Michel Gondry has gone one step further with a film that features the remaking of other films, by remaking the film's own trailer.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I'm hesitant to quote a film featuring the number two Scientologist, but CLOVERFIELD had me at hello. Hell, it didn't even have a name back then! On that fateful opening weekend of last summer's "blockbuster" that shall remain nameless, I witnessed the teaser trailer and was hooked. Give me the large scale destruction of a major metropolis, leave me wanting more (what the hell was that?) AND don't distract me with a big star's face... I'm sold!
As told through 'found footage' recorded by a small group experiencing the 'event'. We meet Rob (Michael Stahl-David) at his going away party, along with his brother Jason (Mike Vogel), Jason's girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas), Rob's 'main dude' Hud (T.J. Miller), the girl Hud is crushing on, Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), and Rob's best friend/crush Beth (Odette Yustman). Panic and chaos ensues as 'something' very large cuts a swath of destruction through Manhattan, leaving our group of friends running for their lives. Everything that we see is what was camcorded my Hud, (Heads Up Display... cute) which gives us the perspective of a disaster at the ground level. It's not about a group of heroes rising up to battle the creature and save the day, it's about surviving a catastrophe too absolute to even wrap your head around, and that's what makes it compelling.
This film was pretty high on my list of anticipated releases, and the overabundant viral marketing only pulled me in more. The main characters even have MySpace pages for crying out loud! Thankfully none of it spoiled any aspect of the film, it just left me asking more questions as I pondered the origin of the creature, which is entirely inconsequential as far as the movie goes.
So, about the film... is it THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT meets GODZILLA? Sort of, and not really. Let's get the knee-jerk comparisons out of the way: shaky-cam found footage and a very large monster... check. What it's not is a slow burn of paranoia or a comment on the evils of atomic energy. It's been called a love story with a giant monster (not IN love with a giant monster, mind you) but that's only true in the sense that it's the device that gets us on the ride, and that's what it's all about.
When Rob gets a phone call from Beth, hurt and trapped in her apartment, his friends, and us in the audience, get on this great ride into the heart of the chaos. This is where the film succeeds without question, and what makes it a great theatrical experience. Or a dizzy and queasy experience, depending on your tolerance of shaky-cam. It's the thrill of the chased as they encounter the monster, the military, and navigate through the wreckage of NYC.
There has been some criticism leveled at the film for exploiting the imagery of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and you can't help but recall it's aftermath while watching scenes of buildings collapsing in Manhattan. I really didn't find it exploitive in a tasteless way, I think it's just a matter of accepting that any film that mirrors those events in any way is going to strike a cord. If it's "too soon" as some will say, then who decides when it's not? And let's face it, all manner of cinematic destruction has rained on Manhattan since we've had the technology to do so. Will we frown on movies in the past that have wrecked up NYC? What about GHOSTBUSTERS! What about ARMAGEDDON? (OK, that's a trick question.)
What I really liked about the film is what a lot of others may complain about. Not enough monster! What/how/why is this happening? I think CLOVERFIELD is a great example of "less is more". It grounds the story in terms that we can relate to, which are survival, and the safety of those we care about.
Posted by DirtyRobot at 6:30 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
This is all old news, but a lot of the movie blogs are just picking up on it the pic now, and it's a great poster, so what the hell! Back in October, Solace In Cinema showed us this poster for MACHETE, the proposed feature length film that we glimpsed during GRINDHOUSE. Apparently it was included in the official Grindhouse book.
Will this ever see the light of day? Highly questionable considering that the box office for GRINDHOUSE was deemed floppy. Seems that perhaps the 70's aesthetics have at least influenced the marketing of some future films...
Posted by DirtyRobot at 11:42 AM
As a full-on member of the cult of author Chuck Palahniuk I'm psyched to see another of his novels adapted to the big screen. CHOKE has been officially described thusly:
Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him. When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.
It's premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this week. Here's a brief interview with screenwriter/director/actor Clark Gregg, talking about the film and why he wanted to make it.
Posted by DirtyRobot at 11:20 AM
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
In case you were unaware, us robots stick together. It's just the way we're built. So courtesy of the always fantastic website Twitch I present the trailer for ROBO ROCK! What do rock and roll, gangsters, robots, and women's underpants have to do with each other? Who cares!
Posted by DirtyRobot at 4:02 PM
Friday, January 4, 2008
"Hello Hollywood, I was talking with all the other robots and we want you to stop remaking Asian horror films. Thank you."
ONE MISSED CALL fails to engage on pretty much every level. It's an exercise in mediocrity that cannot even raise my ire at it's awfulness, it just lays there like a starfish in your bed.*
Uber-cute Shannyn Sossamon's friend receives a strange phone message from herself in the future, starts to see weird apparitions, and then dies on the day and time of the message. Then someone else in the dead girl's phone receives a similar message, and so on and so on. Shannyn's investigation into the cell phone curse is soon joined by the one expression of Edward Burns, playing a police detective whose little sister has just died mysteriously.
Where to begin? Obnoxiously pointless visual flourish to start? Check. Bad script? Check. Acting was phoned in? (sorry, couldn't resist) Check. Mediocre and unimaginative ghostly visions? Check? Jump outta your seat scares? Not a chance.
The minor characters, whose sole purpose were to be drearily dispatched, could have been played by cardboard cutouts. The characters leap in logic that a ghost can't call your cell if you take out the battery is mind-boggling. And the bottom line is, it just isn't scary at all!
The original film (Chakushin Ari, 2003) was Takashi Miike's stab at J-horror, and addressed the now familiar societal themes of isolation due to technology, child abuse, and the ability of long black hair to frighten us. The remake barely touches on any of this, and leaves us nothing to think about afterwards (except whether or not someone will pick up the damn phone, which might mean a sequel... groan!) Check out the original on dvd, but do not accept the charges on this latest call.
Posted by DirtyRobot at 12:21 AM