“Danger 5” Is On Hulu!

Danger 5What do you get when you take quite possibly the strangest take on World War II ever, combined with dinosaurs, dinosaur Nazi-men, Hitler, and model work that would make old school “Doctor Who” look like  “Star Wars?

You get “Danger 5,” an Australian export currently spooling on Hulu that refreshingly doesn’t even attempt to explain the insanity, instead it just throws everything, including the kitchen sink, at you.

It’s stupid, dumb, makes absolutely no sense at all, and that’s OK because that’s part of the fun.  It’s very much in the vein of “Top Secret,” “Airplane” and the “Police Squad” films.

I should say that I am still not a huge fan of Hulu–I can’t get around the commercials–but if they continue to have bizarre programming like this, I’ll continue to give them a look, despite my misgivings.

2012 In Review

WordPress.com has prepared an annual report on my blog, which I thought I would share.

Speaking of sharing, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and I wish everyone the best in the upcoming year, especially those that are working hard, but somehow earning less…

Or those individuals that, despite their best efforts, can’t make it home to the people that love them…

Or those of us who have witnessed tragedy firsthand…

Happy New Year to Everyone!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 27,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Sometimes When There’s Smoke, (There’s Someone Making Much Ado Out Of Nothing)

This morning, I decided to see how much Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” cost to produce.  Box Office Mojo didn’t list its production costs, but with a modicum of searching I learned that the budget was probably around $250 million (most of which you can see on screen).

Now, my whining comes in after I read a story from Business Insider, a site I normally like quite a bit, which implies that Jackson’s film isn’t tracking on par with his ‘Rings’ films.  The article also implies that all is gloom and door as far as the two sequels are concerned (‘The Hobbit’ is the first in a trilogy).

This is beyond nonsense.  If only because it has already earned, worldwide, over $622 million dollars, and will probably be going strong well into the new year.  Now keep in mind, we’re talking a production budget of only (!) $250 million, so I fully expect that it will earn at least $700 million (and I am probably being conservative) before its theater run ends.

And that’s not including profits from DVD sales, streaming deals, and venues like iTunes.

Though admittedly an important part of this equation is that the each of the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ films squeaked in for under $200 million, which means that for the costs of almost the ENTIRE first three films you get–almost–one ‘Hobbit.”

Looking at the finished product, I think that it’s a bargain.  This latest film seems better assembled, more accomplished and significantly more fun than any of the prior three films.

And that has to count for something.

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Review

The Hobbit

“The Journey May Be Unexpected, But Beautiful Vistas, Interesting Challenges, And Humor In The Oddest Of Places Make The Journey More Than Worthwhile.”

A few hours ago I got back from seeing Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” An Unexpected Journey” at 48 fps (frames per second) and 3D, and I have to say that the faster frame rate–literally–had no effect on my enjoyment of the film (nor anyone else’s, that I could tell).

In fact, I couldn’t notice any difference from a movie made at a more traditional 24 fps, though I don’t know if that was because my eye was not discerning enough to pick up the difference.

I enjoyed “The Hobbit” quite a bit more than Jackson’s earlier ‘Rings’ films, because this time around our intrepid adventurers didn’t leave their sense of humor behind.  I don’t know if the changes came from the involvement of Guillermo Del Toro (such humor that pops up here is quite common in his films, while I have not seen it in any of Peter Jackson’s; till now, that is), who was originally going to direct before MGM flirted with bankruptcy and he moved on, but they were welcome.

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Fast N’ Loud Marathon Worth The Discovery

I have never been a fan of reality TV, but I have to admit that the more I watch, the more interesting I find it.

But that comes with a huge caveat: I tend to enjoy shows where people are doing things that are somewhat constructive, such as building things with their hands.

For instance, cars. I have never been very mechanically inclined (beyond being able to change the oil, spark plugs, and drums, which I last did on a ’78 Chevy Nova many moons ago) so I like to watch people who are capable in that kind of way.

“Ink Master”–which has very little to do with cars–I like because it involves tattoos, which anyone with anything approaching a sense taste would enjoy.

My latest find is “Fast ‘N Loud” (great show, awful title. Why they didn’t call it ‘Gas Monkies,’ which works because the series is centered around the “Gas Monkey Garage,” I have no idea). It’s an interesting show because, besides not catering to our baser instincts, there’s a lot of mechanical work on display, fast cars, the characters relate to each other well, and there’s none of typical over-done dramatics that tend to accompany these shows.

And as you’ve probably guessed, there another series on Discovery, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” whose appeal is so beyond my comprehension that I cringe whenever I see the adverts, never mind actually watching it.

‘The Walking Dead’ Stumbles (Again)

the-walking-dead1Recently I have been thinking about the old proverb, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

I have no idea what it means, literally because I can’t see any reason why anyone would look a horse, gift or otherwise, in the mouth.  Though, if you’re talking figuratively, then I guess it’s saying that if you have something that’s going well, just accept it, as opposed to trying to understand why.

