Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Short Film in the Works

After reading an inspiring article in the November New Yorker about Lena Dunham a amateur filmmaker who's struck a chord with some big wigs at HBO, I feel energized and creative myself.

I will be shooting a short film over the winter break I'm calling "Family". I will write a rough script for my own sake, but this will be a pretty guerrilla production. It wont be any more than 10 minutes when all is said and done (hopefully closer to 6). Without giving much away it will involve death, secrets, guns (though not in the way you might expect), and of course, family.

Shouldn't take more than a week to shoot and edit. Expect it online before Christmas. Also check out Lena Dunham's web series, "Delusional Downtown Divas". It's a hoot!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Jackass Generation

The Jackass Generation from David Peddicord on Vimeo.


This video presentation I made for a journalism class is meant to be more informative than entertaining. Still, you can see me trying to keep you awake through all the social science facts and remember that I'm not making any of the info up. This is all true. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Survival/Horror PS2 Classics


A few PS2 classics you could be playing instead Left 4 Dead for the nth time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

VBlog: 360 fail, Dune, smoking in Vanquish


Grumbling about my 360's death, the crap essay I just finished on Dune (which you can read here), and smoking in Vanquish...just because.

The Adaptation of Dune: Scene Analysis


The Film Adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune
by David Peddicord

“I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings” -Arthur C. Clarke. Widely considered the definitive science fiction novel of the 20th century, Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965) has accumulated a gargantuan following happy to sit through whatever film adaptation Hollywood might provide. Reading “The Making of Dune” by Ed Naha, however, one senses that most of the decisions made during the filming process of 1984’s Dune considered the written work as no more than a blue print. The art of the adaptation of literature to film was lost on a large studio production with bottomless pockets and endless faith in the interpretive skills of a inexperienced director who also wrote the screenplay: David Lynch. This is an adaptation that seeks self-indulgence over the debatable notion of “faithful” adaptation or pure cinematic entertainment. The end result grossly reproduces the fantastical story on page as a nightmare. The film also favors new imagery, not at all hinted in the book, over even it’s own economic restructuring to help the narrative flow on screen. For the sake of this argument we will analyze a scene in which the story’s villains, the Harkonnens, are introduced in both the book and film. However, it is in every second of the running time that the audience is subject to a delirious and abstract tour through a mind not expected to experience Dune this way.

From the architecture to the new characters, Lynch managed to skew his own visualization of Herbert’s world then exaggerate that which he felt were the most signature (or perhaps just offensive) characteristics. With that said, it would be remissive not to begin with the film’s broadening of the principal characters. In the novel this sequence’s framed characters are our chief antagonists, the Baron, his political advisor and assassin Pieter, and the Baron’s nephew Feyd. Aside from introducing these three, Herbert’s intent here was to explain their plan of attack on the Heroes, but more on that later. In this conversation we discover first that Pieter, a “effeminate” looking man addicted to a drug, enjoys mocking his monarch and abusing the power he has. Then there is the teenage Feyd, restless and insubordinate in his thoughts. Finally the Baron is an immobile glob of fat, covered in robes, and suspended in air by special devices. He is quick to disagree with Pieter and gain Feyd’s attention to how he plans to conduct war. They are simple, but interesting characters serving an age old purpose for a three act story.

Lynch felt that for a mainstream audience none of the mentioned details would be obvious and opted to color a stark picture of evil and madness. Pieter again isn’t masculine and takes some joy in kicking things up in the Baron‘s presence. And that is where clear similarities with the book end with any of the three characters. Pieter now resembles a junkie; black circles around his eyes, nonsensical rambling, and quick jerky movements. Most striking about him is how he does not resemble anyone else in the room. This brings to attention the five or so extras in the film version: several guards, a slave, a butler, and a couple of the Baron’s doctors (more on them in a moment). Pieter is wild haired, yet with a far receding hair line, and great bushy eyebrows. One cannot fault such design choices given how little physical detail Herbert provides. Yet one can fault the pervading sleaze that accompanies these touches. We see Pieter ingesting his drug, his lips stained with it, the Baron unrobed and drenched in sweat while his nephew appears to be dressed in S&M attire. In fact there is a strong homoerotic theme about the Harkonennens as the Baron addresses his nephew and they all cast lustful looks at one another. The most sensible source for this inspiration in the novel comes from dialogue from the Baron in which he addresses Feyd as “darling”. Beyond that, it seems Lynch found it too tempting to illustrate the age old image of the glutinous pig vying for subordinate satisfaction. Indeed, these are truly repulsive characters, but the script made further changes to cement them.

