Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
MEDIASAURUS REX SPEAKS:
The less you know about UP going into it the better. This is pretty much how Pixar has worked its past several releases. When THE INCREDIBLES came out, I had no idea what I was getting into. I knew it was something about superheroes, and critics said it was good. UP has followed a similar pre-release gameplan. Their advertising blitz has been steady, but what you get has been limited to an old man, a house and an absurd number of balloons.
This is a film that studies humanity and several of its bittersweet corners. The key themes are in place; the need to love and be loved is the main one. Taking care of others and defending one's good name also figure deeply in this film.
UP feels so un-American at points that it could be a French film with all of its whimsy but without the ridiculous slapstick and gratuitous boob-shots. The idea of travelling in a house lifted by balloons is far from the American norm.
The last time I noticed Ed Asner he was a brute in Oliver Stone's JFK. He did show up as a voice in that BOONDOCKS cartoon, but in retrospect, that show was fluff. The voice of Ed Asner is used to excellent effect for Carl Fredrickson, the old man you know from the movie poster whose house gets lifted with balloons.
Carl Fredrickson is a man who has lived a full life and, most notably, has loved and lost. The passage of film that chronicles how he met Ellie as a child and later married and lived his dream-filled life with her is constructed with care and precision. The bulk of it is a montage of snatches of life sans dialogue, and levels of emotion are conveyed that hundreds of other more serious films compressed together couldn't muster. It is a beautiful thing. I haven't been moved by any film (let alone a computerized cartoon) in the ways that this film moved me since...I can't remember when.
When tragedy strikes, Carl doesn't become a ruined man, but he is paralyzed and wary about stepping out of his comfortable heartbrokenness into something new. Carl is living in the past when Russell, a pudgy single-digit-aged "wilderness explorer" shows up on his doorstep. At this point it is rather obvious that Carl's life is about to change. The world has passed Carl by, and his humble home is surrounded by the construction of bigger, better buildings. Carl knows change is closing in on him, and he is agitated.
With an old-folks home looming in his future, thing are looking bleak. An offense to Carl's property causes him to lash out and forces the film to "get on with the balloons" that we all know will lift him out of his current situation. Up until the moment of balloon liftoff, the film sticks pretty close to realism. But after that you will need to willingly suspend your disbelief. The rest of the film enters into a land where the rules of science, gravity, and human longevity are tested.
Another thing to note is the Pixar touch to the world created in UP. UP feels like a Pixar movie. Carl is a squared-off character with angles that defy nature, just as Russell is too round. Pixar has pounded out a niche in regards to how they present the world. Characters who aren't a part of the spotlight get the same general humanoid touch, and that touch is a blanding compared to the main characters who are less real but so much more compelling. That look is so definitely Pixar it is remarkable, and it travels from film to film. The animation is perfect, and the details are so human that one has to wonder how those planning meetings went when they were deciding how to strew various objects, items and life-forms throughout the film.
Overall, the world created in UP is a very real one. It speaks to several different seasons in real-life history (prohibition being one of them), and they are all loud, crystal clear, and misrepresented only slightly to remind you that you are in an animated film. In short, Pixar has outdone itself again. This film is a triumph and a step closer to the time of CGI mastery when we won't be able to tell if the images are real or pixilated.
Finally, I have really appreciated the lack of spoilers. The most key of characters and the force driving the third act of the plot have been relatively obscured in the trailers and by reviewers and fans. This really added to my enjoyment of the film, and it should stay that way. For me to launch into the "Howard Hughes" angle of this film would be to do it a disservice. UP is a fantastic film regardless, but it really helps to go into it cold and unknowing.
More of my writings can be found here , and at the Mediasaur main page.
I have been considering Stallone of late. He currently has his ripped sinewy forearms on my desktop. As synchronicity would have it, several people mentioned Stallone's CLIFFHANGER to me last week. They all said it was a good film. I admitted that I hadn't seen it and got a rounding, "YOU SHOULD SEE IT" from all. So I loaded it onto the PSP and went to work. Right out of the gate I noticed my favorite horror-crossover actor Michael Rooker. Later on I noticed John Lithgow pushing an almost believable English accent. Overall, there is not a lot to say about this film other than it is a great romp in the snow. That's about it. I must also cite, however, that in the early 90s Stallone wasn't half as ripped as he is now. And I am in awe. He is the quintessence of manliness--behind Mickey Rourke, of course.
To counter the speedballing to the brain of manliness and gunfire, I then chose to watch FANBOYS. This is a film for those who know their Star Wars and maybe even some Star Trek pretty well. Dan Fogler steals the show as Hutch, the perpetually oversexed, one-testicled defender of all things Star Wars. The movie is a lot of fun. Of course it is cameo laden with Seth Rogan actually playing a double role, one of which is that of a Star Wars pimp(!). Danny Trejo also shows up as a doped out flat-tire fixer who refers to himself in third person. Kevin Smith is in there and so is William Shatner, Ray Parks and Carrie Fisher. This film is a collage of multiple movie references and quotes rolled up into one obnoxious road trip. The main plot point is that the group of SW nerds are going to Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of THE PHANTOM MENACE before it comes out. The film might have limited appeal in regards to who is going to get all of the jokes, but it is whimsical and feels good. It is crude like fanboys are, and it never truly leaves the high school playpen. But this makes it light and delectable.
