1.26.2008

Daniel Day Lewis talks about Heath Ledger on Oprah

I've thought DANIEL DAY LEWIS was the man since seeing GANGS OF NEW YORK. Yeah, I came into that awful late right? Lewis is a brilliant actor all around, and the work he does for his roles is phenomenal. When I heard about HEATH LEDGER locking himself in a hotel room for a month to get into the role of THE JOKER for the upcoming BATMAN film, I immediately thought of LEWIS' own methods for getting into character.

Anyway - LEWIS was on OPRAH via satellite to talk about his Oscar nom for THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and this is what he talked about instead. I cried watching this, and just wanted to share b/c it just makes me respect Lewis even more. (((and thanks to Joe aka Danny Tanner for hooking me up with this clip)))

1.22.2008

Cloverfield Review and How the Web was Won // Goodbye to Heath Ledger

MAJOR SPOILERS AND SPECULATION AHEAD!!!!!!!

1st of all - let me address those nay-sayers that keep comparing CLOVERFIELD to THE HOST. Stop it darn it! It just doesn't make any sense except that they both have a monster in them. The monsters hardly compare in size, and the stories are only similar in one plot point (the rescue of someone close to the main character). Producer JJ Abrams, the director Matt Reeves and writer Drew Goddard were trying to conceive of a "Monster Movie" told from the perspective of people rather than a gods-eye view so to speak. The film succeeded in doing this, and with great intensity... almost to the point of being a disturbing film. The thing that really makes this film stellar is the fact that you can check it out as just a Monster Movie, or you can dig further into the internet hype and find out more than you could ever want in a background story.

The premise of the film is simple enough - a group of friends gather for a going-away party for their close friend Rob whom just accepted a job in Japan. Rob is also in love with another party-goer, Lily. During the party we see some small character development then BOOM! The party, and the audience is thrown into the action of a giant monster attacking the city. Told entirely from the shaky amateur perspective of Hudson aka "Hud's" handheld camera that was meant to be taking party testimonials, the story does not stop of one heart-racing moment. Only 1 hour and 24 minutes long, with the set-up taking roughly 20 minutes before the monster makes his first appearance, it is not drawn out nor does it slow down enough to let you catch your breath. I found myself tense for about an hour afterwards as the adrenaline still rushed through my veins.

Stories of motion sickness are grossly overrated (http://www.horror-movies.ca/horror_10437.html). NYPD BLUE, the BOURNE films, etc were also touted as "too shaky" but in reality this just makes the film more "real" as I see it. The monster is interesting as are the "flea"-like creatures that drop from the beast and create havoc of their own. Not enough Monster for you? Was there not enough World War II in CASABLANCA for you? The Monster is simply a back-drop for a killer premise; at the heart of this is a love story of survival, not the monster. Lily and Rob share an intimate time about a month before the party that is also documented (using the same tape to show the "date" between Rob and Lily is both a smart way of showing "flashbacks" as well as further solidifying the relationship between the 2 characters. Rob's heart-to-heart conversation on camera with his brother and Hud (the camerman) also give you more insight into just how much Rob cares for Lily.

I have not wanted to see another movie in the theater again more than I am anticipating seeing this one. The darkness and uber-sound systems of the theater perfectly lend themselves to an in-depth movie experience. The other idea of "how long could a handheld camera battery last?" - well the movie is set in real-time, there are many breaks in the recording, so the camera would be turned off at those moments. A camera battery can last 1 hour and 24 minutes if turned on and off.
=====================

But while I want to continue to sing CLOVERFIELD's praises, the real star was the internet saturation that led up to the opening of this film. In a word - brilliant. Let me break it down for ya, BRICKTHROWER style!
7.12.07 - my first column about CLOVERFIELD is published, go here for the early news:
http://norestforthewretched.blogspot.com/2007/07/overkill-of-cloverfield.html

After this column was posted, news quieted down for awhile.
Then there came the talk of SLUSHO, after intense investigation of the trailer showed a person wearing a Slusho t-shirt. The SLUSHO web site is still active(http://www.slusho.jp/), as is the number to help promote SLUSHO products, which I called just a couple days ago. More on that later.

