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Tagged ‘movies‘

Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slide shows!

Happy Futurama day, meatbags! Today, November 27th, marks the release of the first new adventure for Fry, Leela, Bender, Hermes,  the Professor, Scruffy and the lovable Dr. Zoidberg in OVER 4 years, 3 months and 17 days! That’s 224 weeks– 37,680 hours– 2,260,800 minutes– 135,648,000 seconds even! Much, much too long for something with as much heart-warming brilliance as Futurama. I can easily remember the frustration of trying to loyally watch each new broadcast episode on Sundays only to face repeated NFL overtimes and poor, lazy Fox scheduling bumps. Who’s laughing now, bastards?! Bwahaha! Well, okay, I’m sure the DVD distribution depts are probably drooling since I really expect Bender’s Big Score to do well, but let the weasels have their money, I’m just happy to have more of what one of the finest works of modern American animation. Matt Groening, Ken Keeler and David X. Cohen– you’re truly princes among men.

Speaking of the esteemed Mr. G, here he is pounding the pavement with fellow scribes. I mentioned that I might eventually blog about the strike, but I don’t have anything relevant to add that hasn’t been said elsewhere. With this week marking the first full month since pencils down I thought that today I’d pass along a few links that cover most of the recent developments. If you’re a stickler for details there’s a good look at the numbers up at the Huffington Post that breaks down all the points, percents and payments. Variety reports that talks resumed on Monday and the early hubbub sounds hopeful. Everyone’s gotta be excited that things could possibly be worked out by the Hols, so here’s to hoping.

The last thing I wanted to mention today was some common sense about antagonists… Mike Werb reiterates one of the most important rules regarding villians- make them fascinating. Seriously, please.

Dazzled and tagged

Sadly, being the consumer of culture I am, I often have a hard time fully throwing myself into a movie. This is something that’s bothered me a bit over the last year, as a lot of the bigger fair has left me less than jazzed. Today however, I’m happy to say that some big flicks can still kick my brain out of gear and buzz my reactionary instinctive parts in awesome and elemental ways– indeed, the heart of why I fucking love me some movies.

The flick that’s done this is Zemeckis’ Imax BEOWULF. As if I didn’t already think Mr. Z was the man, Beowulf is best described as 18 different kinds of simultaneous awesome. Now I know some may have traumatic Olde English experiences linked directly to this particular required reading (by the third translation and a really excited college prof I’d decided I really liked it so maybe I’m skewed) but forget all that and do yourself a favor and catch this movie. I’m not going to go into much detail (for that I suggest Scott’s review at Cinematical) but the movie is just pulp-hero, epic action with some breathtaking animation. Hell, I’ll even say some fun acting and cool costumes– and I know, there aren’t really any costumes, wtf?! I’ll pass on something that I continue to hear and recommend that if you can, see the IMAX version, because it really is tailored in a way that no other Imax flick I’ve caught before has quite been able to compare to. Zemeckis has set the mark as far as I’m concerned and I hope some folks (I’m looking at you, Pixar) take note and go further.

On another note, Pooks has tagged me with a music meme from Brett of all things, and because, like everything else, I love me some music I’m obliged to respond. (That sentence totally needs more commas) Details:

So here is your assignment for today, dear readers. Find a song that inspires you to write something, whether it gives you an idea for a script or just puts you into a better frame of mind. AND/OR (don’t you love choices) peek into the lyrics and find a stanza that sums up the theme of whatever script you’re working on. It’s quite uncanny how the two circumstances go together.

If possible, post a video of the song to really get people into the mood. (Yep, I’m aware of the irony of using Internet clips during the pissing contest. I like irony as much as bitchiness.)

Then, send the assignment (by e-mail or posting to one of their blog entries) to 5 other writers to do.

Music is a necessity for me and I would say that I put a lot of thought into listening. As far as writing goes it depends on what the situation calls for as lots of songs get me pumped in many different ways. I will do ‘soundtracks’, but more often I’ll mentally categorize albums, tracks or artists by character as much as anything else. Whether it’s something I actually think the character will listen to, it expresses the crux of moment between characters, or just has the feel/tone to get me into a character’s head when staring at a blank page, music lubricates my processes. (Not exclusively mind you, the brain is a complex machine dontchaknow!) With that in mind I’m going to share a few tracks and how they fit some character tucked away in the scary recesses of my mind…

Character: Mort Brown from The Mysterium Obscurum of Gallows Gulch
Artist: Okkervil River
Reasoning: Since MOGG is one of the things I’m working on right now and I recently got into these guys with the album The Stage Names and as they’re from Austin while Mort’s script is set in TX– not that there’s much overtly country-western going on with either Mort or OR. I would definitely say there’s slight brooding vibe that the character and the band have in common in my mind. Also both keep changing up on me at any given moment. Really Mort-vibing tracks: Plus Ones, John Allen Smith Sails

