sunnuntai 12. lokakuuta 2014

Enemies of the silver screen - a Michael Bay kind of mess

I doubt this announcement will shock you, but in case you were on the fence, let me give you that much needed push – movies are getting worse, consistently so. There is no denying it. Cinema’s golden age is far-gone and we didn’t even notice it fading away. It was like a butterfly’s fart, silent and apologetic. Only now in a time when we are being bombarded with an endless array of blasphemy like found footage, Transformer and Marvel movies has it become so truly evident. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact decade for when it came to it’s end, but if I had to guess I would say it happened sometime after the first Matrix movie came out. This, just before Y2K, a year during which we were given many masterpieces including Fight Club, American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile and of course the aforementioned the Matrix. I mentioned the Matrix separately, because it was the last time a movie actually blew my mind and left me in a daze. I still remember that feeling to this day and I haven’t felt anything close to it ever since. The Lord of the Rings saga does have a very special place in my heart, but to be perfectly honest I’d say it was merely an add-on to an already mesmerizing book series. Kudos to Peter Jackson for bringing the story to life, he did the books justice, but most of the credit should go to Mr. Tolkien himself. And in case you were wondering, yes I think the Hobbit movies suck. Three movies out of one book! Shame on you Jackson, you greedy bastard you!

Fast-forward to today. The Paranormal Activity series is coming out with its sixth installment. Marvel is pooping out movies left and right. Michael Bay is still hard at work even though we all recognize him as the Antichrist. Beelzebub must be pleased with his work. My beloved Ghosbusters is being readapted with an all new story and cast. Pure madness. Not because they are in existence. Crappy movies have always been around. Remember Ed Wood or Pauly Shore and Bio-dome? No, it’s because these are the most anticipated movies people cannot wait to pay for.

Storytelling has given way to other ”more important” factors such as special effects, trendy casting choices, mother fucking prequels and in-movie advertisements. Rest assured, it’s all gone to shit. But, let’s not round up the lynch mob and light the torches just yet. You see as easy as it is to blame the producers and writers and the movie studios they work for, quite frankly the biggest culprit is us the audience. As little as I understand economics, I still can’t deny that supply and demand sound like two things that should go together. Truth is we give money to those who love it the most. You can’t blame an addict for OD’ing, if you’re the one handing out syringes. We are enablers of the worst kind. We protest silently, but in fact do nothing to change the course we are on. We pay to go see Adam Sandler even though his movies suck (they’ve always sucked). Sure, we complain afterwards, but we never learn our lesson. Which brings us to the golden rule folks – if it looks, tastes and smells like shit, it’s probably shit. So why on earth would you eat it?! All we as a people need to do, is not watch these movies. It’s so brilliantly simple that it’s actually stupid.

It’s not ALL our fault however. Here are the three cardinal mistakes movie studios make:

CGI is total monkey business - It’s frikin’ awful. They started relying on it too soon. In twenty years all this computer-generated stuff will have reached it’s true potential, but right now it looks incredibly unrealistic. We pretend to be okay with it, but we need to stop doing that like right now. We’re not being demanding enough and that’s why nothing is changing! Someone should have said something when the first Hulk flick came out. That movie set the industry standard for CGI. I still haven’t been able to watch it all the way through. Hulk the character looks so ridiculously cartoony that I simply can’t get over it. It’s like they are asking me to improvise; ”when you see that big green hunk of pixelated barf, just pretend it looks super real”. Let me be blatantly clear, if I wanted to imagine shit, I’d read a goddamn book. Nope, nope and nope. Who framed Roger Rabbit is what I see every time there is a green screen or an animated character involved. It looks like you are mixing real things with a cartoon. In Roger Rabbit’s case that’s all well and fine, after all that was the whole idea. Then on the other side of the spectrum we have the Avengers; real people interacting with real aliens, only the aliens look like cartoons. The same goes for the most overhyped movie ever, Avatar. It’s supposed to be the best 3D movie to date. Well that I actually believe, since there isn’t a good 3D movie out there. Avatar is just another Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Only, it’s not as good. Watch it again and you will see what I mean. CGI has always looked absolutely ridiculous, but there is one exception. Monkeys! That’s right, computer generated monkeys don’t look half bad. King Kong and the new Planet of the Apes movies actually look pretty damn good. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but they almost look realistic. Thus, if you are going to make a monkey movie, go ahead, CGI that bitch. For everything else, stop-motion. Yup, you too Godzilla.

