Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A broken flower pot in the form of Nicolas Cage's face is a sneak preview of the frantic and surreal energy this film has to offer.

This is a poster that instantly makes you wanna pick up the DVD...and hey, it's a pretty solid flick. Here we have Ellen Page's character Hayley standing in the middle of a beartrap. It says all you need to know about her character in the film. You think you can screw with her? Well good luck buddy. Your hand is now stuck in that iron clad device.

An iconic image from the film of Jennifer Connelly standing on the pier. There is a calming effect this part of the poster has. The use of blues is the background are complemented by Connelly's red dress in the middle. Above her, the visual of the eye. Showcasing a sense of unease that is hovering amongst the mood of calmness.

Will go down in my ten favorite posters. Here the artist employs a cubism style of art to show a myriad of images that encapsulates Truman's life. It's the first time I saw an artwork done this way and is a poster that is always fun to look for new things.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yearbooks Vol. 1: The Class of 1976

Today I'd like to acknowledge the fine accomplishments, or lack thereof, from the class of '76. It was the year of the bicentennial. A proud day to be an American. Amidst the crowd were wanderers, dope smokers, freshmen coming into high school, seniors wondering what's left to do with the rest of their life. You get the picture.

Here is a list of the notable seniors who had graduated:

Michelle Burroughs
Michelle hooked up with another senior by the name of Pickford. Her greatest concern is that he will be busted for pot.

Don Dawson
Mr. Dawson's interest in football can be attributed to his idol, Burt Reyndolds in the Longest Yard. Memorable quote: "I want to remember you with clothing on or not at all."

Cynthia Dunn
Her formative years kicked off with early Bob Dylan shows. She adores Amelia Earhart and cites Chinatown as her favorite movie.

Kayeb Faulkner
She is convinced that the Professor from Gilligan's Island is keeping everyone on it for twisted experimentation. Her favorite drink is a Screwdriver.

Randall Floyd
Nicknamed "Pink" Floyd, Randall can be found sometimes listening to his namesakes. When he's not doing that he's rebelling against being trapped in the sports realm for the rest of his life.

Simone Kerr
Seen with Randall Floyd, she is still trying to figure out what he wants so badly.

Jodi Kramer
Biggest regret: Not going steady with Randall Floyd

Darla Marks
Spotted at several places on high school grounds hazing new freshman.

Mike Newhouse
His misanthropic personality is off putting to some. His moneymaking scheme is a Woody Allen lunchbox with scenes from Love and Death. Memorable quote: "I wanna dance."

Fred O' Bannnon
If you are a freshman, stear clear away from O'Bannon. For he weilds a paddle that will make your ass sore for days. Memorable quote: "Ya'll ready to bust some ass?"

Benny O'Donnell
A fan and participator in all the major sports.

Tony Olson
Has developed several rumors about the JFK assassination.

Kevin Pickford
Dedicated to getting high and throwing parties. Big fan of progressive rock.

Ron Slater
Where there's smoke, there's Ron Slater. When he's not making a bong in woodshop class, he's going out and getting high with his friends.

Melvin Spivey
Gets along with the likes of Benny O'Donnell. All around recreational type.

Shavonne Wright
Likes: Mescaline, going to the beach, watching sunsets


Monday, August 23, 2010

Great Poster Art 1

A good movie poster is a rare thing these days. Usually they end up with horrible artwork and showcases who is in it rather than leave an memorable impression on what to expect from the movie.

This one jumps out right at you. The 'Boogie Nights' font and the use of the multiple characters inside of the star give you an idea of what you are in store for.

Out of the three posters I have seen for Magnolia, this is the one that best represents the movie. What makes this poster a rarity is that it's a movie with Tom Cruise where he isn't even on the poster! Though I would usually prefer him not to be on it, in this case it would make sense for him to be there. This is a character driven drama and the subtlety of the images among the flower makes it a haunting image.

The frogs poster is great but someone who hasn't seen the movie and sees the poster will have frogs in the back of their mind when actually watching the film. The other one I have seen is a cool mosaic of the charcters, but the reviews of the film that are present on that poster clutter up the spaces of it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

For within each seed there is a promise of a flower.