Slusho was first mentioned in another JJ ABRAMS project, TV's ALIAS, and was expanded to be a division of the TAGRUATO Corporation(www.tagruato.jp), a company dedicated to some unspecified ocean research.

About a month ago, TV trailers started popping up, including a new look at the monster. CTHULU-like creature myths were dispelled, in favor of a mutant blue whale instead.

Then enter "T.I.D.O. Wave," (http://www.tidowave.com) a eco-activist (terrorist?) group whose soul target was the evil Tagruato Corporation . Tagruato's web site indicated that TIDOWave not only hacked their web site, but had done even more elaborate damage about a week before the film CLOVERFIELD was set to release.

A fake newscast circulated the internet (http://www.break.com/index/leaked-scene-from-cloverfield.html), showing a Tagruato Ocean Rig (the Chuai Station) being utterly demolished and sinking into the sea. Tagruato publicly blamed TIDOWave , although an unknown dark spot can be seen underneath the rig as it is sinking, as well as cell phone footage from inside the rig broadcasting a rather monstrous-sounding roar.

This rig was located off the coast of Connecticut. And come Friday, the release of the movie, trying to access both Tagruato's and TIDOWave's web sites proved fruitless. Tagruato had one simple page with Japanese (which I can't read) and a Danger "!" sign while TIDOWave's site shows only a unreadable unclickable ghost of the former page, with a "INTERNAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT" stamp in-layed on top of it. What does all this mean? Well if we look at this in real time - that damn monster hit the US shores on 1-18-08 and the day after the "goverment" shut down the parties involved.

Checking SLUSHO's web site again, it is still up and running, and reading the "ABOUT" section gives you even further info into the secret ingredient of the drink and the mention of a deep sea product that gives Slusho its special energy (addiction?). Calling the number on the site only led me to a recording, 1st in Japanese, then in English, reporting on the situation of the Chuai Rig disaster. Listen for yourself @ TEL# +01181354036318

Want to see the effect of SLUSHO - check out this site:
www.jamieandteddy.com

PASSWORD: jllovesth

Another blog of interest: http://tagruato.blogspot.com/

Now how's that for using the Web right to promote your movie? I say - TEH AWESOME! While several sites are still up and running and offer plenty of valuable information in regards to CLOVERFIELD and its background story on where the monster came from. My final thought - SLUSHO / Tagruato was mining the ocean floors for their "energy" product which unleashed the monster that attacked NYC. Check out the sites for yourself and make your call...but remember the post-credit message that is barely audible but just as haunting:

"It's still alive."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1k7Tg0jgJg
================
And finally, I just wanted to mention the tragic news that Australian Heath Ledger was found dead yesterday, at the (magic) age of 28. Whether it be an accidental overdose or god forbid, a suicide, my sadness remains the same. An actor who was definitely well-respected and on his way to the top, too soon to befell such a tragedy. He will be missed and it makes his turn as the Joker in the upcoming THE DARK KNIGHT even more poignant. RIP HEATH LEDGER.
=================
ANOTHER SPECIAL THANKS to M. Sean McManus, whose research and edits really helped this piece come together.
=================
~Till Next Time Kittlings.

1.15.2008

Garney is Legend - An Interview with Comic Book Artist Ron Garney / ROCK OF LOVE S. 2 / Josh Blaylock Blog


Ron Garney has been a well-respected comic book artist for years, and I’ve had a bit of a crush on him for just about as long. If you’ve ever met him at a con, you know he’s personable and a bit crazy – especially when best friend Howard Porter is by his side. Garney has been working on Spider-man for some time, but coming soon he will be making the transition to Wolverine with new writer Jason Aaron. On top of that his illustrations earned him attention of Hollywood and the makers of I Am Legend as he was asked to design characters and costumes for the ghoulies that plague survivor (and super-star) Will Smith in the film. I decided to get some info on his movie work as well as his consistent and beautiful work in the comic book world.

Mary Brickthrower : I can’t deny it Ron, I’ve always thought of you as rugged and quite handsome. Is your facial hair still intact? Or are you trying to get rid of that “lumberjack of the comic book world” image?

Ron Garney : It is, it is....I didn't realize that was the image I had, but I wouldn't say I would get rid of it either, but I change up the shape once in a while...

