Saturday, August 27, 2011

Retro Video I

Starting a new feature with old music videoclips whose songs I fondly remember from my early childhood :-)

SUGAR BABY LOVE by The Rubettes

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

So close, so far ...

So I went and saw two of this season’s so-called summer blockbusters : Super 8 and Captain America: The First Avenger and thought of throwing here a brief personal review of this couple of movies.



I’d sum up Super 8 as a sort of Bizarro-Spielberg movie – those who know their Superman lore will understand right away my opinion. I knew J.J. Abrams work from Lost, certainly one of the finest tv fiction series of recent years. I've never seen his Star Trek – utter blasphemy to me as Shatner, Nemoy and company will always be Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew from the old 60s original series. Still, the trailers for Super 8 had me intrigued enough to see if Abrahms was indeed capable of capturing lightining in a bottle – because that’s precisely what he tries to do with this movie, recapturing the magic of Steven Spielberg’s late 70s/early 80s movies. The result, I’m sorry to say is a resounding negative. The feeling I had as I walked away from the cinema by the end of the movie was that Abrams tried so hard to achieve this impossible task, it was almost sad to see his attempt. Super 8 is a mess, all effect and too little soul, as if Abrams is trying to mix E.T., Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies and a bit of the first Jurassic Park too – at least those were the bits I recognized, there could be some other lost in there – but somehow fails to inject that secret ingredient that Spielberg used to have. The result is a sort of good-looking Frankenstein monster – it’s pretty to look at, but it’s loud, not subtle and a dimwit. Sad thing is, one can see that Abrams is quite talented and obviously sincere about his love for Spielberg’s early achievements. Frankly, I think it would have made for a much better film if he just had put aside the whole evil E.T. plot aside and stuck to the main kid’s story about dealing with his mom’s horrible death, finding his first innocent love, making the zombie film with his friends and just dealing with growing up in a small American town back in the early 80s. At least those are the parts that had some emotional resonance with me, much more than the stupid teary eyes bye-bye to a cannibal E.T. who just happened to eat the sheriff and a few other regular citizens, for crying out loud! Weirdest thing of all is Steven Spielberg himself produced this movie...



Captain America: The First Avenger, while also being simultaneously close and far to its source, reached much closer to its target, I think. Director Joe Johnston has yet to completely disappoint me in any of his movies, Jumanji and Jurassic Park III being two personal favorites of mine. The man does know how to direct adventure movies and does a good job at adapting Captain America to the silver screen, creating a great rollercoaster adventure that is loyal to the spirit of the marvel comics character, without a dull moment, just about the right doses of humor and seriousness, great special effects and, best of all, a great cast where Chris Evans shines as a totally believable Steve Rogers. Too good to sound true, right? Unfortunately, for this fan of the original comic book, yes. Poking fun at the character creator’s Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s wonderful classic costume design and prefering to glorify the recent re-interpretations of the character's costume and history from the comic books did not score high points in my book. Under the Hollywood mentality of being more realistic than real, I can understand the whole modernization of the costume, even while not agreeing with it, but was it really needed to ridicule the original Cap costume by making him wear a version of it as a sort of chorus line dancer? Worse yet was the obvious whitewashing of the Nazi threat. In the original comic book, Cap fought the Nazis back in WWII and the Red Skull used to be one Hitler’s more loyal fanatics, not a betrayer. Just as Hollywood seems to have found a interest in the gratuitous idea of changing the ethnicity of well-established comic book characters (Heimdall, Perry White) I don’t understand this recent urge to turn Nazis into something else. They’re perfect villains even more so because, yes Virginia, they’re real, killed millions of innocents and once threatened to take over the world. They're an integral part of who Captain America is. Who were the producers thinking it would offend by mostly getting nazis off from the film and having the Red Skull wear that hydra insignia instead of a swastika? Germans? Lars Von Trier? Anders Breivick?
Still, what can one expect from Hollywood?

So, two summer blockbusters, one far better than the other in my opinon, still both of them, so close, yet so far to their original sources of inspiration…

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Star Wars 1947

What if STAR WARS had been made 30 years earlier?

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Godzilla

I'm not necessarily a fan of Godzilla but I do find old 1950s monster movies fun. This little sequence from japanese film "Always 2" makes me wish they'd make a new Godzilla film but instead of updating it to current days keep it back in the 50s.

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