Monday, June 29, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I am barely 1/5 of the way through my copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I love this book. Written by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, it tells the familiar story of strong willed Elizabeth Bennet and her romance with the caddish Mr. Darcy. But this story takes place in an England where the dead have risen from the ground and zombies are a constant threat to the character's way of life. In between the pride and he prejudice of the original novel are intense scenes of graphic violence and bloody carnage. However, the novel has allowed me to indulge in my favorite pastime, casting the motion picture adaptation.

I have read that it will be developed into a movie soon, with rumors that Summer Glau is attached to play Elizabeth. While I think she can clearly kick much ass and I love Sarah Connor Chronicles, I think for the sake of the story, the cast must be entirely British.

Elizabeth Bennet - Emily Blunt

I think that Emily Blunt can play anything. I even have her in my remake of Charade with George Clooney. Obviously, she will have to do some physical training for the zombie killing stunts, but I think she can pull it off.

Second Choice - Keira Knightley.

Mr. Darcy - James McAvoy

Jimmy Mac is great with the drama like Becoming Jane or the action like Wanted. This is a perfect vehicle for him.

Second Choice - Orlando Bloom

Mr. Bennet - Alan Rickman

Who else to play the grumpy father of four daughters who constantly trains them in the deadly arts? Well, there is always my second choice.

Second Choice - Colin Firth

Mrs. Bennet - Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson has not only starred in every film ever made based on a Jane Austen book, but she has also had a hand in adapting Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice for the screen.

Second Choice - Cate Blanchett

Mr. Bingley - Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen can do great contemporary British drama, so why can't he tackle classic British drama?

Second Choice - Hugh Laurie

The rather secondary roles of Mr. Collins and Mr. Wickham should be played by two comic actors, respectively, Martin Freeman and Peter Serafinowicz. And the whole thing is narrated by Kate Winslet.

Oscar, please!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No MoonWalker 2


Beyond all the tasteless jokes that I've already told today when I heard that Michael Jackson has passed away, I am truly sad. I grew up on Michael's music, loved his videos, his early Jackson 5 music and have always adored him as a singer and an entertainer. Above all else, I truly believe that Michael lived for us, his fans. He will be missed.

Hard to believe the various music and movie legends who knew Michael as a child and managed to outlive him. From Diana Ross to Liz Taylor, Gladys Knight to Liza Minnelli. He worked with directors like John Landis, Sidney Lumet, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese while arguably changing the face of not only pop music, but MTV and the music video form forever. I am disheartened that I never got to see him perform, because I was looking forward to seeing him in Las Vegas soon. He gave hundreds of millions of dollars to various charities and was one of the first celebrities to lead the drive to fund AIDS research.

There is much more I could write about a man who was greatly admired by the children of my generation, but I would rather keep it succinct. I don't think Michael would have wanted us to spend much time crying over his life. I think he would have wanted us to rock the night away.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Loved This Movie, Man

In a single thought, what I loved most about this flick, was that it was really a romantic comedy between Rudd and Segal's characters. Great fun and a rocking Rush soundtrack.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Simpsons Never, Family Guy Forever

Ten years long, ten years strong(with some years missing.)

I grew up on cartoons. Voltron, M.A.S.K., Darkwing Duck, Muppet Babies, and so on. Those were great cartoons for kids, but I soon began to out grow them. That's where The Simpsons came in. It was a funnier show and so smart. I know an insane amount of trivia from the first ten years of the show. After the tenth season, I graduated high school and stopped watching. Not only because I was out of the house, getting into trouble, but because Family Guy was on the air. Remember the first time you really rode a bike, with no training wheels and you were flying down the street, wondering why man would ever walk again after being given the gift of the wheel? That's what is was like comparing the two cartoons. I loved The Simpsons and I did for a long time. Somewhere along the line, they lost their way. I know that nothing great can last forever and The Simpsons is a perfect example. Without ever really jumping the shark, the show nowadays is a skeleton of it's former self, full of celebrity voices and irrelevant story lines that fail to captivate the way they used to. But, let me say two things before I move on. Family Guy would not exist without The Simpsons and there is NO denying the pure genius of the monorail episode.

Conan O'Brien wrote this episode.

Family Guy had a wackier tone from the start and was meant to shock and be irreverent to the comfortable tone that The Simpsons had fond on television. I'm young enough to remember the outcry from parent groups over the negative influence that Bart Simpson would have on the youth of America. But, the outrage that right wing pundits have taken against Family Guy has been far more severe and vicious in attacking not only the show's morals and values, but it's creators and their own political agendas. (Of course, the fact that both of these programs are owned by FOX, which has never shied away from shameless exploitation, should not be ignored.) But, after being so famously canceled and resurrected, not once, but twice, the show found the freedom to push not only the limits of society and television but the limits of their own talent as well. Can anyone honestly argue that, with the Blue Harvest episode, they had, by only their fifth season, made an hour of television that was vastly more entertaining that the culmination of twenty years of effort that was the awful Simpsons Movie?

