A couple short films

A few years ago, I attended the San Diego Comic Con and was fortunate enough to see a short film called Walkentalk, about a guy introducing his fiance to his younger brother, who happens to be completely obsessed with Christopher Walken–to the point where he speaks only in Walken quotes.

When I saw Walkentalk I had also just missed a short film called Street of Pain, which stars Steve Carell and is best described as “John Woo directs a dodgeball movie.”

Anyway, since the Internet is the greatest series of tubes ever, here are the films in their entirety for your viewing enjoyment.


Street of Pain

Live Free or Die Hard

Yippie-ki-ay, mother(BLAM!)

I don’t remember the first time I saw Die Hard. I do know I loved the movie as a kid, which was one of the great action films of my youth alongside The Terminator and T2, Predator, Aliens and Robocop (though I saw most of these as edited network television versions, rather than the R-rated originals). In junior high school I wrote a story in which my high school was taken over by terrorists and my friends and I were the heroes who fought them, crawling through air ducts and using makeshift weapons–an obvious rip-off of Bruce Willis’s first starring vehicle.

I read an article recently (can’t remember where, sorry) that listed the greatest action movies, and on the entry on Die Hard it mentioned how Willis’s John McClane, a blue-collar New York cop who gets caught up in a terrorist attack on an office building in Los Angeles, was a different kind of hero than the bad-ass, unstoppable Herculean killing machines that Arnold (Commando) Schwarzenegger and Sylvester (Rambo II) Stallone tended to play. As the movie begins, McClane is having trouble with his marriage, irritable from having sat through a long flight across the country, and as uncomfortable with the flaky California culture as only a lifelong New Yorker can be. Over the course of the first film, McClane is beaten, stabbed, shot, burned, blown up, and forced to walk barefoot over broken glass–and unlike Stallone or Schwarzenegger, all those wounds add up, to the point where his wife gasps in shock when she sees what’s become of him near the end of the film. (more…)

Weekend wrap-up

DG and I had a pretty low-key weekend. We saw Knocked Up on Friday—great movie, destined to be a classic on par with When Harry Met Sally or There’s Something About Mary. I highly recommend it. It was a nice tonic to all the Blockbuster III movies.

We cancelled our Netflix subscription last week. The DVD skipping from scratches became way too irritating. It had been happening for weeks, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I missed a key scene of Slither. The odd thing is that the skipping almost always starts about two-thirds or later into the film. It’s possible my DVD player is just old (it’s from 2002, I think), but it still plays scratch-less DVDs fine, so it looks like it’s cable and On Demand for us for now.

Which is fine—I still got to take in The Cave this weekend. Which wasn’t that great, by the way. Definitely gotta give it up to The Descent when it comes to cavern-dwelling-monster movies.

I may need to re-subscribe to Netflix come September, though, because my tentative plan for this year’s Halloween Month is to review every single Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween movie (including the Rob Zombie remake).

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Eric Powell’s comic The Goon. Last week I picked up the special one-shot “Satan’s Sodomy Baby,” which is exactly as calculatedly offensive as it sounds. You think Family Guy goes too far sometimes? Powell floors the gas pedal and goes flying off the cliff, Thelma & Louise-style. I still love the comic, and I suspect even this one-shot may get nominated for an Eisner like everything else Powell does…but…man. If you’re curious, this review of the comic mirrors my opinion.

Incidentally, I posted my top five summer movies over on Ed’s blog.

It makes me cry now, too (but for different reasons)

Ed has a post about his Top Five Summer Movies over at the Ed Zone. It’s a great read, but he neglected to mention my role in one of the anecdotes.

I, too, was in attendance at that double bill of Conan the Destroyer and The Last Starfighter (which makes sense, seeing as how Ed’s Uncle Ron is my dad). However, being a bit younger than Ed at the time, Conan scared the living crap out of me. It made me cry, and so (actually—I don’t remember this all that well, so I’m going to call Dad and get the details straight here).

Spider-Man 3

Twenty things I learned while watching Spider-man 3 (spoilers!):

Gwoemul (The Host)

Until recently, the last movie I’d seen in the theater was Pan’s Labyrinth; before that, Casino Royale, and before that, I think it was Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I don’t get out to the theaters much, so it was a bit of a coup when I managed to see two movies in the theater last weekend. One was 300; the other was the South Korean monster movie Gwoemul (“The Host”).

Ever since I was a wee tyke, watching Creature Double Feature on Boston’s WLVI 56 on Saturdays afternoons, I’ve been a fan of monster movies. Godzilla was always my favorite, but I had a soft spot for King Kong, Frankenstein, Dracula—all the movie monsters detailed in those old Crestwood orange hardcover books you used to be able to find in your local library. I also enjoyed films such as the original black-and-white The Thing and, when I was older, John Carpenter’s 1980s remake.


In a deleted scene of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Faramir (played by David Wenham) looks at a dead Easterling (Eastern mercenaries hired by the villain Sauron) and muses to a fellow warrior, “The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours. Do you wonder what his name is? Where he came from? If he was really evil at heart? What lies or threats led him on this long march from home, if he would not rather have stayed there, in peace?”

In 300, David Wenham plays a badass Spartan who suffers from no such crises of conscience. In the world of 300, the only good Easterner is a dead Easterner.

300 can be best described as a mixture of Braveheart and Gladiator. The essence of 300 seems to be contained in a statement by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler): “The world will know that few stood against many.” And that’s pretty much the long and short of it—a small number of troops fights a larger number of troops. Curtain.

More than meets the eye

I went through a lot of toy fads as a child—He-Man, Star Wars, Godzilla, Robocop, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, just to name a few—but none had so long and successful a run in my interest as Transformers. I was into Transformers for almost five years, I think, from ages five to ten, and then had a renaissance during my early teenage years, when I wrote a 215-page novel about them. Titled The Siege, the task consumed more than six months of my young life and remains my longest writing effort to date.

Having been quite obsessed with Transformers at several points in my young life, I feel compelled to have some sort of opinion on the upcoming Michael Bay film. Part of me thinks it’s too little, too late, and another part of me will probably always think of Transformers: the Movie as that 1986 slice of cheese that features both Optimus Prime’s death and the pure ’80s tune “The Touch.”

Slay Ride

So it’s Christmastime again. Ever since I left my parents’ house, Christmas seems to go one of two ways for me: either I go all-out and Christmasize my life to the max, or December flies by and before I know it, Santa has come and gone and I’m a year older (because my birthday give is me the presents! 29th).

I made a concerted effort to enjoy the heck out last Christmas, going so far as to host a special viewing of several Christmas classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I made sure to get plenty of lights and decorations up. It was also the year of the “Lucy Tree,” a story I will let DG relate (perhaps in a guest post, if she’s willing) since it’s really more her story than mine.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

So I finally watched Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. It was interesting to watch Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead after having recently watched all of Romero’s films, as well as Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later…. I enjoyed the latter, though I admit it didn’t really feel like a zombie film, and the same could be said for Dawn of the Dead ’04. Other than the fact that the “Infected” of 28 Days Later… can be killed like any human while the zombies of Dawn have to have their brain destroyed, there’s hardly any difference between the portrayal of the monsters—they’re fast-moving, violent, cannibalistic savages.

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