Thursday, September 29, 2011


James Gunn has quite the credentials. His first screenplay for a feature film is the critically panned Specials, starring Rob Lowe. He followed this with the live-action take of Scooby-Doo. Two years later, he must have realized what a huge mistake that crap was, because he went on to try something (slightly) more respectful and dignifying: Zach Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead. Looks like Gunn's career is taking a nice turn, after all! Oh...wait. Scratch that. The same year he helped scribe Scooby-Doo: Monster's Unleashed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Beaver

Whatever your opinions are about fellow actor and director Mel Gibson, it's difficult to deny that inside that very disturbed and perhaps disfinctional brain of his, there is a portion of it that is actually quite talented. Maybe even, dare I say, quite brilliant. His directing abilities demonstrate this, because Apocalypto is a serious (and gorgeous) feat to behold. His acting performances are almost always rather powerful, although they certainly have their ups and downs. I will, until my last dying breath, defend the awesomeness of Payback. It is a constantly overlooked modern take on the film noir genre, and Gibson is top-notch. Call it a guilty pleasure, Rotten Tomatoes be damned. Despite this, his "retribution" has still yet to make an appearance. At least, in the eyes of the public. However, there is little doubt that his performance in Jodie Foster's The Beaver sought to change that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hobo With a Shotgun

Watching the trailer, one might wonder how a trailer so gory, so violent, so grotesque and so tasteless could possibly be stretched out into a 90 minute feature. Not only does it deliver to your disgusting needs, it shoots you in the balls with it. Still interested, sicko? Well, once upon a time in Hollywood, directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino wanted to make a film that would be a throwback to the "classic" grindhouse features, which mainly consisted of exploitation B-movies.  An exploitation film is essentially a genre that one-ups another to the point where if the film could vomit, it would vomit that genre into your eyes forever. So, the two collaborated to release Grindhouse, a double-feature including Planet Terror and Death Proof, directed by Rodriguez and Tarantino, respectively. If you saw the film in theaters, you got a special treat. Before the opening of each film, a series of fake trailers were shown, each offering something more ridiculous and insane than the features succeeding them. What's special about these trailers is that they were significant efforts by some famous names. Such trailers include Werewolf Women of the SS, directed by Rob Zombie and starring Nicolas Cage; Thanksgiving, directed by Eli Roth; Don't, directed by Edgar Wright, and Machete, directed by Rodriguez himself. As you might know, Machete was later made into a feature film, because of the praise received from the trailer. As you might not know, the script for Machete was actually already written several years prior to the release of the fake trailer, which rekindled his interest in finally bringing it to the big screen. The last fake trailer to precede Grindhouse wasn't created by a famous director, but rather a winner of Rodriguez's "South by Southwest" contest. The winner's trailer would be featured in Grindhouse. As you might have guessed, the winner was Hobo With a Shotgun. Obviously, someone must have appreciated the trailer, as it too was later shot as a feature-length.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Dollars Trilogy, Part III: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Wow. So, yeah. With The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Sergio Leone proves not only that is he not a crock (as if anyone doubted it), but he is a master of the craft. This is entirely predictable with just the opening credits, which has jumped to my top ten opening sequences ever. Although it is only an animated sequence, Leone's use of sound and Ennio Marricone's incredible composition is absolutely brilliant. This is easily the best use of my newly acquired surround sound system, and reminded me of why I installed it in the first place. In my review for the previous film, I stated that For a Few Dollars more essentially one-ups A Fistful of Dollars in every way. It is more than fair to say the same for The Good, the Bad, and Ugly. Leone takes the trilogy to places that I never expected it go.