Tag Archives: Michael Bay

I second that emotion!

Conman had such a cool idea for a blogathon that I couldn’t resist – here’s my last-minute entry into the Emotion Blogathon from the most emotional mess on the planet, and for balance, Sean-the-Robot’s picks as well.emotions Joy: The movie that makes me smile the most? Can I say my wedding video? No? A real movie? Billy-Elliot-billy-elliot-13639478-760-499Okay then. The movies that make me giggle the most are Hamlet 2 (the always-hilarious Steve Coogan is a failed actor-turned drama teacher who writes a brilliant sequel to Hamlet) and Eagle Vs Shark (Jemaine Clement plays an irredeemable weirdo; the wit is dry and unapologetic). The movies that make me happy are Singing in the Rain (I’ve never remained seated while watching it. It’s infectious.) and Billy Elliot (oh, no theme there at all). The movie that puts a song in my heart is Up. Gets me every damn time. The movie that gives me that Fuck yeah! feeling is Big Fish.

Sean’s pick:  Amelie – there’s something about this movie that makes me feel hopeful, not just one thing, repeatedly, over and over, it captures something raw about us.We are at our best when we do good and help each other, just for the sake of it, and sometimes we forget that.

Sadness: Which movies has made me cry the most? All Dogs Go to Heaven was probably the first to turn me into a giant puddle of weepery. In grade 7 I turned purple and had to lock myself All-Dogs-go-to-Heaven-all-dogs-go-to-heaven-4984580-780-588in a bathroom stall in school when we watched The Outsiders. And we’d just finished the book so I knew what was coming. The Last Kiss (Zach Braff cheats on his wife with Rachel Bilson and then regrets it and tries to win her back) had me totally choked up when I unknowingly watched it during the throes of my horrible divorce. Furious 7 reduced me to tears on numerous occasions just thinking of the movie or hearing that damn song on the radio for weeks after I saw it – I’m not proud of that, but in my defense, I did lose 2 very close friends to car accidents and that movie seems to have triggered a lot of grief for me.

Sean’s pick: Big Fish – this is a movie that exemplifies “good sad” which I didn’t even know existed for the first 25 years of my life. Billy Crudup’s story of how his dad dies is hands down the finest cinematic expression of the love between a father and son.

(I think it’s sweet how we overlap on happy\sad)

Anger: A movie that fills me with rage and inspires Jay-Hulk to rip off my shirt and rant for ages? Well, that’s probably like every second movie I’ve ever seen, come to think of it. 40 Days and 40 bayNights (that Josh Hartnett one where he tries to be celibate for 40 days) really makes me seethe because the dude gets straight-up raped in the movie, only nobody calls it that because he’s a guy, and the rapist is a woman. I literally think steam comes out of my ears. 50 Shades of Grey makes me livid and I haven’t even seen it. But I can’t believe we’re allowing this to exist, this dumbing down of society, and this glamourization of an abusive relationship. Thanks, 50 Shades, for setting us back about 65 years! And you know who really steams my broccoli? That Michael Bay. Does anyone so consistently annoy the shit out of me by making steaming piles of crap? Michael Fucking Bay!

 

Sean’s pick: The Amazing Spiderman – if you reboot a superhero franchise, don’t rehash the origin story in the reboot. It’s lazy and terrible and makes me angry. The only way Chris Nolan got away with it was by capturing the essence of the classic “Batman: Year One” storyline, but I can’t think of any other situation where that would work. So please, none of these origin stories are complicated, just do it in the opening credits and get to the good stuff, i.e., the conflict between our hero and one of his/her (though let’s be honest, it’s always his) classic villains.

 

childrenFear: The movie that scared the bejesus out of movie? Precious. That got under my skin. No horror movie will ever bother me half as much as the degradation of a human being. Children of Men made me fear for the future. Man Bites Dog made me fear for our souls. The Act of Killing made me fear for the human race. Complete lack of empathy. I mean, wtf. Boys Don’t Cry can probably go into that same category. Hotel Rwanda. Like, I’m just sad for humanity for days.

Sean’s pick:  Friday the 13th – As a kid before I even saw the movie (but knew the basic concept) I was terrified of killers in the woods at camp because of this movie and its (first few) sequels. Especially at night, when I was walking through a wooded area at camp, I would be freaking out.