Character: Edison Wiley from Nickel & Dime
Artist/Track: Doves – Pounding
Reasoning: Well, I like the Doves and this song is a bit of tribute to the mental state and motivation underlying my protag in Nickel & Dime. While I want a lot of this script to be exaggeration, action and heisty goodness I think the meat of the story is Edison & Max and I can’t help but associate this energetic and comfortably repetitious cacophony with Max & Ed’s ups and downs from the opening words:

I can’t stand by
And see you destroyed
I can’t be here
And watch you burn up
Lie for the moment
And lie as a decoy
So does it matter
If I give in easy?
So why
Is it so hard to get by?

This is a track I come back to ever few weeks or so and oddly enough N&D may end up being the script I never fucking finish as I think I’m officially taking another pass at. WTF man, every time I put it down and start something else something pops into my head to improve. Stupid malfunctioning attention span.

Will add some tags in the morning.

Indy & KotCS

If you missed it, and I wouldn’t blame you if you did, Shia LaBeouf announced the name of the new Indy film last night at some MTV event or another. Officially dubbed: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which isn’t horrible, but does push the edge of wordy without being exceptionally exciting. What gives about the KotCS, anyway?

 

Can we get a Daniel Carter namedrop, at least?

Well, if you didn’t catch the episode of In Search Of… OR the rather entertaining Stargate SG:1 episode that exploited the crystal skull concept, the gist is there are about a dozen of these ancient crystal skulls that may be linked to the Aztecs and/or aliens that have some sort of magic power and/or supernatural communication abilities. It would suggest that maybe the maguffin is the magical crystal skulls of South & Latin Americas, belonging to some mysterious Kingdom which may be a City of Gods, who may/may not be aliens. You’ve got to admit that’s a heck of a lot for five words to suggest.

Tone-wise there’s a slight Temple of Doom-ness to it, even Infernal Machine with the possibility of multiple artifacts being keys to something larger and possibly sinister since the Aztecs invoke more Pagan than Christian themes. (Neither a pro or a con IMO, since I like Temple of Doom just fine, thankyewveddymuch.) The alien vibe– something that’s been around since the ‘Saucer Men’ script– is an angle that always appealed to me and comes hand-in-hand with the mysterious skulls. Throw in all the Area 51 buzz and I feel justified at making the connection. Look to type of previous Indy adventures and you can even pull Nazis out of the title, since South America post-WWII is pretty much equivalent with escaped Nazis, so lets get one more dig in on those bastards while we’re at it.

So KotCS definitely sounds interesting and bursting with potential, but for all that’s there, it doesn’t quite feel like the penultimate Indiana Jones adventure to me. This may be because I liked the SG1 episode and so there’s a hint of been-there-done-that tarnish, but it sure won’t keep me out of the theater. What does tickle me about it– aside from the awesomeness that is Karen Allen being back– is that Spielberg/Lucas may go all out and our hero, the erstwhile Indiana Jones- student of the entire course of human events, boy scout, and smart mouth- may end up in space or talking to aliens and completely out of his depth. And that sounds like a helluva lot of fun.

But that name. It’s just not quite right… Not the wordiness and I like the acronymity of it- KotCS… But that ‘Kingdom’ bit needs a qualifier… something to invoke the peril, the danger, the momentum. How about:

Indiana Jones and the Lost Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Ahhh, well. It not much, sure, but Raiders, Doom, Last, Fate, Infernal… there’s a certain precedent, and I’d say give the Kingdom it’s due.

Maybe it works with brain-damage…

I’ve never thought of myself as hard to please. Discerning, sure, but there are plenty of films, books and television that I enjoy without congealing into brilliant mind-bending plots with deep, dynamic characters. So I thought that the mindless action that Die Hard 4 and Transformers promised would be right up my alley.

And as much as I was looking forward to them both I just ended up bored and annoyed. What’s bothering me is that more than a few people seem to be able to enjoy these and I just don’t get it. I swear I’m not hard to please! I may hype myself up a little too often, but dammit I like mindless action! Here’s a list for you:

Independence Day
Con Air
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Passenger 57
Under Siege
Deep Blue Sea
Speed
Entrapment
The Postman
Point Break
Soldier
3000 Miles to Graceland
Tango & Cash
Lethal Weapon 4
Basic
Speed
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Waterworld
51st State
Blown Away

I consider these to be fairly typical mindless action flicks where plot, continuity and development end up sacrificed for spectacle- everything I expect from MAFs. I like all of these films, own about half of them and can quote cliché dialogue at length from more of them than I should admit. In the canon of MAFs these aren’t even the all-stars but I specifically picked these because they all score between a 5.0-6.5 user rating on the Internet Movie Database, with one exception. One scores a 7.1- Any guesses? It actually sort of surprised me. But pretend IMDB isn’t horribly skewed and say 5.0s are pretty average. SHOULDN’T I find more than a chuckle or two in Live Free or Die Hard – an 8.2!!!! Or Transformers – an 8.4?!

