Movies

The Death and Return of Superman

I was a huge comic book nerd when Superman died (and subsequently came back) in the comics. Like many other people, comic book nerds and regular Joes, I was shocked when DC Comics announced they were killing the Man of Steel. We were even more horrified when DC decided to bring him back a few issues later.

Max Landis (son of famed director John Landis) decided to make a hilarious short film about the whole ordeal. Check it out below.

Diablo Cody Writes Horrible Movies

There, I said it. She’s a bad writer. The writing in Juno was bad. Jennifer’s Body was the equivalent to your 50 year old dad using slang to sound cool. Just awful. Her columns in Entertainment Weekly are just as bad, which is why I’m baffled as to why people pay her to write.

I know many of you may like the movie Juno. It wasn’t a horrible movie, but the dialogue was. The thing that saved the movie was excellent performances by JK Simmons, Michael Cera and Ellen Page, not the writing that threw in more clichéd phrases than a spoof of teen movies (“What’s your damage?” “Honest to blog” “This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.”). The story wasn’t all that great but it was something that Hollywood hadn’t overproduced yet. Jennifer’s Body was even worse.

I finally got around to watching it over the weekend and I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece. I was expecting a B movie horror story. Instead what I got was horrible acting by Megan Fox (big surprise there) and laughable dialogue from Diablo Cody. I thought Juno was over the top with the slang, but JB blew Juno away. Cody cannot reasonably believe that normal teenagers talk like that, can she? Seriously, in what world do teenagers say jell-o for jealous or tell someone to move on dot org? When is the last time you heard a teenager say the phrase lesbi-gay? I really think Cody is a mixture of the old dad trying to stay cool using slang that no one uses and the mom who dresses like her daughter to seem young.

I know I shouldn’t come down too hard on her. I’m not a good writer either, but I also don’t get paid to do it. I’m pretty sure I could bang out a script using every slang phrase in the book and make a movie that is just as good, if not better, than Juno or Jennifer’s Body. The only difference between Cody and me is that I’m not a stripper-turned-screenwriter and I think that explains Hollywood’s fascination with her. Hollywood loves success stories and what’s better than a down-and-out stripper hitting it big with a screenplay? Remember, Ben Affleck has an Oscar for writing as well.

On Sci Fi

I’ve never really been a big fan of science fiction movies or shows. I hated all the Star Trek Shows and movies (except the new one that just came out) and I hate Star Wars. It is an overrated crap movie whose plot has more holes than Swiss cheese, in my opinion. The only sci fi shows I ever really got into was the Original Twilight Zone and The X-Files. The Twilight Zone was great because it had great, original stories. A lot of the themes had to do with human traits and expounded on them. The X-Files I got into because I enjoyed the acting of David Duchovny. When he left the show I became less interested.

Lately I’ve become more interested in sci fi tv shows and movies. As I’ve said, I really enjoyed the new Star Trek remake. Also, after hearing many of the people I follow on Twitter rave about Dr. Who and Torchwood, I began watching those shows. Torchwood I like a little better than Dr. Who but they are shows that I probably would have never enjoyed before. The latest show that I’ve been enjoying is one that even the mainstream critics raved about: Battlestar Galactica. I just started watching it over the past couple days and it has been a fantastic show. I also really enjoyed the canceled ABC show Defying Gravity. I really wish that one was still on.

I find it odd how my taste can change. Maybe the stories and production value of sci fi themed entertainment has changed enough that is is now entertaining to me. I don’t know. I do know that I won’t dismiss something that is labeled as sci fi because I think I won’t like it anymore. Chances are I will like it.

The Golden Globes

I saw a lot of hate last night in my twitter stream regarding The Golden Globe awards. Many of the people I follow thought that James Cameron and Avatar should not have won for Best Director and Best Drama respectively. While there were many good movies and directors this year, I do not think there is a case to be made for saying that Cameron/Avatar should not have won.

I understand that a lot of people don’t feel that Avatar was not a good drama, that the story was bad and the movie was just a big budget CGI-fest. For one, that really puts down the good acting by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana. Secondly, while the story is a familiar one, how often have we seen the same theme in movies win award shows year after year. There’s a reason certain themes are portrayed over and over in movies: they are themes we can easily related to. Last, which has lest to do with the drama aspect and moreso for Best Director, James Cameron spent years trying to perfect a brand new technology in order to push forward the field of cinema. He directed every scene of that movie, instead of relying on secondary directors, because he was the only one (at the time) that could see the shot he was looking for using this new technology.

A lot of people were also criticizing Avatar for having a big budget and winning. Since when did all winners have to be indie movies that no one has ever seen (note: I love the indie genre)? Just because a movie has a big budget doesn’t mean that they are not award worthy. James Cameron has done an amazing thing with technology. He is doing what for movies today what Star Wars did 30 years ago. Why would he not be recognized for it? I really don’t understand the movie snobbery that took place last night.

On a side note, I love Robert Downey, Jr. but come on? Joseph Gordan-Levitt totally deserved the award for Best Actor in a Comedy.

Avatar

I went and saw Avatar in 3D over the weekend and I can sum up my experience in one word: wow. I have never seen anything like this on the big screen, or any screen for that matter. I must have been feeling the same way that people felt when they saw the original Star Wars on the big screen for the first time. The special effects were amazing and the 3D technology was fantastic. I was worried going into the movie that the 3D wouldn’t work for me. I know that with some 3D technologies (mainly the old red and blue glasses technology) some people can’t fully see the 3D because they have a dominant eye. I have a dominant eye so the red/blue 3D doesn’t work for me. Fortunately, this was not an issue at all with the Real D 3D that Avatar uses. I will admit that my eyes felt a little strained after wearing the glasses for almost 3 hours, but it wasn’t too bad.

The computer generated scenery of the movie was beautiful. When in the forest surrounded by the natives, the CGI characters looked less like CGI (think the emotionless features of The Polar Express) and more like costumed people (think Lord of the Rings). One of the best things about the 3D in this movie that it wasn’t full of typical 3D gimmicks of things flying at you for the sake of flying at you. In fact, to me, the movie was less about things flying at you as it was about providing depth to the movie. James Cameron obviously wanted you to feel like you were part of the world in the movie, and he succeeded. I can only imagine what seeing this in 3D IMAX would have been like (the only IMAX theater in St. Louis was showing A Christmas Carol in 3D and not Avatar… Big mistake). The movie did drag on a bit, but I think it was necessary to draw the viewer into this alien world and really feel a part of it. Now that we’ve seen much of it, any possible sequel wouldn’t need to spend such lengths on pulling the viewer into the environment and detailing all the plants and animals.

The story was a decent story. Nothing groundbreaking. In fact, it draws parallels to the conquest of the Native Americans (and the story of Pocahontas), so the theme should feel very familiar. Also, if your ideology leans to the Glenn Beck side of crazy, you might even think that the movie is racist against white people because only white Earthlings were featured (which, of course, was not true at all, but who needs facts?). It also drives on themes of greedy corporations and environmentalism, but as I said, the story was decent. The imagery is the real draw to this film. If you haven’t seen Avatar in 3D at the theater, make sure you do. It is something that everyone needs to experience. This is my generation’s Star Wars leap forward in theater technology.