Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Remember When Stone Cold Stunned The Entire McMahon Clan?

This was a classic wrestling moment of the modern age that I’m very proud to say I got to see when it first aired.

At this point in time, Steve Austin was basically on his way out of the wrestling industry, such that this moment could be seen as one of his numerous last hurrahs in the WWF.

Stone Cold was a pivotal, if not the pivotal figure in the birth and ascension of the Attitude Era of wrestling that I was raised on, however in all honesty; he was never really a favorite of mine.

I liked his swagger and I admired his wrestling ability, however my allegiance to The Rock, a man whom Austin frequently feuded with; has basically been unwavering since day one.

Like I said, Austin was great for the organization, and a terrific wrestler to boot; but for whatever reason he just never appealed to me as much as some of the other guys out there.

I suppose it didn’t help when the guy adopted “WHAT!?”, perhaps the single most annoying and persistent catch phrase I can recall in recent memory; as his calling card.

Despite whatever problems I might have with Austin, I still watch his shitty direct to video movies out of principle.

I have a weakness for shit-ily titled movies starring former pro-wrestlers.

The clip at the top of this post represents perhaps the finest example of the WWF phenomena that was “Austin Stunning The McMahons.”

Vince McMahon and his family used to get Stunned pretty much twice a week, but the clip above represents perhaps the only instance when he managed to get each and every one of them consecutively in one segment.

Truth be told, he really should’ve Stunned Triple H (Stephanie McMahon’s husband) as well just for good measure; but oh well.

I think the best part of this segment, was the use of Austin’s signature beer toss throughout.

Even if you couldn’t give 2 shits about wrestling, it’s hard not to laugh at the sight of Austin getting progressively more and more drunk as he Stuns his way through the McMahon clan.

Also, it needs to be said that Linda McMahon’s reaction to the Stunner is perhaps the single worst sell of it I’ve ever seen.

The best selling of the Stunner of course belongs to The Rock:

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Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donnie Yen MIGHT Have A Role The Expendables Sequel!

Pictured: Donnie Yen doing his best "I make more money than you" pose.

(The following info came via Twitchfilm.com)

Well, Yippie Ki Yay and Get To Dah’ Choppah, this is a surprisingly tasty bit of rumor mill news!

From what I understand, Donnie Yen was recently offered a role in Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming sequel to The Expendables.

While the Yen-Meister has yet to jump on board the production as of yet, just to know that he’s regarded as being culturally relevant enough in the U.S. to rub shoulders with the action movie legends that make up the cast of The Expendables; means a whole helluva’ lot to die-hard Yen fans like myself.

The really fun part, at least for idiots like me; is the fact that unlike a lot of people, I actually kind of liked The Expendables.

Sure, it was dumb, and it wasn’t exactly the action movie masterpiece that it represented on paper; but even so, for what it was I felt it delivered for the most part.

If you’re at all interested, check out my review of The Expendables here.

Anyway, truth be told I’m excited about the prospect of Donnie Yen joining the cast for the sequel, especially since Stallone has been quoted as having said the movie is intended to be a love letter to martial arts movies.

While there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll end up going to see The Expendables 2 in theaters (and quite excitedly at that), that last bit is like the icing on the cake for me.

One of the best parts of putting Donnie Yen in the Expendables, at least to me; is the fact that it’ll be a chance to see Yen in a contemporary setting, most likely acting more along the lines of his “younger” roles.

Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of wuxia style films, and I’ve always preferred Donnie Yen in films with a more modern setting, largely because the free license it gives him in choreographing his fights, but also because I actually kind of prefer the arrogant and prick-ish Donnie Yen to the more regal and subdued one we’ve been getting ever since he did Ip Man.

Unfortunately, Jet Li won’t be returning for the sequel, thereby squandering any opportunity we might’ve had to see him and Yen go at it one last time…. At the age of 48.

Despite this, there’s plenty of other enticing match-ups that could come from throwing Donnie Yen into the mix of an Expendables sequel.

Donnie Yen vs. Jean-Claude Van Damme is a match-up I wouldn’t exactly shit my pants over, but hell, if it were to end up in the film; you can bet I’d be excited to see it anyway.

Regardless of how miniscule or poorly written the role created for him is, I honestly hope Yen signs off on The Expendables 2.

He’s only getting older, and lord knows being in the movie would do wonders to expand his already burgeoning influence in the Western film market.

Now let’s just hope the movie doesn’t end up sucking, with or without Yen…

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Honestly Don’t Know What To Think About The New Fright Night

It’s funny, though I do a lot of bitching and whining about movie remakes/franchise revivals on this blog; in most cases I tend to sensationalize my reactions to increase their entertainment value.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always honest with my opinions, whatever they may be; but pretty much every post I make here has some degree of exaggeration to it.

Truth of the matter is, while I let on that all sorts of shit is sacred to me and what not, deep down I’m rarely ever more than miffed by the antics of the Hollywood bullshit factory.

Well, unless you drag Transformers into it.

You bring up Transformers 2 or 3 around me, and not only will I go on a 2 hour rant; I’ll probably end up causing a few million dollars in property damage.

