Movie of the Day – Black Dynamite

Movies are a labor of love, most of the time though, and we as movie lovers have to learn to appreciate the care that goes into making a movie.  Some directors choose to create original movies and wow us with something we have never seen before.  Other directors will take the route of retreading past movies as a directorial style.  There are even certain directors that will pay homage to movies that influenced them in their film making.  Homages in general are a tricky thing for directors to make, since we as a viewer will be familiar with the story and setting, so nothing can honestly take us by surprise.  Homage movies run the risk of also seeming unoriginal to others.  Tarantino has this criticism put on him many times as he takes story elements from numerous genre’s and places them into his movie.  I mean Kill Bill had almost all the elements of Lady Snowblood, but the Tarantino was influenced by the story and added his typical dialogue and flair to the movie.

Homages try and toe this line between parody and send-up of the genre the film maker is wanting to portray.  Often times they fall on the parody side and focus on the ridiculousness that the genre has to offer.  There was a little known cult movie that came out in 2009 that was a loving send-up to the genre of Blaxploitation movies.  You might be familiar with movies like Shaft, Super Fly, Foxy Brown, or maybe Blackula (Black Dracula).  Those films were iconic in the 70s as they part of a slew of films that focused on the black community.  They gave the African-Americans their own story, their own voice and their own heroes to root for when they went to the movies.  Their characters are strong and independent.  They don’t take shit from the man.  Most were even about the political and social climate.  So when a director wants to recreate the look and feel of the era, they will have to walk a fine line as to not upset those that love the genre.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Renaissance

Looking back on all the content and articles I have written, I have not picked an animated movie to talk about.  It’s not that I don’t like animated movies, it’s just that there are a few that I really enjoy in terms of story and visuals.  I love the Pixar movies that meld together passionate story telling and incredible visuals.  I like anime films that  just blow away one’s imagination.  Sometimes, we get movies that utilizing computer animation in a different way.  Take Sin City for example, the film used computer animation to recreate the look of the black and white comic book.  The color and style of comic book shined throughout the film and immersed us into the crazy world of Sin City.

So while Sin City’s black and white comic book style was used to portray, well, a comic book, there was a small French film that used the stark palette of black and white to present a bleak future.  Renaissance is sci-fi, neo-noir film that  uses black and white, computer animated settings and digitally tracked actors to present a dystopian Paris, France.  While their vision of the future is something out of Blade Runner, the movie brings an interesting visual style and story line.  Let’s give a quick rundown of the story.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Ocean’s Thirteen

Now I do enjoy a good heist movie now and then.  Now their are differences in heist movies where you have a group that just goes into a situation, guns blazing and make with the cash.  Nothing real complicated about the heist since any Joe can go in with a gun, rob the joint and may or may not make it out alive.  No finesse or style needed.  Then there are some heist movies that are all about the set up.  The con game needs a little theatrics and class in order to pull off a heist without firing a bullet and rubbing their getaway in the face of the one they stole from.  While there are two schools of heist movies, I prefer something with style, primarily I enjoy Ocean’s Thirteen.

I am sure that there are people who aren’t thrilled about the Ocean’s series and there are better heist movies out there.  I am just choosing a more modern and smartly written heist movie for today’s choice.  While the third movie is probably the best of the series, what makes it different from the others is that we as an audience is dropped into the middle of the gang pulling off the con.  We are left to catch up and fill in the spots that are missing, which I enjoy doing as it is fun to play along with the gang as they carry out the con.  So let’s cover the story line briefly and then finish up with some thoughts on why this is the movie of the day.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Darkon

Today’s post is more or less inspired by the kids in the neighborhood that are mock playing Medieval battles.  As children we all played war games, picking up a nerf gun and pretending to be badass and flying through the air shooting people.  If you were kid like me, then you had a fake lightsaber and pretend to choke the shit out of brother and slay the weak Jedi.  We all in some form or another enjoy some sort of fantasy realm that we immerse ourselves in.  Some people play Dungeon and Dragons for escapism, letting their imagination craft a world in which they are a hero.  Others pretend to be a general manager of a football team and draft players to score them points or something.  I honestly don’t know anything about Fantasy Football and think it’s stupid and the people who play it are just one dice roll away from being the Dungeon and Dragons nerds that they make fun of.  Seriously, there is nothing more nerdy than recalling passing stats for a quarterback and making sure to rotate players everyday or whatever.  My quarterback casts magic hail mary pass and does 7 points of damage to the opposing team.

