Are you a fan of great nut shots, or how about grown men trapping themselves in very much used port-o-potties only to be hurled into the air hundreds of feet? Does the thought of a man violently gagging after chugging a cup of another man’s sweat strike your fancy? If you answered “yes” to any of those, I would advise you seek immediate psychological help, but right after that you should see Jackass 3D, one of the most painfully funny movies I’ve seen all year. In case you’re not familiar with the decade-old series, Johny Knoxville and the Gang basically come up with ridiculous stunts and perform them for their viewing audience. The stunts mainly involve unbelievably gross acts, at least one person getting hurt in some crazy way, or a general prank (the old man sketches, Bam’s fear of snakes, etc.) Back when I was growing up this was a show that I was seldom allowed to watch, so I always cherished the opportunity to see horrifically painful things happen to these guys, and in an odd way, I’ve grown to love them. It’s like when your uncle keeps showing up at Thanksgiving and telling you about the stupid things he’s done, you laugh (mainly AT him), but you still love him. I was a big fan of the first two movies and the TV show in general, so it’s great to see the same crew back in action. Johny Knoxville is still the “brains” behind it all and calling the shots, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Bearded Ryan Dunn, Bam Margera (and in many cases his bewildered parents), Chris Pontius, and Steve-O (it’s great to see that guy finally sobered up) all show up for the movie and all get their moment in the spotlight when it comes to the gross or obscene. It’s one of the best comedy casts (Is that right word?) you could ask for. Jackass 2 had seemingly set the bar for the insane nature of the stunts, having opened with the guys being chased through a closed off neighborhood by a herd of bulls, but somehow they top it in this one with a fantastically diverse “set list” of gags. As with every film of this nature, there are a few duds, but the ratio of hits to misses couldn’t be better. The stunts that do hit, including the “bee-hive tether ball”, the “cattle prod prison escape”, or multiple bungee segments are as funny as it gets. Although I personally didn’t have any trouble keeping my lunch down, this film is not for the light of stomach. There’s plenty of poop, urine, and male anatomy to go around, although it’s all in good taste. Keep in mind, if you hated Jackass in the past, this film isn’t going to change your mind. I’ll also admit that I was very afraid the movie was going to be a waste of time and a waste of money, especially as the very bizarre opening credits started. But within the first 10 minutes the movie won me over, and kept me hooked until the end, begging for it to not be over already. At this point it knows exactly what it is, the “stunt list” in the film is probably their most solid yet as far as quality and pacing goes, and it never lets you catch your breath from laughing. It’s bigger, better, and more Jackass-y. One thing that definitely surprised me was how good the film looked. Obviously the film is in 3D, and 70% of the film takes advantage of it. Albeit you won’t like what’s flying out at you most of time, but it’s some of the best 3D implementation around. There are a ton of slow motion shots in the film that were created by a new type of camera system, and whenever they’re utilized in the film they look gorgeous. Once again, those slow motion shots are usually of things you wouldn’t usually care to see or something brutally painful, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. The opening and closing stunts, of which the Jackass films are known for, of Jackass 3D are of top-notch quality, and exhibits some of the best visuals of the film. There’s no real theme this time in the opening, it’s really just all of the guys in various costumes beating the living heck out of each other, and the ending is sort of a Michael-Bay style flood of explosions on a set with the guys that’s gloriously stupid. Rip Taylor shows up once again to cap off the movie, and the ending credits complete the sense that this Jackass film is probably the last. It’s honestly sad to see these guys go. Sure, they’ve been doing this for a decade and they could probably fill a book with stories of horrific injuries and medical bills, but it’s been an amazing ride. Despite what some may say, Jackass is more than what you’d find on any Youtube page. These guys are the best at what they do. They practically turn the act of a nut shot into an art form. Each stunt is meticulously planned, and even though the chaos that ensues is genuine it’s really something to behold. They are professionals and being unprofessional. As I said earlier this group is like a family of brothers, doing what they do for our enjoyment and their own, and through the ridiculous nature of it all the film Jackass 3D almost brought tears to my eyes seeing how far the guys had come. Jackass 3D is a ridiculously fun time in the theaters, and it’s surprisingly well made. You may scoff at the idea of watching a movie about guys beating each other up and doing a lot of stupid things, but if you sit through this movie and can’t enjoy it, that’s a shame. This film is one of the best $10 investments I’ve made all year. Jackass 3D brought me to tears in laughter many, many times. I can’t say much more than that I loved this movie, and it’s the biggest, best Jackass film to date. The stunts are funnier, the crew is giving it their best effort to date, and there’s honestly nothing else remotely like it, so suck in your pride and go check it out.
4 out of 5
I figured I’d go ahead and briefly report on this and explain some more in a later post. In an interview today with Hero Complex, Christopher Nolan finally revealed some much-coveted details regarding his final Batman movie. The film will be titled “The Dark Knight Rises”, which some are speculating as to have more than the obvious meaning regarding Gotham’s Black Knight, Batman, but more on that later. Also, Christopher Nolan confirmed that the Riddler is not going to be in the film in any way, shape, or form. Nolan also said that the film will have the return of many of the characters from the previous films, along with a few new faces, meaning that Nolan is as ambiguous as ever. Thankfully though, it was also confirmed that the film will not be in 3D but like TDK will be shot in 2D IMAX High-Def. This is very interesting news, and opens even more room for rumors and speculation on how this movie’s going to play out.