That being said, I really don’t know what to think when it comes to the upcoming Fright Night remake coming out this Friday.

I want to throw a hissy hit over it, but for the life I just can’t figure out how I feel about it.

I really liked the original Fright Night.

I saw it when I was about 13, (nearly the perfect age for “that” kind of movie) and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

In my mind, Fright Night stands as perhaps the quintessential teen horror flick of the mid-80’s.

The “Rear Window with a Vampire” premise was solid.

The cast was impeccable.

The soundtrack was memorable and almost sinfully hum-able.

Most of all though, the makeup and effects work were surprisingly over-the-top and incredibly effective.

Fright Night was a great example of the familiar horror trope of a dumb story, told exceptionally well.

Despite it’s cast of name actors, and high-quality effects, Fright Night was, at it’s core; a stupid date night horror movie.

Fright Night thrived on this, reveling in every opportunity to play up the shlocky-ness of it’s premise, while at the same time wow-ing the audience with it’s undeniable special effects charms.

Pictured: The unforgettable reverse wolf transformation sequence.

As mentioned earlier, Fright Night is a film that means a lot to me.

I rarely get attached to films to the point in which I would openly defend their integrity, however in all honesty; I’m pretty sure I’d go to bat for Fright Night should the situation ever arise.

That being said, my greatest hope is that the upcoming remake does it’s predecessor proud.

Based on the (rather excessive) ad campaign for the new Fright Night, I think it’ll be okay, though probably not on par with the original.

The new one has a pretty impressive cast going for it, as well as the benefit (or “curse” if you’re a practical effects nut like myself) of modern special effects, however I think the one big strike against it is one that it really can’t help.

I hate to say it, as I myself am not quite of the original Fright Night generation; but it feels like times have changed a bit too much for a straight Fright Night remake to succeed.

The mid-80’s were a breeding ground for “fun” blockbuster horror flicks designed to entertain audiences and get teenage boys laid.

The soundtracks were dance-pop fun.

The scripts included words like “radical” and “tubular.”

The special effects budgets were bloated to the point in which rookie directors and actors were commonplace on most projects.

It was a different time, and the youth culture was in a very different place.

Thanks to Twilight, and other such dreadfully over-the-top horror teen drama fests, popcorn horror movies seem to be caught in tough spot wherein they must either be totally serious, or totally tongue-in-cheek stupid.

LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO TEEN WOLF!!!!! WAHT DAH' FAWK!!!?

The original Fright Night, like An American Werewolf in London, towed this line with exceptional grace.

While I’m on the topic, if you want an horror franchise revival being ruined by the culture of it’s time, take a look at An American Werewolf in Paris.

The movie tried to take the humor and inventiveness of the original and transpose it into 90’s youth culture, resulting in sub-par, and poorly conceived film with inferior special effects work despite the 20 year gap between the 2 movies.

What is that? A shaved monkey or some shit?

Maybe it’s the ad campaign’s fault, but something about the trailers for the new Fright Night makes it seem a little “dark” for my tastes, both visually and thematically.

Then again, given that the man that shall forever be known as McLovin is in the film, it’s hard for me to picture it being totally serious.

Oddly enough he’s cast as Evil Ed, which, if they follow the original (don’t bet on it) will mean we’ll get to see him die on-screen!

Arrrgh!  I’m rambling now, and it’s all because I honestly don’t know how to feel about this movie!

Oh well, maybe I’ll just have to go see it and finally sort this shit out…

 

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Of The Worst Commercials I’ve Ever Seen

In this cynical age of ironic humor, there’s never been a better environment for the appreciation of things that are “good-bad.”

Due to the incredible surplus of “good-bad” or otherwise culturally outdated material that’s floating around out there, “trolling” shitty movies ala Beavis and Butt-head and Mystery Science Theater 3000 has become commonplace among peoples of all ages.

This is not a bad thing, though it does beg the question; when does something cross the line from being “good-bad,” to just plain BAD?

While I honestly have no idea where that line may lie, I do know crap when I see it.

In case you hadn’t guessed from the title of this post, as well as from viewing the actual video itself; this ad for the LOCAL exterminator service StopBuggingMeNow.com, is pretty much the definition of crap.

There, now nobody can say I haven’t done my part to plug a (very likely crappy) local business.

Neither goofy enough, nor cheap enough to be funny in any way, this commercial commits the ultimate commercial sin of being just plain dull.

The hideous combination of poor acting, shitty costumes, an even poorer concept, and an embarrassingly lethargic pace makes this commercial one of the worst I can recall in recent memory.

Don’t get me wrong, from a purely technical standpoint we’ve all seen worse than this.

It’s just that when a commercial has no entertainment value whatsoever, no humor, no message, no point; it forces the viewer to come to terms with the fact that they’ve just had 30 seconds of their motherfuckin’ time pulled out from under them.

Many commercials are annoying.

Many are also entertaining.

But it takes a special breed of crappiness for a commercial to be just plain bad.

Fuck you StopBuggingMeNow commercial.  Get off my motherfucking TV.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

The Return Of The Dark Avengers

(Image courtesy IGN.com)

Awhile back I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to compose a guest review for a comic over at the excellent review blog, Collected Editions.

