Tag: Sunshine

BCE Presents: Houdini’s Magic Ticket

 I can get King Kong! We’ll have a nightmare with Freddy Krueger, have a surprise party for Adolf Hitler, Hannibal Lecter can do the catering, and then we’ll have christening for Rosemary’s Baby! All I have to do is snap my fingers and they’ll be here. They’re lining up to get here, and do you know why Jack? Should I tell you why? Hmm? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win! ~ The Last Action Hero

Here’s a new thing to do. There are things that travel from blog to blog for each participant to weigh in on important matters like what movie world you’d like to live in. When one of these catches my writerly spirit I’ll call it BCE Presents.

This was first presented to me by the super awesome Jessica over at The Velvet Café, who describes the project thusly: Inspired by the movie Last Action Hero, the idea is that you have a magic ticket that can transport you into any film you like.

And now, BCE Presents: Houdini’s Magic Ticket.

What character would I most like to be sat next to on a plane?

Susan Vance from Bringing Up Baby. Here’s the thing, she’s probably the best person in all of cinema. She’s got a crazy energy where she just embraces everything as a potential adventure. Even though we’d only be on a plane for a few hours at most we could probably get into some fun hijinks. And maybe she’d find a way to bring Cary Grant along.

What character would I most like to enjoy a passionate romance with?

This might just be an excuse to use a picture of Jennifer Lopez, but my choice here is Karen Sisco from Out of Sight. Firstly, she’s amazing looking. That matters if we’re talking fantasy here. But she’s also caring and strong and intelligent. And she can protect me from evil people like Don Cheadle.

If I were a cop, who would I want as my partner?

He’s not a real cop, however my pick is Gay Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He’s obviously a capable investigator. He’s got a lot of fun quips about everything. And if he’s attracted to me that will be all the more reason to keep me safe and watch my back when we’re out crime solving. With our quips.

What animated feature would I love to walk around in?

I think the clear answer here is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It’s got a surreal, David Lynch-ian world where everything is made of food and Mister T has an inverted mohawk. It’s insane! But really, the best argument for this world is the Jell-o Mold Mansion. It’s even got a Jell-o swimming pool and a Jell-o piano.

What adventure based on Earth would I most like to go on?

The Fall is a movie filled with swashbuckling and a bunch of fantastic locations. Every place looks amazing and the the group of people traveling around the world is made up of a lot of cool people. Lee Pace is awesome and there’s a monkey!

What adventure based in an otherworldy, fantasy-based location would I most like to go on?

This adventure has to involve multiple planets. It’s gotta have space battles. There’s gotta be a cool group of young, attractive people. And it would help if Simon Pegg and lens flairs were involved. This leaves us only one option: Shaun of the Dead. Oh, wait, not that one. Star Trek (09). Yeah, that’s the one.

What movie gadget would I love to try out (or steal)?

I only like gadgets that have songs about them. Hence my choice of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from the film of the same name. This car isn’t just a car. It’s also a boat and a plane and the styling is out of this world. It’s a gorgeous vehicle and way better than my dumpy old Jetta. Well, a little better than my dumpy old Jetta.

What film’s plot would I alter and how would I do it?

Even though I defend the film’s third act, I’d have to change Sunshine. It really sucks that every discussion of the film ignores the greatness of the majority of the film because people don’t like how it ends. So I’d eradicate the monster guy for something a little easier to swallow. Then the discussion could be about the characters and the beauty of the film instead of how it goes “off the rails” at the end.

What film would I want to be transported into, simply to be a part of that world?

The whole point of this exercise is to pick movie’s we’d like to be a part of, so I’m going to take that a step further and enter a movie that lets you enter books! The Pagemaster was a big part of my childhood and having that library card that literally transports you to a world where books come to life would be amazing. And then I’d be in a place where Leonard Nimoy hangs out for the second time in this blog post.

Check out what other people chose for their lists over at Top 10 Films. Good stuff over there!

Top 100 Films: The _4’s

The 4’s contain, by a lucky coincidence, the oldest and newest films on my list. They span a period of 85 years. Every movie but one is in a well defined genre, the other being mostly just a drama. Besides also containing the longest title on my list,  four of the movies are from before I was born.

94. Hanna (2011)

Directed by Joe Wright. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett

I just missed your heart.

A fever dream of a movie. Hanna is a coming of age tale with a dark side, told like a fairy tale and impeccably directed and acted. It is always moving forward, whether it be plot driven or character based. An early contender for the best film of 2011.

84. All the President’s Men (1976)

Directed by Alan J. Pakula. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford

You’re both paranoid. She’s afraid of John Mitchell and you’re afraid of Walter Cronkite.

When a movie about reporters figuring out a story is so compelling you know the movie is great. It takes a lot to get a movie that involves almost no action to feel so stimulating. Of course, the acting helps, as does the direction. There’s a lot of All the President’s Men in Zodiac, and even though I like the latter better, the former is still fantastic.

74. In Bruges (2008)

Directed by Martin McDonagh. Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson

I’m sorry for calling you an inanimate object. I was upset.

As dark a comedy as you can get, Martin McDonagh’s feature length directorial debut is one of the best first movies of all time. Intricately constructed and immaculately detailed, it’s got a lot going on so it might take a few times to get everything. But that’s just an excuse to watch it over and over and over again. As if you needed one.

64. The General (1926)

Directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton. Starring Buster Keaton and Marion Mack

If you lose this war don’t blame me.

Buster Keaton is known for incredibly complex stunts that intensify as he goes along. Some of the action scenes here are 15 minutes long. There’s a lot to be awed by, but one of the best elements is how Keaton is able to build a character through these actions scenes. By the end of the film you really know who Johnnie Gray is and why he does what he does.

54. The Quiet Man (1952)

Directed by John Ford. Starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

I have a fearful temper. You might as well know about it now instead of findin’ out about it later. We Danahers are a fightin’ people.

A good old fashioned love story. Full of kisses in the rain and fighting and dragging your wife across the Irish countryside. Almost mythic in how big it plays the emotions, The Quiet Man is a wonderful romantic comedy with great chemistry between Wayne and O’Hara, perhaps the only woman that could match up to Wayne’s powerful presence. If only there was a restored print that was widely available, the current dvd is a muddied mess that does no service to the beauty of Ireland and O’Hara.

44. The Social Network (2010)

Directed by David Fincher. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield

I like standing next to you, Sean. It makes me look so tough.

When The Social Network hit theaters there was some controversy over whether the movie portrayed the truth of the founding of Facebook. There are exaggerations and outright lies in the movie. Luckily for us, it’s a movie and not a historical document. As a film it is a fascinating study of ambition and the things you lose when you get what you want. It is certainly biased but it is no less of a movie for that.

34. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Directed by Shane Black. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer

Wow, I feel sore. I mean physically, not like a guy who’s angry in a movie in the 1950’s.

Delightfully meta and self-aware without being too cute about it. The relationship between Downey and Kilmer is the heart of this film. It makes you remember how awesome Kilmer is. Shane Black knows his buddy cop movies and works with the tropes quite well.

24. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Directed by Andrew Dominik. Starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck

Look at my red hands and my mean face… and I wonder ’bout that man that’s gone so wrong.

One of the half-dozen or so recent westerns that take a more thoughtful track than the typical good guy vs. bad guy idea you see in so many older films of the genre. This movie is about fame and adoration and legend. And it is beautiful. I can’t wait to see what Dominik does next.

14. Sunshine (2007)

Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne

At the end of time, a moment will come when just man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here… but stardust.

Sunshine gets a lot of crap for its third act. Allow me to state, here and now and for eternity, there’s nothing wrong with the third act of the film. It’s a different way of explaining the same idea that runs through the rest of the film: what do we do in the face of such power? And the final five minutes are supremely beautiful in both the visuals and the themes they express.

4. Blade Runner (1982)

Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer

Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled around their shoulders, burning with the fires of Orc.

The future never looked so grimy and gorgeous at the same time. This neo-noir is the best sci-fi movie ever made. It’s not perfect, there’s a romantic subplot that I don’t particularly care about, but that’s small fries when it comes to the sheer brilliance of the rest of the film. It’s telling that Ridley Scott started as an art director because the look of the movie is so singular.

The other parts of the list:

The _0’s section

The _9’s section

The _8’s section

The _7’s section

The _6’s section

The _5’s section

The _4’s section

The _3’s section

The _2’s section

The _1’s section

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 21 – Your Favorite Sci-Fi or Fantasy Film

Day 21 – Your Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film 
Sunshine (2007, Boyle

Sunshine isn’t 2001. It isn’t Alien. It’s not Solaris or even Children of Men. It owes a lot to a couple of these films and others (even Event Horizon deserves some credit) but it is a great film in its own right. I saw it in a theater and the intensity of the sun is fully realized both aurally and visually. It’s as visceral a film as I have seen, an aspect of filmmaking that Danny Boyle is particularly good at. In addition to the directorial prowess, Sunshine boasts superb acting by a few of my favorite young-ish actors: Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, and Chris Evans all give great, human performances. There’s often a tendency to disregard creating actual characters for sci-fi films because most of them end up dead but there’s a lot in the script to build theses into real people in little lines. Early on there’s a big almost-dinner table scene which serves to build the characters and get all the information we need for the rest of the movie to happen. It’s really well done. And then there’s the last third. Some people hate the final third of this movie. I think it works not only technically but thematically. The entire movie is about the power and near religious nature of something as big as the sun and the third act twist just plays that up to its logical end. And the final five minutes or so are nearly transcendent (much like his latest film, 127 Hours). So, watch it but don’t hate me if you don’t like the ending. You’re the broken one, not the film. 

Notes:

  • I don’t like that sci-fi and fantasy are joined in this topic. Maybe I’ll put a bonus pick at the end of this series so you can see why REDACTED is my favorite fantasy film. 
  • The sound is key to this film and the score is at once beautiful and dangerous. Like the sun! 
  • Trailer!