The internets infuriate me!

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ghostbustersWhy does it seem like everyone on the internet reads something on another website, and reports it as fact without actually reading between the lines or making a phone call to verify?

EW.com recently interviewed actor and director Harold Ramis about the upcoming and long-awaited Ghostbusters 3. In it he said, “Everybody said they’d do it.” Missy Schwartz, the writer of the article, took “everyone” to mean “Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, and even the elusive Bill Murray.”

What’s ironic about this is that Murray isn’t really the elusive one. Yes, he’s been famously reticent about doing another Ghostbuster flick, but he did sign on to voice the upcoming videogame, and is reportedly on for the movie as well.

The elusive one is Moranis. Apart from a few voice credits, Moranis hasn’t been in a film since 1997’s Honey We Shrunk Ourselves. Film sites across the internet however, have taken this interpretation of a quote about a movie that’s still a few years away, to be the golden truth. MTV, Fear Net, Bloody-Disgusting, Moviehole, Dread Central, and others have all reported the story. Some put a question mark after the “Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters 3” headline, but it’s stated as fact in the text of most of those stories too. AICN at least states the possibility that Schwartz could be jumping to conclusions, but CHUD seems to be the only one truly calling it like it is.

“Wait a second. While the article lists Moranis, it doesn’t have Ramis saying Moranis. When he says ‘everybody,’ who does he mean? I would have to assume the actual Ghostbusters, and not necessarily every secondary character.”

I truly believe that internet can be, and is, an amazing source of information on everything from movies, to science, to current events, to everything else. But when it’s misused like this, everyone is hurt. Yes, this is just a little news brief on an upcoming movie, and it doesn’t really matter all that much in the long run, but it shows the internet’s greatest weakness. With all its speed and ease of use, people just don’t really seem to care what they put on their websites. They put up the headline that will drive the most traffic, and then say “oh well if it’s wrong, our readers won’t remember tomorrow anyways, and we can always put up a story saying the exact opposite to correct things.”

And all it would take is one little phone call to Missy Schwartz to find out if Ramis actually said that Moranis was in, or if she just interpreted it that way…

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Cracked’s “6 most depressing IMDb pages”

•March 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

cracked1Cracked.com is always good for a good laugh, and today is no different. They recently posted their “6 most depressing IMDb pages” list, and it’s a fairly good one. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, click the link and read  a few more of their lists too. Good time waster.

Movies that I will fully admit to crying during

•March 30, 2009 • 5 Comments

cryingI’m a guy, and guys aren’t supposed to cry during movies right? We’re supposed to be the ones comforting those around us. We’re supposed to be the tough ones. Nothing is supposed to affect us. That’s bullshit though. Movies, more than any other art medium, are able to affect us a human beings. They can challenge us, stimulate us, and push us to the very brink. And I will fully admit to crying during certain movies. No, I did not cry during The Notebook, and frankly I don’t understand why anyone did. This isn’t about weepie romances or tragic tales of love gone awry. This is about movies that stare you in the face and then punch you in the gut. They’re emotionally devastating because of their ideas, not because of overly dramatic strings playing in the background. Some are documentaries, some are features, but they all had one thing in common. They all got my guard down enough so that tears were unashamedly streaming down my face by the end.

martyrsMartyrs

This is a movie I’d been dying to see for a long time. As I’ve previously written, it’s one of the new wave of French horror films that combine intelligence and actual suspense in with copious amounts of blood and entrails. However, after finally viewing it, I can truthfully say that you shouldn’t believe everything you read or hear about it. It’s not really a horror film at all, at least not in the usual sense. Apart from a few scenes in the first half hour or so, there’s nothing that will really make you jump or scream, or be frightened at all. What it will do however, is completely destroy you. In that sense, it’s maybe the most horrific film of all.

Unlike other modern French horror films (High Tension, Inside, etc.), this isn’t a fun movie. Those films were graphically violent, but they still had elements of a traditional stalk and slash. They were entertaining if you didn’t mind the blood. Martyrs isn’t. To fully experience it, if you still want to, I’d advise you to turn off all the lights, make sure it’s late enough so that it’s dark outside, and either watch it alone, or make it a rule that no one is allowed to speak during it’s hour and a half running time. Then just push play.

The great thing about Martyrs is that you never have any idea of where it’s going. The first 40-45 mins or so are almost a completely seperate movie from the next 45 mins. The set up is like many other films of it’s type. A young girl escapes from a home where she was chained up and ritualistically beaten. She grows up in some sort of state facility with other abused girls, and never fully recovers from her early imprisonment. When she reaches adulthood, she decides that she needs to find and get revenge on the people who made her this way. Sounds not too unique right? Again, that’s just the first half. Where the film goes from there, I’ll never tell. As MrDisgusting from the horror site bloody-disgusting.com said in his review of the film, “The only negative thing about Laugier’s film is that once you see it, you’ll never be able to see it for the first time ever again…” Just know that the film’s examinations of life, death, and everything in between, will affect you, and they will affect you hard.

dear-zacharyDear Zachary: A Letter to A Son About His Father

If this movie doesn’t leave you in uncontrollable tears by the end of it’s 95 min. running time, then you have no heart. That seems like a bold statement to make, but I stand by it. Yes this film is manipulative. Yes it’s one-sided. But damn if it isn’t heartbreakingly effective.

