The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Movehs’

Posted by Matt on February 11, 2011

And now: Godzilla.

We all know there’s going to be another stab at an American-made Godzilla movie, right? Well, now you do. This one has the distinct advantage of not having Roland Emmerich involved. I’m not saying this guarantees it won’t be terrible, but at least it could be a different kind of terrible. The hiring of Garth Edwards, the man behind some weird little horror movie that came out last year called Monsters, as director also guarantees it at least has a decent chance to be interesting in some way.

Chances are this will be another attempt to recapture the feeling of the very first movie. It’ll hard to really get at that atmosphere, considering the historical reasons the 1954 Godzilla was made in the first place (read: not-so subtle metaphors!). But there’s still something there for the creative types to grapple with, some decent science fiction ideas that could still be mined. And if they can do something interesting with it, I say go for it, as much as I like the monster vs. monster movies.

One thing I’ve considered for this theoretical movie is the way in which Godzilla will be rendered. Of course, rubber suits are out, unfortunately. As fake as they were, those movies in some key ways still feel more ‘real’ than a lot of CGI, which feels rather floaty and cartoony (it’s one reason why the original King Kong still looks better than all the subsequent remakes. Stop motion may not look ‘realistic’, but it feels ‘real’ in a way, because it’s actually there, with physical objects being manipulated and interacting with eachother). In a perfect world, we’d get at least one chance to see what top-of-the-line animatronics could bring to Godzilla, but it is not to be.

This is a situation where I think motion capture would help. The problem with a lot of purely CGI creations in otherwise live action movies is that we have a really hard time really suspending our disbelief, because often they look like video games projected onto a green screen (which is what it is most of the time) and the actors being told to react to something that isn’t there. But CGI can and is used to great effect in enhancing what’s already been filmed. If there’s some form of ‘reality’ that the CGI is being layered onto, the effect is usually much better. In order to get that lumbering movement characteristic of Godzilla to be represented on-screen, mocap would be the best option.

I don’t know why I’ve been putting so much thought into this.

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Christmas Post 5/12

Posted by Matt on December 19, 2010

A list of movies that take place during Christmas that aren’t necessarily considered Christmas movies:

Die Hard
Black Christmas (this one is iffy, but who would consider it a Christmas movie? Anyways, still has one of the creepiest endings I’ve ever seen!)
Batman Returns
The Ice Harvest

Conclusion: most movies that take place during Christmas but aren’t necessarily Christmas movies try their damnedest to be either scary or depressing or Die Hard. Christmas is prime material for subversion.

Yes, I am desperate for content.

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The World Hates Me

Posted by Matt on December 9, 2010

Why else would they give me a movie about boxing robots, a concept that is TOTALLY ME, directed by Shawn ‘Maestro of Mediocrity’ Levy?

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Posted by Matt on September 2, 2010

The phrase ‘Hollywood is out of ideas’ kind of confuses me. I can understand the frustration when you hear every other day that a board game or Youtube video or glob of spit on the sidewalk is being made into a movie. It seems that everything that already exists is getting made into a movie these days, even other movies.

But the thing…’Hollywood’, that fictional entity that is meant to encompass all the studios in America…doesn’t really have it’s own ideas, does it? Okay, all these licenses being acquired and greenlit obviously comes from the brass. And even great movies started out like this; Jaws is a classic, but it likely started with some CEO saying “That Peter Benchley book is popular, make a movie out of it”. The closest thing the studios themselves come to creativity is going with a general idea rather than just a license, like saying ‘People want movies with cowboys!’ or ‘People want movies about the war!’.

So, in essence, Hollywood never has ideas, or at least original ones. The ones with the ideas are the screenwriters who pitch their scripts to the studios. They’re the ones who, one way or another, have to mold a story from the mud, whether it’s their own or something given to them.

It’s a strange thing, really. Most movie ideas come from the top-down, I must admit, but there are still examples of big movies that were screenwriter pitches first, Alien being a prime example. Still, I think there is enough evidence to suggest that most of the creativity comes from the bottom, from those more directly connected to the creative aspect of filmmaking. So then the idea that ‘Hollywood is out of Ideas’ seems faulty, as for the most part, the ideas are not created by the studios, but by the screenwriters, or directors, or even designers; and I’ve heard very little that leads me to believe that they are out of ideas.

This leads to what the actual problem is, though: ‘Hollywood’ isn’t willing to take risks at all, so they are less willing to buy a script unless it has some connection to something that already exists, or is championed by a bankable actor. It’s getting absurd, and the fact that the studios are buying the rights to board games is only the beginning. It seems that they have become so timid about making money back on their investment that they will take anything, literally anything, that might have some sort of recognition factor, no matter how minuscule, as being a safe bet. And they need safe bets: they are losing money all the time, as people just stop going to the movies, preferring to watch them at home, or to rampant Internet piracy. And the budgets are ballooning, because in order to get the quality and star power that is expected of major movies these days you need to START with tens of millions or more (consider that most major actors will cost six figures on their own, and that you usually need a bunch to get some peace of mind). The model is bloated as hell, but that’s just where the studios have led themselves.

