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Hollywood Needs New Boots

I read an article online yesterday that they’re rebooting the Tomb Raider movie franchise. The last movie in that series, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, came out in 2003. That’s less than ten years ago, and it starred people (Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Daniel Craig, etc.) who are both still alive and still famous. There was nothing wrong with the movies plot or production wise that screamed out for a do-over. Special effects haven’t advanced all that much in the intervening years, except for 3D, which doesn’t make things seem any more real, just more gimmicky. So why the hell do they need to reboot it?

It’s the same thing with Spider-Man. They’re rebooting that franchise with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker instead of Toby Maguire. It’s only been four years since Spider-Man 3 came out. Three years since the DVD. Geez Hollywood, how short do you think our attention spans ARE? And furthermore, why do we need to keep remaking the same old things anyway? Is there really such a shortage of new material that it’s necessary to reboot or remake all the old stuff instead? (Answer: no.)

The reason they keep doing this is because we, the ticket buying public, have shown a proclivity towards buying tickets for things we’re already familiar with. We play it safe, and go to yet another Saw movie instead of a new movie about a Brazilian door-to-door salesman with a briefcase full of murderous spiders. So when the studios are given the choice between rebooting a done-to-death franchise like Spider-Man that was popular just a few years ago and adapting something different, they’ll choose ol’ faithful almost every time.

If you ever find yourself getting annoyed by the fact that there are ten movies playing in your theater that don’t have one original idea among them, remember: it’s all your fault for buying a ticket to Transformers 2 that time. I told you it would come back to bite you.

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The Academy And I Agree!

In an unprecidented turn of events, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences and I actually agree on something. You will recall that back in January, I put The King’s Speech at the head of my Top 5 Movies List. And this Sunday, the Academy picked it as their best movie of the year too!

And moreover, I actually (mostly…. okay, at times) enjoyed watching the ceremony. They paired up a lot of the awards so they could save time by not having to switch presentors so much. There was still too much nervous sputtering and list-reading (though it was funny when Christian Bale forgot his own wife’s name… there seemed to be a lot of family-forgetting going on) and there were a couple of times where they actually had to introduce the people who were coming to introduce the people who would introduce the awards (dear Academy: too many introductions!)

But the hosts were actually young, attractive, and engaging enough to not make me want to mute them like I mute the speeches and that little video they did of James Franco and Anne Hathaway going through all the movies like in Inception was awesome!

Though the Acadmey and I didn’t agree on some things (Toy Story 3 as Best Animated Feature? Come on!) but we did agree on the most important thing: that The King’s Speech was awsome, and that though Inception looks and sounds nice, it’s not the best movie ever.

So in light of this rather unusual occurance, that I never thought would happen ever, I’d just like to say:

HAPPY HELL-FREEZING FLYING PIG DAY


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If I Ran the Academy


The Oscars are coming up this weekend (Sunday night) and although I do like Anne Hathaway and James Franco (who are hosting) I can’t really say that I’m looking forward to watching.

It’s annoying to see the entertainment news show hosts fawning over the celebrities and talking to them like they’re friends who hang out on a semi-regular basis (“Angelina! How are Brad and the kids!”) It’s excruciating to suffer through the awful, fumbling speeches, most of which seem to consist of long strings of names I’ve never heard of, and vicariously embarrassing to watch the winners get practically dragged off the stage because they wouldn’t shut up when the music started. And it’s boring to see the same pretentious bigwigs win over and over again when plenty of good movies never even got a chance at an award because they don’t fit into a category.

Barring a few interesting spots of entertainment (remember the shadow statue people?) it’s pretty much always the same thing, because you can only become the head of an organization like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by being around forever, by which time you have become an old fuddy duddy who is married to tradition.

If there was a young(er) person in charge (for the sake of argument, let’s say… me!) they would shake things up a bit. Here are the new rules I would make if by some hell-freezing chance I actually became the head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

No watch? No vote!

Currently there’s only one category where the members actually have to have seen the movie before they can vote: Best Picture. That leaves every other category open for guessing, sucking up, nepotism, and general idiocy. In my regime, if you haven’t seen every movie in the category, your vote goes in the shredder. No exceptions!

No speeches!

Yeah, yeah, a lot of people helped you get where you are. But the only people interested in hearing you sob out a list of names are the people on that list of names, not the millions of people who now have you on mute at home. So type up your speech and hand it to the web director, who will post it on the live blog. Anyone who cares can go read it. Save your sucking up for the after party and maybe we can get this thing down to less than nine hours.

