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By David Poland

BYOB On A Sleepy Thursday – 8279

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44 Responses to “BYOB On A Sleepy Thursday – 8279”

  1. LYT says:

    Going to Halloween II tonight at the Mann Chinese midnight show. Anyone else?
    Seems unusual for the Chinese to do midnights on new releases – usually only the Grove or Arclight can be counted on. But I do like the fact that it is a regular Thursday night thing that one can rely on in general…it also makes it more or less irrelevant, if one is an online critic, whether or not the movie is screened in advance.

  2. MDOC says:

    Has anyone seen Halloween? I can’t remember a movie with a built in audience like Halloween just appearing with zero buzz or screenings. Even Jason X had some positive geek buzz prior to arrival.

  3. LYT says:

    Horror bloggers and junketeers have seen it, and been trying to flaunt enbargo rules by being semi-ambiguous in tweets and status updates.
    General impression I get is that they don’t love it but many feel it has interesting stuff in it.

  4. martin says:

    I’m not trying to offend anyone here, but really who gives a shit if Halloween 2 screens early? It’s not like anyone is going to pay attention to reviews anyway. If you’re interested, check it out Friday afternoon

  5. LYT says:

    It would make my life easier if there weren’t TWO non-screening horror movies opening same day, is all.

  6. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Can Hollywood ever make a “good” videogame movie? Tomb Raider and Resident Evil were reasonably successful, and Mortal Kombat enjoyed a top-selling soundtrack, but the rest have been pretty dire (credit must go to Uwe Boll for playing the villain here).
    There’s been some “WTF” moves recently, with options including Pong (yes, the 70s tabletennis game) and Dante’s Inferno (which hasn’t even been released yet), but also some vaguely interesting projects with Jake Gyllenhall in Prince of Persia and Gore Verbinski working on Bioshock.
    Are videogame movies inherently poor quality, or are they in the position of comic book movies in the 90s where they’re just waiting for the right combination of property and talent?

  7. MDOC says:

    I pay attention to reviews. I’m not waiting with baited breath to see what A.O. Scott or Owen Gleiberman have to say but the geeks should have chimed in by now. I trust them.
    During the making of the first Halloween there was a feeling that Zombie was trying to do something fun with a collection of beloved cult actors and a fan favorite character. It was terrible, and the word was out well in advance.
    I predict this will do less than half of Halloween’s 80 million take. But at this point it’s possible to blame the marketing which is a shame because I want all blame to be directed towards the poor creative decisions of the filmaker.

  8. anghus says:

    can there be a good videogame movie?
    sure. there can. will there? tough call.
    there’s such a high level of cheese with videogames. i think district 9 proved you could make a movie with a video game style story and have it work. district 9 was the most ‘video game’ like non video game movie i’ve ever seen (other than Crank 2).
    The key is to keep it affordable.
    Blomkamp made a movie for 30 million. It’s creative, interesting, and going to make a profit. Take Blomkamp and a 150 million dollar budget for Halo, and you MIGHT make a profit.
    I love video games and movies, and could care less if the adaptations ever improve. I like playing Red Faction but dont ever need to see a Red Faction movie.
    I do want to see Gamer, though i will readily admit it is probably going to be the best kind of awful.

  9. frankbooth says:

    Foamy, are you trying to say that Super Mario Brothers WASN’T good?

  10. martin says:

    I hated the Super Mario bros movie when it came out. Too little connection to the game and the whole thing just felt too dark and strange to me. But I watched a couple clips and the trailer on youtube and it kind of looks better than I remember. Certainly not a good movie, but I get the feeling that real work and a lot of money went into it. Nowadays the stuff is just crap that’s meant to be crap. This was crap that tried to be better but still failed. Just my opinion:

  11. martin says:

    And I agree with others that Mortal Kombat is the only one that really got it right. Not a good film by any means, but the translation to game to movie was superb for the game fans, exactly what they were hoping for and even exceeded those expectations a bit.