Also, in a story from /Film it was confirmed by James Cameron that Avatar 2 and 3 will be shot back to back, and will be released on Christmas in 2014 and 2015. Although I don’t have much respect for James Cameron, his movies always have a grand feel to them and are 99% of the time worth the time. I really liked Avatar, but I wasn’t in love with it as much as other people were. The new films are apparently going to be their own story exploring Pandora more, whether or not that means Jake Sully will be involved is anyone’s guess. It’s unknown whether the films are going to be two separate stories or one film split in half, but answers will come once Cameron starts writing the films. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to the sequel of the world’s highest grossing film of all time (and a film responsible for a lot of crappy 3D post-converts) 5 years after the original. Will they still love it? Will it be a colossal failure? Will it be any good? Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.
One of the staples of my childhood was Jim Henson’s medley group of love-able felt, The Muppets. Even though The Muppet Movie gave me nightmares, I watched it over and over, I still own the VHS of both it and Muppets Take Manhattan, along with Muppet Treasure Island and I’m sure plenty more. The Muppets are so amazingly enjoyable not just to kids but thankfully to adults too. Their humor is so universal, and even though it kind comes off as kiddy-ish, it still cracks me up along with millions of other adults and young adults alike. So many people can’t get enough of Animal’s shouting and drum solos, Beaker’s anxiety, or Fozzie the Bear’s emerging career in comedy that’s still a little on the rocks. I know I’ve said this a thousand times before, but my love of film probably came in part from having acting legends Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Charles Dunning, Dom Deluise, Mel Brooks, Cloris Leachmen, and Carol Kane (as Mrs. Myth, one of the funniest running, fourth-wall shattering gags in that movie) burned into my subconscious. To this day my friends and I still revere Muppet Treasure Island in a very high regard, and if you’ve not already done it their Youtube video series is a delight. Heck, I even force my family to sit through the Muppet Show every time we go to Disney World. Sure enough, there’s a special place in my heart for them.
That being said, you can only imagine my delight when it was announced recently that a new Muppet Film is in production. As if that wasn’t enough to get me excited, there’s a great team working on the project. One of the Muppets’ biggest fans, Jason Segel, the very funny man famous from films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the show How I Met Your Mother, is co-writing and starring in the film. Amy Adams (Enchanted), Rashida Jones (The Social Network, The Office), the recently-announced Zach Galifianikis will be in the film, and Chris Cooper will also star, probably as the villain. The movie’s going to be directed by James Bobin, one of the creative forces behind Flight of the Conchords (another show you should check out if you already haven’t), and is going to follow Jason Segel and a new muppet trying to save Muppet Studios. If Muppet Studios looks anything like I’ve seen in the Disneyworld show and in other shows, it’s sure to be a blast. You can also be sure that there will probably be plenty of cameos, lots of explosions, lots of bad puns, and lots of that same Muppet humor we’ve come to adore. The film’s set to release in Christmas 2011, and I can’t hardly wait to waka-waka-waka over to my theater and see it.
Just when I though the Easy A/The Town one was weird enough, I’m faced with an even tougher decision this coming weekend. My Dad and I are planning on seeing a film, and we’re kinda stuck between the new Bruce Willis action film RED about retired CIA Agents and the return of Jackass in Jackass 3D. The two are of course incredibly different movies, and either would be a fun time, but I’m having a little trouble deciding, even though I’m probably going to end up seeing both of them eventually.
JACKASS 3D is the third installment in the Jackass franchise. While a lot of people aren’t fans of the general concept of a bunch of stupid guys doing a lot of stupid stuff, it’s been something that I grew up laughing at and enjoying. There’s some basic thrill that comes from watching these guys do unbelievably ridiculous things and never knowing what they’re about to do next. In the latest film they take on 3D technology in a variety of their new stunts. Johny Knoxville, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Chris Pontius, Bam Margera, and Ryan Dunn all star. The movie took in a whopping $50 million this past weekend making it the all time highest grossing weekend in October, which you have to admit is pretty hysterical.
RED is of course the newest action film hitting the theaters, starring a cast actually older than the Expendables. Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, and Mary Louise Parker all star in the film, following Willis’ exploits as he tries to escape his former employers as they realize he knows too much. He joins forces with Mirren, Malkovich, and Freeman to save the day. Ernest Bordenine is also in it just for kicks. The movie’s currently got a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and scored $21 million over the weekend. I would love to check it out eventually just because of its great looking action pieces and a cast that you just can’t beat.
- I posted a couple of weeks ago about how the new season of Chuck had gotten off on a solid start with a couple of good episodes, and while I’m still not convinced NBC is giving the show the respect it deserves both TV-spot-wise and finance wise. While the episodes are all still great television, you can tell they’ve cut things down a bit, giving some episodes an unfortunate B-Movie feel. However, great news came in today that NBC had picked up Chuck, along with other shows, for a full season. They put their full season order at 22 episodes. There are ton of great new guest stars lined up for the next few weeks, and it’s exciting to see where the show with one of the most solid fan bases in the world can go in the next year.
- Also, I’ve been trying to keep up with CBS reality shows The Amazing Race and Survivor, both of which have proven to be excellent use of my DVR space. The Amazing Race is once again using its tried-and-true formula as one of the most stressful shows to watch, and Survivor’s implementation of Young vs. Old has led to some interesting concepts in the game.
- I’ve been meaning to catch back up with How I Met Your Mother, but surprisingly new CBS comedy companion “Mike and Molly” has earned a series record for me. It’s gotten a lot of laughs from me, and it’s sort of a combination that reminds me of Yes Dear and The King of Queens.
