sábado, 21 de noviembre de 2015

Sequels CAN be better...

by Alex Zavala

Lately, almost every movie with great success is a sequel, prequel, reboot, and so on. But sequels have actually been around for a very long time, and it is common place to say that the second part is never as good as the first. This is true only some times, every now and then a movie sequel shadows its predecessor and becomes bigger, better, and in some cases an all time classic.

So I put together a small list of second parts that are much better than their originals.

5. The Godfather Part II

I just put this in fifth place because I have only seen it once. But it was enough to agree with all the great things they say about it. And although the original was great, Francis Ford Coppola really outdid himself with this one. Too bad "Part III" is so god damned terrible..

4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Yes, believe it or not there was a time when Terminator movies were good. The first film was awesome, but perhaps too ambitious for the technology of the time. Not 'Judgement Day'... this time around, James Cameron revolutionised VFX, gave us a timeless catch phrase (shown in the GIF above) and inspired one hell of a Simpsons parody. And it is to date, 50 times better than the three other sequels combined.

3. Aliens

Ridley Scott's 'Alien' was so cool even its slogan was terrifying (...in space no one can hear you scream...) but almost 40 years later, it feels a little too slow at times. 'Aliens' on the other hand, is still as awesome as ever. Another James Cameron incredible sequel, and in my opinion his masterpiece.... not 'Titanic', and certainly not 'Avatar' as much as he would like to think so. 'Aliens' is more of an action film than a horror one, but it's one hell of an action film. True, they screwed up on the third one having the Alien be a dog..., and killing Ripley.... then massively screwed up on the fourth one, cloning Ripley.... and then they just flushed it down the crapper making not one but two 'Alien vs Predator' films. But hey!.. the currently in development new 'Alien' movie is going to be a sequel to 'Aliens' and will ignore all those terrible decisions. And 'Prometheus' is also pretty cool...

2. The Empire Strikes Back

George Lucas came up with a pretty amazing set of stories with 'Star Wars', but lets be honest... he's a terrible director. I'm even confident that the prequel trilogy would've been really good had he let someone else take the helm. And that's why it was his best decision not to direct the best of all Star Wars movies. 'The Empire Strikes Back' shows a more sinister Darth Vader, a frozen Han Solo, the first non-ridiculous lightsaber fight, and the biggest revelation in cinema history... so Epic that I don't even have to say what it is for everyone to know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a pity that 'Return of the Jedi' is so contrastingly boring and filled with care bears (ewoks)... the last 20 minutes are all that's worth it about that film.

1. The Dark Knight

'Batman Begins' was so good, it was unbelievable how overlooked it was. I wouldn't have imagined the sequel would be not just better, but SO MUCH better. Heath Ledger's death alone wasn't responsible for keeping 'The Dark Knight' at the box office's number one for 7 consecutive weeks. Against all odds, Jack Nicholson's Joker was greatly outdone, and the comic book movie genre was changed forever. This is not only the best sequel of all time, it is also (along with 'The Lego Movie') the worst Oscar snub in history. Thankfully 'The Dark Knight Rises' didn't suck.. it was actually vey good... but still not as good as its predecessor.

domingo, 23 de agosto de 2015

Returning TV Series

by Alex Zavala

While suscription TV services like Netflix and HBO are coming up with better and higher quality shows, network Television is running low on fresh ideas. It is becoming a trend to bring back shows that while successful, did get cancelled for one reason or another.

It's not like people aren't asking for it. If I had a dollar for every time I read "Friends Reunion" online.... But the producers of that show are doing the right thing, by not doing it! It had such a great ending, that anything they did now, 11 years later, would only be disappointing. I guess that is the key though, "Friends", unlike most TV shows, had a great ending, so there is no need to redeem themselves.

"24" was one of the first ones to do this 'limited run' thing. When the show ended back in 2010, it was so unsatisfying, that I was super excited for it to actually get some closure. The special event ninth season was awesome!, and it was set up perfectly to give poor Jack Bauer a happy ending at last. Some key characters came back, the plot of the season was entirely pointing at that closure I mentioned before. It was all going perfect. And then, on the last episode, as if it were just another one of their season finales, they screwed everything up, and left Jack back in exile (which happened at the  end of 4 out of 9 seasons), his love interest dead, and in general, more questions than answers. Now they're just going to have to make another limited run, because I feel exactly like I did with the original finale.

