Tag Archives: Movies

An Android’s Dream: The Legacy of Blade Runner

Released in 1982, Blade Runner remains a pillar of science fiction standing shoulder to shoulder with the Star Wars series, The Muppet Movie, Tremors, Lawnmower Man and Jumper as being one of the greatest sci-fi worlds ever visualized on screen. With the release of the long-awaited sequel, Blade Runner 2049: Blade Runnest, it’s time to look back at director Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece to find out how it was made and why it remains a beloved film.

A Novel Idea
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which itself was based on the Presbyterian hymn “Jesus Don’t Make No Robots,” the movie took audiences members on a tour of the future and dared to asked the important question: Are flying cars filled with helium?

After the success of Star Wars, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz, Hollywood was chomping at the bit to make another fantasy science fiction film, and Dick’s novel, about a futuristic cop and a surf contest to save the old library, was perfectly suited for the big screen. British director Ridley Scott, hot of the success of Alien was brought on board to bring the project to life.

“Before that, I had never heard of Blade Runner,” said Scott in a graduation speech he was rehearsing in front of a mirror. “I had never heard of it because the term ‘Blade Runner’ isn’t in the book. In the book, the cops are called ‘Gun Boys’ and so we had to come up with a new name. And just then my cousin’s toddler Benny came in and he was trying to say ‘Parade Plumber’ — I don’t know why — but he was trying to say it. But he had a speech thing because he was a toddler. So it sounded like Blade Runner. And I paid him $4 for that idea, which is a lot of money for a toddler so I really don’t feel bad about that.” Continue reading An Android’s Dream: The Legacy of Blade Runner

Pitching “The Three Little Pigs”

At a pitch meeting in the early 1800s…

Author: And so we have these three pigs, and they’re brothers. The first two pigs are a little lazy and they build their homes out of straw and twigs. And the third pig is very diligent and works hard and builds a home of brick. Everything is fine until the Big Bad Wolf comes and he blows down the first two houses easily. But the pigs are safe in the third house, the one made of brick. And the wolf sneaks down the chimney but the pigs boil him in a cauldron. And the moral of the story is to work hard and plan ahead.

Executive 1: Love it! Love all of it. Love the pigs, the wolf. All of it! Great stuff.

Author: Thank you.

Executive 2: So what happens in the sequel?

Author: Sea? What’s a sea-quill? Continue reading Pitching “The Three Little Pigs”

Wow, Bob, Wow! A Spoiler-Free Review of the First Two New Twin Peaks Episodes

There are four episodes of the new Twin Peaks available right now for streaming from Showtime. I’ve seen only the first two. I’m tempted (so very tempted) to go ahead and binge episodes 3 and 4 but I will do my best to keep those episodes floating above my head in the WiFi…for now.

I need to savor this.

Writer/director David Lynch is 71. It is a very real possibility that this will be his last major filmmaking project. I hope it isn’t. I hope he keeps making movies well into his 100s. But…this could be it. Lynch’s previous film, the impenetrable but interesting Inland Empire, was released 11 years ago. Do the math and check the calendars. This could be it. It might be the grand finale of his decade-spanning career. So I don’t want to waste it.

If you can’t tell by now, here’s the review of the first two episodes: I love them. For two hours I watched Lynch (and co-writer Mark Frost) ooze out a surreal mystery that was familiar and strange. It was scary and funny. I’m still thinking about it. All of it. I don’t get it. I don’t really want to get it. I just love it.

People will look for meanings to the imagery, and there are meanings…and double meanings, triple meanings, etc., but there’s also a joy in letting each scene play out like its own short film. If you have trouble understanding it, that’s okay. At the risk of sounding like a hippy: Just let it wash over you, man.

People may not like this new Twin Peaks. It’s not like the old show. Some people just want the show. And Lynch understands that, in his own wonderful way.

Without spoiling much of anything, there’s an early scene in the first episode of two people watching a glass box waiting for something to happen. Something happens to them. If you can’t see the metaphor and subtext of this scene, get out now. This is not for you. IT’S FOR ME!

There will no doubt be dozens of websites popping up that will try to unravel the mystery. There will be YouTube videos of fans picking apart every detail in every scene. And I’ll probably visit these sites over the next few months, if only to catch a better glimpse of a still from an episode or to read the comments. But, and this is important, I’m not sure the whole thing will add up to a reasonable conclusion. I don’t expect that. Then again, Lynch loves to subvert expectations. Who knows? Maybe the final episode of this return will solve all the mysteries succinctly and with sound logic. That’d be different.

