Monday, April 27, 2009

"Machete" is a reality...

Source: AICN

Anyone who witnessed "Grindhouse" in it's proper setting (i.e. an actual movie theater) will certainly recall "Machete"-- the most memorable of the interstitial movie trailers shown between "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof."

Danny Trejo stars in the title role as Machete-- Mexican laborer by day, knife wielding assassin by night. Director Robert Rodiguez has added the project to his seemingly infinite list of self-produced, Hi-Def video "films." Whether a movie headlined by Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey will actually make it to the theaters is, well, doubtful. However, I think this one is tailor made for the fanboys who ate up every minute of "Grindhouse", and just couldn't understand why the rest of the people in the theaters bitched and moaned throughout. 

I think "Machete" will be a direct to DVD film, and that's just fine by me. I'll be first in line to snap up a copy. It'll look nice nestled under my "Machete" poster that I'm eventually going to have Danny Trejo autograph. 

Yeah... that's right.

Meanwhile, look at the bad-ass trailer for "Machete" below.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trailer: Rob Zombie's "H2"

source: filmjunk

That's right, "H2"-- as in, "Halloween 2." Just when you thought John Carpenter's iconic horror film had been ravaged for the last time, director Rob Zombie is ready to have another go at it.

The second Zombie-fied film will continue the Laurie Strode storyline, as it picks up pretty much directly after the first one ended. Now, I'm going to level with you-- I sort of enjoy Rob Zombie's films. Not in the same way I enjoy, say, a fundamentally sound horror film like "The Descent" or even the original "Halloween" (J.C.'s version**). But I do have some sick attraction to Zombie's films, and their ratty-haired, profanity-spewing characters. Admittedly, it's not everybody's cup of tea. And yes, I had some real problems with the Zombie's first Halloween-- namely the unfortunate amount of time spent on Michael Myers' youth, wherein he was portrayed with all the subtlety of a punch in the balls, by atrociously bad actor Daeg Faerch.

But dagnabbit, for some reason I'm willing to give this one the old college try. Even despite the fact that I have heard Michael Myers will be sans-mask for 2/3 of the film, I'll still be there. At least he looks pretty creepy sporting the hood-up look in the trailer...

Give it a look for yourself below.

(**J.C. as in John Carpenter, not Jesus Christ)

R.I.P. Bea Arthur 1922-2009

Thank you for being a friend.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trailer: Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are"

Yeah, I know that this trailer has been floating around the blogoshere for quite a while now. But I felt compelled to post it here for anyone who hasn't yet seen it.

Where the Wild Things Are was an important part of the childhood of many people my age and, like most, I was skeptical about the prospects of a live-action adaptation. But, by the looks of this trailer, it seems as though Spike Jonze really hit this thing out of the park.

The trailer itself is absolutely beautiful. The visuals, the music-- it all works so perfectly together, it very nearly brought tears to my eyes. I'm still not sure exactly why, but there it is--this trailer really got to me. And you know what? I think it'll get to you, too. 

If you haven't seen it, give it a look below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cool Commercial: Acura's "Bodies in Motion" campaign

I've caught this commercial a few times over the past week or so. It's a rather beautiful and effective ad campaign for Acura's new line of vehicles. 

Every time I see it, I find myself rewinding so I can watch it again. That got me thinking-- if only more commercials looked this good, perhaps I wouldn't DVR the few shows that I watch, so I can skip past the commercials.

Happy Earth Day

I thought I'd celebrate Earth day with this pretty awesome clip of a fox hunting for it's prey under a thick sheet of snow. Really cool.

By the way, did you know that one of the people responsible for creating Earth Day is now a convicted murderer? Strange but true.

I'm sorry-- did that suck the fun out of it? Oh well.

Now go buy a ticket for Disney Nature's "Earth", would you...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Okay, I get it. A film that is rated "R" will have less mainstream appeal than one rated "PG-13." I can understand that, from a business perspective. But when the film in question is named "Drag Me to Hell" I think a hard "R" is pretty much a necessity.

Unfortunately, Sam Raimi's much anticipated return to horror will be a bastardized, sanitized "PG-13" version of the film. What a let down. And, I know that we'll get the "Unrated" version of the film on DVD in a few months, but just the idea that even someone like Raimi, who has built a reputation as a filmmaker and has a genuinely devout following, can't even get his film released properly just pisses me off. He's been neutered.

