31 May 2005

Food For Thoughts...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...so I didn't really get the chance to post on the plethora of items I wanna talk about, including a rant on Watchmen as requested by Fallen Saint, but I did stumble upon this today and wanted to share it with my burgeoning readership.

This guy goes by the name Moriarty and he's been writing for Ain't It Cool News for quite a while now. He's kinda like the number two guy there, and his now legendary, blow-by-blow, tearing apart of the JJ Abrams Superman script (It's reposted HERE. Check it out, and take comfort in the knowledge that this project never happened) is the reason i started reading movie sites in the first place, and well...I wouldn't be here now if not for him.

So last week was his 35th birthday and he wrote his annual birthday column of upcoming projects that he's excited about, and since I agree with almost his entire list (I haven't read any of the books he talks about) and I can't argue with the passion behind it, I wanted to pass it along to all of you.

What do you guys think? Crackpot or filmnut? Or both?

30 May 2005

watch stuff at home

One of the things I've learned over the past couple of years is the value of a good VHS. Yeah. Why, you ask?

VHS vs. DVD (and, while I'm at it, I guess this applies to cassette vs. CD too)

Ok, well obviously in terms of straight-up numerical quality, your average VHS can't say peep to a DVD while it's doin business, but, despite its technical inferiority, the tape has a couple of qualities that more than trump any factory-pressed DVD, especially more recent DVDs.

First up, DURABILITY. Man, I don't care what you tell me--CDs and DVDs get crazy scratched up. And then they skip. And that sucks. That just doesn't happen with VHSs, granted you had the occasional occurrence of your VCR eating something, but, at least from my personal experience over the years, it's way easier to get a DVD to break (or at least not play properly) than a VHS counterpart. I'm the kind of person who tries to take care of things, especially movies, but I'm also sort of a klutz, and I think DVDs are more vulnerable (take more damage) from being dropped occasionally than VHSs, while a VHS is more prone to DYING (unlike the easy maiming of a DVD.

Second, TANGIBILITY. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I really think something is added to the home theater experience by having a big form of media you can hold on to, something you can GRAB (as opposed to gingerly cradling a DVD). Just a personal opinion I guess.

Third, MENUs. And this is where this article started. I have developed a habit over the past couple of years which, as I understand it, is not uncommon: I like to put on a movie and go to sleep. But the trouble is that some movies that I really love have AWFUL menus. So loud. So busy. So repetitive. Think Ghostbusters. Think Family Guy DVDs. Bad dreams galore, or just interrupted sleep. I remember when an old roommate of mine went to sleep and left on the Family Guy DVD that has the Pope-mobile episode. She sleeps a lot deeper than I do and never got up to turn it off, but I wasn't about to go into her room at night, for whatever reasons. Anyways, I almost strangled her the next day. VHSs, on the other hand, just stop and are quiet.

Fourth, there's the question of AVAILABILITY/PRICE. I, for one, buy most of my DVDs out of bargain bins. I love bargain bins. But even in the bins you'll seldom find anything you actually WANT for less than, say, $7 or so +tax. It's not at all difficult to find VHSs of really great movies for $3 and down. Buying brand new DVDs from major studios at full retail price, of course, is what we call robbery. $25 or 30 for a DVD? I don't think so. I don't care how many extra minutes of crappy footage I'll watch once (if ever) you put in there.

Fifth, NEXT GEN. I would really like to know what the premium will be for Blu-ray discs, especially at the beginning when both kinds of DVDs share the market. I sort of worry that this "technological advancement" that keeps happening is in part just a ploy to get us all to keep buying Star Wars. And the White Album, for that matter.

It seems no wonder to me that I know so many people who are illegally copying piles upon piles of DVDs all the time. Doing so takes care of all of these problems (except the tangibility thing), especially if the originals are Netflix. Durability is no problem, bc you can just make a new copy. You can eliminate the bad menus. Price is no matter, because it's stealing. And as far as future DVDs, well, the rental places will have to step up and make that work too, if they want to stay in business. Plus, there's the anti-RIAA and anti-MPAA sentiment and (I'm told) a psychological perk that comes from stickin it to the man. I guess the basic idea is that they've been ripping the consumer off for years (in and out of theaters), and this is just how they're getting karmically bitch-slapped by a six-armed goddess.

27 May 2005

Bust Guy Out Of Movie Jail

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Guy Ritchie seems to have been let out of "Director Time Out", having taken his licks for the monstrously awful Swept Away and seemingly returning full force with his new film Revolver, which is sure to be "gritty" and full of dialogue you can't understand and some sped-up and slowed-down footage set to spiffy retro music.

