Musings On Marvel: Day 2 (The Incredible Hulk)

Director: Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me, Grimsby)

Budget: $150million

Box Office: $263million

  • Damn, this isn’t the Ang Lee one. Which is a shame as then I could have made the “Don’t make me Ang Lee, you wouldn’t like me when I’m Ang Lee” joke. Now I can’t 😩 I hate life and everybody in it.
  • Random fact, the director wanted Mark Ruffalo as the lead but was declined. As such we will now never ever know what Mark Ruffalo would look like as The Hulk. Never, ever, ever.
  • Entire origin story takes place during the opening credits. Thank god for that otherwise it would have added like an extra two hours onto the run time.
  • “The best way to control your anger is to control your body”. It’s taken him years to be told this? I’d have thought that would be the first lesson.
  • One slap round the face gets him that annoyed? If I got that annoyed everytime I got slapped in the face it would just distract me from the prostitute I paid for.
  • Edward Norton is being smart and scientific, you can tell this because he’s wearing glasses.
  • How did he miss that REALLY obvious blood on the bottle?
  • Everyone’s looking at him like he’s crazy, as if we’re supposed to think that everyone doesn’t know why he’s worried about his blood getting in the drink. Even without it being Hulk blood, that’s still not something a business wants in their drink. And I know “but they’re a Brazilian company, they don’t have health codes like we do”, maybe, but even Coca Cola wouldn’t want blood in their drink, and they’re practically Satan.
  • “get lost, gringo” That’s racist, I think.
  • “You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry”. Ok, let’s get this clarified: “Angry” in Portuguese is either: Irritado, com raiva, zangado, furioso, colerico, or amarrado, whilst “Hungry” is: com fome, faminto, esfomeado, avido, ansioso, desejoso, pobre, esteril, arido, or pouco productivo. There’s no way you can mistake the two in that language, it really only works in English. You’d think Edward “Everything Must Be Perfect Or Else I Will Stab Everyone” Norton would have picked that up. Cute joke though.
  • “another failure” The exact same language was used by my family when they announced my birth.
  • “living with gamma poisoning not safe”. Thank god for scientists, I never would have known that.
  • Hey Tim Roth’s in this movie.
  • Oh god, Tim Roth’s in this movie. Poor Tim Roth.
  • Still, better than United Passions.
  • Sure, just shut down your laptop. Don’t wait for him to answer or anything. Dick.
  • These guys didn’t even check the exits? They’re awful planners.
  • Tim Roth shoots a dog.
  • Yeah, that’s good, hide your identity and then stare straight at the the guy hunting you. You’re an idiot.
  • “Do not lose him” oh really? Well I was going to just let him escape but now you said that.
  • I’ve never had to run across rooftops to escape people, yet it seems to happen in almost every film.
  • All those coke bottles behind him, Holy product placement Batman!
  • “Not so tough now are you?” Yeah, you show what a strong guy you are by hitting him when two other people holding him down. You big man, you very very strong man.
  • We’ve already established this factory is not doing that great financially, repairing all this damage could bankrupt it. People talk about the damage done to New York in the Avengers movie, but they’re able to pay it off. This company is ruined.
  • “who’s this woman in this newspaper clipping?”. Wait, so you didn’t even take a look at the newspaper clipping and see that this woman has the same name as the guy giving you orders? You suck, Tim Roth (please note the punctuation there, there’s an important difference between “You suck, Tim Roth”, and “You suck Tim Roth”).
  • “He threw a forklift truck like it was a softball”. No Russian person who was raised in England would ever use the word “softball”. At all.
  • “Days without incident: 1”. No, it’s zero, he had an incident just before, it doesn’t count as one if it’s on the same day. You wouldn’t say “I haven’t had chocolate for a whole day” just because you’re not eating chocolate right at that moment.
  • Distance between Brazil and Guatemala: 3,000 miles. How on earth did he go that far without people noticing?
