zustifer: (Baby Cakes with Viking helmet)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Terry Gilliam. Nov 7, 8pm. View count: One.
Paper Moon (1973), Peter Bogdanovich. Nov 8, 8pm. View count: One.
Futureworld (1976), Richard T. Heffron. Nov 10, 10pm. View count: One.
RoboCop (1987), Paul Verhoeven. Nov 14, 8pm. View count: Many.
The 400 Blows (1959), Francois Truffaut. Nov 16, 8pm. View count: Two.
Point Break (1991), Kathryn Bigelow. Nov 24, 5pm. View count: One.
Watchmen (2009), Zack Snyder. Nov 25, 6pm. View count: One.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966 - MST3K version), Harold P. Warren. Nov 26, 6pm. View count: Four?


Imaginarium I found to be fun and attractive, surprising no one. It did have a sense of disjointedness, and not really because of the replacement of Heath Ledger (that mostly worked okay, I thought, although my thoughts when this happened were more along the lines of 'does he look different? I can't tell' than 'look, it's Johnny Depp!' There were almost always makeup and a mask involved, so it was harder than it could have been). Probably would have benefited from some judicious editing, but I couldn't promise that reshoots wouldn't've been necessary, so...

Paper Moon I'd only ever read the book, so this was nice to see. 70s does 20s, which is unusual of itself, I think. The lead actress did a really impressive job with a demanding part, and there was even a small part for Madeline Kahn!

Futureworld: Pretty terrible. It's been too long since I saw this to remember its redeeming qualities.

RoboCop is always better on the big screen.

The 400 Blows we watched on blu-ray, to try out this new functionality, and it was accordingly quite beautiful. I learned this time around that every damn line in this movie was overdubbed by the actors (no sync sound -- too expensive), which is a heroic feat. It's a brilliant looping job; you'd never, ever know if you weren't told. Impeccable.

Point Break I think I was not quite in the right mood for, but I still thought it had its good points. The chase in the middle was legitimately good, and I'm always up for watching Buseys behaving oddly. Also, Kathryn Bigelow? The lady who directed Hurt Locker? Hmmm.

Watchmen I was rather pleased with. I think the decision to make Dr. Manhattan entirely CG was a bad and distracting one, although it did not ruin the movie for me. The only other major issue I had was the overbearing, intrusive soundtrack, with its Big Hits of the Past 30 Years!! Too on the nose, too music-video-envy. As a whole, though, the little touches were brilliant, and the tone was spot on. The casting was very good, and, really, Rorschach made the whole thing worthwhile. I hope that guy is getting a lot of work, because he's got chops.

Manos is terrible/amusing as always.
zustifer: (Robocop: Forget Jones)
If any of you is in the film_stills community, I just capped RoboCop (selectively, obviously). If you're not, here's the caps in LJ-gallery form.

The Many Faces of Miguel Ferrer! )
zustifer: (Robocop: Dick Jones)
Death and the Compass (1992), Alex Cox. June 4, 3pm. View count: One.
RoboCop (1987), Paul Verhoeven. June 6, 9:30pm, June 8, 7pm (director, writer, and producer commentary), and June 9, 1pm (3/4 - 1/2 speed, for screengrabbing). View count: Lots; five-ish views of the Criterion edition (and two more with commentary on), which is now apparently out of print? and many endless viewings of (one of) the TV edit(s).
[Aside: I didn't know that there were multiple TV edits, but it does make sense. Someone whose site I ran across referred to the 'once I even called him... asshole' line as being replaced with 'airhead', whereas I know it as 'a lot worse.' I really need to digitize the version my parents taped off of television.]


Death and the Compass was actually pretty poor, despite the prominence of Peter Boyle and Miguel Sandoval (the guy who went all the way there to get it, and they didn't have it, and now [he's] back again! in Straight to Hell) and Christopher Eccleston (?). This was one of Alex Cox's weird mexican productions, and apparently the level of low-budget seat-of-the-pantsness extended to really terrible location sound and an obnoxious faux-mystical plot. I had a hard time paying attention to it, and I generally enjoy Alex Cox's sensibility and failure to do normal things.



RoboCop is of course a small work of genius. An amusing bit of trivia is that apparently Alex Cox could have directed this (one of like ten other directors asked to do so), but he was making Straight to Hell instead. When I master parallel universe navigation, this is one of the things I will check out.