When adapting the book-which is some five hundred pages-to a two hour screenplay Lynch had regular contact with Herbert himself for approval. They both agreed much would have to change to convey the many personalities of Dune. Internal thought found throughout the novel became voice over and some characters would make their appearance much sooner. These two such changes are present in the Barons first scene and are necessary. The way the Baron and Pieter speak to one another is evidence enough that they have a shaky partnership and Feyd is accompanied by another nephew, Rabban who would otherwise appear later on. With approximately fifty speaking parts in the film, it is natural to pair many characters together and speak bluntly of what’s transpired. The film version of this scene succeeds in it’s purpose of explaining the villain’s plan of attack while going further to demonstrate their evilness.

This addition is conveyed through action not found in the novel and heavily banked on the aforementioned homoeroticism. As mentioned before, there are many new characters added to this scene not found in the book. Looking at the doctors and the slave in particular we notice the seedy, mean spirit of Lynch’s vision. The doctors are present to operate on the unsedated Baron’s lesions. As they work we observe in graphic detail blood and puss drained from a grizzled cheek into a transparent tank. The ill health of the Baron is meant to show how single minded he is; how utterly convicted he is to the death of his enemies. The book tells us this by weaving a story out of the bitterness between the two factions and detailing the unwieldiness of Pieter that the Baron must cope with to achieve his goal. The filmic version also has the Baron throwing a tantrum whenever Pieter oversteps. The novel instead describes them witting it out over the assassin’s usefulness and the reliability of their plans. But where the script excuses itself as necessary to the plot is where the slave is involved. Note that not a single detail in the following description is covered in the book: When the meeting is adjourned, the Baron fly’s about the room cackling like the wicked witch before pausing under a fountain of oil, then killing the slave while caressing his chest. What can be understood as partially sensible inspiration from the book in in this sequence is that the Baron is mobile through levitating “suspenders”, but beyond that one can firmly point to Lynch for all creative form put into this display. After the deed is done the Baron’s own voice over chime’s how this is just what he’ll do to his adversary while the book reveals his own pity by the chapters end. This portion of the film scene is entirely self-indulgent not unlike most of the scene on whole.

Herbert’s novel is one of fantasy, political intrigue, and adventure. How another visualizes his work is largely up to them. But David Lynch, who admits didn’t read the book until prompted to direct the film, saw the world of Dune not through the eye’s of easily awed youth, but through the eye’s of art critic given reign to reconstruct a work. No wonder is found in his characterizations or themes and the prose of the story is rewritten in a sledge hammer approach. It so vainly starts from near scratch there is scarcely a connection to be made with the book.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Top reasons why 007: Blood Stone could, but shouldn't suck


Weighing out the pros and cons of my most hotly anticipated title of Fall 2010.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Burden of Adaptation: Dune


So yeah, I'm reading Frank Herbert's Dune now. Guess which Sci-Fi classic movie this has anything to do with...

David Lynch is one of my least favorite directors and the man isn't even working in film anymore! Still I have seen more of his garbage than any other hack I can think of, even Tony Scott. His films are tedious, repellent, and boring with a capital "B".

And yes, I am a sci-fi kinda guy. I've enjoyed the works of Bradbury, Asimov, Dick, and Heilein's Starship Troopers. Dune has long been on my radar and now in light of a recent assignment for my Adaptation of literature to film class I'm just now cracking it open. I have paper in this class where (surprise) I must compare at book with it's screen adaptation. I may turn this into a video, but it won't be done until early December at best.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Halo: Reach Tournament Results


My first time playing Reach, and in a tournament no less! Here's what happened and what I thought of the game

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Dentist

The Dentist from David Peddicord on Vimeo.


Semi expressionistic horror short inspired by my dental history.

The Beginning, Life, and End of Quentin Tarantino

The Begining, Life, and End of Quentin Tarantino from David Peddicord on Vimeo.


Parody exercise of the great director.

Roman Defense

Roman Defense from David Peddicord on Vimeo.


