Geek Stuff

FILM JOCKEYS HEADER

What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate movie fans who know where they came from. For your consideration, Episode #15:

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From the looks of it Django Unchained, Pacific Rim and Anything Marvel Does Forever are topping the list of the most anticipated movies hitting Comic-Con 2012. The question is, with 400 million (number estimated) other movie panels showing up in San Diego, how will you possibly see everything? And how can you see anything if you aren’t going to be there? Since the list of events is massive, we’ve teamed up with 14 other movie websites to make sure that every inch of the convention center is locked down. Consider this your portal, bookmark it, and return often to check out the full spectrum of coverage from ours and other fine sites. To get started, here’s a small look at what all of us are most excited to see.

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Boiling Point

San Diego Comic-Con, the Western Hemisphere’s nerd mecca, is rapidly approaching and with it will undoubtedly flow the inane, poorly thought out, and overused “anti-Comic-Con” rhetoric we’ve come to expect and loathe. While my objects will almost assuredly have little to no impact on the flux of lazily written articles, I want to slam my Gandalf staff down and attempt to prevent the Balrog of Boring Comic-Con commentary from passing. Comic-Con, bloated and sometimes misdirected as it may be, is a fun time, and the following arguments just don’t float any more:

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Ron Guyatt Jurassic Park

Imagine how impressed your dinner guests will be when they pass by the chocolate fountain in the hallway and spy the Isla Nublar map hanging on your wall – complete with detailed information on where the Raptor and T-Rex pens are. “Is that an antique from a wealthy. erstwhile relative?” they’ll ask. “Why no,” you’ll say, “it’s a Jurassic Park-inspired print from Ron Guyatt.” And they will swoon. Guyatt’s work is simple, but dynamic, toying around with the imagery of famous films, television shows and video games alike. Targets range from Kung Fu Panda to “Scott Pilgrim” to “Tetris,” and each print is curiously affordable. Check out some of the movie prints for yourself:

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Evan Seitz Animation

Evan Seitz creates excellent animations with minimalist flair. His work is hypnotizing both because the images seem to blossom from the middle of the screen – constantly attacking the viewer – and because they’re playfully cool. In the case of his movie-centric videos, they’re an aggravating quiz of iconography that only stays on screen a nanosecond shorter than it often needs to. In other words, he makes the kind of videos that are entertaining even when frustrating. They always have a theme (colors, locations) which help with guessing the movie titles, but they’re never as easy as they might seem at first. How many movies can you name?

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Back in the late 1990s, you only had two options for discussing movies. You could hang out with friends in the parking lot or late night waffle hut afterward, complaining about nipples on Batman, or you could go online to sites like Aint It Cool and Movie Poop Shoot to give unbridled, anonymous opinions slathered with as much cursing vitriol as you pleased. That’s what the internet has given us. A tool to help social uprisings, and a forum for hiding your identity while calling Joel Schumacher a “douchenozzle.” That wide-ranging usefulness is a thing of beauty, and Kevin Smith is seeking to tap into it with his new show, Spoilers. The set up is simple: Smith will amass a crowd of 50 movie fans to watch a film and then discuss it afterward. Smith will play ringmaster, and members of the opinion-loaded audience will get to share to their heart’s content. In short? It’s the comments section come to life. Of course, that’s not all the show has up its sleeves.

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Warners is hoping to start a beautiful friendship with movie fans by offering digital copies of classic scripts – complete with background information and scenes embedded amidst the dialogue and description. Their digital distribution arm has announced the “Inside The Script” program which makes available these beefed-up versions of the original screenplays for classics for iBookstore, Kindle and NOOK. In addition to the script, a veritable book of production history, production notes, storyboard, pictures, posters and behind-the-scenes pictures are all included in the ten-dollar download (or $9.99 if you’re a stickler for exactitude). Right now, the program includes work from Casablanca, North By Northwest, An American in Paris and Ben-Hur with plans to add more shortly. This seems like a treasure trove of movie geek goodness, but it’ll be interesting to see if fans will shell out ten bucks for the privilege. What’s most interesting here is that this is the kind of material normally relegated to coffee table books and historic tomes that could double as anchors. It’s a sign that the studio is interested in engaging on a digital level. Now to see if that intuition will translate to film distribution itself. Either way, this program is a spectacular idea that could give a lot of fans the chance to delve deeper into a part of the movies they love. I’ll take 3 Casablancas please. For more information, check out Inside The Script’s Facebook Page.  

