Friday, May 06, 2011

Camera Obscura: Buffy Slays Zombies, Bonnie & Clyde vs Dracula, and Tarantino's Western

I had a mostly artsty film post all prepped and ready for today, but my inner nerd has won the day and so, a post jam-packed with fanboy/nerd news and movies is herein offered despite the hot red blush of shame I experience when telling such tales.

Warning: what follows is violent, messy and lacking in good taste.

I've been a Robert E. Howard fan for a long time and his character of Conan the Barbarian (not all the knock-offs penned by other writers) is written with a mythic style to rival any Homeric epic. While I scoffed at talk of a movie based on the character in the early 1980s, the John Milius film "Conan The Barbarian" with Arnold Schwarzenegger shut me up fast. Written by Milius and Oliver Stone the movie was and is a stunning success - great writing, powerful music, and bold action. The sequel which followed a few years later was not. It was gutter trash.

Hollywood is trying to tackle the tales of Conan again this summer, but given the writers for this new version are the same writers for such terrible movies as "Sahara", "Dylan Dog" and the incredibly butchered Ray Bradbury short story "The Delicate Sound of Thunder", this new 3-D Conan has most fanboys in doubting mode. One plus is that actor Stephen Lang (who can bring excellence to even the worst of movies/roles) is playing the villain of the piece, but a huge minus is the director here is Marcus Nispel, who has trotted some terrible remakes in recent years - the "Friday the 13th" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies.

A new preview of the Conan film is online, which you can watch here. Looks kinda weak.

But there's just no way the crew for this version can touch the mighty epic of the original.


More swordplay is offered in the samurai action movie "13 Assassins" by director Takashi Miike. It's a remake too, based on a 1963 film, about a small group of warriors who take on an entire army. Miike's version boasts a 45-minute battle sequence which has fanboys around the internet stunned:

In an age where even the practical effects of corn syrup blood spatter have been traded for CGI (Ninja Assassin, looking at you), it’s unthinkable that a director would film a fight sequence which relies almost exclusively on practical effects, choreography and (gasp!) good old fashioned acting. The fact that this same fight sequence goes on for 45 minutes is just plain mind-blowing -- and that’s exactly how it feels when you watch it. 13 guys with swords versus 200 guys with swords, set in the streets of a small village: you watch the entire thing play out from the first slice to the last cut."

Here's a trailer.


Just arrived on DVD is this year's winner for Great Title and Horrible Movie all rolled into one -- "Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula". No reason to watch it really, but notable for being ... well, for being a strange title with nothing worthwhile to back it up.

Well, since Hollywood has already gone into a big bucks production of the book "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter", I'd say we can expect more such titles. Here's a video promoting the book:


I dived deep into my nerdy heart when I saw the following trailer for a new video game -- it's "Call of the Dead", a variation in the Call of Duty military-themed video game franchise. For this new adventure, the set up is wildly off kilter.

It begins on the set of a movie being made by King o' Zombie movies George Romero, and the stars are (swoon) Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy for those in the know), Danny Trejo ("Machete"), Robert Englund (the Freddy Krueger) and Michael Rooker (from "The Walking Dead"). Without warning, the movie gets invaded by real zombies and they attack and haul of Romero. And just as quick, these Hollywood actors weapon-up and go on a gory attack.

Yes, it is silly and stupid and without value. And yes, I can't wait to play it. Here's a trailer for the video game which hit stores this week.

Bonus: a NSFW peek at how the game starts out, complete with bad puns.


Finally, a slab of good news for Quentin Tarantino fans - he's leaked the title and script for his next film, a full blown Western called "Django Unchained".

The character of Django was a staple in the early 1960s spaghetti westerns and was played (usually) by Franco Nero, and had a reputation for being quite violent.

Tarantino toyed with the Django name before in the Takashi Miike movie "Sukyaki Western Django".

At Obsessed With Film, they offer a lengthy review of the script and the casting ideas - which includes actor Christopher Waltz from "Inglorious Basterds").

So, we heard last week that the 7th movie from the legendary writer/director Quentin Tarantino will be Django Unchained, a Sergio Leone/Sergio Corbucci style Spaghetti Western homage that will tackle 19th century American black slavery head-on and without much sugar-coating. The movie would be centered around Django, a black slave who becomes gunslinger when freed by a German bounty hunter who takes our title character under his wing, shows him the ropes of contract killing, then helps Django find his enslaved wife who is under the control of an evil plantation owner."

I'm such a lunatic fan for Tarantino, I'd even watch "Glee" if he directed an episode ... well, maybe ...

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