Disgust: This is my favouritest emotion ever and I’m full of cringes and upturning of my cute-as-a-button nose. How can I ever pick just one? I’m disgusted by just about any movie that’s a waste of space. I famously reenacted nearly every scene of 2012 when I was flummoxed as to how such a terrible movie ever got made. And I feel that way of about a third of the movies ever made. So that’s a lot. I’m also disgusted by anything poopy or farty (I’m looking at you, street-poopBridesmaids). Even toilet humour. Oh god. And that scene in Big Daddy where the kid spits this big long string and then slurps it back up? I have to go take a shower just from writing that. And that blonde chick in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist who just will not throw out that revolting piece of gum to save her life (or more realistically, MINE). And obviously anything eye-related. I have to actually turn away, and when Sean tells me it’s safe, I’m like, are you SURE? Because no. Not even. And Minority Report seems to have been made solely to make me squirm. Tom Cruise gets his eyeballs swapped out in a crude and unsanitary procedure, and then goes on to blindly eat THE MOST DISGUSTING THINGS IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. I’m making retching noises right now and I bet if you listen carefully, you can hear them wherever you are.

Sean’s pick: Pixels – The feeling when you hope for a return to form and then receive the laziest possible effort from a guy who used to have his finger on the pulse of a generation, and more egregiously, the exact generation who remembers the greatness of pac-man and donkey kong and centipede.

All right. We’ve fessed up, so now it’s your turn. What movies would you pick? And if you’ve participated, be sure to leave us your link!

Just off the Top of O-Ren Ishii’s Head: 10 Death Scenes I Will Never Forget

I’m not really a Final Destination kind of guy but with stock dwindling at my favourite video store just two weeks before it closes, I settled on a movie that my friend had been trying to get me to watch for months. Final Destination 2- so far left on the shelves by eager shoppers looking to take advantage of the store’s Everything Must Go policy- has a death scene that apparently I just had to watch.

Watching the movie, I couldn’t be sure which scene she meant. There were a lot. Could it be the lottery winner who slipped on some spaghetti and got his head smashed in by a falling fire escape? Or the grieving mother who was decaptiated when she got her head caught in an elevator door? Turns out I should have been watching for the teenager who was crushed to death by something- what exactly I can’t be sure, things happen fast in this movie- while chasing away some pigeons. Apparently, if you watch closely, he explodes long before anything falls on him. How does she know? She’s watched it in slow motion. Several times.

final destination

While I may not have even been temptedc to check the tape on that one, it got me thinking of my favourite on-screen passings. After all, we just saw some real beauts in Mad Max: Fury Road on Friday. Here’s my attempt at a Top Ten. I left out a lot out, I know. How about you? What are some of your favourite scenes that I might have missed?

10. Count Laszlo de Almásy  The English Patient (1996)

English Patient

One of the movies that I am most likely to meditate on the finality of death after watching. Once we’re gone, everything we’ve felt, everything we’ve feared, everything we’ve loved die with us. It’s painful to watch Ralph Fiennes suffer from his burns throughout the movie and when Juliette Binoche’s Hana agrees to help him end his agony once and for all, I could almost feel his last breath. Even though, technically, the scene ends before Laszlo does. Before this act of mercy, Hana reads him this.

“We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we’ve hidden in like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. We’re the real counttries. Not the boundaries drawn on maps, the names of powerful men”.

9. Phil Groundhog Day (1993)

?????????????

?????????????

Condemned to live a bad day over and over until he gets it right, Phil (Bill Murray) uses this opportunity to try new things without having to wake up with any consequences. He makes a move on the girl he likes and punches the guy he doesn’t. He runs around town playing hero. He even gives dying a try. His suicidal phase is one of the funniest and darkest parts of the movie. (I haven’t seen the movie in awhile so I can’t remember if it’s made clear to us whether Phil is counting on waking up the next morning or hoping not to).

Before my favourite of said suicide “attempts”, Phil calmly walks into the lobby ignoring the pleasantries of the hotel staff and steals their toaster. Phil calmly prepares himself a nice hot bath and takes the toaster in with him. This scene would also make my list of Top Ten Reasons I Love Bill Murray.