Short film I made while studying abroad in Paris 2009

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Movies and Games


Looking at views my videos are getting the overall take is my lone two game based vids have garnered more interest than my film reviews. That’s a pity since my goal has always been to attract people to the lesser known of cinema. There are many, many great untapped genres and filmmakers who deserve your attention and I will not desert my objective. In the mean time there are a number of games I’m considering reviewing to get more attention myself and get more folks over on the Do Them Justice blog. I’m a compulsive spender and buy games right and left, so there’ll be no shortage there. Here’s hoping people have a look.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Carriers review


Quick, rough little review for the quiet Chris Pine vehicle.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mystery Team review


Derrick Comedy's first feature film reviewed by David P.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fear 2 review


After finishing my review of [REC] I was in the mood for a good horror game. So, here' my late review of FEAR 2.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Goblin Commander


Goblin Commander is a curious little game. Not just because of it’s wicked humor or how far it stretch’s the “T” rating, but in that it is a home console developed RTS from way back in 2003. Today we’re still in a transitional stage as more representatives from the genre appear on console. Despite the efforts so far, gamers have not been particularly eased into what was for the longest time a PC exclusive genre. Goblin Commander was made to be and ultimately is a logical and fair stepping stone for the novice.

The game features five factions (considerably more than most hardcore RTS’s) playable through a lengthy campaign mode and a PVP skirmish mode. It’s only after you finish the campaign that you sense that something’s missing and that would be a player versus Computer skirmish mode. Still, what the game does offer is polished and more importantly streamlined.

There are only two resources: gold for building/repairing structures and upgrading units. And then there’s souls for creating units. Gold can be found on the field or from destroying almost anything in the environment and souls come from claimable fountains. But the signature mechanic of the game is directly controlling any unit: with one button a strategy game suddenly resembles a third person action game. The explanation for this is that the Goblin Commander (the games protagonist) can turn into a spirit that oversees the war at hand and can posses his minions. This includes the mighty Titans who provide multiple attack options.

The action is kept feverish with delightfully destructible stages and a light physics engine to boot. Goblins also spout green blood as they are slaughtered and their newly upgraded weaponry is visible on every unit. The campaign throws a little of everything at you for the sake variety and a good challenge. Earlier in the game the focus is shear destruction and flanking your enemy’s camps in the forest. Later on several consecutive levels play like a survival-horror game, forcing you to get by with limited resources in a dark swamp. The campaign can be finished in roughly 12 hours and multiplayer option makes for a good party game thanks to the overall simplicity.

The RTS’s diehards probably will scoff at the truncated strategy and it is true that many fights can be won by selecting all units and then flood the enemy with them. But that shouldn’t keep the curious away from this charming and very unique little title.

Half-Life: Source


There’s only one reasonable excuse for owning HL:Source. Nostalgia. That’s why I dropped ten Euro on this game. Yes, Euro. I’m in Rome, and just had to have a game to play. Oh! What’s this? Half-Life with Source graphics?! Must buy now!

My mistake. I’ve already played the game just like every other guy under the sun. There’s really no other excuse for not having fond memories of blasting crab-head zombies within the last ten years. Unless you live under a rock. And own a Mac.

Anyway, HL:Source does have rag dolls…and cool water FX. Actually the sweet looking water is a jarring contrast to the rest of the environment. New lighting? Not really. Better models? Not at all, though rag doll jaggy-faced models have some charm. In the end your better off waiting for the fan made mod: Black Mesa.

Don’t get me wrong, the original game play’s timeless! Still this is a stark reminder that Valve is a business first and foremost. And they’re willing to shell out old products just to scam a buck. Honestly, there are about three or more “Ultimate Edition/Collections” of Half-Life and it’s expansions. Bottom line: A great game….you already own.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

[REC] review


In honor of the recent release of [REC]2 here's the review to the original 2007 Spanish horror hit that was later remade as the less than well received Quarantine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Halo: Combat Evolved in 2010

A retrospective on the classic. How well does it hold up nearly 10 years after the fact.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New episode of Do Them Justice and retrospective in works

