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A project idea for David Cronenberg: Electric Ant.

4 Feb

A project idea for David Cronenberg: Electric Ant..

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Riddick…Third time is not a charm

15 Jan

Riddick…Third time is not a charm.

Grindhouse gets their hands on another GEM….An American Hippie in Israel

6 Nov

Grindhouse gets their hands on another GEM….An American Hippie in Israel.

Peter Cushing….CORRUPTED!

20 Oct

After nearly a full year of suspense, the wait was over. I got my copy of Grindhouse Releasing’s 1968 Grand Moff Tarkin vehicle, CORRUPTION!

Let me preface the review by saying that I felt the advertising of this somewhat lost film went a little overboard, promising all this ‘gore and nudity’ like never before seen. Upon hitting PLAY you are given a choice of ‘ US/UK version ‘ or ‘International version’. After running the ‘International’ version I had wondered if a mistake was made at authoring and the version were inverted. It just didn’t seem to capture the intensity conveyed by its nifty reversible cover (which is awesome). But I feel this is not the fault of anyone but my own insensitivity to gore and flesh. This is no ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ but if you put it into perspective; big English actor (Mr. Cushing), the sixties, a comedian and a future East Ender, it was a pretty challenging work of cinema for its day.

corruption

That aside, Corruption is quite engaging and enjoyable. Story is pretty straight forward. This guy feels like crap because he accidentally got his trophy bride to be disfigured. Good thing he just happens to be a medical genius who can fix his woman’s disfigurement….At least temporary. She’s a vain chick who guilt trips him at every corner to keep her pretty. Oh, and to do this involves murdering other pretty chicks and cutting their heads off. Again, not the most amazing story, but quite effective in keeping things interesting and not feeling too hokey.

What really impressed me was Peter Newbrook’s cinematography and Don Deacon’s editing. Both went very well together. The English countryside has never looked so unintentionally grand and breathtaking. That’s right. These guys do an excellent job at emphasizing lush backdrops without seeming like their emphasizing lush backdrops. Your eyes are fixed on the characters yet you find yourself stealing glances around the characters when they’re not looking. Quite often times filmmakers come across as pompous narcissistic a-holes trying to add as much production value to low budget flicks as possible. That never feels the case here.

Music is also quite effective. Nothing like watching Grand Moff slit a topless whore’s throat open to some upbeat acid jazz. Quite jolly fun lads and lasses.

Huge kudos to Grindhouse for their excellent job mastering this film. I’m sure it’s never looked nor sounded so fine. Vibrant colors that I’m sure would’ve made Mr. Newbrook soil his pants had he seen. Grindhouse Releasing truly IS the Criterion of celluloid obscurity. As I mentioned earlier. The reversible packaging is awesome and Grindhouse trailers alone are worth the price of admission (quit teasing me with Gone with the Pope and announce a release date already will ya!).

If you appreciate cinema from an era long forgotten and want to witness just how much quality can be squeezed out of an old 1968 print, buy CORRUPTION. Just don’t expect buckets of blood and yards of skin to satisfy your sick, deranged minds.

-Orlando G Acosta for cinemabizarro

Peter Cushing…Corrupted!

19 Oct

After nearly a full year of suspense, the wait was over. I got my copy of Grindhouse Releasing’s 1968 Grand Moff Tarkin vehicle, CORRUPTION!

Let me preface the review by saying that I felt the advertising of this somewhat lost film went a little overboard, promising all this ‘gore and nudity’ like never before seen. Upon hitting PLAY you are given a choice of ‘ US/UK version ‘ or ‘International version’. After running the ‘International’ version I had wondered if a mistake was made at authoring and the version were inverted. It just didn’t seem to capture the intensity conveyed by its nifty reversible cover (which is awesome). But I feel this is not the fault of anyone but my own insensitivity to gore and flesh. This is no ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ but if you put it into perspective; big English actor (Mr. Cushing), the sixties, a comedian and a future East Ender, it was a pretty challenging work of cinema for its day.

corruption

That aside, Corruption is quite engaging and enjoyable. Story is pretty straight forward. This guy feels like crap because he accidentally got his trophy bride to be disfigured. Good thing he just happens to be a medical genius who can fix his woman’s disfigurement….At least temporary. She’s a vain chick who guilt trips him at every corner to keep her pretty. Oh, and to do this involves murdering other pretty chicks and cutting their heads off. Again, not the most amazing story, but quite effective in keeping things interesting and not feeling too hokey.

