Friday, October 29, 2010

I Love Horror... When It's Good

A list of my favorite films with actual Horror elements just in time for Halloween 2010 (Note the lack of quality from the mid 80s to today):

Let The Right One In (2008)

The Fly (1986)

Dead Ringers (1985)

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

Videodrome (1983)

The Thing (1982)

The Shining (1980)

Halloween (1978)

Carrie (1976)

Jaws (1975)
Does this still count as Horror? When I was growing up, that's what I was told.

The Wicker Man (1973)

Deliverance (1972)
This is creepy. Even if some people wouldn't consider it Horror, I believe it captures some of the best bits of what the genre has to offer.

The Haunting (1963)

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)

The Night Of The Hunter (1955)
I think this should count, watch it and see.

Yes, yes. I left out such favorites as The Evil Dead Trilogy and The Lost Boys (fit so much in the world of Comedy), Alien, some of the great monster classics, and a lot of really fun Hammer films. For that I'm sorry. But this is what interests and excites me when I think about the genre.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Following Up

I don't mean to be nit-picky or unfair to any films. And I realize I've said more negative things about Hollywood this year than positive, but it's bad guys. And I'm so very frightened for this awards season. I can count on one hand the movies I actually think are worthy of any Oscars, and that just should not happen. I don't really know what the problem is. Five years ago we had one of the richest seasons I've ever seen.
This year just doesn't even remotely compare.
Something's gotta change with the way Hollywood does business in general. Something is wrong and I'm too tired right now to think of any answers. And maybe my answers would be too extreme, but creativity is being ignored... writers are thrown big sums of money to go and rewrite and castrate their own work. It's a very select few that actually seem to be able to break through. And perhaps I'm speaking prematurely... Black Swan looks great, True Grit looks quality... but again this is just the highest platform of writers... Aaron Sorkin, Christopher Nolan, The Coen Brothers... It's amazing that Chris Sparling got away with Buried... but it'll be overlooked anyway.

And that's where my head is. I need good movies. I need sleep. Somebody, help!

RED Is Boring And Stone Sucks

Gonna make this short, the last two films I saw in theatres were RED and Stone. Neither of these turned out to be worth my time.

RED is apathetically written. It feels like a money grab, and a bad one at that. The only really interesting part here is Helen Mirren doing action scenes,
because that is something we should just see more often. But Morgan Freeman was literally two poorly written scenes away from not being in the movie and Bruce Willis (who is in fact supposed to be the lead in this thing) disappears for a good thirty minutes of the climax. The movie is only an hour and fifty minutes. That's a long time to go without your main character doing ANYTHING.

I don't even want to get started on Stone. Ugh, Edward Norton did an impressive job... his voice was crazy perfect. And for the lesser half of the film that he actually appears in I did feign interest. But I don't know how many more De Niro performances I can sit through. Not when they're so distorted and confusing as this. I guess it's not his fault... though in a way it is. He still has the power to pick his projects. And it's unbelievable that this movie was greenlit, but I guess sometimes that's just the way it goes. Shame on you Angus MacLachlan. You wrote a pointless piece of garbage.

If you're planning on seeing a movie this week, go see Waiting For Superman, Jackass 3D, The Social Network (again), or Paranormal Activity 2/Hereafter (I don't even have much hope for those last two films). But it would be wise of you to skip out on those two apocryphal pieces named in the title above. I can tell you this much, you'd lose a lot less braincells watching Jackass 3D.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Virgin Galactic, It's About Damn Time!

The good people over at Virgin have made it their mission to one day bring space travel to the masses. I'm a big fan of the company and I only fly Virgin when traveling. So I can only assume Virgin Galactic will be an awesome leap forward... that's awesome the way it was intended to be used:
extremely impressive, inspiring great admiration or apprehension.
Finally, with NASA's new mission progressing toward 2025 and Virgin's new mission to bring everyone into space, we can begin to move forward again...

