Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Cloud Atlas" Gives Me Fuzzies

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you what may soon bear the nickname, "The Wachowski's Redemption":

As a writer, I've always wanted to write a sprawling epic like this, spanning as much as a billion years, interconnected by theme.  Alas, I am not talented enough for any such idea to fully gestate into fruition. I mean, how the hell do you pull something like that off without coming off as obtuse and pretentious?  Where do you GO from an idea like that?

I really hope this film shows me how.  It's one of those trailers that's so good that upon watching it you're immediately extrapolating the heights with which it can rise to, analyzing each thread and celebrating the various ways they could be realized, and for a moment, you almost feel like you're a part of the process, and you hope that it is indeed doing what you think its doing.

Fucking awesome trailer.

-VMA

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rewriting the Chronicles

Today begins the first day of rewrites for the spec TV pilot that I've been writing for some time now, tentatively titled The Hudson Avenue Chronicles.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the project, here is the basic gist as portrayed by my currently underwhelming log line:

Six college students make the subtle and reluctant transition from adolescent to adult through belligerence and debauchery while living in the ghetto at one of the most notorious party schools in the nation.

Overall, not a bad logline.  Gives you a basic idea.  Problem is that the series has morphed quite considerably over the years from "half-hour comedy romp crazy time" to "hour-long introspective dramedy about the existential dread of becoming who you are".  Glory Daze this is not.  Greek this most certainly is not.  Animal House would probably be the fairest comparison of anything that has come before it, but it is designed to have much more heart and carry much more thematic weight and depth to its characters and storyline.  In fact, the whole "college" setting is really more of an afterthought when I think about it; a device to drive the narrative and themes.  It's not just about these guys, it's very much a social thesis on institutional dysfunction and existential nihilism.  

Sound a little much for a (relatively) first project?  You'd be right.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"The Dark Knight Rises" Review

(95% SPOILER FREE)

The Dark Knight Rises is a good movie.

The Dark Knight Rises is not an amazing movie.  It is, indeed, the latest victim of Empire Syndrome*.  And for those who hoped Christopher Nolan would finally get his due come oscar time, you will be sadly disappointed (unless the academy has a GIGANTIC crisis of conscience and insists on retroactively awarding him to make penance for the indefensible snub of its predecessor).

Monday, July 23, 2012

GoNo Rises

NEWS!  Here is the latest teaser for Going Nowhere:


Apologies for the lack of posts this week.  My phone and wallet were both lost/stolen at the theater where I saw The Dark Knight Rises, and I've been buried in red tape ever since.  Once I get my life back, the review for the aforementioned film will be up.  Figure by tomorrow night, hopefully.

-VMA

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rape Jokes Are Funny

Do I have your attention now?

If I ever get famous, this will be the article that inevitably strikes first controversy.  I think I'm okay with that.

DISCLAIMER:  This is not actually a matter on whether the joke was funny or not.  That is exclusive to the taste of the individual hearing it.  This is a matter of free speech.

(For those unfamiliar with the Daniel Tosh "scandal", here it is.)

Nothing gets me fuming harder than a broken air conditioner in Uganda than smug self-righteousness.

Being offended makes the most ordinary of us feel somewhat important. Like we matter. People should take us seriously about certain things and listen to us because they make us sad face.

No offense, (lol) but all I can picture when typing that is an especially annoying hysterical baby.

Seriously, grow up.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Neil Blomkamp & Ideas I Wish I'd Thought Of

District 9 was a **** phenomenal movie, a landmark by which I've judged every other sci-fi flick for the past decade.  Seriously, when a sci-fi movie is released, I often ask, "but is it District 9 good?".  Its director, newcomer at the time Neil Blomkamp, proved, among other things, that you could tell a serious, epic, heart-wrenching allegory while having some of the best special effects in the business and still remain on a budget (the film was shot for just $30 million), which meant big budget blockbusters had no excuse when their characters or green screens came up short (looking at you, Amazing Spider-Man).  Not to mention the award worthy performance of Sharlto Copley (where has he been?).

Blomkamp, in keeping with his tradition, has surfaced with footage from his latest sci-fi allegory,
Elysium. I am a happy. As far as the plot is concerned, allow me to shamelessly quote Wikipedia:

My Arbitrary Three-Pronged Rating System

Posting my first review, it occurs to me that I should show you this.  This is the scale I use to judge movies.  Haven't decided on whether I'll use it for games or other things.  It is slightly weighted toward the middle of the road, as that is more often the larger region where most films find themselves.  It should pacify the 4 star traditionalists as well as the magnifying glass particular.

