Saturday, November 23, 2013

1941 - Devil

I've wanted to check this out mostly 'cause my pal Zoie is in it, and she's actually got a fun little part.  It's based on a story from M. Night, but don't let that dissuade it for you.  It's not a great film, it's not bad.  It's helped a lot by good actors like Chris Messina, but it doesn't deliver on it's awesome premise - which is essentially that the devil is among us, and when the opportunity arises he traps himself within a group of people and tortures them before bringing them to hell.  The film largely relies on cheap tricks rather than real scares.  Like I said, not amazing, not terrible. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1940 - Raising Hope: season three

This season really advanced the storylines of all involved and slammed right through the Sabrina/Jimmy relationship story - which is refreshing. I think the days of trying to milk the will-they/won't-they are a bit played and done.  I've always personally felt that there are more interesting stories to be told about people in relationships than their are about people starting up a relationship.  More universal as well.
This show always surprises me by how much I like it.  It's a bit silly, but it's also got some of the best sitcom one-liners currently on television.  The comedy is so tight and smart, but it doesn't show off.  It hits you like a brick and then moves right along.
If you haven't checked this show out yet give it a shot.  Outside of Greg Garcia's inability to let My Name is Earl go and weave it into this series, it's really solid - and the first 3 seasons are on Netflix so you can catch up in no time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1939 - Thor: The Dark World

I have to be deadly honest here.  This is the first of the Marvel films that I've been 'meh' on.  And it was especially disappointing because the first Thor was so goddamn good, and I expected very little from it (maybe why I liked it so much).  In some ways I think that they just attempted to do too much, be too big.  We don't need every single Marvel film to be about saving the entire world - do the stakes really need to be THAT high every single time?  The more sci-fi the films get the less interesting they are.  And I'm not down on sci-fi films, I think the problem is that they found a way to really ground the early films in this series, but now that all the fantasy elements are in place it just muddles it a bit.  I liked that Iron Man had to deal with that to some extent though.  I don't know, I guess, for me, I just think they can do so much more with simplicity and don't give themselves enough credit for that.  It's the small moments in these kinds of films that really speak volumes - and this one had no small moments.  Shame, really.  It was nice to have Portman integrated into the plot in a much stronger way though.  I should end with saying that I didn't hate the film - I just didn't really enjoy it all that much, and it's one that I likely won't find myself revisiting.

1938 - Starbuck

I wanted to watch this for sometime, but jumped on it as it's somewhat similar ground to my current project BASTARDS.  And for those up on the current trailers the Vince Vaughn "Delivery Man"is an update on this story - or as it looks a direct beat for beat remake, with the same director and everything.
It follows the story of a lovable loser who on the verge of getting his longtime girlfriend pregnant discovers that he's the father of 533 children by way of sperm donation, and a hundred or so of them are trying to figure out who he is.
It's a pretty sweet coming of age story about an almost middle aged guy, and it's no surprise that it caught the attention of Hollywood.  I'm torn about seeing the remake since I don't imagine it'll be much different - but if you're a comedy lover and especially if you're a Canadian than you owe it to yourself to watch this version first - it's available on iTunes.  It's a feel good flick.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1937 - Community: season four

So I finally caught up on the Dan Harmon-free season of Community and I know that a lot of the diehards shit on it a lot, but honestly, I don't think it was all that far out of the status quo.  The show is pretty much about fucking with the format, but keeping the characters true to who they are.  The beauty of having such a solid cast is that it makes it easy four seasons in.  And I thought the mucking about with the format was up to par, although maybe they tried a tad too hard in some areas.  Although I enjoyed the Muppets episode, I wonder what Harmon would have done with that idea...
So I'm looking forward to Harmon's return and what he does with the corner's he's been painted into with certain characters having graduated (one who isn't coming back - which I'm fine with - and another who absolutely should come back), and not to mention Donald Glover's much shortened season and how he wraps out...

1936 - Project Greenlight: season three

And so comes the final Project Greenlight season.  Which is a shame - this is porn for me.  I love it.  I love watching it especially during prep - it's like comfort food that's both inspiring and makes me feel good about myself.  This season produced that most successful film - and easily the best of the series as well.  It's a very different journey to watch, which is nice for the series that it doesn't feel like it retreads.  I wish they would release this on DVD as I had to watch it via snippets of episodes through YouTube and this fantastic playlist:
So if you haven't seen this edition give it a go, and if this is your first venture into Project Greenlight, there's no bad season to start with and you can absolutely watch the season in whatever order you choose.  Enjoy - I highly recommend!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