Movies have unwritten rules - These rules create unnecessary boundaries that limit creativity. A movie doesn’t have to be a story, by which I mean it doesn’t need a beginning, halfway point or a conclusion. There doesn’t need to be character development. The protagonist doesn’t have to go through a low point mid-way through the movie. Nowhere does it state that a movie needs to have those said characteristics, yet 90% of the time they are exactly like that. Regardless of how invincible the lead character is, there is always going to be a conflict or obstacle to overcome. Why? I almost always guess how a movie is going to end. Why? That shouldn’t be the case unless it is based on true events. Predictability can be so easily avoided. Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof shows a big middle finger to predictability by killing off the entire cast 30 minutes into the movie. Only the villain played by Kurt Russell survives. Then the plot basically starts all over. That’s just one example, but a glorious one at that. The one rule I hate more than any of the above is the unwritten rule of not showing a child or animal dying. Don’t get me wrong now, I might be fucked up in the head, but I’m not that monstrous. I’m not saying I need to see a child die, I’m saying I need to NOT know whether the child will die or live. I want there to be an element of surprise. Children die in disasters, why the hell don’t they die in disaster movies. I’m sorry but you mean to tell me all of Manhattan just exploded, but little Timmy and his pet golden retriever Mr. Binky miraculously survived because they chose to take shelter in a Volvo. C’mon now! The world is a cruel place. If a movie wants to feel real, it needs to be cruel as well. Thankfully this ridiculousness mostly applies to Hollywood movies. Americans can be pretentious like that. That said, I have to give a shout-out to John Carpenters original Assault on Precinct 13. Best child death scene ever (never thought I’d write that in a sentence). And you know what, that scene gave me chills. An honorable mention goes to the Norwegian horror Dead Snow Two. Let me paint you an image – a Nazi war tank shooting at babies in strollers. Spoiler alert, the babies don’t make it.

The curse of the To Be Continued - Sequels, prequels, remakes and movie titles with ”part 1” in them (I’m looking at you Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) are the devil. Stop digging for stories where there aren’t any. And for the sake of all that is holy, please stop stretching out storylines. Milking a cash cow ’til it dies is straight up disrespectful towards audiences everywhere. Ever heard of the expression “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”! Thankfully I have come up with this great coping mechanism. If a movie studio crosses me like this, I just torrent all their movies. So bite me, you greedy a-holes. You can even try suing me. Good luck with that. The only proof you have is this blog post and let’s be honest, I could just be spicing up the text for entertainment value. The judge is going to want some solid proof and your hunch on how you interpreted my writing is hardly that. Anyway, where was I. Ah yes, so what I’m trying to point out here is this – if people were immortal, nothing would matter. The fact that life doesn’t last forever is what makes it so precious. The same goes for movie franchises. It’s really difficult to like a movie that goes on for all eternity. Listen up movie studios, show your movies some dignity and lay them to rest. And hey Michael Bay, if you for some reason find yourself reading this, I just wanted to make it very clear that this message excludes you. You can just go ahead and continue making your shitty Transformers movies. You see no one will ever remember your movies even if you stop making them. Like a tapeworm trapped in someone’s anus, the only thing you know is how to suck the life out of things, so please proceed with what you were doing, you soulless bland poor excuse of a human being. You are the cancer to my testicles, the Ebola to my Africa and I hope happiness eludes you to the very end.

This concludes my heated thought process. Please excuse the profanities. Nevertheless, here are my final wisdoms on the subject at hand. The movie industry has by no means reached a dead end. On the contrary, this is more like being at a crossroads. Movies haven’t really evolved in the last fifty years or so, other than in terms of special effects. Now is the time for change, real change not Obama change. Problem is, we the audience have evolved. We have seen it all and now we yearn for something new. The question is not whether there are new tales tell, because there definitely are. What I’m asking is - is anyone willing to tell them?

tiistai 21. tammikuuta 2014

Anime - a world of boobs and glory

An anime buff I am not and Japanese people I find really really weird. You can go on about how it is all about perception and different societal values, but let's be honest here, they are completely different from any other people. It is therefore no surprise that their cartoons are just as weird as they are. And there within lies the secret to why anime is getting more popular everywhere. Where western movies and tv shows have clear boundries, anime has none. It's just so darn refreshing.