- The Office and 30 Rock have both started out of the gate with an incredible set of episodes. I feel like The Office is really shining with what seems like a lot more writing power considering this is Carell’s last season, and although 30 Rock has felt a little sluggish, the Live Show was pure comedy bliss. Community however has debuted with a bang in its sophomore season with some fantastic episodes and gets some of the biggest belly laughs from me on Thursday nights.
- I’ve also added a series record for The Event, although I’ve not watched any of the episodes yet. I’ve heard some good things about the show and I can’t wait to catch up with it.
- Mythbusters has been doing some pair-up episodes with Storm Chasers and Dirty Jobs, but continues to be a spectacular show, which is all the more incredibly considering they’re teaching science to a generation like mine in a way that gets kids excited about physics and experiments. Plus, you can’t beat Adam standing in front of a jet turbine trying to see how long he can remain standing, that’s just beautiful science at work.
- THE WALKING DEAD is easily one of my most anticipated shows of the coming fall, and its easy to see why. A) Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) is directing. B) There’s an unholy amount of buzz surrounding the show. C) It’s AMC (Breaking Bad, Mad Men) so you know there’s some incredible story-telling that’s gonna be behind it. D) The comic is incredible E) It’s a Zombie Killing Epic on television, to my knowledge this hasn’t been done before on this scale. Although AMC only has 6 episodes ordered for this season, it’s all the more reason to give this show a shot. Check it out on October 31st for the premiere.
I’m sure there are a lot more great shows on the air right now and a few I’m probably forgetting that I’m currently watching, but any of the shows mentioned here are definitely worth a look, even though I don’t get a chance to watch much since I’m in college now. So just pop on a series record, give a new show a shot, and you never know, it might be your new favorite. Also, as a side note, darn the flipping jerks that postponed the incredibly funny Parks and Recreation so that garbage Outsourced could get a full season.
An enormous amount of speculation surrounded the sci-fi horror film Cloverfield, crafted by new comer Matt Reeves and the legendary JJ Abrams, mostly concerning what exactly the film was about, what the Cloverfield Monster looked like, and how the end product was going to turn out. The film is now a cult classic for some and still a massive headache for others thanks to its frantic shooting style. Two years later the young filmmaker has tackled another huge project, a remake of the highly regarded 2006 Swedish film Let the Right One In, re-titled Let Me In. While his new film didn’t quite affect me the same way Cloverfield did, Let Me In is still a still a wonderfully effective film that has plenty to offer for horror fans. The movie takes place in the early 80s, where young Owen has to deal with a ton of baggage in his life, and it really seems like life can’t get any worse for him. His parents are going through a bitter divorce, he has a psychologically disturbed bully (isn’t that that always the best kind), and worst of all, it turns out the girl next door is a vampire. Soon the two foster a romance and the movie follows them as Owen begins to slowly realize that his new “girlfriend” is a lot more dangerous than she seems. The film does feature a great cast, including both Kodi-Smit McPhee and Chloe Muretz, both of whom are veteran child actors from last year’s The Road and this year’s silent hit Kick-Ass, respectively. Richard Jenkins portrays Abby’s (the vampire girl’s) Protector, who takes it upon himself to pull off a string of grisly murders to get blood for her. The guy has this sitcom-dad feel to him that’s really interesting to see as he takes that into these brutal scenes, giving you the true feeling he’s just as quick to panic as the people he strangles and buries. Elias Koteas plays the film’s villain (?), who is continuously pursuing the two and trying to figure out exactly what’s happening. He almost exists as a narrator to the film and a reference point for when things get hectic. A lot of people already love the story on display here, and it’s considered by many as a masterpiece in its own right. As you might imagine this brings some to wonder why it even needs an American remake. I’ll admit I’ve never seen the original (although I hope to see it in the near future), and therefore I can’t compare the two. However, if this film is anything like the original, I can see why they love the film so much. Much like Fincher’s The Social Network, this isn’t a film with one simple premise. Possibly the best part of the film revolves around the idea that while this is a movie about terrifying vampire attacks and these dark, mature elements coated in the random but shocking violent outburst, it’s also concerning this romance going on between these two kids that’s played off as sweet as a Sunday morning comic strip. It all goes towards making the film more effective when you see what could be a great love story, only to be snapped back in reality when blood gets drawn, people get killed, and you get to peer into Owen’s mental health that’s just about to snap. As my friend put it leaving the theater, “that beats Twilight by a long shot!” I had wished they had delved a little bit deeper into the mythology of the film, but the film stands at a comfortable 2 hour running time.