Andrew Bagby was murdered in 2001 by Shirley Jane Turner who fled to Canada to avoid prosecution. There, she gave birth to a son, Zachary, unknowingly fathered by Bagby. Because of this, Bagby’s friend Kurt Kuenne, a filmmaker, decided to make a documentary about Bagby’s life and his Zachary’s grandparent’s attempts to obtain legal custody of him, to show to Zachary when he got older.

If you don’t already know anything about the actual case before watching the movie, don’t look it up until afterwards. Since Kuenne was filming and editing while legal wrangling was still going on, the film takes several twists and turns that are terrible anyways, but devestating if you’re finding out about them as you watch.

grimm-loveGrimm Love

Another film based on a true crime case, except this one is fictionalized. In real life, Armin Meiwes was arrested in Germany for his part in the killing and eating of Bernd Jürgen Brandes. He’s currently serving life in prison after a long legal battle stemming from the fact that Brandes wanted to be eaten.

Meiwes had posted an ad for a willing victim on a cannibal chat room and Brandes had answered it. On the night the two of them met, Brandes was drugged with alcohol, sleeping pills, and pain killers, and systematically killed and chopped up for storing. The whole thing was filmed.

Grimm Love takes this now famous case and jumps forward a few years. A psychology student in Germany is doing her thesis on Oliver Hartwin (the Meiwes character) and Simon Grombeck (Brandes). The film jumps back and forth between the present and past before recreating the tape Meiwes had made of the event at the end. As Keri Russell’s psych student sits on her couch crying while she witnesses the events taking place, I cried with her. It’s almost impossible not to.

The reason this film works so well is because it isn’t exploitive.  The topic of cannibalism isn’t handled violently. In fact, I’m pretty sure not a single act of violence is actually shown on screen. Instead, the film is a psychological study on these characters. At it’s heart, as the title implies, it’s a love story. It explores what made these men different from the rest of us. What made them want to eat, and be eaten. How they, like so many other onscreen couples, were perfect soulmates in their own twisted way.

deliver-us-from-evilDeliver Us From Evil

Another doc, this one about a Catholic priest, Oliver O’Grady, who “sexually abused potentially hundreds of children between the late 1970s and early 1990s.” Filmmaker Amy Berg follows a few of his victims around as they try to cope and live normal lives, interviews their families, and even travels to Ireland, where O’Grady was deported to after serving only seven years in prison.

Berg doesn’t just target O’Grady though. She aims at the entirety of the modern Catholic Church. Over the years, as allegations against O’Grady began to pile up, the diocese, instead of turning him in or excommunicating him, just moved him around California, from parish to parish, enabling him to abuse more and more children as the years went on. Berg questions the whole structure and hierarchy of the Church, and comes to some startling conclusions about why priests aren’t allowed to marry (originally they were, until the Church realized they would be the sole inheiritors of a priests accumulated wealth if there were no family to be taken care of in the event of death).

The entire movie is horrifying, from the individual testimonies of O’Grady’s victims to the broader statistics on Church sexual abuse at the end of the film, but two sequences stand out. In one, Mr. Jyono, the father of one of the victims, breaks down in despair and anger at the world, at the church, at O’Grady, and at God himself for allowing this to happen to his daughter. Seeing this man renounce his faith on camera was just too much for me. In the other, O’Grady confesses his sins to Berg, and yet is obviously unrepentant. He smirks and winks and talks about inviting his victims to Ireland for a chat, oblivious to the fact that they don’t want to have anything to do with the man that ruined their lives. All you can really do while watching this is stare at the screen in anger at what O’Grady has done and essentially gotten away with, and with the Church for knowingly allowing him to do it.

Why “Where the Wild Things Are” is the movie I’m looking forward to the most this year

•March 29, 2009 • 2 Comments

where-the-wild-things-are2

Click picture to watch video

There are many reasons why I’m looking forward to Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. However, for the simplest explanation, I only ask that you watch the above, recently released, trailer. I’ll wait while you do…

The best way to describe it was already done by Devin Faraci at chud.com.

“I actually got choked up watching the trailer for Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. And not because it’s sad or I have a deep personal connection to the book (closest I come is that my freshman dorm at SUNY Albany had Wild Things paintings on the walls). I choked up because that’s simply my reaction to things of incredible beauty and emotion.”

I do actually have a personal connection to the book, as it was my favorite as a child, and either read it or had it read to me more times than I could ever count, so my joy at seeing what looks like an adaptation done perfectly is, if anything, even greater.