What really impressed me was Peter Newbrook’s cinematography and Don Deacon’s editing. Both went very well together. The English countryside has never looked so unintentionally grand and breathtaking. That’s right. These guys do an excellent job at emphasizing lush backdrops without seeming like their emphasizing lush backdrops. Your eyes are fixed on the characters yet you find yourself stealing glances around the characters when they’re not looking. Quite often times filmmakers come across as pompous narcissistic a-holes trying to add as much production value to low budget flicks as possible. That never feels the case here.

Music is also quite effective. Nothing like watching Grand Moff slit a topless whore’s throat open to some upbeat acid jazz. Quite jolly fun lads and lasses.

Huge kudos to Grindhouse for their excellent job mastering this film. I’m sure it’s never looked nor sounded so fine. Vibrant colors that I’m sure would’ve made Mr. Newbrook soil his pants had he seen. Grindhouse Releasing truly IS the Criterion of celluloid obscurity. As I mentioned earlier. The reversible packaging is awesome and Grindhouse trailers alone are worth the price of admission (quit teasing me with Gone with the Pope and announce a release date already will ya!).

If you appreciate cinema from an era long forgotten and want to witness just how much quality can be squeezed out of an old 1968 print, buy CORRUPTION. Just don’t expect buckets of blood and yards of skin to satisfy your sick, deranged minds.

-Orlando G Acosta for cinemabizarro

Hector Arce….The G-Lord of Sculpture Cometh!

22 Feb

The G-Lord of Sculpture Cometh!

by Orlando G Acosta

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Some time ago news came out that resounded dread to my frail ears. News that, after Tri Stars’  disastrous bastardization of a franchise near and dear to my heart back in ’98, the powers that be in Hollywood were revving up to give it one more go. The Memories crept back into my brain:  Rounding up some friends, heading to the Cineramadome in Hollywood, and somehow stomaching the films disgraceful attempt ruin Ishiro Honda’s creation. Of course I am referring to Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich’s “spit in your face” rendition of what they considered ‘Godzilla’

You, dear reader,  can imagine the skepticism bestowed upon me when hearing of the task Legendary Pictures was about to undertake. I immediately began scouring cyber space for any information, speculation, leaks…anything I could find. I started reading about who the players were going to be and different story ideas for our beloved Kaiju. With my exhaustive searching I came across images of a beast worthy of the G-name. I mean, this Godzilla was truly Godly. Muscular, lean, hunched over a bit, ready to take on any Kaiju that dared cross paths with him. This design blew me away. It gave me renewed hope that if someone outside of the eastern isle can come up with this then perhaps my memories of the old American Iguana will be forever erased. Yay! No more therapy sessions!

Upon more research I discovered that this design was the creation of one Hector Arce and really not at all tied to the new G-ressurection. This was the work of a guy who, like me, was a huge Godzilla fan. But unlike me, he has a gift to be able to breathe life through sculpture.  So I went a little deeper and found Hector’s website: http://hectorarcesculpture.daportfolio.com. To my very pleasant surprise, this guy not only made a kick ass Godzilla but an even kickier ass Biollante to battle him. Of course, Godzilla vs’ Biollante being one of the more obscure G-films on this side of the ocean, I was blown away that someone else out there was as big of a Biollante fan as me. As you can see by the pictures, this is no straight port of the plant creature that had a little girls spirit in it. Hector of course had to design a Biollante worthy and able to hold its own against his ripped up G-beast! 

Hector was gracious enough to take time away from his craft to answer a few questions about him, his designs…and a few other surprises. I thank him kindly for his time and efforts in preserving Godzilla for all us G-fans the world over. 

Anyways, without further a due : 

Orlando: Please tell us a little about yourself Hector.

Hector: I’m a Sculptor/Concept Artist from Long Beach, CA. I’ve been an artist since I can remember, taking up sculpting in college.

O: How long have you been sculpting?

H: I’ve been Sculpting for 5 years and sculpting professionally for 3 years

O: Tell us about your inspirations for your Godzilla design.

