DragonCon is a festival of all things geeky. Every year during the first weekend of September there are four days of Sci-Fi, comic book, anime, and video game mayhem. Last night there was the world premiere for a new independent film featuring Doug Jones, Felicia Day, and Andrew Bowen.
“Rock Jocks” (2012) is about a group of geniuses who work for a secret government agency that shoots down astroids. Faced with budget cuts and the threat of elimination, they have to work together save their jobs and the world. “Rock Jocks” has a solid story and great script that felt like what you would get if “Clerks” (1994) and “Repo Man” (1984) had a love child who became an astronaut. That being said this is definitely not a family film, with a great amount of adult humor and swearing including security guards contemplating the various ways that expletives can be used.
Following the premiere of the movie was a short panel session with the writer/director Paul Seetachitt, Andrew Bowen, and Robert Picardo. They were all very excited to share the final product and stories about making the film. It was shot on a small cannon and you can definitely tell in the image quality. But the story and characters are so much fun, you soon forget and just enjoy. Overall, I enjoyed myself and would definitely love to see it again.
If you’re interested in seeing this film, check out their website
I’ve really gotten into BBC’s “Sherlock.” The way they’re adapted the Arthur Conan Doyle character of Sherlock Holmes for the modern age is completely engaging and entertaining. So I thought I might go back and see other inspirations from the past. But instead of critiquing the iconic Basil Rathbone encarnation, I took the way-back machine a little further.
Buster Keaton‘s 1924 film “Sherlock Jr.” (1924) is a wonderful example of how the character has influenced popular culture for a century. Keaton stars as our young hero who is trying to woo his love interest by day and works in a cinema at night. Fascinated by Sherlock Holmes, he dreams himself into a mystery. This movie completely tickles my film nerd bones, for as the character dreams, he imagines himself not only as Holmes, but as apart of the cinema world that, as a theater projectionist, he views everyday. Of course, reality always spills into a dream, and he finds his lady deep in a mysterious robbery and kidnapping, that only he can solve. The rest is less mystery and more silent comedy hijinks and fantastic stunts. In this Keaton is an absolute master, keeping you constantly engaged and oblivious to the skill involved in the flawless execution and timing.
I love this film. Its brisk 45 minutes goes by far too quickly and leaves me wanting to start it all over again.
I do enjoy James Bond. Ian Flemming’s books or the continuous line of films, I’m always interested in the historic time capsule of society and politics. When it comes to spoofs, knock-offs, and inspirations it’s mainly a case of hit or miss.
“OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies” (2006) is a throwback to the Sean Connery style James Bond, French style. Based on a novel, writer/director Michel Hazanavicius brings to life the story of a self-absorbed and socially unaware French secret agent Hubert in the person of Jean Dujardin. Hubert is dashing and capable, held in high esteem by his superiors and women, but the audience is witness to his large ego and bemusement at the world around him.
The film feels period authentic to the early 1960s with excellent costumes and sets, right down to contemporary stock footage and automobile back plates. Political events also bring a strong link to the past bringing the thought that these events may have possibly happened.
“Cairo, Nest of Spies” is a French comedy and I feel that some of the jokes are culture specific. Not to mention that some of Hubert lack of cultural awareness and political uncorrectness made me a little uncomfortable. But overall its a well made film with good performances. I wouldn’t be too upset if I didn’t see it again, but I’ll still turn it on to lust after Dujardin.
When it was suggested I see “Cabin in the Woods” I was less than enthused. Oh god, another mindless slasher film with nothing other than shock value. Boy, was I wrong.
A group of college students reminiscent of the gang from Scooby-Doo leave to spend a weekend partying at a relative’s vacation home when things go terribly wrong. Are they living a nightmare, or is someone outside controlling the situation?
This movie is surprising. Not only does it take the horror genre in a different direction, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film is directed by Drew Goddard, but writer Joss Whedon’s fingerprints are all over it in the best way. The script is very self-aware and the victims are smarter than your standard fare. Witty repertoire bounces between dismemberments.
Typically I’m not a fan of slasher films – I prefer psychological horror. Maybe that’s why “Cabin in the Woods” worked for me. I don’t know if I’d buy it, but I’d definitely see it again.
Its hard for a foreign film to do well in the United States market. First they have to get a distribution agreement from a domestic organization, then rely on that distributor to market their film in such a way that it attracts cinemas and audiences. Writer-director-actor Stephen Chow managed to get a US release trifecta with “Shaolin Soccer” (2002), “Kung Fu Hustle” (2004), and “CJ7” (2008). Of these, “Kung Fu Hustle” was perhaps the biggest success, playing in nearly 3,000 screens across the united states.
“Kung Fu Hustle” is a comedy, action movie, self reflection, and love story set in 1940s China. Chow delivers his message clearly and entertainingly, ensuring through his triple duties that focus is never lost. The cast is ever entertaining and believable, even in cartoon-like moments that pepper the film. The action is high-wire flying mixed with Bruce Lee inspired choreography. Of interest to American audiences are the references to a number of films including “Top Hat” (1935) and “The Shining” (1980) which add a deeper understanding to the feeling of a scene.
Whether you watch the dubbed or subtitled version, this film really demands your attention or you may lose your place. But stop and pay attention, you may just find yourself laughing and smiling at the realization that you’re not so different from Stephen Chow.
I love off-beat comedy – especially those that involve one of my favorite B list actors. Near the top of my list would be Bruce Campbell of “Evil Dead” fame. Every time I catch one of his films I can’t help but smile, even when there is not plot and everyone around him is groan-worthy.
Thankfully, in the 2002 comedy “Bubba Ho-tep” the story can stand on its own. Campbell plays an elderly Elvis who teams up with John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis) to stop a cursed Egyptian soul-eater from overtaking their retirement home. Their performances are well-rounded and are complimented by the supporting cast. The script is a highlight: quirky and full of quotable one liners yet never strays from the plot. While the story is fairly predictable, it doesn’t matter because you’re just along for the ride.
I had put the DVD in yesterday for a little background noise and found myself sitting on the floor laughing. When a film does that it’s definitely worthy of a little attention.
“Catch-22” is one of my favorite novels. Author Joseph Heller’s story of a WWII aero squadron highlights the insanity of war through its colorful characters and dark comedy. His writing style and acerbic humor really clicked for me and has become a mainstay on my book shelf.
Mike Nichol’s 1970 film adaptation of “Catch-22” follows Captain Yossarian (Alan Arkin) as a soldier who discovers that sometimes the best way to deal with an idiotic situation is to meet it head on. The all-star cast includes Orson Welles, Bob Newhart, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight and even Art Garfunkel (yes, as in Simon and Garfunkel). The performances are excellent and the script lifts its dialogue directly from the novel. The film falls a little short, though, in its characters. Heller crafted his book so that different chapters focused on different characters, allowing the reader to develop an understanding of their particular points of view. The movie just doesn’t have the time to focus on this, and a viewer who is unaware of the novel could easily become lost.
For me, it was nice to see some of my favorite actors playing some of my favorite characters. Now when I read the novel, I’ll be picturing Orson Welles as General Dreedle.