As a frequent reader there, I was aware that the chief writer there covered DC comics almost exclusively, however I myself was told that I would have free reign in choosing which comic I’d like to review, regardless of the publisher.

That being said, of all the comics I had read recently; I chose to review the first trade of the flagship title under Marvel’s Dark Reign banner, The Dark Avengers.

The Dark Avengers doing their best "SUCK MY DICK" poses.

Brian Michael Bendis has never been my favorite writer, but his trademark colorful dialogue, combined with a strong cast and Mike Deodato’s always stellar pencil work, made for an irresistible combination in my book.

For whatever reason, the idea of a superhero team composed of known supervillains has always “done it” for me.

Perhaps it also has something to do with the brilliance of writers like Gail Simone and Warren Ellis, but for what it’s worth; Secret Six and Thunderbolts have consistently been 2 of my favorite books over the past half decade.

Pictured: One of many reasons Secret Six deserves your money.

Anyway, as tends to happen with books that emerge from high-profile events, Dark Avengers came to an unfortunate end when the status quo was once again shifted following the events of Siege.

Norman Osborn, the team’s leader; was shipped off to prison.

The Sentry was (supposedly) destroyed.

Daken escaped to his own self-titled book.

And the rest of the team was either imprisoned, killed, or booted onto the Thunderbolts.

While I knew Dark Avengers wouldn’t last long, given the impermanent nature of Dark Reign; it nevertheless saddened me to see it go.

Thankfully, nothing ever stays dead for long in comics; and this coming November we’ll all be treated to a revival of Dark Avengers.

As happy as this makes me, perhaps the most important part about this is the fact that both Bendis and Deodato are supposedly returning to the book which, ideally; will result in a similar standard of quality.

Anyway, nothing else has really been announced about Dark Avengers at this point, other than the fact that Norman Osborn will once again be leading it.

Though somehow I doubt Deodato will be using Tommy Lee Jones as a reference again.

While my comic plate is, as always; very much full at the moment, I look forward to getting a chance to read a new Dark Avengers trade, which given the nature of Marvel’s release dates, won’t be until well into 2012.

If you think it’s silly to be anticipating a comic release about 6-8 months ahead of time, think about all the people that have been losing their shit over The Dark Knight Rises ever since 5 minutes after The Dark Knight hit theaters.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

After all, I’m one of them.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Worst Music Video I’ve Ever Seen

Music videos are a strange form of media.

Despite being essentially an expensive promotional tool for a band or song, music videos often have a reputation for being some of the most visually creative and bombastic examples of short films.

I used to joke that whenever you see a visually over-the-top film come out I.E. The Cell, The City of Lost Children, or The Crow; in most cases it’s been directed by someone with a background in music videos.

Either that or the French… Lord knows the French love fucking peoples brains with pretty pictures.

... Or really, really, REALLY, fucked up pictures.

Anyway, as any young medium tends to do, music videos didn’t start out as flashy or outrageous as they are today.

The earliest music videos the pre-MTV era were shot in largely static fashion, with very little in the way of props or creative imagery.

In most cases, it was enough to simply film the band playing, (only applicable if they played their own instruments.  Sorry Monkees.) and then maybe have a dancer or 2 prance around and mug for the camera.

The evolution of the medium of course came with advances in technology, increased budgets, and the burgeoning popularity of MTV, though as you’re about to find, not all video producers would take advantage of said advancements.

Which brings me to subject of “the worst music video I’ve ever seen.”

I spent some time (Read: 5 minutes) poking around on the Google looking for the worst music videos I could find, and surprisingly; I didn’t find a single mention of the one video I always felt was my personal worst.

Mostly I just found “bad” shit like this, a Finnish disco-esque tune called “I Want To Love You Tender”:

Truth be told, I fail to see how this is all that shitty.

Yeah, the dancers are more than a little out of sync, and yeah, the spaceship set has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the song; but in all honesty, I don’t see anything about this video that makes it extraordinarily bad.

Hell, maybe it’s just because I’m a disco kind of guy, (not gay) but I actually kind of like the tune of the song, crappy phonetic English included.

Besides, I ask you, how could a movie that features disco He-Man be the worst of all time!?

Anyway, the worst video I ever saw was aired on late-night MTV in the early 90’s, and I remember laughing at it with my friends all the time.

It was stupid to the point of being ridiculous, and to this day I don’t know how a production company actually arrived at the decision to shoot it, let alone have it be aired on national television.

Seriously man, I could have shot a better video than this drunk, and I’m allergic to alcohol.

And by “allergic,” I don’t mean itchy rash allergic.

I mean wrath of God, opening of The Ark of the Covenant allergic:

Pictured: The Azn Badger + A Beer.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the worst music video that I personally have ever seen, “The Plant Man”:

The song was regularly featured on the music video interludes on Beavis & Butthead, though oddly enough the 2 characters had little to say about the actual video.

My best guess is, the thing was so crappy that Mike Judge decided it would be best not to harp on it any further and just let it’s innate crappiness do the talking for him.

