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Monthly Archives: September 2012

See Dredd. See Dredd Fail at the Box Office. — By Jack

See this.

I’ll tell you about the car crash later. While you’re waiting you need to go see the new Dredd movie. It’s freaking fantastic. A text book example of how to do an action movie. It’s clever. Intense. Stylized. Gruesome. The stakes never cease to escalate. And every action sequence is completely different from the one that preceded it. But despite these accomplishments the movie debuted at 6th place for its opening weekend. With a paltry 6.3 million dollar take, this movie will be seen as a failure. After a summer of endless disappointments (Spider-Man, Prometheus, Total Recall, MIB3, Bourne Legacy, Dark Knight Rises) it would be a tragedy to see this film fail.

Just wipe this piece of crap from your mind and give the reboot a chance.

Here’s the setup. Fucked up future. Overpopulated. Law is up held by Judges, agents that act as on the spot judge, jury, enforcer, and executioner. Baddest of the bad, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) has a new partner, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby.) Dredd and rookie wind up investigating a murder in a mega apartment complex. Investigation turns to drug bust as it turns out this mega complex (known as Peach Tree) is dominated by a drug cartel. Ruthless cartel leader Ma-Ma locks the building down, so Dredd and Anderson have to fight their way up 200 stories to get to her. Sounds like a tiresome Die-Hard right? WRONG.

Okay, at its heart it is Die-Hard. But that’s not a bad thing. The movie runs in directions that will blow your mind. First of all there is the style. Take 300 ‘s slow motion fight scenes, (with story driven causality for the slow motion) add beautiful colorization, and gut wrenching choreography, and you end up with sequences that amaze but never feels like spectacle. I was blown away and I saw it in 2D. But just when you’re thinking, “that was cool, but I don’t really wanna sit through anymore slow motion,” the film jettisons the conceit and does something completely different.

So you’re good on action. What about plot? Well the plot is solid but it’s no Nolan film. But what it does nail is setting, theme, and mood. Director Pete Travis has created a realistic albeit depressing world of the future. Violence in this city is rampant and you feel that in every facet of the movie. A lot of people knocked The Dark Knight Rises for not presenting the Gothamite’s perspective unlike the previous two films. That’s not the case here. Early in the film, victims of a crime gone wrong lie in a bloody mess. While the clean up crew mops up, an announcer informs the public “the food court will reopen in 30 minutes.” As Dredd and Anderson make their way up, you feel the terror as the residents are torn between following the law or facing the consequences of the oppressive gang. There are some really chilling moments here. And ultimately why the movie succeeds thematically is that it problematizes the notion of an absolute law that doesn’t have to answer to a further authority. But it does so with subtle nods and tension rather than having the hero make some big realization “this is wrong!”

Lena Headey as Ma-Ma

Wood Harris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The performances are a real joy. No villains are over the top. Lena Headey’s Ma-Ma is a smart, scary, and a lethal foil. Fans of HBO’s The Wire will recognize Wood Harris as Kay, Ma-Ma’s henchman who gets arrested and dragged along for the ride with the Judges. There’s a scene between him and Anderson that I won’t ruin here. Let’s just say it’s a scene that I didn’t expect to see in this film (in fact it was an idea I was planning on writing myself some day) and Harris and Thirlby nailed it.

Dredd and Anderson

As for Urban and Thirlby themselves? Karl Urban (Star Trek, Two Towers, Priest) completely disappears into the role of Dredd. At times his lines are laughable in their Clint Eastwood like depiction, but inexplicably it fits. Judge Dredd isn’t a character, he’s an icon, and that’s why we love him. Olivia Thirlby is charming, beautiful, sympathetic but at the same time challenged, smart, and goes some places that make us not like her. She’s human.

The movie isn’t a masterpiece but it does what it does very well.  It’s up there with The Crow and Terminator 2 in the realm of action films. And if you know me, you’d know that’s saying a lot.

So I am asking you. Yes YOU, the reader! Go out and see it. If you don’t like it, spam me with hate mail. But give it a shot. Now watch the trailer.

 

Rating?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—Jack Out

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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in By Jack, Reviews, entertainment, etc...

 

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Jill’s Got Nothin’ on Me — By Mack

We all have heard about Jill’s amazing but suspiciously lezzy luck on her flight to Seattle. But I’m here to tell you, next to me, she’s…I don’t know, something that’s not that lucky. So I’m on this plane to visit my brother. He just had his first kid. I know I’m an uncle now. Uncle Mack, I like the sound of that.

I’m thumbing through the American Way when I notice this girl in the row ahead of me checking me out between the seats every so often. From what I can tell she’s got an immature fire to her. The type of recklessness that would piss someone off just to do it.

“I like your ring.” I didn’t. It looked like something you’d get from a Cracker Jack’s box. But I needed to open the conversation. “Thanks. I like your necklace.” She responded with a smile. Side note. I’m very proud of my necklace. It has two pendants.  One a cross. The other a crescent moon.  People always take a second glance thinking it’s a Muslim symbol. Upon further inspection observers notice the facial feathers that make it resembles something out of a “Hey diddle diddle,” picture book. But it never fails to start conversation.

I let her continue to crane her neck back and talk to me between her seats. The barrier creates safety, but the fact that she’s inconveniencing herself to talk to me is proof she into me, or at least I’m most interesting thing in her immediate proximity.  Strangely enough for a “very full flight,” she is seated next to the lone unoccupied seat on the plane. After the drink cart passes, I depart my seat and go to sit next to her.