The Social Network will soon be upon us, so I decided to bring up a film in Fincher's catalog that is the most troubled production of his....


The Alien franchise is unique beast. For one, each of the four movies were done by a different director who brought their own vision to the project....Even though one of the visions failed. Fortunately, Alien 3 is not that vision. Secondly, each film has a different tone. Alien is a horror movie wearing scifi clothing, Aliens is an action movie, Alien 3 brings back the horror, albeit in a more nihilistic form, and Alien: Resurrection is a mess.

Now to get down to brass tacks as to why Alien 3 is viewed as a mediocre entry in the franchise.

Viewers who sit down and watch Aliens and afterwards watch Alien 3 are going to get a punch to the face. All the expectations from Aliens are dashed in the opening 5 minutes. The characters we've come to love (Newt & Corporal Hicks) are killed off. But I also love Hudson, Brett and Vasquez. What needs to be realized is that people die in Alien movies. Expectation is the key word audiences are consumed by when it comes to sequels. One can't possibly top Cameron in the action department or for that matter, the tension and suspense that Ridley Scott brought to the first one. So the question people are left with, is who is going to take on this franchise?

Enter David Fincher. Having cut his teeth on the music video scene, Fincher brought a dark, brooding vision to the franchise. This did not go down well with the corporate suits at 20th Century Fox. Submitted for your approval are some quotes from Fincher in regards to working on Alien 3:

FINCHER: You learn very quickly with movie studios that the reason there are so many people working there is to deflect blame and to spread culpability. It just became this morass of one person says this, two days later tht idea gets shot down because of it content, somebody else says go ahead and try this, the writers that you want for some reason aren't returning calls to the studio -- I wanted to get Gregg Pruss on, but he wasn't enough of a name for them at them time, but he was fine when it was Vincent Ward, it was all this kind of double-talk and it just continued from two and a half years. It was a really stupid experience, because we had a a lot of really talented people who could do much better work than they were allowed to do. It was just kind of a process of attrition. Composer Elliot Goldenthal had like nine days to write a score, it was just like "Get it out". It was just such a disaster on every front, we never had the material, we never had the support.

FINCHER: When the studio hires you, executives are trembling and sweating for months and months. A lot of finger-pointing is going on and people are trying to cover up. I learned that the people who have made the largest investments in a project, the ones who have the most at stake, are the ones you can trust the least to salvage a film. The whole process is designed around a system where they set up hurdles for you that you can't possible achieve. Inevitably you fail and the executives say "Okay, let's go with what we had initially set out to do.", but instead of really sticking to the original plan, they no force you to do the same thing with half the original budget, and it jest keeps going on like that.

FINCHER: The lession you learn is that you can't take on an enterprise of this size and scope if you don't really have a movie like THE TERMINATOR or JAWS behind you, because in the end the guy in charge of the studio has to look you in the eye and say "Is this extra $2 million worth it?" and it's very difficult to engender that sort of confidence...It's very nice to say "This is the guy who directed the biggest grossing movie of all time, sit down and shut up, and feel lucky you've got him" -- it's another thing when everybody's wringing their handkerchiefs and sweating and puking blood because of the money that's being spent.

The progression of the Ellen Ripley arc from Alien to Alien 3 is, if anything, tragic. This third entry acts as a solid closing to the series. Now there are a fair amount of things I had problems with when I first saw it. For one, I always wanted to know what happened to Golic, the crazed prisoner who saw 'the demon'. Two, the CGI is dated. Needless to say, in 2003, the problems I had with the film were answered (although that CGI is still there, which brings the film down a notch). The film got a special edition where 30 minutes were incorporated back into the film by editor Terry Rawlings. It seemed alot smoother. The only minor quibble with the new footage would be the decision to have the alien inside of a ox as opposed to the dog. But these are mere nitpicks. Looking back on it, I think it's fair to say that Fincher learned a fair amount on the production of Alien 3. Because he certainly knocked us on our ass three years later with a little old film called Seven.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coming Attractions: Fall Season

Also anticpating:
Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life- This is at the top of my list and has been for a while. Premise: the tale of a Midwestern boy's journey from the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as a "lost soul in the modern world", and his quest to regain meaning in life.

