Skyline Trailer

I wasn’t able to attend this year’s Comic-Con, but those who did and saw clips from this under-the-radar alien invasion film from the Strause Brothers came away impressed by what they saw. This particular film may be the Zombieland of 2010.

Skyline looks like your typical alien invasion flick with highly-advanced and even more highly-aggressive beings from another world wreaking havoc on the planet with their massive and very cool-looking ships. This one is made by the Strause Brothers who last made the sequel, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem which was better than I thought it would be. It was still a bad film, but at least the brothers were able to inject some insane fun in the proceedings unlike it’s predecessor.

This second offering from the brothers look to do the same for their version of the alien invasion and this time around the setting centers on Los Angeles and not New York. The film looks to have tentacles (anime fans rejoice) in addition to huge hovering ships destroying city blocks and smaller ships taking on humanity’s armed forces. From what I could gather the acting and dialogue will not be the highlights of the film, but if they keep those at the barest minimum then this little-gem from this year’s Comic-Con may just be one of the best times in the theaters this year.

Halo: Reach Finale

As Lisa marie correctly guessed I have been quite busy with some other¬† things to continue my level of blog posting these past couple weeks. This has been due to my heavy immersion in something called Halo: Reach. This game is the prequel to the mega-successful and extremely popular Xbox first-person shooter franchise which first came out in 2001. I’ve been with the franchise right from Day One and this latest game pulls me back into the franchise like all its predecessors before it.

Microsoft and Bungie (developers of the franchise) have always been in the forefront when it comes to promoting their latest Halo offering with some of the best tv spots and commercials. This particular one I’ve highlighted and chosen to post just for the fact that it thanks the 100,000-plus or so players who have finished the campaign part of the game and thus seen the aftermath of the game’s protagonist, Noble Six and the rest of his comrades in Noble Team.

The video may not show it but I am one of those hundred of thousands points light. ūüôā

6 Trailers From 1981

Hi and welcome to the latest installment of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers.¬† I apologize for being a few days late with this installment.¬†

This week, I’m highlighting trailers from the year 1981.¬† 1981 not only saw the release of Lucio Fulci’s twin classics The Beyond and The House By The Cemetary, it was also the year that my sister Melissa was born.¬† (Happy birthday, Melissa Anne!)¬†

You may notice that, despite citing them above, I did not include the trailer for either one of Fulci’s films in this post.¬† I’m saving them for a future edition.¬† Instead, let’s start with Alien Contamination and end with Christiane F. and see what¬†waits in the middle.

1) Alien Contamination

Earlier in this series, I featured the trailer for Luigi Cozzi’s Star Wars rip-off, Starcrash.¬† This is the trailer for Cozzi’s attempt to rip-off both Alien and Lucio Fulci’s classic Zombi 2.¬† The film is pretty dull but I have to give the trailer mad props for actually making this movie look like it might be kinda fun.

2) Scanners

In this trailer, David Cronenberg proves that nothing sells a film like an exploding head.

3) Dead & Buried

I haven’t seen this film but I’ve read several favorable reviews of it.¬† While the trailer isn’t nearly as graphic as some of the other trailers that I’ve featured in this series, I still like it.¬† With the ominous narrator and all, it has a nice retro feel to it.

4) The Evil Dead

Speaking of retro, here’s the trailer to the original Evil Dead.¬†

5) Copkiller a.k.a. Order of Death

I recently ordered this Italian film off of Amazon but I have yet to sit down and watch it.¬† The trailer, for me, is memorable just because it’s a chance to see both Harvey Keitel and Johnny Rotten (who were both quite the sexy beast back in 1981)¬†occupying the same space.

6) Christiane F.

Some people, I know, would disagree with me referring to Christiane F. as being an exploitation film.¬† I’m sure that the film’s award-winning director — Uli¬†Edel — would disagree with me.¬† However, Europe’s art films were often sold as America’s grindhouse movies and, just from anecdotal evidence, that was often the case with Christiane F.¬† Besides, I love this trailer if just for the music alone.

A Quickie with Lisa Marie: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Dir. by Oliver Stone)

Sometimes, words escape even me. 

I’ve been trying for about three days now to figure out how to explain why Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is one of the most disappointing films of 2010.¬† Notice I didn’t use the term “worst film.”¬† There’s enough in the movie that works (Michael Douglas is fun to watch as Gordon Gekko and there’s a¬†handful of scenes that perfectly¬†capture the modern atmosphere of financial panic) to keep it from being a truly awful movie.¬† But just because the movie isn’t awful, that¬† doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any¬†good.

