Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Summer movie preview.


Iron Man 3 - Robert Downey Jr. reunites with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black for what promises to be the darkest Iron Man yet. Try and stop me from seeing it.

The Great Gatsby - The latest incarnation of Fitzgerald's tome, with all the glitz one would expect of the guy who directed Moulin Rouge.

Peeples - A Tyler Perry-produced take on Meet the Parents...yet, the film looks far more amusing than that would imply.

Star Trek Into Darkness - The crew of the Enterprise faces a devious foe. Seems like a spiritual evocation of Wrath of Khan...not a bad model.

Epic - A teenage girl is shrunk and finds herself in the midst of a battle between two factions. Pretty ambitious for Blue Sky Studios, but the comic relief seems a bit iffy. Also, what the hell is a 'Pitbull'?! (He - it? - is one of the voices.)

The Hangover Part III - Fuck you too, Hollywood!

Fast and Furious 6 - I guess as long as there are fancy cars and hot chicks, these movies won't end.

After Earth - Okay, wait, didn't we just see this movie, only it was called Oblivion? I guess it doesn't matter. Nine times out of ten, Will Smith summer movies are a license to print money.

Now You See Me - Magicians utilize their skills to pull off daring robberies. Neat trailer, impressive cast.


The Purge - Apparently, there's a brief period of time that will allow you to commit whatever wrongdoing you want and get away with it. I'm almost scared what I'd do in such a scenario.

The Internship - Following a downsizing, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to land an internship that could lead to a job with Google. The trailer was funnier than I expected.

Much Ado About Nothing - An interesting palate cleanser for Joss Whedon in-between Avengers movies.

Man of Steel - Proof positive that you can fail upwards in Hollywood, the director of Sucker Punch brings us a Superman movie.

This is the End - Playing themselves (I suppose), Seth Rogen, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jay Baruchel face the end of the world. Amusing trailer. Fun fact: this marks the directorial debut of Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg.

The Bling Ring - Apparently based on the true story of a group of young adults who shook down the homes of the rich and famous.

Monsters University - The prologue to Monsters, Inc. Here's hoping it can live up to its charming trailers.

World War Z - Deviations from the source material aside, this zombie action movie isn't really grabbing me.

White House Down - Two CGI insect movies. Two mall cop movies. Two 'fighting through an apartment block of killers' movies. Now, here is the second of the year's two 'a lone Secret Service agent must protect the President against bad guys' movies. This one stars Channing Tatum as the agent and Jamie Foxx as the President.

The Heat - The trailer states, "Bullock. McCarthy. Any questions?" Just one: where's the bloody script?


Despicable Me 2 - Having gone good, Gru is recruited to help take down a new bad guy (voiced by Javier Bardem).

The Lone Ranger - Even though it appears to be little more than Pirates of the Frontier (from the same director/producer combo), this adaptation of the legendary hero looks like fun.

Pacific Rim - Okay, I'm seeing Cloverfield, RobotJox and a few other titles that don't immediately spring to mind. Still, it's a Guillermo Del Toro movie. Some awesomeness is assured.

Grown Ups 2 - The usual gang of idiots returns...minus Rob Schneider? Scandalous!

R.I.P.D. - After losing his life, a cop is given a new assignment: rounding up stray spirits. Basically Men in Black with ghosts, but looks quite fun. From the director of RED, and speaking of which...

RED 2 - Having survived (for the most part) the 2010 onslaught of 'team of asskickers' movies, the team is back in action.

Turbo - A snail gains the ability to race in NASCAR. Seriously. Dreamworks surprised me with The Croods. Maybe, lightning will strike twice.

The Conjuring - James Wan returns to Insidious territory with this tale of married paranormalists assisting a haunted family.

The Wolverine - Logan's back and he's in Japan. Just like the tag at the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine promised.


300: Rise of an Empire - I'm pretty sure this is a prequel. Not sure we need one, but here it is.

The Smurfs 2 - What's blue and silly and green all over? Wait, I think I told that wrong.

2 Guns - Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are forced to work together when an operation goes south. Kind of like if Safe House were more Tango and Cash than 'srs bsnss'. Looks fun.

