Amoeblog

Retro-Futurism: Star Blazers, The Movie

Posted by Charles Reece, January 1, 2010 03:00pm | Post a Comment
 

I love that they keep the future envisioned in the 70s look to the thing. I have high hopes for this. If only superhero films were retro-styled .... Here's the original Americanized version, which provided some high soap-operatic drama for my 8-year old brain:


All of which can be had for a pretty penny on DVD:

star blazers dvd collection

A Starr is Reborn: Ringo Starr, Thespian

Posted by Charles Reece, September 6, 2009 08:30pm | Post a Comment
Not content with merely playing himself in Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), Ringo Starr began to develop his acting chops over the next decade and a half, culminating in his masterpiece, Caveman. As a drummer, he was used to being in the background supporting others, and his acting style was such that he always made everyone else seem a little better. He was a chameleon, the rock and roll Peter Sellers. So here's a look back at some of his finest moments during those cinematic years.

Candy (1968)


As the Mexican gardener Emmanuel, Ringo goes toe-to-toe with Richard Burton in Terry Southern and Buck Henry's free love revision of Voltaire's Candide (based on Mason Hoffenberg's novel)

Magic Christian (1969)


Ringo's second Southern collaboration, an adaptation of the latter's novel of the same name. In this scene, Ringo can be seen with Sellers and a young John Cleese.

200 Motels (1971)

LEMME GUESS: "I'M A CLIENT"

Posted by Charles Reece, August 16, 2009 09:34am | Post a Comment
The trailer for Martin Scorsese's new film reminds me of the "twist" contained in the one for Sixth Sense:


I hope he's just leading those of us who see too many movies down the garden path, but Goodfellas was a long time ago. Still, I can watch Mark Ruffalo in just about anything; he's the cat's pajamas!

mark ruffalo

Techno-Realism Killed the Videogame Star: TRON Legacy

Posted by Charles Reece, August 2, 2009 11:42am | Post a Comment
Disney premiered a concept trailer for TRON Legacy at the San Diego Comicon (click the link for high-def version). Further evidence of the destructive effect techno-realism has had on the design of fantasy:


I found the little bit of dialog telling: The fallen player yells out, "You won, okay? This is just a game!" To which Quinn (TRON's hero) replies, "Not anymore." Indeed, the game within the movie has started to look more like quotidian reality rather than the beautiful design of the original fantasy.

First, compare the new light cycle crash:


to the old one:


And look how boring a dangling guy is now:


compared to back then:

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Technophilia, The Trailer Hitch of Realism: Previewing Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Despicable Me, and Alice in Wonderland

Posted by Charles Reece, July 26, 2009 09:43am | Post a Comment
One thought that never crosses my mind when watching a classic Bugs cartoon is how it could be  improved with a richer palette of colors, more shading for 3-dimensional effect and a better use casperof perspective -- you know, so it would appear as if this anatomically incorrect bunny might actually exist in our world. Call me crotchety, but I don't like aesthetics being reduced to technology. Just because the average Macbook now has millions of colors at its disposal, this shouldn't matter a whit to a modern audience watching an old Chuck Jones cartoon. But it does, if the average CGI-toon that dominates production is any indication.

When Casper the Friendly Ghost received the CGI treatment, he became a true monstrosity, a virtually embodied horror, the mishapen spectral remant of a literalized infanticide. Yet, it was in a movie aimed at kids and no one seemed to mind. If he'd been covered in blood, I suspect it would've been a different story. In The Philosophy of Horror, Noël Carroll suggests two major defining features of the monster proper: that (1) the creature be threatening and (2) it be impure. Now, it's probably not much of an overgeneralization to suggest few feel threatened by Casper, not even by his 3D deformity. But he's clearly impure in two ways: First, obviously, he's undead, kind of like a zombie, but one who's rational and apparently takes showers. That is, he violates the cognitive categories we have for what living and dead bodies are supposed to behave like -- mixes the contents. Second, and perhaps less obviously, in the 3D version, he is a violation of the formal abstraction that was part of his 2D cartoon body. This formal impurity wouldn't have existed had the animators decided to go with a realistic form for their adaptation, something like the ghosts in Peter Jackson's The Frighteners.

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