Friday, December 5, 2008

Punisher war zone: best Punisher adaptation EVER (but what does this really say?)

I’d like to start this off by saying that my expectations weren’t exactly high for this, the third Punisher film adaptation attempt.  There was way too much negative buzz about this film to get me too excited.  But I have to say; I was pleasantly surprised at how well good ol’ Frank Castle was portrayed this time around. 

First off, Marvel never disappoints when it comes to an exciting and creatively driven opening credits sequence.  Marvel studios always knock themselves out on the first thirty seconds or so of a film (see also Spiderman 1.)  They manage to really pull The Punisher from the pages of Marvel and fling him up onto the big screen in style.  By the time the first scene opened I was already fully immersed in the film, all out of “buncha’ crunch,” and ready to go.

This was easily one of the most violent films I have ever seen (it rivals the most recent Rambo film just to give you a reference as to what I mean.)  Castle manages to brutally execute about 50 people before even saying his first line of dialogue.  They did the right thing with not wasting their time on a back-story and an origin.  Get right to the killing.  Shoot first… ask questions later.  

This brings me to my next point:  There was a bit of buzz during marketing about possibly cutting it down to a pg-13 rating after the success of “Dark Knight.”  First of all this is terrible logic.  “Dark Knight” did well because it pushed the envelope.  It went from a cheeky kids film to a semi-brutal slugfest.  So to try and tone down The Punisher would be a real shot in the foot.  

Now, if they had cut it down for a pg-13 rating, they would be left with maybe 10 minutes worth of a few touching scenes with Castle confronting a young girl, and some beautiful helicopter shots of New York City.   This film was brutal, merciless, and at times down right disturbing … I loved it.    

As great as this film was though, there were some things that were hard to look past.  For example, the acting at times was rather exhausting.  Dominic West’s character at times reminded me of a cheesy Dick Tracy villain.  And there was some accent butchery that made a lot of the dialogue unnecessarily cheesy.   Too often, a very dramatic scene was cut up by a very cheeky and lame delivery.

Overall this film was a real step forward for The Punisher film franchise.  I loved the violence (somewhere Stephen Segal is blushing) and I really liked the style of the film.  And I didn’t want to, but I really rather liked Wayne Knight as Microchip.  I give “Punisher War Zone” two bloody, dislocated thumbs up.   

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trailer Junkie: The Good, the Bad, and the Green Band

The past few weeks have seen some exciting trailers attached to high profile, exciting movies.  The holiday season is a very good time for new blockbuster films as well as can't-wait-to-see trailers.  So let's take a minute to look at the coming attractions of the holiday season. 

Astro Boy

Okay so I just need to get this off my chest.  We just got this trailer in yesterday and it barely made it out of the box before I ran it through a projector and watched it.  And I have to say, as exciting as such an idea is, it doesn't look nearly as good as what my imagination conceived at the mention of the idea.  I feel like the major animation studios are pushing way too hard for 3D movie concepts and not spending a whole lot of time actually developing good ideas.  It seems as though we are getting too excited about this new 3D technology and forgetting that 3D is a novelty.  Not to mention, it makes the push for digital projection that much more necessary... and we all know how I feel about that. 

Star Trek XI

Now I'm going to start this off by saying that I'm not exactly a huge Trek fan.  However, this movie looks balls-out fantastic.  This is probably the best introduction of a main character I've ever seen in a trailer.  It once again establishes Captain Kirk as a badass, even when he was only a boy.  However, while this trailer look really fantastic, I am afraid it might be a teaser that promises more than it can deliver.  This happens quite often and i would hate to see that in this case.  If this film is as good as they are hyping it out to be, it just may be one of the best Trek films made.       

Friday the 13th

This horror remake business needs to stop.  If i want to watch a Friday the 13th movie I will go out and rent one of the 30 other films the franchise already has to offer.  I also like how the trailer advertises "from the director who brought you 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'"  At first glance I thought, "wait Tobe Hooper directed a crappy remake of Jason?"  But no, its the director of the REMAKE of "TCM".  It would be nice if he could claim something original to boost the sales of an idea someone else came up with.    

Watchmen (version 2)

This film looks absolutely beautiful.  This has to be the best production design I've ever seen for a comic book adaptation.  The color schemes and the costumes look stunning and true to form.  And of course this has me worried.  One of the most talked about things surrounding this film is the question of "how are they going to cram all that story into one spring blockbuster?"  While it looks breathtaking, is it going to do the story justice?  I hope so.  If it does, this could very well be the greatest comic book adaptation of all time.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.      

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back in the Saddle: The End of the Fall Shit Harvest

Ok, so you may be wondering where the hell I've been the past month, and truth be told I just haven't really been that motivated to go to the movies all that much lately.  Mainly because I've been working a whole hell of a lot and the thought of coming in on my day off is an awful idea.  Also, the fall isn't exactly the best time to go to the movies. 
The fall, in the Motion Picture Industry, is what I like to refer to as "The Fall Shit Harvest."  This is when all the major studios try to get rid of all the crap they shouldn't have made and realized would actually lose money in the summer box office.  We get "films" like "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."  Now every now and then a decent movie slips in, but I find myself suddenly spinning these films onto their shipping reels to send back to the distributer saying, "now why didn't I see this?"  
However, now with the shit harvest officially over (the release of the new 007 film broke the curse) I can feel good about spending my time in the theatre.  This holiday season is shaping up to be a good one and I for one am excited to be a part of it.  So stay tuned for more updates and more angry rants about film news and whathaveyou.  

Happy landings,
The Angry Projectionist        

Friday, October 3, 2008

Make Sure You Tip Your Projectionist. He may be unemployed soon.

So I just found out that my theatre is going all digital in about 6 or seven months.  This means that instead of film, everything will be projected digitally through a series of computers and digital projectors.  So everything i usually do, will be done by robots for much less than they pay me.  
That's right.  I am going to be replaced by a robot before the end of April.  Robots-1, Projectionist-0.  So the angry projectionist is soon going to become the unemployed projectionist.  
Now, I'm not all out getting fired here.  The bosses are going to let me sill work for the company as a floor manager.  This will mean that instead of doing a job that i love, i will be bossing around teenagers and dealing with crabby, ungrateful customers.  Well fuck that.  I'm officially looking for a new job.  So if anyone out there reading has just bought a brand new 35mm theatre, hit me up.
I would also like to apologize for not posting anything for a while.  I am really sucking at this whole, "keeping you posted," thing.  I've been working way too much lately, and the very thought of going in to watch movies on my day off doesn't please me too much.  But now that I only have 6 months of free movies left, I assure you, I am going to take every chance i get to see movies.  
So yeah.  If you happen to know a projectionist, give him a hug next time you see him.  He just may be losing his job.           

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In a world, without Don LaFontaine, one projectionist mourns the loss....

If you happened to go see a movie in my theatre last night you would have noticed that your film started about a minute or two late.  This is because I was paying a moment of silence to the late "King of the Movie Trailers," Don LaFontaine.  
LaFontaine Died this past monday of a collapsed lung.  He was 68 years old.  Movie trailers will never be the same.
he will be remembered forever as one of the most recognizable voices in hollywood.  He leant his voice to countless film trailers, TV, and radio spots.  He was also recently featured on a Geico television commercial.  
Now, for me, this is a really big deal.  I hear this mans voice all day long, while starting film after film.  He is usually the first thing i hear when checking the sound in a theatre.  The trailer rack is really the "water cooler" of the projection booth.  This is where projectionists gather during print builds and talk about their schedules, their home lives, and more importantly, new trailers.    
So, in a way, Don was the one who gave us things to talk about; he was the one who told us what was new and exciting (or sometimes horrible) in "the business."  I truly feel like I've lost a friend.  Even though I've never met the man, he was a large part of my daily life.  I will miss him greatly, and I am sure other projectionists the world over feel the same way.  We will miss you, Don.  Shine on.... you crazy diamond.     