In addition to tattoos on her forearms and one behind her ear, she’s also drawn all over wrist in black marker. She’s dressed in tight black jeans, a red tank top, and her hair has a crimson highlight steak in the front. This girl’s got a short attention span. If I don’t keep it interesting, she’ll be done with me in a matter of seconds.

We talked family, jobs, the usual, and I could tell I was losing her. That’s when I noticed her accent was inconsistent. I never really bought her faux british tone. But now she was just going in and out of it. But I didn’t point it out. Then she declared she had 12 bothers and sisters. She rattled off names I suspect she pulled out of thin air. Then I said, “I didn’t quite catch that. Could you name them again.”  To which she refused.

Don’t get me wrong, I generally don’t lie to women, I really don’t. I don’t even embellish. But now it was clear I was dealing with a bullshitter in a bullshitty situation and as Tyler Duden put it, she was “single serving friend.” And, “If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?” So why not? With my hand on her thigh told her I was an accomplished artist and that I’d love to draw her. It was cheezy as all hell but she smiled and said, “Well that’s a good thing cause I’m a model.” I almost laughed my ass off but then we hit a patch of turbulence.

She immediately went into my arms pressing her eyes shut. It was the first truthful moment I had with her.
“I hate flying,” she confessed in an American accent.  After the plane righted itself out she look up at me, vulnerable for a moment, and I went into kiss her. When we pulled away, she was back into full facade, British accent and all and protested, “I never do things like that.” To which I replied, “Neither do I.”

It gets better….to be continued.

—Big Mack Attack

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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After the First Week…– By Jack

Okay. I’ve been in LA a week now, and in that week I’ve worked one day on a TV show, got into a car accident, almost gotten into a fight at the DMV, and seen the actor Garret Dillahunt twice at the gym.

Early last week, I had sat down to look for a job when I got a call from the line producer to B&^#$@!5 (I’m not naming the show because they may still contact me for a job and my resume has this blog on it.) The line producer said that the writer’s PA job I applied for was interviewing tomorrow but had filled all the interview spots. But I could come in to work as her assistant and maybe the creator/showrunner might consider me. I told her absolutely and she told me to do my research. I power watched half the first season of B&^#$@!5 and was pleasantly surprised. Who thought a show about 3@77$* would be so interesting? The quirky funny dialogue really took me by surprise.

The next day I brewed coffee, refilled refrigerators, picked up lunch, set up the line producer’s WiFi and printer, and ushered people into meetings. What was mostly happening was that the showrunner was staffing various production jobs so she was conducting interviews. I was to make sure people waiting for their interview were taken care of. I ended up having conversations with practically everyone. Learned some good stuff. Even made a friend. One of the people interviewing for that writer’s PA job and I really got along. We had lunch yesterday. Though I didn’t get the job, they said the production office would soon be staffed and I might be considered for that.

One last note. The show directly one floor below B&^#$@!5 was none other than Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom! Alas, Sorkin wasn’t there. Dexter is also done at this studio. But I don’t know if they film there or just produce it.
Come back tomorrow (or the next day) for the Accident.

-Jack Out

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in By Jack, Writing

 

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Separate Ways and New Beginnings — By Mack, Jack, and Jill

Well Jack and Jill moved out. Jack went off to LA and Jill went back to Seattle. Finding new roommates is gonna blow.

TV writing just isn’t happening in New York

New York was just too much for me. I just got sick of it all.  

Take this one guy. He asks me what times of the day am I going to be present? Present? What the hell does that mean?

I ended up finding a nice place in Burbank. For about $100 bucks more than what I was paying in New York, I get a one bedroom with dishwasher, air conditioning, parking space, closet space up the ying yang, and a garbage disposal.

I’ll be living with my parents for a while. That is going to suuuuuck.  My mom will not stop offering advice. “Maybe you and your sister should team up. You like to draw and she likes to do that web stuff. Maybe you could make the next Facebook?” 

Honestly I wish I could swing the bill for the entire place and live alone. Half the time I figure, “why live in Manhattan? It’s cheaper in Brooklyn.” Then the L train goes down for the weekend and I remember why. 

I’ll miss walking everywhere and reading. My Kindle + the subway = heaven. Audio books in traffic just doesn’t cut it.

It’ll be good to see my friends again. Candice and Sherine still work at the Starbucks. And Martin is getting married soon. New York sucked for friendships. Everyone was always so super busy. 

Nothing beats living next to Central Park. Maybe I’ll get a dog. Jack was allergic. A Welsh Corgi? Maybe a Shiba Inu? Great way to start conversations with the ladies. 😉 

Now that I’m here, it’s time to get serious. I gotta break into this this industry or die trying. I just have no idea how I’m going to do it.

Leaving New York…I feel well…defeated. Like, I couldn’t make it against the big and the bad. 

I knew Jill wasn’t going to make it. She’s such a complainer. Doesn’t know how to enjoy life and let the stupid shit go. 

New city, new car, new diet, new outlook. I think I’m going to be okay. Once I find a job, I’ll be great. Hell, I’ve already lost 10 pounds. Maybe there’s something to this Saturn Return.

I’m so depressed.

Who needs them?

I feel like I can take on the world!

 

– Big Mack Attack

– Jack Out

-What the hell am I going to do?

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in By Jack, By Jill, By Mack

 

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