru Iguchi’s new move, ROBOT GEISHA.

Now, I know your brain is bleeding a bit right now, but try to stay with me for a second. Iguchi is the guy who brought us MACHINE GIRL, and he’s working with the special effects people from TOKYO GORE POLICE. So, what you just watched might well be the most amazing piece of B-level Japanese gore porn ever made. Well, provided they don’t get the shit sued out of them for stealing the music from “Live and Let Die”.

There are not fucking words.

Apparently there are like 5 DVDs worth of this guy’s stuff in a boxed set. I don’t know if I could live through that.

This won’t last long. Watch it while you can.

I think I’ve found the reason that Spike Jonze had to re-shoot some much of Where The Wild Things Are.

Where The Wild Things Are Focus Group #1 from Lance Bangs on Vimeo.

God, I love this movie.

I believe in memetic life. I believe that if viruses are to be considered a creature strung between life and death, then information must be viewed in the same way. Information is transmissible, and through transmission, it is capable of replication. Its information may be wrapped in sheaths of silicon and paper instead of protein and amino acid, but it is still just information.

I think there are types of memetic life that can be identified. Ideas that have traced out such a path along the history of human existence that they are perpetually intertwined with us, like the mitochondria in our cells.

I call one of these types of life the Sublime Lover. It comes to you in a simple string of words. “I dreamed I met the love of my life.” The idea swims in through your eyes or ears, and buries itself in the fertile beds of your imagination. There it spreads out to your memories, creeping over the walls between thoughts like a vine. It pulls a little bit from here, some from there, and just a pinch from over there. By the time it is done, the Sublime Lover has a fully formed construct, ready to erupt into your mind.

When it comes to you, it’s just as real as the first time you fell in love. The heady passion of it all infuses every part of your being. You love this person. You love them unconditionally and uncontrollably as long as the dream holds. The Sublime Lover feeds off that raw unchecked emotion. It gorges like an animal just awoken from a long hibernation, knowing that the plenty will vanish once you awake. And that’s exactly what happens. Reality breaks the dream, you wake and that pure love is gone. You’re left unsettled because, even though it was a dream, you’re still devastated at the loss of this person. This person that existed only in the space of a dream.

Then you tell some one about this experience, about how vivid the dream was, and how much you loved that person. You tell them that you said “I love you”, and you can still hear your voice ringing in your ears. You tell them about the smells, the touches and the tastes. You tell them about it all being a dream. And, just like that, you’ve passed on the Sublime Lover.

You didn’t need all of the flowery stuff to passed it on, just the basic idea. Memetic life isn’t like organic life. We evolve through iteration, evolution and mutation. Memetic life evolves by absorption. Only the basic, most vital parts are transferred from one person to another. The Sublime Lover that one person has will be completely different from the one another person has.

That’s how this is going to work now. I have just infected all of you with the Sublime Lover. I have spread it to the hundreds of you, and you will spread it to thousands, and they to countless millions. And even though it all came from a single source, they will all be different.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

I’ll make this as short and simple as possible.

I saw the whole thing last night. I went in wanting to hate it. I was packing a flask full of whiskey to encourage that hate. And, I’ll admit, the first bit with the drummer is the worst part of the whole thing. But, there are pull-outs from that first 7 minute segment that make you forgive it. (Namely Amy Levere in her underwear.) By the end of the second episode, you’re sold on the whole thing. Which is perfect, since the show is broken up in a way that 3 single episodes fit inside a half hour block. The first of those 5 groups will be shown tonight on MTV.

I am not the biggest Brewer fan in the world. I think Hustle and Flow was a great big screen opener, but Black Snake Moan had…issues. He shoots $5 Cover in an up-close cinema verite style, which works both for and against him. It keeps his actors, all untrained locals with the exception of Clare Grant, from over acting too much. However, there are a lot of choppy camera movements and weird compositions that come along with that style. These problems may be lessened on a smaller screen, but on a movie screen they were pretty jarring.

In a little less than two hours, Brewer does more to make Memphis look cool and interesting than any tourism board could do with a budget five times his. Of course it was a joy to see people that you’d grown up with, places that you frequent, things you’d worked on and people who you admired on screen, so it was an easy sell to this all Memphis audience. Before the lights came down, Brewer encouraged us to make noise and “act rowdy” whenever some one came on that we knew. I burst into guffawing laughter a few times when I watched one of my friends stumble by in the background, trying their damnedest to act cool.