Another one of my once favourite shows was "Prison Break"... that is for the first and second season, because by the fourth one, it was such a terrible show Adam Sandler could've starred in it. The finale was awful, and they even dared making a post-finale episode featuring yet another ridiculous prison break that came out of nowhere. Now it has been confirmed that the show is coming back.... and while I could look at it positively and think they might right some wrongs.... there is just no way. Not to mention that the main character (who is coming back) died at the end of the show (for a reason that had nothing to do with the plot). I guess that's not a problem... they did manage to cut the female lead's head and bring her back with the worst excuse in television history. Ugh... i can't even keep talking about how bad this show turned, and the worst part is that I'm so OCD that I won't be able to not watch it when it comes back.

"Full House" is also coming back... and reportedly all the original cast will make an appearance. I, like everyone else love to watch "Full House" re-runs.. but I just don't think Michelle is going to be cute or funny now that the Olsen Twins both look like the Crypt Keeper. 

A limited return that I am excited about is "X-Files".. the only problem is that I never actually saw that show, so I have 8 seasons to catch up with in the next couple of months.

Bottomline, if you are going to be lazy and just squeeze every last penny from shows that you already squeezed every last penny from, at least do it right and stop messing with my god damned mind!!

domingo, 5 de julio de 2015

"A.S.S." Season 1

by Alex Zavala

Remember when I said I had been working really hard on something?

Almost two years ago, when I was at a department store looking at the toys, I saw a few cool ones from Playmobil, and a great idea popped into my head. I guess it's important to mention that I like making home movies with toys. Anyway, maybe it was just an excuse to make it ok for a 25 year old to buy toys, but I decided I would make a secret agent series to post online.

A couple of months after brainstorming with myself, I began writing the scripts for Season 1, which consists of 13 episodes. It took me about a month to write it all, and ever since I have been slowly putting it together. I just want to make a point of how much work went into this: writing, building, filming, editing, voice recording, sound editing....

Well, I am finally done with the first season, and I am very happy and proud about the end result. It is called "A.S.S.- Anti Scumbag Service"
Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyYtBa0ExVNqoO6QWInBE0aRgnFuHmIs5

I hope you can watch it, enjoy it, and share it with as many people as you can.

martes, 2 de junio de 2015

CGI... friend or foe

by Alex Zavala

I'm sorry I haven't written in the past few weeks, I've been working on something so awesome it is taking up most of my time... but more on that later.

Back in the ninties Computer Generated Images were groundbreaking and incredibly expensive... today, they are a cheap commodity that studios and some filmmakers over use, caring little about the fact that their movies look like video games.

When done right, audiences will think its is now possible to put on screen absolutely anything our minds can imagine. When done wrong, which is unfortunately very common, the audience will just be like: how cool would this be if it actually looked real?

There's two clear examples that come to mind when thinking about the good and bad uses of CGI:

GOOD: "Jurassic Park"

Along with "Terminator 2" this movie practically made CGI what it is today. But it did it with style. It was the carefully crafted blend between animation and practical effects that makes those dinosaurs still look real and terrifying 22 years later. They actually look WAY more real than the ones we see in the "Jurassic World" trailers. Haven't seen that movie yet, but if it looks like that, with EVERYTHING done in a computer, well.... poor Stan Winston, he must be rolling in his grave.

BAD: "STAR WARS" (prequel trilogy)

Especially on "Revenge of the Sith" George Lucas became a CGI freak, to the point of even making the chairs on a stupid computer. This movies were supposed to come with the technological innovations to be able to tell the beginning of the story... instead, it looks more fake than anything on the original movies... which are over twenty years older. Heck they even  changed entirely the way Yoda looks from one movie to the next. The good news is that by the looks of it, J.J. Abrams seems to have a much better grasp of how to do things right... so later this year "Star Wars" might finally get a worthy looking follow up.