So why am I talking about anime if I'm not a real fan. Because you see, I wanted to see what all the fuzz was about. I mean it has to have somekind of appeal right? If I'm being really honest, my first encounter with anime was as early as 20 years ago. I didn't know it at the time, but one of my favorite shows, Silverfang or Ginga as the locals called it, was an anime. If only my parents would have known what I was watching. They would never in a million years have allowed it. A story about feral dogs fighting gigantic monster bears in the mountains of Japan. It was all about gruesome battles, extreme violence, death and life lessons. In other words it was AWESOME. I could give two shits about Bugs Bunny dressing in drag after watching a show like that! Countless nightmares ensued, but hey, it was totally worth it. I would still watch it today, although the animation is slightly outdated now.

Then there is of course all the cutesy anime like Pokemon and Digimon. Thankfully when those came around I was way too old to get invested in them. If you have young kids I'm sure they will get a kick out of it, but kids will watch anything so let's not give credit where it is not deserved. There are also the big names of anime, namely Dragonball Z, Naruto, Bleach etc. I'm just not into that specific genre of anime. If i had to guess I'd say it was aimed towards boys between 10 and 15 yrs. It's nothing for adults, just trust me on this.

Now I have watched relatively new shows like Death Note, Elfen Lied, Code Geass and Attack on Titan. The only one that I can really recommend is Attack on Titan. The plot is intriguing, the animation is breathtaking and the concept is just so 'out there' that you can't help but love it. It's about humans living behind stone walls fending off 50 meter tall humanoid giants that crave human flesh. The feel of despair and utter hopelessness is unlike nothing I have ever experienced. It of course has its flaws, but unlike other animes it manages to captivate the viewer from beginning to end. I can't wait for the second season.

Time to get dirty. Here are some of the main reasons why I dislike anime so much. Pointless, boring inner monologues and filler dialogue that puts you to sleep. The shows always have such magnificent ideas, best example Death Note, in which a highschool student stumbles upon an empty diary and realizes that when he writes a persons name in said book, that person dies. He then becomes a mass murderer with a god complex, killing off most of the world's criminals and anyone trying to catch him. Brilliant! Sadly the story falls apart midway through the show. A great story needs to flow effortlessly from episode to episode. The core idea can only carry a show so far. Most if not all animes suffer from this lack of smooth storytelling. The inner monologues are just killing me e.g. "should I open this door or should I not risk it, what lies on the other side might be too much to bear. What if I do not like what I see. What if I get an errection from opening the door? What if this door doesn't have a handle? Seems like the burden of deciding my next move weighs heavy on my heart". DUDE SHUT THE FUCK UP AND OPEN THE GOD DAMN DOOR ALREADY! Just imagine all the inner monologues when characters actually have to make somewhat big decisions. GAH!

Then there is the boobs, and the upskirt camera angles, and the schoolgirl uniforms, and the shower scenes. Now I will (hardly) be the first to admit that asian chicks are pretty amazing, but this erotica in every frikin' show is getting pretty ridiculous. For once I just wished that the writers would get laid more, so that they could manage to keep their dicks in their pants for a little while longer. Just long enough that they can create new shows without having to think about sex. I simply cannot take anything seriously after seeing a school girl jump up and down (for no apparent reason) with her double D sized, jiggling like jello boobies. Japanese people are nothing if not the biggest pervs on the planet. Sorry, but you are and it is freaking everyone out, so cool it, okay? And what is with the female voice actors sounding like small hamsters? Don't even get me started on the tentacle porn and rape stuff. It's hella disturbing!

Not to forget, the theme song for any show will last for at least 2 minutes and god forbid they try to sing the song in English. It's like a game of Scrabble. One random word after the other, forming sentences that can hardly even be called sentences. South Park proved this point best when they made the anime parody episode with the main lyrics going: "let's go fighting love". Mind you it was a show about ninjas, not teenage romance. This is something you just have to see to believe. Goes with out saying - I always skip the opening and credit scenes... always.