Oh, Wall Street — how did you fail?¬† Let me count the ways.

1) Michael Douglas gives a great performance but he actually has less screen time here than he did in the original Wall Street.¬† Yes, it’s fun to watch Gekko claw his way back up to the top but, once you take those scenes out of the equation, you still have about 1oo minutes of non-Gekko material to slog through.

2) Instead most of the screen time goes to Shia LeBouf.¬† Let me repeat that — most of the screen time goes to Shia LeBouf.¬† In this film, Shia plays a cocky young financial genius.¬† Let me repeat that.¬† In this film, Shia LeBouf plays a genius.¬† Back before Shia became the human face of the Transformers franchise, I’ll admit that I thought he was kinda cute in his geeky, awkward way.¬† However, in Wall Street, his character isn’t supposed to be geeky or awkward.¬† He’s supposed to be some sort of financial genius.

3) We’re also supposed to automatically sympathize with Shia LeBouf’s character because, while he’s a part of the system that created the recession, he’s also dedicated to funding some sort of green energy project.¬† Much like James Cameron in Avatar, Oliver Stone trots out a simplistic¬†environmental theme here and expects to be praised just for mentioning it.¬† The message is: “Love my film or Mother Earth gets it.”

4) The film’s plot: Shia LeBouf’s¬†mentor and boss — played by Frank Langella¬†— commits suicide after being run out of business by evil millionaire Josh Brolin.¬† So, Shia takes a job working with Brolin.¬† Meanwhile, Shia is also engaged to the daughter of Gordon Gekko.¬† This leads to him taking Gekko on as a mentor.¬† Shia apparently wants to take Brolin¬†down.¬† Or does he?¬† Unfortunately, LeBouf doesn’t seem to know for sure and that comes across in his performance.¬† As a result, the majority of the film is about as exciting as watching anyone else go to work.

5) Josh Brolin’s¬†the villain¬†here.¬† We know he’s a villain¬†because everyone else in the film keeps insisting he’s the villain¬†and Brolin¬†plays the role as if he’s auditioning for a role in the next James Cameron film.¬† Which is to say, Brolin gives a dull and lifeless performance.

6) The little guy who is creating this alternate source of energy that Shia is so obsessed with?  The little guy is played by Austin Pendleton who, I swear to God, is one of the most annoying character actors ever.  Seriously, Pendleton, stop fucking smiling all the time! 

7) Having seen both this and the original Wall Street, I can now say that I have no idea how the stock market works and I really don’t care to learn.¬† I just want everyone to stop yelling and throwing paper all over the place.¬† Seriously, Stone tries to make the “market” scenes exciting here but, once you get over the fact that Stone knows how to use a zoom lens, they’re pretty dull.¬† Lucio Fulci and Jean Rollin — they would have found a cool way to film those scenes.¬† Stone just resorts to the same old tricks.

8) That little smiley face looks so cute with his sunglasses on.

9) As with the original Wall Street, this is yet another film about little boys and their daddy issues.¬† Which father figure will Shia choose?¬† Meanwhile, Shia’s mother (a grating performance from Susan Sarandon) and his girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) are portrayed as total fools.¬† Mulligan, after her performance in An Education, especially deserve better than to be stuck playing some sexist fantasy of a human being.¬† Sarandon¬†is blamed for the housing collapse while Mulligan’s character is cheated out of a fortune towards the end of the film.¬† The message here, I guess, is don’t let women have money because we’ll just fuck everything up.¬† I love how I can always count on “progressive” filmmakers to prove themselves to be a bunch of pigs at heart.

10) Charlie Sheen shows up for a really awkward cameo.¬† He’s supposed to be playing his Bud Fox character from the original film but, watching his performance, you get the feeling that Charlie doesn’t remember being in the original film.¬† Showing up at a charity dinner with a separate date on either ar, Bud Fox is presented as being just as corrupt as Gordon Gekko.¬† Michael Douglas, quite frankly, looked somewhat embarrassed¬†by the whole scene.¬† However, as awkward as the scene was, it did manage to perfectly capture the theme of this movie:

Eventually, even Bud Fox will grow up to be Charlie Sheen.

Review: The Walking Dead Volume 7 (by Robert Kirkman)

[Some Spoilers Within]

The last volume of The Walking Dead continued the “Woodbury” story arc which began in volume 5. This latest volume sees Rick and his group back in their prison home with the axe of Woodbury and the Governor hanging over their heads throughout the six issues which encompassed volume 7. A volume with the title of “The Calm Before” definitely doesn’t know the meaning of the term.