The trailer looks very cool, and I'll still see it in the theater-- I may even enjoy it. But the entire time I watch it, I'll have a bitter taste in my mouth-- and not just from the burnt Wawa coffee that I snuck in. I'll be wondering what the film could have been, and how cool it would have been to see a gritty "R" rated version on the big screen.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Song(s) of the Week: "Pioneers" and "Skeleton" by Bloc Party

I consider myself a pretty big fan of Bloc Party, and I've actually been meaning to include them in one of my "SOTW" posts for quite a while now. The only thing that gave me pause was choosing which of their songs to post. After looking through their videos on youtube I've settled on two-- "Pioneers", because it's a great song and  this particular video is pretty interesting & "Skeleton" because it may just be my favorite of their songs.

I should mention that they have so many other songs that you should check out-- "Like Eating Glass", "SRXT", "Banquet", "Waiting for the 7:18", "Blue Light"-- just to name a few. They're a sort of punk-ish take on brit-pop, and frontman Kele Okereke is about as charismatic a lead singer you're likely to find these days.

Check them out below, and believe me-- their entire discography is well worth a look.


The kids ought to love this one...

Source: FilmJunk

Roughly ten years after the release of the first "Saw" film, the producers of the ever-declining horror franchise have now made the move into the world of interactive digital entertainment. "Saw" the video game will be released on all major video game consoles by the end of this year.

See? And I bet you thought you'd never get your chance to rummage through a toilet full of dirty syringes! Good things do come to those who wait. 

Although the game does look kind of neat, I can't imagine that it brings much to the table in the way of gameplay. Let's face it, the only reason anyone watches the Saw films is to see the various, graphic ways in which the characters will die. If the way you win this game is by escaping the traps, and not dying... where is the fun in that? 

Though I don't much have time for video games anymore, if I were to play this one, I'd hope that the gameplay would hinge mostly on the puzzle solving aspects, as the video seems to hint at. I've always enjoyed actually taking time to solve puzzles in a game, as opposed to mashing buttons, and hacking/slashing through board after board. Give me a (pirated) copy of "Castle of Dr. Brain" and I'm happy, you know?

I have a feeling this game will be like most games based on movies-- nothing more than a passing novelty that won't attract much of a following. But what do I know-- I never would have guessed the film series would be as successful as it has been. I suppose you can never underestimate the public's appetite for graphically violent death scenes. I do have to laugh, though, when I consider that my Father refused to let me play "Mortal Kombat" as a child because of the violence. Anyhow, check out the video below.

Um, game on.

Trailer: Lars Von Trier's "Anti Christ"

I've not been a fan of most of Lars Von Trier's work, however I do recognize and appreciate his status as a purveyor of the avant-garde. Along with Michael Haneke, he is one of the few contemporary filmmakers who make the films that they want to make, with little or no regard for what the mainstream audience might think of them.

Von Trier's latest film, "Anti-Christ" look a whole lot different than much of his recent work. Beyond the fact that this film has y'know, like, real life sets and props and all... it's also Von Triers' first foray into what seems to be horror/suspense film territory. It has a really creepy, sort of giallo aesthetic. And I have to admit, some of that creepiness comes from the fact that I still can't say for sure what the film is even about. But the fact remains that the trailer did it's job-- I'd like to check this out in the theater. This is a big step forward for me in terms of Von Trier, whose films I usually wait for on DVD, and even then they linger at the the bottom of my netflix queue for months.

Take a look at the trailer below, and see if it strikes you in the same way. If not, leave a comment.

Lars von Trier's Antichrist - Official Trailer from Zentropa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

R.I.P. Harry Kalas: the Voice of the Phillies

I won't pretend to have anything more meaningful to say about the loss of Philadelphia Legend Harry Kalas than everything that's already out there. ESPN has already done an especially good job covering his life and career in retrospect. But I will say this: for anyone who grew up a Phillies fan, the fact that Harry Kalas will not be calling the games anymore is a really tough pill to swallow. It's hard to understand if you've never heard him call a game, but he literally was the voice of the team and its fans.

I suppose if you can find anything positive to take away from this situation, it would be that at least he died with the Phillies being the reigning world champions.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Writer's Block? I got your cure.

Like any writer, I sometimes get bogged down in what’s referred to as “writer’s block.” Truth be told, writer’s block is often times a bunch of bullshit. When we, as writers, “suffer” from a block, it’s usually either because we (A.) simply don’t know what to write or, don’t know how to write it, (B.) there’s an inherent story problem in what we’ve already written that needs to be addressed or (C.) we’re just making excuses for just refusing to make time to write.

However, sometimes all it takes to get your writing going is a fire under your ass– regardless of whether or not the source of said fire is real or … well, virtual. And it just so happens that the one I’m speaking of  is indeed virtual.