MB : Oh if your image isn’t “lumberjack,” then allow me to be the first to push the trend!!! As for the facial hair, what’s your favorite “shape?”

RG : Lol --very slim goatee.

MB : You were at DC Comics for quite awhile. Was the split from them and the move to Marvel amicable? Would you ever consider working from them again?

RG : Sure it was amicable, those pricks. Just kidding. Yeah, I probably would [work with them again], if the right offer came along but right now, I'm happy where I am. Being back at Marvel has been a lot of fun, with guys like Axel [Alonso] and the creative teams I’ve been working with. Plus the characters are so damn cool....

MB : Every time I’ve been to Pitt-Con and hung out at the lobby bar, you and Howard Porter were always mixing it up, and seem to be the best of pals. Has his stay at DC and your move to Marvel made it hard for you guys to keep in touch?

RG : No Not at all—Howard’s the godfather of my son. We talk all the time, and still mix it up. We tend to feed off each others insanity...

MB : That’s good to hear. But back to comics…How has the transition from Spider-man to Wolverine? Are you happy with the change in characters?

RG : Yeah I am. Any chance I get to do Wolverine in his own book is fun. The transition has been great, as it’s a new writer with some new and different things to draw...Spider-man was so tied in to the whole Civil war thing.

MB : So your on I AM LEGEND work started as a couple costume designs and turned into some mad Garney-love from the movie’s producers. How did that come about?

RG : Well --just that they were looking for a guy with a certain look to the figures, and my name was mentioned. Then at some point and they contacted me. It started out as a small job but turned fairly large over the course of six months. Too late to make it into the credits though....

MB : No mention in the credits? Well, there is always the DVD release. What exactly did you end up doing for them? And is Will Smith just as nice as everyone says he is?

RG : Well I did about 45 illustrations of the creatures in their costumes. And yeah, Will seemed like a great guy. He came over on the set and shook my hand and welcomed me "to the team.” He was very friendly, and at the wrap party I got to talk with him and his wife (Jada Pinkett Smith) and introduced him to my wife, etc.

MB : Sweet! Rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite must be pretty cool. And now you must forgive me, but I am not familiar with any creator-owned work you have done, past or present. Is this an endeavor you’ve ever pursued or just find yourself too busy with your exclusive Marvel gig to work on anything yourself?

RG : Exactly, I’ve always been so busy and life keeps happening, that I never get the chance, although I have a lot of ideas down on paper. Someday, although I’m no spring chicken in this biz so I better get cracking!!

MB : No “Spring Chicken” maybe, but I must say you’re still thriving as an amazing artist. One last question on par with a possible creator-owned work: Who is a writer/creator you would love to work with that you haven’t got a chance to work with yet?

RG : Clint Eastwood. Lol. It’s a dream I have.

MB : I would love to be a Positive Percy for ya Ron, but that is quite a dream you got there. Good luck though sir – and aim high! Thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me!

RG : You’re welcome, fair Mary.

======

Be sure to keep on eye on the newest PREVIEWS, where Ron Garney’s art on Wolverine will be shown for the 1st time.

======

If you are on MYSPACE (who isn't anymore) and LURVE comic books - add creator and overall smart guy/Devil's Due head honcho Josh Blaylock as a friend and be sure to subscribe to his blog - he's posted his first "VIDEO BLAY-LOG" with the hopes of more to come. You can find his page by going here: http://www.myspace.com/joshblaylock

And for my fellow reality TV lovers, be sure to keep your Sunday night’s free so you don’t miss the skanky spectacle that is Rock of Love 2!!! More hoes, some old hoes, and I’m now totally convinced that Bret Michaels has either SEVERAL toupee’s that he wears with his signature bandanas, or he gets extensions put in. Just my personal opinion.

NEXT WEEK: The big pay-off – CLOVERFIELD review and more sites to seek out!

========

~Till Next Time Kittlings!!!