Looking at the singer, (Gary Young) and listening to the lyrics of the song, I can’t help but suspect that the guy was probably a street performer some producer brought into the studio on a whim ala Trading Places.

The man clearly has very little talent, and he certainly has no charisma, but oh well, I guess he was good enough for my friends and I to laugh at when we were in grade school.

Anyway, hopefully you all enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane.

I wanna’ say I did, but to be perfectly honest, this brought back some shitty memories… of shitty music videos.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cowboys & Aliens Was… Alright

*Warning! Extraordinarily minor spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

I had a good feeling coming into Cowboys & Aliens.

As detailed in some of my previous posts, I found both the premise and the surprisingly straight-laced advertising campaign of the film to be provocative to my tastes.

I like cowboy movies.

I like alien movies.

A movie that slams both of genres together, while maintaining some semblance of seriousness should be the stuff of dreams, right?

Well, as it turns out, Cowboys & Aliens didn’t really live up to the sum of it’s (considerable) parts.

Despite a terrific cast, a solid premise, and one of the goofiest titles to a summer blockbuster this side of Snakes on a Plane, Cowboys & Aliens failed to be little more than “alright” in my eyes.

I won’t go into any details of the plot, but I will say this:

It’s predictable to the point in which a major character arc was spoiled for me IN THE TRAILERS, and there are more than a few moments towards the end that had me and my friend referencing Independence Day.

We also had a mutual flashback to Total Recall at one point, but that may have just been the 2 of us being weird… And dorky.

"Quaid... Quaid... Start the reactor... FREE MARS..."

The first half is decent enough, with a slow burn sort of pacing that would lead you to believe the second half is going to have some sort of pay-off; only for the climax to come lurching into the view and offer absolutely zero sense of satisfaction to the audience.

Put it this way, if you’re looking for good action, or even aliens doing cool shit with cool toys; Cowboys & Aliens is not the movie for you.

Truth be told, that was probably one of my biggest issues with the movie:

The damn aliens turned out to be one trick ponies!

When you think aliens of the technologically advanced variety, inevitably one’s mind pictures them using said technology to their advantage.

While it made me happy to see that the aliens featured in the movie weren’t complete feebs like some of the “green men” of old, I gotta’ say, and this is only a minor spoiler, after watching an alien do his spear/chokeslam combo to a horse for the 50th time inside of 20 minutes, I started to get kind of bored.

Remember, this is coming from someone who would tell you the best part of Inception was when Joseph Gordon-Levitt choked a dude out while hanging upside down.

ECW! ECW! ECW!

Don’t get me wrong, I likes me some chokeslamming aliens as much as the next guy, but when that’s all they ever fucking do; well, it gets old.

There’s a reason a chokeslam is a finisher, and that’s because it has a lot more impact when it’s used to finish people as opposed to all the fucking time.

Long story short, if you saw a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, congratulations; you’ve seen every fuckin’ trick the aliens have up their sleeves with the exception of spears and chokeslams.

That being said, it needs to be said that the acting of the movie were actually pretty good.

Then again, with a cast that consists of the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Toad Face, and ADAM FUCKING BEACH; it’s kind of hard to fuck up in the acting department.

Craig didn’t really bring anything to the table in terms of emotional weight or investment, but I gotta’ say; the man has the perfect silhouette for a Western.

Even if all he did was stand in this movie, he still would've done better than half the cast.

Seriously man, I don’t know if he went to mime school or anything, but the way Daniel Craig hold’s his arms, the way he plants his feet just the right distance apart; he really just looks like a savage-ass cowboy hero.

Given the limitations of the script, it’s hard to say whether Craig could’ve done better in the role or not, but in all honesty; I think he did just fine looking the part if nothing else.

Moving on, Harrison Ford growled and scowled his way through the movie as kind of curmudgeonly old, post-war Indiana Jones.

He’s quite hammy throughout the film, though never pandering; but in his quieter moments, particularly with Toad Face and ADAM FUCKING BEACH, he manages to steal the show from time to time.

Outside of these 2, the rest of the cast was a little subdued, to the point of being kind of a let down.

Clancy Brown was more Mr. Krabs than The Kurgan, Olivia Wilde may as well have been window dressing, Toad Face was even uglier than he was in The Last Airbender, Sam Rockwell had a funny ad-lib here and there, but was unfortunately cast as a sniveling loser.

Despite this, ADAM FUCKING BEACH managed to have a few good moments, though many of them were squandered by him being cast (as tends to happen when you’re one of like 3 Natives in Hollywood) as the stereotypical “Spiritually Strong and Morally Pure Native Dude.”

ADAM. FUCKING. BEACH.

A cowboy movie with stereotypes?

Surely you jest…

That being said, Cowboys & Aliens was far from a let down, but nowhere near as good as I would’ve hoped.

In general, the movie felt like it was rolling down a hill in neutral.

While I tend to like Jon Favreau as a director, the Iron Man movies and now Cowboys & Aliens have me convinced that the man needs to work on his pacing when it comes to making popcorn movies.

