Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesdays: YEAR ONE

A little over a year ago I started my semi-regular column Trailer Park Tuesdays, where I share new movie trailers for upcoming releases, usually stuff that is flying low on the general public's radar.  I started doing it because A) I wanted more content on the site and B) because I'm a sucker for a good movie trailer.

But were the movies themselves any good?

I've shared 26 movie trailers over the past year; out of those, I've seen 12 of the movies.  That's almost 50%!  Were the trailers being honest?  Were the movies good?  Let's see how things turned out:

-(click the titles for links to the trailers):

This was okay-ish.  I appreciate what they did, the clandestine shooting at DisneyWorld/Land, some of it comes off spectacularly, but it does fail to come together as a satisfying whole.  Still, worth a look if you like experimental, low budget fantasy narratives.

I liked this a lot, it's fun stuff.  Brutal, though.  Parts might make you squirm.  Both Ethan Embry and Pat Healy are great.  The escalation of events is nice, the payoff in the end is good too.

Whoa shit, was this trippy.  I loved it.  The stunning black-and-white photography.  The theatricality of the drama.  It's artful and badass, a great combo.  Ben Wheatley is one of the best and most underrated filmmakers working today.

This Carpenter-homage-heavy film is just-above-average stuff.  It's enjoyable, despite being predictable (and featuring some so-so acting).  The special effects are the highlight.

Eh.  I won't talk shit about this, but it really didn't light me on fire.  If someone told me they loved it, I'd say "good for you, I totally know why, but it didn't connect with me in that way."  Maybe if I played more D&D. . .

This was a true stinker.  Not good at all, boring and dumb in equal measures, there were a couple noteworthy scenes, but overall not worth anyone's time.  Watch THIS CLIP instead.

Very solid.  Keanu's directorial debut rips it up; one of my fave movie from last year!  *I double trailered this with the Keanu-starring 47 Ronin, which looked like it might be stupid fun, but from what I've since read, it is just stupid.  So I might end up skipping that one, forever.

Aw, yeah!  Man, this film is epic in both plot dynamics (honestly, I got lost a little bit) and in action scenarios.  The prison yard rumble!  Prakoso's subplot!  Baseball Bat Man!  Hammer Girl!!  I need to see this again.  Oh, yeah.

Ok, so while I did like a lot of the elements within this film, I did not really like it overall.  The human characters were no good and boring.  The pace of the movie felt off too, probably due to the boring humans.  Not the worst Godzilla movie, not by a long shot, but I feel they could and can do better.  I'm not sold on Gareth Edwards as a director.

Loved it.  One of my favorites of the year so far.  This revenge thriller hits all my buttons.  It's tense, bleak, and brutal, but finds time for quiet moments.  Very much RECOMMENDED! SEE IT!

I liked this very much, although I can totally understand why somebody would not.  It is narratively sparse and visually rich.  I've seen it twice now and find it to be mesmerizing, and not just when Scarlett Johansson is nude.

I liked this low budget, sci-fi head trip.  General unease and tension ramps up during the film's brisk running time and the cast is totally game. Not essential viewing or a masterpiece or anything, but a satisfactory watch for me.  I dug it.

As for those I've yet to see:
-Detective Downs and Kid's Police have yet to find US distribution.
-Witching and Bitching comes out on home video in October; The Strange Colour of Your Tears in December.
-Whiplash and Automatá hit theaters soon.  Mad Max roars into theaters next May.
-I haven't seen The Zero Theorem or The Guest yet (can't wait!).
-Nor have I seen BorgmanThe Final MemberThe Dance of Reality, or New Year's Evil.
-As mentioned above, 47 Ronin is something I will most likely not watch.

So there you have it.  Trailer Park Tuesdays: YEAR ONE.
Here's to another great year.
See ya at the trailers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

RIP, Richard Kiel

Veteran character actor Richard Kiel passed away yesterday at a medical center in Fresno, California.  The exact details of his passing have not been revealed at this time, although it is being reported that he suffered a broken leg about a week ago.

He was 74 years old.
At 7' 2", the very large Kiel got his start playing monsters in B-movies and on television shows, most notably in the classic Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man."  He was also adept at playing thugs and tough guys and was most famous for playing Jaws in a couple James Bond movies.