If you’re still not convinced, check out some stills from the film and just tell me it doesn’t look like one of the most beautifully shot movies ever made.

wt-sky

Wow…

wt-monster

Just wow…

wt-desert

Seriously, wow…

Click here for even more images and links to bigger versions for use as backgrounds and such.

Sam Raimi’s welcome return

•March 24, 2009 • 2 Comments

drag-me-to-hell-poster

There’s only one possible movie that could make Sam Raimi fans happier than his upcoming Drag Me to Hell, and it ain’t Spider Man 4. But while another Evil Dead flick with Bruce Campbell in tow is at very best a few years off, his new “spook-a-blast” is set to hit theaters this year.

Festival audiences are raving about Raimi’s return to the genre that made him, and those not lucky enough to have seen it already are eating up any piece of info that comes out.

The first official trailer debuted recently, and if the rest of the film holds up to these few scenes, it’ll be amazing.

drag-me-to-hell

Click image for trailer

Subtitle screwup

•March 24, 2009 • 3 Comments

let-the-right-one-inA small fanfare occurred in the horror community a few weeks ago when Låt den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One In) debuted on DVD and Blu-Ray. This small, Swedish vampire movie managed to do what few genre films can, and won the adoration of film critics of all types, horror and otherwise, even making it onto many top ten lists of last year. It’s been called many things, from beautiful, to ethereal, to bleak. Why then, with so many people loving it to death, would Magnolia and Magnet, the film’s distributers in the US, crap out on the subtitles encoded onto the newly released disks?

Horror site Icons of Fright recently discovered that the subtitle track on the US DVD and Blu-Ray isn’t the same as the one that was included in the theatrical print. A few examples will follow, all taken from the original Icons of Fright article.

ltroi1-originalOriginal Theatrical Release

ltroi1-dvd1Magnolia/Magnet DVD

Both of those phrases technically mean the same thing, but the intent of them is entirely different. The first is sublte, one child teasing another, the second is a harsh retort. So while they might “mean the same thing,” they really don’t at all.

ltroi2-originalOriginal Theatrical Release

ltroi2-dvdMagnolia/Magnet DVD

In this scene, the boy, Oskar, is teaching his new friend, the vampire Eli, morse code. Now granted, the original subtitles obviously weren’t spelling out exactly what Oskar was tapping on the wall, as it’s in Swedish, but they at least spelled out a word. The new track spells out random letters.

ltroi3-original

Original Theatrical Release

ltroi3-dvdMagnolia/Magnet DVD

This last one is the most ridiculous, as the viewer can hear the man say Eli’s name instead of the Swedish version of “I’m trapped.”

The article doesn’t pinpoint an exact reason for the subtitle switch, but figures it has something to do with money. And since this is Hollywood we’re talking about, that sounds about right. Someone named Ingrid Eng did the translations for the theatrical version, and to use these translations again, Magnolia/Magnet would’ve had to pay them again, so instead they hired someone else for cheaper, and here we are.

This whole thing is just ridiculous. M/M knew that the film was considered a seminal movie that transcended its horror genre, and that it was going to be a wanted DVD, but they cheapened out anyways, changing just the words in the least egregious offenses, and the intent and meaning in the greater ones.

Luckily, the horror community has taken up the cause, and genre websites across the internet are asking M/M to reissue the DVDs at some point with the proper translations included. Will it work? We shall see.

Note: Much more analysis of specific scenes, as well as many more examples can be found at Icons of Fright.

Why spoof movies don’t need to suck

•March 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

movie-spoofMuch has been said elsewhere by pretty much anyone who doesn’t actually like to have their intelligence and very being insulted on a personal level when they pay their eight bucks to go to the movies, about how recent “spoof movies” such as Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, etc., reach such epic levels of sucktitude that Leslie Nielson actually vomits every time someone mentions any one of them in general conversation, no matter how far away they are from him in the world. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The website FunnyorDie.com has featured a lot of parodies, from Paris Hilton’s 2008 campaign ads, to last Halloween’s Freddy Krueger: Registered Offender video. Recently however, they’ve been getting into the movie trailer spoof market, and the results have managed to be funnier than every previously mentioned movie combined in just a few minutes.

the-unclerFirst up was The Uncler. I’ve made it no secret that I absolutely loved The Wrestler. It, Slumdog Millionaire, and Wall-E were easily the three best films of last year. And now comes this spot on parody that somehow manages to make light of a depressing movie and an exponentially more depressing economic crisis without actually demeaning or cheapening either.

gobstopperMore recently a video appeared that took that one scene from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that scared the living crap out of a generation of kids (the tunnel boat ride), and wondered what the movie would be like if that aesthetic was applied to the rest of it. The result is a mixture of Willy Wonka and Saw that would make Roald Dahl proud.

After viewing these two ingenious clips, the question must be asked, why can’t Hollywood do the same?