A writer friend of mine turned me on to “Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab” and, specifically, a program offered for free on the site that is sure to keep you writing… and writing fast. The “Write or Die” application lets you set parameters, such as the amount of words you need to get written, and the time in which you want them written. From there, it’s just left to you to get writing. And hey– if you decide to take a break to, you know, figure out just the right words to start that next sentence, the “write or die” app simply starts erasing what you’ve already written. That’s right– if you don’t just keep getting words on paper, you’re punished by losing that which you’ve already written. It’s maddening– but its also just what some writers need to get that first draft committed to paper. 

Now, it’s not for everyone. Of course there are going to be some who are simply not up to the challenge of having such a strict taskmaster. To those people I say, get a different hobby. Two of the greatest strengths a writer can develop are writing on demand, and keeping a deadline. This application lets you put yourself on immediate deadlines that you damn well better keep, unless you enjoy seeing your hard earned word count drain off the page like so much water down the drain.

Once you're done writing whatever it is that you’re using the app for, you simply copy the text to your clipboard, and paste it into whichever document editing program you desire. And let me tell you, this has come in very handy when I’m trying to get something written that I’m not exactly looking forward to writing– like a grad school essay or a… um… blog post.

That’s right– this very post was written using “write or die.” And I’m glad to say that only once did I lose a few words. And that was only because I was so overcome by the genius raging forth from my furious typing. Or not.

So, if you’re a writer-type, and sometimes have trouble finishing what you start, give this program a try.  It’s a great little tool to help you get those ideas down on paper without over-thinking every single words as you write it. 

Now go get writing.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover or just Happy Sunday

Song of the Week: "Your Hand in Mine" by Explosions in the Sky

I came across Explosions in the Sky on the (indirect) recommendation of Sean Dwyer over at FilmJunk. He compiles rather good virtual mix-tapes every so often that you'll find at one of his other sites, Muzak for Cybernitics. 

What I like about the band is that their songs are usually sprawling, 7+ minute indie rock epics that are rather artfully done. Oh yeah, and there are no lyrics. I really like that part, specifically because it makes them the perfect band to put on when I'm trying to get some writing done. Listening to any music with words can get distracting when I write. And besides-- with instrumental music, you can ascribe feelings and emotions to a song that otherwise may not occur to you because of completely inappropriate lyrics. I learned that the hard way whilst attempting to write a children's film while listening to Akinyele.

Unfortunately there isn't a proper music video for the song, so what I've posted is essentially an audio file with a static title. But I think the song itself is enough, and I it's a great example of what you can expect if you check out some of their other stuff.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twitter away the hours in an offhand way...

I've just now realized how infrequently I've been blogging lately. 5 whole posts in March-- wow. And you know-- I could make a ton of excuses, like school and writing and work, but I won't. I've always had those distractions, and it never really stopped me before. So, what has kept me from blogging properly? 


That's right, Twitter. It's the new Facebook (which itself was the new Myspace) and it seems like everyone and their mother is tweeting. Literally.

In some ways I think Twitter is really cool. It's like a shared stream of consciousness with many friends at once, that has no end. It's just a string of random thoughts and ideas. In that way I like it.

What I don't like is that in tweeting all the time, I seem to put actual meaningful blogging on the back burner. (Meaningful blogging? Is there really such a thing?) That review of a DVD I watched last night? Why blog about it when I can simply tweet "Watched "Yes Man" last night... it was SHIT." You can see my dilemma.

So, now I've been forced to figure out which of my opinions/reviews are tweet worthy, and which belong on my proper blog in a longer... um... short form. I suppose this is symptomatic of today's culture... 

Indulge me, if you will, in a momentary bit of rant-ish blogging...

My generation lives in a culture of crippling self-delusional pseudo-celebrity. It's okay... I'm part of it, too. Why else do we have MySpace, and Facebook and Twitter to let other people know what we're doing, all the time, every single day? Honestly. Who gives a shit. In fact, why are you reading this right now? 

Okay, wait.  That may have been a bit hasty. But you know what I mean. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm going to try to step up the (real) blogging once again. And I'll let all of you know the second I have a new post up on the ol' blog by... y'know... tweeting about it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Song of the Week: "Hoppipolla" by Sigur Ros

This week's selection came to me via the trailer for Disney's new film "Earth." Every time I watched the trailer, I found myself moved in the way that only very manipulative footage of baby animals and very uplifting music can accomplish. This trailer has both, so I had to seek out the song. I'm glad to say, the song, and the album "Takk...", is terrific all the way through, and I've listened to it about ten times since yesterday.

It's by the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. I'd had one of their albums on my iPod for a little while now, but never really gave it a fair shake. I suppose that's what happens in the age when you can download so much music in such a short amount of time-- some stuff is bound to fall through the cracks.

Anyway-- give this one a listen because it'll make you feel good and hopeful, and all that. At least that's what it does for me, and trust me-- I can use that. 


And here is the trailer for "Earth."