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Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Writer's Strike is Over.

From what I've heard, the details on the writer's strike will be voted for today and it's safe to say that it's all over. An agreement has been made between the Writer's Guild of America and the AMPTP.

The agreement is being called, "not perfect," but the Writer's will be getting a little bit more than they have before. Now, how soon will they go to work? I'm a fan of "Lost," I hope it's soon! Here's an update from the President of WGA East:


"To Our Fellow Members,
We have a tentative deal.

It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery. It creates formulas for revenue-based residuals in new media, provides access to deals and financial data to help us evaluate and enforce those formulas, and establishes the principle that, "When they get paid, we get paid."

Specific terms of the agreement are described in the summary on our website and will be further discussed at our Saturday membership meetings on both coasts. At those meetings we will also discuss how we will proceed regarding ratification of this agreement and lifting the restraining order that ends the strike.

Less than six months ago, the AMPTP wanted to enact profit-based residuals, defer all Internet compensation in favor of a study, forever eliminate "distributor's gross" valuations, and enforce 39 pages of rollbacks to compensation, pension and health benefits, reacquisition, and separated rights. Today, thanks to three months of physical resolve, determination, and perseverance, we have a contract that includes WGA jurisdiction and separated rights in new media, residuals for Internet reuse, enforcement and auditing tools, expansion of fair market value and distributor's gross language, improvements to other traditional elements of the MBA, and no rollbacks.

Over these three difficult months, we shut down production of nearly all scripted content in TV and film and had a serious impact on the business of our employers in ways they did not expect and were hard pressed to deflect. Nevertheless, an ongoing struggle against seven, multinational media conglomerates, no matter how successful, is exhausting, taking an enormous personal toll on our members and countless others. As such, we believe that continuing to strike now will not bring sufficient gains to outweigh the potential risks and that the time has come to accept this contract and settle the strike.

Much has been achieved, and while this agreement is neither perfect nor perhaps all that we deserve for the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice, our strike has been a success. We activated, engaged, and involved the membership of our Guilds with a solidarity that has never before occurred. We developed a captains system and a communications structure that used the Internet to build bonds within our membership and beyond. We earned the backing of other unions and their members worldwide, the respect of elected leaders and politicians throughout the nation, and the overwhelming support of fans and the general public. Our thanks to all of them, and to the staffs at both Guilds who have worked so long and patiently to help us all.

There is much yet to be done and we intend to use all the techniques and relationships we've developed in this strike to make it happen. We must support our brothers and sisters in SAG who, as their contract expires in less than five months, will be facing many of the same challenges we have just endured. We must further pursue new relationships we have established in Washington and in state and local governments so that we can maintain leverage against the consolidated multinational conglomerates with whom we bargain. We must be vigilant in monitoring the deals that are made in new media so that in the years ahead we can enforce and expand our contract. We must fight to get decent working conditions and benefits for writers of reality TV, animation, and any other genre in which writers do not have a WGA contract.

Most important, however, is to continue to use the new collective power we have generated for our collective benefit. More than ever, now and beyond, we are all in this together.


Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Top 10 Best Giant Monster Movies

Due to my extreme love for “Cloverfield,” I’ve been thinking a lot about the giant monster movie genre as of late. Looking through my collection and memories of monster greats I decided to compile my list of the 10 greatest monster films.

Many of these movies have been considered mindless trite, but there also seems to be a gross misconception about them. While I don’t deny that “A*P*E,” “Reptilicus” and “Godzilla vs. Megalon” are awful flicks, I don’t think they should represent the genre. There are some very well made, and legendary, films in this genre that have inspired a host of great movies and filmmakers that we love today.

So lets forget about the lesser movies of this genre and focus on, what I believe, best represent the giant monster films. I give you the top 10 greatest giant monster movies:

10. “Mothra” (1961)

Perhaps the second most popular monster to come from Japan, “Mothra” left behind the science fiction aspect of the giant monster genre and made it even more fantastical than before. A story of greed and commercialization is leaked from the subtext of this film and the movie is often quoted as one of the first where the giant monster is “good.” She attacks for a reason crucial to the storyline and doesn’t kill. (Also a first.)