H: Well at the time I had only been sculpting for a year (I sculpted the Godzilla design you speak of 4 years ago). I wanted to push myself and create something that would seem totally out of my realm of expertise and experience. The way I see it you learn the most when you dive into something and are forced to teach yourself how to get around all pit falls of creating something like this, especially since I decided to make it 2 feet tall haha.

Godzilla has always been something I loved since I was a kid. When the project at school came up to sculpt one of our favorite “heroes” Godzilla was an obvious choice for me. I always loved the way the Godzilla from the movie 1985 looked so that was my main inspiration behind the design. From there I just wanted to update him and give him an edger/darker look and make him a little more over the top. The main goal was to make him look like he could throw down in a fight and look a bit more mobile than how he’s usually depicted.

O: What did you want to convey/get across with its design?

H: I wanted to Convey a since of power and rage with the design, if I remember correctly it was meant to be part of a set with Biollante. It was supposed to be a sort of a battle display for the El Camino College student art show. My main goal with that piece was to get him to look like he was ready for a fight.

 O: Your Biollante is quite amazing. How do you feel it deviates from Shinichiro Kobayashi’s original vision?

H: Thank you! Biollante was part of a project I was assigned at school. I was in advanced sculpting at the time in Mr. Russ McMillians class at El Camino College and he gave me an       assignment to make something about 3 feet in height. He told me to work with another student in the class at the time and lucky for me the other student was also a Godzilla fan. So we decided on redesigning Biollante and having it part of a battle with my redesigned Godzilla. The sculpture is huge, so at the time I sculpted it with fellow classmate Ernie Galvez. All I wanted to do was to update the character and add my own twist to it. I’m a firm believer in keeping true to the source material and I wanted to make sure it was still recognizable. I mean the original Biollante design is beautiful and a very intense and complex sculpture/suit. So I just wanted to change a few things here and there and just have fun with it.

O: Well you definately had some fun with it because  your Biollante came across quite edgy and menacing looking, as is your Godzilla design. I see quite an evolution and progression from their original designs to yours, without straying to the radical like the giant Iguana Devlin and Emerich came up with. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to keeping things ‘true to source’ and does it matter if one doesn’t?

H: I believe that when you’re redesigning something that people have grown up with and love and have formed an emotional attachment to you have a responsibility to not step all over that. If your goal is to completely change what made the original special then what’s the point of still calling it by that characters name? At that point the artist should just come up with his or her’s own story and just call it a new character. When I go about redesigning something I make sure that I stay true to the main things that remind us of that character, so that when you see it you know that’s Godzilla or that’s Ghidora, while still showing people something new. As an artist we always want to leave our mark on things, and I did that with my redesigns, but I feel I do not have the right to go and fully change something that is loved by so many. Of course every artist has a different opinion about this, and I respect those willing to take risks, but as I mentioned above there’s always a limitation to what you can do with pre-existing characters. You can’t just put Spider-Man in a robot suit that shoots missiles and completely change his look and still call him Spider-Man, that’s how I see it at least. And that’s why to me as a fan, Iguana Zilla never felt like Godzilla to me, it was an awesome design, it just wasn’t Godzilla.

O: I couldn’t have said it better myself. But now for a tough question: What is your favorite Godzilla incarnation and why?

H: My favorite Godzilla incarnation comes from the movie Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidora All Out Monster Attack (boy that’s a mouth full) Directed by the Gamera director Shûsuke Kaneko. I absolutely loved his take on Godzilla. Pretty much he made Godzilla a bad ass again. He was ruthless and showed no remorse for his enemies. I loved the way Kaneko designed Godzilla as well, those empty white eyes just added a great deal of evil and gave Godzilla a very sinister look. I also loved his use of wide angle shots; I had never seen that used so creatively in a Godzilla Movie before, those shots were truly breath taking. I also enjoyed how much of a jerk Godzilla was, for example that scene where he’s just kicking Baragon when he’s on the floor then just blows him up with the atomic blast was brutal and kinda hilarious at the same time. Love that movie so much.

O: I think my earliest memories of Godzilla is actually watching King Kong vs’ Godzilla when I was a wee lad and wondering how the hell this ape bested a far more superior creature, only then to spend the rest of my life obsessed with Godzilla and kind of resenting King Kong. What are your earliest childhood memories of Godzilla?

