Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clocks in Films


My clock controls me more than any other person or device ever could.  It tells me when I have to work, eat, worship, and sober up.

And my clock tells me that I’m getting older and older.

The greatest tease that clocks perform is their appearance in some of the most exciting moments of film.  When I see a clock in a movie, I am reminded that my time is slowly ticking away.  But those who are lucky enough to have their images caught on celluloid (or digitally, or what new media will capture our storytelling) are frozen in time.  Being in a movie means you have defied the clock’s power.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Most Perfect Character: F. Murray Abraham’s Salieri

 
As a high school film teacher, I am always asked what my favorite movie is.  While I don’t have one favorite, I do have a list of films that I can watch over and over.  Jaws, Back To the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Dark Knight are movies that I appreciate that people agree with me on their importance.

But there’s one film that I can view over and over even though it has no dinosaurs, no explosions, and no costumed heroes.  Amadeus proves to be both a beautifully filmed piece of art and a story with a character so brilliantly written and performed.

And I’m always so surprised that so few have seen Amadeus.

F. Murray Abraham brought Anton Salieri into being and created a character that rivals Greek gods and heroes for archetypal form.  When I think of an example of a character so driven yet so upstaged, I think Salieri. 

The composer’s motivation in the film is unquestionable.  He wants to be the best composer, and he sacrifices all.  He prays and abstains from carnal pleasure in the hopes that he earns God’s favor and blessing to become a legendary musician.

I associate with his drive.  We all have worked so hard to achieve something only to lose out to someone who wins by sheer natural talent.  Innate talent cannot be earned through hard work.  At the start of Amadeus Salieri plays music for the priest to hear confession.  The cleric can’t identify one song by the composer, but he hums immediately to the Mozart selection.  That’s what screenwriters call, “Show, don’t tell.”  In a movie the audience prefers to see something than to be flat out told.  That’s the visual element of a visual medium.

I look at others who have made strides with their writing, and I get frustrated that I’m struggling to get noticed.  Although I’m not consumed by my desire as Salieri was in Amadeus, I do feel frustrated.  That’s why the movie cheers me up.  I’m glad to see that there’s someone suffering just like me.  Maybe that’s why I’m always so enamored with the perennial loser Charlie Brown.

There’s no better performance in film than F. Murray Abraham’s Salieri, and there’s no better written character.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Amadeus, look for it now on Netflix streaming.  It is a lengthy film, but I assure you that you will not notice.  What you will notice is the fact that you aren’t alone in feeling frustrated when you try so hard and fail.  And we all need to share that pain with someone—be it a person or a film.

Keep rising from the graves of ignorance, my Zombies…

Friday, May 25, 2012

Warning from an Amish E-Mail

This shitteth is getting real.

People are always amazed at how fortune cookies have a unique way of predicting the future.

Fuck that.

I once received an Amish e-mail that was more accurate than a blind Greek prophet.

The correspondence was direct.  Words chilled me upon reading--there were only six, but they were unified to one message like notes coming together to form a song.

One day you will wake up.


That’s Paul Atreides Dune type shit.  I dismissed the note when I first read it.  But now, now I see that it was spot on.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Declaration of Rights of Film Goers


 
There was once a day when people dressed up to travel on planes.  Dresses and sweaters accompanied jackets and ties.  Now, however, t-shirts and shorts are customary.  The simple fact is that air travel has lost all sense of class and decency.

The movie going experience suffers a similar situation.  Before I go on, let me declare my knowledge that the movies exploded as an industry because their inexpensive ticket price appealed to the lower and middle classes.  While ticket prices are not the same as theater tickets or professional sports events, the cost of attending a film demands a certain level of decorum by theatergoers.

Here are some basic rules to observe when attending the local movie theater so that some dignity in this grand outing may be preserved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: King Kong vs Godzilla

American theatrical poster
This isn't one of Classic Media's releases, but since I'm probably going to end up reviewing all the Godzilla films  I figured I'd do them in order. I'll be leaving out related films like Rodan and Mothra for now as they're generally not required viewing to understand the Godzilla films, but I'll mention them whenever they are relevant.

I don't have a long history with this film. I saw it once in the 90s, but I didn't particularly like it and felt no need to watch it again anytime soon. Now I know why. Simply put, this film suffers from one of the worst Americanization of any Godzilla film.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GYM TYPES

 
Having worked out for several years, I have come across a variety of denizens of the local gym.  Some are helpless, while some are just downright annoying.  Here’s some of the different stereotypes you will find lifting weights at the local health complex.

The gas leaks: this is the person who will hiss at the height of each exercise rep.  I don’t know think the hissing helps the workout because most “gas leak” gym goers are small in stature.

The phone-ies: these people will do three reps on a machine.  While on the second rep, their cell phone will ring with one of those incomprehensible rap songs made more incomprehensible by the undersized, bass-less speaker.  Phone-ies will proceed to carry on an entire conversation while occupying the only pec-deck machine.  When asked to get off the machine, the phone-ies will scoff, give a shitty look at you, and never do anything more to break a sweat.