  • Music from the original Incredible Hulk series reminds us that this is in fact, a movie. Maybe that’s the problem with this film, everyone is really familiar with the character, a lot more than they are any other of the characters from the MCU. So everyone goes in with preconceptions about the character which makes it hard to bring something new to the table.
  • “In WW2” Don’t be that guy, just say “world war 2”. Don’t say “WW2”, you sound like a prick and it takes longer to say, it’s like double the syllables.
  • “he thought he was working on radiation resistance. I would never have told him what the project really was”. That’s the perfect way to get accurate scientific data, have them attempt something else.
  • “that mans whole body is the property of the US army”. Sounds a bit rapey.
  • Edward Norton is using Norton antivirus. Hah!
  • Yeah, that’s it Liv Tyler, walk out on your date without saying a word. Rude!
  • Rain powered entirely by emotion.
  • “he wants to make it a weapon” A weapon he can’t control or order around. Having an army of Hulks would cause a lot of damage, yes, but a lot of it would be to your own army. It would be like having an army of bears.
  • Note to self: find army costumes for bears.
  • Ok, this is a visually impressive set-up, the whole “Hulk in the glass covered room which is full of smoke”, but it’s not really done effectively. They showed the transformation and the view from inside the room. What they should have done is the last we see is him as Banner, then silence, and then Hulk bursts out of the smoke.
  • Why does everyone keep shooting him? Surely after the first shots have absolutely no effect you’d think of a different tactic?
  • So this takes place on a University campus in middle of the day, and there’s only two bystanders? There were more bystanders at college when a car crashed into a lamp-post.
  • Do they ever use these sonic cannons again? Does every Marvel film feature a fantastic weapon which for some reason is never used again?
  • This movie is pretty much responsible for keeping rain machines in business.
  • Jesus how much did Coke pay to be in this film so much?
  • So he can swallow a usb stick and it still works? Yet I have one in my pocket for a twenty minute walk to uni and it stops.
  • Wait, so he can’t have sex without hulking out? What about masturbation? So he hasn’t jacked off for years? That might be why he’s so angry, I stopped for two weeks once and committed a small genocide in Rwanda.
  • Can The Hulk get high? Serious question, couldn’t he just get really really stoned? Or maybe he tried and that’s why he’s so green.
  • “I had to make more” Wait, you can just make more blood? Then why the fuck do the NHS keep asking for mine?
  • “I will never forgive what you’ve done to him” for some reason I hate that sentence. It just sounds really clunky, like it’s been translated into english from a foreign language.
  • “The mixture could be……….an Abomination”. Hmmm, I wonder which Marvel character Tim Roth will turn into.
  • I’ve realised where I know that guy from: he was in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmdit.
  • Unbreakable. They alive, damnit. It’s a miracle.
  • I love that show.
  • Ooooo season 2 came out a few days ago. Yay.
  • Bruce’s blood landed on his head wound, what are the odds of that?
  • “That’s impossible”, oh so now you start to question things.
  • So the lead character has to fight someone with the same superpowers as him? Just like Iron Man then? Or Thor. Or Ant-Man
  • “You think a rifle’s going to hurt that?” Most logical sentence in this film.
  • So his plan involves jumping out of a plane with no parachute? I tried that once, I didn’t save anybodies life and now I’m banned from British Airways
  • Hulk and Abomination just holding onto each other. Now kiss!
  • Did Hulk just stop the fire by clapping? I’m going to try that next time I see a fire heading towards me. If it doesn’t work and I die, someone sue Marvel.
  • Look, we know you’re in the Army but “reload” instead of “another drink”? Just makes you sound like a twat.
  • This is the only Marvel film without a post-credits scene. Instead it puts it just before the ending credits, like a normal film does.