  12. IOIOIOI says:

    The best video game adaptation would have to be… uh… still thinking… * Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (July 20, 1986)
    * Super Mario Bros. (May 28, 1993)
    * Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (July 16, 1994)
    * Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (August 6, 1994)
    * Double Dragon (November 4, 1994)
    * Street Fighter (December 23, 1994)
    * Mortal Kombat (August 18, 1995)
    * Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (November 21, 1997)
    * Pok

  13. Bob Violence says:

    Future Cops is and always will be the best video game movie ever

  14. Bob Violence says:

    Also, the Super Mario Bros. anime gets points for opening with Mario and Luigi playing Super Mario Bros.


  15. Hallick says:

    “Tron” is the best movie based on a video game which only existed AFTER the movie was made. That’s an even better trick than filming a game that already exists.

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    @Anghus – Guillermo del Toro also has a reputation for working on a limited budget. El Laberinto del Fauno was made for ~$30mil too and looked absolutely fantastic.
    Thanks for the list IO. It’s interesting that the vast majority of videogame adaptations have been premise-based i.e. “(Scantily clad) Hero/ine shoots/kicks/punches evil people for some McGuffin”. That’s fairly 80s Stallone/Schwarzenegger territory before they found out that viewers actually liked plot between action set pieces too (Die Hard/T2 etc. although admittedly action films have swung back a bit towards premise recently too).
    What would be some games that might make a good movie? (show your inner geek)

  17. leahnz says:

    damn, io, that list is scarily epic. please tell me you didn’t make it from memory
    (one word: reaper. yummy yum yum)

  18. Hallick says:

    Shit, I forgot “WarGames” – the best movie ever based on computer Tic Tac Toe and “Global Thermonuclear War”.

  19. Foamy Squirrel says:

    @Hallick – Tron (at least, the motorcycle bit) was based on an early 70’s game called “Surround”.
    @frankbooth – Despite my completely irrational fondness for John Leguizamo Super Mario Bros did indeed suck (although almost in one of those “So Bad, it’s Good” ways that often give rise to retrospective cult followings).

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I’m a fan of the Silent Hill movie. It’s the closest anything has come in recent years to being a Lucio Fulci-esque surreal freakout.

  21. chris says:

    You haven’t seen “HII,” but you are certain the filmmaker made “poor creative decision,” huh, MDOC? Got it.
    (For the record, he makes a lot of good directing decisions, but the script is not good. And most of the actors aren’t, either.)

  22. leahnz says:

    i’ll second that, jeff, i found the finish of ‘SH’ particularly effective (and a bit OT but oddly, aja’s attempt to copy the basic concept for the final scene in ‘mirrors’ was the ONLY scene in that poopfest that didn’t make me want to cringe/laugh out loud)

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Mirrors was amazingly awful. So expensive, so boring.

  24. Foamy Squirrel says:

    After some extensive research (oh, all right, googling…) I found this article (if we’re allowed to post links):
    To my knowledge, none of the mentioned games have been optioned which I find slightly surprising (with the possible exception of Final Fantasy, although the movies weren’t adaptations of the game). I think it either says something about the source material (“Too difficult to adapt”) or the general perception of videogame movies (“Durrr… things go boom”).
    Sadly I can’t comment on Silent Hill as I’ve neither seen the movie nor played the games.

  25. Anybody seeing Taking Woodstock?
    Saw it today and it’s alright. Nothing great, but merely good. Aimless and at times unengaging, but it has some nice moments and Liev Shreiber gives a nice performance. At least the majority of the hippies weren’t the unpleasant terribly written cliched monstrosities that they usually are in films.

  26. Also: Mirrors is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

  27. Eric says:

    I’ve never played the game but I was unexpectedly unsettled by Silent Hill. I can’t really decide if it was a good movie but it was certainly an effective one.