1935 - Project Greenlight: season two

I can't explain why - but whenever I'm in deep pre-production on a project I want to re-watch this series while doing paperwork or shotlists.  I think it helps prepare me, and also make me feel better that I seem to be better prepared and equipped than this folks.
For those who don't know, this was a reality series that HBO did with Chris Moore, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, where they held a contest to help find talent outside of the Hollywood system.  It's comfort food for me.  Any film nerd or person who likes behind the scenes stuff, you can't do much better than this - it's completely fascinating and frustrating at the same time.  And I think I might have just tracked down a way to watch the third season (finally!)
Watch it, learn from it - don't repeat their fuck-ups :)

1934 - The Switch

Part of the switch for me with this film was based on the trailer I think I remember assuming that it was just all about her pregnancy and whether he would tell her the truth about him having swapped her sperm samples - but in truth the bulk of the film takes place years later when the kid is grown up somewhat.  The film has a pretty predictable romantic storyline as you can well imagine it might, but what's really surprising and enjoyable is the relationship that Jason Bateman has with the kid in the film - and that's what I really was drawn to and responded with.  It's a really strong relationship in the film, and the real highlight for me.  That's the relationship you want to work out in the end.  Sure you like Aniston and you want them to hook up, but for me it's all about the father/son relationship - and likely because I'm a tad biased in that regard.
It's a decent little flick and worth checking it out if you like Bateman, Aniston, or rom-coms in general.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

1933 - Walk Hard: The Dewey Coxe Story

I saw this film in theatres and haven't revisited it - one thing that surprised me was the amount of cameos in the film, or at least they'd be considered that now - the little bit parts with Ed Helms and Craig Robinson, the inspired casting for both the Beatles and Elvis - even that alone make it worth watching.
When I first saw this I hadn't see the American version of The Office yet, so the thing that leaped out at me here was Jenna Fischer.  I fell in love with her the first time I watched this.  I thought that she was easily one of the most beautiful women on the planet - first because she's ridiculously attractive, especially in this film - but also because her comedy timing and chops are sensational.  It's been a delight to watch her since then - I'd love the chance to work with her.
This film still holds up - the comedy is over the top - but it sure does take a piss on bio pics - which I recall there was a plethora of around that time, so good on them.  The music is sharp, the attention to the time periods as well.  It's a really enjoyable flick that's funny and smart at the same time.  If you've never seen it and you're a music lover, or just a lover of comedy that's a bit over the top, look no further!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

1932 - The Blair Witch Project

This is the film that really started the big swing of docu-style horror films, and I think it was a stroke of genius.  Nothing spells fear more than something that feels personal - something that feels like it could happen to you.
I saw this film originally in the theaters, and because I was a big nerd I knew the backstory or how they made the film, but I was in a theatre packed with a lot of people who actually believed some of the rogue marketing and thought that they were watching a real found-footage film - and oh how delightful that was for me - and I think that's a lot of why I still adore this film: it did what the best films do and created a sense of magic around itself.  The marketing campaign was simply brilliant, and would be hard to do again now.  Bless them for taking a golden opportunity.  Shame the filmmakers haven't really lived up to what they showed talent for here. 
The story is simple: a young filmmaker wants to make a documentary about a witch in a small community - and while traveling through the woods to the locations she was said to haunt the threesome of filmmakers get lost, and never return.  And this is the footage they recorded whilst in there.  Very interesting stuff.  If you've never seen it give it a go.  Again, you kind of need the pop culture reference for this one - and at this point it's film history.  Bizarre.
p.s. the image at the top from the film was etched into my brain for DAYS after I saw this the first time....

Friday, November 01, 2013

1931 - Ghostbusters

This is a bit late, but I watched this as part of my Hallowe'en marathon.  I think the world has a shortage of solid horror comedies.  Not that I think this really falls into the horror category - but maybe more of the sci-fi?  I wish I would have fit Shawn of the Dead into this year's binge-Hallowe'en watching, but alas.
So.  This.  So-fucking-good.  If you've never seen this film then you really do need to - just for the cultural references.  First you get a classic film - but you get Bill Murray at the height of his awesomeness.  Murray has had an amazing career - that's a film retrospective that I would attend.  He was part of some of the best comedies of the eighties, and the best indies of the last decade or so.  Terrific. 
Although he's the rockstar of the group, the rest of the ensemble shines so strongly.  Signorney Weaver is a lot of fun, especially when she gets all possessed near the end - and it's doubly so for Rick Moranis. 
The effects might be dated at this point - but the comedy and tone are still spot on and work like gangbusters still.  Part of me still wants to see a part 3 to this series just to see what they could do by updating the effects.  Either way, nothing can taint this classic.