Eef Barzelay, you win every time.
Beth and I actually e-mailed him to attend our wedding. And He actually responded. Our cat Georgie Fruit, in some sort of drunken stupor, almost emailed him back with "BBBBQBNZ," or, barbecue beans for short. Well here he is with a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's In An Airplane Over the Sea. (via: torre)
I got locked in the ghetto scary bathroom at my friend Max's place.
Max recently renovated his garage into an art studio. And by "renovate," I mean it's an art studio even though it still looks like a garage. We've been doing our best to paste a few works of art here and there. I stopped by a few days ago and he had already painted a few masterpieces onto glass including an awesome depiction of a giant octopus and one of Batman with very feminine lips.
What do they mean? I don't know. I'm not a doctor. But they look awesome.
The only problem with Max's art studio is that the closest bathroom is pretty ghetto. By ghetto, I mean, the door lock doesn't work. Myself, being a self diagnosed sufferer of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, suddenly had a need to use the restroom, and yet, didn't realize the whole door-locking problem until I was already finished.
I suddenly found myself in a peculiar five foot wide situation between a locked door and a window with a very snugly fit screen. I momentarily thought about yelling for help, but then realized, "Oh yeah, I'm in the bathroom. The place where everyone goes to defecate." Basically I would be yelling "Please. Help. I defecated and I can't get out."
I hung my head for a moment in shame and then pulled myself together. I would get out of this situation in the least embarrassing way possible.
This of course resulted in me mustering all my strength to remove the screen window and then climb out a rectangle much smaller than my entire body and fall into a patch of shrubs in Max's front yard.
After taking a moment to brush off the dust, I casually looked around to make sure no neighbors had witnessed this, and then walked back into Max's garage from the outside.
I greeted him calmly and realized my plan was a success. I had somehow entered his house through the garage, used the bathroom, and then, miraculously, re-entered through the garage door outside of his home without anyone noticing. Basically, I could have been a time traveler, and no one would have ever known. Awesome.
I pushed the whole experience out of my mind until the next day, when after eating lunch with Max he asked me, "Could you help me unlock the bathroom door behind the garage?"
"Why certainly, my good friend." I replied with an air of convincing ignorance. "Why, whatever could have happened?"
"I dunno, the door somehow got locked shut."
"Ah, what a mystery. Well I guess we'll just have to submit that one to Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, if you know what I mean. Ah Ha Ha."
"Sure dude." He said.
We shimmied the door and fiddled with the outside lock until it came undone. But then, the evidence of the previous night foiled my thinly veiled secrecy.
"What's the screen doing on the floor?" Max asked.
"Okay," I said, lowering my voice, "I have something to tell you. I got locked in your bathroom last night."
Max, reasonably, laughed in my face. I laughed too, now suddenly understanding that my shame was just as ridiculous as the entire situation.
I put the screen back into place and headed back home. The secret was out, but now we knew, never use the scary bathroom, unless you have a plan.
At its heart Skyline is a very fun and inventive sci-fi action flick. Unfortunately much of the film is concerned with brains, and as far as character development goes, there isn't a whole lot to be found. Then again, it is an action flick after all, so at least they're trying.
I had a creative writing professor once tell me that if you ever want to make a story far more complicated, make one of the characters pregnant. Skyline understands the concept of this principle with one of the central characters, who starts off the film with morning sickness just before somebody is pull off the balcony by a floating blue light. She, along with her husband, are spending a post-party night at their friends magnificent apartment in LA. It's modern now in the way I imagine modern looked to people in the 80's. That is, everything is run by a remote.
The first ten minutes of this movie don't make a very good impression. First of all, the opening credits appear to have been made by a freshman in college who just figured out how After Effects work. Secondly, everyone looks like they're straight out of a Sci-Fi Channel "made for tv movie." Thirdly, the movie starts off with a flash forward which is really just a cheap method of telling the audience that this is an alien movie even though we see all the same events take place ten minutes later down the line. Start off as a normal movie why don't you?
But get past it. Those are minor gripes that actually, maybe only I have. Skyline has a lot of things that really work. Take for instance a scene featuring an agonizingly slow garage door. Sometimes, what you want to happen faster suddenly starts to happen all too quickly. The film plays well against what you want the characters to do, and seems to find inventive ways to reverse them.