This is not really an issue. I'm just confused about it. Why do the characters in every show have to look so western and big eyed. And what is up with all the male leads looking like beautiful princesses? Is this an unwritten rule amongst anime artists? Can't someone stray from the path? I saw a girl get raped by a demon. Are you telling me that that is okay, but when it comes to trying to draw characters a bit differently THAT is where you draw the line?!

Case and point, It is my opinion that you cannot fall in love with anime just like that, especially if you have not watched any anime before this. Besides it is not for everyone. I'll just say that if you are really bored with sitcoms and HBO dramas, you might wanna give anime a chance. I mean what do you have to lose? Oh and did I mention there is boobs?

lauantai 7. joulukuuta 2013

The Hunger Games - Why it just doesn't feel right

Let's get one thing straight - Jennifer Lawrence is a star. She is beautiful, funny and talented. I love her and I'm happy that the Hunger Games pushed her into the spotlight.

What I'm irritated with is the Hunger Games universe and the various loopholes in the story. Is it a rip-off of the hit movie Battle Royal? Maybe? Do I care? Not really. Battle Royal was not the first movie to play around with idea of a killing game. Therefore following that logic Battle Royal is a rip-off, and I really couldn't care less, since it is a fantastic film that delivers from start to finish. The Hunger Games on the otherhand is just plain stupid and it's aimed towards teens and we all know teens like stupid shit. Heck, we've all been teenagers, so let's not blame them for being ignorant. Jackass, Adam Sandler, Lost, I used to eat that shit up like it was pancakes covered with nutella. But like everyone else I too would eventually grow up and see all those things for the junk that they really were. This is why I'm overlooking the fact that people actually enjoy the Hunger Games books and movies. Instead I will direct all my aggression towards the people who had the gonads to write this heap of steeming horse crap. I'm not gonna break down the movies scene by scene. No, instead I will give you three reasons for why the Hunger Games doesn't deserve to exist.

Loophole number 1. Dressing up like flamboyant gay guys with blue hair and majestic toupees will never be a thing. Not in this world and not in any other pararell universe for that matter. I'm calling major BS. Just like that attention whore Lady Gaga (excuse the expression), the writers of the Hunger Games realised that the only way people will remember these movies is by adding ridiculous attention grabbing costumes into the mix. Trying to shift the focus from the plot to something else is a clear sign of a bad story. It's a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that the Hunger Games is utter bullshit.

Loophole number 2. How ever poor or how ever desperate, no village (or district as they call them in the movie) would never in a million years let kids as young as 7 years old go off and participate in a game that they so clearly will never live through. Especially when anyone can so easily volunteer to take the place of a tribute (=a person selected for then Hunger Games). Solution, every district would train a selected group of teenagers to become warriors. When the time came for the lottery, these trained killers/survivalists would volunteer for the Hunger Games in place of whom ever would originally be picked to participate. It's as simple as that. Pretty retarded that not one of the districts has realised that this loophole exists and that there is a clear-as-day solution to work around it? Too fucking retarded if you ask me.

If you seriously aren't convinced yet I have one more point to make.

Loophole number 3. We the audience are led to believe that people are betting on which contestant will win the games. Why else would anyone sponsor the contestants with gifts and weapons during the game. The betting is not the problem. The problem is this - who would place a single bet in a game that is so clearly rigged. The overseers of the Hunger Games constantly interween with the outcome of the game. They shoot fireballs, ignite forest fires and send in roided up bulldogs to hunt down selected contestants. Knowing all that, why the hell would anyone spend money on betting or sponsoring contestants when it is so clear that the producers of the show are trying to control who wins? Can we all agree now? Surely you agree with me?

The Hunger Games is bullshit. Mind you, it is a thousand times better than Twilight, but that is not saying much.

What would a well-made Hunger Games remake look like you ask? Well firstly, the characters would not look like coked-up Richard Simmons or Elton John clones. Volunteering would not be allowed. The producers would not have any say in the outcome of the game. The world would be more realistic. The audience would much rather see as many contestants die as possible. No one would give two shits about contestants falling in love. The games would be much more gruesome: decapitations, gang rapes and people pooping in bushes. Seriously did Katniss not need to take a poop a single time during the game. I don't buy it. No one is that perfect, not even Jennifer Lawrence, bless her heart.

maanantai 22. heinäkuuta 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard - how to kill a movie series

Remember the first three Die Hard movies? Weren't they great? Great villains, memorable quotes, heart-stopping action and interesting plots. I love love loved those movies and I would be happy to watch them again at anytime in anyplace.