H: I remember when I was about 5 years old my parents took me to Kmart for some shopping. We were strolling down the aisles and I noticed a VHS cover that caught my attention. It was the cover for Godzilla vs The Sea Monster. I had no idea what Godzilla was at the time, I just thought, in my kid brain that it was awesome looking. I pointed it out to my dad and he went on a whole rant about what Godzilla was and he bought the movie for me. I remember watching it late at night with my mom and getting scared but loving the fights and all that. I remember being so impressed and at awe that he shot blue “fire” out of his mouth, I had never seen a dinosaur do that before. After that I was hooked and proceeded to bug my parents almost on a daily basis to buy me more movies. To this day I own every single one on VHS.

O: Very cool. Not to go back to Iguana Zilla, but after Dean Devlin/Roland Emerich’s Giant Lizard disaster, what are your fears for the upcoming Legendary Pictures retool? Do you feel history will repeat itself?

H: Legendary Pictures is an awesome studio. The guys over there definitely know what they are doing and from what I’ve seen with the type of movies that they make, they really respect the source material and take it seriously. I have full confidence that it’s going to be the Godzilla reboot we’ve all been waiting for. So really I’d say I’m more excited than fearful about their reboot, they’re a great studio and I’m sure they’ll make a great film. Just look at their track record, this is the studio that gave us all the new Dark Knight movies, 300, the only studio that had the guts to take on Watchmen and actually do it right, so yeah I’m not worried, it’s in great hands.

O: What can you tell us about your involvement with Legendary Pictures? How did that come to be?

H: I can’t really share anything about my involvement with Legendary, other than that I’ve done some work for them and they’re a great studio to be involved with. The producers over there really get what the fans want and really respect the source material of all their movies. Great people over there, and I can only express how happy I am to do work for them.

O:Fair enough. What are your hopes and fears for the Legendary Pictures G-film?

H: No fears, just excitement. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. Ask anyone who was in Hall H at last summer’s comic con and they’ll tell you the same. The teaser brought chills to everyone in the room; it’s going to be insane.

O: Of course the man in a rubber suit technique is not something Legendary Pictures is toying with. Do you feel total CGI can do Godzilla justice or is a Kaiju film not a Kaiju film if there aren’t guys in big rubber suits?

H: Yeah, of course it can, I love the big ole Kaiju suits as much as anyone, but they are extremely limited. A fully CGI Godzilla will actually be able to move like a real animal, he won’t be hindered by a suit being too heavy. Done right, any kaiju film would look amazing in CGI; I honestly think that’s the next step. I don’t think kaiju movies are necessarily defined by the rubber suits; they are defined by the cool designs and monsters in it. CGI can only help; you could do a mixture of both, still have the guy in the suit, but animate some things that just aren’t possible to do in a rubber suit. Either way, I think we’re seeing a rebirth of the kaiju genre, especially with Pacific Rim coming out and I think it’s great that they’re being exposed to a whole new generation of kids.

O: And of course I must ask, what is your favorite Godzilla film?

H: This is a tough one, I like so many. I’ll do my top 3.

1. Gojira

2. Godzilla 1985 

3. Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidora All Out Monster Attack.

O: Top three sounds good. I’d swap out Godzilla vs’ Biollante for GMK personally. And since I had mentioned King Kong earlier. Should there be a rematch between Godzilla and King Kong?

H: Haha, depends on which King Kong you’re talking about…American King Kong is about what 25-30 feet tall, while Godzilla is what about 300ft? I’m pretty sure King Kong wouldn’t stand a chance; Godzilla would probably just step on him. Now if it’s the giant Japanese version of Kong then, sure that’d be kinda cool, but I still don’t see how Kong could win…Atomic blast would probably take him out pretty quickly, with all that fur and all.

O: What do you think of a Godzilla vs’ Gamera flick? Who would your money be on?

H: Godzilla vs Gamera would be awesome! It’s a long time coming in my opinion, and needs to happen, in the old school rubber suit way. You already had the Gamera director do his take on Godzilla, it just seems to make perfect sense. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before. They’re both pretty tough; it’d be like the Yankee’s vs the Yankees in my opinion. But Godzilla is the king of monsters right? I’d have to put my money on him.

