Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bullet Points: A Journey Across America

Luckily, today's Bullet Points have a pretty good theme.  So, relax as we take a journey across continental USA.

North by Northwest - When I was watching the blu-ray special features,  it included a personally filmed "Guided Tour with Alfred Hitchcock" across America.  With his "road map of film clips," it was a neat and inventive way to promote the film rather than your typical movie trailer.  Anyways, this story is the classic wrong man mixed up in the wrong situation. Carey Grant is a "Don Draper" mistakenly confused as CIA attempting to stop the smuggling of secret information out of the country.  Although Carey Grant is drugged behind the wheel, chased by a crop duster, and almost thrown off Mount Rushmore, he maintains his witty charm and gains access to the beautiful Eva Marie Saint.  Filled with lots of suspense, North by Northwest definitely makes way for the ultimate cross-country action-adventure thrillers of today.

Hell on Wheels -  When this show first premiered a year or so ago, I predicted Westerns would be the new zombie flick.  Even though this trend hasn't really taken off  (we'll have to see the influence of Django Unchained), this show is still pretty awesome.  The show is comprised of lots of little storylines, but the main focus is on Cullen Bohannon - A southern man who lost his entire family in the Civil War.  This season, Bohannon must regain status of foreman on the first transcontinental railroad while battling Indians led by the evil (and creepy) Swede.  With the grittiness expected from someone in the old west times, Bohannon is a character we can truly root for.  He has the rough exterior and resourcefulness of a Clint Eastwood character, but has a soft spot for Lily Bell whose husband was killed by Indians while surveying the railway last season (Lily is played by Dominique McElligott, a blonde who I find on par with Yvonne Strahovski ).  His relationship with the freed black slave Elam Ferguson (played by Common) is quite interesting and has a lot of parallel with Tarantino's Django and Dr. King Schultz.

Paul - Whenever you see Simon Pegg and Nick Frost paired together, you assume Edgar Wright is helming the project.  However, this is a rare case where he isn't.  Directed by Greg Mottola, this wacky film is a nerdy road trip across America.  With tons of pop culture and comic con puns, this film is tied together by an alien who likes to get high (and voiced by Seth Rogan).  This isn't the funniest movie I've ever seen, but there were quite a few scenes that made me laugh out loud.  The funniest character by far is the one played by Kristen Whig, a newly corrupted ultra conservative Christian.

Lost Highway - Granted I've only seen this movie once, Lost Highway makes no sense to me.  That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, but in typical David Lynch fashion, this is just a mind f*ck of a movie.  A story exists, but its hidden between a sequence of crazy images: Videotapes, jazz clubs, death by electric chair, Robert Blake's pale face, and even porn being projected onto a mansion wall.  To summarize this movie in one sentence (which is a challenge), here's what I'd say:  Through twists and turns involving murder, crime, and sex, two men's lives are supernaturally intertwined by a beautiful pair of twins.  If not to watch this film again for a better understanding of the story, it's worth a re-watch just to see the voluptuous beauty of Patricia Arquette who hasn't looked this good since her role as Alabama in True Romance.  Accompanied with eerie sounds (similar to the ambient noise from Paranormal Activity) and a unique soundtrack, David Lynch's crazy sensibilities is truly a journey spanning the Lost Highway spanning across America.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tarantino Comics - Issue 27

Merry Christmas!  Today is truly a day to celebrate!  Not only has Santa come to visit, but it's the release of the most anticipated film of 2012 - Django Unchained!  To celebrate the awesomeness from the Master of Genre himself, here's an issue of Tarantino Comics from regular cover artist Amanda Rachels:

Drawn at C2E2 2012, Tarantino Comics #27 features Captain Koons' infamous monologue of the golden watch from Pulp Fiction.  Amanda once again captures the essence of the scene and magnificently transforms Christopher Walken from a memorable actor into a coloful EC comic character.  I love the tagline and can't image the tales Amanda could draw in the interiors of this issue.

Anyways, support Amanda as she continues to grow into an even better artist and storyteller.  I know she has some work coming from Arcana Studios, but in the meantime, you can follow Amanda and writer Kevin LaPorte at

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tarantino XX - Reservoir Dogs Screening

Even though I barely survived the worst class of my entire educational career (Materials for Optical Systems just in case you're curious), I managed to escape to my local movie theater and see the most important film in cinematic history: Reservoir Dogs

Without Reservoir Dogs, we wouldn't have masterpieces such as Pulp Fiction and Kill BillTrue Romance and Natural Born Killers may have defined Tarantino as a writer, but it was Reservoir Dogs that defined him as a director.  Using a funky soundtrack and iconic film shots, Tarantino proved his chops and transformed cinema with his witty dialogue and ultra violence.  And because of it, he created a cult following and at least one super duper fan...

To celebrate Tarantino's 20 years of film making, they created an awesome bluray box set containing all his films (including True Romance).  Even though I already own each disc on their own, one day I will have to buy this collection.  It has some exclusive special features and some beautiful box art (I have to find this artist and get him to do an issue of Tarantino Comics).

Also to celebrate the 20 years, they showed Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction for 1 day only at Fathom Events movie theaters.  I was able to catch the Reservoir Dogs screening, but unfortunately missed Pulp Fiction because of exams.  Luckily I saw Pulp Fiction earlier this year at the Garden Theater (see here).

Before showing Reservoir Dogs, they had about 10 minutes of interviews showing the influence of the movie on other filmmakers such as Eli Roth.  Also to make the showing unique, Tarantino provided three trailers from his own personal collection:

If you don't see the common bond, its Harvey Keitel.  Of these three films, the only one I've ever seen is Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.  And although I would love to see Ridley Scott's The Duellists , Mother, Jugs and Speed is a film I have to find!  With a funny Bill Cosby and a gorgeous Raquel Welch, I can definitely see how this "black and busty" comedy fits Tarantino's sensibilities.