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Rocker: "School of Rock" meets "40 Year Old Virgin" meets....'yawn'

This is a way-too-late post.  I actually had the "privilege" to see this movie on monday before it even really hit screens.  The only problem is that it took me this long to even think of anything to say about this film.
This was one of those cases where they took all the "who's that" supporting actors of the past year or two and give them all a "chance" with important starring roles in a cartoon network friendly comedy.  to give you an idea of what I mean by this: I have IMDB open as i write this because i can't for the life of me remember anyone's name from this film.  Also, Christina Applegate is in this movie.  I could always use more Applegate in my life.    
That being said:  I think i like Rainn Wilson better as a supporting actor.  he is one of the best straight men in hollywood right now, and that is really something to be proud of.  I mean, I'm not gonna try to get on someone's case about trying to push through, but the guy just doesn't do it for me as a leading man.  I also think there are a thousand other roles out there that would have made his push to stardom a little more palatable.
Jason Sudeikis plays the wise-cracking record producer that they pour most of the 'A-list" comedy from this film into.  I feel like Dane Cook wanted too much money for this role, and this was the best they could do on such short notice.  he had such a hammy delivery f some of these one-liners that it was hard to believe that anyone, even a slime-ball record producer would say such lame shit.     
Now, the kids in this film were actually the most enjoyable aspect of this film.  Josh Gad was actually quite funny in this film.  i would love to see him take on the reigns of more important characters.  So far we've only ever seen him as the "fat best friend" character =, and i really rather enjoyed him as a major role.  also, Emma Stone was simply adorable in this film. I can't wait to see more of her, however, I am not looking forward to"House Bunny" in the slightest bit.       
The writing in this film kinda bothered me.  It was at times, incredibly predictable.  While at the same time, they set up certain plot elements that you expect to be a huge ordeal later on in the film, and they just grace over it with a line or two.  there were no surprises in this film whatsoever.  I'm not going to give away the end, but you will see it coming a mile away.   
Overall I would recommend this movie to someone who isn't really interested in seeing a movie, or someone who wants something light and airy that they can have very polite conversation about later on.  like maybe a lame step dad who is trying to win over his wife's son while not trying to "replace his father."  Or, maybe to two teenagers who just want to go to the movies because it is the only time they can be alone in the dark without parental supervision and want something they can just make-out to the whole time without having to pay attention.  "The Rocker" is this year's light, fluff comedy that anyone can sit through and be unchanged after.    

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tropic Thunder: or "how I learned to stop worrying and love the action/comedy"

So I just finished my very own private screening of "Tropic Thunder" before the midnight show even hit the screen.  This is my first real advance show as a projectionist, and i have to say:  I got a real kick out of walking out and seeing a huge line of people anxious to be the first people to see it.  Yeah.... I'm the coolest guy on the internet right now.  
Now let's get down to brass tax.  I normally am the kind of guy who hates reflexivity in film.  And "Tropic Thunder" is as reflexive as it gets.  This film is about the fake making of a fake war movie about a fake book.  Deep, right?  But i gotta say there were things about this film that hit the right notes with me.    
The things I love about this film is the cheap shots it takes at Big Hollywood.  They make fun of just about every rung of the production ladder.  No one is safe.  They even go as far as Tom Cruise's producer character (we'll get to him in a moment) telling a grip to punch the director in the face.  Brilliant.  I also really like the idea of a bunch of prima-donna actors in the jungle, armed with nothing but hundreds of rounds of blanks and their acting resumes. 
The real buzz about this film is the ballsy low blows it takes.  First of all you have Robert Downey Jr. playing the Mel Gibson method-actor as a black guy.  This was a really awesome performance.  Never once does he break character, which is consequently a character who never breaks character (as i said before... this thing oozes with reflexivity.) 
But the real big 'gasp' is Ben Stiller's character's role as a retarded farm hand.  There are so many people protesting this film right now saying things like "You can't make fun of retarded people... or say words like 'retarded.'"  But what they fail to see is the real target of the joke.  the target isn't the mentally handicapped (or whatever ballsless term it is now), the target is Big Hollywood.  This film makes fun of the fact that actors and producers feel the need to legitimize themselves by playing the lowest common denominator.  It shows Hollywood as the soulless void it really is.  And that is a very refreshing thing to see from a major production company.  kudos.  
now on to Tom Cruise's role (yes, I said I'd get back to this).  Cruise plays this weird, asshole producer character that is the weird hybrid of Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Cruise in by far the weirdest damn fat suit I've ever seen in my life.  He has these weird, rubbery monkey arms and fake man boobs... what is that about?   
I thoroughly enjoyed this film.  It is going down as one of the very few films that have made me enjoy reflexivity.  It also is the second action/comedy film in two weeks.  It leaves me hoping for something a little different next week.  hopefully we'll get something good. . . probably not.