Sunday, January 27, 2013

JJ Abrams and "Star Wars": My Honest Opinion

The announcement that J.J. Abrams will be directing "Star Wars: Episode VII" sent shockwaves through nerdom all around the universe. After all, this is the guy that helped resurrect the "Star Trek" film franchise more so than anything else. Granted he's done more than that, directed the love-letter to Spielberg "Super 8", produced "Cloverfield", directed "Mission: Impossible III" and had a hand in "Mission: Impossible 4", and co-created "Lost" and "Alias" to boot. So yeah, the guy knows how to get nerds and geeks on their feet. Now for the record, I absolutely adored the "Star Trek" reboot and look forward to the sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness", and I absolutely loved "Lost" despite all the flack it received over the course of its run, but now that I've had some time to think about it, the idea of Abrams handling "Star Wars" blows my mind on so many levels that I can barely comprehend it.

Now, like I had said before, I really think that "Star Wars" should be left the fuck alone. It was bad enough we had prequels, but we really don't need sequels. Even though there's a huge part of me that would like to see new adventures unfold for Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the crew; that doesn't mean that we necessarily should. However, the one great thing about having Abrams be the man behind the camera is that I do believe he is the right guy to handle it, in terms of the Star Wars universe being so big that he has the mind's eye to capture it the right way in terms of cinematic amazement.

Then again, it's also more than likely that anything Abrams comes up with (or that Disney allows him to come up with) will be wholly predictable. Out of all the directors mentioned and rumored to be attached to the new Star Wars movie: Matthew Vaughan, Peter Jackson, Zack Snyder, and more besides, Abrams is without a doubt the safest one to go with, just from a visual spectacle standpoint, and because he's the least likely to want to do his own thing and instead go with how the studio directs him to go in terms of making the product the most marketable. That's understandable, considering this is Star Wars and Disney and throwing both of them together makes instant dollar signs, so of course Disney will go the safest route in terms of making the most marketable product imaginable, and that's what Abrams will make: more of a product than a movie.

Just a couple days ago, Jim Chadwick, an editor at DC Comics and a Facebook friend that I often converse with, brought up a valid point: why not hand the franchise off to a director that you would least expect? He brought up Takesi Miike, the brilliantly deranged director of "Ichi the Killer", "Audition", and "13 Assassins" among others. Though he's known by many as a gorehound, Miike has one of the most unique eyes for storytelling in all of modern day filmmaking. Getting someone like him that would inject the perfect blend of darkness and "Seven Samurai"-inspired storytelling (which Star Wars was semi-based on in the first place) would make for a truly unique take on the Star Wars universe, and I would absolutely kill to see such a thing happen.

Now, we know having Miike on board would never in a million years happen, but even someone like Zack Snyder would possibly deliver something a little different that we the fans wholeheartedly deserve. I mean for fuck's sake, we survived three shitty prequels and years of re-shat out "special editions" of the original films that we deserve something special for George Lucas making us look like douche bags. It is my personal hope that Abrams really delivers and proves me wrong at least a little bit, because as apprehensive as I am about this, I can't lie, I am kind of looking forward to it.

That, and I wanna see Han come from work and discover Leia having an affair with Chewbacca. That would be the tits.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The NHL Lockout is Over...Why You Shouldn't Give a Shit

At last, at last...the NHL lockout is finally over and we'll be getting an abbreviated version of the 2012-2013 season. A 48-game season is way better than having no season at all, and while I'm glad to see both sides finally come to an agreement, the whole affair leading up to this did nothing but piss me the fuck off in the process, along with practically every other NHL fan as well. With that in mind, this is probably going to be my last post in regards to anything involving the NHL (unless there's some major shit that winds up going down between now and playoff time), just because I've reached that breaking point in my life as an NHL fan, now having survived 3 (!) lockouts and plenty of piss-poor decisions from league executives, team owners, and players alike.