8. Captain Frye The Rock (1996)

the rock

Ed Harris’ General Hummell is a madman but he really does think he’s doing the right thing. It’s the mercenaries he brings with him to sieze Alcatraz Island that make me nervous, especially Captain Frye. Played with his usual sneer by character actor Gregory Sporleder, there’s just something not quite right about this guy. He always seems to be wishing he was pushing an old lady down a flight of stairs.

A lot of these guys die for their cause in spectacular fashion but director Michael Bay saves the best for last when chemistry geek/action hero Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) shoves a vial of sarin gas in his mouth and smashes it with his fist. Neither Bay or Cage have gotten much right since but they did good here. This guy had it coming.

7. Sydney Barringer Magnolia (1999)

Magnolia

P. T. Anderson gets our attention right from the start and manages to hold it for Magnolia’s entire three-hour running time. Seventeen year-old Sydney Barringer jumps from the roof of his nine-story apartment building only to have his suicide attempt interrupted both by a safety net installed by some window washers and by a shotgun blast from a sixth floor window that killed him instantly. His unsuccessful suicide became a successful homicide when his own mother accidentally fired a shot while threatening his father during a heated argument.

Anderson didn’t come up with this story on his own. It’s an adaptation of a sort of urban legend that had been circulating for years but it sets up the strange events that follow perfectly.

6. Guy in elevator Drive (2011)

Drive

Ryan Gosling is a charmer. He swept Rachel McAdams off her feet both on and off screen and even taught Steve Carrell how to be a smooth talker. Just don’t get on his bad side. This guy’s not fucking around. He understands the golden rule of action movies. When someone’s giving you trouble, sometimes you’ve just got to stomp on their face until they’re dead. He doesn’t carry a gun much in Drive but why would he? He’s got his boot.

5. Edward Bloom Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish

The deathbed scene in The English Patient inspires me to meditate on death. Big Fish inspires me to reflect on life. Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) finally understands the value of myth and the key to good storytelling while seeing his father (Albert Finney) through his final moments. For most of his adult life, Will stubbornly told stories with “all of the facts, none of the flavour” but, when his father asks him to tell him “how he goes”, Will ad-libs a fantastical story fit for Ed’s remarkable life- one that undoubtedly touched so many others, even if the details are a little embellished. I still get chills when I watch it.

4. Cecilia Shepard Zodiac (2007)

zodiac

I feel crass talking about an on-screen depiction of something that actually happened in the same post as the twisted thrills of Drive but there aren’t many scenes in 21st century American film that are more effective. All the recreations of the Zodiac killings in this movie are almost impossible to watch without some temptation to look away but this one at the beach is the most chilling. I felt a wave of anxiety every time I found myself anywhere secluded for weeks after watching this movie. The Zodiac killer was never caught or named but this faceless killer- now probably long gone- still haunts me.

3. Elle Driver Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

kill bill

I only allowed myself one Quentin Tarantino entry on this post and I could have easily done one just on the Top Ten Tarantino Death Scenes. He’s the guy that knows how to do it, whose mind seems to take him to to places most of us wouldn’t dare. Daryl Hannah’s Elle puts up quite a fight against the Bride but the fight’s pretty much over when Uma Thurman’s antihero plucks out her only good eye. Adding insult to injury beyond anything I can imagine, poor Elle hears a sound that can only be Uma crushing it beneath her feet. Good and pissed but with nothing much she can do about it, Elle thrashes about unitl a poisonous Black Mamba finishes her off.

Elle Driver was an assassin and a bit of a sadist but I can’t help but feel just a little bad. What a way to go.

2. Spider Goodfellas (1990)

spider

Everyone has a favourite scene here and I could have probably done a Top Ten just on this one movie but Spider (Michael Imperioli) really gets a raw deal. After finally being able to get back to work after being shot in the foot by Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), the poor waiter finally stands up for himself and tells Tommy to fuck off. Tommy’s gangster buddy love it and tease Tommy until he loses it and empties his clip into the poor guy, shocking his buddies. “What the fuck, Tommy?goodfellas We were just kidding around”.

Tommy’s a funny guy (yes, sort of like a clown) and I sure did miss him after he gets whacked. But he really was a mad dog. It’s probably for the best that he never got made.