While the travails of Rick, Glenn and Michonne during their stay at Woodbury would be horrific in every sense of the word the calm which comes after their return to the prison is nothing but. The group gains a new member in the form of Alice who happened to be Woodbury’s former nurse/doctor-in-training. Her inclusion into the group becomes a boon for everyone in the prison especially for Lori and Dale. While her addition to the group has been mostly beneficial the group does suffer a loss of one of their first members due to a decision made by the latest member. I won’t disclose exactly who and what happened to this original member of the group, but her loss would be felt by everyone.

This volume brings back some of the soap opera elements which dominated the fourth volume, but not to the level that would annoy readers who had gotten tired of all the internal conflicts and bickerings. There’s still tension between certain individuals, but they’ve kept things civil and have even begun attempts to fix the bridges burned by those very conflicts.

This calm before the storm also sees the group prepare for the inevitable attack by the Woodbury group. Though knowing that they’re outgunned and outmanned they still draw first blood during one of the forays to find more supplies. This gives the group some hope for the coming storm to the point that the prison and the group return to a semblance of normalcy. A normalcy that doesn’t last long as the very last panel ends the volume on a major cliffhanger worthy of some of the best tv drama series.

Supernatural the Animation

CW Network’s very popular tv series Supernatural looks to expand into a new media as Warner Home Video plans to release a 22-episode anime adaptation of the tv series. The series will come out in Japan this January of 2011 with acclaimed anime studio Madhouse doing the animation. The series’ first season will encompass the breadth of the original series’ first two season, but will have room for new content which explore and expand of the two Winchester Brothers’ early childhood as Hunters. Some secondary characters from the original show will also get a much more expanded role within the anime series.

I, for one, was quite excited when I first learned of this development. The original show has been a favorite of mine since it first debuted in the Fall of 2005. While for some the idea of an American TV series getting an anime adaptation might seem farfetched, but I think Supernatural‘s aesthetics lends itself well to the hyper-realistic conventions of anime. Madhouse has already shown it could do straight up horror with its very popular zombie anime series Gakuen Mokushiroku (Highschool of the Dead), so creating a series out of a show based on the supernatural and monsters and demons wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the studio.

The Winchester Brothers in the anime will be voiced by the two same actors who dub the original series for airing in Japan: Yuya Uchida and Hiroki Touchi. There’s no word on whether the series will get an American dub version when the dvd/Blu-Ray comes out in the US so fans hoping to hear Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles voicing their anime counterparts may have to temper their hopes.

Time will tell if this anime adaptation will catch on in the US, but with Supernatural having such a huge and vocal fan-base there’s a chance it may just and allow a second season to be made.

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Wall Street (dir. by Oliver Stone)

Yesterday, me and my friend Jeff were planning on seeing Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.¬† However, there was one problem — I’d never seen the original Wall Street.¬† Though I¬†owned¬†the movie on DVD, I’d never actually bothered to sit down to watch it.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I knew that this was the movie that won Michael Douglas an Oscar.¬† I knew that Douglas played a character named Gordon Gekko who, at one point in the film, delivered the line, “Greed is good.”¬† Who hasn’t seen that clip?

So, yesterday, before leaving to see the sequel (which I’ll be reviewing in the near future), I sat down and watched the original. I discovered that there’s a reason why everyone remembers Gordon Gekko’s little “Greed is good” speech.¬† It’s literally the only memorable part of the entire movie.

Wall Street tells the tale of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), a young stock broker who becomes a proteg√©¬†to an intense and amoral businessman named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas).¬†¬† Gekko specializes in taking over other companies and putting people out of work.¬† He wants to take over an airline that employs Bud’s father.¬† Bud’s father is played by Martin Sheen and he’s such a self-righteous, judgmental, blue-collar¬†asshole that you find yourself hoping that Gekko does put him out of work.¬† Anyway, Bud engages in insider trading (which is apparently a crime though I’m not sure as the film seems to assume that everyone already understands how the stock market works) yet then finds his conscience awakened when Gekko’s greed threatens his dad’s job.¬† Yes, this is yet another one of those laughably masculine films in which an overage¬†boy¬†has to pick a father figure.¬†¬†

I guess we’re supposed to¬†care about whether or not he¬†picks the right father¬†but seriously, Bud Fox is such a dull character and Charlie Sheen is so miscast that I found myself wondering when the film’s real hero was going to show up.¬† I had some hope when James Spader popped up in a supporting role but no, the lead character here is Bud Fox and he’s played by Charlie Sheen.