I’m letting episodes 3 and 4 alone this week. I’ll watch them later. I’m going to slowly sip this cup of coffee instead of chugging it, because it’s a damn fine cup of coffee but there’s no promise of refills.

For more information on my David Lynch mancrush, read about the time I interviewed Lynch and babbled like a dork. For more information on my Twin Peaks theories, unlock the front door and I will sneak into your bedroom and whisper my thoughts while you slumber.

Everything You Need to Know About the Dark Tower Series

The upcoming movie The Dark Tower hopes to bring Stephen King’s complex universe to an even wider audience. But before you head to the theaters, here are a few important things newbies should know about the books.

  • The books were written in the past tense.
  • There are no magical snowmen in the books. None. So if there is a magical snowman in the movie, know that the movie is deviating heavily from the source material.
  • When stacked on top of each other, the books are not as tall as a normal person. It’s maybe two feet, at best and depending on the editions.
  • The Canadian versions of the book cost a little more than the American versions.
  • One of the books is named The Wolves of the Calla and none of the books are named Snow What: Snow-Fellow Pete in the Minotaur’s Maze.
  • None of the books rhyme, so it’s very hard to sing them out loud at a talent show. Also it will take several hours to sing them out loud so give yourself time.
  • Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About the Dark Tower Series

Drivers Ed

Around the release of each new Fast and Furious movie, you will notice an increase in the amount of cars (usually “tricked out” 2003 Honda Civics) driven by leaning drivers — drivers who shift their body and head in such a way as to let other drivers know what’s up. Here’s a printable guide to what the lean means. (click to enlarge)

My Favorite Tom Hanks Movies

Few actors have a career like that of Tom Hanks. It wasn’t easy to make this list, since there are so many long-forgotten gems in the VHS box. But after careful study, here are my favorite Hanks films.

Saving Private Ryan
Such an honest performance of a man fighting a war out of a sense of honor and duty. He doesn’t want to be there, but thank God he is.

Forrest Gump
How can you not fall in love with America’s charming man-child as he hijacks history.

Toy Story 2
Better than the original? Just barely!

Electric Dad
He’s the dad we all wanted, and the robot we all needed. He was robbed of an Oscar for this one.

Disney’s Catcher in the Rye
A new character was added to the dull and dreary story of Holden Caulfield, and who better to play Holden’s funny and lighthearted chauffeur than Hanks himself! Hanks’ character, Mr. Blythe, uttered the now-iconic line, “You keep Holden on to those dreams, Mr. Caulfield.” One of cinema’s most beautiful death scenes.

Slow Down, Vanessa!
He’s a nerdy helicopter pilot. She’s a college senior on Spring Break who wants to take a flying lesson. And we’re just along for the ride in this early entry into the Hanks oeuvre. Continue reading My Favorite Tom Hanks Movies

Dan’s 2016 Movie Awards

I haven’t seen many of the Oscar nominated films this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hand out awards for specific achievements.

Best Random Nudity: Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Here’s a great movie about family and modern society and then WHAM, there’s Viggo sipping his morning coffee with his ding-dong on display. It’s a funny moment. And Viggo deserves the Oscar nomination this year for his modern-society-hating character. It’s also not the first time I’ve seen Viggo’s ding-dong — he showed it off during a tense fight scene in Eastern Promises, another film which earned Viggo an Oscar nomination. Seems like whenever Viggo let’s the little guy breath, he gets nominated for an award. That’s enough to boost any man’s ego.

Best “Wow” Moment: The airport fight, Captain America: Civil War
I never would have thought that of all the Marvel characters, the best movies would focus on Captain America, but with Civil War and Winter Soldier, it’s clear that the Cap movies are Marvel’s strongest. Part of the reason these movies worked so well is the writing — characters who feel real facing decisions with huge consequences. The other reason these movies work is that Ant-Man becomes Giant Man and it I lost my mind. Civil War isn’t just a great comic book movie, it’s a great action movie …that just happens to feature super heroes.

Most Average Movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There are great things about this movie and there are bad things about this movie. The end result is a so-so movie, most of which I’ve already forgotten. I wanted to love it, but then the finale was just a bunch of people flipping switches. It looked pretty, though. Continue reading Dan’s 2016 Movie Awards