The action scenes were plainly choreographed and devoid of drama, largely amounting to scattered shots of cowboys shooting AT POINT BLANK RANGE, and aliens tackling them shortly thereafter.

By the way, make sure to pay attention to the number of cowboys featured in the finale, as personally; I found that I saw more cowboys die than they actually started out with.

Anyway, the movie was “alright,” but nowhere near The Valley of Gwangi in terms of cowboy vs. the monster of the week novelty.

Captain America totally kicked this movies’ ass…

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Are We About To Enter The Age Of Board Game Movies?

Hollywood tends to move in trends.

Really, really, obvious and demeaning trends.

In a market where film studios routinely invest upwards of 100 million dollars on their high profile projects, it only makes sense that producers would display a preference to go with “whatever works.”

According to Michael Bay (and ONLY Michael Bay) this, is what "works."

This of course results in a lot of studios continually aping each other’s films from year to year in hopes of breaking even, or better yet; turning a profit.

In my lifetime alone, I can think of several trends in movies that have come and gone.

Naturally, I have compiled a brief list of said trends:

1. Old TV Show Adaptations

Pictured: One of my favorite films. Hands down.

The first genre trend I noticed, even as a child; was the slew of old TV show (and cartoon) adaptations of the 90’s.

The Brady Bunch, Dennis the Menace, McHale’s Navy, and The Flintstones movies all fell under this umbrella, among a handful of others.

It makes sense, given that Nick at Nite was in the process of becoming an established “thing” at the time; not to mention the fact that a number of the filmmakers of this era were likely of the age group that would’ve grown up watching a lot of the 60’s TV shows.

Y’know, shit like The Addam’s Family, George of the Jungle, The Fugitive, The Jackal, and Mission: Impossible.

While I can’t say who started actually this trend, or if it was even that profitable; it’s managed to stick around long enough to the point in which I doubt it will ever die.

TV shows will always be lovingly remembered by somebody, so as time goes by, it’s only natural that some poor deluded fool will pony up the money to make a movie of them in tribute.

Here’s hoping we don’t see a Seinfeld or Frasier movie 10 years from now.

2. Videogame Movies

Also known as, "Party of Five and Iron Chef Team-Up To Fight Terminator 2."

As with TV show adaptations, videogame movies were something that sprang up during the 90’s, smack dab in the middle of the Super NES era.

While it’s hard to call videogame movies a trend in the fullest sense of the word, it’s evident that they were intended to be one in the mid-90’s.

Following the release of the surprisingly decent Mortal Kombat, videogame movies were stuffed down throats our en masse.

Unfortunately, with releases like Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter stinking up the theaters; the trend never really caught on as strongly as I’m guessing it was intended to.

You can thank Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Wing Commander for putting the nail in the coffin of 90’s videogame movies:

Despite this, videogame culture has apparently grown exponentially over the years, leading to videogame movie adaptations becoming increasingly regular.

The movies stick suck some serious balls for the most part, but the point is; they have yet to reach a point where they are no longer profitable, and thus they continue to exist.

Truth be told, this “trend” is actually more symbolic of the birth of a new film genre as opposed to a trend, but oh well; it’s my blog.

Fuck you.

3. Comic Book Movies

SPIDER-MAN LOVES 'MERIKUh! WHY DON'T YOU LOVE 'MERIKUh!?

Comic book movies are, as THE INTERNET seems to want me to say; kind of a big deal.

While they’ve existed in one form or another for quite some time, it wasn’t until the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in ’89 that we really saw them become en vogue.

Richard Donner’s Superman doesn’t really count, as at the time, it was entirely in a league of it’s own; only serving to spawn weak-ass imitators as opposed to profitable blockbusters.

Anyway, Batman served to open the floodgates and give way to the release of countless comic book films, many of which were of course; Batman sequels.

In response to the angsty, MTV culture of the day, as well as the popularity of “less-than-mainstream” comics, movies like The Crow, Barb Wire, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, The Mask, and Spawn were all cranked out in short order.

While the success of these movies (except for The Mask) was largely scatter-shot, the success of Blade in ’98 ushered in the Marvel dominated era of the 2000’s.

I kinda' miss the days when Wesley Snipes was cool... And not poor.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’ve probably come to realize that Marvel is the flamboyant and insatiable whore of the comic book movie world.

The arrogant bastard that likes to prance about and shove his cock in your face and demand you tell him how amazingly massive it is.

*Ahem!* Not like I’ve ever had that happen to me or anything…

Routinely whoring out it’s intellectual properties from year to year, Marvel rode the success of X-Men and Spider-Man (and a string of critical failures) to take the film world by storm, largely through sheer volume of production.

In the 13 years since the release of Blade, Marvel has released a total of 25 major motion pictures, averaging nearly 3 films a year.

While it’s hard to call them rivals these days, (times have changed) DC manages to release, at best; 1 film a year.

The only difference is, DC films have a tendency to win Oscar nominations.

Well, except for maybe Jonah Hex… And Catwoman.

Catwoman: Protecting the World from Modesty and Cosmetics Moguls.

