Everybody's A Critic

Friday, September 22, 2006

It Will Be Mine...

Oh yes, it will be mine.
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http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/790083

After all the toing and froing and will-they-or-won't-they dramas with this collection's release date, this is pretty much the best news ever. And it's not even that expensive! Woo!

For the record, the 13-disc set, which includes the original theatrical cut of 'Superman: The Movie', the 2001 Special Edition of 'Superman: The Movie', the original theatrical cut of 'Superman II', Richard Donner's brand-new cut of 'Superman II', deluxe editions of 'Superman III' and 'Superman IV', the 2-Disc edition of 'Superman Returns', the feature-length documentaries 'Look Up In The Sky' and 'You Will Believe- The Making of a Saga', as well as the classic George Reeves film 'Superman and the Mole Men' and remastered editions of the 1940s Superman cartoons, and a whole shitload of other special features, retails for $169.83.

Which is awesome.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

For The Record

This really has nothing to do with anything, but I haven't posted here much lately and I'd like to have this list I made for a totally different site recorded somewhere for my posterity. It's my favourite comic book writers and artists! Yay for me, and the zero people who care!

Writers
1. Grant Morrison
2. Alan Moore
3. Stan Lee
4. Frank Miller
5. Warren Ellis
6. Bill Finger
7. John Broome
8. Dan Slott
9. Otto Binder
10. Roger Stern

Artists
1. Jack Kirby
2. John Byrne
3. Steve Ditko
4. Frank Quitely
5. John Romita
6. David Mazzuccelli
7. Frank Miller
8. Dave Gibbons
9. Mark Bagley
10. Walt Simonson

Simonson might move up that list, after I read through his run on Fantastic Four that I picked up the other day. Quite a productive shopping trip, really- 66 comics for 100 Australian dollars! Yay!
Now, so this entry isn't a complete waste, here's a funny video.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Word 'Fantastic' Has Never Been Used So Loosely

So, awhile ago I was reading about a Fantastic Four movie that was made in the early 90s, and was so bad it was never released. In fact, rumour has it it was never meant to be released, and was filmed only so that the studio responsible could maintain its hold on the Fantastic Four license. My curiousity was well-and-truly piqued, and luckily, youtube is our friend. Here, for your viewing pleasure and/or chagrin, is a scene from the first Fantastic Four movie:

Here's another:

Another, quite quick but equally terrible, clip:

And here's the- quite frankly, truly incomprehensibly awful- trailer:

I know what you're thinking- 'where can I see the entire movie for myself?' Well, to be honest, I don't know. Apparently bootleg copies of it are fairly common, but to be honest, I'm not sure I could bring myself to watch the whole thing.
For that reason, here's the ending:

The Fantastic Four are awesome, though.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't Do Drugs, Kids

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WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I have never uttered that phrase more than I did during the two hours of my life I gave over to watching 'Casshern' on DVD. Honestly, I go into the videostore, I see a movie about a super-powered dude fighting giant robots based on a '70s Japanese cartoon, and what can I say? I'm a sucker for that stuff. But this was... not what I was expecting.

It didn't help matters that Rialto has apparently mass-produced a faulty DVD that unintentionally loops a fight scene so that it plays twice (exactly the same way, shot for shot) in the middle of the movie, totally fucking up any semblance of sense the story had been making up to that point. In fact, I'm not even convinced the loop was unintentional... given how coherent the rest of the story was, it was probably a deliberate nod to the repetitive nature of violence, or something.

This is easily one of the best-looking movies I've ever seen. Shot using the same sort of technology that made 'Sin City' and 'Sky Captain' so gorgeous, with a guy with a rocket pack fighting armies of giant robots thrown in for good measure, it's probably best to just watch this movie with the sound off.

The problem is that there isn't really enough robot-fighting. I mean, once I get a taste for that sort of thing, I must have more; but instead 'Casshern' goes off on incomprehensible philosophical tangents that the Wachowski Brothers would be proud of. I was totally down with all the 'trippy' elements of this one at first, even as I realised it must have fuck all to do with the anime it's based on (a quick perusal of the net just then confirmed this), but eventually, one slightly confusing moment led to another until it reached the point where I had no fucking idea what was going on. Which, in a way, is actually pretty cool, but not when it distracts from the guy with the rocket pack.

Seriously, my head still hurts now. A lot. But my god, did it look cool. A part of me wants to give this the worst recommendation possible, another part of me wants to watch it again right now. Not sure which part wins yet.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Snakes On A Motherfuckin' Aussie

This interview is pretty old, but now that the movie's out, the copy of Scene it was in is off the street and any media embargo has been well and truly lifted, I feel better about putting it here.

When the Australian star of ‘Snakes on a Plane’ talks, you listen. Nathan Phillips Speaks!

“I was being a bit choosy with my first American film. I wanted to make a doozy, I wanted to come out with all guns blazing, you know? I sat down with the director, and he explained that the script was only a blueprint, that Sam Jackson was doing it, and that it was going to be a fun, fun movie. And I mean, you know, it wasn’t a taxing or terribly challenging role. I just had to bring as much life to it as I could and play a happy-go-lucky American guy on a plane full of snakes. Run for the hills! Run for the hills!

“The snakes weren’t too creepy. ‘Wolf Creek’ was creepy, so this was a walk in the park for me. It was funny, because you walk past a make-up trailer and there’s like 250 snakes in there, and they’re behind these little glass cases. What if there really was a pheromone that was let loose in the building and they got aggressive? Could it happen? So yeah, unfortunately nothing like that happened, but in the film it does. They’re still pretty scary when they open up their fangs, but most of the time it was CGI. And, you know, a lot of the time the actors were quite happy to use CGI!