1. Lester Burnham American Beauty (1999)

american beauty

This also made my list of Movie Moments That Took My Breath Away. Lester makes it very clear from the start that he won’t survive the movie and the final moments are filled with tension as we wait for something to happen. Writer Alan Ball presents us with three suspects and we’re not sure until after the killing shot is fired who murdered Lester Burnham.

The murder is beside the point anyway. The tragedy is that Lester dies in pretty much the instant that he finds inner peace. His life flashes before his eyes as he reflects on all the beauty  in the world. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry. You will someday”.

Cop Movies!

Sean

TMPThere’s nothing like cop week to get the dirty taste of dance movies out of your mouth! Thanks Wandering Through the Shelves for sponsoring yet another thoughtful Thursday theme, and for giving me the perfect excuse for subjecting my wife to all the explodey movies she normally turns her cute little nose up at.
badboys

Bad Boys: Mike & Marcus (Will Smith & Martin Lawrence) are two “loose cannon” cops, not to mention best friends, who spend so much time together they sound like an old married couple – the kind constantly threatening to get a divorce. But damn if they don’t pull together in times of trouble! Legend has it that this script was originally intended for Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey – now just imagine that movie for a minute, if you will.

heatHeat: Bank robbers start to feel “the heat” from cops when their latest robbery turns out to be a little sloppy. Lieutenant Al Pacino is on to them but Robert De Niro needs one last heist before he can retire (isn’t that always the way?). Then of course De Niro makes his fatal mistake – he goes against the golden rule ‘Never have anything in your life that you can’t walk out on in thirty seconds flat, if you spot the heat coming around the corner.’ Die-Hard-quotes-8

Die Hard: It’s Die Hard, what else do you have to say? It’s Christmas AND he’s off duty (plus he’s NYPD visiting LA), but John McClane (Bruce Willis) is still a bad-ass motherfucker who will single-handedly END YOU.

Jay

I watched a lot of cop movies this week and it turns out that a lot of my favourite jams just happen to have cops in them. Actually, if you look hard enough, probably there’s a cop or two in nearly every movie. There were cops in dance movie Billy Elliot, and cops in teen comedy Superbad, and more cops than you can shake a stick at in the black and white movies we watched a while back. They’re everywhere, even in outer space, but above all, they’re immediately below 🙂
Fargo Marge Gunderson is probably my favourite cop-hero of all time. She doesn’t do the ass-slide over the hoods of cars, she doesn’t use karate to subdue perps twice her size, and she doesn’t cause millions of dollars in damage as she careens her car wildly through populated city fargostreets. She’s just a quiet woman getting er done – you know, kind of like a real cop would do. Frances McDormand is crazy-talented, and I love watching her waddle through this movie with her quaint sense of humour, her helmet hair, the meals she shares with her husband. She doesn’t thump her chest or swing her dick around but she’s persistent and dogged and we enjoy watching her unravel this case – poor used car salesman Jerry (William H. Macy); he never really stood a chance against such a humbly formidable opponent.

The Departed This one is kind of on the other end of the spectrum, isn’t it? Two young cops join the force – one, Matt Damon, has a pristine record but works as a mole for mob boss Jack Nicholson. The other, Leonardo DiCaprio, comes from a rough background which helps him go deep under cover, infiltrating the gang, and feeding information back to the only two cops who thedepartedknow he’s actually a good guy – Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg. What ends up happening is that these two chase each other, relentlessly trying to uncover the mole while staying hidden themselves. It’s tense, degrading work, and losing means you pay with your life. Honestly, my favourite cop is probably the one played by Mark Wahlberg. He just goes so off the hook, unpredictable, balls to the wall, you have to admire it. The ending leads me to believe that he’s not clean. But is he a disgruntled ex-cop gone rogue or is he somebody’s rat? Either way, “If a gun is pointed at you, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or a criminal.”

21 Jump Street Aaaaaand switching gears again, one of my favourite cop buddy movies of recent years, and probably ever (although, for the record, I also super love Hot Fuzz, and if Matt hadn’t jumped on it, I’d have tried my best to beat Sean to it).  This movie is self-referential and 21jumpstreetmocks the very genre it masters, but it’s never a mere homage. It’s smarter than a spoof, much like Hot Fuzz I suppose, and isn’t afraid to pay respect to its roots, embracing them even, and making them part of the fun. There’s never a moment when the film stops winking at us, trading in the cop movie clichés for cops in bike shorts doing slow-speed chases through grass, having cases thrown out on sad technicalities (“You have the right to remain an attorney.” – “Well, you DO have the right to be an attorney if you want to.”), bullet-riddled tankers that somehow fail to explode. I didn’t like Channing Tatum before this, and I still only like him in this (and I believe that includes the sequel) but for some reason the chemistry between he and Jonah Hill just really works.