As it was just stated, there are a lot of different emotions that are on display here like sweetness, but also crippling fear thanks to Reeves’ impeccable direction. It’s hard not to get caught up the precious nature of these two 12 year old kids doing everything two adolescent lovers would shy of passing a note with two boxes marked with “girlfriend” or “friend”. You’ll catch yourself saying “aww” just before being shoved back into moments of fear, almost as if someone flipped a light switch. Reeves has a great feel for putting these scenes on display that will have you cringing in your seat. Sure, moments where Abby jumps out at the screen or other shocking scenes will have you jumping out of your seat in classic horror fashion, but the movie really shines once all of the movie’s more subtle moments start to sink in. Reeves uses silence and withholds information to really drive home a few sequences, and other times goes in full throttle and it seems things couldn’t get any worse or more chaotic. Better yet, Reeves lets some moments get at you mentally as you start to consider what’s going on in these characters’ heads. There’s one moment in the film where Owen is gasping for life underwater that made me feel as if I was drowning. Much like Cloverfield, Reeves’ style, more specifically his shooting style, makes for some of his best scenes and proof of his filmmaking skill. Cloverfield was known for its shaky-cam moments, and during Let Me In he does something really unique during scenes inside cars, placing the camera in the back of the vehicle and keeping it there. It may sound like an effect that would go unnoticed, but it’s something that has a tremendous effect for the film. It gives every scene it’s used that extra padding to provide an unsettling sense of claustrophobia, limiting what you see on the chaos going on outside and immersing you in that fear. It’s worth mentioning also that although you may not notice it, any scene with both Owen and his mother doesn’t show his mother’s face, keeping the scene in a perspective of Owen. There are also a number of other great scenes that Reeves gets a great shot in, a few that would go unnoticed by many but for those interested in film they’re a pleasure to see in how he encompasses an entire location and frames all the film’s action, all the while doing some truly artsy stuff with the camera. This being a film that takes place in the 80s, Reeves doesn’t emphasize it too much, but takes advantage of it a few times with some of the characters’ clothing and some of the sets, including an inclusion of one of Former President Ronald Reagan’s famous speech. As I start to wrap things up, I can’t recommend this movie to everyone. The movie’s incredibly unsettling, and by no means ends on a happy note. The first 30 minutes of the film doesn’t just dip your toes in the water to get you’re feet wet, it jumps in the water head first, leaving me to catch my breath. It was all a little too off-putting for me seeing throats slit and maliciousness pouring at the seems, but the film quickly finds its footing after about 20-30 minutes. This isn’t a New Moon spinoff even though it’s about kids; in fact while it does involve children it stands as one of the most disturbing movies I’ve seen this year. Much like a 13 year old I witnessed buying tickets for the movie, you’re child will have nightmares for weeks if you take them to see this one. Let Me In stands as one of my favorite films of the year, and while it can be a hard film to recommend, thanks to Reeves’ superb direction and artistic decisions, it’s sure to be a film you won’t be able to forget for some time, whether you like it or not.
4 out of 5
*Once again I’m switching review scoring systems, and I once again apologize. Hopefully I can settle on something soon, but for now it’s 1-5 with no 1/2 scores, i.e. 1,2,3,4, or 5, no in-between.
Just when we thought we couldn’t top last week’s huge slew of superhero news, even more news has come in this week about 2012’s biggest superhero films, Marc Webb’s Spiderman and Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film. One of the best actors from this year’s huge sci-fi film “Inception” was Tom Hardy, who played The Forger of Cobb’s team. The guy’s main job in the film was to convince Cilian Murphy’s character that he was dreaming by shifting into different people. The guy did a fantastic job in the movie, and oozed that old school charm that was going to bring him plenty of roles. Now it seems like he’s finally gotten his next big role, with who would have guessed it, Christopher Nolan. He’s been cast in Batman 3 as “the villain” of the film. Now what villain exactly he’s going to play is still up in the air, or even if he’s going to be the only villain. Joseph Gordon Levitt had been rumored to be the Riddler and it had been rumored that the Killer Croc would make an appearance, but so far word going around is that Hardy could play any character from the Riddler to Hugo Strange. The guy is definitely an incredibly talented guy and the fact that he’s been cast is a great bit of news for the project that’s finally getting underway.
Last week Emma Stone was announced as Gwen Stacy, and this week, much to Dylan Baker’s dismay, the villain has been revealed. Rhys Ifans will be playing the Lizard in the new Spiderman reboot. Ifans has never been known too much for his bigger roles, but has had a few smaller roles in films like Greenberg, Nanny McPhee, and even the Harry Potter series. For those not comic literate, the Lizard aka Curt Connors is normally Peter Parker’s one armed science teacher, but after extensive research on growing back his arm with lizard cells, he ends up turning, well, into a lizard. It’s great to see the wonderful casting continue, and as one critic put it, Webb’s being alloted the time to make the best decisions by getting the best actors out there. Maybe Warner Bros could learn a few lessons about taking time with their projects when it comes to making their Superman reboot.
I’ll go ahead and put this out there, this one’s a tad bit bizarre. It’s probably the most popular video from the old days of X-Play, which was known a lot for its more eccentric style and comedy bits like this one. I honestly still think it’s pretty hilarious if not catchy, and I remember memorizing and listening to this song over and over as a kid. Plus, X-Play’s part of the reason why I got into journalism and video games, so there you go. Thanks X-Play!
As the week goes on, more and more film news pours in about some of the biggest projects of the next couple of years. Light if finally being shed on what could possible be a big surprise for a villain for the final Nolan Batman installment. the new Superman film may be having some trouble already on the horizon, and Michael Bay’s final Transformers film finally has a title.
First off, a huge rumor has been circulating today about what very well could be Nolan’s next choice for his Batman villain. Recently it was announced that part of Batman 3 would be shot in New Orleans in part to save money for tax cuts. But some speculation today has been around if the new location may be because of a classic villain making his appearance. ComingSoon reported the filming location news back in April, and now famous writer Mark Millar tweeted the following- “Oh, wait. Con gossip: I know who the villain(s) are in Batman 3 and the big scene outside Gotham sounds awesome. Totally timely locale.”-“One of the villains is from my favourite childhood run on the character. Again, very unexpected.” Once further research is done you’ll find out that Millar was 13 in 1983, the same year that Killer Croc premiered in the comics. For those that are unfamiliar, Killer Croc is one of Batman’s more physical opponents, known in the older more traditional comics and shows as Waylon Jones, a former professional wrestler who was born with a skin defect that causes him to look like a crocodile, be able to breathe underwater for long periods of time, and be able to beat the living crap out of Batman. While there’s almost no way Nolan could adapt that take into a realistic style, there is a way that many are looking towards that could be very possible when you think about it. In the 2008 “Joker” comic (pictured above), Killer Croc isn’t literally a crocodile, but instead is a very large, black man with disfigured skin. When I started to think about it I could 100% see this working for Nolan at least as a side villain for Bruce Wayne side-tracking on a trip to New Orleans, or maybe even as a main villain along side Riddler if they wanted to go that way. Just imagine someone like Michael Clarke Duncan or Tony Todd going up against Batman in a true 1 to 1 physical fight. This is all rumor for now, but it’s definitely a rumor I wouldn’t mind becoming reality.