No distribution, no nomination!

Sorry, indie filmmaker. That film you made in your garage might be the best thing ever made in the history of ever, but if it never made it into the big theaters, no one has seen it, therefore no one cares whether or not you win. In the new world order, only movies people have had a chance to see get on the TV broadcast. Everyone else can have their own little ceremony. Perhaps held in the garage.

No obscure categories on the air!

This means you, Documentary Short Subject. It’s the same principle as the distribution rule. If no one has ever been given a chance to see the short films you’ve made, your whole category is going to go by while viewers are in the kitchen making nachos in preparation for Best Actress. So either start putting your little shorts in front of feature films like the animated ones do, or you’re getting bumped to the off-air awards night.

Explain your frikking category, Oh My God.

Film people know about film, but if we’re going to broadcast your category’s awards for millions of people to see, you’d better make damn sure they actually know what you do. What, for instance, is the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing? Where is the line between Cinematography and Art Direction? People have no idea, so they zone out for your category. Make up a skit, do a blog entry, or just get up and talk about it, but explain yourselves, people. That’s an order.

Comedy gets a category. Deal with it.

Yeah, yeah, in insider circles comedy is about as respected as an armpit fart prodigy at music school, but comedy matters to everyone else. When they’re having a bad day, or a bad month, what do they want? Not your depressing dramas. They want a comedy that will make them feel better. A movie that can do that deserves a little respect. Obviously you can’t compare apples (drama) with oranges (comedy) so they’re getting their own category.

No more consolation prizes!

When there are two or more films with a pile of nominations each, one will win all the big awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, etc.) and the other will win something piddling (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, etc.). because you felt bad and you wanted to give them something at least. Well stop it. Vote for who you think is the best. No sympathy. No loyalty, no compromise.

Only one nomination for best pictures!

Big movies that get nominations in the double digits are taking up space in categories that could otherwise have accommodated a less than perfect film with stellar work in that category. So from now on, any movie that’s on the Best Picture list is not allowed to be nominated for anything else. It will be considered worthy in all categories, and everyone who worked on it shares the award, not just the producers.

I realize that my edicts would quickly piss off the members of the Academy enough that they’d form their own very-well-dressed lynching party, but if I could squeeze just one Oscar broadcast past them before I was run out of town, I think all the little people watching at home would appreciate it.

Go ahead, film snobs, feel free to bombard me with your dissenting opinions, but I warn you, I will not be swayed!

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Eragon: It’s Star Wars With Dragons

For a long time, I was completely puzzled by the fact that I liked the movie Eragon enough to buy a copy, but I couldn’t get through more than a chapter of the book version by Christopher Paolini before tossing it aside, annoyed at its juvenile language (he was, after all, fifteen when he wrote it) and blatant lifting of world rules from other stories. The world is heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings, the dragon rules are the same as the ones from Anne McCafferty’s Chronicles of Pern series, and so on.

Eragon the book vs the movie

Movie: awesome. Book: lame. Go figure.


I was rewatching the film for the first time in years the other day when it hit me: The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Pern weren’t the only things Paolini copied off of. The plot was lifted wholesale from Star Wars! I like Eragon because it’s basically A New Hope with dragons.


Eragon is Star Wars with dragons


Observe. Here is the plot of Eragon, with the Star Wars equivalencies in brackets. If you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading after three paragraphs. But keep in mind: if you’ve already seen Star Wars: A New Hope you already know the ending.

Eragon (Luke Skywalker), a young farm boy being raised in backwater called Carvahall (Tatooine) by his Uncle Garrow (Owen) is disappointed that he can’t go off and have adventures like his cousin (friend) Roran (Biggs). Then one day he comes across an egg (droid) that gives him a vision (hologram) of the princess Arya (Leia) who needs his help. The egg (droid) hatches into a dragon (runs away) and Eragon (Luke) must turn to the village crazy man Brom (Ben Kenobi) for help.


Arya is Princess Leia

Help me Brommy Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!


Eragon (Luke) find out that he is the last of the dragonriders (Jedi) who were all wiped out in a war over dragons (The Clone Wars) except for Brom (Ben), who is now in hiding in Carvahall (Tatooine). Chief bad guy Galbatorix (Grand Moff Tarkin) tracks the egg (droid) to Carvahal (Tatooine) and sends his underling Durza (Darth Vader) and his minions the Razac (Stormtroopers) to kill Eragon (Luke)’s Uncle Garrow (Owen) to try and get the egg (droid) back because it contains a dragon named Safira (Death Star plans) that could ruin them.