Unfortunately it was all downhill from there...

Like a fat guy in a canoe, the 4th movie was a laughable sight. Quite frankly, it sucked. Still, I forgave Willis. I had to assume that this was a one-time thing. An unexplainable mishap that could be shoved into oblivion. John McClane was my childhood hero, so of course I had faith in that one day he would return stronger and better just like in the good ol' days. Boy was I wrong.

The fifth installment of this series has got to be one of the WORST action movies I have ever seen. You know those cheap ass Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes movies that are always shot in some East-European country like Bulgaria or Belarus. Die Hard 5 is eerily similar to those sorry excuses of cinema. If you take out all the million dollar CGI explosions you're left with nothing but an aging Bruce Willis and a cast of b-class actors.

This movie franchise just refuses to die. How fucking ironic is that!!! Every god damn title has the word "die" in it and this shit just keeps on going and going and going. Death is an empty promise, nothing more. It's pointless for me to start going through every last flaw in this flick, because quite frankly I hated all of it.  The plot is predictable, the action is boring and what sums up the whole movie is this: throughout the movie McClane's son always refers to him as "John" instead of "dad" or "father". Why? Apparently, for reasons unknown, these two guys are having family issues... barf. So get this, in the end the son comes around and starts calling him "dad" again! OH MY GOD! This sequel is packed with movie clichès from start to finish. How about you dumb asses come up with something original for a change? Seriously!

I have so many questions, I doubt they will ever get answered. Who approved the script? Is Bruce Willis trying to follow in Nicolas Cage's footsteps? Why won't you die hard already??

You had a good run Brucie boy, but now it's time to call it quits and retire! Nothing lasts forever.

sunnuntai 21. huhtikuuta 2013

Mama - A Cliched Ghost Story

There is no denying that Mama actually offers a couple of good scares. I mean the scenes where the girls are crawling in the dark are freaky to say the least. The PMSing demon ghost mama also makes some gruesome noises that had me cringing a few times. These elements were made famous a while back by Japanese horror flicks like The Ring and and The Grudge. It is nothing new, but I have to admit it still gets to me.

The acting is pretty half-assed. Jaime Lannister (real name Nikolaj something something) is evidently taking a short break from shooting Game of Thrones and we all sure wished he wouldn't have. His character could just as well have been killed off after the first 15 minutes and it wouldn't have made any difference to the plot. However, for some reason the writers decided to let him tag along and continue being absolutely useless through out the duration of the movie. Jessica Chastain looked pretty hot playing a sassy rocker chick turned step-mom, but the character in itself was pretty one dimensional and I could honestly not really give a rats ass if she lived or died. What about the children then? Meh. 90 % of  child actors suck at acting and these two girls definitely fall in that suckfest of a category.

The plot was your typical ghost-out-for-revenge -story, where the ghost is impossible to beat and you just have to wait until the very last 10 minutes to see whether or not someone comes up with a nifty plan for defeating the sorry bastard. Just once I wish that one of the victims would actually come back from the dead and hunt the actual ghost, but no, this is the movies and the rules clearly state that there can only be one ghost per movie. Mama came back from the dead, why can't her victims do the same? Oh and guess why Mama is acting out like this? When she he offed her self back in the day, she also killed her own child in the process. Now she's come back to look for her baby, who she herself killed mind you, and we are supposed to be ok with that. What a crummy excuse to justify her coming back! The viewer has to watch the ghost act like an asshole for two hours only to witness that in the end the ghost will just end up getting what it wanted. What a load of crock! Every ghost movie follows the same god damn plot e.g. Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity 1,  PA 2 , PA 3 , PA 4 (I really hate Paranormal Activity) etc. - ghost is a total asshole, everyone dies and ghost wins.

Hollywood can you please make it so that in the next ghost movie the ghost gets brutally ass raped in the end? I would pay to see that.

What can I say, Mama is a typical revenge story with a few good scares and a whole bunch of stupid white people with flashlights. Frack it, I'm watching Ghostbusters next!

I give this movie 5/10 Jaime Lannisters