Gary Bettman, the beleagured NHL Commish that has run the NHL for 20 years now through 3 lockouts, handfuls of expansion teams in ridiculous markets, and some just as insane relocation projects as well, has to be on his way out you would think. The main focus of his job, other than "growing the sport" as he puts it, is to get the best deal on the table that he could for the league's 30 owners, and goddamnit, that's just what he did. When negotiations between the league and the players first took place and equally insane demands were exchanged between both sides, Bettman managed to get a good deal for the owners, albeit not the best he could have, given the fact that the NHLPA were no longer represented by a talking head to get walked all over by, but instead by Don Fehr, a put-foot-to-ass negotiator that helped make the MLBPA the powerhouse it is today. While Bettman did his job for the owners, you can't help but think that his time running the league has to be coming to an end. I mean for fuck's sake, it just HAS to. You can argue all day long about both the good and the bad he's done for the league (and believe it or not, he did have a hand in legitimately growing the sport after the potentially crippling lockout of 2004 that wiped out the whole year).

On the other side of that table is Don Fehr, who took little to no prisoners as he hardassed his way to get the NHL to soften on their deal with the players...and it worked at the 11th hour. While concessions were taken at both sides, it appeared for so long that neither the owners or the players would budge from their proposals/demands, and during the whole process, this NHL fan came to one startling conclusion: no one really gives two shits about the fans in all of this mess. Bettman, Fehr, and whatever other players or owners can say all they want in terms of how sorry they are about the whole thing and how they feel bad about the suffering fans going through life without the NHL, but they don't. Not. One. Bit.

Billionaires VS millionaires is all the lockout boiled down to, and both sides wanted more than either side was willing to give. And not one of them gives two shits about you or me, i.e. the people that help put money in their thick enough as it is wallets. And I for one believe that if we really want to make our voices heard, in this 48 game season about to begin, we just simply choose to ignore the proceedings.

Now don't get me wrong. I love hockey, and I even love the NHL even after all this bullshit. But goddamnit, enough is enough. Anyone with half a brain knows that whatever financial framework the league says needs tinkering will once again crumble by the time the next CBA expires. Within the next 8-10 years when this new CBA ends, we'll be at the same spot yet again, with another lockout and more bullshit to follow. Mark my words. And it isn't so much due to the league politics, but just because you've got 30 teams in a league based on what really is a niche sport, in unconventional markets like Columbus, Dallas, Carolina, and Phoenix that don't offer the fan support that a big league team deserves, and thus, will just continue to hemmorage money and never turn a profit.

We'll be back at this spot again next decade, and we all know it.

Oh, and hockey's back.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Thoughts on the "Evil Dead" Remake

I've been asked a lot by friends and some other fine folks in the little horror community I find myself part of just what my thoughts are of the upcoming "Evil Dead" remake, especially since the much-talked about redband trailer debuted a couple months ago. Now before I go into the trailer, I just want to say that horror remakes, especially remakes of classic horror films, tend to bring my piss to a boil. I've heard talk of a remake of "Evil Dead" for years, along with plenty of talk of the long-awaited "Evil Dead 4", which would feature both director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell return.

Well, here we are...and we sure as shit don't have an "Evil Dead 4" do we?

Now, I know that Raimi and Campbell have some involvement in this remake, which is fine of course, but the fact that Diablo Cody of all fucking people helped write the script makes my head want to explode. Do I want to hear poppy dialogue to go along with scenes of bloody dismemberment, mayhem, and tree rape? Not really no. But then something happened: the redband trailer got released to the internet...

...holy fucking shit.

Calling it intense is an understatement, as it looks like this new take on "Evil Dead" (minus Ash) is a wall-to-wall gorefest that pulls no punches. Even the film's teaser poster is labeling it as "the most terrifying film you will ever experience". And it just might be...for this generation of teenage movie-goers that grew up with the "Saw" and "Paranormal Activity" franchises.

No matter how this redband trailer makes the "Evil Dead" remake look (and I do have to admit, it does kind of make me want to at least check it out), I know damn well in my heart of hearts that this is going to be nothing special in the least. It may wind up being passable, and it just as well may wind up being one huge pile of shit. Regardless of whatever shocks it may throw your way, I can tell already that it threw away all that sickening grittiness that made the original "Evil Dead" so fucking good and horrifying for Hollywood-level special effects trickery.

That, and it doesn't have Bruce Campbell's mighty chin as the centerpiece of the show either.

Fuck it.