Skip to main content

Posts

#InformedImages: “There Will Be Blood” and “Narcos: Mexico”

#InformedImages is a Free Cinema Now series that studies and brings to light influential films and other examples of moving images that informed and inspired specific visuals in later works.

I remember the exact the moment it clicked together for me. It was about half an hour into episode 2 (directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka) of Narcos: Mexico on Netflix. The camera crept across the dry, desert landscape toward a hole in the ground, where Rafael Caro Quintero (a.k.a. Rafa, played by Tenoch Huerta Mejía) was digging furiously, in an attempt create a makeshift aqueduct to help grow his field of marijuana. It recalled images from the earlier sections of Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece There Will Be Blood, when Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) was digging for oil underneath the rocky ground. Then, as I continued to watch Narcos: Mexico, a more striking visual parallel to There Will Be Blood began to emerge. For example, as Rafa and his boss Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (…
Recent posts

Watch: THE MASTER JOKER (Trailer mashup of THE MASTER and JOKER)

At the end of Paul Thomas Anderson's 2012 drama The Master, the protagonist -- or antihero? -- Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), an alcoholic and violent WWII vet who spent most of the film's running time butting heads with his post-war environment, almost seemed to be at ease finally.

With the first teaser trailer for Todd Phillips' Joker (also starring Phoenix) dropping online today, I couldn't help but draw a new cinematic connection. What my latest mashup trailer suggests is that since the 1950s, Freddie has grown into a new person...Arthur Fleck (a.k.a The Joker) in the 1970s!

Take a look and put on a happy face.

Watch: A Whole New IT (2019 ALADDIN Mashup Trailer)

2019 is proving to be "a whole new world" indeed! This past Sunday night, during a commercial break for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Disney dropped a surprise TV spot of their upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin. It gave us our first look at Will Smith as the Genie, a role made legendary by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated feature.

While it's unfair (and definitely too early) to say whether the film -- or Smith's complete performance -- will be a massive failure, it is fair to say that the visual effects rendering of Smith as the larger-than-life blue Genie is anything but impressive. In fact, it's a downright frightening creation. It's crude and looks like a movie meme brought to life.

After watching this new TV spot several times, I began to draw movie connections and then reimagined Aladdin's Cave of Wonders as Pennywise the Clown's lair in the 2017 remake of It.

In short, Will Smith's Genie gave me more goosebumps than the cl…

Finally, The 60 Best Films Of 2018

Don't @ me.

Hereditary Directed by Ari AsterShoplifters Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda BLACKkKLANSMAN Directed by Spike LeeThree Identical Strangers Directed by Tim WardleFirst Reformed Directed by Paul SchraderCapernaum Directed by Nadine LabakiDid You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? Directed by Travis Wilkerson24 Frames Directed by Abbas KiarostamiThe Rider Directed by Chloé Zhao Annihilation Directed by Alex GarlandHappy As Lazzaro Directed by Alice RohrwacherYou Were Never Really Here Directed by Lynne RamsaySpider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman Widows Directed by Steve McQueenDon’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot Directed by Gus Van SantMission: Impossible - Fallout Directed by Christopher McQuarrieWhite Boy Rick Directed by Yann DemangeWildlife Directed by Paul DanoUnsane Directed by Steven SoderberghRoma Directed by Alfonso Cuarón Blaze Directed by Ethan HawkeIf Beale Street Could Talk Directed by Barry JenkinsÚltimos Días En La…

Watch: ALL OF VENOM: Mashup of “All of Me” and “Venom”

Venom, the latest Marvel (anti) superhero film, limps into theatres this weekend with an unimpressive 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, I'm sure that won't prevent it from making boo koo bucks at the box office. What I'm more interested in is how Venom will fit into the annals of film history -- because it does!

While this isn't my first Venom mashup video (see my The Venom Drop teaser trailer), I do think that my new mashup, All Of Venom, really speaks to what Venom ultimately will be remembered for: Tom Hardy's committed physical performance and how it plays as a companion piece to the 1984 romantic fantasy comedy All of Me starring (Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin). In Venom, Hardy's character Eddie Brock gets possessed by an alien symbiote and must learn to share his host body with said being. In All of Me, Martin's character gets possessed by the soul of the recently deceased Edwina Cutwater (Tomlin) and -- yup, you guessed it -- must learn to share his ho…

#InformedImages: “Heat,” “The Dark Knight,” “Cliffhanger” and “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”

#InformedImages is a Free Cinema Now series that studies and brings to light influential films and other examples of moving images that informed and inspired specific visuals in later works.

Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Fallout is a triumph for the M:I franchise. Not only is it a superior sequel in the series, it's the best of the films since the original M:I entry (directed by Brian De Palma). Watching Fallout in theatres this past summer was one of the most exciting screening experiences I've had in a very long time. Each action sequence delivers the thrills and each is exceptional in their own right (from an electric HALO jump sequence to a bloody bathroom brawl in a nightclub).

Since Fallout is an important achievement in the action film canon, it is just as important to understand why this film rises above most other action films. A big part of that achievement, of course, comes from the writing, directing, editing, music and the amazing conviction tha…

Watch: "Surveillance & Police States in Night of the Living Dead"

One of the enduring traits of the video essay genre is its invitation to revisit films that -- in all other instances -- have been exhaustively talked about, studied or celebrated and still be able to find new enlightenment in them. Caleb Hutchinson's video essay Surveillance & Police States in Night of the Living Dead covers some big ideas (political upheaval, societal unrest and ecosystems, etc.) within its modest three-minute running time. Hutchinson is working on a parallel of plane of thought to George Romero's iconic Night of the Living Dead and it's fitting that both Romero and Hutchinson subtly instigate so much (inside the viewer) with so little (as far as production resources go).

Enough from me. Go ahead and watch for yourself.