So my first three official DTJ reviews are up and I'm very happy with them. The latest (The New Daughter) seems to be doing very well on YouTube, though this is probably because I used Muse's Resistance in it (gotta love tags). The next video will be a retrospective of a widely beloved game and will be followed by a official episode of Do Them Justice.
On who or what that'll cover is still up in the air. I have a couple subjects in mind. I was considering Rob Zombie, but hell I can't stand his movies and DTJ is about giving credit where credit is due. In the meantime I've been sidetracked by the recent release of Crackdown 2 which if you follow my Gamespot blog you'll know that I've been awaiting that with much enthusiasm. Yes...I did buy it day one.
I'm also trying to get these videos on That Guy with the Glasses in the blogs section, but damn! It' nigh impossible to do so with their awful blog editor. Any tips on that would be nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Metro 2033


Metro 2033 is a Half-Life-esque adventure game inspired by the Russian sci-fi novel of the same name. Appropriately developed by Ukrainian 4A Games, this intriguing though demanding title serves a fresh experience not easily mimicked by most no-name companies. Metro 2033 is truly a must play game.

The Metro universe is set in the Moscow metro system which was built by the U.S.S.R. to double as the worlds largest fallout shelter. On the surface, nuclear winter has blotted out the sun, created ravenous mutant beasts, and forced the population underground. This one of a kind setting makes for an instantly gripping though dour atmosphere that perseveres till the bitter end. It can be rather straining after a while; relationships are crushed by the horrors of the darkness, families suffer through famine and authoritative cruelty. You really feel as though humanity is on the brink.

Metro can be approximately placed in the adventure sub-genre of survival horror. Ammo is scarce, enemies deal hefty damage, and a methodical strategy is always best. The standout set pieces are your brisk travels on the icy surface and elaborately designed stealth stages. The outdoors are fiercely uninviting with unnatural monsters and a ungainly view through your gas mask which provides time sensitive protection from the poisonous air. The cloak and dagger is especially well crafted with devious silent weapons and non linear environments. These make for the most savoring periods of the game.

Metro’s campaign is between 10 and 12 hours and features no multiplayer. 4A Games stated their focus was solely on a polished and engaging single player experience, a rarity among most modern games. And even though it’s destined to be rental or eventual bargain bin purchase the quality overshadows the games commercial potential. With great visuals, design, and pacing, I’ve got no choice but to give Metro 2033 my highest recommendations.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Hidden Fortress


The Hidden Fortress is arguably the most unique epic Kurosawa made. It’s “hero” is of secondary interest to the story, we never see the war at hand in action, and the Fortress is of little significance other than a starting point for the adventure. So let’s break it down to how the infamous director handles this unusual structure.

The epic genre often has a central figure with a strong supporting cast in tow, perhaps two protagonists if there’s a love story to boot. Here, we have a determined soldier (played of course by Toshiro Mifune), a bratty princess, and two comic sidekicks. Except…our sidekicks (played hilariously by Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara) have more screen time and influence the plot more than anyone else in the massive cast. Just like in Star Wars: A New Hope we find our Japanese C-3PO and R2-D2 wandering a desert after a battle of which we don’t really understand. Now imagine if those two Lucas characters, while still not the heroes per say, were the focus of the film. Kurosawa’s characters are untrusting, crude fellows whose suspect motives make even their own friendship unsacred. At times they flat out abandon the plot in pursuit of their own goal of returning to their home. If this alone catches your fancy then by all means, see The Hidden Fortress and read no more.

As said before, this is an epic that really picks and chooses when to be “epic”. The early scenes at a labor camp and the cities the cast visits are the grandest sights to be seen. There’s very little violence or even fighting in the films 139 minute run time. We are treated to some spectacular engagements of mobs of people struggling in what is effectively conveyed as wartime. These moments are used expertly to make our heroes feel so small among the chaos and the few fight scenes we get are exhilarating (especially the spear duel).

Finally the Hidden Fortress itself is as unconventional as the rest of the film. It is literally two buildings with a secret underground passage hidden in a small canyon. That’s it and it serves only to introduce the princess. This encapsulates the only real flaw of the film: for a two hour plus movie it meanders too much. But the biting humor, spectacle, and good heartedness make it overall a worth while view.