Second, although it was confirmed a couple of days ago that Zac Snyder had been confirmed for the role of directing the new Superman film, but it looks like some trouble may be occurring already on the project. I’ll put it like this, Warner Bros. is going to lose the rights to Superman after 2012, which means they need to make this film as soon as possible, or some other company will get to make the millions. It was stated by Variety in a recent report that while Daren Aronofsky was rumored for the director’s chair, Zac Snyder was chosen to direct because the Superman script needs some serious work, but Snyder was chosen for the job because he was “a man that could get the job done by 2012”. Basically, they don’t have time for extensive re-writes of the film, because it needs to be in production by 2011 for it to stay under Warner Bros. control. That being said, it has been reportedly leaked out that the new film is going to be another “origin” of sorts, but in a different sense. The film will reportedly follow “Clark Kent as he travels across the world, trying to decide if he’ll want to become Superman”. That may sound like a terrible idea for a Superman film to some, but it’s been rumored that this could mean it would be Clark Kent, traveling the world, and encountering fights leading up to a conflict with General Zod and ultimately choosing the mantle of Superman.
Third and Finally and Briefly, the title of Michael Bay’s third and final Transformers film has been confirmed, much to the delight of comedy writers everywhere, as Transformers: The Dark of the Moon”. No, the Transformers aren’t going to be facing off against Pink Floyd, but Soundwave this time. One rumor of the storyline for the film went as follows-The Autobots are finally at peace with the humans on Earth, but Soundwave has become somewhat of a dictator on Cybertron since the Autobots and Decepticons departure, and is building a giant base on the dark side of the moon to destroy the Autobots and human race once and for all. This leads me to think there’s going to be a moon fight, and if that’s the case, I’m so totally in. It’s already been confirmed that the film will involve the Transformers’ role in the space race, as they were shooting some scenes on the NASA base a couple of days ago. Other than that, overall we know-the film will be in post-converted 3D, no more dorky comedy, a set of a nuclear reactor, and Sam Witwicky is now an adult trying to get a job out of college. Starring in the film is Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington Whitley, Josh Duhammel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Patrick Dempsey, and John Malcovich.
There’s a scene towards the end of The Social Network where Mark Zuckerburg and his best friend Eduardo Saverin are standing in an enormous office space reserved for the biggest of businessmen, looking out at their multi-billion dollar industry created from sheer spite. Eduardo sits in front of the camera for a moment, leans over to Mark and whispers “Can you believe that this all started from the algorithm I wrote on the window in your dorm?” While this momentary piece of dialogue only serves to give the viewer the same kind of retrospect Zuckerburg’s feeling, I immediately flash-backed to that scene, and remembered it was only 20 minutes into the film. Now although it only had been an hour and a half ago for me, I had been completely convinced by Fincher and the rest of his crew that I had witnessed this entire modern-day fairy tale of business and corruption, and I had enjoyed every minute of it. That’s something hard to say about a lot of films. The Social Network is a powerhouse of a film; comprised of so much talent it might just spoil you from regular movies. The film takes us all the way back to the year 2003, where the smug yet brilliant Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenburg) lights the match on an explosive tech race by creating a website to rate the hotness of women at his college. The site blows up in popularity over night, and after reluctantly agreeing to help the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) with a “Harvard Edition of MySpace”, he sets off on the next evolution of the social network, what we know now as “Facebook”. Tempers flare along the way and decisions are made that lead up to two separate multi-million dollar lawsuit between Zuckerburg and the Winklevoss Twins, along with Zuckerburg and his former best friend Eduardo Saverin. The film expertly cuts back and forth between the trials and the actual events leading up to them. There’s a ton in the film that’s done so well it makes it seem like Fincher’s been making films since he was in the womb, but part of what makes the film so flipping great is the group of people in front of the camera. Jessie Eisenburg leads the way through most of the film and perfects Zuckerberg’s jerk-ish nature, obsessive tendencies and acute paranoia. Although the jerk-ish nature of Eisenburg’s character can make it hard for an audience to connect, it’s easy to see his human nature throughout the film. He’s making decisions that he knows full in well are destroying his humanity and relationships, but at the same time helping him and his own company, and by the end of the film what you see is a shell of a man, an isolation of a human soul, and it’s pretty astonishing to see that character written in such a superb way. Come around early March, Eisenburg has a good chance of joining the elite ranks of some of the youngest men honored with the coveted award for Best Actor. Armie Hammer rules every scene he’s in by playing BOTH of the Winklevoss twins, and his spectacular job at playing both of the twins interacting with eachother and at times even arguing with eachother is so subtle you won’t even notice it. Brenda Song of Disney Channel fame does a fine job in a couple of scenes as Eduardo’s psycho girlfriend. I didn’t know they trained their actors so well over at Disney, if the trend continues we can look forward to a spectacular Cole Sprouse cancer comedy. Justin Timberlake, who comes in around the half-way mark, does a great job at playing the sleaze-bag of the movie, and Rooney Mara, although she only has two scenes in the film, is completely deserving of the praise being heaped upon her. The real star of the film though thankfully is Andrew Garfield, also known as the future Peter Parker for Webb’s 2012 adaptation. The guy oozes charisma and an awesome sense of confidence that could be the most believable part of the film, and definitely put my doubts to rest that this up-and-comer may just be getting some Academy recognition for one of his first roles. Just like Edward Norton and Brad Pitt walked in their paces before them, every scene that’s written so well in The Social Network is made that much better for having a fine crew of talented actors and actresses executing the lines. If that’s not enough, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame does the spectacular score for the film, and it easily stands as one of the best of the year. I won’t delve too far into the tracks themselves, but Reznor and the editing crew definitely have a good sense of where certain tracks have just the right feeling for the scene. It’s a score not easily forgotten, and there are particular scenes that won’t let you forget it with pounding bass hits and infectious melodies.