I’m not about to tell you that this didn’t have the air of something your friends made, so you inherently love it more and cast its flaws aside. It did, and that works for it. The question that remains, though, is if that feeling can translate out to the rest of the world that didn’t already love these people and this city.

Personally, I’m hoping for an encore.

You’ll be able to find the whole thing here in a few hours. Watch it on the web. They get more money for that. And they only need this to be a moderate success for them to come back and do another round.

This actually the second movie based off the Onechanbara video games. The first one still hasn’t come out on DVD over here, otherwise we would have gotten drunk and watched it already.

Takashi Miike is a filmmaker known for many things. Most of them involving an obscene amount of gore and violence. But, occasionally, he comes back around and does something purely and simply fun. The Great Yokai War is one of those movies. Simply described as a Japanese Never Ending Story, The Great Yokai War is a refreshing throwback to those 1980s fantasy/adventure movies where the kid undertakes some kind of magical journey and comes out of it a young adult. I was honestly completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. I’m expanding my recommendation for this to everyone, not just the Asian/Miike fans.

From Exterminator City, which you probably don’t want to go Googling a trailer for.

Trust me on that one. I’ve seen it, and now I feel dumber. A lot dumber.


From Wired’s Underwire blog.

AUSTIN, Texas — The world needs more giant mutant lizards, and more brainiac scientists who rise up to fight the monsters.

That’s the premise of Monsters From the Id, a new documentary that looks at the positive social impact of science fiction films from the ’50s.

The movie, which had its world premiere Friday night at the South by Southwest film festival, was made by first-time director Dave Gargani, who talked about the benefits of films that tell simplistic, good-versus-evil stories and frame scientists as superheroes.

“I think we’ve kind of lost that today,” Gargani said after his movie screened at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. “We didn’t feel fearful. We felt hopeful.”

Gargani’s message seems to fly in the face of current trends in sci-fi and comic book television shows and movies. At a time when movies and television shows earn critical and fan acclaim by “going dark,” a la complex and bleak productions like The Dark Knight and Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica reboot, Gargani’s call for simpler, more motivational messages from Hollywood seems ripped straight from the less-complicated ’50s.


The movie, which Gargani said started out as a six-minute video collage of sci-fi scenes set to electronica music originally titled Puffed Wheat, now runs 71 minutes. But you might not see it in theaters any time soon: The director is working to get clearance rights from the movie studios that produced the classic films sampled in Monsters From the Id.

“We’re still working on it,” Gargani said.

The official website for the movie is here. It has a trailer, which you won’t be able to find anywhere else on the net due to the copyright infringement explained above.

An interesting counterpoint to this is that a lot of critics have interpreted the portrayal of the scientist in Atomic era movies as a negative thing. There are probably more cases where science has given rise to the monster, or the scientist has unwittingly released the monster. I’m interested to see this just to see how many examples of savior scientist he can pull out.

After 22 years, GM is ending their support of documentary film maker Ken Burns.

From the article:

GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato calls Burns “the gold standard of documentary filmmaking,” but says the financial crisis “has forced GM to rein in such spending.” A figure for GM’s aid to Burns isn’t known.

But you know what they will be spending their bailout money on? A 1 billion dollar investment in Brazil.

The man who makes movies like AUDITION and ICHI THE KILLER also makes family fare, things like ZEBRAMAN and THE GREAT YOKAI WAR. While these movies are targeted at all audiences, you can still see the insanity that is requisite in all Miike movies. His new movie, a remake of an anime from the 70s – YATTERMAN, is no exception.

Sure, its not crazy stylized cowboys, slash mouthed yakuza killers or women putting needles into their lover’s eyes, but it is still Miike.


Ok, you have my attention.

Viral video for the Watchmen movie. I’m very glad they chose to leave the story set when they did, as opposed to modernizing it.

This is making the rounds across the web, and it decided to stop here for a while.

I’m going to guess she’ll be kicking a lot of people in the head.

This is from the guy who directed Casshern, which if I haven’t made you watch it, check out the trailer – now.

Before directing major features, Kazuaki Kiriya worked on Japanese music videos. He learned how to use visual effects to stretch paper thin budgets into jaw dropping visual feasts. His work has impressed the big wigs on this side of the Pacific; Warner Bros signed him to a two picture deal earlier this year. His first task? A space opera about an alien attack on Earth. Gleeeeeee.

As for GOEMON, it is a Japanese folktale about their version of Robin Hood. A ninja who steals from corrupt lords and gives back to the poor. Like most folktales, there are overlapping accounts and versions of the story. The only thing that the stories agree on is that Goemon eventually gets captured and boiled to death.

(Wait, was that a spoiler? Shit.)

Well. I’m sold.

Today is a very strange day to be watching the movie industry. Where to start, where to start….

So, Sam Jackson, in keeping with his vein of “If you give me money and it looks like it will be fun, I’ll do it” role choices, has signed on for the remake of Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.

The project, announced by Columbia presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, will take a new look at “Last Dragon” coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Motown next year.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Kerry Gordy as he continues his father’s legacy, and we’re confident that he along with John and Dallas are the perfect team to develop the project,” Belgrad said. “They will capture everything that people love about the original while also bringing a fresh edge to the remake.”

The original, which also starred one-namers Taimak and then-Prince protege Vanity, was released in March 1985 by TriStar Pictures and received lukewarm reviews by critics like Roger Ebert, who gave it 2 1/2 stars and said it was a “great near-miss.”

Despite the reviews, “Last Dragon” did well at the boxoffice, grossing nearly $26 million. It soon became a cult classic for scenes like Bruce Lee follower Green remaining so loyal to the martial arts star that he eats his popcorn in a movie theater with chopsticks.

“I’m a huge fan of the original and look forward to bringing Sho’Nuff into the 21st century,” Jackson said.

Oh and did I mention the RZA from Wu-Tang is co-producing? I’m sure I’ll be there drunkenly yelling things at the screen on release day. But I won’t like myself for it.

Next up we have the announcement that Sam Mendes, the director behind American Beauty and Road to Perdition, as well as behind a bent over Kate Winslett most nights of the week, is attached to direct Preacher. Preacher, along with Transmetropolitan and Sandman, defined Vertigo as THE comic imprint back in the late 90s. How they are going to wrap up 1650 pages of comic into a tight movie, I have no fucking idea. The only reason Watchmen has a chance of working is because it is fairly short. I can’t see this being anything but a pale shadow of the original material.

From Variety:

Sam Mendes will direct a bigscreen adaptation of the supernatural graphic novel “Preacher” for Columbia Pictures.

Created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, graphic novel focuses on the preacher of a Texas town, who is struggling to get by and is driven only by his strong moral sense. When the city is decimated by an otherworldly force, he embarks on a journey across the country to take on the evil.

Supernatural project is a departure for Mendes, who is best known for tackling suburban angst in such films as “American Beauty” and the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet starrer “Revolutionary Road.”

But Mendes isn’t new to the world of comicbooks: His drama “Road to Perdition” was also adapted from a graphic novel.

There is also a French torture-porn director who is attempting to get the studios to let him remake Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Why anyone would attempt to remake this movie is beyond me. The first one was, at best, a lucky accident. The movie was carried more on shock value than any real substance. But, what the hell do I know, they are letting Rob Zombie remake Friday the 13th.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Pascal Laugier, whose horror film “Martyrs” stirred controversy in his native France, is in final negotiations to write and direct Dimension’s re-imagining of “Hellraiser,” one of horrormeister Clive Barker’s best-known creations.

Released in 1987, “Hellraiser” told the story of an unfaithful wife who attempts to assist her dead lover in his escape from hell. The movie introduced viewers to a race of demons called Cenobites, most notably one nicknamed Pinhead — who became one of the most enduring horror characters of the decade — who was summoned using an antique puzzle box.

Dimension has been hoping to relaunch the franchise for the past couple of years, first hiring Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo to write and direct a remake then tapping Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton to write a new draft.

ICM-repped Laugier at least seems to have thematic sympathies with the material, with his “Martyrs” beginning as a revenge movie then entering the grounds of spiritual horror, with torture figuring as a focal point. Torture — though not the so-called horror subgenre of torture porn — also is a key point in “Hellraiser.”

“This is a dream project for me,” Laugier said. “I know Clive Barker’s work very well, and I would never betray what he has done. Fans are expecting a definitive ‘Hellraiser,’ and I don’t want to take that away from them.”

Finally we have…this…

Look, I don’t know what the fuck either, ok? Apparently it is some bad furry porn crossed with the Naboo battle from Star Wars Episode One wrapped around a left over Final Fantasy plot. With a whole lot of C-level actors who are really A-level voice actors thrown in.

I need to go drink now.

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