Musings On Marvel: Day 1 (Iron Man)

Director: Jon Favreau (Made, Elf)

Budget: $140million

Box Office: $585.2 million

  • For some reason I always felt Incredible Hulk came first, probably because it’s never ever referenced again.
  • Three references to Marvel in the opening 10 seconds, in case you thought this was a DC movie or something.
  • Tony Stark drinking whiskey, making jokes and talking about banging women. OMG he’s so cool and totally not wish fulfilment for a bunch of 13 year old boys.
  • Ewww he made a myspace reference. That was a dated reference even back then. But I suppose he is old so we should be pleased he didn’t make a bebo reference.
  • Army guy making a peace sign.
  • Let that be a lesson kids, taking pictures with billionaires results in explosions.
  • That’s a lot of bullet holes in the wall and yet surprisingly none hit the main character.
  • Why did he have his phone out then? Was he tweeting? “OMG, about to be blown up with my own weapon #Irony”
  • You know these guys are evil because they look foreign and have beards, and because they’re pointing a gun at someones head and seemingly making a ransom demand.
  • “he graduated summa cum laude”. I also hope to cum laude in the summer.
  • Would Rolling Stone really put a weapons manufacturer on the front page? They’re just not that well known, really, name one.
  • This guy’s bald, he’s definitely evil.
  • “colour me up will you?” Didn’t you already do that in Tropic Thunder? You can’t black up again.
  • That was a really weird laugh.
  • Wait, they’re in Malibu? That’s either a 1 hour flight, a 4 hour drive, or a 4 day walk. No way were his pick up lines enough to make it worth her waiting that long. He must have paid her.
  • Like he’d listen to Suicidal Tendencies.
  • Tony Stark has at least three people who basically run his life, well, two people and a robot. So it’s kind of hard to believe he’d find it difficult to trust people and not want to work in a team when it comes to the Avengers movie. “I work on my own, I’m a loner, walking down the lonely road, alone, on my own, with these three people”
  • “When you need your diaper changed let me know and I’ll get you a bottle”. You don’t know how to change babies do you?
  • “Repulser technology” I already have that, it’s called my face.
  • “The bad guys won’t even want to come out of their caves”. Well the biggest threats to peace right now are North Korea, China, and Liverpool, not a lot of caves.
  • “presenting, The Jericho” Does that weapon break the walls down?
  • “Welcome Tony Stark, the most famous mass murderer in the history of America”, somewhere, Ted Bundy is crying.
  • “your life’s work is in the hand of those murderers”, as opposed to the previous people who used those weapons, who used them only to cuddle teddy bears.
  • So this guy’s discussing how he can’t wait to see his family. Thus almost guaranteeing he’s going to die.
  • Wait, why does that guy look through the tiny hole in the door? They have video surveillance.
  • Ah, there’s the mask, for the missile. Because all missiles have masks obviously. These bad guys are idiots, they deserve to die.
  • Why are these trained soldiers and they’re running away from someone who can’t even hold a gun properly?
  • He’s breathing heavily and saying “I want this, I want this”.
  • Not one of those shots went through the MASSIVE eyeholes he has?
  • For a multimillion dollar action film the fire effects in this are f*cking awful.
  • Wouldn’t that fall have liquified him inside the suit? Or at the very least caused massive damage? I mean, when he landed his body would have bounced off the inside of the metal suit, he’d be in a lot of pain, definitely not able to walk across the desert.
  • Oh wait he’s injured, he’s got two cuts on his face and his arm is in a sling in which I’m sure will be plot significant and certainly won’t be forgotten about.
  • “We’ve been approached by the CIA, the FBI, the DOD” the AC/DC, the MIA, the LOL and the ROFL.
  • Bald, and riding a segway, definitely evil.
  • Little information on this guy hosting the finance news: he’s a guy called Jim Cramer. He’s known for getting a lot of very big decisions wrong. For example he said that everyone should invest in Bear Stearns as they’re safe and will never depreciate in value. 6 days later the company went under. He then complained he’d been unfairly treated by the media and that all he said was that money was safe, not that you should invest. Which is true, to find him saying that you have to go back a whole 7 days before they went under.
  • That crash into the concrete would have killed him. That’s at least twice he should have died.
  • “Come on we’ve got tot break the ice” how about a “how are you?” usually works.
  • How on earth is that tea still steaming hot? Or coffee, whatever.
  • “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart”. Oh, but when I ask for a display case to be made for my bosses heart then suddenly I’m a psychopath and no longer fit to work. Political correctness gone mad.
  • “bizarre and highly controversial press conference”, yes, because nothing is more controversial than “I don’t want to kill people anymore”
  • Really unsubtle Stan Lee cameo.
  • “We need to debrief you” you can at least buy him dinner first.
  • Where does that shell end up? Seriously, a shot is launched at him and it flies behind him. But there’s no explosion or anything. It’s like it just faded into the ether.
  • “We’ve got visual on the bogey” Then ask him to wipe his nose.
  • “A man with a dozen of these could rule half of Asia” yeah but would you want to? Seems like a lot of work.
  • That weapon that paralyses you is the most useful weapon in the entire Marvel universe. So obviously it’s never used again.
  • Wait, so nobody translated this? Wouldn’t that be the first thing you do?
  • “Next time, baby”. Lol, not for you.
  • So Tony stops people in cars being hurt, by launching a massive metal suit onto a car?
  • Tony here fighting against a guy in a suit, thank god that never happens again
  • “you gave me the best weapon”, no that paralysing thing is waaaay more useful.
  • “and now I’m going to kill you with it”. You had loads of chances to kill him. For example, when he was fucking paralysed.
  • “I am Iron Man”. do do do do Vote For Me.
  • Actually I have a problem with that. Ideally should be “I am Iron Man”, then it ends. But there’s like a two second gap between him saying it and it ending. Just seems weird.