I still haven't seen DEATH SENTENCE, but I must. I recently learned I was four degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, and this is my destiny.
More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me here
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Still haven't made it back to MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. . I want to, but after that firefighting female Baldwin movie, I decided to aim my sights on SHARKS IN VENICE starring a now corpulent Stephen Baldwin. Truth be told, I focused on that film long enough to generate a few conversations and watch a few youtube vids on the subject. I think I am done with killer sharks and Baldwins for the time being.
So I did the fanboy 180 and stepped away from testosterone, effects, and comic bookery and watched THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE with my girlfriend. I have to say that for an experienced director, Steven Soderbergh hasn't brought all of his skills to the table on this one. The big news is that THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is starring Sasha Grey, a real porn star. Sasha isn't given much to work with. She is a call-girl with an understanding personal-trainer boyfriend. The film is ripe for levels of conflict that are only barely touched. The comparison of her prostitution to his the level of self-whoring that he must do to make it in the personal trainer business doesn't wash. The dialogue comes off perfectly, and the film is beautifully shot. But this film is just some unsatisfying speculation that refuses to hit the painful, abrasive notes of TRAFFIC or SEX LIES and VIDEOTAPE. This 77 minute film deals with superficial people, but in its presentation, the film itself is superficial. The viewer is left with too little to work with. We are left with a hollow film about hollow people. Perhaps, that is what Soderbergh wanted to do, but this film is far from whatever truth it needed to deliver. A new director could have hit the Hollywood scene with this film and great things would have been expected from them the future. However, Soderbergh seems to have done this film half-heartedly and while distracted. He is capable of better.
I should also cite that I took down Woody Allen's ZELIG recently too. I want so much to like this guy, but movies like this make me want to break his glasses on his face. Next up? I am thinking I need some Bacon in my life. Kevin Bacon to be exact, and his completely unsung DEATH SENTENCE.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
MEDIASAURUS REX SPEAKS
MAY 09, 2009
It has been a pretty brutal week. I got yanked into jury duty. The yank was a hard one because I spaced on jury duty the week before and I was dodging a bench warrant. Needless to say, I was juror #1 for five days.
In the end it was a hung jury. Thank God for the PSP. I played nonstop METAL SLUG and looked for homebrew cracks so that I can finally play ROBOTRON on the thing. I also consumed Bronson's THE MECHANIC with the sole idea of writing a review on it. The film is staggeringly meaningless however. I am simply at a loss for the notion that is driving the remake with Jason Statham. THE MECHANIC is a banal little film that never breaks the surface of originality.
It is always amusing to watch Charles Bronson give his dead-eyed stare to the world around him, but that is all he is good for. He has to ultra-pronounce his words because of his accent and frankly, that moustache is irritating.
Jan-Michael Vincent is in this film, and may have been the most handsome human being walking the earth at that time. It is fascinating to watch the ruggedness and all out manly pose of Bronson upstage the godlike good looks of Vincent. But seriously? The strange physical upstaging is all that really happens in this film.
THE MECHANIC is a mediocre '70s assassin film that doesn't need Hollywood to look back on it lovingly. THE MECHANIC needs to stay in the bargain bin with other forgotten half-stepping action films with over-acting and unsure plotting.
Whatever the case, I have a hung jury and a medicore film under my belt. I hope next week is better.
More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me at admailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I was checking Mediasaur consistency in Google the other day and came across 2 sites that have lifted their stuff directly from the Mediasaurs blog. One has since been taken down (their domain is for sale) but the other is still up.
Here is the original post that I put up in the forums:
SIMPLY AMAZED BUT MAD
I can't believe these fricks have actually stolen my blog and posted it as their own. Suggestions for how to go to war? http://brad.noomsog.biz/category/video-games/ Here is another one. Different blog, same method: http://monnamos.co.cc/2009/04/01/the-all-internet-takedown/ Amazing.
You might want to follow that forum, because the plagiarizer himself showed up in the forums to discuss the situation: http://mediasaurs.com/FORUM/FORUM/FORUM2/viewtopic.php?t=466
Whatever the case, I have been on his service provider. It is a matter of time before he pulls that stuff down.
Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this guy ran his stuff through a translator that really messed stuff up.
One more time for the record (and the Google crawler)
THERE IS NOTHING ORIGINAL AT THIS SITE:
I'll keep you posted.
PS. I have watched Bronson's MECHANIC and have no idea why they want to remake it starring Jason Statham.