After being sprung from a Moscow prison, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team infiltrate the Kremlin in order to acquire information on a target known as Cobalt. The mission ends in unmitigated disaster, and the Kremlin is decimated. The President of the United States enacts “Ghost Protocol,” effectively turning Hunt and his team into international fugitives. Unable to operate in an official capacity, the remnants of the IMF must pool their resources and talents to clear their names and avert a nuclear holocaust. Intelligence Analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is along for the ride, as he hopes to find redemption at missions end. Failure is most definitely not an option.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Though I adore Christopher Nolan’s vision for the caped crusader (sans the incomprehensible fight scenes, of course), I realize that it isn’t for everyone. The Dark Knight was essentially a crime film featuring a superhero. It made Batman a supporting player in a story that made allusions to 911 and the USA PATRIOT Act. Perhaps that is why many fans found it just a tad pretentious. Not to mention that while Nolan can be heavy handed, his intent is sometimes murky. For that reason, an in-depth analysis of the new trailer (or at least an attempt at one) might be in order.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Spider-Man 3 made it all too easy for detractors to focus on what Sam Raimi got wrong in bringing the web-slinger to the big screen. That is unfortunate, seeing as how he had a relatively solid track record up to that point. The first Spider-Man film kicked the superhero revolution into high gear, proving the genre’s appeal to be much broader than anyone had previously thought. Spider-Man 2 is arguably the greatest film of its kind ever made. Yet, even those films had their share of missteps. Among the more nonsensical decisions made was to cover up William Dafoe’s wonderfully expressive face with a plastic mask/helmet hybrid. That design ran contrary to the one in the comics, where Norman Osborne sported a close fitting rubber mask more akin to something out of Mission: Impossible.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
WARNING: The Video Reviewed In This Post Contains Sexually Explicit Content
Now that I’ve gotten that needless disclaimer out of the way, we can get down to business. Even overly analytical types like me need to unwind every now and then. In such cases, nothing does the trick better than a rap video featuring a bevy of voluptuous strippers. Such clips usually accompany uptempo, raunchy party records. The latest bit of such recreational material comes from Ludacris and Gucci Mane, under the title "Shake N Fries."
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
It’s easy to forget how Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction forever altered the course of American pop culture. Its influence reverberated far beyond the confines of American cinema and could be seen in a variety of different mediums. In the years immediately following its release, many tried to ape its style, often failing miserably. In 1996, comic book artist Jason Pearson paid tribute to the film as only he could, with an irreverent yarn that told the not-so-tender tale of an estranged father and daughter becoming reacquainted with one another.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Michael Bay’s Transformers films ushered in a wave of nostalgia for 80’s toy properties. Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables tried to accomplish the same for 80’s action heroes. The former was much more successful than the latter, as The Expendables required the action heroes of yesteryear to collectivize in order to achieve a respectable level of bankability in the current marketplace. By comparison, The Transformers were able to achieve much more without having to do a crossover with other toylines. Would it be possible for one form of nostalgia to aid the resurrection of another? The makers of G.I. Joe: Retaliation seem to think so, as they have cast Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a lead role. While not actually an 80’s action hero, The Rock unmistakably comes from that exact same mold. Such iconography will now be used to aid the Joes in their second cinematic outing.
The first two parts of Matthias Stork’s video essay Chaos Cinema drew the ire of many, inspiring a number of responses and rebuttals. Stork obviously took some of them into consideration when crafting the third installment of his controversial series, which debuted this past Friday on Press Play. Stork doesn’t concede defeat, though he admits that he initially painted with broad brushstrokes. He apologizes for that oversight, while answering his critics.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Superhero comics are sometimes criticized by detractors as being stories that never end about characters that never age. Such a reading characterizes the form as lacking a sense of purpose, evolution, and finality. Likewise, that same criticism is often leveled against movie franchises featuring said heroes. The current trend of “rebooting” certain franchises does nothing to contradict that notion, as these reboots usually occur without the previous cinematic iteration of the character having reached anything resembling closure. The Dark Knight Rising stands apart from its peers in that the marketing emanates a sense of finality. The second poster for the film places that sentiment firmly in the forefront.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
The teaser poster is here for The Amazing Spider-Man is here. It shows Peter Parker having crawled up the corner of two intersecting walls in what appears to be a really dark alleyway. He sits perched in a crab walk position, while a light from above shines down on him. Peter Parker himself is almost completely covered in darkness, but his profile casts a shadow on the walls below him in the shape of the spider emblem that adorns his costume. Beneath this eye catching image is a rather weird tagline that reads “The Untold Story.”
Friday, December 9, 2011
When an iconic artist appears to be long past his prime, fans find themselves wishing he would either return to form or just call it a day. While the latter would be the most realistic option, it’s not so easy for those who’ve tasted success to throw in the towel. They often begin trying to their glory days, making it all the more obvious that their skills have atrophied. Amazingly, some artists are able to keep their tools sharp indefinitely. KRS-One has long purported himself to be such an artist, and his upcoming 20th studio album Just Like That aims to prove it.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The very concept of a “realistic” superhero film would seem to be a gross contradiction in terms. The fantastical conventions and tropes of the genre seem irreversibly resistant to such iterations. This has not stopped a plethora of filmmakers from offering pseudo realistic takes on the caped and costumed set. Kick Ass, Watchmen, and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films all purport to be the genuine article in terms of grit and realism. All of the aforementioned address the various implausibilities and impossibilities of the genre in a myriad of ways. Though these films can in no way be considered artistic failures, none of them ever has ever been completely successful in accomplishing their goals. Writer/Director Michael Morrissey has attempted to remedy this problem with his gritty vigilante film, Boy Wonder.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Music Video: LBP Stunts Chicago - Boogie Woogie Feng Shui No. 5 (Live Action AMV - Anime Music Video)
LBP Stunts Chicago seems to have a bottomless reserve of energy. They channel it into a number of endeavors, from short films to experimental clips and now music videos. You read that last part right: music videos. No, LBP has not formed a band of any sort (or God forbid a rap group). They have simply put together some visual accompaniment for a few existing pieces of music. The visuals in question are not a random collection of disconnected images. No, these are recreations of key fight scenes from some three of the more notable anime properties from the past 20 years. The curiously (though fittingly) titled Boogie Woogie Feng Shui No. 5 (Live Action AMV - Anime Music Video) is a trilogy that clocks in at about seven minutes, but acts as a greatest hits package of sorts.