9. “King Kong” (2005)

Peter Jackson’s take on the legendary Kong expressed more sympathy for the monster and as a result gives the audience more to be sad about. Once again the tale of beauty and the beast is told with sheer passion and some fun, updated effects. The film may just be a remake, but the vision captures the soul of the 1933 original film and opens this beautiful story to a new generation of audiences.

8. “20 Million Miles to Earth” (1957)

This time a giant monster arrives from another planet. When first seen, the creature is quite small, but as the movie progresses so does its size. Ray Harryhausen does some of his very best stop-motion work in this slightly different take on the giant monster. The alien creature eventually becomes enormous and decides to pick on the city of Rome.
The effects are wonderful and the concept was fresh enough to keep the movie from looking like a clone of “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.” Great flick.

7. “The Host” (2006)

Released in America last year, “The Host” is like a socially competent indie flick parading as a monster movie. The characters are lovable, the comedy is well timed and the message speaks louder than any political speech. On top of that, it’s beautifully filmed.
Ultimately the movie is really about a family’s determination to rescue a loved one and how the arrival of this giant monster has affected their lives. It is anything but run-of-the-mill.

6. “Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris” (1999)

Once upon a time Gamera, the flying turtle and defender of earth, was so absurd no one could take it seriously. While the concept is still insane, director Shusuke Kaneko made it in to a compelling trilogy that ended with a film so good that you forget you’re watching a giant flying turtle. Almost 10 years later, “Gamera 3” is the very best modern Japanese monster film and a bar many movies of the genre should aspire to hit. The visual effects are mind-blowing. The age-old story of revenge is extreme. And by the end of the movie, you will believe a turtle can fly.

5. “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1964)

When one tries to speak of one of the “Godzilla vs. ________” movies, normally the first monster they think of is Mothra. And for good reason. “Godzilla vs. Mothra” is often considered the second greatest Godzilla film of all time. It’s a movie all “monster vs. monster” movies should aspire to be. It maintains a serious atmosphere while flawlessly blending the sci-fi aspects of Godzilla with the fantasy elements of Mothra for a socially sound and epic film.

4. “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” (1953)

An epic monster movie from the mind of Ray Bradbury, “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” is a very straightforward monster flick—But it’s done exponentially well! The effects are top notch and the very idea of this movie is so iconic that it seems to represent the entire cinematic genre as a whole.

3. “Cloverfield” (2008)

Redefining the giant monster genre for the digital age is J.J. Abrams’ intense “Cloverfield.” The movie acts as a contemporary “Godzilla” that takes a look at modern day American culture and plays on the fears that mirror recent events—Specifically September 11th, 2001. Intense with fun characters, a fresh take on the genre and a sense of being something more than just “dumb fun.”

2. “King Kong” (1933)

I’ll probably get some flack for putting it at #2 instead of #1, but it’s a great movie regardless. “King Kong” is one of the few monster movies that embraces its fantasy aspects and keeps anything that’s too sci-fi in check.
It is a classic tale of beauty and the beast that ends in fantastic tragedy. Today, the effects are still spectacular. The stop motion is very impressive. Meanwhile, the impact this film made on history has solidified itself as one of cinema’s greatest films.

1. “Godzilla” (“Gojira”) (1954)

Call it bias. Call it fanboy love. Call it me being honest. The original Godzilla redefined the giant monster genre. Influenced heavily by America’s own giant monster works, specifically “King Kong” and “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” “Godzilla” made a much more serious movie out of the concept and has influenced nearly every monster movie since then. “Godzilla” was the ultimate metaphor for atomic war and expressed the cultural mindset of a changing nation post-WWII.
Launching a whole new genre of monster and special effects films; Godzilla stands as one of the most recognizable monsters in pop culture and is honored as the second greatest Japanese film of all time.

So there you have it, the top 10 best of the giant monster genre. Following this up will be an article on “Cloverfield” itself. Look sharp for it. While you’re waiting find the ten movies in the list above and enjoy them. That is all.

