Monday, August 04, 2014

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Where to begin with Guardians of the Galaxy? We all thought it was doomed at first - a bizarre and maybe arrogant ploy from the Marvel/Disney conglomerate amidst the dizzying success of its other franchises, "Let's pull something out of the vault that will almost certainly not work and really test the limits of comic book adaptations and the audience's tolerance of the odd and zany." And then there was that first trailer - woof! I will admit that the one thing I didn't put enough credit towards was James Gunn, director of the amusing Slither, a film admirable for its ability to stand astride two different tones.

Then better trailers came, and a hype that was nothing short of alarming started to mount. I couldn't understand it - first we were laughing at the talking tree and talking raccoon, and then it was fast-becoming the most anticipated movie of late Summer. Geeks wouldn't shut up about it. Then it came out, and cashed in on all that geek-lust: critics hailed it a triumph, geeks waxed lyrical in ways I haven't seen since...I don't know. They said it was Star Wars again, that a "piece of their soul was back" (for fuck's sake!). This is positively euphoric, but why?

Guardians is a success because of balance. James Gunn balanced the movie with light humor, light pathos, light action, light everything - for maximum appeal, but above all, the marketing, casting, and branding are all slyly mainstream, and the camerawork, title-fonts, and music deploy the postmodern pastiche to great effect - the film's real premise actually revolves around a mixtape, which is good metonymy for this whole enterprise. The film is affable; it takes no risks that might alienate anyone.

But what is the film outside of this hyperreal cultural agitation - this hype and posturing (even the amount of money this film made is being hyped)? It's a movie. An ordinary movie. A few funny lines, a few cringing overplays at humor, but mostly affability and action sequences, some of whom can drag a bit. A mixtape that blends Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and the extant Marvel canon....how could it not sucker everyone in? Unfortunately this hype is, as always, subjective, and can hurt as much as it could help, although the financial battle is already won. But if those are really your stakes, Guardians still lost to fucking Transformers, and how cynical is that?

Monday, July 28, 2014

"I *am* the Appellate Courts!"

Comic-Con pieces needed digesting: 50 Shades of Gray, Mad Max, and at least two other films had their trailer debuts at that symposium of sadness.

We reviewed Expendables III and Lucy. The former was to be expected of the franchise, the latter wrapping up too nicely to be any real sort of heady sci fi, but still decent to see Scar-Jo jumping around flashing her awesome lady parts at the screen.

Music from the following:

Mad Max, 1979 - Brian May
Cobra, 1986 - Sylvester Levay
Desperado, 1995 - Various

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Hercules and the Golden Shower

Ahead of us looms dark horizons: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel's return to the illustrious xXx franchise, and the internet getting its collective nutt over some new...pictures of a new X-Wing and Ultron in upcoming sequel resplendence. The geeks have taken over! Well, they took over a decade ago, at least, but it's still worth opining a bit.

We got into an interesting discussion about the new craze with kitschy "bad art" ala Birdemic and The Room and whether or not our collective obsession with it detracts from good art. The answer is: yaidunno.

Then followed talk of Hercules, past and present. So many Hercules. Why did he get the lion's (yuk yuk) share of Greek Myth popularity, when my boy Theseus was just as cool? They never do Greek Myth right - except Lars Von Trier! Alas.

The Boom Operator reviewed The new Apes movie and enjoyed it, perhaps more than the original.

We heard music from the following:

The Avengers, 2012 - Alan Silvestri
Hercules, 1983 - Pino Donaggio
TMNT movies - Various


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Rise of the Planet of Your Mom

Since literally no other movies came out, the new Apes movie ruled the roost. We talked about a bunch of stuff as usual as the Gaffer managed to gchat to people for most of the show and barely pay attention for the rest of it, while being passive aggressive via blogger about the Boom Operator bringing a guest to the studio.

We heard music from the following:

"Planet of the Apes", 1974 - Lalo Schifrin
12 Monkeys, 1996  - Paul Buckmaster
Robocop 2, 1990 - Leonard Rosenman

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Fireworkpiercer

Not a lot happened this past ID4 weekend; either the fireworks have lost their luster or things just didn't come together this year. So it goes, Mr. Vonnegut.

Snowpiercer: It exists. We talked about it.

We heard music from:

How to Train Your Dragon 2, 2014 - John Powell
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 2011 - Patrick Doyle
The Last Starfighter, 1984 - Craig Safan

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