The plot is pretty damn vague and the trailer doesn't do much to clarify the situation, but it is pretty to look at, (As is the chick with the lollipop. Yowza!) and it has Ray Liotta. I'm almost as excited about the second coming of Ray Liotta as I am about the second coming of Mickey Rourke. But then again, who doesn't love The Mick? HEATHENS, that's who!

I'll admit that I'm actually a pretty big Ritchie fan. Snatch is good, but Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a goddamn masterpiece. That's one of my favorites and it's sure to be one of the first discs that I replace in the wake of my massive DVD theft. That being said, as much as I like Snatch, I kind of feel that it's too much of the same from Lock Stock. I have no problems with a director staying within his style. I love Wes Anderson movies, and even though they all have a very similar tone (and usually the same actors) the movies themselves, the subject matter, what's actually being said is very different. Kevin Smith is another good example, although I rather enjoyed when he strayed from his very well worn path with Jersey Girl. I'd certainly rather see him try and "fail" like that then dip back to the Clerks well again.

Anyway, while Revolver looks like a return to form for Guy Ritchie, more importantly I'm hoping that it distinguishes itself as a separate movie from his previous work and doesn't just become Lock Stock part three. The game of chess seems to play a prominent role this time around, and that's unassailably cool. Imagine if it this was like Searching For Bobby Fischer, but with gangsters...

Check out the trailer here, and add your 27 cents below.

Welcome Aboard...

Hey guys, it's Donnie...and I'm identifying myself at the beginning of this article because I'd like to officially welcome Billy Dagwood onboard as a contributing writer to The Booth. I've known Billy for many years now and while we often (not not always) have similar cinematic opinions, our repetoire of tastes tends to differ a bit. That is to say, he tends to see alot of stuff that I would not, often alot of really cracked out but still fantastic-in-their-own-way offerings, stuff like PIN: A Plastic Nightmare and Blood Gnome.

Anyway, Billy Dagwood will be putting up his two cents from time to time, offering some reviews and opinions and whatnot. I value his input and I'm sure you'll all come to enjoy his viewpoints and his particular brand of humor.

That being said, you better be funny Billy.

Let the mayhem begin...

26 May 2005

Snake vs The Fallible Four

I sit at my desk a bewildered individual.

Click here to watch the trailer for Fantastic Four, and then click here to watch the trailer for Sky High, and then I'd like you to answer a very simple question for me:

Why in the name of all that is unholy does DISNEY appear to have made a better superhero movie than MARVEL?!?!?

Seriously, this is the kind of shit that just shouldn't happen. This is like...I don't even know what. This is like if IBM suddenly decided they wanted to start making their own peanut butter and you laugh and say, "IBM you silly silly corporate giant, what do you think you're doing?" and then taste it only to discover that it kicks Skippy's creamy (or chunky) delicious ass.

I mean, just look at those trailers. True, Sky High is clearly skewed towards the younger audience while the Craptastic Four seems a bit darker and marketed to adults, but even still, Disney seems to have captured the energy and the tone of burgeoning superheroes discovering their powers and deciding how best to use them to help others far better than Tim "Barbershop" Story's increasingly putrid trainwreck of a film. I mean, come on now, the Fantastic Four are quite literally the First Family of comic book heroes. Each character represents a specific emotion and approach to what it means to be a hero, including Dr. Doom, whose makeup job is laughably bad. (Am I the only one who hates seeing villians stuck behind these giant immobile plastic masks that prevent them from having any kind of facial expressions ala Dr. Doom and Green Goblin? I'll forgive Scarecrow in the upcoming Batman because they seem to be going for a highly realistic tone as opposed to these other comic book movies which involve superpowers of some sort.)

However, I think there's a larger question begging to be asked here: "Does this little excercise in 'compare and contrast' signal the downfall of Marvel or the redemption of Disney?" I think the jury is still out on Disney. The various managerial shake-ups of the previous year or so have clearly been good for the company overall, and if they're smart they'll jump back on the Pixar wagon real quick. Marvel on the other hand, well...yes they've got the Spiderman and X-Men franchises pumping away and making some serious bank, but we also have to consider Daredevil...and The Punisher...and Blade Trinity...and Elektra...and Man-Thing. Granted, these are all kind of second-tier heroes (Punisher's a toss-up I think). However, Fantastic Four is as top-rate as they come. It should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately they seem to have taken that phrase literally. And with Warner Bros/DC getting ready to jumpstart Batman AND Superman, two marquee titles, within the next year, Marvel had better start watching their ass, because after countless disasters, (Can we officially name Catwoman as the worst comic film of at least the last decade?) Warner/DC seems to have remembered how to treat their top shelf comic properties. Hell, I have a feeling that I enjoyed Constantine more than I'm gonna enjoy the Blasphemous Four. Granted, Marvel's got some great stuff they're moving on, stuff like Iron Man and Captain America (along with more questionable stuff like Ghost Rider and Luke Cage and almost surefire crap like Sub-Mariner and Deathlok) but if they're gonna take these great characters and stories and give them the "Fantastic Four Treatment", then, to quote one of the great thinkers of our time, "I might just sob like a woman."