Quantum of Solace Teaser Poster

As far as teaser posters go this is as badass as they come. This really shows exemplifies the raw juggernaut Bond has transformed in to since "Casino Royale." It is a perfect image of what Bond should be like in the next movie-- At least I hope so. Click to enlarge:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

REVIEW - "Strange Wilderness" (2008)

A few months ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine about how so many movies get released yearly. An average of 500 movies get released every year and the number is slowly climbing. It was noted by my friend that 450 of them are pure crap and 25 of them are only “slightly crappy.” This puts the remaining 25 films in the “good movie” category. Last year I saw 41 movies. Out of that number I gave half of those films a decent to good rating. So I suppose my friend is pretty close to the truth. I mention this because “Strange Wilderness” is so bad that it begs me to rethink this ratio of good to bad films. It has hit me that, out of 500 movies released in a single year, 25 are good, 25 are “slightly crappy,” 400 are complete crap and the final 50 are so bad that they should receive an NC-17 rating for simply existing. “Strange Wilderness” rests in that last category. As overwrought as this opening paragraph has been I hope this explains just how atrocious this “movie” is. If that’s not enough, read further.

I don’t want to explain the plot in too much detail so I’ll keep my synopsis as short as it should be. A wildlife television series is on the verge of being cancelled, so a group of over-the-top characters set out to film Big Foot and revitalize the show. Okay, I’m done.

The movie focuses on how absurd the characters act and doesn’t bother to be consistent in any form. It’s a comedy with “stupid humor,” is what the defenders of this movie will tell you. Well that makes me feel better! I was afraid I might actually have to watch a movie with “smart humor.” I suppose a movie that has so much fun using the name “Dick” to get a laugh out of people who find the irony in a man’s name being the same as the derogatory term for the male sex organ could be considered smart if it weren’t aimed at such a feebleminded audience. I’ll admit it, if someone makes a smart joke that includes a penis I’ll laugh. But if someone says the word “penis” and expects that alone to make me laugh they’ve got another thing coming. This is the epitome of “Strange Wilderness:” A turkey bites a character's love muscle and we’re suppose to laugh. A whole bus full of characters gets high and we are to chuckle at their actions. A fat guy is randomly wearing a thong under his pants and we’re called to give a giggle. I may have laughed twice at the whole movie and it wasn’t at anything I just listed.

I understand that there are some people in the world that are immature enough to laugh at this crap, but this reality frightens me. The movie does not aspire to be anything more than garbage. As I watched the incoherent scenes flash by, I realized that this movie was produced to be the cinematic equivalent of rat feces. It wants to be a stupid movie for stupid people.

What surprises me even more is how the producers got talents like Steve Zahn and Justin Long in this movie. Long hardly has any lines and Zahn-- He proved he is far above this trite in “Rescue Dawn.” Why do they need this movie? They can do much better. These guys weren’t capable of keeping me interested in any aspect of the movie. When the best shots of the movie are of the mindlessly inserted Ashley Scott you know something is very, very, very wrong.

As I write this I’m watching the trailer for the film on YouTube. What sells this movie in the previews is the highly praised talking shark scene, but by the time this happened in the actual movie I was too angry to laugh. It was not just money that was put to waste, but time out of my life that I really wish I could get back. I just hope the people who actually enjoyed this movie don’t reproduce. We don’t need those genes spreading. We don’t need more of these movies. And I don’t need to listen to my roommate ever again when he tells me, “We’re going to see –insert title of any movie he wants to see here- tonight.”

0 out of ****

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


DISCLAIMER: "This is GMAN. I just want to apologize to all of those who like my blog for it's slightly cleaner attributes, but all that is about to change. My roommate has, uh, "graciously" decided to write some articles on the blog and as a result things may get a bit wild.

If you like my blog because it isn't quite the insane animal house others are and you put up with my slightly bad grammar for it, keep coming! I'll be writing more than anyone. But if you don't think you can stand the most unobjectional crap with even worse grammar than before-- Well... Just read the articles I write. Otherwise, enjoy the coming of Brilliantly Dumb Jock. I know I won't."

GMAN sucks. Yes I know most of you disagree. But I don’t. He really really sucks. Well mostly just his movie taste. And his fashion sense. Oh and his choice of books. I am currently sitting next to him on the bus to Kentucky as he reads his Harry Potter novel. Generally what I am trying to establish here is why he has brought me, Brilliantly Dumb Jock, distinguished movie reviewer extraordinaire, onto his enormous staff and immediately made me second in command on this blog.