  28. martin says:

    Another Grant Heslov/Clooney movie. Looks pretty funny, good cast:

  29. MDOC says:

    You haven’t seen “HII,” but you are certain the filmmaker made “poor creative decision,” huh, MDOC? Got it.
    That’s correct. As much as I appreciate your attempt to moralize my prefabricated opinion on a cheap slasher flick, I think we both can agree that the creative decisions are obvious to even the most casual observer. Specifically, 1)A theme chosen in the first film – the decision to make Mike and his family “trailer trash” and destroying the evil it can happen to any family aspect of the mythology. 2) The decision to attach zero significance to the holiday of Halloween besides some spurious obsession with masks 3) The decisions on how to handle the Loomis character and explore the impulses driving Michael by utilizing flashbacks of his mother and himself as a child. I haven’t seen it, I grant you it could be brilliant, but in my opinion, it’s not a direction an audience wants to go.
    The BO will prove my theory over the next three weeks.
    By the way an excellent review just appeared by Quint on AICN. I was just curious why it wasn’t there 3 weeks ago.

  30. Joe Straat says:

    Silent Hill was decent, but as someone who’s played the games, the games went a lot farther in sustaining tension, creating really damn scary atmospheres, and making a more interesting backstory for the town. Of course, you can’t do all the little things the games does.
    The mental hospital in SH 3 was a masterpiece in horror, but there’s getting a phone call from one of the creepy patients wishing you “happy birthday” that has nothing to do with the story. There’s a room where you get locked in, bloods starts spilling out of the reflection in the mirror, and pours over into the actual room. Oh, and you pass by an operation room where everything’s clouded up, but you hear a baby screaming, and when you come back, the room’s empty andcovered in blood. And these are all peripheral things you can’t really fit into a movie. You could probably get walls of flesh bleeding, though…..
    It’s also unfortunate they couldn’t get composer/sound designer Akira Yamaoka to work closely with the production (And I doubt they’ll be able to get him if a sequel pans out). Yes, they were able to use his music, but his sound design is incredible and adds so much to the experience. It’s what the recent American-made game sequels have been having a problem with as well. But if there was any franchise that had a chance of success in the cinematic world (since a lot of Silent Hill is inspired by things like Jacob’s Ladder, Session 9, and yes, the terrible Phantoms, though it’s more the first 15 minutes of Phantoms that’s kind of okay), this is it. Oh, and someone could do a great Fatal Frame movie if done right.
    The problem is fitting the artistry of games into cinematic artistry is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Games like Braid, Okami, and the like infuse their meaning into the gameplay so much, putting a cinematic narrative on it just won’t work, and the ones that have great stories like Xenogears take 40 hours and at least half of it is going through endless reems of dialogue (I talked to someone who worked with the translation of Xenogears’ less acllaimed follow-up, Xenosaga, and they said the script stacked into one pile was taller than them). So, difficulty rating on doing a succesful adaptation is a 9 out of 10. But there’s a lot of guilty pleasure fun to be had out of the ones that are here.

  31. Mostly Lurking says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for what seems like forever, but this is my first time posting. I don’t know if the movie or game came first, and the tie-in between the movie’s plot and the game is tenuous at best, but when I was a kid, I always enjoyed Cloak and Dagger with Henry Thomas and Dabney Coleman. Don’t know how it would hold up today.
    I can’t believe that of all the interesting discussions and heated arguments I’ve read on this blog, I pick a fucking discussion of video game movies for my first post (and I’m not even a huge gamer). Oh well. Maybe if I stick around another few years I can redeem myself with my second post.

  32. Foamy Squirrel says:

    @MDOC – you just used the words “Quint” and “Excellent Review” in the same sentence. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that was a typo… 😉
    @Joe Straat – yeah, that’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t consider Monkey Island for a movie adaptation. The game is absolutely hilarious and has excellent writing, but the “Break the fourth wall every 30 seconds” format would really stretch the talents of even Leslie Neilsen in his prime.
    @Mostly Lurking – I’m evil like that. And anything with Dabney Coleman in it is always worth a look.

