Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Things That Should Possibly Happen: A Carrie Remake

That awkward moment when someone pours pig guts all over you at prom.
New remake gets "Carrie"-d away, said the worst headline writer ever.

Hollywood doesn't seem to understand that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, I'm done yelling at studio executives who probably aren't listening, and I'm also tired of referring to every person who works in the film industry collectively as Hollywood. The idea that existing properties are more valued than original ones needs to change, but there is no way that it will ever happen overnight.

The latest remake being concocted is of "Carrie," Brian De Palma's twisted horror thriller. "Carrie" seems to have little justification for a remake. "Carrie" stands out to me because because nothing really exciting happens until the very end, yet the whole experience is a thrill to watch. The promised finale lasts under five minutes, yet it is as spectacular and horrifying today as it was in 1976. The slow buildup is a perfect display of Hitchcockian tension. This is a subtlety that most horror movies today are devoid of, and I fear that a modern update of "Carrie" would be substitute real scares for extra buckets of blood. And not just pig's blood.

However, there is one saving grace to the "Carrie" remake. Chloe Moretz, better known as Hit-Girl from "Kick-Ass," has signed to take Sissy Spacek's place as "Carrie." Now, Moretz is not quite Sissy Spacek yet but then again, neither was Sissy Spacek when she took this role. Moretz can play a hard-edged teen, but can she bring Spacek's creepiness and vulnerability back? Also, the movie will be directed by Kimberly Peirce, who directed "Boys Don't Cry." I have yet to see "Boys Don't Cry," but some extra female perspective for this story could be interesting.

Either way, I'm standing by the original. And unless Peirce really screws up, there is no way this could be as bad as the Broadway musical. Discounting the fact that this story should never be a musical, it was apparently terrible.

Read more about the remake here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

This Ad Just Set Back The Anti-Piracy Movement By A Decade

The piracy debate is a tough one, and it would take me too long to fully explain my stance. So instead, here's a great way to make people not want to go to the movies. Reminding people that going to the movies is paying for an experience is very noble, but why pick "Battleship," a movie based on a board game? Maybe this weekend's "Hunger Games," which broke box office records, could have worked. Or some kind of appeal to the great movies of the past, I'm sure the Academy Awards has more than enough montages to lend. Seriously, "Battleship" is the last thing to make me want to buy a movie ticket and some over-buttered popcorn.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Before I start this review, let's get something out of the way: I have not read "The Hunger Games" or any of the other books in the series. I cannot compare the film adaptation to the original book. Therefore, I will be reviewing "The Hunger Games" as a movie, not an adaptation.

I will admit that I ignored "The Hunger Games" for most of its popularity because I associated it with the tweenage wasteland of "Twilight." "The Hunger Games" does not deserve to be put into that category because the story is much more mature, the characters are more complex, and if the movie is any indication, Suzanne Collins is a much better writer than Stephanie Meyer is. The difference is that Collins seems to write about teenagers from the perspective of an adult, and Meyer with the prose of a fifth grader.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Your Friday Dose of Weirdness: John Ford

"You know I don't speak Spanish..."
Some characterize directors as egoists. They could be right, until they watch this interview with John Ford, conducted by Peter Bogdanovich (director of "The Last Picture Show," which I will hopefully have a review for later this week).

The interview is so insightful because there is absolutely no insight provided by it. Is Ford being rude, or humble. Is he arrogant, or self-conscious? I usually don't take much credence in what YouTube commenters say, but the discussion on this video is surprisingly toned down and intelligent. Take a note from that, Internet.

Anyway, what I found so interesting here is the way in which Ford answers the questions. Should a director remain closed off and mysterious about their work? Or is it better to reveal all of their intentions to the world? Discuss, and watch below:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Movie Review: A Seperation

Who would have thought that a slow burning film in Farsi would merit a second viewing? "A Separation," the winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, is also one of the best films to come out of 2011. It merits such interest and praise not only for the country for which it came from, but because it is the kind of challenging fair that does not get make it to theaters enough.