Personally I am most fond of his goofy caveman movie Eegah, as it is featured in one of my favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, but I also have good memories of Happy Gilmore because my friends and I rented and watched it about 400 times back in our teenage days (don't judge).

From the accounts I've read, from colleagues and fans, Richard Kiel was an immensely nice guy who was warm, funny, and sweet.  The only thing intimidating about him was his stature.   Big guy, big heart, all that stuff.  It's a bummer he's gone.

RIP, Kiel, ya big lug.

One of Richard Kiel's earliest performances was as the sad-looking Solarite in The Phantom Planet (1961)
Kiel really entered the pop culture landscape with his role of Kanamit from "To Serve Man," one of the best Twilight Zone episodes (1962)
Reportedly Kiel was working as a bouncer at a nightclub in L.A. when Arch Hall. Sr. saw him and offered him the titular role in Eegah (1962).  The scene where Roxy shaves Eegah's face is amongst the strangest ever.  
The Human Duplicators (1965)
Kiel, monkeying around in 1967
The Longest Yard (1974)
Silver Streak (1976)
Kiel was originally cast in The Incredible Hulk TV show (1977) before being deemed not bulky enough and replaced by Lou Ferrigno.  They filmed exactly one shot.
Not wanting to hide behind a mask, Richard Kiel turned down the role of Darth Vader to take on the villainous henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)...
...The character proved so popular, he returned for Moonraker (1979)
Kiel and Jackie Chan on the set of Cannonball Run II (1984)
Pale Rider (1985)
Happy Gilmore (1996)
"To be loved is important, as is having a sense of accomplishment, but to love is equally important in life especially when it is combined with taking action to do something for someone else to make their life better."

Richard Kiel, 1939-2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesdays - The Zero Theorem

Trailer Park Tuesdays is everything.
Trailer Park Tuesdays is nothing.

I have long been a big fan of Terry Gilliam's work.  Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Twelve Monkeys, Time Bandits, etc., he's made some great movies.  His last few films have been. . .well, they've been Brothers Grimm, Tideland, and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, so they've been a mixed bag of not-that-greatness.

Regardless, I still get excited when I hear about a Terry Gilliam project and I get double-excited when he actually finishes it and, hey look!, he finished a new movie!  This one is called The Zero Theorem.  Here's the official synopsis:

"The Zero Theorem stars two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds) as Qohen Leth, an eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst.  Living in a burnt-out church, Qohen is obsessively working on a mysterious project personally delegated to him by Management (Matt Damon) aimed at discovering the meaning of life - or the lack thereof - once and for all.  Increasingly disturbed by unwanted visits from people he doesn't fully trust, including the flirtatious Bainsley (Mélanie Thierry), Management's wunderkind son Bob (Lucas Hedges), his unpredictable colleague Joby (David Thewlis), and would-be digital therapist Dr. Shrink-Rom (Tilda Swinton), it's only when he experiences the power of love and desire that he's able to understand his own reason for being."

Yup. Sounds like something Gilliam would make.  Looks like it too.
Here's the official trailer:

The Zero Theorem is available On Demand right now in some places (go look for it) and will open in select theaters starting September 19th (go see it).
Alternative poster:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesdays - Whiplash

Welcome to Trailer Par. . WILL YOU TURN THAT RACKET DOWN?!!

Today's movie trailer is for Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury and Audience Award winner WHIPLASH, a movie I have been highly anticipating since reading some early reviews, and now that anticipation has been augmented by a movie trailer!  This looks like a good one.

Whiplash is about a young jazz drummer who wants to be the best.  His teacher is a total dick.
Onscreen fireworks ensue.

The film stars Miles Teller, a young actor who has been tearing it up (Rabbit Hole, The Spectacular Now), and who looks like he tears it up royally in this one.  I've heard nothing but good things about this kid in this movie.  You'll be seeing more of Mr. Teller next year; he just landed the gig of Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four reboot.

Starring opposite Teller is a terrifying J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading, Spider-Man, TV's OZ).  He's beyond intense.  Jesus. . . who could be taught be this guy?

Whiplash is written and directed by Damien Chazelle (writer, Grand Piano) and will see a limited theatrical release this fall, starting October 10th.
Drum Punch.