Anyway, for better or worse, strip-mining the previously established characters and events from comic books is kind of the thing to do for Hollywood producers in this day and age; and based on the record-breaking revenue gained from said movies, I’d say it’s what the audience is into as well.

Which brings me to the eerie prospect of a 4th trend in films that I would prefer not see come to pass.

Has anybody seen the trailer for Battleship yet?

If not, here yah’ go:

Some way, some how, they managed to get Liam Neeson to get on board the Battleship bandwagon, (I’m guessing it involved a free trip to Hawaii…) and in all honesty; I’m just plain confused by it all, aliens notwithstanding.

To my knowledge, Clue is the only other board game movie in existence at this point; and while that has kind of a cult following in some (seriously demented) parts of the world, Battleship just never really seemed like movie material in my mind.

To me, Battleship was always that one game my friend and I could never play without cheating.

Seriously man, after 5 minutes of calling out “Miss” to each other, inevitably someone would peek over the game, find a ship, and basically win the game.

Even the name “Battleship” doesn’t seem all that marketable to me.

It’s non-descript, it gives virtually zero indication of what to expect in the film outside of maybe a battle or 2 involving ships.

Oh well, goofy military shit is en vogue at the moment, so I’m guessing therein lies to the logic to the production house’s gambit.

The really puzzling part in all of this, is the fact that I recall hearing rumblings of a Monopoly movie being in the works.

I heard about the Battleship movie awhile back, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer the other day that I truly realized they were actually going to make it.

What I mean to say is, I really hope Battleship doesn’t start a board game movie trend, ’cause I’ll tell yah’, I’m not an analyst, or anywhere near an expert in these matters; but if this shit comes to pass, we’ll be in for some epic-ly shitty over the next several years.

 

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Movie Review: Coup De Cinema

Official Website: http://coupdecinemamovie.com/

IMDb Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1776137/

Trailer: http://vimeo.com/22768170

Before we get started with this review, I’d just like to take a moment to thank the co-director/co-writer/editor/storyboard artist of this film, and good friend of mine, Sean Parker; for allowing me the opportunity to write this review.

From the day I met him back in college, I always thought of him as perhaps the only young filmmaker I’d ever met that really seemed like he was going to “make it.”

If a single film must be cited to indicate a young filmmaker’s arrival into the realm of having “made it” in the indie scene, I can think of few films that better represent this transition than Coup De Cinema.

Beginning life as a college film project between co-directors and long time partners in crime, Sean Parker and Austin Hillebrecht, only to be completed several years after the matter; Coup De Cinema is a handsomely shot (on a Canon Mk. II if I recall correctly) comedy-heist film that benefits from also being a movie about making movies.

In the fine tradition of films such as Ed Wood and Bowfinger, the creators of Coup wears their love for film on their sleeves; presenting a story told amidst and adjacent to a film-within-a-film.

Shot in Portland, Oregon and Olympia, Washington; the basic plot of Coup De Cinema surrounds a struggling young wannabe filmmaker named Miles Smith, played by co-director and pretty much everything in between, Austin Hillebrecht.

Pictured: Austin Hillebrecht as Miles Smith, our protagonist.

Hard up for work in his chosen field, and frustrated in his “not quite” relationship with his lady friend Caitlyn; (Nomi Summa) Miles’ dilemma effectively reflects the plight of the modern recent college graduate.

Eventually, Miles has a chance encounter with a DVD sleeve cover that sets him on a path towards seeking employment at a local film studio, Bourgeois Pictures.

Finding their hiring process to be as exclusive as their namesake, Miles ducks through an open door and follows it to a screening room where he meets Bourgeois producer, Rick Steiner (David Loftus).

Pictured: Rick Steiner... Who bears no relation to the pro-wrestler of the same name.

Won over (well, slightly anyway…) by Miles’ pluck and ambition, Rick grants Miles a job as a production assistant on Bourgeois’ current production, “Marauders of the Door of Doom,” provided the director of the picture, Adrian Dreyfus (Corey Brunish); signs off on him.

Ecstatic with his success, Miles ducks into the Bourgeois restroom before his first day of work and muses, out loud mind you; about the wonderful possibilities that working at Bourgeois might offer him in the near future.

Unfortunately, as tends to be the case when we say stupid things out loud to ourselves, Miles discovers he is not alone.

Well, it tends to happen when I do it anyway…

Standing in the corner atop a tiny box, hijacking someone else’s wi-fi for use on his smart phone; the jaded (and more than a little shady) Bourgeois camera operator, Buster (Dennis Fitzpatrick) quietly eavesdrops on Miles’ conversation with himself, making the poor kid feel more than a little dumb in the process.

Pictured: Buster, doing like me in my college days and stealing wi-fi.

Despite the awkwardness of this initial meeting, the relationship between these 2 characters warms over time, and goes on to serve as the backbone of Coup De Cinema.

Following this, Miles has his first encounter with the film’s primary antagonist, the studio’s director Adrian.

Pictured: The wild-eyed control freak in all of his glory. No, I'm not talking about George Lucas.

Upon first meeting him, Miles is taken aback by Adrian’s manic intensity, but after a bizarre (and entirely one-sided) exchange; Miles gets the job.

