Gary Oldman: Getting Vicious with Baldwin & Gibson?

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On June 25th, Playboy had published an interview with Gary Oldman, an actor who is best known for his portrayal of Commissioner Gordon, Count Dracula, and Sid Vicious. Within this ten page interview, Oldman talks at length about theory on acting and film, the politics behind Hollywood, and teaching his children the history of cinema. However, what people will take away is a small 5% of the article where he uses Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin as examples of the hypocrisy found in Hollywood and Public Perception. First of all, the whole reason Baldwin was originally brought up was because Oldman was discussing how Baldwin’s documentary “Seduced and Abandoned” showed the ridiculousness of getting a movie produced. The interviewer David Hoffman asked leading questions which caused Oldman to digress into an interesting rant. The hypocrisy he was talking about is where social commentators like John Stewart, Bill Mahr, can get away with saying similar things because it’s deemed in context or socially acceptable whereas the people will publicly shame anyone else. If you don’t believe me, take a few moments and listen to Glenn Beck or Richard Pryor. Furthermore, John Stewart once discussed on Larry King that this knee jerk ostracizing is perplexing. Regardless, Oldman had quickly realized his rant didn’t come out as tactfully as he had hoped.

So this interview has gone very badly. You have to edit and cut half of what I’ve said, because it’s going to make me sound like a bigot”

Now, Gary Oldman has released a public apology. This is where Oldman puts his “anti-semitic” statement in proper context by citing the award wining book An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. In hindsight, this is another form of yellow journalism where David Hoffman took a small fraction of an interview and spun it into something needlessly controversial. While CBS is going to continue the spin with headlines like, Gary Oldman Apologizes for Defending Alec Baldwin and Mel Gibson, I am going to look up some of Oldman’s inspirations such as, Stanley Kubrick’s Playboy Interview, The Loneliness of the Long Distant Runner, The Raging Moon, and An Empire of Their Own. Honestly, I don’t read interviews of my favorite artist in hopes for anything derogatory or controversial.

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Ant Man: The Curious Case of Edgar Wright

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On May 23rd, Marvel studios and Edgar Wright made an announcement they were parting ways on Ant Man due to differences in their vision of the film. Because Edgar Wright who is known for Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead, many believed he was going to offer a very unique and fun twist to the Marvel movie roster; therefore, controversy ensued after this press release.

One month later, Kevin Feige released another update on the Ant Man situation.

Ant-Man is still going to come out on 17 July [2015], we start filming this August. Edgar Wright, who I’ve known for many years, who wrote the draft with Joe Cornish – much of the movie will still be based very much on that draft and the DNA of what Edgar has created up to this point, but Peyton Reed has stepped in [to direct]. Adam McKay, a very good writer is reworking parts of the script – not the entirety of the script, but some of it – and it’s going to, we believe, come to life in the best version of Ant-Man that we could possibly make”

 

Of course, they are going to reassure the share holders and anyone else invested in this film that everything is still going ahead as plan. Don’t worry your money and contracts are in safe hands. However, when Feige starts dipping into the part about how the, “movie will still be based very much on… the DNA of what Edgar has created”, or, “Adam McKay… is reworking parts of the script – not the entirety of the script”. It makes one wonder what exactly the, “differences in their vision of the film”, are. Was there another reason why they parted ways such as deadlines or money? Were there some darlings Wright absolutely refused to kill off, so Marvel pulled a power play? Or, maybe they are just jerking off and pacifying the fan outcry. Either way, out of all my years of being a Marvel fan not once did I believe that Ant Man of all Avengers would be the most controversial when it came to big screen adaptation.   

Star Wars: Dear Lord Please Don’t Let Me #*$&! This Up

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According to Deadline’s press release, Rian Johnson will be taking over creative duties for Star Wars VIII and IX. Johnson is known for his critically acclaimed independent movies such as Brick and Brothers Bloom as well as his most recent film, Looper. Currently, this makes three indie directors who’ve been tapped to fill in the mighty big shoes of George Lucas. There’s Josh Trank who directed the 2012’s criminally overlooked superhero movie Chronicle. Meanwhile, Garth Edwards previously captured the colossal scale of Godzilla and Monsters.