What the ever-loving-fuck?! Part of me insists that I embrace the popcorn flick as much as anyone else. I SHOULD be able to enjoy them. But I see a distinct void between these movies and Transformers (Die Hard 4 to a lesser extent) and I’m annoyed about it. Transformers was damn near incoherent. Just not fair.

The Leap of faith is what did me in.

Haven’t felt much like blogging lately as every time I open the editor I feel like I should be spending the energy on my scripts and making myself a better writer. I’ve also been riding the roller coaster of self-defeatism: I’m never going to be able to write as well or as epic as my most favorite writers. I’m not a genius. And I suck. (It’s my blog I can be emo all I want.) So what’s left is a cancer of doubt- the chops ain’t there and aren’t going to be any time soon. I slam my head against a brick wall in frustration, stare at my unmoving pages numbers, ridicule my own plot machinations and wander, aimless, in the wasteland of despair. (Okay, even that’s a little too emo for me. I’ll stop now.)

The problem with this is that I am not subjective. About anything. Irrational is SOP. For example, the North Carolina DMV has branched out in their license plate designs in the last few years- Blue Ridge Mountains, Universities, etc. Most recently they have changed the standard plate to have red text instead of blue text. This bothers me. I harbor a deep, nonsensical loathing of the people with the red-text plates. Is blue not good enough for them? Do they think red makes them exceptional? I don’t even know if the DMV is still ASSIGNING blue text plates, but I’ve already decided the red-texters are evil and must be destroyed. End of story.

So the idea that I’m even capable of assessing my own skills rationally, yeah not so much. I know that I need outside reinforcement and try to be diligent about getting it- my workshop is the main area for this right now and contests to an extent but I know I should be doing more. But honestly that ‘more’ is nebulous and scary and I’m not sure I won’t just fall on my face so I think what I’ve ended up doing is getting back into the ‘I suck, not good enough’ revolving door with Yakity Sax playing knowing that at some point I’m gonna lose my breakfast. Uhg. Just this stupid metaphor is making me nauseous.

BUT… the thing is I still love stories and I still love characters and I desperately want to tell a great story and torment some awesome characters. Sometimes that slips my mind. Then some days I wake up and Indiana Jones is sitting on my desktop and the rest of the world collapses into a singularity of sheer, unadulterated awesome:

click to embiggen

It occurs to me that I’ve seen quite a bit of bloggage about Indy 4 throughout the scribosphere and with good reason. (Also thanks Mystery Man for pointing out the fantastic Shia clip) I’m not going to add much more other than point out at my last name and suggest that may not entirely capture how much of a fan I am of the good Herr Docktor. I’ve cited that simple green screen effect in Last Crusade a million times as the moment I completely lost touch with reality and decided ‘Fuck yeah! That’s the ticket!’ (Which is a little more cliché than I’d like, but shit, it’s the truth) So I have been worried about the entire idea of Indy 4- so many scripts, so much development = years and years of potential for a misstep. But properly seeing Dr. Jones here, one of the first characters I can remember unconditionally loving, I don’t even care. The mantra that I love stories and I love characters comes back to me and the worry sort of disappears. And not just about Indy 4- I genuinely feel a little better about writing, a little recharged and ready to take on more abuse while I’m struggling. Because if my goal is to put together something that might only be a shadow of what Indiana Jones was for me as a kid (hell now even) then yeah, as frustrated as I get, I’m still game for that I think.

As close to a BWAHAHAHA! film as I'm likely to get.

Not that you can even correllate the likes of WATCHMEN to the sugary goodness of JLI… but in my mind I’ve got a lot of the Ditko inspired stuff tied together, which always means that I’m lumping Vic Sage in with Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Guy Gardner.

Vic then inevitably comes to a bizarro connection with Moore’s WATCHMEN through Rorschach and I’m always partial to the Question exhibiting some of the paranoid traits of his Inky-highness.

And there’s a point to all this comic blathering, really- namely the secret image hidden in the 300 Trailer.

Which really only looks to be a proof type thing since WATCHMEN isn’t in production, but still rad. And yes, I am a total dork, but I honestly haven’t been jazzed about a comic book movie since V FOR VENDETTA. All the other upcoming adapts are leaving me lukewarm.