Initially thrilled with his good fortune, Miles unfortunately makes the mistake of viewing some of Bourgeois Pictures previous films on his own time.

Shocked and despondent over the sheer craptacular-ness of Bourgeois’ track-record, Miles quickly becomes disillusioned with the studio and his future with it.

This of course leads to Miles arriving at the conclusion that, based on what he’s seen of the studio’s past efforts, as well as Adrian’s less than stellar conduct as a director; he could do better.

Thus sets in motion the “Coup” aspect of the film’s title, wherein Miles and Buster, with the aid of the crew and actors of “Marauders of the Door of Doom” AKA MOTDOD; attempt to rewrite, re-shoot, and re-edit the movie to a higher standard of quality under Miles’ direction.

The real difficulty (and indeed much of the fun) of this undertaking comes from the fact that in order for Miles’ coup to work, he and the crew must continue to perform their duties on Adrian’s production of MOTDOD, while keeping him and Rick unaware of their extracurricular filmmaking activities.

What results is an irresistibly cute film that dips into a lot of moods and textures, but never fails to provide fun on some level.

From the careful attention to detail in lighting, angles, and depth of field, to the delightfully whimsical soundtrack, to the way a select few characters in the story are drawn and acted in broader strokes than others, Coup De Cinema is a film that oozes a cartoony and hyper-real charm.

The film has a wonderful energy and “casually fast” pace that feels organic, never labors or drags, yet isn’t afraid to kick it into high gear whenever the story dictates it.

Pictured: One of the more exciting scenes in the movie.

Aside from the central plot device of the actual coup, which is refreshingly clever both in premise and execution; I think the real selling point for the film is the characters.

The film has a rather large cast, which of course results in some characters receiving more screen time than others; but to it’s credit, I found myself able to distinguish and keep track of the players with little difficulty.

In that sense, you could say the film was well cast, not only due to the quality of performances; but by the simple fact that every actor was visually distinctive regardless.

On that note, Austin Hillebrecht’s turn as the leading man was quite enjoyable, with his bright-eyed enthusiasm and not-quite-confident, half-cocked smile going a long way towards making him a character worth following for an hour and a half.

On a side note, I’m not sure if it was intended, but Miles’ “emo” wardrobe during the mid-way romantic crisis of the film had me snickering.

Pictured: What I like to call, "Emo Miles."

Speaking of romance, the one role in the film that stood out to me as being a little off, was that of Caitlyn, Miles’ “sort-of” romantic interest; not so much in terms of performance, but in writing.

In my opinion, it was wise to keep the Caitlyn character and the drama she brought to the table securely on the periphery; but in the end what we’re left with amounts to that of a cold fish romance.

Don’t get me wrong, the role was well-acted as it was written; but at the end of the day I couldn’t help but feel that the awkwardness in her and Miles’ relationship was pushed just an inch too far.

Another role that felt a little off to me, was that of Ren Fields (Tony Zilka), the studio editor and minor antagonist of the film.

Pictured: Ren Fields from Coup De Cinema. Technically Coup De Cinema did it before Toy Story 3 though...

From what I could tell, the character is meant to be a riff on the artsy-fartsy types of the experimental school of filmmaking.

He’s supposed to be socially awkward, and of the belief that he is a misunderstood artist rather than a film school reject.

I’m only assuming that last part, but I defy you to tell me he doesn’t seem like the type.

While the character is written this way, in all honesty I felt the performance was a little too restrained.

The verbal quirks were in place, and some of the body language was there, but unlike the romantic subplot; I felt the Ren Fields character would’ve benefited from being a little extravagant and outrageous.

Speaking of outrageous, Corey Brunish as Adrian seemed like he had a lot of fun chewing every last square inch of scenery in the movie.

If there was one role in the movie that really had no upper limit as to how over-the-top it could it be performed without damaging the integrity of the film; it’d have to be Adrian.

Coming across as some sort of demented, coked-out Dennis Hopper/James Cameron/George Lucas hybrid, I was impressed by the Adrian character both in writing and performance.

Behold! The Chimera of CGI and psychedelic drugs!

I realize I may have just described the single most terrifying and infuriating human being in all of existence; but trust me, it all comes together quite nicely.

While his story arc might get a little out of hand and far-fetched during the film’s climax, given the character’s personality up to that point; I didn’t find his actions to be the least bit jarring.

By the way, watching him casually suggest things like “We’ll fix it in post,” was a thing of beauty.

Before I continue my gushing any further, I feel I must address my last gripe about The Coup, and I do mean last; that has to do with the character of Wilhelm, played by Rhyan Schwartz.

No doubt named for the infamous Wilhelm Scream, the boom-operator character of Wilhelm had me scratching my head much of the time.

My guess is, the decision was made to give him a quirk, some sort of quickly identifiable trait; in this case a French accent, so as to make him more memorable as a character.

Given that the role was actually very small, this had the result of making the guy standout just a little too much, leading to me thinking of him as “that one French guy” as opposed to an actual personality.

