Showing posts from July, 2010

Fake Monster Shark Sighting in Cardiff, CA

Now this is creative:

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

An often-abused statue of a surfer on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas was turned into a Jaws-dropping artwork early Saturday morning by a group of unknown pranksters. Crowds of gawkers and picture takers nearly created a traffic hazard, as they gathered around the bronze statue, which, sometime in the early morning hours, was entombed inside a 15-foot tall papier-mâché version of a great white shark’s massive snout. ... A large seam along the shark’s jaw indicates it was transported in two large pieces and then stuck together with a foamlike sealer that also made it look like the beast was bursting through the surface of the ocean.

The statue, called "Magic Carpet Ride," was made by artist Matthew Antichevich and erected in 2007 at a cost of $120,000 paid for mostly by the Cardiff Botanical Society. It was said to be the first to honor surfing in San Diego County. But the reaction from local surfers was cool at best, and he…

The Hunt Continues: A Spoiler-Free Review of Predators

My schedule finally cleared up so I could see Predators, a sequel to the 1987 movie which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and was directed by John McTiernan. When I first heard that Predators producer Robert Rodriguez intended this sequel to be a direct continuation of the first Predator while ignoring the events in Predator 2 and the Alien vs. Predator movies, I was somewhat concerned that Predators would turn out to be something like Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. For me, it seemed like Singer in Superman Returns was so determined to pay tribute to Richard Donner and the late Christopher Reeve's contributions to the Superman movies from the 70s and 80s that he forgot to make a good Superman movie, so I was worried that Rodriguez and director Nimród Antal were going to end up making a sequel that's too reverent of the first Predator to be a good Predator movie. Thankfully, I was wrong. Not only is Predators the best Predator sequel to date, but I also found it to be a bet…

Live from DC: The Horrors of Online Dating

When people think of where to see a fun, over-the-top gore-a-thon, they usually think of mediums such as films, comic books, and (with increasing frequency) video games. Sadly, the opportunities for seeing such colorful entertainment in live performances for the masses are rare--which is all the more reason why the Molotov Theatre Group in the Washington DC area is a true bloodlust blessing for us gore hounds on the east coast.

As part of Washington DC's Capital Fringe Festival, the Molotov Theatre Group are performing "The Horrors of Online Dating" until July 31 at the Playbill Café. This world-premier musical by Shawn Northrip details the dating adventures of Judy (played by Jenny Donovan), a pill-popping psychopath whose favorite pastime is slicing and dicing the many men she meets via the Internet. Cheering her on in her gruesome activities are her hallucinatory friends, three of which are portrayed by puppets (yes, puppets). Judy eventually meets a self-help guru who…

An Exclusive Look at Comic-Con 2010 Exclusives

As any good geek knows, Comic-Con 2010 is right around the corner, from July 22 to the 25 at the San Diego Convention Center. Unfortunately, while I may be a good geek, I'm also a very poor and very busy geek so I won't be going. However, if I had oodles of money to burn, not only would I be at the con but I would also be snatching up quite a few of the exclusives that will be available at this event. Read on after the jump for my top picks, in alphabetical order by franchise.

Hopper's Horror: Night Tide

I know I'm a bit late here due to technical difficulties, but I wanted to do this post ever since I first heard about Dennis Hopper's passing last May. To say that Hopper's five-decade long career was diverse and unusual is an understatement: He had done both television and film, he's been in a lion's share of classic and cult classic films, and he also dabbled in writing and directing films. He even provided his vocal talents to video games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and the Wii's creepy-crawly Deadly Creatures. All of that aside, I wanted to take the time to review one of Hopper's early, overlooked films: Night Tide (1961). Read on …

Art Update: Ray Harryhausen, Animal/Human Hybrids, and a Really, Really Huge Eyeball

For those of you fantasy/horror/sci-fi geeks who are planning a vacation across the pond in the United Kingdom, you need to pay a visit to the London Film Museum. The museum is hosting "Myths and Legends", an exhibition of Harryhausen's work which includes his original models and design sketches. The exhibit opened on June 29th (Harryhausen's birthday—he turned 90 this year) and it will be at the London Film Museum for one year until it is permanently relocated to the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK.

Over here in the states, the Irvine Contemporary art gallery in Washington DC (the gallery which previously exhibited the delightfully grotesque work of Aaron Johnson) is hosting the work of an artist named Gaia in an exhibit entitled "Gaia: The Urban Romantic". The exhibit will be on display until July 24.

A recurring theme in Gaia's work is the depiction of human bodies with animal heads, with some of the human/animal hybrids cradling decapitated huma…

Let's Hear It for The Toys! A Review of Toy Story 3

I got to see Toy Story 3 in 3-D the other day. Naturally, Pixar worked its storytelling magic once again and hit this CGI cartoon movie out of the park, with a witty script, excellent animation, and top-notch voice talent. (In particular, Michael Keaton's turn as a flamboyant, conflicted Ken doll is a truly inspired performance.) The 3-D quality is also worthy of note, but the narrative doesn't suffer in the slightest if you only see it in 2-D.

This sequel scored very high over on Rotten Tomatoes, so there's little point in me repeating what was already said by many other critics about the dramatic and comedic strengths of the movie here. However, I will say this: Over the course of three movies, the Toy Story franchise has touched on just about everything that can happen to a toy in today's culture. Toys can be playthings that enable imaginative fantasies; targets of brutal abuse; collector's items worth much, much more than their original selling price; heirlooms …

Jaws: The Revenge Production Analysis, Part 3: Sequel Envy

Sigourney Weaver’s return to the role of Ellen Ripley in Aliens, James Cameron’s sequel to Alien, proved to be a big hit in the summer of 1986. Not only was Aliens one of the top ten highest-grossing films of 1986, it was also the only one of the ten that was a monster movie sequel which featured a female lead. It was such a hit that Weaver scored an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Weaver’s first nomination). It’s not a matter of whether Weaver deserved the nomination or not; what the nomination did prove is that an actress could earn significant critical acclaim from within the industry for reprising a role in a monster movie sequel—particularly a female, maternally-oriented role such as Ellen Ripley.

While the profitability of a monster movie sequel like Aliens probably spurred the quick production of Jaws: The Revenge, I don’t think that Revenge was intended to be a rip-off of Aliens in terms of plot. (That said, the beeping homing beacon that’s attached to the…

Jaws: The Revenge Production Analysis, Part 2: This Time, It's Marital

Jaws: The Revenge was written and filmed with Ellen Brody as the main character. Ellen is the wife of Amity Police Chief Martin Brody and is played by Lorraine Gary. Gary’s acting career largely consisted of secondary roles in TV shows and movies; Jaws and Jaws 2, the other Jaws films which featured Ellen, were no exception. Prior to Jaws: The Revenge in 1987, her last big screen role was 1941 (1979), Steven Spielberg’s first major flop. (Consider the many layers of irony here: Spielberg first gave Gary a blockbuster film like Jaws on her resume, and then he gave her a blockbuster flop less than five years later—her last role before Revenge, a sequel to a Spielberg film, which finally killed both the Jaws franchise and her acting career.)

Jaws: The Revenge was Gary’s only lead role in a movie—which, in a Jaws movie, means that her character will be the one who kills the monster shark by the film’s conclusion. Yet even within the monster-centric narrative logic of the Jaws universe, suc…