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films (so far)

So yeah, Captain America: Civil War is out in 14 days. There’s 12 films, you know what that means? Yup, it’s time for the as-yet-untitled Marvel Version of my hugely unsuccessful Nightmare A Day series. What, you don’t remember that? Don’t worry, shall all be explained tomorrow. But until then, I still have to blog today, so what will today’s be? Simple, this will be my last normal blog until Civil War is released, so is really my last chance to do this and make it relevant. So here goes, all opinions are my own, but if you disagree you are wrong.

12. Thor: The Dark World

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I saw this film at the cinema and yet can barely remember anything about it. The trouble was that it’s kinda dull and doesn’t fit in with the rest. Plus by this point it was obvious that the character of Thor isn’t as interesting as his own villain. Loki dominates this film, just as he did the previous film, only this time it’s a lot more clunky in terms of why he’s there. It also completely wastes Christopher Ecclestone. The first film to really be skippable.

11. The Incredible Hulk

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A film that only ranks so low because it doesn’t really mesh with the others. The only thing tying this into to the rest is the cameo of Tony Stark. If it wasn’t for that, (and if it was released first instead of second) then they could just ignore it and pretend it never happened, like the world does with Godfather III.

10. Thor

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Yeah, maybe my personal bias is showing, I don’t like Thor. Mainly because the rest of the MCU tries really hard to be realistic and scientific, and then suddenly this guy shows up and smashes that to pieces. Also I feel his character just displays wasted opportunities. They have a character who is a God, they could do films based on how the world reacts to this, how does religion react to the existence of A God, but not Their God? None of this is shown, at all. Oh, and Natalie Portman’s character has all the background and charisma of a see through piece of tissue paper. Oh, and they wasted Idris Elba. Plus, Thor basically tried to kill Captain America in Avengers movie. Yes, the shield stopped him from being smashed with a hammer, but Thor didn’t know that would happen! From his perspective he just jumped at someone and tried to smash their face in with an unbeatable weapon. That would be like me launching nuclear weapons at a school but it turns out it’s okay as Fuzzy Felt stops explosions (it doesn’t by the way, I can 100% confirm this, sorry Nagasaki).

9. Avengers: Age Of Ultron. 

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This film highlighted a problem with a lot of modern super hero movies: pointless fight scenes and action sequences. Not just that, but poorly made action sequences too. There’s so many moments in this where action sequences just happen for no reason other than the studio thought “Action sequence goes here!”. Which is a shame as other than those it’s actually an okay story. I mean, the trailer did that annoying thing where it showed an awful thing that turned out to be a dream sequence. If it wasn’t for those two things it would be rated much higher (probably top five).