We're the Millers - A pot dealer's got one last job before he can retire: delivering a huge shipment from Mexico. However, he's gonna need a fake family as cover. The draft I read of this was hilarious. Hopefully, subsequent rewrites have kept the funny.

Elysium - Gee whiz, another movie where Earth is gutted in the future? Okay, Al Gore, we'll recycle already! Anyway, the man behind District 9 is back.

Planes - A Disney CGI feature with Dane Cook voicing the lead character. You're sure this isn't a direct-to-DVD movie? Really? Well, shoot.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - In recent years, I've developed a mild fascination with Greek mythology, so (for the sake of my own career) I'm hoping this does well.

Kick-Ass 2 - More ass to be kicked, more names to be taken. Awesome (red-band) trailer.

The To-Do List - A high school senior makes a list of things to do before heading for college? What kind of list? Well, replace 'things' with 'people' and you're on the right track.

Paranoia - To enjoy the good life at his new workplace, a young turk must do a little spying, but who can he trust? From the director of Legally Blonde and The Ugly Truth. No, really.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - Looks like Screen Gems wants a piece of the Twilight pie, now.

The World's End - Apparently Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were the first two-thirds of a trilogy and this feature is the final part. Can't wait.

One Direction: This is Us - Yet another concert movie. What can you do?

Getaway - A race-car driver must put his skills to the test to save his wife. This could go either way.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lost in the stacks. (The Adventures of a Comic-Con Girl)

I love comic books. I've been collecting for roughly the last decade. However, I'm not drawn toward traditional titles. Somehow, I gravitate toward limited-run titles. These comics, more often than not, fall through the cracks and are forgotten, lost to time. This column aims to shine a light on these titles and, hopefully, make them some new fans...or draw out the old ones.

Is there anything more exhilarating to a pop culture junkie, comic book lover or social outcast than a comic convention? Spending a few days on another world somehow ensconsed in another city, meeting all manner of people of like minds, looking for a good time...or maybe, that oh-so-elusive back issue to complete your collection. However, one must Con responsibly; just because you're in another world doesn't mean you should act a fool. If one does not heed this warning...well, read on.

Meet Dana. Cute, quick-witted...and a poster child for impulse control problems. Whether searching for an autograph from Billy Green Lee or her specially-signed issue of "Werewolves vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies", she is a one-woman wrecking crew, unconcerned with who she manipulates or what she destroys on her way to her goals. Her two friends, Tatiana and MFK, are constantly shown to be at their wits end with her, leading one to wonder if this is but the latest in a string of incidents.

Okay, cards on the table: how much you like this title will live and die on how much you identify with (or even tolerate) Dana. Within the first two pages, she's dropped a deuce on the floor of her hotel room...and she doesn't feel remorseful about it. She doesn't get much more likable from there.

The formulaic nature of the first two issues could also be a problem: Dana wants something; someone reminds her of a past indiscretion, Hangover-style; Tatiana and MFK bitch her out for her irresponsibility; someone gets hurt or into trouble because of her, but remorse is for chumps, so on she goes; she has flirty banter with the cute nameless guy.

Now, it may sound like I'm coming down hard on "The Adventures of a ComicCon Girl", but I did enjoy the title. The artwork is good, it's packed with neat gags (my favorite: Dana's encounter with the "Klingons") and there is the feel of being at a convention. (I'm delighted that this was one of two titles from last year to center around the frenzy of the Con; you may have heard of the other: "Fanboys vs. Zombies").

Issue three (of three parts) turns the aforementioned formula on its head. Dana's big gesture to mend her ways (somewhat) is an impressive moment that does a fair job of redeeming her rather selfish character. (Incidentally, the co-writer of this series is named Dana Braziel-Solovy. Allowing for the fact that 'Dana' is gender-neutral, I can only wonder if the book was a kind of demon-exorcising or just a fluke.)

Overall, I really liked "The Adventures of a ComicCon Girl". If you stay with it, you might like it, too.

Grade: B

Availability: Released by Antarctic Press, it should still be available.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Birthday wishes.

