Premise: Take everything you knew about modern ghost horror movies, and throw it out the window! Because this time (breathes in quickly) a house starts to get haunted (breathes in quickly) and a family doesn’t know what’s going on (breathes in quickly) and the kids are acting weird (breathes in quickly) and they call in an outside expert (breathes in quickly) and they set up video cameras (breathes in quickly) and the tension escalates throughout the movie (breathes in quickly) and… (breathes in quickly) and… (breathes in quickly) and… (breathes in quickly) and… (breathes in quickly) it’s original because this time it’s ALIENS, you guys! (exhales, smiles excitedly, pees pants)
Over the weekend, I did my part in babysitting my girlfriend’s 6-year-old cousin. It was a lot of fun, but when the topic of going to a movie came up, there was some heated debate. I suggested seeing Django again, or at the very least seeing Die Hard 5, because I haven’t gotten around to it yet. But noooooo, she wanted to see the only animated movie currently in theaters… Escape From Planet Earth. Typical 6-year-old bullshit…
Well, we are two days away from hearing Seth MacFarlane sing a bunch of comedy songs on a stage, and I thought I’d put down my Oscar picks on our lovely site so that I have proof when I’m inevitably wrong. Last year I went 14 out of 24. I think I’m gonna do better this year. Unless Lincoln fucks me over.
[UPDATE] 19 out of 24. OHHHH GOOD FOR MEEEEEE!
Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary about a late-60s singer/songwriter simply known as “Rodriguez”. He was a mysterious character; doing all his business dealings on street corners and basically being a homeless artist. To the few people in America who bought his records, he was on the level of Bob Dylan. But he never quite hit it big, and his record sales were almost non-existent. After three years in the business, he faded into obscurity, and rumor had it that he committed suicide (by lighting himself on fire on stage). Little did Rodriguez know, but his debut album sold over half a million copies in South Africa, and is considered as important an album as Abbey Road to the people over there. But Rodriguez never saw a dime of that money, and never even knew that he was a superstar in another country. The film explores the mystery of Rodriguez, why he never got his money, and why he never hit it big.
I think this is such a brilliantly constructed documentary. So well designed and edited. The filmmakers took all the knowledge they had on Rodriguez and they formed a story as good as most fiction films. And it takes twists and turns as good as a Hollywood film as well. I don’t want to give too much away about the story of Rodriguez, because it’s a very rewarding experience to just let it play out in front of your eyes, and it tickled my heart strings. It’s a sad premise, but it turns into a feel good story.
It reminded me a little bit of Anvil: The Story of Anvil, about a band with great potential that didn’t go anywhere, then ends up sinking into depressing obscurity. Only Anvil was more of a comedy, since the guys in that band where ridiculous. But Searching for Sugar Man really explores the depressing nature of being a great artist with nowhere to go but down, and gives you the heartwarming feeling of finally seeing someone’s legacy get its well deserved respect.
It’s only 87 minutes, and the doc is so intriguing that it still felt like it flew by in under an hour. Maybe if you really hate classic rock you won’t like this film as much as I did, but I think you can look past the actual music and still get a lot out of it. I loved it. Searching for Sugar Man is available now on Blu-ray/DVD, and I watched it for $4 on Amazon Prime Instant Video.
9.5 out of 10
Premise: High end accountant Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), who is such a financial expert that he gives his social security and credit card numbers to a stranger on the phone in the first scene of the movie, becomes a victim of identity theft. Since it tends to look bad when an expert on finance has a terrible credit rating, he must go find the woman and get her to confess in order to save his money/job/good name. Then it turns into a crappy road trip movie.
So if you didn’t know (and I feel sorry for you if you didn’t), Hulu was offering up all of their Criterion Collection films for free streaming during the entire weekend. I took this opportunity to watch as many films as possible during my free time between Friday morning and tonight, and I ended up viewing 13 films. There were a few classics I wanted to catch up on, but mostly I wanted to watch some of the lesser recognized titles that seemed interesting, but not interesting enough to pay for. Some of them were really good, and others painfully atrocious. But regardless of quality, I had a pretty nice couple of days of basically only watching old (mostly foreign) movies, which is something I haven’t done probably over five years. So here’s a quick summary of my nice little weekend with the Criterion Collection, which ironically didn’t involve Jean Luc Godard’s Weekend, which I’ve already seen.
Premise: In a film that’s better off seeing without having any kind of heads up on what it’s actually about (I went into it without even watching the trailer first), I’ll just say it’s about a troubled young woman named Emily (Rooney Mara) who is dealing with depression after losing all of her assets when her insider trading scandal husband (Channing Tatum) gets sent to prison. But the story picks up right as he gets out once again, then it becomes about Emily’s reaction to a new depression medication called Ablixa, which has some interesting SIDE EFFECTS. OR DOES IT? YES? IT DOES? MAYBE? PERHAPS? I THINK SO? OR NOT? Well, you should just go see the movie.
So I’m not exactly proud of myself here, but I got a little bored and then overly-focused last night, and stayed up until 3 AM recutting the trailer for Jaws: The Revenge. But I tried to cut it as if it was a critically acclaimed indie film, instead of giant heap of trash. But to be fair, I’ve probably seen Jaws: The Revenge over 10 times because it’s one of my biggest guilty pleasure films. Anyway, it was probably all for naught, as YouTube likes to take things I have fun spending time on down for copyright infringement. Enjoy it while (if) you can…
As a quick reminder, this is how the movie actually is…
I went to go see the short film Oscar nominees last year, and had a great time. I even made the correct choice of winner because I had the chance to see all of the nominees. The 2012 presentation of the shorts was kind of a slapped together presentation. Title cards were placed over a generic cloud background rather unceremoniously. But people still went to see them in theaters and it made more money than they had hoped for. So this year we got a brand new slick presentation, with fancier title cards, and commentary by last years winners on topics ranging from making their film to the creative process to the feeling of hearing their name get announced at the awards show. There were even trailers before the show this time. It was nice to break up the straightforward approach and not make it feel like an endless string of short films. So if it makes a lot of money again this year, I hope next year we can have 3D title cards. It’s the natural progression.
Anyway, here are the shorts:
Scott enters the room, wearing only a fine silken robe, and steps across his bear skin rug to his solid oak, handcrafted German desk. He sits in his leather chair and sips upon the Brazilian cappuccino resting next to his vintage 1920’s typewriter. Then he pours a glass of brandy and sips from that as well. Followed by pouring some white wine and sipping that as well. Then he realizes that it’s only eight in the morning, so he takes another sip of cappuccino. He hears the telephone ringing, but can’t see the phone as it’s buried underneath several Charles Dickens novels and a few copies of The New Yorker. It’s probably just Harvard asking if he wants to teach that philosophy class again (rolls eyes). There’s no time, he has a film review to write! As he lowers the needle onto his Beethoven vinyl, he takes a deep breath. He aligns his fingers above the typewriter keys as he is about to make beautiful art… He is about to open eyes… He is about to change lives… He is about to criticize film.
“You don’t have to be BRAINDEAD to realize that Warm Bodies is a BITING satire on teens in love. There will be GRAVE consequences if you choose to miss out on this FLESH new comedy. Of CORPSE you could choose to watch its STIFF competition instead, but you won’t have as BLOODY a good time. Don’t DECAY, it’s to DIE for.”
3 out of 4 Skulls
(gets up from chair, leaves house, goes on a four day peppermint schnapps bender)