8. Iron Man 2

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Mickey Rourke is good in this, as is Downey Jr. But that’s kind of the biggest problem too. It’s so heavily dependent on performance, that it forgets to carve a good enough story. The villain is too similar to the first one (although don’t get me wrong he is better). The scene where Tony Stark is called into congress to explain himself is fantastic and says a lot about the nature of heroes, but then it just dissolves into casual action fare. Plus it’s hard to imagine THIS Tony Stark being the same one who (maybe, if they go close to the source material) advocates government registration of superheroes.

7. Iron Man

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Ok now we’re getting into awesome stuff. This is the film that launched not only the MCU, but superhero movies being fun again. After Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy it looked like all future superhero movies would just be fifty shades of grey and dark blues (and just as painful as that sounds). A great origin story, brilliantly directed by Jon Favreau, and the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was a master stroke. It was a risky decision but one that paid off.

6. Ant-Man

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Very, very fun. Paul Rudd is very funny. Yes, it would have been better if Edgar Wright stayed on but still. I saw this soon after Age Of Ultron, and the action set pieces in this were a lot better, featuring the best use of Thomas The Tank Engine I’ve ever seen in film.

5. Iron Man 3

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F*ck you I liked it. I know a lot of people don’t, and I understand why. But this was the first time the series tricked me. I’m a pretentious film student so I recognise plot twists early, but this one genuinely came out of left field, but in a way that made sense, it wasn’t one of those “and the killer turned out to be the goldfish all along!”. Yes, it still sucks that Iron Man films have had the worst villains so far but meh. This one also should be commended for actually showing character growth, Tony Stark is haunted by the actions of the Avengers movie, he’s basically suffering PTSD, sadly this was pretty much forgotten about by Age Of Ultron, very disappointing.

4. Avengers Assemble

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I rate this higher than the second one only because the action sequences aren’t as long, and at the time it was new. Plus it resurrected The Hulk as a character after two previous attempts to make a live action film about the character. This film established Loki as THE best villain in the Marvel Universe, which counts both for and against it. For because in this film he’s a charismatic, logical villain. Against because they can never hope to do that again.

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

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Yes, other films have been better, but this was the moment where the series grew from “action fare” to “cinematic genius”. The first (and best) use of cinematic emotion in the series. Usually when people say “Superhero movies are grown up and mature” they show things like Deadpool etc, things which are “adult”, but not “mature” (and yes, there is a difference). This would be a better option, exploring themes of identity, loss, and the commercialisation of war heroes to raise money instead of winning the war. The casting of Tommy Lee Jones in it added authenticity to the film, oh, and Hayley Atwell is superb. This is the first time they went beyond the “superhero saves world” story and focused on the hero themselves, a truly touching tale that was a worthy introduction to the character.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Probably the best example of a comic book movie transcending the genre. This film is almost like a cold-war era spy movie. Has the best plot of any of the films, fantastic characterisation, and is just all round brilliant. Amazing but not too comical, this film is not “look at this ooooo moment”, it’s not spectacle, but it is spectacular.

1. Guardians Of The Galaxy

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A part of this is because everybody expected it to fail. When it was announced people were certain this would be the biggest flop in Marvel history, more so than SuperLee, a superhero who fights crime with sarcasm and bitterness, which was invented by me, in my head, just now. But this film is amazing, it’s funny, smart and perfectly acted. It’s odd that Marvel has made better characters from a tree that only says three words than a lot of films manage with entire monologues. A space opera which is definitely the most fun film from all of them, and overall that’s what films should be: fun. It’s not the film with the best story, or the best acting, but it is definitely the one you’ll want to watch the most.

Why we Love…Nightcrawler

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A reworking of Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote, “if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you” but I found ‘void’ to be more apt for when describing Nightcrawler, this seminal crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s cold and warped performance inspired the ‘stare’ of the quote.