Now, before thinking our beloved franchise is being handed off to a bunch of kids with delusions of grandeur, there are some things to consider. First of all, George Lucas took in indie directors for V and VI. Also, Much like what George Lucas pulled off with THX 1138, Monsters, Looper and Chronicle showcase how to capture big ideas with a shoestring budget. This practical approach from independent directors has a history of paying off big for fans. For example, look at Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Although JJ Abrams gave the audience memorable, albeit superfluous, special effects in Star Trek, it’d be nicer for Star Wars sequels to pull us in with character drama rather than rely upon expensive CGI like the prequels.

In addition, Rian Johnson response to the press release conjures up the spirit of young George Lucas. The man who was sweating away in the desert moping to Stephen Spielberg about how Star Wars is sure to be the lowest point in his career. Granted, because Star Wars was a nightmare from it’s conception to it’s post production, Lucas had every right to think he hit bottom, yet Star Wars somehow marked a new age of cinema.

Maybe it’s a tad sadistic, but it’s refreshing Disney is willing to let these directors take the reigns. Sure, they’re cheaper than say JJ Abrams or Joss Whedon, but it also benefits the fans because smaller name directors who work under larger amounts of pressure have often produced great pieces of cinema. Maybe this perspective is a tad optimistic, but who are we kidding? Anything tagged with the Star Wars brand will dominate the box office, but that sadly includes Phantom Menace. However, maybe a fresh vision will bring Star Wars back to its former glory.  

Mad Monster Party Phoenix 2014

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Despite the searing 107 degree weather, many maniacs clad in black with black hair and touches of gray crept into the Sheraton Hotel for this year’s Mad Monster Party Convention. Once the fanatics were able to bludgeon their way through wide eyed and sometimes helpless volunteers and security personal, they were greeted with an exhibitor hall. Along the walls were tables and booths with actors from Nightmare on Elm St, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Child’s Play as well as The Runaways and Elvira. Each and every guest would smile and greet each fan who walked by and love to quickly engage their fans in conversation. Unlike other conventions who host actors and celebrities, at no point did the attendees have to cattle prod the guests to get them to dance and speak. Instead, the actors often geek out about their works just as much as their fans. Afterall, these are guest like Gunnar “Leatherface” Hansen who wrote a book chronicling his experience working on TCM.

After prying ourselves away from the buzzing tattoo stations with horror themed flash art, we make our way down towards the cozy Panelist room. If there’s anybody missing from the booths or tables in the Exhibitor hall, it’s usually because the guests are taking part in a panel which focuses on the horror work they are known for. The moderator will do the obligatory “How is everyone?” followed by forced cheering and clapping. Then the moderator sets up a Q&A with the same set of eight questions from panel to panel. However, each guest has their own unscripted responses which can be short and sweet to long winded. We quickly learn these guests are far from being sadomasochistic tortured souls they’re known for portraying. Because most of them talk about the business from an outsiders perspective, it’s easy for them to joke about the absurd or odd behavior they’ve witness in Hollywood, or the reverence they have for the creation and conceptualization.

During the Nightmare on Elm Street panel, Heather “Nancy” Langenkamp explains how she use to have nightmares about Freddy’s tongue suffocating her. This is a scene pulled from Nightmare 7. This was her example of how sexual images can subliminally affect the mind. This imagery took time and therapy to ease her out of these night terrors. From Wes Craven and Heather Langenkamp’s perspective, Nightmare on Elm Street was less about Freddy and the nightmares and more about Nancy being able to separate reality from dream. To solidify this aspect was how Wes Craven wanted to make New Nightmare focus more on Heather Nancy’s sanity rather than Freddy breaking out into reality.

Yet, there are other times the discussion slips into the darkness. For example, Brad Dourif was asked what he does in order to get into character when portraying Chucky. He begins by asking us if we ever fantasized about killing somebody who annoyed us. He then goes on to explain how we are all predators and it’s perfectly natural to feel that impulse. Dourif explains he takes that frame of mind and applies it to his role when he is in character. After all, acting is just another form of fantasizing. The room falls silent for a few moments before Dourif explains none of that frightens him. On the other hand, he is terrified of guns. Because he can’t look at one without knowing it was created for the sole purpose of turning people into meat.

Gunnar “Leatherface” Hansen’s grim anecdote comes when he discusses the infamous twenty six hour shoot for Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He explains that the exhaustion from the shoot had made him delirious. When somebody yelled, “kill that bitch”, Hansen turned towards Sally with that very intent until he quickly snapped out of it.

