Speaking of Party Boys

23 06 2010

Somebody’s Learning to Dance the Twelve-Step

Chris Klein checked into Cirque Lodge the other day. He did what he had to do, I guess, having bagged himself a DUI arrest last week—which didn’t bode well in light of his 2005 DUI conviction. Apparently, he was swerving on the 101. I like to think that it looked something like this, only with his dog, who was reportedly in there somewhere, too:

Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) after a night of partying in Rollerball (2002).

Yeah, that’s right. Rollerball. Oh, you didn’t know? You better call somebody. Because Rollerball was a better remake than most people allow themselves to admit. I don’t have anything else to say about Chris Klein’s 30-day stay, anyway. That was just a gateway to post screen grabs from something that nobody on the planet besides me was thinking about.

Why. What were you feeling in 2002? Shakira? 8 Mile? The Osbournes?

I’m not suggesting that the film is perfect, mind you. An extended chase sequence at the end of the second act, for example, is shot in night vision, which is so distracting and ugly that this fifteen minutes of the film is almost unwatchable. But as far as if-this-goes-on dystopian scenarios go, this bread-and-circus tale is fairly respectable. It’s got globalization and commodification galore.

“Label out.”

It’s also got loads of industrial grime and not a little violence.

There will be blood alcohol level.

If nothing else, it’s fun to look at five years ago as depicted by a creative team eight years ago.


Short, Barefoot Photographer Temporarily Loses Camera to Coolest Celebrity Ever

15 06 2010

Sing-Songy Protest Rendered More Ridiculous by Thick Accent

I’ve been waiting for something really, really awesome to happen so that a blog post after so many months of inactivity wouldn’t seem forced. I’d just about given up hope on anything awesome happening ever again. That’s when I saw this:

Shia LaBeouf has always struck me as somebody who would be fun as hell to party with. Seeing him stare down some cameraman across a fence “over the gate” definitely reinforced this perception. Plus, didn’t that dude just, like, apologize, or whatever, for the Transformers sequel, which I didn’t see? I’m not looking it up, but I think I saw something to that effect in my feeds.

L: Shia LaBeouf in I, Robot (2004); R: Shia LaBeouf in the Walgreens incident (2007)

Anyway, I have a few observations. First of all, I love how the photographer pronounces it “Shia LE Beouf”  instead of “Shia LA Beouf”. If you’re trying to get along with your celebrity, the first thing you’re probably gonna wanna do is pronounce his name correctly. Especially if you’re presumptuous enough to use familiar terms like “bro” and “dog” with someone who, by your own admission, you’ve never badgered all day from behind your lens before. If English is your L2, then all the more reason to get it right.

This is unfair of you, bro. This is unfair of you, man. Very unfair of you, dog.

Secondably, the chanting at the beginning is accidentally brilliant. That photographer missed his calling, because he’s spitting some ill shit:

Shia LaBeouf.
Shia LaBeouf.
In my car.
Look at Shia LaBeouf,
Touching my stuff,
In my car.

Okay, Shia.

Somebody totally needs to mash that audio into something somewhere. Out of context, it sounds straight-up altermodern. Oh, and why does a person named Renée Zellweger get mentioned as somebody who’s cool with paparazzi? Who’s looking for pics of her?

Wot, no crybaby paparazzi?

If you’re interested in going reductio ad absurdum with this, then you should go here. The “-shia-” interfix gets old quick, but if you haven’t seen it before, the ridiculousness catches you off guard in a good way.

Begin Countdown to “Battle: Los Angeles”

18 02 2010

Next Alien Film By A South African Director Scheduled to Premiere in Exactly One Year

The alien invasion film Battle: Los Angeles (nice colon) is scheduled to hit theaters on 17 February 2011. Which doesn’t even sound like a real year. Regardless, ima be following this like a gay dude on Gαgα. Directed by Johnathan Liebesman, it’s being pitched alternately as “a West Coast Cloverfield“, “Black Hawk Down meets Alien”, or “Black Hawk Down meets Independence Day”. Your blogger meets anticipation.