Brom is Ben Kenobi

Here, this is your father’s lightsaber… I mean sword.


Now that there’s nothing left in Carvahall (Tattooine) for Eragon (Luke), Brom (Ben) convinces him to go on a quest across the land (galaxy) to bring the dragon (Death Star plans) to the Varden (Rebel Alliance) who will use it to vanquish Galbatorix’s regime (The Empire). So first they travel to Darfit (Mos Eisley), which is a hive of scum and villainy, to get help on their travels. There they pick up a young warrior (pilot) named Murtagh (Han Solo) who will show them the way to the Boer Mountains (Alderaan). Before they can leave Darfit (Mos Eisley), they’re attacked by the Razac (Stormtroopers) and they have to high tail it out of there.

On the journey, Eragon (Luke) learns about magic (the Force) from Brom (Ben) and obsesses over the princess Arya (Leia). When Eragon (Luke) receives has a vision (feeling) that Arya is being held in a fortress (Death Star), he disobeys Brom (Ben) and goes looking for her in the dungeon (detention level). He is almost caught by Durza (Darth Vader) who can do a scary mind poke (force choke) but is helped out by Murtagh (Han) and rescued by Brom (Ben), who sacrifices himself to save Eragon (Luke).


Durza is Darth Vader

I will bend you to my magical will, etc.


Eragon (Luke), Mutagh (Han), and Arya (Leia) escape to the Boer Mountains (Yavin 4) on a dragon (Millennium Falcon) where the Varden (Rebel Alliance) has a secret hideout (base). Unfortunately they are followed by Galbatorix’s army (the Death Star), which is poised to wipe them out if they don’t do something quick.


X wings are dragons

Like blast them!


Eragon (Luke) suits up in armor (a flight suit) to use his skills as a dragonrider/magician (X-wing pilot/Jedi) to help the Varden (Rebel Alliance) win the battle. He hopes Murtagh (Han) will help out, but it turns out that he the son of their enemy (a scoundrel) and he is thrown in jail (takes off with his reward) instead. Eragon (Luke) is very effective against the enemy until he has to go head to head with Durza (Darth Vader) on dragons (starfighters). Eragon (Luke) uses his magic (force skills) to win, but his friend Safira (R2-D2) is badly injured and only help from Murtagh (Han), who came through at the last second, can save them.


Murtaugh is Han Solo

Yahoo! You’re all clear, kid! To do… whatever.


After this climax, Galbatorix’ regime (the Empire) is weakened and Eragon (Luke), Safira (the droids), Murtagh (Han), and Arya (Leia) are heroes.

It’s so obvious, I can’t believe I missed it when I watched it the first time. I’m not the only one who has noticed it, either. There’s a whole thread devoted to Eragon‘s similarities to Star Wars on IMDB. There are even a few tidbits (Eragon rushing off to the fortress like Luke rushed off to Bespin, the ending, Durza killing a minion with magic for screwing up and then promoting the one underneath him) that are lifted from The Empire Strikes Back.

Which begs the question: how did this get published, let alone made into a movie, and how long will it be before George Lucas figures it out and sues the pants off them?

And why do I still like this movie??

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Advice for People With No Valentines, Which I Have Learned From Watching Movies

Last year I wrote a list of unconventional Valentine’s Day movies to watch with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but if you’re like me, you have no Valentine for the upcoming holiday. When Monday rolls around, people like you and me have two choices. We can sit around going “boy, I sure hate Valentine’s Day” or we can get off our asses and go get ourselves a partner. How does one go about landing a boyfriend or girlfriend? Well, conventional wisdom states you should internet date or hang out in bars. But instead, try one of these sure-fire, guaranteed to work methods that I have learned from watching movies.

Get Fired

As movies like Morning Glory and How Do You Know show us, the instant you get fired from your job (as long as you work very hard, are not at all appreciated by your boss, and are fired through no fault of your own) you will immediately get a new and better job where there will be attractive people to date, or at least someone rich that you meet on a street corner who is willing to support you while you ponder your life choices.