RoboCop is a consummate example of successful universe-building. The world details are deftly placed and reacted to. There is something really special about a plot that appears (on the surface) to be a relatively simple lowbrow story of good cop mowing down injustice, but which inhabits an internally consistent 3d world and which is peopled with believable characters.
Part of this is the obvious benefit of physical props and effects (although I understand there were some FX done with an amiga), but part is just clever fleshing-out of universe details (the television commercials, which Verhoeven used again as a device in Starship Troopers, are wonderful things). It is a dark world, but a hilarious and overblown one, with cartoonish qualities that nevertheless fit together with more serious themes quite nicely.

Everyone involved with this movie did a bang-up job. The actors, not a false step among them. Peter Weller had to study with a mime coach to move correctly in the suit. Miguel Ferrer is my personal mental model for arrogant young go-getter. Phil Tippett obviously had the love; insanely perfect light-matching, set-building, and personality injection for ED209. The commentary track made very clear how much of a group effort this piece was: Ronny Cox came up with the supremely weird hair-pulling action, Paul McCrane fleshed out his television-raised anti-intellectual character. The DP or producer, I forget which, insisted that the full suited-up Robo not be shown without a significant period of teasy ramp-up (long POV sequence, textured glass, long obscured shots).

I have a lot of love for this movie. It, unlike so many 80s movies, holds up beautifully today. It's an unusual foreign-director-in-US success story, both strange and familiar, if you know what I mean.
Here's my brainstorming chart for the characters, that I made last year. Might be helpful.
zustifer: (Robocop: SUX dino)
This is entertaining; it's a site that lets you make little charts of concepts. Here is what I made in ten minutes or so.



With a lot of ideas it becomes difficult to arrange them well fairly quickly, and I don't think it's meant for too many sublevels of relations, but it's still not unamusing.

[Edit] Oh hell yes, I can just link to it. Click and drag like google maps to navigate.
zustifer: (Dick Jones)
Even better for Valentine's Thing: nothing says love like a pretty cool straight-faced potential villain origin story.
Also, easily one of my favorite handles. There you go. Don't worry, pal, they'll fix you. They fix everything.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: He likes it)
I'm pretty burnt due to this week of extremely long days (I am taking over a class for another teacher), but I nevertheless have time to post these awesome screengrabs of a Sailor Moon episode.


Note Sailor Mercury's little DS-like pasocon. It's supposed to do whatever improbable computery things are needed in the episode. I don't know, it makes little beepy noises.

Larger, more hilarious pictures down here. )
zustifer: (Forget Jones)
Anticyclone reminded me of the vast array of archetypes and levels of amusement inherent in muppets, and I was idly trying to think of a muppet that would make a good avatar. So, share my bemusement and pointless woolgathering; put your hand inside the puppet head. Name a muppet that you'd use, yourself, for an avatar. If it's a Muppet Show muppet, I can screengrab you some images of it, because I have the boxset and some other episodes lying around (and in case you don't know how I love screencapping, yesterday I was checking one of Delia Deetz's horrible outfits by flipping through my Beetlejuice screenshots directory (1.5 gigs), instead of actually checking the dvd). So make me do some muppet searching. It'll be great. And you have an excuse to think of the muppet that best represents you, quiz-free.
If it's Sesame Street, though, it's just you and youtube.

(PS: I keep using this avatar for puppet-related posts because Miguel Ferrer is at his most muppetlike in this frame of Robocop. You can just see his head flapping up and down.)
(PPS: He is uttering the 'uh' phoneme of 'Fuck Jones,' or, in the TV edit, 'Forget Jones.' The facial expression is a lot more understandable if you know he's saying 'Fuck.' But I do enjoy the TV edit a lot. Regardless, that frame shows confluence of several amusing things (puppety Miguel Ferrer, bastardised-for-TV dialog, hilarious overly cocky scornful devil-may-care expression).)
zustifer: (Clockwork Wizards)
Has anyone ever noticed that the manure truck that stops Biff's car in Back to the Future is labeled 'D Jones manure (hauling?)' I mean, I know PEOPLE have, because I have google, but, see, what I think this means is that Robocop and Back to the Future take place in the same universe. Conceivably, the Robocop timeline happens along the alternate evil 1985's, and is destroyed by Marty. Although, it's also possible that since it's obvious that BTTF is set in a California-like place and Robocop in a Detroit-like place, that even the good BTTF timeline could coexist with Robocop.
So, maybe Dick Jones's dad is also named Dick Jones (or Don, or Douglas, since Dick is short for Richard), and it's really his family's manure company, and by 1985 Dick Jones Jr. is seeking his fortune out in the rust belt, finally out from under dad's unambitious thumb.

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Karla Z

February 2012

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