Every Gym Has An Asshole


Some dudes don't get enough attention from mommy at home, so they have to slam down their weights: attention gigolos. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

To Whom Do We Owe This Modern Age of Superhero Movies: Singer or Favreau?



We could chronicle the recent periods of superhero films by the names of the directors who helmed them: starting with the Silver Age of Film and Donner’s Superman, then Burton’s Batman, Raimi’s Spider Man, Singer’s X-Men, Nolan’s Batman, Favreau’s Iron Man, and Whedon’s Avengers.

Yes, there has been some other films in the meantime, yet they do not warrant acknowledgement because they did not make the impact of the previously named films.  For example, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Superman Returns, and Green Lantern exist, but do so only because of the Singer, Nolan, and Raimi films popularity.

Who do we owe more for the great batch of superhero films?  Who kicked off this current era?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Open Letter of Admiration to Fanboys and Fangirls

 
You never got patted on the back for carrying a ball.  There’s no tiara adorning your mantle.  No one ever said you were the best, prettiest, or most likely to succeed.

But you completed your set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures.  Or you leveled every type of toon on WoW.  Perhaps you studied 1950s cinema like an evangelical preacher studies the Bible.

In fact, you were ridiculed for reading a comic book, dressing up for Rocky Horror Picture Show, or falling in love with a Bradbury novel. 

Maybe some asshole beat you up, or some popular click bitch trashed your reputation at school.  So many insults were thrown your way.  You spent so many nights by yourself wondering why such a good, kind person was ignored in favor of those shallow, douche bag assholes that never went home alone.  Lunchtime was spent reading a manga by yourself in the corner because there was no one else that understood Sailor Moon (even if you are a guy).

You never had the prescribed ‘perfect life’, the welcomed spot at the dinner table, or the title of prom king or queen. The world calloused you because you knew discovered something so pure and untainted. 

You loved something with all your heart and soul.  And people hated you for that.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Forgotten Consequence of Global Warming: Thawed Monsters

NSFW: Gore
Al Gore has quietly championed the fight against global warming for years now.  This crusade has waned because Gore no longer has political aspirations and because Gore recently got a new girlfriend.

I fear there may be a more dramatic reason for Gore’s retreat from the battle.  When a person is elected to the Oval Office as president or vice president, he or she gains access to information that has been withheld from the public.  Such information would never be released because widespread panic would ensue if average people were privy to such news. 

I believe Vice President Al Gore surrendered in his campaign against global warming because he knows the damage is now irreversible and the worst outcome of the alteration of the climate patters means all of the monsters frozen in the polar ice will be released.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are We Back To Trusting Science Again?

 The recent teaming up of Bruce Banner and Tony Stark in the Avengers has piqued my interest.  No, you perverts.  I am not talking about writing slash fiction about the two of them hitting it off on the physical level—there’s already a ton of that on the internet.  I’m talking about the camaraderie shared by the two characters in their non-hero personae.  Deep within the Shield helicarrier, Iron Man and Hulk find a common interest in their shared appreciation for SCIENCE.

The audience had no problem with that.  In fact, the first couple of times I saw The Avengers the crowd was quiet and almost respectful because their short attention spans had been captivated by the duo’s chemistry.

This gives me renewed hope.  For some time now a war has been brewing between Christians and their reliance on faith and atheists with their adherence to science.  The argument has polarized the internet, and I can’t see a cute cat photo without some asshole turning it into an argument about creationism vs. evolution.
 
In the words of Rodney King, “Please stop clubbing me.  I’m not fighting back.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Godzilla Raids Again



Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this film. Classic Media’s DVD marks the first time Godzilla Raids Again has been made available in region 1. You may be familiar with the film’s American counterpart, Gigantis the Fire Monster. If you aren’t familiar with that version either, you’re not alone. It had a brief theatrical run in 1959 and has been available only on a rare 1989 VHS. Both versions are included on the same disk, though the American version is compressed to save disk apace, and the title Gigantis the Fire Monster has been replaced with Godzilla Raids Again at Toho’s request.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Boobfedding? Yes. Spandex? No.


Everyone and their cousin Sal got their knickers in a knot over Time Magazine’s Paris Hilton attempt for attention.  The periodical displayed a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding a young man who looked to be in his early teens.  Had this been a 26-year-old man and a teenage girl, the world would be in a state of chaos like it would have been if Bruce Willis hadn’t saved us from that asteroid back in 1998.

Here’s the thing about breastfeeding.  It’s a natural function of the human body.  But so is urinating.  I don’t urinate in the middle of a restaurant.  Shit, I can’t even piss when another guy walks into the bathroom.  So if you have to do it, excuse yourself out of the way and don’t make a spectacle out of the act.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Harry Potter and The Importance of Halloween


Hey Zombies!  Here's a repost of an excellent article by Justin.  Enjoy...
 
