Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar: The Last Airb-- Oh, Shit

On Tuesday night, my friend Kendra, her mother, sister, father, aunt and uncle, and I went to the movies. As you may have guessed, we went to see Avatar in 3D.

Not what you think.

is James Cameron's latest epic. Many of you probably remember Titanic (and I'm sorry),
but I have to say, for ripping off Fern Gully, Avatar is pretty damn good. I warn you now, this post will contain many a spoiler. If you don't like people ruining movies for you, stop reading. And now a word from Avatar...

Stop thinking about this.

As many others have said before me,
Avatar is same the basic idea as Fern Gully. I'll be going into more detail on this in a moment, but first, the thing that has been bugging me since the movie first started: Unobtanium? Are you fucking kidding me? A) Wicked foreshadowing there, Mr. Cameron; and B) I understand ripping off other movies can be a touch draining, but your last big picture was TITANIC. That ACTUALLY HAPPENED. How much creativity do you need for your job? I know not every director/producer writes their own films or comes up with their own story ideas, but at least try a little harder. Also, as an addendum to A, great job on the planet's title. Pandora. Clearly not going to be a happy place for anyone.

Oh! And C) I can never again go to a movie theatre. At least when crowded. Mass murder is usually frowned upon. However, I'll save my rant on theatre etiquette for the next entry.

As for the Unobtanium (or is it "Unobtainium"?), do not insert a plot point you don't intend to explain. Maybe I missed it, but in all their praising of the money-shitting mineral "Unobtanium", they never once mentioned what said mineral actually does. Is it like gold? Does it make gorgeous jewellery? Is it a miracle-cure for cancer? Does it babysit your kids while cooking you dinner and giving you the best orgasms of your life? Really, for $20 mil a kilo (was it per kilo?) you'd think they'd bother to explain the death rock's function. All of 8 people in the world would be able to comfortably afford it, and hundreds more would buy it just to own the bragging rights. Then again, what useless crap won't rich people buy? Tell them a cow uterus is worth over $10 mil and they'll line their shoes with it.

But enough about explanations and the lack thereof (because they never got into the scientific breakdown of Pandora's atmosphere and I want the numbers on that). On to comparing Avatar to Fern Gully, and vice versa.

1. The main female alien/fairy is destined to be the next spiritual leader for her tribe/clan.
In Fern Gully, Crysta, the fairy who discovers their human intruder (and shrunk him, but hold that thought), is training to become the next spiritual guide for her clan. She is being trained by Magi, the current she-shaman. In Avatar, Neytiri, the alien female protagonist, is also in line to take over Mo'at's position as Na'vi Pope.

What is, "The most annoying religious figure ever invented"?

2. The main female protagonist is the daughter of the alien/fairy clan leader.
Neytiri of the Omaticaya is the daughter of Eytucan, the clan's head honcho She falls in love with Captain Picard when the Enterprise crash lands on her home planet. Wait, disregard that. As daughter of both the clan leader and spiritual leader, Neytiri is pretty much in line for the throne. In Fern Gully, Crysta is the daughter of the fairy king (hello, Oberon), referred to almost exclusively as "Daddy" (no one over the age of 6 should refer to their father as "daddy" -- too many creepy fetishes).

3. The male protagonist falls in love with the female protagonist; heartbreak and love triangles ensue.

As future Pope, Neytiri is betrothed to Tsu'tey, next in line for the role of clan-king. Of course, when Jake Sully shows up in his shiny new Na'vi body, Neytiri is ordered to teach him the ways of the Omaticaya and they fall in love (aww).

I guess they couldn't carve that in a tree.

Somehow, even though his chick is stolen by another guy's hairy dick (if you haven't seen it yet, a) WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?; and b) you'll get it), Tsu'tey eventually accepts that he'll have to plough another field. The same goes for Pips in Fern Gully after Zak successfully deflowers (we can only assume) Crysta. Even if he didn't get to plant his seed, he did steal her heart. Once both Jake and Zak prove their worthiness/bravery/whatever, Tsu'tey and Pips forget their former (almost) lovers faster than a college co-ed on spring break.

4. The main character is originally spurned by the alien/fairy race, but is eventually accepted.
Though in Fern Gully, Zak only shrinks to the size of a fairy rather than becomes one, the similarities are obvious. Crysta teaches Zak the secrets of fairy life and shows him what it means to be a protector of the forest. Granted, it was Crysta's own fault that Zak shrunk to fairy size and became involved in the forest. In Avatar, Jake's physical appearance technically doesn't change at all; he simply uses an "Avatar", or surrogate body, to infiltrate the Omaticaya tribe. And he doesn't shrink. He gets bigger.