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Set predominantly in the L.A. nightscape; Nightcrawler follows Louis Bloom, played by Gyllenhaal, an enthusiastic and creepy young person, who just wants to find a job he can be proud off, and he will do anything to achieve his goals. So when he stumbles upon the underground world of freelance crime journalism, he thinks he’s found his calling. And then comes, a dark, twisted, funny, and warped thrill ride into the life of a deeply strange man, as he strives to be the best him he can be.

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This film is commonly referred to as “the modern Taxi Driver” and whether it measures up to that or not, is not the purpose of this post, but I see what they mean. Not that it shares a huge amount with the Scorsese classic, in terms of story, setting, or style; but both depict the life of disturbed people, with timely issues, and something to prove. Taxi Driver dealing with problems of a post-Vietnam America, with themes of loss purpose, and dislocation; while Nightcrawler similarly deals with a post-recession and jobless America. Louis’s obsession with finding a job that satisfies you, and an endless rotary of self-help empowerment mantras, tumblr_nenzi00tdU1tmssd6o3_1280combined with his veneer of a can-do attitude, echoes many promises the recession generation were educated on, but didn’t have delivered. Showing how ruthless someone really has to be to achieve the ever elusive American dream.

And it’s here the film has its first lair of satire; ingeniously parodying a classic rag to riches story, swelling inspirational music and all, but with a detestable character doing inhuman, evil things, to get his riches. And I won’t ruin what happens, but it does have a happy ending.


It also dives head first and balls deep into satirizing the News, as blood thirsty, network2manipulative, and downright evil at times. “If it bleeds, it leads” as is repeated multiple times in the film, with Rene Russo giving a chemical turn as the News show runner, clearly taking inspiration from 1996’s Network, with the satirisation of the ultra-violet media being the focus of that film, but as I haven’t seen it, can’t comment further.

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From left to right: Riz Ahmed (great supporting character). Jake Gyllenhall, Dan Gilroy. Rene Russo

Though it’s a stretch to call anyone here a ‘hero’; the heroes of this film are Jake tumblr_njkba6QKKU1qej1i6o1_500Gyllenhaal, giving still a career best performance in an already well versed one, dropping 20 pounds and digging deep to portray a mere reflection of a real man. The other being Dan Gilroy’s dark, clever and witty script; both married perfectly to fully realize and bring this character and story to life, and give us a sociopath for the digital age. (Move over Sherlock)

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Nightcrawler-Review-645x369Behind the camera Dan Gilroy does a clean job of making the L.A. nightscape a very cold and isolating place, reflecting its lead character, and sharing many shades with Michael Mann’s Collateral, which was clearly an influence. It’s a high-class and pristine looking film, especially for a directorial debut, having a gorgeous neo-noir style; and his motifs of focusing on camera screens to establish how the camera sees things – instead of exactly how they actually are – works as a great and sometimes surreal effect.

But at the same time its probably one of the films weaker aspects, not that there is anigif_enhanced-6602-1414793798-4anything wrong with the direction, just compared to its other elements. It doesn’t seem like it pushes the envelope as much, and has left me wondering how the film would have turned out in the hands of a David Fincher or a Nicolas Winding Refn who could really elevate the material visually- especially for the coherent, if a bit safe, action scenes.

But those little nit-picks aside, we love Nightcrawler because it showed there was still room in Hollywood for new and shocking things, which can be highly original and artistic, while still being major box office hits.

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And good god Jake Gyllenhaal is fucking amaze balls.

Recommendations
If you enjoy Nightcrawler, I also recommend American Psycho and Collateral, two other stylish and darkly funny thrillers, that featuring characters with warped views on life.
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5 Video Games That Should Be Films

Yes, we’ve all had this discussion. “Oh my god, that would be an amazing film”, then you actually watch Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, or anything by Uwe Boll and suddenly you blame video games for all that’s bad in the world. Maybe they’re picking the wrong games, or maybe they just don’t care as they know people will watch it anyway, who knows? But here’s five games they haven’t done yet, which I think could work, our reason for doing this? I dunno, can we blame it on Hardcore Henry basically being a FPS?