Crash a Vehicle

This never fails. Crash a car, crash a plane, crash a train, crash a dogsled…you don’t even have to be driving it. All you have to do is be on it and a hero/heroine will swoop in out of nowhere a la Speed and sweep you off your feet. Or, if you happen to crash on a deserted island, whichever man/woman you happen to be traveling with or near will automatically become your boyfriend/girlfriend by the time you get back to civilization (see Romancing the Stone, Six Days, Seven Nights).

Move to the Middle of Nowhere

Persons with common sense would naturally assume that the bigger the city they move to the bigger the dating pool and therefore the greater the chances that they find a compatible mate. But these people are wrong. You need to move to the most godforsaken corner of nowhere in order to find your soul mate. It happened in Twilight, it happened in New in Town, and it will happen to you.

Kill Your Friend

Experience (gleaned from watching Life As We Know It, No Reservations, and Raising Helen) says that if you bump off your friend/relative and his/her partner, they will leave you their child and automatic pass into the land of significant otherdom. You may end up falling in love with a person you hate right now, but them’s the breaks.

Go on Vacation

This is probably the easiest one to accomplish on short notice (remember: Valentine’s Day is on Monday). It doesn’t have to be anywhere exotic or expensive, and you don’t even have to go alone. But leaving your home country is guaranteed to get you a hot partner, even if you don’t really want one. It worked in Eat, Pray, Love, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, French Kiss, and Letters to Juliet, so it must be true.

Become Terminally Ill

Sadly you’ll only get a couple of months of couples bliss out of this one, but it never fails, at least if you believe Nicholas Sparks. A better bet would be to try and get on the other side of the equation by hanging around sick people in the hospital. It worked for Jake Gyllenhaal in Love and Other Drugs and for Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy, though the trade off is usually having to look after them and then be sad when they die.

Become Embroiled in an International Conspiracy

This can be difficult to accomplish if you don’t work for the “State Department” (and by that I mean the fake State Department, the one that employs CIA agents), but if you believe Knight and Day, RED, and every James Bond movie ever made, all you have to do is hang around doing the things you normally do, like traveling on planes, answering phones in a call center, or being a nuclear scientist, and a hot secret agent will one day just fall into your lap accompanied by a whole lot of trouble. If you’re lucky, the hot agent will stay and the trouble will leave, not the other way around.

Act Like An Idiot

This one works especially well for men, particularly fat and/or ugly ones who like to tell jokes. As movies like Just Go With It, Hitch, and The Invention of Lying suggest, the more you act like a hopeless tool the more irresistible attractive women will find you. It even sometimes works for women. Just look at When in Rome. She acted like a lunatic and she landed Josh Duhamel!

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Christpher Nolan Likes Boys… In His Movies

bat club - no girls allowed

If you’ve been keeping up with the casting news surrounding Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman film, Dark Knight Rises, or even if you’ve seen more than one of his movies, you may have noticed a suspicious number of familiar faces. Cillian Murphy and Ken Wantanabe, who played Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, appeared as Robert Fischer and Saito in Inception. Christian Bale and Michael Caine made the jump from Batman Begins to The Prestige, and now certain Inception cast members, including Tom Hardy and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt, have been added to the cast list for Dark Knight Rises.

Most of the speculation on the internet centers around what role Gordon-Levitt will be playing (the Riddler?) and whether that means Nolan is going to draw Leonardo DiCaprio into the fold as well, but my biggest question is: what about the girls?

Nepotism is fairly common in Hollywood, with directors latching on to their favorite actors and dragging them like suitcases to all their new projects, but if there’s one thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started studying these nespots, it’s that they’re almost always into guys. Scorsese and DiCaprio. Burton and Depp. Nolan and every man he’s ever worked with, apparently. But none of the women Christopher Nolan has worked with, despite the fact that they’re all excellent, well known actresses, has been back for a second go round.

Carrie-Anne Moss was in Memento but nothing else.
Scarlett Johansson was in The Prestige and never showed up again.
Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard had big parts in Inception, but it was Anne Hathaway that he chose to play Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises.

I guess that while Nolan is interested in forming lifelong BFFships with all the male actors he works with, he’s a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy when it comes to women. Even Katie Holmes, whose character of Rachael Dawes was reprised in Dark Knight, was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Supposedly this was by Holmes’ own choice, so maybe the feeling is mutual. Maybe they were all offered more roles but turned them down.

The movie Katie Holmes turned Dark Knight down for was Mad Money, which was a total flop, but it did star three women, as opposed to the parade of testosterone that usually makes up a Christopher Nolan movie cast. So maybe that’s a clue.