What the film is lacking is a sense of humor about itself. I would have cared for any kind of comic relief. Maybe not Jar Jar Binks, but somebody who would make light of the fact that even though these people are cornered in an apartment by brain eating aliens, at least they're cornered with a supply of energy drinks and alcohol. Honestly, it's not so bad. I would've kicked back a bit and took in the glowing lights with a pair of sunglasses.
All that's left to analyze is the ending, which arrives at a half hour before it should have. The movie was made with a very small budget, so what happened? Did the funds just run out? Did somebody say, "Well, at least we'll have something for the sequel?" As far as length goes, it actually ends at about the right time. But at the last ten minutes I was met with an action film that turned into a really very good sci-fi movie. That leaves me with a pretty lame first ten minutes, and a very good last ten minutes of a movie that actually isn't finished. Well, there are good bits thrown in the middle too, but they are only punctuated by characters interacting with "Well what's your plan HOT SHOT?!" And "You've got a better idea?!" Honestly, the characters themselves with their glossy make-up and carefully disheveled hairdo's were a little alien to begin with; so I guess there's not much to worry about if some interstellar beings take their place.
With all that said, for a relatively small film (made roughly for 10 million) there is an abundance of great special effects that work due to some very well written and edited scenes. It's made for the sole purpose to entertain, and to entertain without getting an R-Rating, and to make money, so I think it's a success. Good for them. This isn't really a movie though. This is a great television pilot. Since it's for free on Netflix, I recommend tuning in.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Let's face it. No one reads Curious George to see what's going on with the Man In The Yellow Hat. They want to know about that crazy monkey who does his shenanigans, gets into trouble, but comes out fine in the end. Well here we have Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an apparent prequel to Planet of the Apes which was an adaptation of the French Novel "La Planète des singes," or rather "Monkey Planet." I guess there really isn't anything new under the sun.
Well, Rise of the Monkey Planet begins and plays out much like the first ten minutes of a zombie movie, but for roughly an hour and a half. It involves a bio technology that works better than expected (at least where chimps are involved) and then mankind gets to reap the benefits. This occurs first hand with Will Rodman (played by James Franco) who presents his cure for Alzheimers while a mother ape goes bananas in the lobby and breaks through the futuristic glass computer screen in the meeting room. We all know a meeting like this would take place with boring PowerPoint presentations, but I guess if it's realism we're looking for we're in the wrong theater. Needless to say, things don't pan out well for the investors, but Will at least gets to take home a consolation prize in the form of mother ape's baby. The baby ape soon meets Will's deteriorating grandfather (John Lithgow, in a role much less scary than what you've seen in Dexter or Blow Out) who names him Caesar.
Well, all hail Caesar, king of the apes and king of the actors. Caesar is played by Andy Serkis, who reprises his role as King Kong in a more sizable fashion, and who most people remember as Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Here he's in his element, and so are the special effects. Yes, it may be too reminiscent of Jumanji at times, but the film manages to find the particulars about the way that apes move and make them integral to the plot. Zombies might move fast these days, but you don't see them swinging from the trees.
The movie doesn't always work. The humans are never quite as entertaining as the monkeys. As far as this working as a reboot of a series, the script squeezes in some sort of mentioning of a mission to Mars, which I guess includes Charlton Heston on the ship. There's the peculiar feeling that not as much happens as there could have, and the strange feeling that James Franco's character is doing the right thing even though he's eventually responsible for killing off most of the humans on the planet. A better movie would have recognized this, or at least even mentioned it. Don't expect any big questions to be addressed.
The original Planet of the Apes played as a Freaky Friday of sorts, turning the leashes onto those who held them. Here at least we get to see apes escaping from San Francisco. Personally, if the movie really wanted to go the distance, I would have had them escape to Alcatraz and have it claimed as Ape Island.
But then again, as Carl from the Simpsons once said:
Carl: "I heard we're goin' to Ape Island"
Lenny: "Yeah, to capture a giant ape. I wish we were going to Candy Apple Island" Charlie: "Candy Apple Island? Whatta they got there?"
Carl: "Apes. But they're not so big"
In this case, they're pretty dang smart.