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Did you hear? Did you hear? Go tell Paul Revere! Joss Whedon and Marvel’s The Avengers is out this weekend which marks the beginning of the summer and an end to the anticipation. To discuss the film, we turn to comic book/Avengers expert John Gholson from Movies.com. Plus, ScreenCrush critic Jordan Hoffman plays Movie News Roulette and talks Dark Knight Rises, Star Trek and texting in theaters. Download Episode #132

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Take a deep breath and prepare to learn everything you need to know about Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope straight director Morgan Spurlock‘s fast-talking mouth. Will it change the world? Probably. Plus, Junkfood Cinema enthusiast Brian Salisbury accepts the dangerous mission to play Movie News Roulette. Download Episode #128

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Whoa. Wow. Okay. Calming down just a bit, for fans of Rear Window (and who isn’t? Seriously, find me these people who aren’t so we can send them all to a different planet where they can’t bother us), this short film is a thing of movie geek beauty. Jeff Desom is a true geek, because he thought it would be a great idea to reconstruct the courtyard from the Alfred Hitchcock flick in order to follow the events of the film from a static position. Turns out, it was better than a great idea. The execution here is impeccable. What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Avengers

Wow. People holding Tribeca badges and passes just got a kick in the pants from a dude in a metal suit, a guy who rips his purple shorts with rage and a host of other dysfunctional family members. According to their latest press release, the Tribeca Film Festival is closing its 2012 calendar with The Avengers. At a film event that celebrates James Franco’s eccentricities alongside indie filmmakers famous and not-yet-famous alike, this is a blockbuster move – one that the fest is using no doubt for publicity and as an opportunity to celebrate the heroes of New York City and beyond. Firemen, police officials, military personnel and others will have a special chance to join in on the screening. Marvel head Kevin Feige weighed in, saying, “We are proud that Marvel‘s The Avengers is the closing film of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and we are excited to welcome local heroes to the screening as special guests. We all know and love our iconic Super Heroes, but when it really counts, it’s our real-life heroes who save the world every day by making it a better place for all of us.” Despite its normal focus on the obscure, this fits well with the Tribeca mission which arose from the ashes of 9/11 as a means to prop up the New York City economy and to celebrate its art. On another level, it’s a booking that’s incredibly cool and makes native New Yorker Joss Whedon very happy. The director had this to […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s a shrewd move that director Alex Albrecht from “The Totally Rad Show” (a person that I, in the interest of full disclosure, am friendly acquaintances with) chose to create an atmospheric character study instead of an all-out action blitz for VOLTRON: The End which, yes, features a pilot stuck inside a Battle Lion. That man also happens to be played by Psych‘s Timothy Omundson (Lassie!). What could have been an overt outpouring of fan knowledge and callbacks to the show is, instead, a smart emotional journey with an outrageous beard and a hell of a last second reveal that’s only injured by the movie’s title. Seriously. It’s great for getting the word out, but how cool would it have been to watch a solid sci-fi piece only to have that giant familiar face hit you near the end? That aside, it’s a sharply written, nicely crafted fan film that deserves a bit of notice. What will it cost? Only 4 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Don’t worry. Quivering with a giant smile on your face is a normal reaction after seeing these. A whole host of vintage movie posters was found in Berwick, Pennsylvania and recently snagged over half a million dollars at auction. We may never be able to put them on our walls (unless one of our readers is insanely rich (in which case we have some exciting investment opportunities in a spunky little movie site we’d like to share with you)), but we can still ogle them. What’s on the block? Posters from Dracula (1931), Cimmaron (1931), Little Caesar (1931) and the only known one sheet of the James Cagney-starring The Public Enemy (1931). Seriously, all the movies are from 1931. Check out some of the posters for yourself. Gaze upon their glory and shudder just a little.

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Channel Guide - Large

During a panel about the state of the Battlestar Galactica franchise at this year’s WonderCon, Michael Taylor, the co-creator of Blood and Chrome—a Battlestar prequel that you may remember was green-lighted by SyFy back in 2010—screened a trailer for the two-hour pilot. This latest extension of the Battlestar universe revolves around 20-something William Adama, a recent Academy graduate. The images Taylor culled together and presented to the WonderCon audience were exciting—set in space and filled with Viper pilots, the look of it is much more in line with the original (reimagined) series than Caprica—if a bit depressing, since the show’s future is still uncertain. Last anyone heard, SyFy’s enthusiasm for the project was waning and as a result, they were thinking of maybe, possibly, one day breaking the pilot up into pieces and delivering it to us as an online series instead of airing it in its entirety on TV. As much as I’d like to eventually see Blood & Chrome in one form or another, I understand SyFy’s ambivalence. Caprica really did kill the franchise’s momentum.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? This short film from Elise The might be the perfect companion piece to yesterday’s short, “They Come To Get Us.” They’re both pop culture explosions of strikingly different kinds. The latter is a pure overload by numbers, but Synchronize is electric in its ability to use iconic images and twist them in new ways. Using negative imagery, a cut and paste mentality, and a crazed imagination, this short film is stellar work that celebrates the allure and impact of movies. *Note: Some viewers may have to click through to Vimeo and wait a few minutes for it to load as the video is behind some sort of semi-paywall. However, it’s absolutely worth the wait (especially when you can let it load and come back to it later).* What will it cost? Only 3 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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There’s something incredible about knowing that a movie exists. Especially now. After years – years! – of speculation, glimmers of set photos and vague comments mined for meaning, there is actually something we can all call The Dark Knight Rises. It’s no longer an idea. It’s a reality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan showed his first cut of the movie to Warners, which means that it’s a reality that will undoubtedly go through some more edits and some honing, but it’s a real thing nonetheless. What was just a thought turned into words on a page, and now those words have evolved into something physical and dynamic. It’s nothing short of magic.  