Yojimbo


A classic film can’t garner it’s following on nostalgia alone; it must both change expectations and hold up over time in the face of imitations, of which some are even better (A Fistful of Dollars is debatable). Yojimbo has the style, attitude, and versatility you expect from a classic. It’s sarcastic, tough-as-nails hero, Sanjuro gives us the only humanity that which we wish to connect with. Save the innkeeper and the casket maker, the cast is a composition of crooks, murders, and altogether fowl looking characters. The Villains have never so outnumbered the heroes in film. To boot, both warring families in this desolate town are greatly developed. They are comical, self-righteous, and unpredictable, but most of all they are believably of this earth. Only Sanjuro with his seemingly inhuman swordsmanship has any grasp of the teetering relationship of the two sides.

This leads to the greater conflict than the jeopardy of this town (after all, its populous is almost nothing but these villains). The families are only man and capable of mans worst. Sanjuro rises above them and toys with their dispute like a deity. Indeed this is reinforced by his regular accession to the bell tower to watch events unfold in the streets below. This is the by far the most pleasurable portion of the film: playing god. With no real motive or obvious goal, Sanjuro simply bats both sides back and forth until their crimes become so great as to destroy much more than themselves. Perhaps the moral is man should not mettle in god’s place. Ultimately our hero is forced to destroy these monsters he had a part in making. He becomes a plague you could say.

Kurosawa often combined mad humor with cynicism and Yojimbo arguably embodies his mantra more so than even Seven Samurai. It’s harsh, awkwardly funny, one of the all time greatest samurai films. It’s a classic.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Production update


In between watching old movies (finally saw Paper Moon) and money problems, I've been cooking up something special for a summer project.

The goal is to commit to a Vblog series with some faint glimmer of production value. I've been considering various costume and set possibilities only to realize now that the task require serious man power. I can get some from friends and family, but I'm going to be breaking my back here.

I'm a strong believer that the difference between people who have a resume and who don't have a resume is their body of work. If you put genuine effort into something you will see results-however so subtle-and you will be proud enough to carry on another day. That's the dream folks. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ernest Borgnine interview part 1

part 1

Bright Falls-the first two episodes



Bright Falls is the six part live action web series prequel to the upcoming Alan Wake. Here's what I got from the first two episodes.

Both episodes feature high production values (for a web series), strong casting, and a great location for photography. Easily, it is the scenery that you will be most moved by. The script offers both realistic dialogue and routine information withholding. I am a fan of mystery, but usually not from the vantage point of a every day schmo. A detective makes things interesting by showing us how to put two and two together. To boot, a detective notices evidence.

That's not to say the audience doesn't notice all the red flags going off, but protagonist Jake (a nobody journalist in the Alan Wake universe) may become impossible to connect to. Like a bad mystery/thriller he appears to be of the stock type that only takes action when much has been slowly revealed to him rather than discovered. See what I mean.

Overall I'm not terriblly impressed and if the second webisode wasn't already available right after watching the pilot I would have lost all interest. The second episode simply reveals a little more detail about Jake, just enough to raise half an eye brow.

I am very happy to see this growing trend in advertising. Live action media to promote far more expensive digital media opens many door for aspiring filmmakers. A whole new job market has just opened.

Finally, developer Remedy has made it no secret that David Lynch's tv seires Twin Peaks was their biggest influence. I can understand; I too have been deeply motivated by mystery series, books, and film. Too bad I loathe Lynch. I cannot speak for Twin Peaks, but the very offbeat director is well practiced in making avant garde experimental films that are impossible for mainstream audiences to enjoy. We can only wait and see where Bright Falls goes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peter Bogdanovich interview Part 1

Interviewed by none other than Leonard Maltin at the TCM 1st annual film festival.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TCM 1st Annual Film Festival



As you may or may not heard, Turner Classic Movies is having their first annual film festival April 22-25 and I'm attending! The festival will feature screenings of classics and underrated gems alike! It will also include panels on production locations, marketing, casting, etc. and Q&A's with the likes of Peter Bogdanovich, Ernest Borgnine, Frank Capra III, and John Carpenter. I've only been to one other convention/festival and that wasn't exactly thrilling, but I think this has the potential to be genuinely fun. For more info here's the site: tcm.com/festival

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Entity review



The Entity like all “true life” supernatural adaptations runs a gamut of possible fowl ups from detouring from the recorded accounts to leaning too hard on exploitation for sheer entertainments sake.