1.06.2008

24 Hours.12 Bad Super-Hero Movies.Part 2

Movie #7 – BARB WIRE
10:28pm. This movie positively SCREAMS early 90’s. The opening scene is just plain ridiculous. It felt like a scene straight from Skinamax. What better way to introduce our “hero” than a striptease, water hose and a rock version of “Word up.” Getting to see Pamela Anderson’s nips in the first 3 minutes of the film is pretty awesome (<=this be sarcasm kittlings!). I can imagine all the Baywatch addicts creaming their jeans over this. It also provides an opportunity for Anderson to use her catchphrase (“Don’t call me babe”) right before she pierces a guy right between the eyes with a stripper heel. Hurrah!

Poor Barb lives in a the “free” sector of post-apocalyptic America – refuge for skeeves, criminals, low-lifes and crooked cops. Barb runs a club that doesn’t make enough cash so to keep it open she moonlights as a bounty hunter posing as a hooker. I imagine this is probably where Dog the Bounty Hunter got his fashion sense as leather and silver is the name of the game with our gal Pammy.

This blind dude (yeah! 4th blind person appearance) played by MTV’s Dead at 21 “it” boy Jack Noseworthy hangs out at the bar a lot, and the music slips between a girly goth house band and generic rock spun by a black DJ that is there just to announce when cops are in the building. I seem to have taken the most notes about this movie or more importantly to document the madness that Jacob and I start descending into. We paused the movie several times to act out scenes. While the dialogue was campy and horrible, I have to admit the story was not. It was just far to involved and convoluted for this type of film. This a Pam Anderson film after all – the last thing I was expecting was having to pay attention to a sub-plot.

Another noticeable trait of this film is how Anderson is filmed. In almost ever shot, Pam’s face is rather obscured by volumes of fake blond hair while her cleavage is always completely exposed. Here’s looking at you…boobs. Yes, this movie is a loose Casablanca homage which make it even funnier. Barb is a good girl despite her depraved surroundings and in the end she saves the day. It was more fun to wait for something ridic to happen rather than actually pay attention to the movie. By the end of thisl film Jacob and I were doing congratulatory shots for making it this far in our quest for lameosity.

Jacob noted that this is the only film we watched where the bad guy dies from a fall and not by the hero, (think the original 1987 BATMAN), while there are variations in the other films we watch, this film follows that formula to a T.

MOVIE #8 – BATMAN AND ROBIN
12:11AM – While Batman Forever was not really good (Batman Returns wasn’t too hot either) – they had redeeming elements, namely a memorable villain (Riddler by Jim Carrey and Catwoman by Michelle Pfeiffer respectively) – Batman and Robin offers nothing except bat nipples and this alarming piece of dialogue:

“Suit me up Uncle Alfred.” :shudders:

Oh Joel Schumacher, how you do love black lights! They are so prevalent in this movie that I think they should’ve been billed over Alicia Silverstone’s incredibly lazy performance. No worries though – Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze have more than enough chutzpah to propel this movie forward because heaven knows Clooney was leaning hard on his looks in this film.

Oh dear god, the bastardization of Bane is exquisitely awful! The man that broke Batman’s back and known for his self-taught intelligence in the comic books is boiled down to a retarded strongman (more on him later).

While Chris O’Donnell follows the franchise from the 3rd film, it is poor Alfred who died while this film was made that suffered the most. He is given Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon as a niece that arrives randomly and steals motorcycles from Bruce Wayne’s garage for illicit racing purposes. Motorcycle racing with Coolio afforded a virtual blacklight festival for Schumacher. I can see that German goober squealing with delight at the thought of blacklit midget punks with Mohawks! Oh joy!

Let’s get back to the villains. Poison Ivy begins as a homely botanist (homely = brown hair and glasses – damn I just love that stereotype) that is “killed” by her superior after witnessing his master plan to produce “super soldiers” with the use of some poison plant chemical called venom. Hence Bane’s creation, although the reason for his mental retardation is never really touched upon. Ivy ends up being reborn as evil red-headed vixen Poison Ivy who uses pheremones and sex appeal to mesmerize men and super cute little pissing contests/metrosexual fights between the “old married couple” of Batman and Robin. Luckily there is no crying between them; if tears had fallen then I’m sure some poor assistant to Clooney would’ve slipped in the puddle of guy-liner.