The importance of Halloween throughout the Harry Potter Series is subtle yet undeniable. You’re like, “but J-Egg Beater, I’ve never noticed anything that suggested Halloween was any more important than any other holiday!” Well you’re in for a treat, not a trick, my friends.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Kabaya Gaia Guardian


As promised, here is my review of the Transformers Kabaya Gaia Guardian. This set is composed of six individual kits, plus Hot Spot from wave 5 can be combined with these as well. In this review I will cover the individual kits together plus all the various combinations.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preview: Halloween Costumes 2012

 
You can look at this two ways: Halloween is five months away, so why should I care?  OR Halloween is only five months away?--I have to get my costume ready.

There’s one goal with Halloween when you’re an adult: create the costume that will cause people to stop and take pictures with you.  When you reach that age which is not denoted by a date but by the number of times you have puked from drinking, it’s not about the candy, the pumpkin carving, or the tricking.  No, it’s all about the attention from having the costume that makes others coo.

Last year everyone created a Daft Punk or Deadmau5 get up.  In 2010, the Chilean Miners was the hot costume.  Facebook lit up with people dressed as Somali pirates in 2009.

So what will get iPhones flashing in 2012?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Gojira



Last week I reviewed Classic Media’s The Godzilla Collection box set. You’ll recall that I recommend buying the complete set. However, the films are available individually and so for completion’s sake I’ll be reviewing each one, starting with Gojira.

Monday, May 7, 2012

On the Director's Mind Right Now


Being Ugly Paid Off For Once

 
I’m not what you would call aesthetically pleasing.  But this finally turned out to my advantage.

The other night I was out with my friend who I will call Milton Bradley because he’s got game.  Hell, he’s got more game than a Secret Service agent in a Colombian hotel.  Old Milton has had times when random drunk women at a bar come up to him and just start kissing him.  If I did that to a woman I would be arrested for assault.  But good looking people get away with that shit.

When it comes time to have a beer at the end of a tough workweek, I will generally choose places that are relatively safe and free from the hassles of running into hot women.  That way I don’t have to face the humiliation of not having enough game to get a date with such an attractive woman or face the crippling shyness that paralyzes me from even starting a conversation with her.

I settled into the booth at Chili’s and had my heart set on any one of their overpriced and undersized burgers that are supersaturated with enough sodium chloride to satiate a salt vampire from planet M-113 (shout out to all the Trekkers reading this).

And then I saw her.  She sat at the corner of the bar with only one of her two-for-one happy hour margaritas closed to empty.  The salt on the rim of the glass had barely been touched.  That’s when she signaled that she was alone: she ran up and down her Facebook page on her phone, endlessly reading her friends’ vacuous status updates.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: Transformers Kabaya wave 5

This is a review of wave 5 of the Transformers Kabaya kits. This wave includes Optimus Prime from Transformers: War for Cybertron, Hot Spot from Transformers: Generation 1, and Deszaras from Transformers: Victory. The kits also come with Deszaras’ Breastforce partners. Tigerbreast comes with Optimus Prime, and Eaglebreast comes with Hot Spot.



Optimus Prime is numbered 1 in this wave, so I’ll start with him first. Not everyone was excited about getting yet another Optimus Prime in this series, but this one is actually pretty neat. Both modes hold together very well with no parts prone to popping off, though the kit has some trouble holding the gun straight. The gun has a round peg that’s supposed to fit in a square hole. For some reason Kabaya is very fond of doing this, and it still doesn’t work. Other than that the kit holds together very well, though perhaps too well.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Germans Are One Step Closer to Making My Dream A Reality




To all the people who read the title of the article and expected to hear some sort of Nazi inspired anti-Semitic rant about the Jews, come back some other day.  Today I’m talking about something way more important: dinosaurs.

I read a fact today that I had long since forgotten.  Dinosaurs, experts who dig fossils and take sample tours of Jurassic Park, concluded that dinosaurs lasted 12 million years on Earth before going extinct. 

12 MILLION YEARS…

That’s like one year for every chocolate stalk of bamboo that Kim Kardashian gobbled on video.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: The Godzilla Collection


Classic Media, 2007 

With Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla in the works and a trend towards high quality Region 1 DVD treatments of the original films, there has never been a better time to be a Godzilla fan. With so many DVDs of these films available today, I thought I’d look at one of the better releases of these films, The Godzilla Collection released by Classic Media in 2007.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Couldn’t My Stupid Guidance Counselor Tell Me About These Jobs?

 
I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Or a midlife crisis.  I can never get the two correct.  In the spare time from discarding all the useless items that I thought I would need to live a normal life but now realize are tiny anchors weighing me down in the ocean of melancholy, I realized some very important lessons.

First, the high school guidance counselor is about as worthless as a science textbook in a Texas classroom.  The most work those people did at my school was to get up and walk to the coffee makers in the back of the cafeteria.  Had they any clout, they would have informed me that there’s a way of life where one doesn’t have to answer to bosses, clients, patrons, or any other euphemism for the word asshole.

So I have decided to step in and share with you what I have found.  The following are jobs to consider when you realize that the American dream of home ownership, balanced family life, and gainful employment are as fictitious as Santa’s tits.