This is, as one can tell, bad for upstart screenwriters who don’t have the connections to get into the mercenary part of the industry. They have to start somewhere, but there seems to be less opportunity in the film industry than ever before. There are still some smaller studios that are probably more receptive to new ideas, but it’s probably difficult getting in contact with them for much of the same reasons it’s difficult to break into the big part of the industry: you need connections.

In conclusion, it’s not that Hollywood is out of ideas, it’s just too scared to buy new ones.

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Posted by Matt on May 28, 2010

Apparently the latest movie punching bag is Sex and the City 2. I don’t know much about the show or the previous movie, but I think I get the gist if it enough to know that a plot involving the consumerist zombie protagonists going to Abu Dhabi is a strange thing indeed. It reminds me of the kinds of plots that journeymen screenwriters churn out for every feature-length adaptation of something that can not sustain a story beyond 30 minutes. Sitcoms, board games, silly cartoon characters, you name it.

So, if you have to write a movie script for one of the above, here’s a helpful list of story ideas that no one other than me will call you out on reusing:

* (X) go on world adventure/road trip across America, get involved with jewel thieves/smugglers
* (X) ‘s home is threatened by greedy real estate developer
* (X) inadvertently carry around top secret government technology, government tries to get it back from them
* (X) save the environment from evil corporation (not just greedy or negligent, but worse than Hitler)
* (X) get involved with the Mafia. Not the real Mafia, some cartoon bullshit version.
* (X) do the exact opposite of what they normally do, realize how wrong they are, and then go back to the status quo
* (X) get involved with some stupid regicide plot by the Duke of Dickface or whatever
* (X) go to another planet/dimension where ‘more epic’ things can happen
* (X) save/meet the President
* (X) are stranded on a desert island

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Posted by Matt on May 20, 2010

Directed by Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), RUBBER is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to wreak havoc on small desert creatures and various lost items, his attention soon turns to humans, resulting in the most gory vehicular-related mayhem inflicted on screen by an “inanimate” object since Christine.

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Posted by Matt on March 24, 2010

Decipher has this CCG called Fight Klub that’s been kicking around for the past few years. It’s big thing was that it had a new distribution model, one that was player-driven and not nearly as random and money-draining as other CCGs are. The gameplay itself is…adequate (here’s a random review I just found). It seems weird that Decipher, after years of producing highly-complex games like Star Wars and Star Trek, would decide to make a rock-em-sock-em robots game…but whatever. There’s the history.

New release. So far, the series has used characters from action and horror movies, everything from Silence of the Lambs and Rambo to fucking Species and Chuck Norris. The new set follows in that tradition, and even manages to land the big guns with Terminator and Robocop. So yeah, that works fine. What else is there? Jeepers Creepers? Bullshit, but I guess applicable bullshit (this is one of those things with recent movie-based CCGs, I’ve found. Both this and Marvel Superstars are games that mix material from both good and utterly terrible films, so it’s kind of hard to judge them on their own grounds because the whole time I’m thinking “Well here’s an Elektra card…my god did Elektra ever suck”) .

But then…Fargo. What? Really?

And then…Platoon. Maybe a little more appropriate, but on the other hand, I wonder how Oliver Stone thinks about his ‘Nam confessional being used to the delight of nerds. Not that this is anything new.

It’s weird is what I’m saying.

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Posted by Matt on March 15, 2010

I’m more negative on this – I don’t care if it’s hand drawn or computer drawn or live action combo or photorealistic. It’s about why use a technique to help you tell a story better. Is it better to tell the story in 2D or 3D or a combination? How do you tell the story emotionally? Whether it’s 2D or 3D I don’t think the audience cares – you might care as an animation geek – but I don’t think the audience cares, per se. They only care if you’ve transported me to a new world, have you told me a story I didn’t know about and have you made me laugh and cry? And if you’ve done all those three things you’re successful. I don’t know whether it’s 2D or 3D… who cares? Make a movie! Take a technique!”

-Peter Schneider, former Disney producer

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Posted by Matt on March 6, 2010

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Posted by Matt on February 27, 2010

Dumb news stories Vol. C

David Jaffe ‘doesn’t connect with specialist press review scores’

This is problematic. It is more problematic when you read this line:

and prefers reading fan feedback online.

“I don’t like hearing from people who know what they’re talking about, I’d rather listen to masses of sycophant retards.”


Hilarious ending to horrible-sounding movie revealed. It may rival ‘Will Smith commits suicide with jellyfish’ as the most ludicrous way to end a drama in recent memory. But, as much as I like this sort of thing, that is not the only reason I posted this link.

I know I don’t usually condone this, but read the comments. Swarmed with humourless twits who apparently are oblivious to the fact that if they didn’t have to read post, and that the guy was very clear about the subject of his post.

Of course, there’s also the chance that they weren’t being serious. And this is why the Internet is pure hate.

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