Watch National Geographic tonight at 10pm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For The Love Of Television

With all the new tv shows premiering this season, one would hope something truly good would show up and take the spotlight. Everything else would take a back seat while we all focused on this perfect hour (or half hour) and recognized that perfection still exists. But this hasn't happened. In fact, almost all of my favorite shows have gotten worse
and the new things I have hoped to begin following have almost immediately lost my attention.

It's amazing to think that in a mere couple of years we may not even be watching television as we know it today. As the networks get more and more desperate we more and more quickly stop paying attention. If tv wants to survive it needs to do some very specific things:

1. Lose the ads for the show next up (especially during the program we are watching).
2. Focus more attention on the quality of the shows they are picking up (why would you order 13 episodes of a show you have no intention of seeing into a second season?).
3. Giving shows of quality a chance to pick up new viewership through well placed ads and word of mouth (no one wants to dedicate time and energy to a show they know will not return... unless it is a miniseries... and a good one at that).
4. Be sure the shows you pick up have an endgame (no one likes to get all the way to a series finale just to discover that the writers have been making it up as they went. It feels cheap and makes viewers more hesitant to begin another show that could potentially end in heartache, confusion, and misery).
I know these aren't the only things wrong with tv right now. Reality television has been living quite well, and that's scary to me... that people are content to watch poorly written/poorly performed programming while accepting the lie that it is in fact "real life". Cause let's face it, there's nothing real about reality tv. Just the realism of a miniscule paycheck for an actor that may be hard working on some other thing that actually could add to society.
And ads rule the air. This is a problem. Premium networks are obviously better about this, but I don't think executives realize just how annoying it is to find that a show is just there to sell us something. That may be the truth of the matter, but it can be done with class and integrity. We've seen such programs as 24 successfully airing on the format of a full episode, no interruptions, with one promoter responsibly covering the fee. If this is possible, more people should take advantage of it. It works. It really does.

Now I'm a tiny voice in a sea of billions of voices, but I hope that somebody somewhere will take the time to recognize that television can be saved. There is still time. People just need to be more responsible with their power. Yes sir.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Heartache In Percussive B

I'm watching The Thin Red Line. I get why people like it. I like it. It's good. It hurts a little.
I'm eating junk food because the Monopoly Game is going on over at McDonalds right now and I can't really afford anything better until Thursday. That's gonna hurt tomorrow.

I'm finally resting after many many days of work.  I haven't spent this time imagining a new idea or writing anything interesting. I feel the heartache. It bounces through me like a drum. The one constant in my life. It's nothing all that new to say, but everyone feels pain. Everyone hopes things will be better tomorrow. But tomorrow isn't here yet and today just doesn't cut it. I wonder when people will learn to do what's right, when I can't even do that myself.

I was watching episodes of Louie earlier. It's a great show and right now you can watch the first season on Netflix. Louis C.K.'s a funny guy. In one episode he talks about how he is only truly happy when he's on stage doing stand up. He says this in a very backwards way that somehow magically makes sense, and despite his awkwardness and disheartened view on the world I am always with him... because he sees things more truthfully than most people are willing to. And somehow that's the joke.

So why is it funny to be serious? And why do we always return to the things that bother us in the world before returning to the things that make us happy?

Heartache In Percussive B:

1. Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
2. Cortical Songs (Neuron Trigger Mix) - John Matthias and Thom Yorke
3. Always Crashing In The Same Car - David Bowie
4. Don't Look Any Further - Dennis Edwards
5. A Few Honest Words - Ben Sollee
6. No Time Soon - Gnarls Barkley
7. Oslo - Blonde Redhead
8. Mother Of All Cannibals - Daniel Licht
9. Waiting - Shiny Toy Guns
10. Closer - Kings Of Leon
11. Who Is He What Is He To You - Bill Withers
12. All The Love In The World - Nine Inch Nails
13. In Love - Ben Folds
14. Have You Heard (Part 1) - The Moody Blues
15. Grapevine Fires - Deathcab For Cutie
16. 5:15 The Angels Have Gone - David Bowie
17. Ghost - Antony & The Johnsons
18. Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
19. Red Earth (Massane Cisse) - Dee Dee Bridgewater