I guess we’ll find out for sure if Maggie Gyllenhaal is mysteriously missing from Dark Knight Rising.

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The Oscar Nominations… On Which I Have Opinions

The Academy Award nominations were just released this week. I’m not going to copy-paste the whole list onto my blog. Even without the technical awards it’s still pretty long. Just go here to see it.

Back? Okay, now let’s talk about what I think. (We could talk about what you think, but that’s what comments sections are for.)

It seems to me that the people who vote on the Oscars (that is, everyone in the film business) have very short memories. Not only do they focus on movies that have only come out in the last two months or so, they tend to have a couple of films on the brain and they’ll nominate those films for every single award it can possibly qualify for just so they don’t have to think of anything else.

If a film gets nominated for best picture, chances are it’s also nominated for everything else as well: screenplay, cinematography, costumes, etc. etc. I’m not opposed to recognizing good work, but other films can excel in one area even if they’re not worthy of best picture. I think they only get away with it because 95% of people watching the awards don’t even know what sound editing or art direction involves anyway.

The rules are that nominations should be decided upon by the people in the same field, so people with experience should pick the best films, right? Theoretically. In reality they vote for their friends, people they owe favors to, etc. And they don’t even have to have seen the movie.

I’ve seen some movies, and this is what I think of their choices:

Here I am, as me, again.


Jesse Eisenberg for best actor? What? Did he get this nod because Facebook is popular? Because The Social Network is a good movie? Or because his character is ever so slightly different from the same awkward loser he’s played in every one of his other movies? I suppose his nomination doesn’t matter that much, given that Colin Firth is a shoo-in. If he doesn’t win, I will burn down the Academy (not really).

Geoffrey Rush as best supporting actor? I love Geoffrey Rush, and The King’s Speech was fabulous, but though his role in it was important, it wasn’t anything special. It’s the same old Geoffrey Rush as always. Give it to Christian Bale. That guy is scary dedicated. Look how much weight he lost (again). He’s practically unrecognizable.

Give Ben Affleck some props already. The Academy seems to think that since he won a writing award like twenty years ago and in the meantime has acted in some terrible films, that no one needs to acknowledge that he’s an awesome director. But he is. What did David Fincher do to The Social Network that was so great? Its success is all in the writing. And stop nominating everything Joel and Ethan Cohen do. Their movies aren’t even original and they’re not that great. Give it to Darren Aronofsky. That bird feather crap is disturbing.

Barney’s Version for makeup?? Because they made that one guy look old? That’s not cutting edge at all. Everyone does that. What about Lord Voldemort’s face? That’s Ralph Fiennes under there!

Good music choices, except for The Social Network, which was generic at best. But Tron Legacy was awesome too. Does it not count because of the old Tron or something?

Toy Story 3 should never have been nominated for best picture. As much as I love animation and seeing it recognized, it wasn’t even the best in the series! Given that it’s the only animated feature also nominated for best picture, it’s pretty much guaranteed to win best animated feature, which is a shame, because How to Train Your Dragon was way better.

The King’s Speech for sound mixing? What sounds other than dialogue did that movie have? (Dennis?)

So totally awesome!!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for special effects? What was so special about it? The animated sequence? That’s not even special effects. That’s a short in the middle of another movie. Tron Legacy should definitely have gotten a nod here. Its only competition should be Inception, which was also visually amazing.

How the hell does Toy Story 3 qualify as an “adapted” screenplay? Every screenplay is adapted from an idea. Do they ALL qualify now? The King’s Speech should be in this category because it’s adapted from history and memoirs. It’s hard to say who should win here, but 127 Hours, The Social Network, and Winter’s Bone are all deserving.

Christopher Nolan should get knocked off his pedestal. Seriously though, everyone thinks this guy is God’s gift to screenwriting. Probably he does too. How could he not, with such ridiculous amounts of praise being heaped upon him? Sure, Batman Begins rocks, but The Dark Knight was too long and structureless and Inception had huge consistency issues. Give him an MTV award for “coolness” and give the screenplay award to The King’s Speech or The Kids Are All Right.

Anyway, that’s how I feel. Want to weigh in?