O: True true. Maybe Gamera AND King Kong vs’ Godzilla. I am going to break out my stop motion app on my phone.  Any last words of wisdom? What does Godzilla represent to you?

H: Keep doing what you believe in, even if others don’t believe in you at first. As long as you’re sure it’s what you want to do then just keep moving forward. There’ll always be hurdles along the way, and that’s a part of life, the goal is to get past those and be happy. Godzilla to me has such a powerful story; a lot of people seem to overlook how serious he was treated when he was first introduced to the world in Gojira. It was all out of a result of the fear of nuclear war and the repercussions and affects that radiation had on living things. Godzilla was the embodiment of an atomic blast. He was a physical representation of the terror people felt at the time. And if you think about it, it’s such a powerful message. It wasn’t just about a giant monster stomping around and being misunderstood, it was all the rage and pain that was caused by the war, that’s what Godzilla represents to me. He’s a force of nature that can’t be stopped.

meethector

 

Disney,again, proves just how shallow they are!

12 Jan

Shake it up! The Suite Life? Jessie? Something and Ally? This is the kind of prepubescent crap available for kids to watch these days. Gone are the days of Old Yeller and Mickey Mouse. Seriously, with Disney’s huge back catalog why do they insist on spending their ‘not so hard earned’ money on crap like a couple of kids living on a fancy cruise ship?

As I sit here, listening to Joseph Trapanese’s wonderfully Daft Punk-ish TRON UPRISING score, I begin to think that, aside from a home video release, this is it. Why? Because a day after the TRON UPRISING soundtrack was released, Disney leaked out that they do not have any plans to bring back

Elijah Wood and company for another pass down the Grid.

For the uninitiated. TRON UPRISING is the animated series that made its debut last year on Disney XD. It take place between the original 1982 classic and its proper sequel, TRON LEGACY. It follows the exploits of Beck. A young dreamer who is tired of the oppressiveness that is ever swelling on the Grid and is mentored by the man himself, TRON, to be a fighter for the people. TRON is already enlisted by CLU but is not fully succumbed to him like he is in LEGACY. He begins training Beck as the Renegade. Could the Renegade be the next TRON? We may never know because Disney is saying “End of Line man!”

On one end I am not at all surprised. I’m old enough to remember how the original TRON was so dismissed my the mainstream. I was 9 when a family friend took me to see it in the theaters. I immediately fell in love with it. It was so many light years ahead of the world back then and still holds its own as being unlike anything anyone has ever experienced before. Steve Lisberger was a visionary but the masses weren’t ready for TRON. I and, thousands others were. TRON was a modest success but was shunned by many and it took 28 years to release a sequel…28 years for Disney to realize that they were missing out on one of the freshest ideas ever! TRON LEGACY was released in late 2010. Budgeted at around 170 million it raked in more than 400 million globally, and counting. LEGACY, like it’s predecessor, experienced mixed reviews but was successful enough for the powers that be at Disney to green light UPRISING. I, for one, love LEGACY. I feel it captured the essence of TRON wonderfully. All the doubt I had about Kosinski, being a movie filmmaker, quickly went away shortly after the first few frames. I’m sure Lisberger was proud. I’d be.

But now, after almost a year, a crappy time slot and miss handled marketing, UPRISING may not return ever again. That’s a shame because there is so much story left to be told. Paul Reuben’s character was really starting to take shape as was Mandy Moore’s. And what about a Obi Wan-Anakin-style showdown between Beck and Tron? The last episode has not aired yet as of me writing this but…It’s not looking like it.

I have included a link for a petition I created, to see if enough pressure can be placed on the suits at Disney to reconsider. They need to know that there are like minded individuals out there who prefer creativity over fodder, substance over pre-teen garbage. The money is theirs. It’s their choice to give us another 10 seasons of Shake it up! or, try something with more value, respect and quality… Keep UPRISING alive!

https://www.change.org/petitions/the-walt-disney-company-renew-tron-uprising-for-another-season?utm_campaign=share_button_mobile&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_after_sign

Sign the petition! Be heard! We are Users, not programs!

– Orlando G Acosta