Every man's dream. Minus the blue balls.

At first, everyone hates and is suspicious of Jake. It takes him three months to learn the Omaticaya's ways and to become a true part of their clan. The only one really put off by Zak's appearance is Pips, who's in love with Crysta. With enough time and life lessons, Pips begrudgingly accepts Zak's presence.

5. Both Zak and Jake are shunned when it's revealed that they were originally working with the humans.
And by that point, both Zak and Jake had made the decision to renounce the humans' cause after falling in love with the forest.

Oh yeah, baby. Right there.

Of course, they're un-shunned when they prove that they're not out to ride some bulldozers. (Ooh! That's another similarity! BULLDOZERS!)

6. All of the forest is interconnected.
When Zak begins to carve Crysta's name into the side of an unsuspecting tree, she stops him as soon as she can. Not being connected to the rainforest, Zak asks what's up. Crysta explains that all life in the forest is connected and can feel the pain of the trees. Hint: Fern Gully is saying humans are detached from nature and thus don't bat an eye when we bulldoze the shit out of it. The same way the humans in Avatar are detached from the alien planet.

It's all about the hardware.

Essentially, the Na'vi and the fairies (oh, that's awesome!
NAVI is a FAIRY. Zelda: Bettering the world since 1986.) are the guardians of the forest. Like what "man" was originally supposed to be if you follow Genesis (all that "stewards of the earth" crap).

7. Humans are the antagonists and are out to destroy the forest for financial gain.
Technically in Fern Gully, the antagonist would be Hexxus as well as the humans, though Parker Selfridge could be Avatar's (non-musical) Hexxus. He pulled the strings and was the hand behind the proverbial trigger. Selfridge was after Unobtanium, a naturally occurring mineral on Pandora worth millions of earth dollars, and he was prepared to wipe out any species that got in his way. Hexxus would gain nothing financially, but he was definitely interested in tearing apart the fairies. The humans he was using as fuel were in the forestry business, mutilating the plants for profit.

I could go on about other similarities between the two films, but I think I've pretty much covered it. I'm going to use my remaining time to outline the differences.

Unlike the Na'vi in Avatar, the fairies in Fern Gully did not have their own language. They also weren't from another planet being forcefully invaded by humans. They just lived in a secluded forest being forcefully invaded by humans.

Fern Gully was released in 1992 in 2D, whereas Avatar was released in 2009 in 3D (as well as 2D, I know). However, both films were animated.

Clearly my "differences" are mostly bullshit or completely obvious. I'll just leave this post here.

And in conclusion, James Cameron, your next film should be a re-imagined version of All Dogs Go to Heaven set on a big ship in a galaxy far, far away. In 3D.

If you've read all the way through and still haven't seen Avatar, GO SEE IT. In 3D. The extra $3 is worth it. Ooh, Alien 3! Wow, so much Sigourney Weaver in one week. Nice.

Who looks more worried? Let's find out!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Please Read This

This post has nothing to do with movies, but it has to do with the tragic story of a young woman who needs our help.

On December 15, 2009, 27-year-old Amanda Buckland lost everything in a house fire: her husband, her 4-year-old son, and her 8-month-old daughter. She and her 12-year-old stepdaughter were the only survivors.

I first read about Amanda's story on Cake Wrecks, where Jen has linked to a PayPal donation page set up by Amanda's employer. You can read more about this tragedy at Kristie's Notes.

I know that this season is usually punctuated by a lack of expendable income, but if you can spare even one dollar, together we can all make a difference.

Amanda has lost everything: her family, her possessions, her home. This season is about goodwill to all mankind. Please help us offer goodwill to Amanda and her stepdaughter to help them rebuild some of what they have lost.

Inglourious Basterds in Glorious Film

This evening, for the second time in two days, I watched Inglourious Basterds. I have to say, that is one fucking awesome movie.

It seems, like with any Tarantino film, people either hate it or love it. I love it. As for those who hate it, I keep hearing the same complaints: "It wasn't historically accurate!" (Did you even read the title of the film?), "It was unnecessarily violent!" (It's a WAR movie!), "It was just Pulp Fiction with Nazis!" (And why is that a bad thing?). I do have to admit, the film pretty much shits in history's face. But to be honest, I much prefer Tarantino's much more positive (ironically), and entirely fictional, recounting of World War II.