Where the hell is the Empire episode already?

Purists of the show have decried it's return, claiming that only the first two seasons are of any worth and that the show is barely recognizable now. I call those people pretentious pricks who look down their noses only because their head is up their own ass. Seth MacFarlane is the first to admit that everything on the show has improved since those years. The animation, writing and the voice acting has gotten immeasurably since the early years. They have been able to bring in much more considerable talent on a regular basis, like Drew Barrymore, Carrie Fisher and James Woods, the casts of shows like How I Met Your Mother or The Hills and a really cool bit with Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon all taped off of their own sets. Furthermore, the show has been able to tackle topics on the social landscape from the Iraq war, gay rights, legalizing pot and over saturation of the media, while still being able to riff off of everything from Stripes, Singing in the Rain, Office Space, West Side Story and of course, Back to the Future and Star Wars.

Saving Private Brian.

What I have grown to love most about the show is that in the great tradition of canceled FOX shows, a la Arrested Development, they are not above poking fun at themselves. Whether they break the fourth wall to discuss Stewie's inability to communicate outside the main cast, acknowledging a perceived over dependence on flashbacks and cutaways or simply winking at the fact that everything on the show is fiction and will start fresh again in the next episode, Family Guy doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should anyone else watching it. Just enjoy.

Because suicide is painless.

Friday, June 12, 2009

For The Fanboy In All Of Us

I can admit it. I'm a fanboy. The Star Wars movies were a huge influence on me as a kid as to this day have affected everything from my behavior, my speech, my morals and values, action figures, comic books, novels, tee shirts, Halloween costumes, home furnishings, fan fiction and once, quite unfortunately, my haircut for a summer. As a kid, I dreamed about going into space, wooing princesses and defeating bad guys. While I have remained Earth bound for my life, I have been able to do some rather amazing things in the fashion of a Han Solo or a Lando Calrissian. Now that I am all grown up, I have embraced my inner geekdom and proudly fly my fanboy flag and could not wait to see Fanboys.

The story in the movie is as interesting as the story of making the movie. There are websites dedicated to the battle against Harvey Weinstein, who was determined to cut out the emotional core of the story and the characters motivation for their adventure. In 1998, four friends countdown the days until the release of Phantom Menace. But, they decide to travel from Ohio to Skywalker Ranch in California in order to see the movie. I won't give away too much, but while some may have thought the side plot was "too depressing" for audiences, without it, the story would have been useless and really, it stays in the background for most of the movie. The movie is really a love letter to both Star Wars as a trilogy and a culture. It's filled with verbal, visual and audio callbacks to the original films and cameos from original Star Wars cast members and famous Star Wars fans (Kev Smith, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen in a Peter Sellers-like three role turn). Moreover than a movie like Mallrats, it's made by and for true fans of movies and comics and video games and, by being set ten years, perfectly captures the time of my high school years. The movie is equal parts teen comedy, road movie, genre spoof and almost a coming of age story. I finally got to see it in theaters upon it's release, but now that it's on DVD, everybody should check it out, if you like Star Wars or not. And if you're not, why are you reading this?

The best part of the movie is Dan Fogler. He steals every scene with his Billy Dee impressions. constant humping, Jedi mind tricks and faux tough guy routine. Dude was worth the ticket price alone.

Also, loved Kristen Bell. She made this movie while doing Veronica Mars and before Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but she lovingly fills the role of the fangirl to perfection. For all of you men who are lucky enough to have a woman who quotes her favorite SNL sketches, borrows your graphic novels and never returns them or just wants to go see a movie at midnight with you, maybe someday you'll be able to talk her into an outfit like this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Terminator 4 - The Voyage Home

I have written before about my love of the Terminator franchise, even writing about the series, Sarah Connor Chronicles. I have looked forward to Salvation for quite some time and despite the negative vibes and BECAUSE of Bale's on-set outbursts, I could not wait to catch it this summer. Let me just say for the record, that having worked on a number of professional studio productions, all of them with LESS money and hype behind it than this film, IF what Bale said was true and it was NOT the first time such an incident occurred, then Bale was completely justified in his complaint. Did he have to apologize? Of course he did. Should he have? Nah.

But, that intensity is on display in the film. I love Bale and find myself afraid of him falling into the same trap as Daniel Day-Lewis, where if every performance is AMAZING, then what is the point? Bale can be Batman, John Connor, Melvin Purvis, Patrick Bateman, anything. The film does something different by having Connor not be the leader of the the Resistance and showing him instead as a prophet leading a Resistance
within the Resistance. Instead of simply being the savior of mankind, the movie shows his journey and struggle to fulfill his destiny. I liked that while he knew of the future, there were still moments of very human uncertainty that made him more relatable than an all knowing deity. Connor knows that he must save his father, even though he is not sure how, nor does he have the means to send him back in time to actually become his father.