So while some people have a different fantasy about being a sports team manager (YAWN) and others dream of being some badass knight kicking the ass of some dungeon master, there are others that take it one step further.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Lord of War

You know, Andrew Niccol needs to write and direct a lot more.  I wrote an article about Gattaca and how much loved his direction and writing style, but that was his first movie he did back in 1997 and wouldn’t be 5 years until we would get his next picture.  He did S1m0ne, which was an interesting movie, but ultimately unsatisfying as Pacino just kind of phoned in his performance.  It wasn’t until 2005 when he decided to do a political commentary movie on the subject gunrunning and illegal arms dealers in Lord of War.  This also happens to be one of my favorite Nic Cage movies that doesn’t have him running around in a bear costume, punching women in the face (this was the Wicker Man if you didn’t know).  I generally have a weird aversion to political commentary movies, since the subject is heavily one-sided and directors just smash their stance into your head over and over again.  Given Niccol’s sharp writing and directing style, I gave this movie a chance based off of the trailer and the subject matter of gun smuggling, one that doesn’t typically get covered.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Centurion

I have to give props to Magnet Releasing and Mark Cuban (yeah the guy that owns the Dallas Mavericks) for helping to distribute independent and foreign films that otherwise wouldn’t get the to see the light of day here in the states.  Magnet has brought us releases of Monsters, Ong-Bak, Hobo with a Shotgun, 13 Assassins and whole mess of other documentaries and foreign flicks. Without their distribution model, I wouldn’t be able to see the “historical” action film Centurion.

I am a sucker for historical action movies, or action movies in general.  Gladiator, Troy (to an extent) and pretty much any movie set during the expanse of Roman rule are sure bets for some decent, large scale action scenes and a bloody good time.  Centurion delivers the action and with a rather impressive cast.  Considering Neil Marshall directed the movie and also The Descent and Doomsday, I am guaranteed some ferocious fights scenes and, well, ok story pacing.  Not necessarily his strong suit, but I am an easy to please person.

Read more of this post

Trailers of the Week – The Devil’s Double and The Guard

Two more trailers heading your way.  This time around we have an interesting “biographical” movie about Saddam Hussein’s son Uday Hussein, and his body double.  Last is a movie that has been described as a mix between In Bruges (awesome) and Bad Lieutenant (awesomer).

The Devil’s Double:

That is one kick ass looking poster for a movie about the man who was Uday Hussein’s double.  Dominic Cooper plays both roles in the movie and looks to be an interesting movie.  I am sold on the poster alone that looks to show the sadistic side of Uday and his reckless behavior under the house of Hussein.

The Guard:

I can see how the movie is getting some comparison’s to In Bruges, maybe not so much Bad Lieutenant, but this looks like a really funny buddy cop movie.  Having Brendan Gleeson playing the role of local super cop with a penchant for making uninformed racial comments is bound to be funny.  As long as Cheadle can steer clear of using that terrible cockney accent like he did in the Ocean’s films, I am ok with this team up.  The trailer and dialogue seems sharp and well written.  The banter seems to flow naturally for the two and the premise is a safe, familiar one.  Sadly this is in limited release in July so not sure when it will hit nationwide.

RIP Peter Falk

I will be honest and say that I only remember Peter Falk for three roles, one was the Grandpa who told a young Fred Savage a story about how Andre The Giant got beat in a wrestling match by Cary Elwes, second for his amazing role in Wings of Desire as Der Filmsta, and lastly his role as Columbo.

In his honor, good night sweet prince.

Also, don’t fuck with Peter Falk and his coffee.  Lest you want to get choked out by Peter Falk.

Your Generic Summer Movie List Part 2

Well as the month of June is coming to a close soon, we are nearing the halfway mark of our summer movie season.  So far, there have been some top notch movies to come out (Super 8, X-Men First Class, and The Tree of Life) which I have been able to see.  Now we are heading into the bottle neck of July which sees three huge movie release with the final Harry Potter movie, Captain America representing America and the movie I am least interested in seeing, but will do so because I am masochist is Transformers 3.  There are a lot of smaller release movies that look amazing as well to offset explosions and slow motion action sequences.  So let us get started with the July movie releases that I am looking forward to.

July is an interesting release month as each week has one major studio release.  The week of July 1st has Transformers 3 coming out and the week of July 8th has, I guess the major release of The Zookeeper Horrible Bosses, none of which I have any interest in seeing.  It isn’t until the week of July 15th where we get my eagerly awaited franchise movie.

Read more of this post

Movie of the Day – Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I am going to reveal something that might shock some of you.  I just want to brace you all for this sudden realization.  I am a geek.  In fact, I am a geek about comics, games (board and video) and movies.  I can’t help it, I have this compulsion to seek out the geekiest things and embrace everything about it.  Thanks dad for the X-Men comics and lifetime of remembering useless things like who made up the original members of Alpha Flight and the entire back story of the Phoenix Saga.  The Nintendo game system is another push into the realm of geekdom.  Countless hours spent playing and then when I found out about role playing video games, I was lost to the mist and wonder of geek life.  So let’s jump years into my life past the awkward teen phase and past my awkward college phase all the way to September 4th 2010 and the day that all my geek loves combined together for an unforgettable movie experience that is, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

It was the culmination of all my love of things geeky.  You got a kick ass adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s pop culture, game and geek fueled book series, Scott Pilgrim.  If you have never read the series, please take a look, especially if you are a gamer or lover of all things geeky.  Then taking this book series and making it into a movie, I just about died.  Finding out that the movie was going to be directed by Edgar Wright, the man who brought us Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, I experienced pure bliss.  So a book about video games, music, and pop culture was going to be turned into a movie, something that I love, this was going to be pure win.

Read more of this post