1. Eternal Darkness

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Hot damn I love this game. Scary, beautiful and with a fantastic story. It’s a horror that spans a thousand years and just four locations. We get to see the places in different stages throughout time, for example we see the Amiens Cathedral during the medieval years, and again when it serves as a hospital during the first world war. All the stories are connected by one common theme: mankind fighting the ancients. Because of this I feel it would work as an anthology film, six 10 minute segments each with their own director, with an overarching theme directed by David Robert Mitchell, the director of It Follows. There’s not many anthology films, which is a shame as they can be fantastic when done well. Horror serves the format well as there’s more than one kind of way to do horror, there’s the “blood and guts torture porn”, the “no deaths but lots of shadows” etc. That’s why I feel they should each have their own director, that way each segment has its own unique style. It will be odd if one person enjoyed every segment, but the diverse styles should mean that there’s at least one section that they’d like.

2. Turok

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It’s a man fighting dinosaurs. If you make that Tom Hardy and make sure it’s directed by George Miller then this will basically be Mad Max only with dinosaurs instead of cars. Not as long as the previous entry, but it’s Tom Hardy shooting dinosaurs, do you really need anything else?

3. LA Noire

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Because there’s a distinct lack of noire lately. The closest we’ve had have been films like The Pledge, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Sin City. Which is a shame as it’s a good genre with a unique style and stories that draw the viewer in and holds them round the throat and refuses to let go.

4. The Secret Of Monkey Island

This has to be made on one condition: it HAS to be animated. Not realistic pixar animation either, we’re talking the almost elastic-looking animation. The kind where characters bodies stretch in unnatural ways and they look frankly ridiculous running. Also, it has to be funny. Very very funny. Have someone like Bill Hader as the voice of Guybrush Threepwood (who wants to be a pirate), and a good script and you’ll have an awesome movie.

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5. Zombies Ate My Neighbours

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As anyone who saw Goosebumps can testify, there’s definitely a market out there for horror movies aimed at kids. And this could be it. The original game was a fun cartooney and really really silly game where your main weapons were water pistols and cans of soda. Translate this to a modern film, keep the references to obscure b-movies in to placate the nerds (such as me) and you’ve got a hit. Or a noble failure.

The many sides of Richard Linklater

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1990

With Everybody Wants Some, Linklater’s latest film just out in America this week we thought now is a good enough time as any to take a look at the versatile work of one of the greatest directors from this modern era. An auteur who should be uttered in the same breath as Wes Anderson, Alejandro GonzĂĄlez Iñårritu, and Paul Thomas Anderson, but isn’t
admittedly it would be a long breath. Having gotten his start in the late 80s/90s, over the last almost three decades and almost twenty films, Linklater has touched upon almost every genre, outside straight horror and action, and I’m here to celebrate just a few of his best and most varied works.

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Reeeeeally can’t wait till this makes it to our side of the pond!

Dazed and Confused (1993): Stoner comedy

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After his bizarre montage of a film Slacker brought Linklater into the conversation, this is the film that made him. A much more straight forward stoner comedy that follows an eclectic group of high schoolers on the first night of Summer in the mid-70s, as they drive around drinking and smoking pot, just looking for a good place to smoke pot and drink. Now on the surface this is a par for the course teen comedy, but as Linklater is now known for, his writing brings startling insight and a nuance to its fun characters and setting, alone elevating it to a complex character piece. But it’s the quieter moments in between the partying, when the haze clears and the characters look off into the distance and can’t help but worry about what comes next, that if these really will be the best years of their life, that really stay with you.

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well alright, alright, alright, the origins

Those moments don’t last long, and are usually answered with a shrug, but that the film admits that the party will end, so you better enjoy it, puts it high above almost any other stoner film. Oh and it also launched the careers of Ben Affleck, Mathew Mcconaughey, as well as a butt tone of other recognisable faces, so it’s got that going for it too.

