Monday, February 20, 2012

Film View

Pain Don't Hurt

      In the unlikely chance you were pining for some kind of bizarre visual illustration which illuminates the reasons for my blog's existence, then I ask you to look no further than the mash-up below. After all, the first two sentences in my blog's bio were born from inspiration provided by this clip (and more specifically, the aroma of badass). 
      As I stated on Twitter, after watching this clip, "palms will sweat, fists will clench, and you'll hardly be able to fight the urge to check for marks." I can say, as with any great apocryphal story, the clip's effects, gleamed from my unofficial study, are likely to include nausea, euphoria, phantasmagoria, and any combination therein. Now, behold the latest Internet phenomenon and FIGHT THE POWER! 

Thank you, Red Letter Media!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Film News

Spider-Man's Coming To Dinner. Why is He A-May-Zingly Grace-Less?

      Languid would be the adjective that properly encapsulates my expectation level for The Amazing Spider-Man. It is a reaction I can exaggeratedly equate to a convulsion: Neither violent nor humorous but a reaction wrought with uncertainty. For a visual manifestation, recall the look of disbelief on Spencer Tracy's face in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, when he realized his beloved daughter, Joanna (played by Katharine Houghton) fell in love with a black man (Remember: Stanley Kramer's film took place during the 1960's when race relations were routinely characterized by tumult) named Dr. John Prentice, a "perfect" man played by the legendary Sidney Poitier. As the news registered with a startled Mr. Drayton (Spencer), his iconic stone-cold face began to intimate a blinding incredulity. And then he uttered this famous refrain: "What the hell's goin' on here!?" 
      Yep, those exact words in that exact sequence exited my mouth when I realized Columbia Pictures intended to reboot Spider-Man. While not born from any racial or marital context, my distrust of this Spider-Man reboot is nonetheless a product of laborious skepticism. (Also remember: Tracey's character was a proponent of equal rights yet his reaction, at least initially, conveyed stark prejudice, as if he failed to uphold the ultimate test: Practice what you preach). Despite the preposterous oversimplification of the narrative and placid character dynamic, I love that movie and Spencer's performance (famously it was his last. Katharine Hepburn's and Poitier's performances were also top-notch). So, I suppose all this Spider-Man business simply represented an opportunity, for me, to reference a terrific film.
      I'd be lying to you though...somewhat.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What I've Been Watching

Silent Film Edition: Part I

      There is no way I could conjoin, at least with any faithful accord, the words film and connoisseur without examining the silent film era. And not some thumbnail critique, but an honest inspection where the terms zeitgeist and technical efficiency dominate the lexicon. 
      For the obsessively xenophobic moviegoer, whose idea of a movie predicated strictly upon visuals, pantomime, and intertitles inspires loathsome charges of supreme boredom, this feature shall, I can only hope (thank you, Princess Leia), instill in you perhaps a scintilla of affection for the era that gave birth to our beloved cinema.
      The idea of merging sound and image, specifically "motion picture," is as old as film itself, but technical challenges, arising from difficulties synchronizing dialogue, prevented their practical marriage. With the advent of the Vitaphone system, ushering in the first commercially viable, feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue, 1927's The Jazz Singer, the prevalent utility of silent film was soon displaced by the commercial predominance of "talkies."  And in 1929, the modern sound film era found its near century-long stronghold; it took another thirty years before the preponderance of color would overtake black-and-white, in large part a result of the emergence of affordable, home-television sets. 
      Now, I do not intend for this post to be neither a history lesson nor a reprimand of today's widespread antipathy for the silent film era. And to be perfectly frank, seeing and appreciating The Artist does not render you an authority. Hopefully, though, it is the impetus that does encourage you to delve further into the era that did inspire Michel Hazanavicius's outstanding homage. 
      Before I undertook this massive task, this familiar song, a staple of perseverance, was flowing ubiquitously through my veins, peering into the imaginative window of my soul like a muse forlorn, thundering loudly in the background that occupies the dormant recesses of my audible mind: Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You [Yes, you, Silent Film] Up
      The first two silent films I will spotlight are the two seminal works from the preeminent, pioneering American director, Mr. D.W. Griffith. Without further ado, let the Silent Film Party begin. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Film News

Pretty But Perfunctory

*Editors Note: Pretend Clint Eastwood is narrating this entire post!

      Beyond an investment of $3.5 million (per 30-seconds, up from $3 million last year) and a critical mass upwards of 90 million, what distinguishes a Super Bowl spot from any other spectacle-less day of advertising? Well, because of the exorbitant monetary outlay and the mammoth exposure, the biggest distinction is, presumably, creative disbursement. All that money—enough to feature Taylor Kitsch in two prominent spots—has to go to good use, correct? The answer, of course, is yes. But, more important, do the yeoman efforts, from marketers, actors, directors, and sponsors, produce effective results? Sadly no. In the hotbed of filmic fanaticism, the 2012 Super Bowl will be synonymous with three words, transitively etched in the amorphous footprint of Twitter: Pretty but perfunctory.