My 32nd birthday is but hours away. It took me quite a while to turn in a list of what I wanted. This, of course, is because, as I get older, I find that my family can't give me what I really want, so I give them softball requests like socks and gift cards.

What I'd wish for if I had any inkling that wishing works in real life (and they say you shouldn't outright state your wishes if you want them to come true, but no one reads this blog, so it's pretty much the same thing as not saying what you want):

1. a girlfriend - I suppose that I could wish for friends; maybe someone who could gradually become a girlfriend or someone who could hook me up, but at this point, screw the middleman. I want to screw.

2. a bottomless bank account - I love traveling. I love buying soundtracks. I love eating. How am I supposed to pay for these things that I love? Hint: it ain't hope.

3. a stronger spine - Throughout my life, I've never had the courage to go after the things I want. It happens every so often, but I wish I could be as bold as others, especially people younger than me. It kills me reading about people younger than myself succeeding and I think to myself, 'what could I have done at that age?'

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Monday, April 15, 2013

MTV Movie Awards ballot '13.

So, the MTV Movie Awards were last night. Not in June. Not in May. Last night. I don't get it, either. Didn't watch; I just didn't feel like it. I heard that Julie Powers Kanye'd Ron Burgundy, but I know nothing of what happened, or who won. Still, as ever, here is my ballot, based on movies that I saw. Yes, my tastes are quite eclectic. Winners are in bold.

best on-screen duo:
Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, Dredd
Will Smith and Josh Brolin, Men in Black 3
Mark Wahlberg and Ted, Ted
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street

best action sequence:
the Helicarrier battle, The Avengers
protecting Sommerton Junction, The Last Stand
battle at the Pink Blossom, The Man with the Iron Fists
the 7th floor massacre, The Raid: Redemption
from a motorcycle to a train, Skyfall

best comedic performance:
Sacha Baron Cohen, The Dictator
Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows
Will Ferrell, The Campaign
Zach Galifianakis, The Campaign
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths

best villain:
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises
Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers
Guy Pearce, Lawless
Jean-Claude Van Damme, The Expendables 2

best breakthrough performance - male:
Dane Dehaan, Lawless
Jared Gilman, Moonrise Kingdom
Scoot McNairy, Argo
Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Benjamin Walker, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

best breakthrough performance - female:
Catherine Chan, Safe
Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom
Bella Heathcote, Dark Shadows
Victoria Justice, Fun Size
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks

best male performance:
Daniel Craig, Skyfall
Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly
Karl Urban, Dredd
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

best female performance:
Jessica Chastain, Lawless
Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man
Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

best fight:
Robert Downey, Jr. vs Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers
Logan Lerman vs. the bullies, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Iko Uwais and Doni Alamsyah vs. Yayan Ruhian, The Raid: Redemption
Mark Wahlberg vs. Ted, Ted
Colin Farrell vs. Kate Beckinsale, Total Recall

best kiss:
Benjamin Walker and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Gangster Squad
Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks

best movie:
The Avengers
Django Unchained
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jonathan Winters (1925-2013)

No doubt that a lot of us grew up with Jonathan Winters, perhaps in his various film roles (like Lennie Pike in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with his memorable encounter with a pair of gas station attendants) or as Mearth, the son of "Mork and Mindy".

My first encounter with Winters was as the voice of Sappy Stanley* on the "Tiny Toon Adventures" episode, "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny". Though the episode was uneven, Winters was fantastic, making the most of his part, especially with the line (still one of my favorite lines of the show), "American cinema is nothing more than brain pudding for the common rabble. You and your precious rabbit deserve each other!"

We've lost a fine comic talent. May he rest in peace.

* - Looking back, I don't think they were trying to hide it, but the character always struck me as a Jerry Lewis analogue. Think about it: all his movies basically the same, a silly voice and a serious voice, they love him in France. Need I say more?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

High Anxiety (John Morris)

Ever since becoming the head of the Institute for the Very Very Nervous, trouble seems to strike Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (director/producer/co-writer Mel Brooks) at every turn. To this day, I'm not sure if this or Spaceballs was my first Brooks movie. I loved it as a kid, but these days, it reminds me of his 90s work: some great gags, but you have to wade through a lot of nonsense to get to them. Not a total loss (for me, Nurse Diesel > Frau Blucher), but not up to Brooks's classics.