Not surprisingly, this is pretty much a male-dominated film.¬†¬†There’s only two notable female characters in the film.¬† Darryl Hannah plays a ditz¬†and Sean Young plays a bitch and neither one gets a chance to even have fun with the stereotypes.¬† However, we all know that this film is really just about Gordon Gekko plunking his twanger over money and Bud Fox jackin’ the beanstalk to Gekko.

However, once you see Michael Douglas’s performance as Gordon Gekko, it’s a bit easier to understand why he causes Bud to walk Willie the One-Eyed Wonder Worm.¬† Douglas truly is amazing in this role.¬† In fact, Douglas is so charismatic in the role that it actually hurts the movie.¬† It’s hard to take much pleasure in listening to Martin Sheen talk about how much he loves his union when you realize that all he’s doing is taking up time that could have been devoted to Michael Douglas fucking over poor people.¬† I don’t know if a bad film can ever be truly redeemed by just one good performance but Douglas definitely makes Wall Street — with all of its awkward moralizing and sexist (and sexual) confusion — worth seeing.

As little as I thought of Wall Street, I still found myself excited about seeing the sequel.¬† Why?¬† Because I knew Michael Douglas was coming back and Martin Sheen wasn’t.¬† Perhaps, I thought, this sequel will simply focus on Gekko being an¬†over-the-top, charming¬†viper¬†instead of forcing us to sit through a repeat of the first film’s heavy-handed moralizing and¬†simplistic political posturing.¬† Of course, I was wrong but that’s another review for another day.

Oh, one last note: Oliver Stone’s direction is far better than his script.¬† I once read an old review from Pauline Kael¬†in which she said that Oliver Stone directed “as if someone held a gun to his head and shouted, ‘Go!'”¬† and this is certainly the case with Wall Street.¬† That said, I still find it hard to stay interested in any scene that features stock brokers screaming at each other and tossing around little bits of paper.¬† Seriously, how does the Stock Market work?¬† Whenever I see any footage from the New York stock exchange, it just looks incredibly silly.

The Walking Dead – Behind the Scenes Sizzle Reel (AMC)

It’s now just a little over a month to go before one of the most anticipated new shows on TV hits the airwaves. AMC’s tv series adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s critically-acclaimed and fan favorite comic book series The Walking Dead will premiere on Halloween night 2010 at 10pm. The show will also premiere within days in over 40-plus countries which would be an unprecedented feat for a first time tv series.

Frank Darabont and his band of writers seem to have taken Kirkman’s story and made the necessary changes to make it work on tv. One aspect of Kirkman’s storytelling was how some people thought it to be too expositionary. This left each page with too much talking while at the same time not fleshing out each character to be distinct from each other. While I can see that I don’t buy into that particular flaw in the story too much. This is a story of the end of the world and stress definitely plays a key role in how everyone reacts to their new environment.

From the AMC “sizzle” reel the network has released just in the last few days it looks like the show’s writers have taken Kirkman’s story, ideas and dialogue and made them flow much more naturally. Final judgement on whether this actually happens will have to wait until the show premieres, but Darabont has always been a writers first and filmmaker second so I definitely have much faith that he and his team will come out with a great product that takes the best from the comic book and trims the fat and gristle off by the wayside.

There’s also one thing the “sizzle” reel above shows which should answer the trepidations that some of the comic book’s fans have had since hearing th news of the adaptation. This was whether AMC will keep the gore and violence from the comic books or will it be toned down. From the looks of some of the scenes shown in the reel above the gore and violence is on-hand and from the look of things this may be the most gory thing on tv that’s not premium cable. I see blood, gore, viscera and all the nice gooey things that happens when a body’s insides are exposed to the environment. YUM!

Halloween 2010 needs to come now, but until then revisiting the comic books the series is adapting is a good way to pass the time.

Source: io9

AMV of the Day: Toradora – A Thousand Miles

[spoilers within video]

Another AMV from the romantic-comedy anime series Toradora! is my pick for AMV of the Day.

There’s not much else to say about this series other than it’s a must-see. Unlike most romantic-comedy series this one actually tries to tone down the comedic aspect of the series, but not enough to give the whole thing a too-serious vibe. The characters have believable motivations and reactions to the goings-on around them. The series also dos a great job of matching up several characters initially only to have these matches re-done until the couples people want together end up together.

This particular AMV was created by Youtube user ChangitoLoko who also made four other AMV’s using Toradora! and its many characters. I will take a huge flying leap and guess that ChangitoLoko really enjoyed this series. The song he used for this AMV is Vanessa Carlton’s song, A Thousand Miles. This song has been used in many other romantic-based AMV’s in the last. I really liked this song as paired with scenes and characters from Toradora! though there might be spoilers for those who haven’t seen the anime so beware.