Anyway, the shit parade continues, and the more and more I see of the Sucktastic Four, the more and more I am convinced that this is going to end in disaster. (I'm also pretty certain they'll take the overtly stupid tactic of killing off Dr. Doom by the end of the movie, another comic-film convention I'm getting pretty damn sick of.)

That being said, I'll still be there opening weekend to shell out my $10.50+ and weep into my large buttered popcorn.

Let the mayhem begin...

The Films Of 2005

The following will be a chronicling of all the movies I've seen in 2005. I'm not counting the countless DVDs I'll consume (because why would you count something countless?) but instead restrict myself to the new releases of 2005 that I actually travel to a theater to watch. I'll also include a rating of 1-5 stars.

Let the mayhem begin...

The Films of 2005

The 40 Year Old Virgin ****
Aeon Flux ***1/2
A History Of Violence ****
Aliens of the Deep IMAX ***
Batman Begins ****1/2
Brokeback Mountain ****
Capote ****
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory ***1/2
Chicken Little ** (plus * for being in 3D)
Constantine ****
Crash ****1/2
Elizabethtown ****1/2
Fantastic Four **1/2
Fever Pitch ***1/2
Godzilla: Final Wars ****
Good Night And Good Luck ****1/2
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire ****
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy *** 1/2
Howl's Moving Castle ***
Hustle & Flow ****
In Good Company *** 1/2
The Island ***
Jarhead *****
King Kong *****
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ****1/2
Kung Fu Hustle ****
Land Of The Dead ****
Layer Cake ****
Lords of Dogtown ****
Match Point ****
Memoirs of a Geisha ***1/2
Mr. and Mrs. Smith ***
Munich ****
Proof ***
The Ringer ***
Sahara ** 1/2
Serenity ****
Shopgirl ****
Sin City *****
Sky High ****
Star Wars Episode III ****
Thumbsucker ****1/2
Undead ***1/2
Unleashed ***1/2
Walk The Line ***1/2
Wallace And Gromit ****
War of the Worlds ****
Zathura ****

25 May 2005

Welcome To The Movie Booth

About a year ago, I was sitting in my cubicle at my summer job, eating a bag of Dorritos and drinking a can of iced tea and in my boredom, I decided to try my hand at this blogging thing. I knew some people who were REALLY into it, and I certainly had my doubts. I started a blog, The Tangent Universe, and subtitled it "Destined To Eventually Collapse" because I figured there was no way this thing was going to last very long...

A year later, I'm sitting in my new cubicle at the same job (still eating a bag of Dorritos and drinking iced tea) and while The Tangent Universe has undergone a metamorphesis or two, my blogging is still going strong. I use my blog as a personal record of my thoughts, feelings, and day-to-day happenings, and, following recent events, I've learned that it really is best to keep these things private.

However, I feel the need to "put myself out there" so to speak, if not emotionally, then intellectually. And since my good friend Touchdown has been doing a bang-up job at tackling the realm of the political and/or the ethical, (and since I tend to agree with him on most subjects) that leaves me with really only one other outlet for me to assert/inflict my views upon you, the unsuspecting reader: movies.

And so...WELCOME TO THE MOVIE BOOTH. Since I'll be spending a sizable portion of my time for the next eight months or so watching movies (both in the theater and via my buddy netflix) as well as rabidly devouring every scrap of information I can gather on a number of upcoming movies, I'll be using this site as my own personal soapbox. You'll see a number of reviews as well as opinionated reporting on the projects in production that I'm excited about. Hopefully I'll be able to gather somewhat of a readership.

Anyone can post replies to any individual article, although I reserve the right to delete anything that's totally inappropriate, and by "inappropriate", I don't mean contrary to my opinion. Half the reason I'm running this site is to foster debate. So disagree with me! Disagree with each other! Don't pull your punches, be honest about these movies. Our opinions are what keeps the industry honest (relatively speaking).

So, read on! Archives and recent articles are listed on the right. Consume, laugh, get pissed, write back, pass it along to your friends...

Let the mayhem begin...
Little Giant Ladder