Snakes on a Plane

Sharknadoposterpart

With The Lone Ranger confirmed as one of the biggest bombs in an altogether underwhelming summer at the movies, it’s the perfect time for Sharknado to rear its ridiculous head and draw in millions. It won’t be in theaters, though, only on the SyFy Channel (and soon enough home video). Directed by Antonio C. Ferrante (SyFy’s recent version of Hansel & Gretel), Sharknado is one of those uber-high-concept SyFy originals that’s easily understood by its title alone (“enough said!” is its tagline, after all). But what is a sharknado? Well, it’s a massive “super tornado” that has sucked up tons of sharks from the ocean and is “hurling” them at Los Angeles. Humans played by Tara Reid, John Heard and Ian Ziering (playing a guy named “Fin,” no kidding) do something on the ground in order to add some sort of plot to the carnage. There’s no way Sharknado is going to be a quality movie, but that’s not it’s aim, and that’s part of what shall make it a refreshing alternative to this year’s blockbusters, many of which seem intended to be taken seriously in spite of how dumb they are (“legitimate” sci-fi flicks Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion and After Earth included). Viewers and critics, meanwhile, have been overthinking other tentpoles that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, like top grosses Man of Steel and Iron Man 3. Still, there is a weight given to these movies due to their caliber of production brands and price tags. Sharknado is […]

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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Boiling Point

While I’ve talked about shitty CGI before, and countless others across the world of media have as well, there’s always time to take a few minutes and remind the world that CGI can often suck monster donkey balls. I’m not just talking in a made for TV SyFy kind of way either. Or a TV show stretching itself a little too thin. Or The Asylum. I mean, sometimes CGI does make sense. It saves actual shooting time. If done correctly, you may even save some money. It can definitely let smaller films do bigger things. A practical Sharktopus would never be able to run around and populate a shitty movie. A CGI one can, and does. Horribly. But I’ll give it a grab. Mainly my gripe today is big movies. Or movies with a budget. Movies that can take the time to use practical effects. Or pay for better CGI. Or just make smarter decisions because there are theoretically a lot of savvy and experienced people on board. I guess that means I’m still pretty naive when True Grit, the disappointing film that somehow garnered 10 Academy Award Nominations (Oscar loves some Coen shaft), takes the road most traveled by throwing in a few dozen CGI rattlesnakes that look like digital, wet spaghetti.

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Boiling Point

I haven’t seen The Expendables yet. Most of us haven’t. I’m pretty sure you haven’t. But we’re all pretty excited for it. All of our favorite 80s action stars in one place. Some great cameos. A fun premise. Plenty of excitement and hype. A great advertising campaign. Even those of us who are weary of being burned by it are quietly cheering it on. Is there a movie that, based on premise alone, has ever seemed this cool? Yes. And it was called Snakes on a Plane. If you believed the internet hype and bought into the circus surrounding it, Snakes was going to make $75 million its opening weekend. What it ended up doing was making under $14 million and barely edging out the pile of sh*t Talladega Nights by only a few thousand dollars – a terrible movie already in its third week of release. So, if you’re excited about The Expendables put your money where your fat mouth is and go see it this weekend.

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decade_junkfoodcinema

Here is my list of this decade’s films that fell well short of critical acclaim but still found their way into my favor and, in many cases, my DVD collection.

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SebastianGutierrez

We wanted to get inside the mind of director Sebastian Gutierrez by finding out his Top 5 films, and he somehow managed do so while naming over a dozen other films. From Bunuel to Gilliam, find out who inspires one of the weirder writer/directors out there.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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