The other side of the movie is Sam Worthington who practically takes it away from Bale as Marcus Wright, a new Terminator who doesn't know that he is a machine. His story parallels Connor's with his conflict between who he is and what he has to do. As great as he was in the film, it was really brought home for me with Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese. He brings to the film what Edward Furlong brought to Judgment Day, a character you can identify with. His Kyle Reese is neither savior nor machine, but a kid trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Isn't that all of our dreams come true? He's outsmarting Terminators, rigging booby traps and believes, like we do, in John Connor and the Resistance. And it really payed off for me when Connor and Reese finally meet and fight side by side. To see to two of them marvel at the other without ever really knowing the full extent of how much the other will matter in their own life was admirable played by both actors.

I'll take all the heat on this one and say that I really liked this movie. It was not without it's flaws as there were certainly parts of the film that felt, a little, common. But, I was with the story, even if the last ten minutes were predictable and I loved all the callbacks to the first two films, both verbal and visual. I might even say that Salvation is the second best Terminator movie in the franchise. I'm looking forward to seeing more movies like this, yes, even with McG behind the helm.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Final Frontier

I thought that my first blog back should have some sort of profound meaning and indeed, it might.  You see, I have never seen a
Star Trek movie before.  Ever.  Not a single one.  Never watched the original show, Next Generation, nothing.  Honestly, I have been anti-Trek since I was a kid.  I'm Star Wars all the way.  And amongst my other Trekkers fans, I was the most excited to see Star Trek this summer.  I believed that J.J. Abrams was going to make an amazing movie that would completely re-invent the franchise while maintaining the spirit of the original.  You know how I knew that?  Not by watching Alias or Lost, because I don't watch those shows.  I guess I just took it on faith.  And I was not disappointed.

Star Trek grabs you with a great opening sequence and does not slow down.  This is Abrams' Trek, straight up and down.  Space battles, giant monsters, time travel and lots of fights serve to make it feel like a real science fiction/action movie set in the world of Star Trek.  It is a reboot of a franchise along the lines of Casino Royale more than Batman Begins.  But, of course the main core of the film is the cast.  To re-cast actors in roles that have been iconic for more than forty years was quite a task, but everyone in the film performs admirably.   Pine and Quinto are big studs, man and they both carry the film.  Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg make their characters unique yet familiar, recognizable yet distinct.  (I know that I am speaking as if I am more than knowledgeable on Trek, but let's be honest.  Hasn't it been parodied to the point where even if you've never seen it, you've already seen it?)  And Zoe Saldana is pretty hot too, even when competing with green chicks and Winona Ryder.  But, Pine makes the movie for me.  He comes out of nowhere to completely steal the show.  I've been looking forward to his performance since I first saw the trailer in front of Quantum of Solace.  My friends and I attended at double bill of Casino Royale and Quantum at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and as we stood in line, we noticed this pretty boy with his chick standing in front of the door.  They didn't appear to have a ticket because they weren't going in, but was dressed so trendy that we couldn't help but laugh and refer to him as "Jim Bond".  It wasn't until after we watched the Star Trek trailer and our shouting subsided that we realized, "Hey, that was Captain Kirk outside."  I hope he was happy with our response because we felt guilty for making fun of him earlier.  And after watching the film twice, I feel real bad about it.

As I mentioned, I have never seen a Trek movie before, but after walking out of the theatre, I told my friend that I hope they make fourTEEN more Star Trek movies like this.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

If you're reading this, and I know that's a mighty big if, then either you have stumbled across my blog accidentally or else you have been checking in on me periodically, awaiting something new to come across this screen whenever you click on it.  So, if you're the latter, all I can say is thanks for hanging around and I hope I'll be worth it.

See, a lot has happened since last we conversed.  Aside from the obvious problems I was having with my laptop, other things in my life began to pull me away from writing.  Writing this blog last summer was very motivational for me and I looked forward to being able to interact with my readers.  Without it, I went through a rather cold, dark winter.  And movies like Gran Torino, The Reader and Revolutionary Road did not really do much to cheer me up. 

Now, things are better for me.  I just bought a brand new MacBook, I got promoted at work and I'm seeing a nice lady who works the unmentionables counter at Macy's.  And by the time you read this, it will have been two years since I've had a drink.  I'm happy with my life again and cannot wait to dive back into blogging.  

So, like I said, I hope I can make it worth your while.  I still got last year's reviews and annual wrap up to finish, plenty of movies coming out this summer as well as a few things that I've always planned but never managed to get around to.  Thanks again for reading and we'll talk soon.