Moving on from that though, GMAN has graciously allowed me to make occasional contributions to this blog. What began as a funny joke between my roommates about how ridiculous it would be to have me write for GMAN’s site has now become a reality. Little did they realize that I would actually take them up on the offer. The irony here is the large difference in taste that me and GMAN actually have. GMAN likes the serious, deep side of the movies and I am perfectly satisfied with a pothead, some dumb jokes and lots of tits. Thus GMAN brought me in to open up my brilliant mind to the world. I will review whatever the hell I like but it will probably center on stupid and crazy movies of my choice. It will probably also include lots of reviews that take a much different view on a movie that GMAN has reviewed.

One other aspect of these entries is going to be an advice/question section. You can ask about anything, but the main theme is going to be movies. I will however give advice on any subject. Bring on the questions!! I will also take movie review requests. Before you judge me for being a crude, girl-obsessed, partying jock who is now reviewing movies on GMAN’s super-cool blog, just know that I can be very serious about all of this and can debate the merits of movies with anyone. Period. Now prepare for your current bland and serious movie viewing life to be shaken to its very core by a crazy jock.

Ernie Hudson Goes Dragonball Hunting

Dragonballmovieblog has reported that Ghostbuster's Ernie Hudson has joined the cast for "Dragonball." His character is being kept under tight secrecy, but is described to be an "alter boy."

Speculation has already begun, but I'm beginning to think that Mr. Popo has been cast.

TRAILER - The Happening

M. Night doesn't have a great deal of fans anymore. After the ultimate let-down, a.k.a. "The Village," and a rather odd attempt at adult fantasy, ("Lady in the Water") the man has, as of late, been titled a hack. People, including myself, have to struggle to remember this guy made "The Sixth Sense,' "Unbreakable" and "Signs;" which are far and away his best work. With "The Happening," it seems M. Night may have rediscovered his talent. It looks much more exciting than his last couple of movies and just feels... better. (For lack of "better" word.) Take a look. And if the video is down, let me know and I'll find another. Fox seems to be hammering down on this teaser:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Johnston Tames the Wolf... Man

Not too long ago I reported that director Mark Romanek had left "The Wolf Man" due to "creative differences." Well it seems that Universal has found someone who can work with the creative choices for the film. Joe Johnston ("The Rocketeer," "October Sky," "Jurassic Park III") has been hired to remake "The Wolf Man."

Obviously this was a last minute decision. While I enjoy Johnston, "Jurassic Park III" wasn't the strongest movie. But I am aware of the horrible production history of that film which hindered Johnston. Plus, "October Sky" was a rather powerful, overlooked film and I loved "The Rocketeer," if just for nostalgic reasons. (It's been awhile since I've seen the movie.)

Romanek simply sounded more promising, but Johnston doesn't have a horrible resume. It certainly doesn't seem as bad as handing the third X-Men film to Brett Ratner.

Venom Goes Solo?

Surprising news comes from Marvel Studios today. The studio begun work on a Venom spin-off film. So far all we know is that a few popular writers are attached to the film. No word on who.

No one knows if Topher Grace, who played Venom in "Spider-Man 3," will be involved. Sam Raimi, the director of the Spider-Man trilogy, will more than likely not be involved due to his dislike for the Venom character. It is often stated that Venom's inclusion in the last Spider-Man movie was one of the film's biggest problems. (I agree, but considering Raimi was forced to include the character I think he pulled it off pretty well.)

So, a solo Venom movie? We'll see. Venom did have his own comic storyline where he was portrayed as an anti-hero. It would be interesting to see the character in a more sympathetic light. And what of the "Spider-Man" series? Will this movie be connected to Raimi's superhero trilogy? Time will tell. The whole idea puzzles me though.

TRAILER(S) - Super Bowl TV Spots Collection

So here we have a collection of several TV spots advertising some highly anticipated films for this year. If any of these trailers go down, let me know.


The trailer shows a huge deal more than the previous theatrical trailers have. I'm stoked for "Iron Man!" I loved that final shot.


This short spot has a lot of stuff we've seen from the previous trailer, but it still looks rather exciting and well shot. Timur Bekmambetov is said to be quite the talent. I've yet to get a taste of his stuff, but should be viewing his "Night Watch" soon.


Not nearly as exciting as the theatrical trailer and not much is there that we have not seen before. Though it still gives off a darker vibe than the previous film.


Probably the most satisfying trailer next to "Iron Man." "Wall-E" looks clever, funny and cute all rolled in to one. I hope Pixar does more with this idea than they did with their last couple of movies.

That's all I can get for now. Stay tuned for more and help me make sure these videos still work.