I do not know how "A Separation" got by in Iran, a country bound by such heavy censorship, but that makes this filmmaking effort all the more bold. Yet, it makes no sweeping political statements, it is just about the hardships of life as it is.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Movie Review: Friends With Kids

Let's clear one thing up right now from the trailer of "Friends with Kids": this is not a rom-com. This is not even a comedy about love. It is more along the lines of a dramedy with some awkward laughs, and a lot of babies ruining things. Man, do children ruin everything.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Analog This: Community, and How Social Media Saved it

Warning! Some minor spoilers for tonight's episode. And if you are a community college student then no, you cannot be a pirate as well.

I am not one of the righteous few who has deactivated their Facebook account and returned to reality. Having said that, here are a few reasons why I hate social media: it is addicting, it is causing people to be too concerned about the affairs of others, and it all together makes us more vain and self-concerned.

And here is why I love social media: without it, "Community" might not have been back on the air tonight. I am not in any way taking credit away from the show's brilliant mastermind Dan Harmon, nor the NBC executives, who are not getting enough credit for continuing to keep this strange little show on the air, despite its low ratings.

This Week, We are a Community: Day 4

This is the most accurate way to describe how the collective "Community" fan base feels about the return of the show tonight:

And, I have included a bonus clip after the jump. "Community" is a show that likes to push the limits of television, and try to top itself every week. I challenge it to come up with a line as good as "my whole brain is crying!": 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Week, We are a Community: Day 3

New life goal: Become Don Draper and Abed combined.

And as a bonus, a helpful flowchart of the relationships of "Community"

Movie Review: Chronicle

Apparently, when you put together two genres together that didn't need another entry (superhero; found footage), something good can happen. 

"Chronicle" is like taking a philosophy course, albeit an introductory one where you only go to half of the lectures. That doesn't mean it isn't intriguing, it just means that there could have been a little more substance to stick around for. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Do People Like This: Speed

Why Do People Like This is a new segment where I discuss a thoroughly overrated movie.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

It is said that "Speed" was pitched as "Die Hard" on a bus. This is one of the most brilliant pitches ever made. Too bad "Speed" isn't nearly as good as "Die Hard."

When it comes to movies, I'm like Alvy Singer, in that I won't see a movie in theaters if I am late. Even two minutes late. I like the credits, too. But it appears that I have broken some of my own rules for "Speed." I like to justify it by putting into consideration the fact that I caught it on AMC on a Saturday night. AMC is known for playing both classic, and classically cheesy, movies.

In the pop culture lexicon, "Speed" doesn't usually fall into the second category. In fact, if the ratings on the information option on cable are to be trusted, it gets three and a half out of four stars. So about the same rating as "No Country for Old Men" and "The Social Network." "Speed" is an entertaining thriller. But a great one? Not even close.

This Week, We are a Community: Day 2

In "Crazy, Stupid, Love," Steve Carell describes his wife as "the perfect combination of sexy and cute." This clip is the perfect combination of sexy and creepy.

I guess that's the whole point of the song. But I hope this is the last time I will ever have to use Alison Brie and creepy in the same sentence.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Reel Deal is now on Twitter

Because social media isn't a big enough burden on your life already, you can now find The Reel Deal on Twitter. Of course, you'll find links to all of the latest reviews and articles. However, you will also get other trinkets of my sage movie wisdom, and perhaps some special previews of future posts. Keep Reel Dealin' on.* 


Follow me and spread the word!

*Okay, I need to work on that catchphrase

This Week, We are a Community: Day 1

This Thursday, "Community" comes back from nearly-cancelled purgatory to finish off its third season. To celebrate the return of my favorite show, and to thank NBC for avoiding its third biggest mistake ever (following the cancellation of "Freaks and Geeks" and the Conan fiasco), I've decided to post a clip from "Community" every day until its return. Hopefully, the clip is hilarious and context free. I apologize if every clip I choose somehow involves Donald Glover yelling like a child. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Movie Review: Project X

There is a code of objectivity that all journalists are supposed to abide by. As a self-proclaimed film journalist who tries to live by these rules, there are times when my objectiveness goes right out the door. With something like "Project X," there is no other way to approach it.

"Project X" contains pretty much everything I usually hate in a movie: its sexist, stupid, overlong, and incredibly unrealistic. I did not hate it, and I did not love it either. However, I enjoyed just about every single minute of it.