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New Words for Movie Reviews

If I hear one more movie described as “a high-octane thrill ride” or “laugh out loud funny,” I’m going to gnaw off my own arm in annoyance (not really. I need two arms to type). I’d lambaste the movie reviewers who keep using the same reviews for everything, but I can’t really blame them. A bjillion movies come out each year and most of them are not appreciably different from the ones that have come before. There are only so many words in the English language to describe the same thing (yes, I know they’re called synonyms, smart ass) and we’re running out, throwing the movie criticism industry into crisis.

Some reviewers have tried to work around the rapidly evaporating pool of witty criticisms by simply comparing new movies to old ones:

“[insert name of move that came out this year] is this year’s [insert name of similar movie that came out last year]!”

EXAMPLES:

Observe and Report is this year’s Bad Santa!”

“Iron Man 2 is this year’s Iron Man!”

Other reviewers make claims that whatever new movie they’ve seen is the best of some genre (just not any genre that’s already been topped by a movie that’s actually good.) A tightly confined, made up category, usually further narrowed down by being limited to the current year:

“[insert name of movie] is the best [insert four qualifying adjectives] of the year!”

EXAMPLES:

Tangled is “Disney’s best non-Pixar animated movie since 1994!”

“Dinner for Schmucks is the best awkward dinner comedy starring a former Daily Show correspondent of 2010!”

The smart ones, however, realize that it’s not going to take very long for people to notice a pattern in their obvious contortions to say something new and complimentary that will end up on the DVD box. These savvy but still panicked critics often resort to using random, semi-applicable dictionary words that nobody understands.

Duplicity is an “effervescent espionage with two irresistible forces”!
TRANSLATION: Duplicity is lively and exhilarating and it has two sexy people in it.

Babies is a “joyous and buoyant new documentary”!
TRANSLATIONS: Happy babies float in water?

Since all of these movie critics seem to be having so much trouble coming up with things to say, I thought I would help them out by appropriating, mutilating, and outright inventing new words that can be used to describe common facets of moviemaking. Hopefully they’ll put off the impending crisis for a few months until the new urban dictionary comes out and everyone can switch to street slang, yo. I’ll list them for you here along with their definitions. I’ll even use them in a sentence, like this is a spelling test.

Hyperventalatory

From the verb “to hyperventilate,” which means to breathe so quickly you can’t get enough oxygen. In this context, it means a movie that causes extreme excitement and/or fear.

EXAMPLE: “A Perfect Getaway is a hyperventalatory thriller that has made me afraid to go on vacation.”

Volumized

A made-up word usually used to describe the eyelash engorging effects of mascara, but in this case it means a movie that has less substance than it appeared to have, often because of an unusually good trailer.

EXAMPLE: “The Dilemma has been volumized to the point where a great idea for a five minute sketch was drawn out into a terrible ninety minute movie.”

Ectopic

A term that is usually used in medicine to describe a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus and must be aborted. In this case it describes a movie that is based on an extremely out of the box idea that just didn’t work.

EXAMPLE: “I was expecting it to be fun, but Michael McGowan’s Score: a Hockey Musical turned out to be ectopic.”

Thicktastic

From the root “thick,” a slag term used to describe a stupid person, it describes movies for muscle-bound thickos that are actually good or at least fun to watch, usually starring former sports players.

EXAMPLE: “Sylvester Stallone’s thicktastic new movie The Expendables will find a home on my action shelf.”

Antihesive

An invented antonym (opposite) to “cohesive,” which means something that makes sense or fits together well. It describes a movie that just can’t seem to keep itself together.

EXAMPLE: “Resident Evil Apocalypse turned out to be extremely antihesive, bouncing between plot points that had nothing to do with each other.”

Unicornacious

From the root “unicorn,” which is a magical horse-like beast with a horn on its forehead. It describes a film that is impossibly awesome and sharp, but that looked, at first glance, to be something ordinary.

EXAMPLE: “You could be excused for getting Easy A confused with Postgrad, but make no mistake: Easy A is extremely unicornacious.”

Luciferian

From the root “Lucifer,” one of the many names for the devil. Used to describe movies made by people who seem to hate their audiences.

EXAMPLE: “In a luciferian attempt to cause uncontrolled bleeding in viewers’ brains, David Fincher let Zodiac run on for nearly three hours before pulling the plug on its inconclusive plot.”

Fossicker

From the verb “to fossick,” a mining term from Australia/New Zealand which describes looking for gems and minerals in the scrap heap from an old mine. It is used to describe a director or writer whose Blockbuster movies are based on ideas stolen from other people’s reject files.