Barrie Wild’s character of Tim, an Irishman; also had a noteworthy accent, but also had the benefit of more screen-time and lines in the script, resulting in him seeming quite a bit more fleshed out than Wilhelm.

Oh well, on the plus side Wilhelm’s reaction to a throwaway joke regarding the WWII invasion of his homeland is quite precious:

The face of a man who's just seen Santa's ding dong.

Moving on, while virtually every role in the film was performed ably, there are a few I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge, that of Dennis Fitzpatrick’s Buster, and David Loftus’ Rick Steiner.

Both of these characters had significant arcs in the film, and as such; felt pivotal to the film’s success.

The character of Buster was essentially the rock of the coup, (again, not the wrestler) unwavering in the face of adversity, and quick to rise to the occasion whenever necessary.

Watching him go from a jaded old-timer to an enthusiastic pillar of the group was a pleasant journey, arguably even more so than our sometimes troubled protagonist, Miles’.

While some could say Buster’s arc had him getting a little too warm and fuzzy by the end, personally; I found it refreshing.

Steiner’s character is one that I’d prefer not to spoil, but I will say this; the man is a joy to watch on a technical level.

I’m not sure if it was good editing or what, but some of Loftus’ minor inflections and stumbles in his speech really went a long way towards legitimizing the character in my eyes.

At the end of the day, I’d happily recommend Coup De Cinema to anyone with an appreciation for film.

As mentioned earlier, the film is handsomely shot, stupendously scored, and equally well written and acted.

I’ve always found myself in awe of the art of filmmaking, and as such, films that take it upon themselves to pay homage to the process; and actually show the audience what goes into it, will always have a special place in my heart.

Maybe it’s because I’m a friend of one of the directors, or because I’m actually in the film; (in the BEST 5 seconds of the film *wink wink*) but I really liked Coup De Cinema.

Pictured: THE BEST PART OF THE MOVIE.

Again, my opinion has nothing to do with the awesomely spectacular image above.

*ANYWAY* from what I’ve been told, the movie has done well in the local film festival circuits, and is in fact set to appear at the Action on Film Festival, where it was nominated for the best title sequence; sometime this week.

My greatest hope is that the film is received there half as well as it was when it was screened among my family and friends.

That being said, I’d like to take another opportunity to thank Sean Parker and Austin Hillebrecht for giving me the opportunity to view and review Coup De Cinema.

Thank you to all the actor’s and crew members involved in the process, I assure you, you did a wonderful job even if I didn’t mention you by name!

Be sure to look quick at 1:08:53 for a cameo of co-director Sean Parker!

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Summon Skeet Ulrich!


Have you heard of Skeet Ulrich?

Don’t be ashamed if you don’t, having knowledge of him is neither counter-culture nor “hip,” it’s merely pointless and stupid.

That being said, let me; the (self-proclaimed) Master of the Pointless and Stupid be guide your guide to the slightly above average B-level actor that his Skeet Ulrich!

All you really have to know about the man, is that his first name is a slang term for male ejaculate; and his claim to fame in the acting world is that he looks kind of like Johnny Depp.

Rather, he looked like Johnny Depp:

Father Time: 1 - Skeet Ulrich: 0

To my knowledge, the one movie that most people would remember Skeet Ulrich from, had they the desire to do so; would most likely be Wes Craven’s Scream.

In Scream, Ulrich played a guy that looked vaguely like Johnny Depp and… Well, even though the movie came out some 6-7 years ago; I’d prefer not to spoil it, given that it’s actually pretty good.

On a side note, it was Wes Craven who originally gave Johnny Depp his first acting role in A Nightmare on Elm Street, making him responsible for introducing the film world to the panty soaking powerhouse that is Johnny Depp, as well as his significantly less talented Doppelganger, Jizz Ulrich.

What an interesting coincidence.

Near as I can tell, things have gone downhill for Skeet-Skeet ever since.

He co-starred in Chill Factor, a film about a nuclear ice cream truck.

...Or if you're foreign, "50 Degrees Fahrenheit." That's a winning title if I've ever heard one...

He starred in Jericho, a show that got cancelled around the time people started to care about it.

He also starred in a film called Chilly Dogs… In which he raced a bunch of cold-ass dogs in the Iditarod.

Holy shit, Spunk Ulrich, The Chick from Species, and Leslie Nielsen; ALL IN THE SAME MOVIE!?

And most recently I caught him, looking quite shopworn I might add; in Armored, a movie about quite possibly the most inept armored car robbers in all of armored car robbery.

Skeet Ulrich has long been a running gag in my mind as one of the higher profile “that guy” actors in Hollywood cinema.

A “that guy” is basically what I call an actor that you see, all the fucking time; however the average viewer rarely ever takes the time to learn their name.

Man-Spunk Ulrich came out the gate with the looks to set up a solid career, however for whatever reason he’s seemingly never amounted to any more than a Diet Johnny Depp.

Similar in taste and appearance, but otherwise lacking the substance of the original.

Oh well, as low-profile as the man’s career has been, I’ve had my fair share of laughs over making fun of him over the years.

Here’s to Cum-Puddle Ulrich, may the Doppelgangers of Hollywood live on!

 

 

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