Archive for February, 2009

Liveblahging the Blahscars – Blegh Blegh Blegh

February 22, 2009

Tonight.

Channel ABC.

8 PM EST.

Witness the horror unfold.

Almost as bad as when Kriptun explode'd

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6:37 PM EST – Oh lawdy. The awards show itself doesn’t even start until 8:30. First we gotta fawn at what everyone’s wearing for half an hour. ABC’s already live on the scene uurrrgghhh.

I wonder what the kids from Slumdog Millionaire are wearing tonight!

7:40 – Oh good, the Barbara Walters Special. Let’s learn all about Mickey Rourke and his dog’s disappointment in him. Insane.

7:43 – Barbara Walters describes X-Men Origins: Wolverine as “one of the most anticipated movies of 2009.” If you still look forward to X-Men movies, I guess. She describes the character as “a sort of moody Elvis.” Hrm. I think I’ll go get dinner now …

7:56 – Oh, be sure to instant message either John Mora (JohnnyMora) or myself (sirtmagus) on AIM to join our live Blahscar Chat Party. I’ll paste the best of your comments into the liveblog. With permission, of course.

8:05 – Brad Pitt couldn’t wait to get away from Tim Gunn. I think I still like Brad Pitt.

8:15 – Anne Hathaway is a mermaid.

“This whole process is pretty juvenile, I think. I cared about this kind of stuff when I was 12. How a person can be one of these reporters is beyond me. It’s like constantly screaming ‘OH MY GOSH THAT’S SO AMAZING’ to every pebble you find in your back yard.”

– DenethorM

8:23 – Jack Black was pretty awesome though.

8:30 – Finally. Jazzy Lawrence of Arabia theme music. Okay. HUGE JACK MAN shows up. Most dashing guy. God damn him.

Ouch. A hit at New Zealand. And now an OPENING NUMBER.

“IN HOLLYWOOD YOU DON’T NEED MONEY.”

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Grump Alert: Return of the King is the Ultimate Best Picture

February 19, 2009

…According to Yahoo users.

mayonegg

http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/blog/30-the-ultimate-best-picture-rings-is-king

I agree with the blog writer. ROTK is a fine movie – I was crying in the theaters when Sam was all “I CAN CARRY YOU” like the rest of ya – but over The Godfather? Aside from There Will Be Blood, it’s THE American film. It is so rich, so perfect, as close to objective cinematic nirvana you can get. That is, until There Will Be Blood‘s release in 2007. And if we’re going subjective here well, then, I gotta throw Blade Runner‘s tattered, rain-soaked hat in the ring, but… Anyway, it seems steadily apparent out of the nominees these Internet voters have only seen Return of the King. I doubt many of them have even heard of Godfather and if they have it must be only by reputation. How else could cinematic staples like Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia go down so quickly? (IMHO, Gone With the Wind deserves to eat dust – it’s the Titanic of its time).

Maybe it’s not so disastrous. At least Black Knight didn’t win. Return of the King deserved it that year (anyone else remember what was up for the big award in 2003?) and it is pretty great. But when these BEST MOVIES EVER lists and such show up I can’t help but froth at the mouth a little when I see the clear winner lose. Sheesh, ya can’t trust the Academy to make the right decision, ya can’t trust the Internet… hubba hubba hubba money money money who can you trust?! … \:3

BACK TO YOUR MISERABLE LIVES

(grumplet) Coraline: She’s a Peach, She’s a Doll, She’s a Paaaal O’ Miiiiiiiine

February 18, 2009

Stop-motion animation has always sort of fascinated me. With traditional 2D drawn animation, I’m already impressed with how much focus, dedication and vision it takes to breathe life into a film’s world. Stuff like the Escher scene from The Thief and the Cobbler fill me with a sort of awe that I can’t easily describe. I don’t think I’ve ever been passionate about anything as much as some of these people must’ve been to work on something like that.

So when you get into something like stop-motion animation, it just boggles my mind. PHYSICALLY building everything that you’re going to be using, then meticulously moving it bit by bit as you capture each individual frame… cripes. Stuff that used to be easy in drawn animation, like making a character jump, becomes a mystery I’m not sure I want spoiled when done in stop-motion. It’s not a common or popular art form, however. Like any type of animation, or entertainment for that matter, if the animator gets bogged down in the technical aspects of it and stops paying attention to story and character, you just end up with a technically impressive sleep-aid. I rented a collection of short films by famous stop-motion animators the Brothers Quay that I was eager to watch, but soon found that they had no interest other than just creating atmospheric backdrops for inanimate objects to move around in. It was extremely boring.