Mr. Freeze is Arnold Schwarzenegger doing every one-liner they could think of pertaining to cold, ice, or freeze. If Mr. Freeze is a doctor in this movie – why doesn’t he go by Doctor Freeze? Mr. Freeze can’t leave his ice cave at all (this cave of ice is an exercise in poor scene production – check out the stryofoam given some extra glitter to sell us on the fact that it’s “ice”) unless in his plastic---er, I mean HEAVY METAL ARMOR freeze suit. And since they couldn’t make the suit neon because is obviously needed to be HEAVY METAL ARMOR, Schumacher put a glowing neon plate in Arnie’s mouth just to make sure something on him was glowing.

I’ve seen this movie several times. Hell I’ll admit it: I saw this movie IN the theater. Jacob had never seen the entire film but this really should be required watching for anyone that needs to know why Batman Begins was hailed as such a redeeming film by fanboys and fans alike. Batman simply loses all sense of cool, mystique and darkness when everything he owns is lit up under blacklights in all its neon glory. But let me make this very very clear – STILL BETTER THAN DAREDEVIL. Not a doubt in my mind.

Movie #9 – CATWOMAN
2:21am –I used to tout this as the WORST super-hero movie I had ever seen. I had the pleasure of reviewing it back for one of my old writing gigs, and delighted in making fun of just about every aspect of this film. Then I saw Daredevil…so here’s to mocking the 2nd worst super-hero film I’ve ever seen!

Halle Berry won a Razzie for her turn as Patience Price aka not the real Catwoman so no worries about continuity, origin stories, or anything in the DC Universe that might hinder this interesting take on Catwoman. When I say interesting, I really mean dreadfully annoying. CGI cats bring Patience back to life after her mean bosses try to off her (silly designer saw more than she was supposed to in a lab late one night) and she starts climbing around the head of her couch and sleeping on shelves…because, well…she’s a cat! Duh! She meets some creepy cat lady that tells her all about her new powers and with a hot new outfit and only a little bit of stealing, CGI Halle Berry goes out to avenge the baddies that sought to kill her which turns out to be just one baddie: Sharon Stone with a face that can’t be damaged (yes – that’s her only power).

Benjamin Bratt is in the film as well as Berry’s love interest. That cute boy should’ve stayed on Law and Order where he belonged. While Berry gets props for acknowledging the lameness of this film and accepting her Razzie, she didn’t learn her lesson and has gone on to make several more awful films. None have topped the ridiculousness of this CATWOMAN however. Not yet, anyway.

I have stopped drinking Sparks at this point in our venture due to the heartburn that it started giving me. Honestly I think the only thing I was doing was plodding along with note-taking and constant thoughts of why this seemed like a good idea in the 1st place.

MOVIE #10 SPIDER-MAN 3
4:14am –This movie suffers under the weight of just TOO MANY. Too many plot lines. Too many villains. Too many love interests. I don’t have much to say about this movie except that Topher

Grace should’ve been in it more, Gwen Stacy seemed like an afterthought, and Stan Lee is in it, where he gets to say his signature “nuff said” to Peter Parker. Bruce Campbell makes his required cameo as a maitre de at the restaurant where Peter intends to propose to Mary Jane but sadly they break up before than can happen.

I can say that I was almost into this movie until the symbiote stuff that infects Peter’s mind also seems to act as a hair gel that pushes his hair forward. The “stride down the street” montage is laughable at best.

Convenient that Topher Grace aka Eddie Brock is in the same church that Peter Parker decides to rip off the symbiote goo from her visage and even more convenient that Eddie is right below him to get soaked with aforementioned symbiote goo.

Trilogies mean bigger, better…whatever. I’m sick of this idea that you need more than one villain when making a sequel. Where is this rule stated and where is the evidence that it works? IT DOESN’T. The straight-up story with Doc Ock from Spider-man 2 sustained the film from beginning to end and made for epic fight scenes unto itself. Throw out Sandman, keep Venom and sure, even keep Harry Osbourne in for the little time that he is a “villain,” – but no need to up the villain ante and hope that something will stick. Nothing sticks in the movie except for Spidey’s webs. J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) will forever be the best personification of a comic book character EVER and the best part of this franchise. Nuff said bitches.