I was a big fan of Fight Club whenever I got to see it earlier this year, and while I wasn’t as big a fan of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, it’s undeniable that the guy has a serious knack for telling great stories. When I first heard the concept of making a film about the Facebook, I immediately assumed it was just going to be a quick cash grab. That might have been the case had another team taken on the job, but Fincher and his expert writer Aaron Sorkin craft an impeccable narrative. They take what could have been a mess of a story about what could have been a boring “fable”, and mold it into one of the year’s best stories that will leave you wondering around every turn what’s about to happen and how we end up in that trial room. “Why does Eduardo hate Mark so much?” “Why is Mark so bitter towards, well, everyone!” “What’s up with that one Winklevoss’ haircut?”-MOST of those questions are given slowly but surely by Fincher and Sorkin, slowly pulling the rope and leading you farther and farther in. It’s sort of hard to spoil a movie about the fate of the website I currently have in another tab (spoiler alert Facebook exists), and I’m not even going to attempt to or even try to encapsulate all the great themes of the film. While Fincher’s film iterates the way our film looks at social situations in an age of blackberries and iPhones instead of written mail and actually talking on the phone, it’s themes are timeless. Isolation, betrayal, love, anxiety, the greater good, the fear of failure, the euphoria of success and how it can all come crumbling down are all themes effortlessly snatched up and put on display for the cinematic world to see within a two hour running time. The film gracefully transitions between the trials and the events that led up to them, and by the end of the film you’ve gotten this majestic sense of time to where you feel like you know the complete, tragic story, and you’re not even ready to leave the theater. While some may not consider the idea of a “Facebook movie” to be all that interesting, the end result surprisingly came out to be one of the most compelling, if not always factual, film events of the year, getting to see a master of storytelling tell a masterful story. Sure, it may not be all that accurate, and to be honest, I don’t care. A good movie’s a good movie, and they’re still telling the same story, even if some things are a little Hollywood-ized, although to tell the truth the film’s not as fictionalized as some make it out to be. When it came down to it it’s really a beautiful mold of a classic story within a new frontier, it’s like a cinematic hybrid. It’s the quirk of Juno meets the intrigue of The Bourne Identity, the board room fights of A Few Good Men but over intellectual property. Some have compared the film to classics like Citizen Kane, and to be honest they’re not far off. This is going to be a film that’s remembered for quite some time, and I’d be shocked if it didn’t win Best Picture come March. It also doesn’t hurt that Fincher has the time to put in some style for good measure. There’s a good bit of really effective comedy that works really well when the dialogue of hundreds of millions of dollars lawsuits isn’t rambling on, and the fact that Fincher paints a lot of the film in a gray-ish, bland tone is understated but is still effective. In my American Literature course I’m enrolled in now there’s a term we’ve been discussing, and it refers to when an author brings the finale of the film to reference all the film itself in a seemingly perfect way that “wraps up” the movie into a nice little package. Forrest Gump did this with the feather, The Princess Bride did it with the grandfather’s final line of dialogue, and Fincher does it in this film with an ending that leaves some glimmer of hope in a pretty desolate scenario. The Social Network is a magnificent movie. It speaks to our generation by not only giving a “origin story” to one of the biggest facets of our day-to-day life, but by also delving into some of the problems that people my age deal with. “How do I fit in?”, “Where am I supposed to do with my life?”, “How do I get people to like me and not ruin every single close relationship I have?” It doesn’t stop there, and that’s what sets it apart, it still combines that with an incredible cast and some true filmmaking genius. Don’t listen to my words though (he said at the end of the review), just go see this film. Even if you hate the actors, the director, whatever, see it for the commentary it has for society. If you hate society, see it for the film-making. It’s a complete package. I don’t say this very often, but there’s nothing much wrong with this movie, unless you’re going in not a fan of the idea of a Facebook movie and you also just so happen to be a person that doesn’t like good film. The Social Network is going to be a tough act to beat for the rest of the Fall, it’s an unforgettable masterpiece of film-making genius that is going to be on many people’s minds, and hopefully a lot of people’s Twitter feeds for quite some time.
5 out of 5
After Gwen Stacey had finally been cast for the new Spiderman reboot, my brain started to swivel with ideas for who should play Mary Jane, and below is a top ten list, along with a couple of spare ideas of people that would be perfect for the part. *Keep in mind that there are many actresses of whom I could have forgotten or missed, it’s really hard to find naturally red-headed actresses so just use your imagination that they’ve used a hair stylist. (Also, keep in mind this is partly a joke article, it’s meant to be funny. Don’t call me an idiot because you don’t understand irony.)