EXAMPLE: “When Michael Bay took the brief, aborted inclusion of human beings in the Transformer cartoons and turned them into a whole trilogy of big budget movies, he went down in history as Hollywood’s biggest fossicker.”

Strychnatic

Based on the root “strychnine,” which is a bitter alkaloid poison. It describes movies that have been made by bitter, angry filmmakers.

EXAMPLE: “Michael Moore’s strychnatic documentary, Farenheight 911, blames everyone and their dog for the trouble the country is in.”

Ecliptic

Usually used in astronomy to describe the orbital paths of celestial bodies. In this case it refers to a movie that goes around and around the point but never gets to it.

EXAMPLE: “Legion’s maddeningly ecliptic plot was supposedly about a modern day Mary but kept detouring away for monster battles and angsty reunions between angels.”

Bonobous

Based on the root “Bonobo,” which is a species of great ape previously known as the Pygmy Chimpanzee. It is used to refer to a movie which was obviously made by monkeys.

EXAMPLE: “Leap Year is the most bonobous excuse for a romantic comedy since a monkey actually got hold of of a film camera and taped itself picking nits off its girlfriend.”

Dystrophic

A word usually used in medicine to describe the degenerative effects of faulty nutrition. In this case it refers to a franchise that has been slowly disintegrating due to poor writing.

EXAMPLE: “The Clone Wars is just the latest entry in an increasingly dystrophic series of Star Wars spinoffs designed solely to sponge money from nerds with OCD.”

If you’re stuck on a review, feel free to use the above words to make it more original. At least until enough people start using them for them to become cliched, and then it’s back to the drawing board. After a few years we’ll be doing all our descriptions in Portuguese.

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Top 5 and Bottom 5 Movies of 2010

happy old year
Well, 2010 is over. Even though, if you’re like me, you still keep writing 2010 on everything, it’s officially 2011 now and time for a whole new crop of movies. Before I push on, however, I’d like to go back and review the best 5 and worst 5 movies I’ve seen this year, just in case you were living in a cave or something and now you have time for five movies ONLY before you go back in again. Those of you who’ve read my top 5/bottom 5 of 2009, know that only movies I’ve seen are in the running and since I am not a bottomless well of time and/or money, I can only see one a week (sorry, The Town, and Get Low you missed out) and I generally try not to pick ones I KNOW are going to be horrible. You know, like a normal person.
So onward, with the normal non-rich person’s bestest and worstest movies of 2010!

Read More

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Multi-Format Packs

The format war is over. Blu-Ray has won, and HD DVD has already been consigned to the dustbin of history along with Betamax and Laserdisc.

HD what??




But there’s still one thing standing in the way of Sony and Friends completely dominating the home video market, and that’s DVD. In the same dogged way that VHS hung around for years after the introduction of DVDs, DVDs are refusing to roll over and die in the face of the Blu-Ray onslaught.

Part of the reason for this is that Blu-Ray is not enough of an upgrade for most people with DVD collections to even entertain the idea of upgrading. Unless you’ve got a massive TV (like 45+ inches), then there’s no difference between DVD quality and Blu-Ray quality. Considering that even most of the special features are the same between the two formats, there’s really no reason for people like me to upgrade, especially since they’re just going to come out with something new and different in another few years anyway and we’ll have to go through this all over again.

So what has Blu-Ray done to attract more customers? Something completely pointless, in my opinion: they’ve started packaging the DVD version in with the Blu-Ray version. I can see the point of including a digital copy for portable devices, but what is including the DVD copy supposed to accomplish? Are the Blu-Ray owners supposed to put it in a little envelope and donate it to their poor impoverished DVD owning neighbors? Are they supposed to pay it on their Blu-Ray player when they feel like watching the movie in reduced quality? Are they supposed to use it as a frisbee? What is the point of the extra DVD copy?

When you’re buying 3D Blu-Ray, it gets even worse. Then they include not only the 3D Blu-Ray but also the regular Blu-Ray, the DVD, and the digital copy.

Now with Viewmaster Reel and Shadow Puppets



If you own a 3D TV, why would you need the 2D version? It’s just a money grab. If they include multiple formats, they can charge multiple extra dollars, which was the whole point of the format changeover anyway. Not a better viewing experience (the upgrades are too small for that), but more money for the studios who get to sell all their movies all over again to the same people.

So thanks, people who keep offering me free Blu-Rays so I’ll upgrade, but no thanks. I like my money where it is: in my pocket.

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