The movie’s story by Frank De Felitta from his novel of the same title. So how accurately the film portrays the infamous sexual assaults committed by a ghost relies on Felitta as a biographer. The films direction (Sidney J. Furie, better known for Iron Eagle and Superman IV) is by and large straight faced about the subject matter. Efforts to show the filmmakers commitment to the material come in the raw cruelty of the “attacks” and the one-on-one’s between victim Barbara Hershey and psychologist Ron Silver. The “attacks” are violently choreographed indicating that we are to assume nothing less than the entity is a reality. Funny then that so much time is spent generating evidence of this all being a mental breakdown. We learn of Hershey’s character’s abusive past and early pregnancies, and more, all convincingly professed by Silver. Where we are meant to stand with this paranormal account is up in the air.

This all makes for a unique ghost story at least, but the above mentioned latter fowling is present in the film’s most graphic scenes. Stan Winston provides the FX including (and likely never one of his more respected accomplishments) the illusion of invisible hands groping Hershey’s breasts. I would say the effect is dated, but then I’d have to compare it to something! These scenes are admittedly handled about as well as they possibly could, but a little more restraint would have allowed the viewer to conjure up more chilling images rather than snickers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Xbox 360 is my TV

I basically don't rent movies anymore, because I can just stream them via netflix on my 360. I feel bad that I'm rarely supporting my local video store anymore, but the selection is large enough I barely need to get up off my ass to watch something. But this got me to thinking about how rarely I use my 360 to game. I almost never do and I barely own a half dozen 360 games. Here's video I made for my Gamespot blog: http://www.gamespot.com/users/KO4U/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Party Down Review



Party Down is cynical, sexy, funny…but mostly true to life. The Starz produced TV show about a L.A. catering team comprised of wannabe and flunk actors/writers owes a lot to The Office. Hand held cameras: check. Jim and Pam style awkward romance: check, they’re names are Henry and Casey. Hell, there’s even Michael, Dwight, and Ryan-like characters filling in the rest of the cast. The big edge in that department however, is Jane Lynch as Constance. God I love her; she’s goofy, kind, and looks and sounds exactly like Ellen DeGeneres.


Synopsis: Henry, once trying to breaking into Hollywood’s acting ring has given it up after about 10 years only got him a career and pride shattering beer ad gig. He has no choice but to return to his old job from bygone days with Party Down Catering, working under former co-worker Ron (the Michael Scott of the show). The rest of the crew is made up by Kyle, a smooth talking pretty boy who’s not afraid to pimp himself to every possible connection he makes; Roman the arrogant sci-fi nerd/screenwriter; Casey who wants the impossible: to be a good female comedian, and Constance (see above).

It really is hilarious, but often leans towards developing a solid story for the bulk of each episode’s 28 minute running time. This makes for regular surprises, new conflicts, and guest appearances by slightly more famous character actors like J.K. Simmons. I’m nearly down with the first season and hankering for more, so this is a definite recommendation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on Live Journal

I've begun writing on my Live Journal account again. This is where all the original stuff goes-at least the stuff I'm not a ashamed to show to the world. Short stories, essays, and scripts at http://david-peddicord.livejournal.com/

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Iceman Review


Iceman is a pleasant little piece of escapism: a straight faced parable of finding a frozen neaderthal who’s still alive. Amazingly with only that simple premise there are a good few surprises and it never gets so coarse as to break it’s calm atmosphere. Comparisons to John Carpenter’s The Thing (which came two years before Iceman’s release) are inevitable and while very sci-fi, Iceman is no horror flick.

Like the cold snowy surroundings it is stoically beautiful. It’s ironically almost like going to a museum; we stare at the exhibition in mild awe, filling in a lot of deliberate gaps with speculation. The Iceman himself (played perfectly by John Lone) is a wonder to watch. The film connects with us with parental sympathies: will our little caveman be ok? Will he make friends? What will be his first words? In this sense the film is very satisfying.

However the note it goes out on is unfortunately ham-fisted not at all poignant. The film is still recommendable as a alternative sci-fi venture more in tune with a Bradbury story than the usual splice with horror or adventure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lethal Weapon 3 is a disgrace!


Lethal Weapon 3 is (in retrospect) strangely the black sheep of the franchise. This entry feels more like fan service with only a few moments of genius to justify ever seeing it, even for die hard fans (with no pun or disrespect intended towards Die Hard fans).