Here’s something weird: a lot of it was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana, because it was cheaper. I mean, I get that a lot of films get shot in, like South Carolina, or whatnot, for that very reason. But I still think it’s weird when a film that takes place in the world capital of the film industry (well, technically Santa Monica) is filmed elsewhere. The NYT thought it was weird, too. So get bent.

It wasn’t just about the money, though. No, seriously. The script called for some significant action sequences on California’s I-405, and of course shooting practical effects on that major artery was never going to happen. Shutting down a section of Louisiana’s I-49 for three weeks, though, was doable. And so they did. Here are a couple of freeway interchange pics I lifted from movie-trailer.com:

Interstate 49 = Interstate 405

Palm trees means it’s LA. They’re idiobotanical cues.

These are the kind of pics that get me all hot-and-bothered. By the time I actually see this bitch I’ll have these images so burnt into my skull that, unless the entire scene’s been cut, I’ll be able to recognize bits and pieces of scenery from a single shot—even an insert shot—like some sort of fanboy idiot savant.  But as cool as these freeway shots are (and there are several more out there), I can trump them. Or, rather, some Shreveport townie on YouTube can:

How awesome is that dude with the camera. And how awesome is the fact that the movie crew members who are blithely enjoying another one of my dream careers were taking their sweet time removing all of the set dressing. I screen-capped a couple of the set pieces that I expect might be recognizable in the final product, even if shot at night, out-of-focus and a block away:

Make it easy with product placement.

Do you reckon this storefront was actually a parking lot?

If this kinda thing isn’t your kinda thing, then stay away from this blog for the next twelve months. You were warned.

WPA-Era Dungeon Map Promises Tens of Thousands of Gold Pieces, Experience Points

12 02 2010

Botched 1d20 Roll By Chaotic Neutral Half-Orc Leaves Subterranean Network Undisturbed for Almost 75 Years

Speaking of lizard-people conspiracies, check out this crazy article posted the other day on Strange Maps:

Secret Caves of the Lizard People

Miraculous! This Shufelt character makes one of the most significant archaeological finds of the twentieth century on blind faith with a divining rod. They really did have nerds in the thirties, then. Make sure you check out the  2007 Skeptoid article that’s linked in the Strange Maps piece. It’s equally awesome. Oh, and according to yet another blog, Shufelt didn’t get very far into his excavation of this labyrinthine wonder before he “vanished from public view”—which, when phrased like that, sounds just creepy enough to titillate lizard-people conspiracy theorists. I prefer to assume that he disappeared in shame because he was exposed as a crackpot. I mean, for real, according to the newspaper transcript, this dude was swinging a piece of copper wire around and calling it a “radio X-ray”. If you say so, sir!


By the way, I recommend the eponymous 2009 Strange Maps book as a must-read. One of my kid brothers knew I was a fan of the blog and gave me the book as a Christmas gift. I promptly read it straight through, cover-to-cover, even though you could just as easily go at it piecemeal (it’s that kind of a book, after all). Even if you’re not down with maps, or for that matter trivia, you should totally dig the maps from an aesthetic point of view, as graphic design. If you’re enticed by none of the above, then you’re probably beyond help and should just retreat to the Bravo! channel.

Someone at Sony Pictures Has Snapped

5 10 2009

Fall Blockbuster Clip of Only Part Anyone Is Interested in Seeing Allowed to Circulate Unchecked; Need to Sit Through 110 Minutes of Cumbersome Exposition and Character Development Eliminated

Somebody thought it was a good idea to compress the entire California megaquake sequence down to one 5-minute edit and let it get around like your sister. I’m certainly not complaining; I’ve already watched it, like, fifty times. I just can’t fathom how this makes sense from a box office perspective. Everyone’s gonna see this clip, which means no one’s gonna bother going to a theater to pay for a smelly seat in a smelly room full of smelly strangers, since we all know that these are surely the film’s best bits:

And they just did some sort of Northern Hemisphere media blitz!

I’m not going to cry too much about all the goofy nonsense that distracts from the CGI—I don’t know what I was expecting—but I will cite a few examples. There is an audible “oh sh– [sic]” in the limo as it’s doused by raw sewage from a ruptured pipe. Get it? Lame. And a shotgun-shout of “doughnut”, which compounds the folly of an already-unfortunate sight gag, is reminiscent of Helen Hunt calling cow in Twister. Oh, and 2012’s protagonist also drives a car through a building:

We're going in!

