23 November 2014

American Godzilla

As you probably knew, I'd be eagerly anticipating the Gareth Edwards Godzilla release this year. I saw it on its first showing in IMAX 3D after filling my belly full of sushi with my better half. As we settled into our seats and donned our 3D glasses the THX 'The audience is now (deaf) listening" promo began but instead of the usual  logo music I got the booming bellow of the Big G himself. It sent shivers all through me and I felt the first welcoming tears well up at the corners of my eyes: The King had Returned.

See to some there's Jesus, some there's Elvis, others there's Kong... but my King, my God will always be Godzilla and this was His Return finally.

For what felt like an eternity all any of us had to go on was a shadowy outline in a cloud of dust to whet our appetites... some of us lurked in fear it would be a dreaded re-hash of the 1998 fiasco, more than half my lifetime ago... others were enthusiastic at the mere notion we were getting more Godzilla finally.... then the teaser dropped and I was 90% positive we'd had a winner on our hands. So since it's still semi current I'll try and keep this review sweet and as spoiler free as possible.

You know, as a hardcore Godzilla fan overall this was the movie I'd hoped it would be, it redeemed the idea of the American Godzilla, they pit him against not one but two monsters, they utilized his greatest offensive weapons well , they handled his origin with respect and left it wide open for a sequel.
Should've stayed in the RV Heisenberg

As far as all the complaints go: Yes the human drama element leaves lots to be desired... but that's not why I'm watching a GODZILLA movie. I have always and probably will always watch a kaiju movie, just for the monster or even the monster battle... or even better yet an all out royal rumble like what we saw back in 1968's Destroy All Monsters... I honestly could care less really what's going on with the human characters.

Giving Godzilla the Jaws treatment and keeping him hidden made sense to build suspense, I get it. I still wanted more though. It'd been almost half my lifetime ago I'd seen an American Godzilla ventured, I wanted my money's worth out of it.  Like I stated though this hit all the points it needed too and excelled in others.

'Gimme yer best shot coppers!
I'm the King of the Monsters see!'
- Edward 'Godzilla' Robinson
Plus if you are familiar at all with the lost Fred Dekker/Steve Miner Godzilla project, this hits several of the points that were destined to be part of it, so I felt a certain gratification at that as well. Namely how the big showdown was in San Franciso, I would've jumped out of my chair had that happened. I'll get to this lost project in a later column though.

But we can't talk about the current incarnation of the American Godzilla without bringing up the 1998 Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin turkey of a film they passed off as Godzilla. Maybe it was just me but I picked up on a few nice small jabs at GINO (Godzilla In Name Only, or the moniker given by Toho Shin-Goji otaku) that are shown in the trailer so I can spoil.away.

Say I'm fat one more goddamn time... I dare you
Godzilla surfaces at the Golden Gate Bridge and is promptly attacked by the panicked military that nearly take out said bridge, whereas GINO was stranded and killed on the Manhattan bridge by way of missile, this Godzilla stands up directly into the blasts but he rips apart the bridge as well. This Godzilla isn't going to let a little suspension bridge or a few missiles stand in his way, oh ho no no. But, mild spoiler, in taking the direct blows Godzilla actually saves a bunch of citizens that were stopped on the bridge (including a bus full of cute little kids). 

Size Does Matter
...and apparently your lack of it
is your fatal downfall here new guy

Gino was moreso a lift from King Kong meets Jurassic Park than an actual Godzilla movie. Looking back now, 1998's Godzilla is timepiece with the emphasis on disposable Kodak cameras, Taco Bell, and a heavy rotation on the Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page collaboration on the soundtrack as well as the David Bowie cover by The Wallflowers helped push the film but couldn't help it thrive. It was a summer popcorn movie and just like the camera it pushed in the movie: entirely disposable.

But I did notice a few other similarities to the two. Observe. Again nothing spoiling here as it's all trailer material.

About to surface in San Fran (2014)
Ol' Joe caught a bit more
than he bargained for in the East River (1998)

I always wondered how the hell he made that hole
I mean did he just dash right through it? (1998)

 This was a bit more obvious... (2014)

Zilla 'triumphant'
A New Reign of the King

In final summation: I say give it a shot.Especially with the holiday season upon us what's but a little more reflection on that childhood nostalgia? No better time to break up the old holiday reruns and Christmas specials and odd number variations on the tellings of Dicken's A Christmal Carol?

But if you're sharp-eyed enough you'll notice some definite foreshadowing nods and hints of things to come... of course if you were on Twitter around the time of Comic Con you caught this:

Then there's been this image floating around heavily as well: 

Bur right around this time Legendary also announced their take on a new King Kong movie... meaning they have the rights to both Godzilla and Kong at the same time... this can only hopefully mean we get another epic rematch I've waited a long time to see as well....