In closing, one of the guest gave an ego stroking compliment to fans of horror. When it comes to horror movies, fans evaluate the movie based not only on the story, but also the creature effects, cinematography, acting style, originality and so on. It’s a genre of film that can’t be evaluated from a single aspect. For example, it’s why all the remakes don’t resonate as much as the originals did, Psycho being the greatest offender. Therefore, because of the complexity of the genre, it attracts not just the outsiders but the intellectuals.

PhxCC2014: Spotlight on James O’Barr

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During the 2014 Phoenix Comic Con, James O’Barr sat down for a panel in which he discussed the history and future of The Crow and himself. The following are only a few of the many topics O’Barr covered during his presentation and Q&A.

At the age of eighteen James O’Barr experienced the most profound and tragic event of his life. After all these years, it’s still difficult for O’Barr to talk about the loss of his fiance who was killed in a drunk driving accident. In order to escape from this reality, O’Barr enlisted in the military. Because O’Barr knew Latin, he worked as a translator. During his tours of duty in France and Germany, O’Barr picked up local graphic novels and was inspired to painfully scratch out his first graphic novel, The Crow. James O’Barr explained it took eight years to finish because, “it felt like fucking an open wound”.

It’s fascinating how the iconic crow was almost a rabbit because James O’Barr was fascinated by the Alice in Wonderland phrase, “crazy as a march hare”. However, his artistic representation of the rabbit didn’t fit the style and mood he was aiming for. Instead, O’Barr settled on using The Crow. Because crow feed on the dead, he felt they more symbolically represented his tormented protagonist Erik Draven and himself.

When discussing his philosophy towards himself and his work, James O’Barr talks about how everyone is damaged to some degree. He just wears his on the outside. He further explains that in order to grow as an artist, one must learn to fail. It’s only through failure we learn to grow as a person. When looking back, failure, anger, and self destruction had defined most of O’Barr’s life.

During the Crow’s publication O’Barr also worked at Spin Magazine. He would go onto befriend brooding musicians, such as Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. Reznor and other artists would often talk highly of The Crow and it came as no surprise that record stores rather than comicbook stores would carry issues of The Crow. One can’t think of The Crow movie without remembering the moody soundtrack. With the exception being The Cure, everybody on the soundtrack was a personal friend of James O’Barr.

O’Barr is still an angry old man, but he may have finally found peace with some of the ghosts which have haunted him since his youth. He has learn to focus his self destructive energy into his art style. In addition, he is developing a kinship with his fans. James O’Barr understands that The Crow has resonated with millions of people around the world by helping his fans through their own darkest moments. Unlike the times from his youth when O’Barr’s brooding and anger made even his contemporaries like Mike Mignola nervous, O’Barr welcomes people to approach and engage him in discussion and opens his panels thirty minutes early with dick jokes and laughter.

So, what about the Crow reboot? James O’Barr is hopeful. As great as the original was, this time the audience may get a more faithful adaptation of the original Crow graphic novel. There is no doubt the original Crow movie was a great representation of the underground 90’s culture, but it would be nice to see a truer adaptation of The Crow. To make that happen O’Barr has kicked away royalty checks in favor of being an executive producer. O’Barr is currently entitled to work closely with the director, screenwriter, and production staff. They have also agreed to let him call back his musician friends to help with the soundtrack. The look and style is suppose to emulate 70’s movies such as Taxi Driver. So much so that they are currently looking for 70’s film stock. Nevertheless, perhaps one of the important aspects is the reboot’s depiction of violence. As O’Barr spills out another anecdote about driving to the hospital with his stomach bleeding out, he reminds us that the depiction of violence and pain should be brutal and honest. Besides, isn’t that why we love The Crow after all these years?

Update

Due to inaccuracies, the information on Gary Reed and his Caliber Comics has been retracted. If you would like to know more about Gary Reed and the History of Caliber Comics, please visit Reed’s blogs where he discusses Caliber Comics in great depth

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PPF 6/4 | Panels Pixels Frames

 

PPF 6/4 | Panels Pixels Frames.

This week, we talk about Jupiter Rising, Dr. Strange, Ant Man, Metal Gear Solid, E3, Mortal Kombat, Girl Meets World, Scandal, Game of Thrones, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Maleficent, and rant for a while about social issues.