True Grit- The Coen Brothers do a western. 'Nuff said. Release date: 12/25. As good a Christmas present as any I'll receive this year.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is based off the comics of the same name. After hearing Edgar Wright was signed on as director, my curiosity peaked. He is responsible for Spaced (British TV series), Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. All of which contain a vibrant, kinetic energy so bringing that to a comic book adaptation intrigued me. I checked out some of the comics and tried envisioning how they would be able to pull it off in a live action setting.

What I got when I first saw Scott Pilgrim far exceeded my expectations. First of all the editing and scene transitions are incredibly inventive. Wright improves on each film and here he is on his A game. The film was able to mold the music, sounds, and video game aesthetic of a generation. I've never seen a film quite like this one and I have a feeling there are going to be many imitators of its style later on. Michael Cera is alot better than in his previous works and the supporting cast of evil exes, Sex-Bobombs and Knives Chau were good. This is a great example of an excellent comic book adaptation.

Oh and one other thing, the Vegan police rule.

Seeing double

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great Characters: Barbara Jean

"Let me tell you a story..."

This is who I am

$150 slacks.
Silk shirts.
$800 suits.
A gold watch.
A perfect D flawless 3 karrat ring.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Great Film Openings

A good director knows, the opening scene is key to setting the tone for the rest of the film. These are the ones that do it the best. I'll just put them in order of what left the biggest impression.

Saving Private Ryan
Watching this scene in the theater in 1998 made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. One of the most harrowing scenes ever set to film pits us in the middle of Omaha Beach on D-Day. A place where no audience member would want to be.

We know Kennedy is doomed as his motorcade approaches. The whole sequence is a leadup to that inevitable and horrifice conclusion and Pietro Scalia & Joe Hutshing's editing are flawless in setting the opening with tension.

Some may argue that this opening has nothing to do with the rest of the film. I could not disagree more. The opening to this film is like a prologue to a good book. The narrator explains the themes on consequences and chance which take place throughout the film.

Apocalypse Now
"This is the end," sings Jim Morrison of the Doors, and swathes of Vietnamese jungle explode silently into billowing flame; slo-mo US Army choppers cut through clouds of orange dust in the foreground. Saigon. Shit. I'm still in Saigon.

Its a tribute to editing Thelma Schoonmaker and direction of Scorsese to open a film with a scene extrapulated from the middle of it. Right off the bat we know we are in for a brutal ride with the characters.

Once Upon A Time In the West
What's most interesting about this opening is the lack of music. Sergio Leone makes use of natural sound to create tension and mood.

Blue Velvet
Starts off with fireman waving, children crossing the street. It's another sunny day in Lumberton. But afterwards the camera pulls down and unveils a bunch of scorpions underneath the soil. A perfect metaphor for what is to come in the film.

Jaws begins where it belongs - underwater for the credits, with Bill Butler's camera and John Williams's score prowling the seafloor.

Blade Runner
It's hard not to just sit and gape at the opening of Scott's sci-fi epic: a panoramic imagining of Los Angeles, 2019, all twinkling towers and flame-belching refineries, unfolding to Vangelis's swirling synth chords.

Dog Day Afternoon
Elton John's Amoreena is played over a montage of New York City. It establishes the setting and time as just another normal day in the town and perfectly segue ways into Al Pacino turning off the radio and turning that normal day into mass confusion and hysteria.

“Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a fucking big television..” Ewan McGregor runs down the streets of England, stolen merchandise scattering out of his pockets. And all to the thumping of Iggy Pops ‘Lust for Life’.

Raging Bull
The delicate dance of movement from Jake LaMotta set to Luchino Visconti's score is sublime. It establishes a grand like nature of LaMotta's profession. It's ominous but very fitting.

No Country For Old Men
The words of Cormac McCarthy are a complete joy to read and to hear them spoken by Tommy Lee Jones over open desert landscapes is absolutely haunting. It's a scene that does exactly what the best opening scenes of a film can do, suck you into the world of the film and establish the themes of it.