 This goes on my Christmas wish list as something I want to see happen.... right up there with a Resident Evil Capcom beat-em-up arcade game and an Aliens vs Predator reboot... 

04 November 2014

Cult movies that ruin perfectly good songs

That face you make when the wrong song comes on
or when you've just been Rick Rolled, again

 If you're horror-mined like me, the simplest of things can take you back to a horror movie... when I'm at work it's typically the music... sometimes that's not always a good thing depending on the song or my own mood... here are some classics of shudder-worthy songs if you've seen the right movie:
This can be because of his theme song of impending doom or just when someone is getting their sick jollies with a sharp object... on that note... how about a little fire scarecrow?

Reservoir Dogs
"Torture you? That's a good idea. I like that."
 Song: Stealer's Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With You [Scene: NSFW]

After a botched jewelry heist, psychotic Mr. Blonde is left to his own devices, namely a straight razor alone with a cop. The results are something similar to the outcome of the Tyson/Holyfield fight... intense for it's time and even now for it's brutality

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes anyone?
LeadBelly - Where Did You Sleep Last Night 
What is it about old tinny music being played in a horror movie that does it every time? Jennifer Love Hewitt goes looking for clues about ol Billy Blue and this happens to be playing on the record player shortly before being threatened by a knife wielding Anne Heche.You might be more familiar with the Nirvana cover version from Unplugged in New York [And this version is fucking brilliant too if you ask me]

Blue Velvet

Roy Orbison - In Dreams [NSFW: Dennis Hopper's Language]

Everything about Lynch's Blue Velvet is completely surreal and dreamlike/nightmarish already.. Seeing Dean Stockton lip sync this one while watching the twitching raw nerve that is Dennis Hopper's mood shift from complacent to near violence all in one as Kyle MacLachlan stares on in confused horror, we're right there with him. Later Kyle gets his face worked over to this song before being humiliated at the hands of Hopper to this tune.

American Psycho

"Do you like American Psycho, Al?"

Huey Lewis - Hip To Be Square [NSFW: Violence]
After being slighted and mildly offended on more than one occasion, Christian Bale takes coworker Jared Leto out for dinner, gets him drunk and takes him back to his apartment. Then while discussing the merits and message behind Huey Lewis and Hip to be square calmly dons a plastic rain slicker. He then pops an unknown prescription pill, grabs an axe, and casually moonwalks back to his victim and buries said axe in his face without so much of a hint of expression save for a quick glance in the mirror before killing time.

[Huey Lewis himself would parody this scene getting his revenge on Weird Al for I Want A New Duck

Pulp Fiction

"Bring out the gimp"
The Revelers - Commanche

Watch every straight male in the room clench in fear when this comes on if they're paying attention. Violent gangster Rhames suffers being hit by a car and beaten by boxer Willis, then kidnapped by a redneck shop owner and sodomized by his cop friend. Bad day. Thankfully Willis does the right thing and just-so-happens to find a Hattori Hanzo sword just sharp enough to get some revenge with...

Kill Bill
Bernard Herrmann- Twisted Nerve [Whistling Song]

Nothing like a one-eyed whistling psychopath signaling your imminent doom if you've heard them do it a hundred times before... plus I've heard enough weirdos downtown doing this trying to be hip or cool and I get it everytime, it was clever once. Now, not so much anymore. All the same still creepy the one time I heard it reverberate across a few floors of the plaza I was working in serving coffee once upon a time.


The Rolling Stones - Time Is On My Side

Great. A pyscho with a taste for the classics. This time it happens to be the (literal) immortal anthem of a serial killer played by Elias Koteas (Casey Jones, how could you??) or by anybody (again, literally) his spirit happens to be inhabiting at the time much like Wes Craven's little known classic Shocker

Jeepers Creepers
Why thank you, they're from That Apple Guy
Four Modernaires- Jeepers Creepers

Forget classic rock and roll. See aforementioned comment about old tinny music being played at a time of terror. This song announces the coming of The Creeper. With the ending of poor Justin Long and hearing the same tune playing over and over throughout the movie, we should've... seen it coming

A Clockwork Orange


Malcolm McDowell - Singing in the Rain [NSFW, TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual violence, rape]

Malcolm and his droogs ransack a writers flat and beat him senseless all the while in time and tune to Singing in the rain before making him watch as they rape his wife. Later in the film when he is miraculously rescued by the same writer some years later, he belts it out in the bath this making the man remember just who he is. Suffice to say its the most disturbing musical scene in a movie but a Kubrick classic nontheless but still hard to stomach.