March 2009 Archives
The Mark Wahlberg video-game adaptation Max Payne recently came out on DVD, and consider me one of the 18% who think the movie was pretty damn good. I'm not a gamer, so I can't compare it to the source material, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and that goes a long way with a movie like this. I'm not saying it's Oscar-worthy or anything, but if there was an Oscar given out to video game movies starring overrated actors, this one would totally deserve it, because it has so many things working against it, and I still thought it was a blast. Because I'm 13 years old, apparently. See the five obstacles it faced -- and surpassed -- after the jump.
Already well on its way to becoming the most divisive work in geek history, Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen, the most revered comic book of all time, may best be approached as a giant -- you guessed it -- Rorschach test: you either see a pretty butterfly, or you see a dog with its head split in half. The naysayers are certainly out there in force, in both the mainstream publications and the fanboy blogs, and I don't begrudge them their sometimes valid, often contradictory, occasionally deeply flawed points of view. All I can do is report that when I gazed at this dense, two-hour-and-forty-minute-long inkblot of a movie, I saw the butterfly -- I saw a brilliantly realized, richly textured pop-fiction spectacle; candy for both the eye and the brain. Is this theatrical version a perfect cinematic treatment of Watchmen? No, and I'll explain why below. But in the final analysis, seeing this beloved story come to life in a completely fresh, unexpected way gave me the same sensation I felt when I first read it in its original single-issue form over 20 years ago: pure astonishment, quickly followed by a burning desire to experience it again and again. Nothing ever ends.
Sitting in the theater waiting for Watchmen to begin, I turned to my friend and fellow comic-book geek and remarked that it didn't feel real. He agreed -- for the two of us to be sitting there, about to watch the movie based on a graphic novel we'd been reading and enjoying for 20 years, was truly bizarre. Were we in some far-flung future, where comic-accurate, impeccably cast comic book adaptations were an everyday occurrence? Apparently! Not that complete authenticity was of tantamount importance to me -- I loved the comic book, and I wanted to see the source material respected, but the movie wasn't going to replace the book in my heart and mind, so as long as it didn't embarrass me, I would have been cool with it. Luckily, it not only didn't embarrass me, it impressed the hell out of me. For director Zack Snyder to take such a rich, multi-layered, non-linear narrative and condense it down to a intelligent, action-packed, beautiful movie, keeping so much of what made the original novel great and replacing or removing whatever didn't work, is nothing short of a frickin' miracle. Not only did it keep me entertained for 2 hours and 43 minutes, it actually made me love the book even more. Which is saying something.
Who better than Michael Bay to direct the Transformers movie? Transformers are more than meet the eye, and Michael Bay movies are more than the eye can process! Seriously, Bay throws more explosions and moving robot parts up on the screen than the human eye can handle, which made it difficult for the Gallaga Bros. to bring you their latest installment of "Trailers Without Pity," their video series dedicated to breaking down movie trailers for the layperson. In this installment, Omar suffers a Michael Bayeurism while helping his brother Pablo explain what's going on in the trailer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Check out the video and see whether he lives or dies after the jump.
Imagine being a fly on the wall of the Watchmen movie set. Better yet, imagine getting paid for it. Clay Enos is a professional photographer who also happens to be a friend of director Zack Snyder, so when Snyder offered him the job of set photographer for the highly anticipated film, he jumped at the chance. He soon learned that that meant that every photograph that appears in the movie, documents the movie, and promotes the movie would have to be shot by him. That included everything from the sepia-tone team photo of the Minutemen to last week's six different Entertainment Weekly covers. (Well, five of them -- Dr. Manhattan was a computer creation.) But whenever he had a free moment on set, he would shoot the portraits that are his signature work, and now those portraits -- of actors, extras and crew members -- are collected into a book called Watchmen: Portraits. We talked to him about the history-making shoot, his role in the movie and how he came up with the idea for Nite Owl coffee.