The very opening of the film appropriately sets the cheese ball tone for the film: Riggs and Murtaugh, rather than wait for a bomb squad attempt to defuse a bomb in a evacuated building. When they find the bomb they see they only have 8 minutes. So naturally they screw up and the bomb’s timer shoots down in seconds. The building is destroyed and a moment later the bomb squad arrives. Just to reiterate: there are no civilian lives at stake and plenty of time to-if the bomb squad never showed up-carefully decide how to defuse it. It’s as stupid and routine as it sounds with only the spectacle of the demolished building to draw you in.

Most of the movie is just as formulaic with two exceptions. One is the delivery of a non-fodder love interest for Riggs played by Rene Russo who would return in the fourth film. The other is a scene shortly after Murtaugh guns down a 15-year-old gangster. Riggs finds him drunk on his boat and their confrontation is exactly the kind of chemistry that’s supposed to hold us over until the next action beat.

Those exceptions not withstanding, Lethal Weapon 3 is just a waste. The humor is weak(er), the action is rather lacking compared to the other three films, and it just feels like a low commitment vignette in the series rather than a full blown entry. Similar to the Star Trek films, I like to think of the Lethal Weapon series as a trilogy (i.e. movies 1,2, and 3).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Crazies Review

Saw the Crazies last night (two nights later than when I was planning to). I’ve been aching for a good horror film and the conclusion I’ve come to after this film and Daybreakers is that nothing beast watching a horror movie at home, with friends or by yourself. Bringing that particular genre of film into your home creates a vulnerability that most of us Horror Fans simply can not surrender at the theater. In that setting we get all snob-like and heavily critical (seriously, Shutter Island didn’t startle or chill me once).

Remember how not only did critics say that Paranormal Activity was better on home video, but the advertisements on TV for the DVD boasted this! We take this for granted, but I think that subconsciously we all agree on this!

But how was The Crazies? Not bad. A classic zombie flick where most of the action happens on a smaller scale (i.e. one character alone in a room with X number of zombies lurking around). This isn’t the goriest horror film recently either which is appreciated, but what the film chooses to show in graphic detail is neither satisfying for zombie slayer fans (like myself) or startling.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The Crazies isn't any kind of little known small film, but I can't wait for it! I really need a new horror flick to see in theaters. Daybreakers was sweet, didn't have much interest in Legion, and I can't think of much else in the genre that grabs me. Yes, I saw The Wolfman and Shutter Island. Wolfman was solid, but unremarkable. Best part of it was that it got a R rating! Honestly didn't expect that. Shutter Island was a welcome change of pace with it's heavy atmosphere. It's not interested in telling the story you expected from the trailers. With that, it's still not amazing. I like that Martin Scorsese made such a straight forward film rather than the usual bloated, over produced junk big name directors like him are making these days (Oliver Stone with Wall Street 2 and Ridely Scott with Robin Hood). But enough of that, I'm off to go see me some craziness!

Breakfast & a Movie: Shutter Island

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Bargin Bin

Love it when you find those conspicuious crates at Fry's that have a bunch of old movies for under $10!!! Recently had a penny pinching shopping splurge and here's four DVD's I found:

Dinner Rush-A great large cast family drama mixed with organized crime. I love those buisy, loud crowed moments like in Altman's Gosford Park or Woody Allen's Radio Days. This one is rather violent though (and the music is suspect at best while I'm being critical), but I really recommend this one for a nice change of pace.

The Assasination of Richard Nixon-Barely mentioned Sean Penn veichile form 2004. It's a real downer about a true life loser of a salesman Same Bycke who attempted to fly a airliner into the White House. At times this is difficult to watch, but remains engaging thanks to it's star. Not sure I needed to own it though.

Appaloosa-Now we're talking! Westerns! This is an amazing directorial debut for Ed Harris and deserved far more love at the box office than the medicore 3:10 to Yuma remake. I know I looks like a simple love triangle story, but it's much more epic than that. Not to mention it features some powerfully realistic gunfights. Belongs in any western fan's collection.

Open Range-I'll do a video one day to profess my love for this film. Hell, I should have by now, because it is easily my favorite movie of all time (bet you didn't have me pegged for a Western nut)!