“The Brazilian Boa was great. I’d never seen such an enormous snake, and I got to hold one. It ate people whole, you know. Just to see this ancient reptile that has older brothers and sisters still out in the rainforest, in all their glory, eating little men and llamas, I don’t know… It’s just an amazing specimen of ancient animal. We couldn’t have done it without the snakes, you know. They’re the heroes.

“I learned a lot from Sam (Jackson). Just about dedication and commitment. He was working on another film at the same time, and learning guitar for that film. I was just watching his dedication, and learning that life’s about learning, you know? You never stop, and as you get older you just realise that you don’t know enough about life, and it can continue to be a very rewarding and rich experience even in old age. But hanging out with Sam, you do start dropping the F-Bomb. I grew up with a very beautiful grandmother who would not allow me to be so bad-mouthed. I still look over my shoulder when I drop the F-Bomb, so I had an awkward time on set. It was originally never rated R, so there were no F-Drops. But we went back and did a week of re-shoots to make it a little more like what the fans wanted, and managed to get some into the final edit.

“They had a free marketing campaign, really. They had no test screenings; people’s imaginations were enough. But I don’t look at the internet, so I haven’t really had to deal with the hype. And I don’t tell people I’m in it, because I don’t tell people I’m an actor. Never do that, mate. There’s better things to talk about. But my dad’s gonna love it. It’s fun and lighthearted, it’s everything you’d want from a film called ‘Snakes on a Plane’. And I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of people cashing in on it, as you said.

“Obviously everybody’s cashing in but me, you’ve made me fully aware of this, thank you. Maybe I should think about it, because I’m planning on having children one day. Maybe you could start up a site for me, ‘How to Help Nathan Cash in on Snakes on a Plane’. So, any ideas? ‘Snakes on a Nathan’, I don’t know… maybe we can find a blog we can do…

“But, you know, the film’s exactly what the director wanted it to be. It’s just a fun, popcorn in the air, screaming, tell-your-girlfriend-to-shut-up-because-I-wanna-watch-the-film-oh-shit-it’s-a-snake kind of film. I’m happy to say it’s a very tongue in cheek, old school film. Unnecessary tit shots, genre stuff... I got it, you know? I got it.”

Monday, August 28, 2006

Wild About Purple

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It's kind of bizarre that I finally got around to watching 'Purple Rain' (after buying it for five bucks or something on DVD) the night before I first listened to Outkast's 'Idlewild', which I quickly realised is basically a circa 2006 model of the exact same thing.

So, anyway, 'Purple Rain'. It's pretty cool, if you're into that sort of thing. I like a lot of Prince's stuff, but this movie is definitely more an artifact of its time than an actual good movie. It's one of those bizarre '80s flicks that's too 'mature' for kids and not really 'mature' enough for adults, and ended up being an absolute mega-smash regardless.

Incidentally, if you think that straight people could never look gayer than they did in the Glam Rock era, or that metrosexualism is some trend that started within the last decade, you need to see this movie.

Basically, it's a lot of fun (despite its slightly awkward lunges towards social relevance and hard-hitting themes) and if there's anyone else out there like me who has somehow never seen it, definitely check it out.

I intended to write an actual, critic-y review of this, but I have stuff to do, so I'll leave you with this video, just to prove Prince is still alive:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Unforgiven Not Forgotten

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'Unforgiven' is one of those movies that I could talk (or write) about all day. I won't right now, because I like to maintain the illusion that I have a life, but trust me, it's right up there as one of a handful of my all-time favourite movies. Having said that, I only got around to buying it on DVD a couple of days ago, hence this review.

This movie is the ultimate western- the final statement on the genre from the man who knew it better than most, Clint Eastwood. The story goes that Eastwood bought the rights to the script sometime in the early '80s, and then hung onto it until he was old enough to play the lead role. Needless to say, his patience paid off... he commands the screen with a degree of pathos and a sense of mortality that was only hinted at in his earlier performances, and was once again on display in 'Million Dollar Baby'.

Of course, credit for the film's genius must go to screenwriter David Webb Peoples ('Blade Runner') as well. There are so many well-developed characters here, each brought to life by brilliant performances from some of cinema's greatest acting talents. For sheer memorability, it's hard to go past Richard Harris' portrayal of English Bob, if only for the immortal line, "...well, why not shoot the President?"

Aside from Harris, there's Gene Hackman's splendidly complex Little Bill, a brutal sherriff with good intentions who protects his jurisdiction of Big Whiskey, Wyoming with what can only be described as excessively excessive force. Morgan Freeman brings his typical air of down-home grandeur to his wonderful role as Eastwood's old partner, and Saul Rubinek, who is usually forgotten in discussions about this film, provides metatextual fun as a journalist prone to writing overly dramatic biographies.

Like the classic westerns that it derives its inspiration from, 'Unforgiven' is not short on laughs despite its heady subject matter. To be honest, I'd forgotten just how many chuckles you can get out of it. After all, it's easy to forget such things in light of the towering dramatic arc that drives the work.

Reflecting its title in every possible way, 'Unforgiven' is the story of a woman hellbent for revenge, even if it means vastly overstating the wrong that was actually committed against her and refusing non-violent settlement; a man unable to ever forgive himself for his sins; and the inherent, unforgiving violence of the harsh Western frontier's last gasps before settling into domesticity. Truly, "deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

A famously laid-back director, Eastwood infuses 'Unforgiven' with an elegaic rythym that lulls you in rather than sending you to sleep, entrancing you with the beauty of its meditative moments before shocking you with staccato bursts of brutality.

After bidding a fitting farewell here to the genre that made him a star, Eastwood continues to make great films across a variety of genres... but this will always be seen as his true masterpiece.