Monday, March 26, 2012

Why See This...Dirty Harry [1971]

      The job of a sniper requires hours of reclusive sitting; waiting for a target to come across the scope.  In most cases, a sniper doesn’t chase his or her target; the target comes to them.  It’s a lonely job that doesn’t demand much more than a man and a gun.  Sure, nowadays equipped with radio sets and GPS trackers, they can do a lot more, but before all that, it was just a man and a gun.  It makes sense why Scorpio (Andrew Robinson), the sadistic serial killer in Dirty Harry, is a sniper.  Scorpio’s not given much back story in Dirty Harry, but he’s a definite loner.  He works as a groundskeeper at a nearby stadium, where he lives alone, in a decrepit room beneath the stands, probably no bigger than a closet.  We also know that he kills, for the fun of it.
      In a very different way, Police Officer Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is a loner too.  His wife died many years ago, leaving him to live alone.  When the department assigns him a partner to work with to catch Scorpio, he informs the guy that every partner he’s had has been shot or worse, killed.  Callahan’s character resembles that certain type of gun-slinging, “my way or the highway” Western sheriff persona that Eastwood became so synonymous with during the ‘60s.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reel News..."Clerks" Creator Kevin Smith Retires From Film

      Some sad but true news came upon me today when I found out that Kenvin Smith has come out to say that he has officially retired from the business of filmmaking.  Going strong for over 20 years, Smith created some of the most iconic films of the '90s with the likes of Clerks and Chasing Amy.  Smith seems to be leaving the business on good terms though as opposed to the countless filmmakers who seem to get run out of Hollywood for various reasons.  He explains it all in a short, 7 minute interview on NPR while talking about his new book, "Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good."  The link to the podcast and article can be found below.  
      He reassures us in the interview, its not the complete end for Kevin Smith fans.  Sure he's not making movies anymore, but this has allowed him to broaden his creative boundaries and pursue it in different manners.  Smith regularly updates his own blog, My Boring-Ass Life, and also has a weekly podcast called Smodcast.
      Smith does however have one more movie in the works before officially retiring from movie making.  This last film will be a hockey-comedy called Hit Somebody.  So far, he's kept most other details a secret, although I have heard rumors of John Goodman's name possibly attached to the film- and that's a good start.  Hit Somebody is scheduled for release next year at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

NPR podcast/article:

Kevin Smith's blog:

Kevin Smith's podcast:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Useless Clatter...Formation Scene from 'The Tree of Life'

      From The Tree of Life- This was an unplanned post until I accidentally came across the video while searching for the new Beach House song. (How that happened, I have no idea.)  It’s a scene from Terrence Malick’s 2011 film, The Tree of Life.  If you have not seen it, then you have definitely heard about. That conversation could have either classified the film as an elegant masterpiece or as a pretentious, metaphysical waste of time- and that’s without discussing the dinosaurs.  Anyways, hate it or love, The Tree of Life will always be remembered on either one of these grounds and that same debate will probably keep that title in circulation for some years to come.
         The video posted below is a segment from the film where Malick depicts the creation of the world, or at least, that’s what we think it is.  I would say that we are all probably doing this movie an injustice by watching its most visually intense sequence on a tiny computer screen but oh well, better than nothing I guess.
      If you’ve seen the movie, then you probably remember this scene as the point where you begin to question everything- What the hell is going on? Who is that whispering? Where did Sean Penn go?  These questions were swarming my mind and as the opera grew to that thunderous crescendo half way into the video while I was bombarded with these images on the IMAX screen, I was certain my head was going to explode.
      If you never saw the movie and only heard all the fuss about the film,then here’s your chance to for a quick glance at what they’re all talking about.  Sure there is more to the movie than a bunch of existential, mind boggling swirls from space, but to me, this was what really defined the movie for me and set it apart from any other movie I had ever scene.  Check it out- no spoilers, I promise. (if its even possible)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Useless Clatter...[Audiovisuals...]Arctic Monkey's "Fluorescent Adolescent"

+Just posted this over at my music blog TUNEclatter.  It contains two film references, so I figured why not go ahead and re-post

One of the best aspects of music is its ability to mesh the most unlikely disparities into one very pleasing tune.  Think about the new Jack White song, “Love Interruption.”  He sings longing for love, but that request comes the most an array of unromantic desires- “I want love to roll me over slowly stick a knife inside me, and twist it all around...” to name one.   Another example goes by the name “Pumped Up Kicks,” the popular Foster the People song.  [Check out those lyrics.]  These two songs share the perverse ability to turn such shocking statements into a something far from unfavorable. 
That isn't the exact case of the Arctic Monkey's song "Fluorescent Adolescent."  No, its lyrics doesn't demand any such ill mannered requests; here it’s the visuals that are called to questioning.  The music video for "Fluorescent Adolescent" involves a man and his posse dressed up as clowns trying to bash the brains of a rival group.  Other than the unfortunate association these characters have with serial killers and messed up B-horror films, clowns used to be seen as symbols of impeccable joy and childlike entertainment.  Bu these clowns share none of these qualities. 
When I first watched this, I immediately called to mind a comparison with a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1971film adaptation of “AClockwork Orange”- you have a bunch of weirdoes dressed up in outlandish clothing trying to kill each other.  But unlike the mindless chaos brought forth by Alex in “Clockwork,” our clown here seems to acknowledge his wrongdoings.  Working in stride with Turner’s lyrics- “Where did you go?” the clown puts down his fists for a moment to think.  He looks back and remembers what he was once-a sweet-hearted and innocent young boy, now grown up and dressed up as a clown mindlessly whacking people’s brains out.  “The best you ever had is just a memory...”  Something he realizes a bit too late.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Reel News..."Men in Black III" Trailer & Stills

      The ten year hiatus will finally come to an end this May for Men in Black fans everywhere.  After 10 whole years, the series will release its third and possibly final film in a couple of months.  There's not much too say about the movie that can't be picked up on by watching the trailer.  Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith take up their roles as Agent K and Agent J as they continue to monitor the world's alien population.  Not much different than the previous two films, until Agent J must go back in time to they year 1969 to team up with the younger Agent K, who is played Josh Brolin, and save the world.  For someone who constantly holds the fate of the world in his hands, Agent K (Smith) looks no less calm and cool as before; but it'll be interesting to see him have to work with the younger Agent J in 1969.  Looking at the movie poster, I'd say its just about perfect casting having Josh Brolin play the younger character of Tommy Lee Jones, they look almost identical in those glasses.  It should allow for plenty of jokes as we all should expect.