Matt

As long as I can rembmer, I wanted to be a cop. I used to play cops and robbers in the schoolyard- usually with people who didn’t even know they were playing. When I was about to 12 I had to rethink my career goals when I realized that my eyesight wasn’t nearly good enough and would never be able to drive a car or see who I’m shooting at but the dream was fun while it lasted. I didn’t know much about police work back then but I did watch a lot of cop movies. Thanks to Wandering Through the Shelves for giving me an excuse to revisit them this week.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)- In the Heat of the Night is nearly 50 years old but its oepning scenes couldn’t be timelier. There’s been a murder in Sparta, Mississippi and the police go out and arrest the first black man they see. Of course, the suspect turns out to be an off-duty Philadelphia homicide detective who they call Mr. Tibbs. If Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger’s characters ever managed to become buddies, this wouIn the Heat of the Nightld have been a contender for the best cop buddy movie of all time. Instead, What we get instead is much more interesting- a classic that manages to say a lot about race relations in the deep South in a time where you had to pretty careful what you said about race in the deep South. Best of all, it never forgets to deliver an engaging murder mystery

Hot FuzzHot Fuzz (2007)– According to TV ads, Hot Fuzz is “from the guys who have watched every action movie ever made”. Satire works best when a writer understands its subject so Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were smart enough to take aim at a genre that they clearly knew well- and loved! Pegg plays a big city cop witha love of police work who is paired with a smalltown cop with a love of police movies (espeically Bad Boys 2). You can feel the love for buddy movies in almost every scene as Wright does his best to recreate the look and feel of a mainstream action movie and filling it with unexpected laugh-out loud moments throughout. To me, this is still pegg and Wrse7enight’s funniest movie.

Se7en (1995)– Between Sean and I, we have three picks from 1995 – a year that seems to have been a golden age for cop movies. Unlike most movies about serial killers, the cops (played of course by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt)- not the killings- are the focus. Freeman, days away from retirement, has lost faith in humanity long before John Doe’s first killing and Pitton his first week on the job, still believes he can make a difference. Over the course of one week and seven brutal killings, both men will have to examine their beliefs. Se7en also has the distinction of being the first film in director David Fincher’s twenty-year winning streak. The final “What’s in the box?” scene is so powerful that even Pitt’s overacting couldn’t derail it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles (2014)

Is it still called “jumping on a bandwagon” if you hate what everyone else seems to be hating on? Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot seems like an easy target and wanting to feel like I have a mind of my own, I’d really love to have something nice to say about it. Bay’s project was controversial from almost the moment it was announced – with the last Michaelangelo even accusing the filmmakers of “sodomizing” the Turtles’ legacy – and has been almost universally panned by critics since its release.

I do not write this reboot off because of its comic book origins or because it uses the word “mutogen” at least five times. I don’t blame it for its source material nor its deviation from it. I do blame it though for being bad. So bad. Worse than I had feared.

I grew up with these characters and have seen the 90s TMNT movies more times than I can count. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first (and best by far) of that franchise but I remember it being a lot more fun. I remember it as a little darker. I definitely remember it taking its time in introducing us to the Turtles, Shredder, Splinter, and their origin stories.

In 2014, we are forced to settle for a talky and lazy script, loud and incoherent action scenes, charmless turtles, and a how-is-she-so-stupid April O’Neil. Splinter and Shredder fail to command respect. I couldn’t help but feel bad for Will Arnett who plays April’s sidekick and is tasked with bringing comic relief to a witless screenplay and can barely conceal his embarrassment. Only Megan Fox, as April, seems immune from the embarrassment with over-zealous delivery as awkward to watch as Arnett’s sheepishness.

Were my childhood memories “sodomized” by this new franchise? Probably not. My memories will remain as fond as ever. It’s this mess that I wish I could forget.