  33. SJRubinstein says:

    I quite liked “Silent Hill” as well. Thought it was really effective and great to look at. That said, I haven’t revisited it since my initial viewing in the theater – saying my expectations were low is an understatement – so I’m wondering what I’d think of it now.
    Heading now to Mann’s Chinese for a “Final Destination” (3-D in the D-Box seats!!)/ “Halloween 2” double-feature. I will probably consume mass amounts of Peanut M&Ms and Dr. Pepper while there and pizza in between. It’s like I’m celebrating my 13th birthday.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    A horror two-fer w/ lots of candy and other junk sounds like great late-summer fun. I just don’t think I can bring myself to pay for Halloween II. I watched the 07 remake on Showtime and wanted my money back. It sounds like this one is more of the same: lots of trailer trash, bottom-of-the-barrel acting & writing (even by horror standards) and plenty of unintentionally hilarious moments. Aren’t even Zombie fans tiring of this by now?

  35. martin says:

    I think horror fans are probably more tired of zombie movies than Zombie movies right now.

  36. Stella's Boy says:

    For this horror fan it’s a toss up between those two.

  37. frankbooth says:

    For the record, I was being facetious. I’ve never seen Super Mario Brothers. I’m pretty sure I’ve never even played Super Mario Brothers.
    Mirrors was hilarious. If Piranha 3D is half as funny, it should be a good time. But so much for Aja being the Great Horror Hope.
    Anybody see the original, Asian version? Is it any better?
    “I’m a fan of the Silent Hill movie. It’s the closest anything has come in recent years to being a Lucio Fulci-esque surreal freakout.”
    I should probably see it. (I’ve seen clips, and there’s come cool imagery, but I can’t get past that awful female cop.) Sounds like you agree with Outlaw Vern (and me) that “crazy fucked up shit” has been missing from the genre lately. I expect surreal strangeness to make a comeback, especially if the Elm Street remake hits. It’s all cycles, and audiences have got to get bored with torture and slasher remakes eventually.
    I’m working on a (spec) “evil house” script with a friend right now, and it’s gonna be trippy/freaky/creepy/violent. Maybe you can read it for me when it’s done, Jeff, if you’re going through one of your periods of unemployment and sitting around. As we’ve established, we don’t always agree on this stuff — but your opinion is welcome.
    Vive la crazy fucked up shit!

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Frank, I have a job right now (which is why I haven’t posted as much lately, I’m sure to David’s enjoyment) but feel free to send whatever you’ve got whenever you want.

  39. LYT says:

    Zombie’s Halloween II is actually quite radical for a slasher sequel in at least one respect…but to say why could be considered a spoiler…not that anyone else here seems likely to see it.

  40. Stella's Boy says:

    I’ll see it but I will probably wait until it’s on cable. Even the horror sites say it’s more of the same and in no way an improvement on the last one, and they are usually pretty kind to even the worst genre fare.

  41. LYT says:

    At the urging of a colleague, I probably will write up my spoiler-heavy defense of it sometime today or over the weekend…will link to it on the next BYOB thread when done…

  42. MDOC says:

    I look forward to reading your thoughts.

  43. chris says:

    No, MDOC, we can’t agree on that. It’s not moralizing to suggest that it’s a good idea to see a movie before deciding it’s bad, even if it’s a genre movie (in fact, especially if it’s a genre movie). And is this obvious from the trailer (I’ll avoid a spoiler): That there are parallels between the lives of Mike Myers and Laurie Strode? That she’s a worthy opponent for him because, for equally mythic reasons, she seems to be unkillable, too? The movie doesn’t make of that idea what it could, but I think it’s a good one, that there are other good ones, and that they are not obvious to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie.

  44. LYT says:

    I posted this in another thread but I guess this is the relevant one:

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon