Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Avengers Is Gonna Be SOOO Worth It

I've been excited about this since...well, since someone made me wait until the end of Iron Man and Nick Fury/Sam Jackson badassed his way through the final scene. It's a super sweet trailer, and May can't come soon enough. Any chance to watch RDJ aka Tony Stark being a "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist", and I'm in. It doesn't hurt that there are some prime pieces of eye candy on both sides of the aisle (ScarJo, natch). But comic book worshippers, what are your thoughts on Ruffalo as the Hulk? I'm still on the fence.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gangster Movies I'll Always Drop Everything to Watch

The Godfather Saga (I'm just going to combine 1 & 2, since I consider them two parts of one film)
This film is the subject of a series of lectures in a class I took on race relations in cinema. I think mainly the prof wanted us to watch a cool movie that everyone should see, but with an eye toward looking at how simple and accepted racism was in the first half of the 20th century. It's pretty interesting once you get to the second film flashbacks with Vito and you see how Italians (and immigrants) were treated in turn-of-the-century New York, and how the mafia was re-created in America under the capitalist business model. But beyond that, this is the gangster film to end all gangster films, and pretty much every other one has to be held to the "Coppola Standard." (I'm pretty sure Francis can't even be held up to the "Coppola Standard" nowadays...maybe his wine?)

"This guy could fuck up a cup of coffee."
Kevin Pollak - WTFILOVEYOU.
Martin Scorcese does an amazing job turning "true" events into compelling kickass dramas. The Departed and Casino are both based on actual real-life events, which makes me want to splatter someone's brains all over a wall and/or break their knees. The scene where De Niro gives a con man an especially twisted ultimatum might be my favorite gruesome hand-smashing scene of all time. Of ALL Time.

File:American Gangster poster.jpg

American Gangster
*Based on real life.
While this isn't an oft-quoted line, I absolutely LOVE how Denzel says "Someone call an amberlance!!" when Bumpy is having a heart attack in the electronics store. I love how Denzel is so badass, he walks up to his nemesis in broad daylight, shoots the guy straight in the face and then takes back his money. Lesson: Don't fuck with Denzel. Ever. Ridley Scott kills it in the best way possible.

*Based on real life.
"I'm funny how? Like a clown, I amuse you?"
I'm nostalgic for a time that I never lived in. I always have been. Gangster films fulfill some part of that nostalgia, in that mainly they take place way before I was born, and people seem to get away with shit that doesn't seem possible these days. The Sopranos showed us a post-modern gangster family, but what I really want is to see a time when the mafia acted as protectors of their communities when the cops couldn't (or wouldn't) do anything. It's romantic and idealized and completely unrealistic, because they weren't really good people, but neither were pirates, and I love pirates.

The Departed
"Give me a cranberry juice."
"What are you on your period?"
I said this to a friend recently at a bar, and for a second, I was actually hoping he might smash me in the head with his glass and begin kicking me in the ribs. I SO want to be a gangster. I can't say it's my favorite gangster film because I'm such a fan of The Godfather, but this one is a very close second. A modern-day gangster film, but this time, they're IRISH! TWIST! The Dropkick Murphys simply kill the intro, and every time I hear it, I want to murder someone in the face.

"I'm really great at what I do, Dad. I mean I'm really great at what I do."
This isn't technically a gangster film, but I'm hard-pressed to put it in a different category, since it shared many of the same tropes and plot points as a gangster movie, including a downer ending after the hero goes straight. He thought he was out, except for ONE LAST JOB. Johnny Depp is amazing in this film, and I love how easily he goes from being a surfer slacker to a drug boss. *My love for Johnny extends to every single movie he's ever made, but this might be one of my favorites. (Cruz and Depp are pairing back up again after 10 years in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and I'm excited for the fourth installment of the most fun film franchise based on a theme park ride ever made.)

*Also based on real life.
Johnny Depp, again. But add Al Pacino, not as the boss, but as an underling, and you've got a classic good guy gets in too deep and can't get out story. Donnie's a federal agent, but parades around like a slick goombah and when he tries to make it all right, well...

So....what do you think? Honorable mention goes to...Public Enemies? While these are just the gangster films that I'll dropkick a small armadillo to watch, there are certainly many others out there that deserve your attention. Check out Listverse's Top 20 Gangster Films of All Time and see what they picked. What got left out? How do you define a "gangster" film?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Miike Snow Puts Happiness in Your Ears

Miike Snow, a duo from Sweden, recently popped up in my musical rotation and I immediately went forth trying to find MORE. Mainly known for their remixes of Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend (below), and Kings of Leon, they released an eponymous album of original songs in 2009, including "Animal" (played on "Gossip Girl") and "Black and Blue". It's one of those bands that you know you have to hear again and again. Visit their website for more vids, music and more. Enjoy!

Check out some of their influences.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer

This looks amazing. WETA has created some amazing creatures, including Gollum from Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and the Na'vi from Avatar, but the apes and monkeys in this trailer look even more real than the ones you see at the zoo. There are tons of articles and posts out about this, but I just wanted to share the trailer. Also, James Franco really likes to do things.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scala & Kolacny Brothers

Scala & Kolacny Brothers Choir

Check out the piece NPR did this morning on Scala & Kolacny Brothers. Originally a classical women's choir from Belgium, they switched to rock covers about a decade ago and found a niche performing toned-down versions of indie-rock songs like "With or Without You" by U2, "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, and many more.

If you saw The Social Network trailer, you heard their haunting version of "Creep" by Radiohead.

They recently performed at SXSW and I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more about them this year.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Gameday.

What could be more epic and arrogant than this commercial?

Get your season tickets today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Doesn't Love Aaron Sorkin?

I love Aaron Sorkin.

If you missed 30 Rock last week, stop what you're doing and go watch it now.

If you're a fan of The West Wing, you'll notice something familiar in this scene between Tina Fey's Liz Lemon and Aaron Sorkin. The jokes are so quick that you might miss them, but I especially appreciated the Studio 60 reference. Enjoy!