MOVIE #11 JUDGE DREDD
7:34am – Morning hath broken, and my will had too at this point. We downloaded a bootleg of this film from the web, and it turned out to be a bootleg with Russian subtitles so that was pretty fun. Sylvester Stallone plays Judge Dredd, the absolute best of the “judges” where crime is sentenced on the street level, no need for pesky due process and all that junk. This movies was made in 1995 which completely amazes me because is looks straight outta the 80’s. I often get this movie confused with Stallone’s other futuristic venture – Demolition Man – but Diane Lane is the na├»ve counterpart as opposed to Sandra Bullock.

Rob Schneider offers the comic relief but Stallone’s dialogue and dialect alone is comedy enough. The Costumes are straight out of the comic book, although I’m really not sure how much else is. My note-taking gets more erratic and illegible at this point in the game and my only thoughts throughout this movie involve wondering why they gave Stallone blue contacts and Max Von Sydow agreed to be a part of this drivel.

Some psychotic "clone" is released from prison and commits a crime under Judge Dredd's name, driving the plot where our hero must clear his name. Unlike the comic, the faces of judges are shown, and also unlike the comic, a love interest is developed between Stallone and Lane's characters.

Post-apocalyptic worlds is a recurring theme in a lot of these movies. And I’m thinking at this point if I had to pick one post-apocalyptic world to live in I would say “F You!” to all the aforementioned and go look for some nice housing in Blade Runner territory. The clothing is much better in that dystopia too.

And how could I forget - this movie has the immortal "I am the law" line delivered by Stallone in what seems like one syllable of pure awesome!!!!! Best part of the movie. Also, only real part of the dialogue I remember.

Movie #12 SUPERMAN IV
9:17am – The homestretch. To start this film was like seeing the end in sight. I could relax in a sense, knowing that after this, the 4th and final Superman installment with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, I would be able to go to bed and say sayonara to every bad super-hero movie that had come before me in this 24 hour period. Jacob and I did our last congratulatory shots of Jack Daniels (Green label) and commenced with the film.

Superman gets all United Nations on our asses and decides to rid the world of all nuclear weapons. Lex Luthor (now with hair! played by almost bald but not quite Gene Hackman) and his nephew take a strand of Superman's hair, attach it to a nuclear missle and let Supes hurl the nuke (and all other nukes on earth) into the sun. Through this catalyst of the sun, the hair, and the nuke, NUCLEAR MAN is born, Superman's evil clone.
Let the battles begin!!!!

Nuclear Man is sustained by the light of the sun or equally powerful artificial light. Superman almost thwarts Nuclear Man by trapping him in an elevator on the moon (doesn't this concept make perfect sense to you?) except a little crack in the elevator provides Nuclear Man enough light to get out of this trap and the clone and Supes duke it out on the moon for awhile. Superman is driven into the ground by the brute force of Nuclear Man, who takes the opportunity for his final evil deed.

Nuclear Man falls for this chick Lacy and kidnaps her and takes her into space (where she can breathe even without air - cool!) - Superman saves her and traps Nuclear Man in the core of a nuclear power plant, puts Lex Luthor in jail, and returns Lacy to earth. All in a day's work for the man of steel.

This movie was just ridiculous. Christopher Reeve helped write it which makes me think that he was trying to push some message about nuclear energy and world peace, but in the end all I saw was a lot of fighting in space and a clone (that was NOT Bizarro) with inexplicable metal fingernails.

And then I went to bed.
==========================

What did I learn from this crazy experiment? Well, movies about comic books and super-heroes have no reason to stay true to their roots, creators, original ideas, fans, etc. Hollywood really thinks they can take something that was either well known or well-loved and make it better by tweaking what seems like minor issues within them only to learn that fanboy rage is strong and nitpicking is prevalent in this high-traffic "interweb" world. Sleep deprivation can make a bad movie funnier, but it can't make it better. And in the end, no matter which way you look at it, DAREDEVIL SUCKED!!!!
==========================
~Till Next Time Kittlings.

1.03.2008

Stay Tuned for Monday - January 7th

BAD SUPER-HERO MOVIES part deux returns on Monday.

Mary is quite under the weather and has some advice:
Stay away from the salad with salmon at SHOP 543 in philadelphia's Navy Yard.

That is all.

Thanks,