Probably the best known stop-motion feature in recent memory was Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, a musical with a distinctively gothic, quirky aesthetic and loads of creativity in its execution. The director, Henry Selick, whom everyone seems to forget, recently released another stop-motion film based on Neil Gaiman’s storybook Coraline. Helllllllll yeah.

psst behind you
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Macross Frontier – Music Saves the World

February 11, 2009

Hey, it’s list season. Here’s one about Macross Frontier.

Why You Should Check out Macross Frontier

1. It’s Macross

Fellow grump Mora informs me Frontier features everything you should expect from the 25-year-old franchise. In fact, Frontier pleased fans so much it single-handedly revitalized the ailing brand in Japan. It’s like the Mega Man 9 or Super Smash Bros. Brawl of its kind, so full of nostalgic winks and throwbacks to previous series fans can’t help but squeal at their favorite moments revisited. One episode details the filming of a movie adaptation of the events of Macross Zero. The theme song from the Macross movie, Do You Remember Love, returns at several key moments of the series. There’s a simmering love triangle, eye-catching missile effects, a bearded ship captain with a scar and a hat strategically hiding one eye, enormous transforming space ships … Even if you’re unfamiliar with the various Macross tropes, as I am, you should be able to appreciate Frontier regardless of the vast history behind it. And if you like it there are at least a dozen more similar series to check out.

KIIIIIMI WA DARE TO KISS O SURUUUU
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Sword of the Stranger: Unfathomable

February 7, 2009

I try to support anime’s continuing struggle for mainstream recognition/viability whenever I can. I buy DVDs of shows I like, and I buy tickets to whatever theatrical runs trickle down to the American market. It seems that most of the theatrical animated features in Japan nowadays are annual One Piece/Detective Conan/Doraemon movies, sooo the pickin’s have been pretty slim for a while. The first one I ever saw while it was actually in theaters was Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. I saw a review of it in the paper and persuaded Film Walrus to come with me and check it out at this awesome independent theater which is now defunct. And it turned out to be great!! Since then, the experiences have ranged from the sublime (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie with Film Walrus’ whole clan in a packed theater downtown) to the underwhelming (last year’s Paprika where I was one of three people in the theater and one of the others brought half of the concession stand back with him).

So it was with enthusiasm that I read an article about a new original film getting an exclusive one-night premiere in the U.S. before getting dumped onto DVD. It was through Fathom, that company that makes its business off of selling tickets to one-night events that they stream through satellite to theaters so that you can see Naruto or whatever on the big screen. I had gone to a rather costly screening of a This American Life event last year that… could have gone better. But this one was cheaper and the movie looked intriguing. What was that movie, you ask?! Sword of the Stranger!

The movie may have stunk, but its SOUL still BURRRRRNS

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Grump Alert: Hollywood Doesn’t Care About Good Movies

February 4, 2009

This post could easily be more Oscar nomination grousing, but no, I’m over that. Mostly.

No, instead, this is about some other awards ceremony: the Annies. It’s a ceremony that rewards animated features and shorts. With the strong showing in that field this year thanks to WALL-E, you’d think PIXAR would be cleaning up the awards, right?

WRONG, WALL-E GOT COMPLETELY SHUT OUT.

Now, this in itself isn’t what burns my biscuit. I could understand if it just got pushed out of the way for a dark horse candidate like, say, Waltz for Bashir. But that isn’t what happened. WALL-E lost out to Kung-Fu Panda, which won 15 of the 24 categories.

Now, I have nothing personal against Kung-Fu Panda. It was entertaining! A step in the right direction for Dreamworks! But is it better than WALL-E? Never. If I ever meet a person in real life insinuate something even close to that, I will look them in the eye, clench my jaw and give them a slap that Daniel Plainview would wince at.

And that’s not even the only disgrace in this. JAR JAR BINKS got an Annie and WALL-E didn’t. What the fucking hell?! There’s… there’s no justice. 2009’s awards shows can kiss my ass.