I could go on and on about the aspects of the film that made it a truly triumphant piece of cinema, or I could do what I always do and give you a rundown on what makes it worth watching.

So, here's the deal: I'm not going to number this. I'm just going to come out and say it: the accents were fucking HOT. The German accents? Naughty! The British accents? Erotic! The French accents? Sexy! Brad Pitt's accent? ORGASMIC! For anyone fond of linguistics and language, this is the film for you. It offers up several sexy speaking selections while still incorporating English.

Alright, I may have gotten slightly overenthusiastic about the accents (particularly Brad's), but many women are slaves to sexy accents. And I admit that I'm no different. The bassy (not a word, I know) quality of Gedeon Burkhard's (aka Wilhem Wicki's) voice was a huge turn-on in itself, but paired with that German accent? Good lord, I need a minute.

Burkhard's wasn't the only voice that sent me into conniptions. I've already mentioned Pitt (aka Aldo Raine, aka Aldo the Apache) so I won't go into detail there. What really got me with this film, though, was the deadly combination of deep, smooth, sexy voices and some of the sexiest accents in the world. Hell, even without the accents I would have been head-over-heels for Burkhard. That is one sexy, sexy voice. Same with Denis Menochet (aka Perrier LaPadite).

Man, this post is quickly devolving into a giant list of men I find sexy. And while that may be interesting to me, it's certainly not entertaining for anyone without a vagina.

Another reason I was drawn to Tarantino's latest epic was the casting of Til Schweiger as Hugo Stiglitz. That's probably not the name most people toss around when talking about fantastic casting, but for fans of SLC Punk!, Schweiger is plenty awesome. I'll save my gushing over SLC Punk! for another time, but suffice it to say, it's fucking epic.

If you've been reading this entry hoping for some revelation about the film's content or the messages it probably sends, you're expecting too much for 4:30 a.m. The lesson here is simply that women love accents. Take a girl you like to a movie with lots of sexy accents. You might just get lucky.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Ultimate Feel-Good Film

Nothing makes a very depressing evening worse than a forcefully cheery film. So throw in a feel-good movie and forget how emo you are!

Sixteen Candles is like a window into my soul.
P.S. This is now the official image of emo for this blog.

As for feel-good films, in order to find those truly inspiring, magically cheesy examples of smile-inducing perfection, you have to go back to the post-90s world of the year 2000. On May 12, 2000, a film was released into a world that was unprepared for such a musically emotional epic. That epic was called Center Stage (sorry, they were American). Center Stage is the story of Jodie Sawyer, an aspiring dancer whose dreams begin to fly after she is admitted to the American Ballet Academy.

Not like this.

And thus begins our adventure. I won't go too far into detail, but I will say this: EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE. Though the cast isn't exactly the Milky Way (read: not star-studded), the acting is fantastic. Although the true draw is the incredible dancing. Center Stage is like Save the Last Dance without as much emo bullshit and with a way better ending.

There have been many dance movies released within the last 30 years (ex// Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, Save the Last Dance, Step Up, Honey, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Fame), but very few have been classified as truly great inspirational films. That's because they didn't have the right formula. So what is the right formula?

Close, but no. Though this formula is integral
to the survival of the film industry.

So on to the blueprints! This is how you make a successful, feel-good, dance movie.

1. Actually focus on, and show, some dancing. Preferably for more than 5 minutes and more than just once.
2. Save the drama for your secondary characters. Don't focus on a major drama in the main character's life; this is a feel-good film. The main character's major drama should not be the movie's majorest drama.
3. Make the dancing the issue. Is the main character a great dancer being oppressed by The Man?

Wrong man.

Maybe the main character wants to dance, but something is holding him/her back (example, one too many twinkies -- Hairspray is a great example of breaking the anorexia scale)?
4. Have a love triangle. Nothing too over the top, just have two guys/girls interested in the main character. And make sure one is a total bitch.
5. The true key to a successful feel-good film is to have all interpersonal issues resolved by the end. The bitch learns a valuable lesson and joins the ranks of the Scooby Gang. The dick ex-boyfriend/girlfriend gets rejected but doesn't get shafted (kinky). The evil antagonist gets pretty much the same as the evil ex. And the plucky attitude of the principle rag-tag group of friends pays off. Everyone ends up happy. Feel-GOOD.