Creator: ChangitoLoko

Song: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton

Anime: Toradora!

Avatar 2: Na’vi Holocaust

Dear James Cameron,

Hi, my name is Lisa Marie Bowman and I hate just about every movie you’ve ever made.¬† Well, that’s not totally true.¬† First off, I haven’t seen every movie you’ve ever made.¬† And I have to admit that when I was 12, I would cry and cry whenever I saw Titanic.¬† So, let’s just say that I hate Avatar and I thought it was kinda fun to watch your ex-wife kick your ass at the Oscars earlier this year.

From my research, it appears that you take issue with people who disagree with you or who dare to suggest that you might not be the greatest filmmaker since DeMille.¬† So, let me just add that this letter is being written by me and me only.¬† When you send out your army of Orcs to punish the heretic at Through The Shattered Lens, they need only come for me.¬† I may think you’re just a cranky, old dumbfug¬†toadsucker but that’s my opinion and mine alone.

See, here’s what Arleigh had to say about Avatar.

And here’s what I said.

See,¬†good people¬†can have differing opinions.¬† Unfortunately, just judging from some of your comments in the past, I don’t think you quite understand that.¬† Maybe that explains why, rather than defend your movie, you always seem to end up accusing your critics of supporting global warming and the war in Iraq.¬† Maybe that’s why the few Oscars that Avatar won were all accepted by¬†balding little eunuchs who spent their whole acceptance speech praising your name as if they knew that if they didn’t, you’d end up going all psycho killer on them.

But I’m getting off topic.

This letter was inspired by the news that you’re apparently planning on setting the sequel to Avatar underwater.

Wow, that sounds really, really …. boring.

Listen, James, I’m going to help you out.¬† Here’s my plotline for Avatar 2, which, trust me, is a lot more interesting than anything you’re planning on doing.

The film opens on Earth.¬† As you explained in the first film, there “is no green” on Earth.¬† But there are television networks and there are documentary crews.¬† One of these networks has recently sent a group of young filmmakers to Pandora.¬† Their assignment?¬† To track down the Na’vi and to make a documentary about these “brutal savages” and their life on the green hell that is Pandora.

(Yes, James, this film is a prequel.¬† Perhaps you could have Jake’s brother getting murdered in the background of one of the opening New York City shots.)

However, a week after the documentary crew first arrived on Pandora, all contact with them has been lost.  The television networks hires a portly anthropology professor to go to Pandora and find out what has happened.  Before the professor leaves on his mission, he is informed that the documentarians frequently staged the very atrocities that their films are known for.

Our anthropology professor — let’s call him Nick, since I know you like to dumb things down — goes to Pandora.¬† With the help of a native guide, he manages to track down the Na’vi¬†and win their trust.¬† Taken to the Na’vi¬†village, he discovers that the remains of the documentary crew are hanging from the Soul Tree.¬† He realizes that they were captured and eaten by the Na’vi.¬† However, the Na’vi¬†did not destroy any of the film crew’s cameras.¬† The footage of their final days in the jungles of Pandora has been preserved.¬† Nick steals the footage and manages to make it back to “civilization” even as hordes of angry Na’vi chase after him (not mention Sigourney Weaver who can do a cameo somewhere around here).

While all this is going on, the film will occasionally pause to show grainy stock footage of various jungle animals being killed in various sickening ways.

Nick returns to Earth with the film.  Sitting in a dark theater with the television executives, Nick views the footage.

Now, James, this is the tricky part.¬† The “found footage” will dominate the last 40 minutes of Avatar 2.¬† It’s important that the footage look so authentic that, for decades after, various dumbfugs¬†will swear that they’re watching actual footage of actual people being eaten on camera.¬† So, you’re going to have to abandon the 3-D for this part of the film.¬† Instead, you’ll have to develop a multi-billion dollar process that will make the film look damaged.¬† I’m talking about random scratches, unsynchronized sound, solarization, the whole deal.¬†

As for the footage itself, this is what will make Avatar 2 special.¬† We’ll see how the documentary crew staged “reality.”¬† We’ll watch as they set a Na’Vi¬†village on fire and how they arrogantly assumed that they’re superior to the natives.¬† Finally, however, the Na’Vi¬†will strike back and, in the film’s final moment, we’ll watch as the documentarians¬†are eaten by the Na’Vi while their own cameras silently record the massacre.

We’ll call it Avatar 2: Na’Vi Holocaust.

I think it could be a winner.


Lisa Marie