Spare Ideas-#1-Kathy Bates-That’s right, this wonderful woman would destroy the part in a wonderful way. She is a beautiful woman that deserves your respect, and she is stunningly gorgeous. And now that I’ve entered the thought into your head, it’s going to stay there forever, and you’re never going to be able to erase the image of Tobey Macquire and Kathy Bates swirling in slow motion as a car flies through a coffee shop window.
#2-Megan Fox-She’s already ruined countless other franchises, why not let her ruin this one? Heck, we could alter Mary Jane’s character to be a prostitute, throw in some racist robots and call it all even. Thank you Michael Bay for discovering this “gem” of an actress and creating a film we can all laugh at. (Gem is another word for herpes right?)
#3-Bryce Dallas Howard-How fitting for the girl that played Gwen Stacey in 2007’s Spiderman 3 to play Mary Jane in the reboot? We could get a blonde girl to play Mary Jane and a red head to play Gwen Stacey, giving nerds a migraine that lasts for all of eternity. This mega migraine would include both petty rage because of the hair color and awe over how good looking Howard is.
#4-Alred Molina-Just let that sink in for a second…
Now on with the actual list-
11- Zooey Deschannel-I really liked her in Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer, and considering Marc Webb’s directing Spiderman maybe it’s not too far of a long shot, but the girl has some considerable charm to her and definitely has that “girl next door” vibe well taken care of. Between her music career and her “indie” personality, don’t cross your fingers…
10- Natalie Portman-The girl probably has some of the best acting chops on this list, and she’s surprisingly young (she’s only 29, I had no idea), which could make her an ideal candidate for the role of Mary Jane. Although nerds aren’t exactly proud of her filmmography (don’t make fun of her, or you’ll “break her heart!”), but looking ahead to her potentially oscar worthy performance in Black Swan, there are many more less bankable stars than her.
9- Malin Akerman-Now I’ll be the first to admit that Akerman’s a little bit too old for the role at 32, but looking at her experience with the genre in the past with her experience with Snyder’s Watchmen, and you could just have a great, beautiful actress with the potential to have lightning strike twice with her. She’s pretty enough to be Mary Jane, and definitely has the action chops for more hardcore scenes.
8- Anne Hathaway-This one sounds more like a given than others, but over the years Hathaway has proven to be a more than solid actress. She was my favorite part of this year’s Alice in Wonderland, and she even proved to have a funny side in 2008’s underrated comedy Get Smart. She made look a little odd with red hair, but she’d definitely be worth a shot.
7- Allison Lohman-Although noone actually watched the film, Drag Me to Hell was a delightful little piece of modern horror. As of late, that’s all Lohman’s had to do. So what better way to welcome her back in than to give her the tentpole female lead in a huge tentpole action film blockbuster summer movie that millions upon millions of nerds will rewatch and scrutinize multiple times? Maybe it’s not such a good idea put that way…
6- Teresa Palmer-Did you see The Sorceror’s Apprentice? Neither did I.
5- Kristen Bell-The nerd community already loves this 30 year old actress that’s made her career by roles like Elle in NBC’s Heroes and the classic franchise Veronica Mars. She’s smart, she’s darn funny, she’s beautiful, and I think she could pull off red hair. The role is a perfect fit for her on paper, it’s just a matter of how well the execs over at Sony see how well she’d fit the part.
4- Gemma Arterton-I’ll admit, the last time this girl put on a red wig things didn’t turn out so well. She sort of ended up smothered in oil (spoiler alert). However, there’s no chance that would happen in the new Spiderman film, that is unless Oil Man shows up. That joke may have been too soon…. Anywho, the actress has slowly made her way into U.S. fame recently with roles in films like Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans, so who’s to say she couldn’t carry a big film like Spiderman? Also, unless I forgot to mention or emphasize it like some directors, she’s flipping gorgeous, and 90% of why I recommend people see Prince of Persia.
3- Rooney Mara-Ever heard of Rooney Mara? Neither have I until I saw Fincher’s latest film, The Social Network. Even in the two scenes that I saw her, she blew me away by her outstanding charisma and sharp looks. I can’t really say that much about her considering I haven’t seen her in anything else, but go see The Social Network, and you’ll see why she’d be great for this, or any other acting job in general.
2- Rachel Bilson-This is another one many probably haven’t heard of either. Maybe that’s the key to finding the next great Mary Jane, looking for the unexpected. That being said, Rachel Bilson would totally fit into that criteria. The girl hasn’t been in much aside from being the love interest in 2008’s Jumper and a couple of spots on How I Met Your Mother, along with a great role in a couple of episodes of Chuck. She’s really sharp on the screen, has a really humble presence to her, has sort of red hair, and it’d make me along with a lot of other fans happy to see her in the part.
1- Yvonne Strahovski-I’ll admit, I’m a little bit biased on this one. I love watching Chuck on Monday nights, and the only thing better than that considering the show’s impending doom would be to see her move onto a new part by playing Mary Jane. I mean Levi’s got a ton of stuff lined up. He’s friends with Seth Green, he’s doing voice acting now, heck he has his own clothing line. But the Australian-bred “super hottie” would just mesh right into the role of Mary Jane. Any fan of the show knows how sweet she can be, how hopelessly romantic, how accidentally funny and how good she would look in a red wig. Please Sony, cast Strahovski in the role, and I would thank you forever in the form of a $11.75 ticket and a $19.99 DVD… and probably a t-shirt.
