Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Pointless List: Venture Bros. Characters 10-6

People love listing things. And people also love reading things other people have listed. These are facts. So to celebrate the premiere of the fourth season of the Venture Bros. I'm listing off my ten favorite characters. I could make this list my top 50 because this show is so full of them but so time's sake and the fact that I'm lazy and don't want to put forth the effort I'm shortening it to ten.

It's the best cartoon on TV, so watch the hell out of it!

10. Ned

Also known as the Human Callus. Ned is the mentally handicapped cousin of Sally Impossible. Exposed to cosmic radiation, Ned's body turned into a giant callus. He now lives on Spider Skull Island with Sally, her son Rocket, and Jonas Venture Jr.

9. Jefferson Twilight

All you need to know about Order of the Triad member Jefferson Twilight is that he's a vampire hunter who only hunts Blaculas. A vampire hunter who only hunts Blaculas. Only hunts Blaculas. BLACULAS!!!

8. Master Billy Quizboy

Self proclaimed boy genius, eye patch, cybernetic arm, growth hormone deficiency, plus the fact that he's actually 35 all adds up Master Billy Quizboy. Long time Venture fanboy and game show contestant, Billy lives in a trailer with his albino business partner Pete White. Billy delves into super science while trying not to geek out over all the cool action figures and death rays around him.

7. Molotov Cocktease

Russian mercenary and snappy dresser, Molotov is the long time love interest of bodyguard Brock Sampson. Pitted on opposite sides during the cold war, ex-spies Brock and Mol have a mutual respect for each others abilities. Unfortunately for Brock, Mol's chastity belt did not come down with the Berlin Wall. She now fights for whatever side will pay her the most and will not hesitate to betray anyone to get what she wants. But who else would you rather have assassinate you. Honesty?

6. Dr. Girlfriend

Now called Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, Sheila is a sexy villainess with a voice like sandpaper. New wife of the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend stands as the voice of reason to her spouse's schemes. Formerly Lady Au Pair and Queen Etheria, she bounced around super villains until she finally fell for the Monarch. She is accompanied by her Murderous Moppets Tim-Tim and Kevin.

Note: While looking for pictures for this list, I stumbled onto many interesting things. In other words, try searching for numbers 6 and 7 with "cosplay" at the end. Good Lord!

Stop by soon for 5-1. Go Team Venture!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Buy This DVD!: Drag Me To Hell

This is the second DVD recommendation in a row that is a horror film, but hey, it's Halloween, tis the season.

This incredibly fun scare is a return to horror for director Sam Raimi. Immortalized by geeks the world over for Evil Dead and its subsequent sequels, Raimi has been busy with Spiderman the last decade or so. This film marks the completion of an idea his brother, Ivan, and he had back when they were writing Darkman. The movie harks back to the goofy, gooey, and grotesque horror flicks of the 80's.

Drag Me To Hell is a visceral nightmare. It assaults you with every single sense. The visuals will have you looking down at your shoes on several occasions. The sound will knock you out of your seat. Hell, I  could have sworn I even smelled sulfur a time or two. Genuinely frightening, which is really saying something nowadays, the movie stays with you well after you've watched it.

The majority of horror movies are just plain awful. They contain no real scares, they're horribly derivative, and they're cheap and uninspired. The worst part about most scary movies are the protagonists. These people are complete idiots. They bring these terrible circumstances on themselves by displaying some level of retardation and quite a bit of douchebaggery. To make matters worse, once they are in the thick of it, they display no common sense or intelligence at all. You almost wish they would die because they most certainly deserve it. And that is the state of horror movies. Then there is Drag Me To Hell. Christine Brown, played by the adorable Alison Lohman, is a sweet honest girl. She's not an asshole or bitch or naive idiot. She's normal, just like we pretend to be. When the story begins to unfold and Christine finds herself falling deeper and deeper into trouble, she doesn't twist her ankle or lock herself in an attic, she makes every move you would imagine you'd make yourself if you were in her place. She's relatable, likable, and resilient. Best of all, she's not a moron.

The film also capitalizes on Raimi's love of gross. It oozes and pusses in all the right ways. It'll make you laugh, but that's just the set up. It eases the tension with a sick joke or sight gag, but then slaps you in the face with something terrifying. Drag Me To Hell does not make the mistake of taking itself too seriously, it also doesn't make the mistake of not taking itself seriously enough. It is the perfect blend of fun and fright. You may feel like you've been beaten up after it's over, but you'll enjoy every punch.

Monday, October 12, 2009

See It Already #1 - BRICK

In See It Already, we'll be talking about movies that might have slipped past your radar. Maybe you never heard anything about it, or just didn't think it was your kind of thing. But every film in these articles are worth a viewing. This week we'll be taking a look at Brick.

Brick differs from most films in its genre, if you can even label it in a definitive genre. As much as it is a teen drama, it is even more a noir. A hard laced detective yarn oozing with deception and twists. Brick takes the tone and language of 40's films like The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity, not to mention any Raymond Chandler novel, and infuses it into the setting of a modern day high school. The stark opposites of its subject matter and tone make Brick an incredibly interesting film. It may take you 15 minutes or so to catch on to what you are actually watching, but once you do, you enjoy the ride.

Writer/ director Rian Johnson makes his debut with this impressive film. He clearly has a strong grasp on the material, not afraid to poke fun at his own premise. His script, incredibly tight and well crafted, manages to be original and clever out with something we've all seen many times before. Even though it is a drama, you can really see how much fun its creators had with it. The language of the film, which seems quite foreign at times, flows out of the actors' mouths with such ease and familiarity which is a testament to Johnson and his writing. You are sure to hear more from him in later renditions of this column.

The thing that really shines through this film is its star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Kicking around hollywood since he was seven, Joseph has finally come into his own. A truly gifted actor, he showcases his skills thoroughly in Brick. More recently seen in 500 Days of Summer, Joseph portrays the hard nosed detective/ high school senior with amazing sincerity. We take each step with him. His heartbreak is the audience's heartbreak. It speaks volumes about an actor when he is on screen over 90% of the movie and you still want to see more of him. He has a free pass in my book, that means even G.I. Joe is forgiven.

Brick creates a peculiar and fascinating world. One entirely worth checking out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Buy This DVD!: Trick 'R Treat

Horror is a tough genre. As much as we complain about the endless remakes and sequels, when something fresh comes around we ignore it.

Trick 'r Treat is an anthology tale along the same lines as Creepshow and Twilight Zone: The Movie. It embodies the very spirit of halloween as it explores various rituals from the holiday as well as the consequences for not following them.

The entire film is overflowing with the sights and sounds of halloween. Countless jack o'lanterns, falling leaves, colorful masks, bags of candy, spooky moonlight, chilling breezes. Trick 'r Treat displays a true love of the season. It contains five separate stories that intertwine on one particularly eerie night.

This film was made in 2007. It was just now released on DVD and Bluray last tuesday. If you are wondering when you missed it in theaters, you didn't, it never got there. A film tailor made to rake in money on October 31 kept getting pushed back and delayed. It watched Saw 4, 5, and now 6 take its place at the halloween weekend box office while it sat on the shelf collecting dust.

Slowly, a few small screeners and word of mouth spread and the film gathered a decent sized cult following, without ever being released. Now, it is finally out on DVD with the absolute barebones of features. Clearly the studio still doesn't think very highly of this film and that is where you can come in. Buy it. Tell a friend. Have them tell a friend. Empty the stores until they have to order more. Let the studios know that a fun original idea isn't a waste of money. Help make the Sorority Rows and Prom Nights of the world a thing of the past. Your children will thank you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Looking Games: The Saboteur

Did Inglorious Basterds make your bloodlust for Nazis all the more palpable? Then this Christmas is just for you. EA and Pandemic Studios are releasing an open ended WWII game titled The Saboteur.

In it you will play as an irishman in Paris working for the resistance in nazi-occupied France. What sets this game apart from a lot of others is the amount of style thrown into the look.

The use of black and white with color is incredibly slick. The reds pop right out of the screen. The color will actually change as you progress through the game. Stark black and white at the beginning when the nazis are at full force and a more bright and vibrant world towards the end when the people of France begin to fight back.

Steal cars, leap on rooftops, derail trains, blow up zeppelins, Saboteur
is a highly stylized wet dream. Sneak through the Paris streets and snipe nazi officers till your hearts content. Out December 8th 2009 for PS3, XBOX 360, and PC.

Another Vacation?

If you thought there was no way they could top Vegas Vacation or Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, it's starting to look like you were wrong. As usual.

New Line is currently meeting with writers who enjoy the thought of John Hughes spinning in a coffin. This time the story centers on son Rusty Griswold as he takes his own family on a road trip. Expect grandpa Chevy Chase to pop up at some point.

What's unknown is which Russ Griswold we will see. Could it be Anthony Michael Hall? Jason Lively? Johnny Galecki? Ethan Embry? Or something altogether new? Maybe Dane Cook can do it, or Ice Cube.

And even more importantly, where will they go? A destination that's built up for 90 minutes had better be worth the trip. They haven't been to the moon yet, or visited Atlantis. How about Rusty Griswold, played by Topher Grace, time travels with his family to 1800's Georgia during the start of the civil war. Did I mention Beyonce would be playing his wife? Comedy!

So while the memory of the original is still a positive one, enjoy this.

Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin is developing the film.
soure - The Hollywood Reporter