 

A Scanner Darkly (2006): Animated Sci-Fi thriller

A_Scanner_Darkly_PosterRichard Linklater and animated dystopian science-fiction; not a combination even the stoners from Dazed and Confused would think of, let alone guess it would be one of the highlights of the genre; but this list is titled thus for a reason. Adapted from Phillip K Dicks novel, it depicts a group of drug addicts, formed of Robert Downy Jr, Woody Harrelson, and led db6by undercover cop Keanu Reeves in a totalitarian America, where the only thing they have more of than drugs is cameras: Big Brother is always watching. Linklater sticks very close to the text, adapting the films dark themes of drug abuse just as effectively as its constant bursts of dark and surreal humour. But what really makes this film something else, is that its rotoscoped (animation done over live-action footage), a style that not only makes it timeless, but adds a toxic physicality to the labyrinth of confusion and paranoia the story revels in; capturing imagery from the material like no live-action film ever could.

Me and Orson Welles (2008): Period drama comedy

me_and_orson_welles03A 30’s set period dramedy, a love letter to the stage (which clearly inspires Linklater’s writing, though ironically he didn’t write this), and a personal favourite of mine: I find this film is unfairly overlooked as a Zac Effron vehicle (who fits the period like an old glove), as at the time he was in the heights of his High School Musical fame. But in actuality it’s a genuine showcase of his talents, as it is a delightfully charming and fascinating film that looks at the friendship between a young man with theatre dreams and a pre-Citizen Cane Orson Welles, as he and his famous Mercury troop put on their career making performance of Shakespear’s Julius Caesar.

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I’m quite disappointed he never played Welles again

Filled to the brim with recognizable faces, buckets of wit, and a stage full of heart and break; it’s Christian McKay’s portrayal of the man himself that makes this film tick. As uncanny as he is entertaining, this is the definitive portrayal of Orson Welles; painted with depth and care, he is equally the brash genius and timid artist; and his friendship with Effron dives surprisingly deep into the methodology of acting, and are need to transform and disconnect from ourselves.

Boyhood (2014): Coming of age drama

tumblr_ni27i0mrUS1rce5tlo1_1280Filmed over twelve years, from May 2002 to October 2013 (almost my own exact adolescence), using the same cast, Boyhood follows a boy and his broken family through his life, on their journeys to adulthood and everything else.

I’m not sure I can call it Linklater’s best film, but it’s definitely his magnum-opus (so far), and defines his sensitive and nuanced style.
Though in saying that, the first time I saw it in the cinema, I only liked it fine. It was fine. It wasn’t until I saw it again at home, on the small screen with my family, that I realized how special it was; and I recommend everyone else to watch it in much the same way. As though the film is huge in scope, it’s tiny in scale, making a more intimate, personal viewing much more effective.

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It’s a gimmick, but a damn powerful one.

Because this film gets it, it gets growing up, getting older, changing. And not just for a kid, but for everyone and anyone, from the boy, to his sister, to their parents. Everyone is always changing; for better, for worse, and in ways they can’t quite understand, and Linklater captures it beautifully not by focusing on the mile stones of life (school, sex, ext) but the moments in-between, the smaller things that haphazardly drift from your memory but build who you become.

This film isn’t for everyone, its long, and its talky (like most of his films), and there arn’t many clear goals or messages to take from it. But it’s a film that truly sculpted time, the time over which it was filmed and its run length, and is a near three hour shot of condensed life.School_of_Rock_Poster

Though these are more or less my favorites of Linklater’s (Before Sunset would round the list off nicely), but just to emphasise further how versatile his work has been, here’s a full list of all of his films. And yes, he really did direct School of Rock.

Everybody Wants Some!! – Teen Comedy

Boyhood – Coming of age Drama

Before Midnight – Romantic Drama

Bernie – Dark Comedy mystery

Me and Orson Welles – Period Drama

A Scanner Darkly – Sci-fi Thriller

Fast Food Nation – Comedy Drama

Bad News Bears – Children’s Comedy

Before Sunset – Romantic Drama

School of Rock – Family Comedy

Tape – Drama

Waking Life – Surreal Drama…thing

The Newton Boys – Crime Drama

SubUrbia – Coming of age Drama

Before Sunrise – Romantic Drama

Dazed and Confused – Stoner Comedy

Slacker – Comedy