For the high profile film makers that just don't get it... the lesson here is that CGI is only a TOOL to portray what you have envisioned. Anything that can actually be caught on camera, should.

viernes, 17 de abril de 2015

The magic of trailers has died...

by Alex Zavala

Yesterday was an exciting day for movie trailers. In the morning the second trailer for 'Star Wars The Force Awakens' came out, and it went viral faster than Ebola could ever dream of...

Later, at night, the first trailer for 'Batman v Superman',  that was supposed to premiere next Monday, inevitably "leaked". And I use the quotes, because come on... for all we know Zack Snyder leaked it himself... The fact that all trailers come out on the Internet first might sound like problem..... but it's not to the studios... Every time a trailer plays at the movie theatre, it costs money... so I'm assuming they are more than happy to have people watch it a million times on You Tube and advertise their movie for free.

As a movie fan, and as a Batman fan... there is no way to avoid this kind of temptation..... In the world of today, you know exactly when a trailer is going to be available, and you can watch it instantly, wherever you are. To me, this SUCKS!!!

I remember vividly this one time I went to the movies when I was about 10 years old, and the LucasFilm logo came up on screen... I was like hey!, that's the guy who did 'Star Wars'. Seconds later there were spaceships flying around, lightsabers buzzing, and stupid Jar Jar Binks being the annoying mistake he always was. That's right, there was a new 'Star Wars' movie coming out, and I knew nothing about it... and it was exciting!!

That kind of experience, nowadays, exists only in my mind (like Jack in Rose's). Because today, you know what movies are coming out 3 years in advance, and you watch the trailer online and knowingly.

 I have seen the 'Jurassic World' trailers a million times by now... and not once in theatres. The same thing happened with 'The Dark Knight Rises' when it was a bout to come out. There were like 4 trailers that I kept watching online and, at least in my third world country, in theatres they were still only playing the 30 second teaser that shows you nothing and that came out a year before.

The only trailers they play at the theatre now, are the crappy ones that would never go viral. How boring.

The maximum STUPIDITY and SHAMELESS marketing tactic is something that started a couple of years ago.... the infamous trailer's trailer. Since the studio knows you're going to watch it online, and they are happy that you are, a few days early they give you some crap like this:

Two seconds of footage followed by a: "watch the full trailer this Friday!"

How ridiculous is that!!!????

Anyway... I am going to keep on watching trailers online, first: because I'm only human, and second: because only the teasers make their way to Mexico lately. But I just wanted to blow some steam... and to those cinema experience ruiners out there, stay tuned, because soon I'll be ranting about watching new movies online.

'nough said...

jueves, 9 de abril de 2015

This year in film...

by Alex Zavala

Like anything in life, movies have good and bad years. Some are packed with awesome blockbusters and classics, others like 2007 SUCK with terrible "Spider-Man" and "Fantastic 4" sequels and a really bad "Transformers" movie (no matter what anyone says, the "Transformers" movies are awful).

Well, 2015 looks like it's going to be awesome!!!!

There was kind of a slow start with a "50 Shades of Grey" blockbuster that was bound to be terrible... and it was... and I didn't even see it. Then there was "Insurgent" which was exactly like "Divergent" which was exactly like "The Hunger Games"but not that cool.

But it's April now... and the first exciting movie of 2015 is around the corner..... no, it´s not "Furious 7" (that will surely be worse than "Transformers"), I'm talking about "Avengers: Age of Ultron".... These Avengers movies are just really cool... and Hulk is awesome.

By the time the "Avengers" run is over.. it will be summer, and with that comes one of the most anticipated movies of the last 14 years........ "Jurassic World" (I already did a post on this movie so check it out). Let me be clear, "Jurassic Park" is an absolute classic..... "The Lost World" is a fun movie.... "Jurassic Park 3" is quite bad....... so there's no real reason why this movie should be good.... but it's still really exciting to re-visit Isla Nublar. As I have said before, just please don't make the velociraptors be our friends (fuck; there´s a good chance that's what's going to happen).

Then there's "Terminator Genisys.... will it be good?.... maybe not....... will something actually happen?, as in, will we see John Connor end the war, instead of a robot going back in time once again... maybe not... But if there is one role (and I mean only one) that Schwarzenegger can play, it´s a big robot that can't speak good english. So I'm in.

