Friday, June 27, 2008

Camera Obscura: Best Movie Blog of All Time

Gird your grids, kids.

Today's edition of movie news and reviews is a Super Giant Exxxtreeeeeme
Summer Edition Madhouse Marathon, making this post quite possibly the best movie blog of all time and space, as the Twins of Hype and Hoopla ascend the Heavens on fantastical wings of Godlike ....ahem,sorry. Oh sure, the country is tanking on addictions to oil and power and we're in hock way past our great-great-great-grandchildren's eyeballs to China, and we're like that sleazy slightly drunken uncle who's always around to remind The Family they have lost their grip on relevance and authority.

But it's summer! So ...

After months of rumors the first preview trailer arrives for (what will be) the biggest online hit of the summer: "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog". The premise - a musical sci-fi comedy web-series about the always thwarted would-be arch-evil nemesis Dr. Horrible. Made late last fall during the writers strike by writer/director Joss Whedon ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer") and here we go:


Nathan Fillion ("Firefly") plays the always victorious Captain Hammer and other cast members include Adam Baldwin and Felicia Day. Go ahead and bookmark the Official Site for Dr. Horrible now - it starts soon!
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Quentin Tarantino, the late Sydney Pollack, and Bill Murray are just some of the special guests for the new Turner Classic Movies channel series "Under The Influence", hosted by Elvis Mitchell and debuting in July. Mitchell asks guests to explain the movie experiences that changed their lives.

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Futurama's new DVD movie "Beast With A Billion Backs" came out Tuesday and is sitting right there by my television at this very moment, about to be viewed. This time, our intrepid and idiotic heroes encounter hideous anime tentacle porn.

"Arrested Development" star David Cross voices the nasty beast, and Stephen Hawking returns too, to shoot lasers out of his eyes, and even Robot Satan is back! 'Nuff said!!

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I have decided I am living in one of those rare times when Really Good Things populate the pop culture of America. Sure, the country is tanking on addictions to oil and power and were in hock way past our great-great-great-grandchildren's eyeballs to China, and we're like that sleazy slightly drunken uncle who's always around to remind The Family they have lost their grip on relevance and authority.

But, still - Really Good Things. We've reached this pinnacle moment in cinema where we - the unruly audiences of Cult Films and Revisionist Genres - have successfully taken over the mainstream movie world. Comic book heroes from Batman to Silver Surfer to the X-Men rule the box office; fantasy books by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling have achieved unprecedented success, Christopher Lee alone now holds the Mantle of Evil which reaches from his cape as Dracula and his scars as Frankenstein and the withered remains of The Mummy to Lord Saruman to Fu Manchu and even Willy Wonka's dad (we won't mention Count Dooko, because George Lucas should just be ashamed).

It's truly a Golden Age when technology and time have collided to bring us gifted creators of cinema magic - Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson, John Lasseter and his entire Pixar team - to name just a few.

For the first time since the nefarious sirens of the 1960s and 1970s appeared and brought fierce, proud, highly capable and unstoppable beauty to the Women of Cinema, we can watch the likes of female action heroes today such as Angelina Jolie, Rosario Dawson and Asia Argento. I'd watch those ladies read the phone book if someone filmed it. Hell, I'd go see live shows of it.

I watched Asia this week in "Boarding Gate", a French-made noir which turns from tragic Paris love story to brutal Hong Kong street thriller. Sure, the movie, being French, moves far too slow at first, but ramps it up quite well by the time she takes that gun into her hands.

Jolie gets busy again this weekend in "Wanted" as a professional killer in an action film based on a comic book. You don't like her or her politics or her kids? Who cares?? I love to watch her on screen.

All I'm sayin' ... Really Good Things ... now if we could just fix television and kill the Un-Reality stuff.

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Oh, noooo, this post ain't over yet!

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I finally saw one of the very Best Horror Films of 2007 this week - the made-in-Georgia horror/sc-fi film "The Signal" and was most impressed with it. It debuted at the Rome, GA International Film Festival and has been gathering an impressive collection of reviews.

The story is set in the fictional city of Terminus (Atlanta) and focuses on a young adulterous couple. They wake, she has to go home to her husband, and reality unravels into an apocalyptic nightmare. A signal of unknown origin takes over all television, radio, phone, etc and it makes people go just crazy enough to justify murder, endlessly. However the movie takes a unique view of these events through the lives of the husband, his wife and her lover - making a three-part story which is by turns terrifying, hilarious and terrifying again. Three writer-directors from Atlanta, David Bruckner, David Bush, and Jacob Gentry, take each chapter and each does a masterful job with their tale.

I was partial to the middle section, which turned the terror into high comedy as a survivors try and gather for a party in suburbia. There's buckets of gore aplenty in the movie, and actor Scott Poythress as Clark nearly steals the film as the landlord who winds up in the middle of the battle between the three main characters. He even dons his own tinfoil hat by the third section of the movie to preserve his brain from the evil signals and keeps the hero on his journey.


Slide this one somewhere between 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and Cloverfield, and add in a loving homage to movies like Texas Chainsaw and Hills Have Eyes. It's a brutal trip, shot in just 13 days by some very talented performers and creators.

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Even the most mindless summer of movie fun can have it's serious cinema too. So on a final note today, take a look at the very literate and compelling Jasminembla's Weekly. Her recent post on the folktales about The Man in the Moon is greatly researched and fascinating. She also did a recent take on vampires and zombies.

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Since "The Signal" put me into apocalyptic thoughts, I discovered this entry online about Hacking The Entire Planet to bring about doomsday scenarios. It's a time-honored genre event. And once again, technology has provided us with ways today to smash it all apart. Hey, if we can create global climate change by accident, why not alter the world by design? Or, as mentioned above, what about the Moon?

One of my favorite world-destroying events was in the animated TV show, "The Tick". In one episode Chairface Chippendale devises a dastardly plot to literally carve his name onto the surface of the Moon. Thank goodness for The Tick, who stops his plan -- although only after the gigantic letters of C-H-A have already been cut into the lunar surface. For the rest of the series, whenever the Moon was in a shot, you could still see CHA on the Moon.

Interviewer: Well, can you... blow up the world?
Tick: Egad. I hope not. That's where I keep all my stuff.

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EXTRA: The 34th Annual Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror's Saturn Awards were handed out this week. Big winners were "Enchanted" and "Lost". The list included:

Best science fiction film, "Cloverfield"
Best horror film, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Best action/adventure/thriller film: "300"


The full list is here.

1 comment:

Squirrel Queen said...

Such a giant post, so much to say. I Love Neal Patrick Harris and I'm now following Dr. Horrible on Twitter.
I too can watch Angelina and friends read the phone book and I don't care about how many ragamuffins she's adopted or giving birth to. Must see The Signal now. Didn't realize Rome, GA had an International Film Festival. Curious.