Clearly, the management at American Movie Classics (AMC) is unfamiliar with that particular proverb because it appears that they may have driven another show runner away.

Glen Mazzara, who you recall replaced Frank Darabont, is himself on the way out.

Why this is happening is anyone’s guess, though what is particularly strange about is that “The Walking Dead” is one of the most successful shows on cable television, which you’d think would earn its makers a bit of loyalty, as well as autonomy, from management.

Considering what I suspect is going on over at AMC–namely numbers crunchers are running things, not creative types–it seems that even success isn’t quite enough to accomplish that feat.

‘Justice League: Doom’ Trailer

I just finished watching “Justice League: Doom” on Netflix, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it. I like that way that the Hall of Doom was used, and much to my liking, there wasn’t a bit of camp, irony or nods (other than its appearance) to the one that originally that appeared in the “Superfriends” cartoon that looked like a massive Darth Vader helmet.

As I mentioned many times before, DC Comics aren’t, generally speaking, my reading material of choice (though when I do on occasion buy DC comics, I tend to purchase those from their Vertigo line, such as “Hellblazer,” “Lucifer,” or “Shade: The Changing Man.”) but all the characters were handled very well, which is why I wonder why the “Green Lantern” feature was such a mess.

If the rumored Justice League movie is handled  nearly is well, it’s not only going to be a hit, but also have legs that other tentpoles can only dream of.

‘FUSE’ Video Game Trailer

ImageI have never heard of FUSE till I received an email from Electronic Arts.  Having looked at there trailer, I have to admit that I like what I see.

I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie between the characters, and would have been so happy to see one of them say “It’s not my fault!” in the most Indiana Jones-esque fashion they could muster.

Lacking that, it still looks like a lot of fun.  It goes without saying that the game seems particularly violent, which I don’t particularly mind though with another (seemingly) demented person going off and shooting a lot of people who didn’t do anything to warrant it (I am not sure what anyone could do to deserve such a fate) people are on edge about any form of media that displays a reckless disregard for life.

The trailer is also not for children (despite it being almost tame compared to most of the stuff that’s out there).

Why There Will Be a ‘Tron: Legacy’ Sequel (Or Doubters, I Told You So!)

Tron_Legacy_posterA bigger man would just be happy that Disney has put a sequel to 2010’s “Tron: Legacy” on a fast track, and leave it at that.

Luckily for me, I have never been that big a man because for years on various message boards I have said that there would be a sequel, if only because it made just over $400 million at the box-office (and that’s not including monies from DVD sales, toys, and related merchandise) on a budget of $170 million (though what I wished I definitely knew if a production budget included things like advertising costs, or is that’s separate).

Now that’s not a huge amount of money (based upon what the film cost) but it isn’t a failure either.

On various sites, such as Superherohype and Aint It Cool News! (if you go through the postings, I am ‘makneil.’), I have had to deal with the doubters that–for reasons that tended to go beyond whether or not they liked the film or not)–believed that there should be no sequel.

Though as far as I could see, that there would be a sequel is fairly obvious.  Besides the money it brought in, there’s the fact that the original film came out in 1982, so a sequel would be relatively unknown to the movie going public.

That’s why “Tron: Legacy’s” earnings were looked upon so positively, when it was all said and done: The original film came out in 1982, the sequel 30 years later.

That it did so well, under the circumstances, was missed by many.

Another fact that’s not remembered is that the original film was not that successful, achieving primarily cult status.

When you look at the variables that I have considered, there’s was little doubt about the way Disney would go.

I expect DreamWorks’ “Rise of the Guardians” to take a similar path.  It’s currently performing somewhat weak domestically, earning slightly less than half its production budget ($145 million) but has almost earned that amount overseas ($119.4 million).

‘Storage 24′ Review

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“If more attention were given to character development, “Storage 24” could have been a genre classic, instead of a mildly interesting diversion.”

Horror is a house with many doors, all opening onto the stuff of nightmares.  Whatever your interest, be it torture porn, poltergeists, vampires, zombies, and just about everything in-between, you’ll find a place just for you.  In this house, there’s also a room for what I like to call survival horror, a sub-genre that deals with a group of individuals trapped by a being–be it human or otherwise–which they have to overcome if they are to escape with their lives.

“Escape” can be relative, though.  For instance, I would consider John Boorman’s “Deliverance” a prime example of survival horror, despite the fact that it takes place on a river because the individuals that are being hunted do not know their way around, which in a very real sense restricts their movement.

Besides “Deliverance,” a classic of this sub-genre is Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (which straddles science fiction as well).

Though for my money, quite possibly the best example is found in John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing” (which, like Scott’s film has elements of sci-fi, though the direction–as well as innovative special effects–are so strong that you could replace the antagonist with just about any monster you chose, and it would still work.

“Storage 24” as an example of survival horror that is in some ways similar to Carpenter’s film, in that there’s an alien that plagues a group of people, who in this case are trapped in a storage facility in central London.

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