Don’t worry nerds, things aren’t as bad as they seem. It’s definitely been an exciting week for superhero news what with the announcement that Snyder’s doing Superman and now we officially have our Gwen Stacey. Emma Stone was reportedly offered the role of Mary Jane on Monday, but apparently the Hollywood machine turned things around on us pretty quick now didn’t it? today it was confirmed, much to the nerd community’s surprise, that Stone wouldn’t be playing Mary Jane Watson, but instead would be playing the other part of the Peter Parker love triangle, Gwen Stacey. This isn’t as bad as some may seem because A) Stone is a natural blonde, a hair color we haven’t gotten to see her with before in a film and B) Stone is a pretty darn good actress. She pulled a lot of attention for her comedic chops in this Fall’s new film Easy A, here’s hoping her comedy skills are put to good use in this one to some extent. I personally really liked her in Zombieland, but haven’t gotten a chance to see her in Easy A yet.
As for those still scratching their head and befuzzled, there’s some speculation as to what this means for the story. Some may take notice and wonder why Stone’s the one that was cast first. Your biggest roles in the film are always cast first. Garfield was cast back in the summer for the lead role, and now Stone is the second cast, which leads us to to think that Gwen Stacey might just have the biggest love interest in the new Spiderman film. This could mean that Gwen Stacey will have most of the screen time along Parker for the film and that while Mary Jane will be introduced in the film (likely very early in the film at the same time as Stacey), she and Parker won’t “get together” until the end of the film or on into the next one. Maybe Mary Jane could be the rebound after Gwen Stacey dumps Peter, maybe the writers will use Stacey as a metaphor for Parker to learn his true feelings for Mary Jane, or maybe Stacey will die in a fiery explosion in a scene reminiscent of the trolley car sequence from the original.
Although I unfortunately didn’t report on this, Christopher Nolan recently interviewed a group of directors for the position to direct the upcoming reboot of the Superman series. Among that list was Daren Aronofsky of this year’s Black Swan, Tony Scott of last year’s The Taking of Pelham 123, Matt Reeves of Cloverfield and Let Me In, Duncan Jones of Moon, and a couple of others. On that list was Watchmen and 300 Director Zac Snyder, known for his visual flair and attention to detail when it comes to action. The director (who is a recurring favorite on this site) has been chosen for the part, received by delight by some and with shouts of dismay by others. You either love Snyder’s style or you hate it, and I for one fall into the former category. The director had this to say about the project-
“I can’t say why they came to me other than the fact that they know I have a fondness for the character and a real desire to understand him and present him to a new audience,” Synder said. “The challenge is huge but you know with Chris and Emma and Debbie I have a lot of people I can rely on. And Chris and David have given this the shape with a great story. It is a hard character to crack. “It’s early yet, but I can tell you that what David and Chris have done with the story so far definitely has given me a great insight into a way to make him feel modern. I’ve always felt he was kind of awesome. I’ll finish Sucker Punch and get right at it.”
It’s also been confirmed that thankfully Lex Luthor is not going to be the villain this time around, but instead it will be the classic villain from the 1970s series, General Zod. No word has been confirmed yet as to who will play Zod, Lois Lane (it was rumored Natalie Portman before Aronofsky’s name was shot down), or Superman, although Jon Hamm’s name was thrown into the ring a time or two. I personally am really excited for what’s going to happen with this. I would love to see Jon Hamm take the part even though that seems pretty unlikely, although they’re probably not going to go with an unknown considering Brandon Routh’s “success” with the part. Snyder’s always had a great eye for action, and my mind can’t fathom what he’s going to do with some of those flying scenes. Snyder’s always had a darker tone when it came to his stories and how he frames his shots, so who knows how it will play out. I’ve loved every single one of his movies thus far (Watchmen could be a big example of how he could adapt it), and if the stars allign with a great cast and script he could knock this one out of the park. The film’s script has been written, and it seems like a lot of work is already underway for what is hopefully a great new era for the Superman film franchise. The Superman reboot is set for a Holiday 2012 release.
I know I just posted a teaser trailer for the new Coen film “True Grit”, but the Coens have just released another trailer for the film, this time a full-length one with a much better idea of some of the characters’ backgrounds, some plot details, and some incredible music cues by the one and only Johny Cash.
So last night I caught a screening for David Fincher’s new film, The Social Network, and all I can really say right now is “Wow, what a film”. Fincher is of course known for his great filmmaking talents from the classic film “Fight Club”, and a couple of years ago with his underrated film “Zodiac”, among many others. This isn’t to say I’m not going to post a review (it’ll probably be up Sunday or Monday), but that this is a film with quite a bit to think on. The film is absolutely huge in its scope, there’s so much amazing-ness to it. I could give it a 5/5 solely based on the performances, the script, the way the story’s told, the soundtrack, there’s so much that this film does perfectly. It’s just a matter of making sure I get a good review in for the film and encapsulate what the film does great. Also, the movie serves as a great showcase for the talents of Andrew Garfield, aka the new Spiderman. After seeing him in this, there’s no doubt in my mind the 2012 Spiderman won’t be great. Check it out for that reason alone (because there’s a lot of him in this movie), or just check it out if you’re a fan of just really well-made, really entertaining films. So because I won’t have the review up now, if you get the chance go see the film, it’s phenomenally incredible, and come December this is going to be right up there probably tied for #1 on my Top Ten of the Year. So definitely check it out, and you can expect my review in the next couple of days.