John Morris responded brilliantly to the Hitchcock takeoff with a lively score that balances comedy and thrills.

High Anxiety
composed & conducted
John Morris

1. Nervous Flying 0.30
2. Main Titles 1.20
3. The Mad Woman 0.15
4. The Cop 0.35
5. Main Titles Part II 1.11
6. "Foul play!" 0.22
7. The Institute 0.09
8. "Your new home." 0.29
9. The View 1.04
10. "...your life!" stinger 0.02
11. The Toast 0.07
12. Have a Nice Time? 0.06
13. Some Weird Noises 0.12
14. Diesel Dominates 0.07
15. Going for a Spin 0.14
16. The Violent Ward 0.11
17. "I know you won't." 0.40
18. The Elevators 0.13
19. The 17th Floor 0.58
20. Suspicious 0.04
21. Get the Newspaper 0.09
22. The Shower 0.51
23. No Tip for that Kid 0.18
24. Victoria 0.03
25. Braces 0.09
26. The Bar 1.25
27. "High Anxiety" 2.29
28. This is Arthur Brisbane? 0.32
29. The Murder 0.52
30. On the Run 0.09
31. The Picture 0.22
32. The Seaside 0.10
33. "That's the Doc!" 0.41
34. Richard Makes a Call 0.37
35. The Airport 0.18
36. The Gun! 0.09
37. Sneaking Around 0.42
38. The North Wing 0.24
39. "...suicide!" stinger 0.02
40. Up the Stairs 0.41
41. Going After Norton 0.47
42. Childhood Flashback 1.01
43. Richard Climbs 0.20
44. The Tower 0.34
45. The End of Diesel 0.21
46. Happy Endings/Wedding Night 0.34
47. "High Anxiety" reprise/End Credits 2.34

Somehow, I think that this will be the year for it.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Film criticism is an interesting thing. We love critics for sitting through and reporting on the stuff that most of us common folk wouldn't touch with a 20 foot pole (documentaries, torture porn, foreign films), but if they pan a movie that we really like, they become the enemy.

Still, especially in the case of the latter, we're curious to know what they thought about a given movie. We've lost one of our finest (and arguably, most well-known) film critics. From the reviews I've read, Roger Ebert had a way with crafting his opinions (the opening paragraph of his Freddy Got Fingered review still cracks me up).

I really hope his last movie (watched or reviewed) was a good one. Farewell.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Random Thoughts - just postin' stuff.

- In planning my trip to Chicago (hard to believe I'll be attending c2e2 at the end of the month), I've learned that my hotel is next to a restaurant called Yolk. I looked up the menu and...well, I just can't wait. I've printed out the menu; I'm planning on doing my own version of March Madness, choosing 20 different breakfasts and narrowing them down to three.

- Recently, I've gone through all the receipts I've accrued in the last couple years of buying soundtracks. It makes me that much more glad I've decided to ration my purchases to spending $100 every couple of months (but if something threatens to go out of print, I'll have to bend).

- Getting back to c2e2, there seems to be even less that interests me than at New York Comic Con (even though they are both run by the same people); i.e. no panels about upcoming films. Still, there's trivia contests, Patton Oswalt and the sure-to-be-awesome cosplay, so, yeah, I'm sure to have a good time.

- Well, ABC's evil plan worked, the cocksuckers. The ratings for last Friday's episodes of "Happy Endings" were not good. The show's cancellation is imminent, but at least the show went down swinging; both episodes were hilarious.

- Speaking of dumbshit network execs slitting the throats of golden geese, Cartoon Network seems content to burn off its remaining episodes of "Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated", which managed to be the finest SD incarnation yet. But the network can't promote "Incredible Crew", "The Amazing World of Gumball", "Ben 10: Omniverse", "MAD" and "The Looney Tunes Show" enough, so that's what matters, yes?

- Not sure what happened to Script Frenzy, but I think I should knock out a script in 30 days anyway. If only I knew what I was going to write.