Monday, August 24, 2009

Ponyo. Ponyo. Ponyo.

Miyazaki once again hits one out of the park.

While I tend to love his older films more than his newer ones, Hayao Miyazaki always manages to pull off an amazing feat of an animated film. His latest offering, "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" gives us an interesting take on the whole "little mermaid" story infused with his grand style and amazing visuals. Story wise it is a fairly simple one (especially compared to other deeper films he has done) but it makes up for that in a unique and captivating visual style. I managed to catch the original Japanese version so I can't speak for the english dub that is in theaters right now but for a visual treat alone I highly recommend this film. Just remember, when you see the water in this movie remember that Miyzaki likes to hand draw every key frame. Every one.

Check out this nice little animated gif (courtesy of the FourFour blog) from the film

Friday, August 21, 2009

a grave injustice has occurred....we must correct it.

Came across this last night in Wil Wheaton's blog. Spooky indeed:

(after recanting the strangeness he felt as a 12 year old promoting Stand By Me)

"I've always said that Stand By Me was so successful because Rob cast four young actors who were so much like their characters, but I think it's spooky how the four of us ended up being so much like our characters: River died too young, Corey struggled like crazy to get his personal demons under control, Jerry found success and happiness, and I'm a writer."


And then of course I realized that I have never seen all of Stand By Me.

A child of the 80s and I have not reveled in its greatness properly. I am fairly certain I have seen every bit of the film, just never all at once in a proper showing. That will be rectified soon in a future Akbar Cinema showing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How I got over my fear or I how I learned to stop worrying and embrace the freakin undead

The horror genre has never been one I have really enjoyed. Some of it I can respect but one in general just has never done a thing for me. And I really wouldn't call it a fear of them either. I just never really found any interest in them at all.

I speak of course of the Zombie.

Two films recently have allowed me to actually enjoy a Zombie flick and possibly see what other see and love in the Mortuus Vivens * genre.

Film #1:

Fido (2006)

Check out the opening "educational film" from the movie that sets up the world. After seeing this I knew I was in for a treat.

From there the movie is your standard "boy and his dog" story about a boy and his pet Zombie (who he of course names Fido.) But when Fido eats the next-door neighbor the boy has to go to the ends of the earth to keep Fido a part of the family.
This black comedy allowed me to experience Zombies on an acceptable level and have a good laugh.

Film #2:
Shaun of the Dead (2004)

After being a huge fan of this groups other outings (Spaced and Hot Fuzz) I still had not ventured into their Zombie parody/homage. Luckily Fido had opened my eyes and I decided it was finally time to see it.


Their homage/parody style was well defined for me by Hot Fuzz so I was ready for that. So many details are layered in this film you can just see they put forth maximum effort. For example, early on in the film while the main character is riding the bus a kid sits in front of him listening to techno on his walkman. The song? Zombie Nation by kernkraft 400. Cute.

For those who haven't seen it, here's the basic plot:

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

While I had been enjoying the film all along the way, there was one point later on that fully sold me on it's awesomeness. I will let you enjoy the scene in it's entirety. Spoiler I guess for those who haven't seen it, the main cast does have to fight against zombies. There, I ruined it for you ;)

(Unfortunately, Youtube and Dailymotion both seem to not want to show my nice HQ verison of this scene so all I can offer you is this low res/bad audio version. It will still suffice.)

After that moment I was sold.

Unfortunately, shortly after this scene the beyond believable gore started. It was then I discovered what I don't like about zombies (and most horror) is. I wouldn't really call myself squeamish, but there is just something about horror gore that turns me away from it. However, I was able to look past it and enjoy the rest of the film quite well.

Spoiler for end of the film: Now, for those who have seen Shaun of the Dead you may be looking at the opening intro to Fido and thinking that looks very familiar. Yes, SotD does end very similarly. It would be silly to think Fido wasn't influenced by that but I would like to think they took the general concept in a great direction on their own. Coupling it with a 1950s idyllic life and the "red/zombie" scare was genius.

*Yes Mom, the latin for Zombies is technically wrong.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

damn you copyright infringement

Well there would have been a big update today but youtube decided that one of my clips was too copyrighted so they pulled it. Hopefully I can find somewhere else that will allow me to host the video and not take it down and I can continue the post.

Quick review time:

Young Guns- Decent, but no where near as good as I remembered it from when I was 13. A viewing of Young Guns II will have to take place.

Pump up the Volume- I had never seen it before (I still don't know how that happened) and for the most part I found it enjoyable when viewed as a film from the early 90s. But today it's message seems still vital but our technological jumps in the last 17 years really date the film.

Legend of 1900- Got a chance to watch the full directors cut. Still a great film and the directors cut fleshes out so much more. Got to share it with a good friend and it was a fun treat to watch her totally get sucked into the narrative. If you have only seen the 2 hour US cut of the film, you are missing about 40 minutes of film. I highly recommend seeing it if you have a chance.

Men With Brooms- Yes, I have watched this film a thousand times but I still stand by it's awesomeness. Curling is truly the greatest sport. I offer this quote from the main character:

"It's forty-two pounds of polished granite, beveled under belly and a handle a human being can hold. And it may have no practical purpose in itself...but it is a repository of human possibility...and if it's handled just right, it will exact a kind of poetry..."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A moment of silence please

A great auteur has left us.

-You let me see Molly Ringwalds panties.
-You gave me the confidence that even dorky geeks can get girls (via a computer created lifeform of course)
-You gave me the great life advice that when sharing a bed with a stranger, your hand is probably NEVER between two pillows.

You will be missed John Hughes

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."