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Merch Hunter - Large

I invite you to imagine a scene for a minute: a handsome man, with the kind of chiseled chin you could sharpen spoons on in an embarrassingly fine suit whose intricate detail blinded three tailors in the making sits at a Texas Holdem table, sucking daintily on a Vesper and with a cigarette lit for ornamentation. A gun presses into his ribs, another comfortably into his calf, and about his person are secreted millions of pounds worth of the British Intelligence Service’s most impressive, and most secret inventions. His smile cuts knowingly across an impeccably handsome face, eyes taking in infinitely more than his lush demeanor lets on as he imperceptibly stalks his prey. He is Bond, and no matter what you do about it, he is always going to be cooler than you. So, why the hell wouldn’t you want to make your life as close to his as possible? Your paunch might say more Gandalfini than Bond, and your social awkwardness would probably be the first, largest stumbling block in your application to MI5, but through the magpie-like acquisition of many fine pieces of James Bond merchandise, you too could pretend like a boss. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s precisely what this week’s Merch Hunter column is devoted to…

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These items would have no doubt made Simon’s list this week, but they all come with a hefty price tag. Marvel is auctioning off several pieces of screen-used props, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, they’re expected to go for anywhere between $100 – $30,000. So what’s up for grabs? You can check out the full Captain America catalog preview for yourself, but they’ve got everything from director’s chair backs from the production to Captain America’s shield in an ice resin. From concept art to Red Skull’s SS costume to Iron Man‘s Mark II “Autopsy” Suit to a full-scale motorcycle from Captain America to Thor‘s stunt hammer. Profiles in History, the auction house in charge, has got a lot to work with. It’s almost as if they’re selling everything they used to make the movies. The whole thing will be done online, but some of the bigger items will only be available at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo on April 14th. If you’re feeling generous, this Captain America War Bonds Poster would be perfect for my office.  

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Channel Guide - Large

Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash—or simply “the Stash,” if you’re down—is a comic book shop in Red Bank, New Jersey. The sheer existence of the store when so many others are closing, in and of itself, might be noteworthy but what really gives this place some cachet is its owner: Kevin Smith. A comic book shop is a comic book shop, but when it’s in some way connected to the tour de force that I (and other people, probably) like to call Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, who isn’t going to want to visit? The new show Comic Book Men’s appeal is similarly tied to the Jersey Girl director—the unscripted series is set in the Stash and produced by Smith. I like Clerks, I like Chasing Amy, I like most of Dogma, I’ve gone to (and enjoyed) one of Smith’s live Q&A shows, so I think I fall within AMC’s target audience here. Despite being a part of this demographic, or maybe because I’m a part of this demographic, the network shouldn’t have put all of their eggs in the bespectacled, be-bearded, be-hockey-jerseyed filmmaker basket.

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Merch Hunter - Large

This week, in place of the usual triptych of found items and a T-Shirt of the Week, Merch Hunter is dedicated entirely to the mighty tee, the single most versatile member of the wardrobe family. Why 12? Well, science has proven that 12 is the magic number in terms of tee ownership (don’t look it up, it was published in a science journal you probably won’t know of…), allowing the owner to rotate nicely across two weeks, while taking a three day slot for whichever design is the Featured of the Week. After a few months of this rotation, throw in a few wild cards, thanks to supplemental purchase, and you’ll have a winning formula for T-shirt success. And yes, it really should be that mathematical. I seriously had to resist the urge to just make a list of the 100 Star Wars T-Shirts You Need To Own Now, but that will no doubt appear in the future, given how many incredibly impressive designs there are out there (and hardly any of them lining George Lucas’s pocket). For once, my inane wafflings are not needed at all to sell the inclusions below, just look at the pictures and see how many of them you can resist. I’d advise buying them all obviously: but try to only wear one at a time.

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