It’s been done.

And no surprises on what sounds like a relatively set-in-stone score. I’m all for the jungle beats during the low fly over an uplift- and subsidence-ravaged main drag (which, I’m pleased to report, looks very much like those sepia photographs you always see of San Francisco streets after the 1906 earthquake), but all opposed to the chirpy woodwind flourishes—there’s never an excuse for the piccolo, as far as I’m concerned, and it strikes me as wildly inappropriate here, given that it occurs as the plane flies past a freeway span laden with people plummeting to their collective grisly demise. Speaking of which, this bitch totally needs more screams of abject terror from the people scurrying around on foot. I think we’re good on the horns and car alarms, but we need more screams. There’re a few good ones, but some of them sound more like people on a roller coaster, and the overall effect suffers where they do. Hopefully the post-production people are on that. Although they’re probably not.

mixer 1

These minor shortcomings

mixer 2

are excusable

mixer 3because

mixer 4

the cement mixer that

mixer 5

careens off the freeway

mixer 6

and crashes into the gas station

mixer 7

triggers a Milton hose

mixer 8

before exploding.

So, yeah. A+++ on the ear for detail. Also, I love how it happens on an otherwise beautiful morning. Blue sky, I mean, and all. Slick.

CGI More Polished in 2012 Japanese Trailer

28 08 2009

Trailer Contains Morsels Not Featured in Teaser Trailer, Feature Trailer or International Trailer

The Japanese trailer for 2012 just dropped. I think eager YouTube viewer “2001wazevedo” puts it best:


The SFX are inferior to previous trailer versions, but that’s a small price to pay for a 2012 trailer largely unburdened by melodramatic Carmina Burana-like warblings.

2012 new obelisk shot

Here’s an angle we hadn’t seen yet; note St. Peter’s obelisk going down in courtyard.

You can tell they’re still in post on this thing; for example, in the Japanese trailer, the layer timing is totally different for that already-iconic shot of the plane zooming away as California’s tectonic plate crumbs slide into the sea (somebody likes Titanic).

2012 new plate drop plane swoop

New carnage shot. I can’t get enough of those oscillating palm trees.

Speaking of which, I think that all the gaping-wounds-in-the-surface-of-the-earth stuff is going to be the hardest sell here. Somebody should tell the CGI team that cracks, crags and crevasses don’t look the way they think we think they look. At all. It’s tons of rock and earth, dudes. It’s not an eggshell. That supermarket sequence they keep showing us, where the wall and ceiling open up in a clean, amusement park-ride gash, looks particularly Humpty Dumpty ridiculous. I mean, I get that there’s no precedent to work from, no reference shots. But if you’ve ever seen the cartoonish and piss-poor ice shelf CGI work in The Day After Tomorrow, then you know that whoever’s signing off on this stuff has the sensibilities of a preschooler—which does not bode well. However, from what I can glean on IMDb, it looks like Digital Domain worked with different partners for 2012 (I may be misinterpreting the listings; I don’t know the first thing about this stuff). So who knows. I just hope they don’t harsh my mellow when they marsh California’s mallow.

Frank Lloyd Wright Textile Block Classic Can Be Yours for $15M

24 06 2009

Voiceover Narration, Unicorn Origami Not Included

The Ennis House, built in Los Angeles in 1924, is for sale:

Look at that gate. That is some straight-up Olmec shit.

Wright did a bunch of these houses, but it was the textile block design of the Ennis House in particular that was recreated for Deckart’s apartment in Blade Runner. I was going to post a slick screen capture, but then I realized that my copy of that film is on VHS LOL.

There are some crazysexycool interior shots on the craigslist Christies Great Estates(R) listing for the property. And here’s one of the structure with its worst face forward (retaining wall + seismically active zone = ongoing Sisyphean struggle):

It’s too bad she won’t live. Then again, who does.

It would appear as though any link that’s at all relevant is included on the Ennis House Wikipedia page.