So what have we learned? Dance movies suck. With one exception.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

5 Reasons Why "Rise, Blood Hunter" is AWESOME (And 5 Why It Sucks)

This is just going to be a long list of everything awesome about the movie Rise, Blood Hunter. If you haven't seen this, you should. It is, in my opinion, the best movie in Lucy Liu's career.

This is why:
1. Lucy Liu makes out with another chick.
Yes, this sounds like any lame movie aimed at men, but seriously, Lucy Liu is

Now imagine them making out.

1.5. Lucy Liu gets NAKED.

This, but naked.

Need I say more? (Your answer to that should be no, but I will.)

2. She uses a fucking CROSSBOW!
(1 & 1.5 are both tit-related, so this one can be #2.) What is more badass than a chick who murders people with a motherfucking crossbow? One who does it riding a T-REX!

Jurassic Park 9: TITS. Coming to a theatre near you.

3. She's an assassin.
Really, in the list of things that make hot girls hotter, being able to kick your ass totally ranks high up. She starts out as a reporter, but like all movies with assassins, takes up the career for vengeance.

4. She's undead.
This movie has everything! Vampire-like creatures (no fangs), a smokin' hot protagonist, assassin(s?), nudity, weird and creepy sex, hookers. What more could you want? Other than a less sleazy, douchey antagonist, I guess. Oh, and less necrophilia. Yeah, there's that.

5. Watching Lucy Liu eye-fuck hitchhikers.
And then actually fuck them. Sure, it's like any other, non-hardcore-porn movie: no penetration (with dicks, anyway), but it sure is worth watching.


And this is why you should not watch this movie:

1. The dialogue.
Normally, I can ignore occasionally shitty dialogue if the movie is absolutely wicked. This is not one of those "normal" situations. The dialogue in this film is, for the most part, not entirely horrid. However, there is one shining turd in the script that I can never ignore, no matter how hard I try. In the scene where we see Lucy's murder for the first time, Eve (Carla Gugino) whispers the gem "Sex and murder are the only real pleasures left to man." Not three scenes later, I SHIT YOU NOT, Bishop (the other murderer and the scumbag antagonist) DIRECTLY QUOTES HER, and ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HE IS DIRECTLY QUOTING HER.

Bishop: A friend once told me that "sex and murder are the only real pleasures left to man".

Pictured: Sleazy motherfucker

Which brings me to...
I seriously hate this guy. I want to punch his goddamn face in. He is a slimy douche and needs to be forcefully reinserted into whatever vagina spat him out. Though he'd probably love that. He's hideous, he thinks he's sexy when he's a fugly cunt, he has an annoyingly condescending accent, and acts like the sun shines out his raunchy asshole. I could go on, but I'm SO PISSED OFF!

3. Nick Lachey is in it.
I wish to god I was joking. I wish to fucking Christ.

THAT SLIMY CUNT. And yes, that really does say Marilyn Manson.
I'm sorry.

The only upside to that tragedy is that his part is small and largely unnecessary. He's easily forgotten and (as usual) makes a complete ass of himself. The pathetic attempts at slapstick comedy are more painful than the actual assassinations would be.

THIS is better than Nick Lachey.

4. Tricia.
Tricia is another victim of Bishop's supposed "sexual prowess". She's also the wet dream of any (straight) guy who's ever shopped at Hot Topic.

"Her angsty exterior causes my cold, dead heart to pump
tears of blood to the crotch of my unbelievably tight jeans."

And of course, she is the crux of the emotional diarrhoea splattered along the bathroom walls of this film. That wouldn't be so bad if the emotional aspect wasn't already completely covered by Ms. Liu. Fucking Tricia.

5. I got nothin'.
I've got another 30 reasons to watch this wicked film, but I can only think of 4 reasons to avoid it like guys who shop at Hot Topic. And I just finished watching it again.
In conclusion, GO RENT IT NOW! IT'S AWESOME!

Medium or Large?

Hello there. To all those who don't know me, congrats! I'm not famous. But I am bored and I own over 250 movies (on DVD alone). So welcome to my mental dumpster: Couch It!

This is really just a quick intro, so I won't bore you. Besides, I already wrote the next entry which I plan to post as soon as I hit 'publish' on this one. Look forward to (probably sporadic) future articles about movies and how much they suck/rock.