0 - 12% -- ZERO -- "Broken"
13 - 25% -- * -- "Insulting"
26 - 37% -- *1/2 -- "Awful"
38 - 49% -- ** -- "Bad"
50 - 64% -- **1/2 -- "Alright"
65 - 79% -- *** -- "Good"
80 - 89% -- ***1/2 - "Amazing"
90 - 100% -- **** -- "Masterpiece"

"Savages" Review

Remember when Oliver Stone made moves like Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Natural Born Killers? Man, those were the days.  While certainly a talented director, he's been woefully uneven and heavy-handed over the past decade.  There was the infamous blockbuster bomb Alexander, the groan-inducing diatribe on everything United 93 did better, World Trade Center, and the inoffensive as much as unnecessary Shia Leboeuf infused sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.  Besides Any Given Sunday, the polarizing biopic, W., is really the only film he's done in the past 15 years that worked at the end of the day.  Savages, based on the novel by Don Winslow, is supposed to be his triumphant return to form.  Does it work?  Does he reclaim his past accolade as controversial visionary?   Well...not quite, but he made a pretty damn good movie :) .

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

OhNo! More GoNo!

Below, the latest teaser for Going Nowhere.  It's spirit-fuckingly good.


-VMA

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Will The Dark Knight Rise?

As with many things recently, I have not been particularly excited about The Dark Knight Rises.  I mean, I'm sure it will be a very good movie, but I'm making sure I don't give myself an unwarranted level of expectation given its lightning-in-a-bottle predecessor.  I've probably become jaded by being let down by too many third installments (*cough cough* Mass Effect *cough cough*), and I want to give Christopher Nolan as fresh-eyed a take as I can give when it's finally released.

That being said, early reviews have been very positive, with Oscar already buzzing, which I have to say, is making my heart go ever so aflutter for the possibility of what could be one of the best trilogies... well, ever.

It could just be an Inception-esque false alarm, where the fanboy's who saw it early cried of it being the second coming, only to have it crash down to earth with the deplorable title of "really good movie".

Whatever the case, here's to hoping.

-VMA

Why is Trent Reznor Scoring Call of Duty?

I've often said, in regards to my ambitions of becoming a record producer, that Mike Shinoda is the reason I do what I do, and Trent Reznor is why I keep doing it.  In short, Reznor may be the single greatest musical visionary of the last 25 years.  His potent, enigmatic blend of pop sensibility and no-compromise attitude have yet to be matched since the release of Pretty Hate Machine in 1989.  In addition, he's also done a fair amount of film and video game composition, the latest news of which being that he will be writing the theme song to the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Resident Evil Code: Homogeny

I am a huge fan of the Resident Evil series.  The second and fourth installments remain among my favorite games of all time, the second for its colossal improvements of the first and genuine breakthrough of the survival horror genre complete with memorable characters and set pieces, the fourth for its staggering degree of innovation, stellar level design, and pitch-perfect pacing.

I remember just how disappointed I was when I finally played Resident Evil 5.  It wasn't immediate.  It was one of those, "hopelessly-trying-to-convince-myself-I'm-having-fun-and-attempt-to-defend-retrospectively" things until the pile of mistakes and inconsistencies finally finish trudging you through a truncated grief process, and you are able to accept it for what it is with mostly objective eyes.  Kind of how die-hard Soprano's fans felt when their lives collectively cut to black.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ted = Good, Looper = Promising

Ted, as a film, structurally, is paint-by-numbers, and extremely formulaic.  There's also a saying in Hollywood, that "funny trumps everything", and damn it if this movie doesn't have it in spades.  Hysterical, which is probably how it managed the very daunting task of making me emotionally invested.  You should see it.

Oh, and Patrick Stewart narrates.  That's literally all you need to know.

UPDATE:  Let's rate it!

65% = *** = "Good"

In other "people who will be taking my money in the future" news, Rian Johnson (director of the oft-overlooked indie gem "Brick", which should be on your have-seen-by-now list) recently released a trailer of his next film, Looper, which centers around Joseph Gordon Levitt as a luxuriously-living temporal hit-man for the future of organized crime who has a crisis of conscience when the latest mark they send back just happens to be him.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Dump

I don't usually enjoy talking about politics.  This could be due to the fact that I live smack dab in the middle of suburban Long Island, where almost everyone is a staunch conservative(whether they know why or not) and in turn dismiss everything I say as being of the "bat-shit" variety.  This is not to say that I am a "liberal" by any stretch of the imagination.  I can't stand labels, but gun-to-my-head I would have to identify most closely as "moderate".  It just so happens in 2012 American Politics, "liberal" has become more analogous with "moderate", and "conservative" has become more analogous with "medieval", so perceptions have shifted accordingly.

But this story made me want to peak my head out for a minute, if only because I feel I can identify with it:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Assassin's Creed Trailer

Assassin's Creed the first was an exercise in errant repetition, with scattered moments of brilliance.  The sequel expanded greatly on the first with a much more interesting central protagonist and varied gameplay, though at the end of the day, much of the game still felt like a grind littered with arbitrary quests, and while there were more opportunities for me to kill things, it lacked the proper weight and narrative cohesion that such a combo of storytelling and innovative gameplay should carry, still making me feel more like a glorified roofer than a trained killer who lurks in the shadows.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going Somewhere...Eventually

Below, a few spots for an upcoming web-series entitled "Going Nowhere", for which I serve as Co-Executive Producer: