Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Monkey Jedi's Top 10 Favorite Films

It’s almost Oscar day!!! Woo hoo!!! For me, the Academy Awards are bigger than the Super Bowl and the World Series put together. In honor of the awards, the following are my all-time top 10 favorite films/film series . I’m sure most of you have seen almost all of these, but if not, I recommend each and every one.

Yes, this one is an obvious choice. Yes, I am including the prequels even though there are elements of them that I don’t like. Ultimately, it’s George Lucas’ story to tell and even if I don’t love every aspect of it, I’m glad it’s complete.

If it weren’t for Star Wars, this film would be at the top of my list. Hitchcock was a master storyteller and this is, in my opinion, his best film. Almost every time I see it (and I’ve seen it a lot) I see something new. Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak give riveting performances.

Over the last decade or so Nicolas Cage has become the butt of many jokes. Yes, he has been in some clunkers but if you’ve seen this film, you know the man can act. His performance in this film is nothing short of heartbreaking. The man does not draw one single sober breath the entire length of this film. It's not easy to watch, especially since the author of the book, like Cage's character, comitted suicide himself.

Forrest Gump. Andrew Beckett. Ray Peterson. Woody. These are all amazing performances by Tom Hanks. The one that he should have won the Oscar for (he lost to Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man) is his performance as Josh Baskin. Hanks so completely transforms himself into a kid that I don't know if you could call it acting.

Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have created some of cinema’s most believable, most romantic couples ever put on film. The actors have an incredible, almost incendiary chemistry. We've gotten to see them in three films. I'm hoping against hope for three more.

François Truffaut’s alter-ego, Antoine Doinel is a creation for the ages. The five films follow Doinel through childhood, his teens, marriage, children, and divorce over the course of twenty years. Doinel was played throughout the saga by Jean-Pierre Léaud. These films are definitely essential viewing.

I am not a real big Adam Sandler fan. In fact, most of his work I don’t get at all (Billy Madison). But I do love Paul Thomas Anderson’s films. When I first learned of this pairing I thought, “Oh great, PTA is going the easy money route.” Yeah, I ate those words.

I adore this film. It’s where I fell hopelessly in love with Hope Davis. It's a romantic comedy that doesn't go the traditional route (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back) which is what I love about it. The main characters seem destined to be together but something always seems to keep them from actually meeting. Will they finally be brought together? You’ll just have to watch to find out.

Cameron Crowe is one of my favorite directors. He has an amazing way of melding music and film and depending on the day, my favorite Crowe movie changes. Today, it’s Say Anything. It's a slice of life story that is honest in every way imaginable. It also has two of my favorite quotes from a movie:" She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen." and also "What I really want to do with my life - what I want to do for a living - is I want to be with your daughter. I'm good at it." I think everyone should know love like Lloyd and Diane’s.

Just a flat out fucking brilliant movie. The writing, acting and directing just came together perfectly. This movie hit all the right chords with me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Look at Doctor Who Series 6

The next series of Doctor Who is shaping up to be just as intriguing as the last. What do we know so far? Well, we know The Doctor will be making a trip across the pond and hitting the United States in the 1960’s for a two-parter which takes him from Utah to The Oval Office. Moffat says, "The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually! And of course every 'Doctor Who' fan will be jumping up and down and saying he's been in America before. But not for real, not on location - and not with a story like this one! Oh, you wait!" We also know that River Song is back and if everything plays out as promised, we’ll finally know her story.

We’ve also been told that the BBC will be airing the series in two parts, with the first six episodes airing in the Spring and the remaining seven in the Autumn. The BBC says the split is at the request of Steven Moffat who wants to develop a storyline that will involve a big plot twist in the middle of the series. He said: “The split series is hugely exciting because viewers will be treated to two premieres, two finales and more event episodes. For the kids it will never be more than a few months to the next Doctor Who! Easter, Autumn, Christmas!!”

The most exciting news (at least for me) is that the Doctor and his companions will be taking on pirates in one of the 13 episode two-parters. Downtown Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has been cast as the Pirate Captain in the episode, as well as model Lily Cole, who will be playing “a mysterious sea creature.” Oh, and we also know that the Doctor wears a Stetson now (Stetsons are cool). The sixth series of Doctor Who is rumored to air starting Saturday, April 9th. If that's the case, I'll be there, with bowtie on.

The Doctor Walks the Plank

Amy Showing Her Sword Skills

River Song

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Buffy Season 8 Motion Comic

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ranks as one of my all-time favorite series. It’s one of the few shows I watched on a consistent basis. I have (some would say odd) traditions when I watch certain shows. For the Oscars I’m always in front of the TV with Chinese take-out. With ‘Buffy,’ my cousin and I would get together every week and make dinner (being bachelors that usually meant pasta). After dinner we’d sit in front of the TV with a few beers and watch The Slayer kick some undead ass.

When I learned that Joss Whedon was continuing the adventures of Buffy with an official Season 8, I was thrilled. This despite the fact that Season 7, for me, wasn’t quite the swan song that I think the Slayer deserved. When the comics hit the shelves, I got through the first couple of issues but life got in the way and I never quite found my way back to the comic shop to get the issues that followed.

I still hadn’t picked up any of the collected versions when I heard about the motion comic. So, after thoroughly enjoying Shout Factory’s Iron Man: Extremis Motion Comic I was very excited for Buffy Season 8 from 20th Century Fox. The Iron Man Motion Comic (check my review here) set the bar high for my expectations with this release. Unfortunately it fell far, far short of what I was hoping for.

First off, the Blu-ray/DVD combo comes with the first 19 issues of Season 8. I knew this going in, but why 20th Century Fox didn’t bill this as ‘Part 1’ for those not in the know is beyond me. Another thing that bothered me was, unlike ‘Extremis,’ the characters mouths don’t move, making it hard at times to know exactly who in the frame is speaking. This is especially annoying because a lot of the voices (at least to me) tend to sound the same. I realize that it would be expensive to get the cast to record the voices (if they were even interested in doing it) so I’m not complaining about the lack of their involvement, but the voice actors chosen for the job just didn’t sell it for me. At times their delivery was just…not good.

The artwork looks great (especially on Blu-ray) so I’m really disappointed that while there are some motion effects, it didn’t have that cartoon-like feel I was hoping for. Also, the transitions between the panels felt awkward. Overall, while it’s great to see The Slayer on my television again, I think I’d have been better off picking up the graphic novels.

Here’s where I let you form your own opinion. I purchased the Blu-ray and it comes with a copy on DVD. Since I don’t have a use for the DVD copy (as it’s the same as the Blu-ray) I’m going to give it away. Just leave a comment here or E-mail me at by Feb. 14th and I’ll put your name in the randomizer and one person will win the DVD!

Trailer Time!

Just a few things I recommend you check out:

Seconds Apart

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Not sure if this'll top Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (one of my favorite games EVER), but I'm definitely excited for it.


Green Lantern

Not so sure about the costume, but other than that, I'm in.