Jupiter Ascending: WB & The Wachowskis Gamble On The Proper Audiences Rising To The Occasion…

jupiter_ascending_xlgjupiter_ascending_ver2 Ah, I see the internet is speaking up again with disapproval about another big budget film project by the Wachowskis, this time, it’s Jupiter Ascending, the siblings’ high-concept but somewhat familiar sci-fi action/adventure set for a February 2015 release. Granted, I’ve been on the “what the hell is THIS?” tip on a few of their post-Matrix projects, but repeated viewings have made me appreciate Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas more than I did when I first saw them.

At this stage of the game, I say let them have at it, as their films wrap up more creativity and visual punch than some that swipe from their earlier work. Granted, The Matrix trilogy was clearly inspired by lots of anime and manga plus a few Hong Kong action flicks and other things. But for American and other audiences that never encountered these influences, it was a breath of fresh air (for the most part). I’d gather both the Wachowskis as well as Warner Bros. have predicted this new normal of over-criticism based on trailers and clips (which is nothing new at all except the speed of people tearing things apart has grown exponentially faster thanks to social media), but these days it’s like EVERY movie is seen as Heaven’s Gate was initially, and everyone with access to a computer of some sort and an internet connection thinks they’re a great film critic or historian in training.

What Is Best In Life - Corrected Well, I suppose ignoring the usual suspects is the best revenge, as you can only fight with so many fools before you grow tired of what you do and head for the nearest bar. Or nearest window in some extreme cases. Noli nothi permittere te terere. is all I have to say (and I hope to hell I got that right)…

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Interstellar 60-Second Trailer: Hold Onto Your Seats (Again) For A Minute…

As noted previously, Interstellar promises to be another “deep thought” film experience from Christopher Nolan, so I’m looking forward to those conversations with people who didn’t “get” something in the film or were hoping for a typical Hollywood ending and didn’t get that and think they wasted whatever it cost to buy a ticket. *Sigh*, yeah… opinions and the internet can be a pain in the rear end sometimes. Anyway, I’m predicting big things for this one even if it’s not a box-office buster like less cerebral movies turn out to be. It’ll certainly be something to keep in mind as a future home video purchase as I think it’ll be a film worth watching a few times…

As usual, we shall see…

Random Film of the Week: Once Upon A Time In America

Once Upon A Time In America MPThe first time I saw Once Upon A Time In America, I hated it. Not because it was a “bad” film at all, mind you. Hell, I was a mere 20 years old and not much of the older, wiser appreciator of film I’ve become (along with possibly being a little bit of a pompous ass about it), so going in at that age and “getting” all that director Sergio Leone intended was going to be way above my head. Actually, I’d read that the film was very heavily edited by the studio and that made me dislike what I saw more than any issues I had with Leone’s craft. Which was none, by the way.

That initial 139-minute release was so butchered as to render whole scenes meaningless or confusing upon my initial viewing, but there was no denying the compelling performances from the entire cast, Tonino Delli Colli’s absolutely gorgeous cinematography, Ennio Morricone’s epic, near-operatic score and Leone’s assured yet polarizing directorial choices that confused some in the theater I saw the film with who were expecting the third coming of The Godfather (a film Leone was picked to direct at one point). Yes, I “hated” the film, but I knew I had to see it again because there was enough there… no, more than enough that made it a truly great film that was chopped up and placed in what the studio felt was a proper order. I’d gather the powers that be assumed audiences weren’t patient enough to get into a film that was intentionally going to flip the crime genre on its head by being more than just a crime drama.

Flash forward thirty years and all the pieces (well, most of them) are in place, the film is back in my life (and more widely available thanks to a recent Blu-Ray version) in nearly its full glory and celebrated as a masterpiece. And yet, it’s still a properly vexing viewing experience if you go into it expecting what it’s not… Continue reading

Interstellar Trailer #3: Brainy Blockbuster Alert…

Chris Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi drama Interstellar certainly looks as if will be quite the ride, but not of the many explosions per second and impossible close calls galore variety. Although, amusingly enough some of that stuff seems to be in this new trailer (out of proper context, I’m gathering). Already, some of the film is telegraphing itself (this looks like a one way trip and the fate of humanity depends on this mission’s success), but par for the course here, I’m not going to let a trailer decide whether or not I like an entire film. I’m kind of immune to most trailers these days, no matter how cool they look or sound thanks to some films being less enjoyable to sit through for longer than the running time of the average trailer. Or am I just being a cranky cynic here? Again.

Anyway, November will tell all about this one and I can certainly wait until then. Heck, my plate is pretty full as it is, so a little suspense will do me good.

SDCC 2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Teaser Makes Me Feel A Bit Green…

The third part of Peter Jackson’s busy amusement park version of Middle-earth is on the way to theaters in December and as you can see from this teaser trailer, you’ll be getting pretty much what you expected if you liked the other two parts of this two part film expanded into three. I’m actually a film behind in this saga (I need to see The Desolation of Smaug at some point), so I’m not in a tearing hurry to rush out to a theater 11+ miles away and see this one. Heck, given the extended, special, collectors and other edition home video versions that are BOUND to surface in 2015 and onward, I may as well wait until the DEFINITIVE version of this trilogy rolls out just so I can see every bit of film as it was intended to be seen (er, as far as home versions go). I should probably just follow a friend’s advice and get a nice HD projector to make that one big white wall in the living room a mini movie palace, but we’ll see what happens financially over the next few months or so.

Oh, and you can actually WIN a nice trip to New Zealand to poke around some of the actual locations from the film (minus the green screen effects, of course). That video above will clue you into how to enter and such. Good Luck!

SDCC 2014: Hey, Lego! Why Can’t We ALL Have Nice Things?

SDCC 2014 Batmobile

Photo: LEGO

Well, I guess this post goes out to all the companies giving away or selling convention exclusives like this. It’s Batman’s 75th birthday and of course, the number of cool stuff from all over ranges from easy to nab (public libraries all over gave away Batman-related goodies yesterday) to “Unless you’re at the convention or pay a fortune on eBay when you cave in and throw your wallet at the screen” goodies like that awesome classic Batmobile above and that SUPER rare Batman of Zur-En-Arrh below. While the Batmobile will be on sale at the show (and people are already “pre-selling” it for over $200 on eBay (even though they probably don’t have one yet – caveat emptor!), that oddball Batman minifigure will be a totally RANDOM giveaway based on scanned convention badges to pick winners.

SDCC 2014 Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

Photo: LEGO

Photo: LEGO

Photo: LEGO

Of course, I’m not asking for a massive mass production of these figures to the point where they’re stocked to the rafters at your local retailer. It would just be nice to see some of these cool toys pop up in some stores without the SDCC logo and perhaps stamped somewhere that they aren’t “exclusive” to that event. No company producing any of these giveaways of for sale items makes a penny off the secondary sales market, but they certainly can brag that “Figure X” has sold for up to $—-” to some collectors” at future media events if someone at one of these companies keeps track of that stuff.

Now, I’m not complaining at all, kids. Heck, I avoid conventions these days because the dopes who run them have made it rough for smaller sites like mine to cover them (despite me having NO trouble getting a media pass previously for a few years running AND even working at a friend’s booth). If I were to complain at all, it would be with certain con organizers who treat the smaller press like cattle, forcing us to pile in with the public (which is HELL for making appointments on time). That and I just got tired of the mob scene, some really stinky people and that infamous “convention flu” crap a lot of folks take home from so many people crammed together, not all of whom are healthy.

Eh, maybe I won’t miss that Batmobile after all. I can just buy a bunch of Lego sets and look up plans online to make a custom one, I guess. That way, Lego will still get some of my money (and probably more than the $39.99 that convention exclusive costs) and everyone’s happy at the end of the day…

Not Going To San Diego Comic-Con This Year? Funko Still Wants To Give You Something Hikari!

Hikari logoThree SUPER limited edition Hikari Sofubi Vinyl figures are up for grabs this week and only THREE very lucky people will be getting the first of these three figures you can ONLY get if you attend the upcoming San Diego Comic Con! In other words, even if you DO go to the con and line up, if you’re person number 1498 to roll up to the Funko Booth (#5343), you’re pretty much SOL here. Anyway check out the trio of awesome up for this week’s giveaway:

Mean & Green Raphael:
Mean and Green Raphael

Ice Freeze Batman:
Ice Freeze Batman

Red Rain Batman:
Red Rain BatmanAs usual, if you want to win, here’s the ONLY way to do so:

Hit up one of Funko’s social media channels:

www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

Follow the instructions and hold your breath until next Thursday when the winners are announced. Good Luck and if you happen to win one AND pick up another at the convention, good for you, you lucky soon to be chased around by other Funko collectors guy or gal, you!

So, There’s a Horrible Bosses 2 On The Way. Um, Thanks?

 
Wait. Horrible Bosses 2? Well, there’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. Now, I didn’t “hate” Horrible Bosses, when I finally caught it on cable but it certainly wasn’t a film I’d thought I’d see a sequel for. The again, it seems that ANY major Hollywood comedy that rakes in some bucks takes the easy money route to Sequeltown, offering bigger paychecks to the returning cast while adding more names into the pot to get those who liked the original to go rushing into theaters for that big weekend or four before slowly to quickly declining returns push the feature down the other road to the inevitable “Own it on Blu-Ray/DVD” commercials that kick off without fail in under six months these days before the film is either bought or not bought on it’s next road to that cable premiere.

I’m not at all interested in Horrible Bosses 2, in case you didn’t guess. Nice try though, Warner Bros. (and that’s all I’ll say about that). Still, I bet there’s a Horrible Bosses 3 next year…

The Toys of Summer: World Tech Toys Joker 2CH IR RC Helicopter – “Fly So Serious?”

HobbyTron Joker CopterI’ll have to admit, I let out a hearty chuckle when I opened the box from HobbyTron and saw that World Tech Toys DC Comics Licensed World Tech Toys Joker 2 Channel Infrared RC Helicopter inside leering at me suspiciously. I wasn’t laughing AT the Joker-shaped chopper, mind you… but the fact that it was him inside that box and not Batman or Superman as I’d expected.

I also laughed because it being the Joker meant I was probably lucky to be alive after opening that box. As not a whiff of Smilex Gas poured out of the box and I was still breathing, I cracked the package open, took everything out and in less than two minutes (most of which was spent trying to recall where I put the bulk package of batteries I bought a few weeks ago), I was about ready to fly… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end): Not With My Wife, You Don’t!

(thanks, Night of the Trailers!)

Not With My Wife You Don't MPYikes. Depending on your tastes, Norman’s Panama’s 1966 Sex comedy Not With My Wife, You Don’t! is going to be a very funny film or one you can’t stand. That’s because this sort of humor is SO dated that some will consider the film extremely sexist to a fault (it is) while others who can slip into the mood of the era comfortably will find it a rollicking good time with a nice all-star cast, some lovely Technicolor photography and a fun Saul Bass title sequence that’s one of his quirkiest (see below).

Me, I kind of straddled the fence before falling into the latter yard. While it has its moments and yes, some wonderful shots of Air Force jets in action that make it a must see, the film hasn’t aged well at all as it flops and flails about in too many attempts to be a slapstick comedy while tossing around its questionable content with the hope it always lands on its feet…

(thanks Movie Titles!)

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