To have a M:I movie on the same year as a 007 movie, is a pretty rare, but spectacular thing.
Except for the occasional 'mask parade' ("M:I 2") or huge death ray coming from space ("Die another Day"), these are two franchises that almost never disappoint, and I'm definitely excited about "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" and "Spectre".

The "Fantastic Four" reboot looks like it's gonna be good........ and I'm excited about "Mocking Jay Part 2".... that is, excited to see how it ends... because this recent practice of breaking movies in 2 is disgustingly annoying................ thanks Harry Potter.

All that awesomeness could make for a very good year, but, what really makes 2015 a special one, is the fact that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is coming out in december!!  Forget about having J.J. Abrams as the director (which is great), and forget about Luke, Leia and Han coming back....... just use 95% less CGI than George Lucas used on the prequel trilogy (you can use and immense amount of CGI and still not reach 5% of what he used) and I'll be satisfied.

jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

The 10 WORST Superhero Movies

by Alex Zavala

In the past couple of decades Super hero films have become almost a separate genre. Studios are even scraping every last corner of the Marvel and DC universes looking for characters that haven't been shown on the big screen. And well, when that stops working, there can never be too many Spider-Man reboots apparently.

While a lot of comic book flicks are done incredibly well these days, just like in any other genre, there have to be bad ones, and I mean, REALLY bad ones.

We have been provided with an endless list of upcoming Marvel and DC titles up until like 2019 or 2020... so before those come, lets have a look at the 10 WORST super hero movies of all time (that I've seen).

10. X-Men: The Last Stand

Brett Ratner really screwed over two great X-Men movies back in 2006. From Cyclops and Xavier exploding, to a very crappy reference to Sentinels. This awfulness was only fixed with Bryan Singer taking back the director's chair in "Days of Future Past" and crafting a plot complicated enough to correct mistakes, and simple enough to just ignore some others.

9. Spider Man 3

So what is it with third parts anyways?... This movie had so much potential, with Venom finally coming into the mix..... and was massively doomed the minute they cast Topher Grace for the part. But don't worry 'Foreman'... The worst thing in the movie isn't you... it's that emo Peter Parker dance.

8. Captain America

Unlike its sequel and The Avengers, this movie is plain and simple boooringggg.... I think I've fallen asleep every time I have attempted to watch it.

7. Superman

The original, the Richard Donner one. I know a lot of people criticize "Superman Returns", and sure, it's quite bad... but what can anyone expect if it is supposed to be a sequel of the sequel of a movie where Superman flies around the planet to make it spin the other way and turn back time...... WTF.

6. Hulk

Lets not confuse it with "The incredible Hulk" which is awesome....no... I'm talking about the one from 2003 with the giant dogs and the Hulk that looks like he's made of Play Doh.... enough said.

5. The Wolverine

How many Wolverine prequels do we need?... This last one is awful. Sure, I really kind of hate samurai and japanese movies, but really... it's awful! The only good scene is the one leading up to "Days of Future Past"... and even that doesn't make that much sense.

4. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I'll put it this way... once I heard the title for this movie I decided not to even bother watching it. Then I saw it once on TV, and didn't even finish it..... this is coming from the guy who sat through the last 4 seasons of "Two and a Half Men" because he can't start something and not finish it.

3. Power Rangers: The Movie

I guess it's not really a comic book, but they are super heroes, aren't they?.... I got to admit I loved this movie when I was a kid.... but looking back on it... everything about the Power Rangers except for the giant robot SUCKED.

2. Daredevil

I am one of the few that think Ben Affleck might actually make a not too terrible Batman, but if all the haters are based on "Daredevil", then I really have no way to argue with them. 

1. Batman & Robin

From convenient ice skates coming out of shoes, to the Bat-Card, to George Clooney's worst performance ever, to Bane looking like a balloon, to Schwarzennegger's freezing tear, to diamonds somehow becoming ice, to Batgirl being Alfred's niece, to the goofy scientists in the final scene to the absolutely CRAPTASTIC special effects........ this is the mother of all disgraces.