"Project X" falls into the subgenre of the mockumentary genre, under the kingdom of comedy and or drama, known as the found footage footage movie. I just wrote that last sentence because it made me sound like a scientist. Anyway, it is less hilarious than "This is Spinal Tap" but more developed than "The Blair Witch Project." Three best friends in high school, all incredibly unpopular, decide to throw the party of the century in order to get noticed. They hire someone (Dax Flame) to film the whole experience for them. He turns out to be a pretty bad fly on the wall, and the party becomes both a success and a disaster.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom to Open the Cannes Film Festival

The great news yesterday from public relations land was that Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" will be opening the Cannes Film Festival on May 16. This is the second year in a row that an American film has opened the festival, after "Midnight in Paris" did so last year. So while the French might have taken over American awards ceremonies (thanks for that, "The Artist"), Hollywood swiftly took revenge. Or, at least that's how I picture it happening. Your move, Sarkozy.  

But enough with me imagining wars between America and France. As someone who saw my first Wes Anderson movie at the tender age of nine (a little too young, I admit), I speak from the heart when I say how excited this news makes me. Anderson deserves to fill a spot once taken up by Woody Allen.

"Moonrise Kingdom" looks like a movie that is laced with childhood whimsy. I am someone who is always believing my many crazy childhood dreams could actually come true, and this summer, I will be attending the Cannes Film Festival. I will be going as an intern, but also as something of an undercover reporter. Tickets for the premieres of the biggest movies are often hard to come by. But if anyone knows any loopholes in film law that could help me acquire tickets to the premiere of "Moonrise Kingdom," it would be greatly appreciated.

In addition, the official poster for "Moonrise Kingdom" was released today. There is something indescribably awesome about yellow font. I can already hear The Creation blaring on the soundtrack.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Analog This: Archer

Analog This is a new segment where I shift the spotlight away from movies to focus on a TV show, old or new, that is worthy of your attention. 

With the glut of great comedy currently being shown on both network and cable television, I find myself wavering day-to-day on which one I can currently pin as my favorite. "Community" (which I can include because it is indeed coming back) is the most sophisticated and thought provoking. "Parks and Recreation" is the warmest and most consistently funny. "Louie" is the most daring and unique, like "Seinfeld" as a documentary shot by Woody Allen. Then, there is "Archer," the most surprisingly witty of them all.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Things That Should Never Happen: An Animal House Musical

Because even Broadway is afraid of green-lighting an original concept, Universal Pictures Stage Productions announced today that "Animal House: The Musical" is currently in development. At times like these, I look around to make sure reality isn't actually some giant artistic social experiment by Banksy.

If this didn't sound cruel enough already to the "Animal House devotees of the world, the news was announced today on the 30th anniversary of John Belushi's death. So instead of talking about how Belushi transformed comedic acting in such a short amount of time, everyone is talking about "Animal House: The Musical" (yes, I am guilty of this too). Turning "Animal House" into a musical would be a disservice to everything the brothers of the Delta House stood for. "The Lion King" lent itself to a successful musical because it already was one, and "Hairspray" lent itself well to the format (even if it sacrificed some of John Waters's best black humor). And for every "Saturday Night Fever," there is a "Carrie."

"Animal House" is the kind of story that wouldn't function as well in today's world, as so many knockoffs immediately followed it. But instead of discussing this, honor Belushi (and "Animal House") with these great clips after the jump:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Deal with Losing: Steven Spielberg

After this past Sunday's ceremony ended, I promised everyone I was done with the Oscars for at least the next few months. But as they say in just about every action movie ever made: "just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in." What I have today is a great clip I was sent this morning of Steven Spielberg reacting to the Oscar nominations in 1976. In the previous year, "Jaws" took audiences by storm. In this clip, Spielberg is none too pleased to find out that despite a Best Picture nomination for "Jaws", the Academy failed to recognize his directing.

Spielberg blames his snub on commercial backlash. That is a possibility, as most of the nominations in the past few years have been for lower grossing movies. But then again, no one is going to nominate "Transformers" or "Breaking Dawn" for Best Picture. I am guessing the real case is that Spielberg just missed the shortlist, given that the nominated directors were Milos Forman, Sidney Lumet, Stanley Kubrick, Robertrt Altman, and Federico Fellini. That's a hard group to compete with.

Anyway, this is a great video to give you some insight on what filmmakers think of the Oscars. It will also give you a hint of what the 1970s was like. Its an especially different Spielberg than we were used to, a man who was fighting the system before he ultimately became it.

Watch the video after the jump: