Category Archives: Articles by Brian

Stephen Lang returning for Avatar sequels: Seriously?!

By Brian Slattery

Stephen Lang has signed on to all three Avatar sequels, reprising his role as Colonel Quaritch. You’re probably reading this thinking, “Brian, we’ve already read this in multiple places.” Well, I’m not here to break this news; I’m commenting on it.

Quaritch died in Avatar. He was shot with two very large arrows, right in the chest, dying quite convincingly. (I’m looking at you, Marion Cotillard.)

 

Quaritch, seen here dying convincingly.

Quaritch, seen here dying quite convincingly.

 

Now he’s coming back as the primary villain for the remainder of the franchise. This isn’t what has me upset. His performance — no matter how cliché – was one of the brightest stars in Avatar. What truly has me bothered is what James Cameron is saying about his return:

I’m not going to say exactly how we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all.

Let me guess, we’ll have a cross between Agent Smith’s return in The Matrix and Sigourney Weaver’s return as Grace in the first film. Ooh boy, a sci-fi resurrection baby. That or there will be a clone.

 

"I ain't got time to... be dead...."

“I ain’t got time to be dead.”

 

Is James Cameron really that strapped for ideas that he cannot come up with another villain for this franchise? Some other military figure behind the scenes of the first film? Something other than what we’ll end up getting?

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About the author:

Brian was just a lovable street rat, one whose worth lies far within, who ventured into the Cave of Wonders in search of his fortune. Unfortunately, his monkey touched the wrong thing and the cave collapsed, forcing him to have to listen to Robin Williams tell jokes for the rest of his life. His favorite films include Office Space, The Godfather, and Pulp Fiction. Also, he designed Buried Cinema’s cool logo.

Option C: Driving Miss Daisy

By Brian Slattery

 

Driving Miss Daisy in car

 

With Kevin’s choice of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, I was slightly unsure of what movie to pair with it. I chose another movie directed by Daniels in Precious. The other film I could have chosen is Bruce Beresford’s Driving Miss Daisy.

Starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy tells the story of a black man hired as the driver of an elderly white woman in 1950s Atlanta. The relationship between the two begins rocky at first, but they eventually form a friendship over their 20 years together.

The film won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1989 as well as the awards for Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Makeup.

As a comedy/drama the film plays on your heart strings in several different ways. The rapport between Tandy and Freeman can make you laugh, and the way the two experience extreme racism during their trip to Alabama not only provides direct ties to Daniels’ film but also firmly cement the friendship between the two leads.

Driving Miss Daisy is a great film and would have been a great pairing with The Butler.

—–

About the author:

Brian was just a lovable street rat, one whose worth lies far within, who ventured into the Cave of Wonders in search of his fortune. Unfortunately, his monkey touched the wrong thing and the cave collapsed, forcing him to have to listen to Robin Williams tell jokes for the rest of his life. His favorite films include Office Space, The Godfather, and Pulp Fiction. Also, he designed Buried Cinema’s cool logo.

Our Favorite Films of 2012 – Argo

By Brian Slattery

 

 

When I first watched Argo I hadn’t given it much due for how great a film it actually is. I did recognize it was a good movie with a compelling story and a mix of comedy and drama that brought balance to the movie. Given a second watching I really appreciated some of the finer details in the film.

Set mostly in 1980 Iran, Argo is the story of a CIA operation to rescue six “houseguests” from the Canadian embassy, with the help of both Canada and a select few people in Hollywood. The “houseguests” had escaped the US embassy in Iran when the facility was stormed by hundreds of Iranian revolutionaries, angered by the US’s decision to bring the Shah of Iran in for asylum instead of allowing him to be tried (and likely killed) in the Iranian justice system.

The plan to get the Americans out of Iran involves going into false production on a science fiction film named Argo. The CIA has to make the film appear legitimate in both Iran and, more importantly, in Hollywood. Once the cover is sufficiently created, CIA exfiltration agent Tony Mendes (Ben Affleck) is sent in with fake credentials for the Americans to help them escape.

What I like the most about the movie is the portrayal of the two different worlds in the film. The Hollywood world, seemingly so carefree and oblivious to the plights of the rest of the country, and the Iranian world where any wrong move could spell doom for any and all of the six Americans. One of the best recurring visuals that describes this throughout the film is the image of the Ayatollah constantly in the background, representing how scrutinized and searched for anyone with American ties is in Iran.

 

 

While there is no stand out performance, the entire ensemble does an excellent job, especially the Farsi-speaking cast. And while it was deservedly left out of the acting nominations, I feel that Affleck’s directing was possibly the biggest surprise snub of the Oscars. To pull together such a great ensemble cast, and get a brilliant group performance, he is possibly the most deserving director in this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

This Bat-Channel is coming in fuzzy

By Brian Slattery

For the first time in my life I’ve watched 1966′s film version of Batman starring Adam West. I’m no stranger to the television show and as a child would find myself tuning in at that Bat-time to watch the Caped Crusader save Gotham City time and time again. The show was magical, bringing in many memorable villains and other characters to keep the crowd happy. And with the teaming up of four of the show’s top-notch criminals there is no way this movie could fail. Except for the fact that it did.

Batman the TV show’s charm was its camp feeling. Robin saying “Holy [insert pun-type word here], Batman” every four minutes still sticks with me to this day. But the most memorable part was the comic-styled onomatopoeia that appeared during every fight scene in the show. The movie hardly had any of that. In fact, the movie uses this gag only once in its 105-minute run time. There are essentially three episodes of the series stitched together, and you only use your bread and butter once in the entire film? We see four riddles from the Riddler, and two exploding sea creatures from the Penguin in that time period. I just cannot fathom a reason for such a discrepancy in these numbers.

 

 

As we’ve learned with Joel Schumacher’s horrific Batman sequels, the more villains, the less screen time each is going to get. We get riddles from the Riddler, and jokes from the Joker, but aside from that, this is a Catwoman/Penguin film. The Joker and Riddler take a far back seat to the other two. Which is a shame because Cesar Romero can put on such a fun show as the Joker. This is not to take away from Burgess Meredith or Lee Meriwether, they each played their roles well, but to promise a showing of four villains and only truly delivering on half is not acceptable.

The movie is not without its high points, however. The show’s other claim to fame is splattered all about this movie. The gadgets. Batman has to have his gadgets, and back in the 60s every gadget had to be labeled. How else would Robin know which Bat-Spray in the helicopter was Shark Repellent and which was Barracuda Repellent? The Bat-Cave is filled with futuristic technology as well. And with the heroes returning to their lab several times, some of their equipment needs to pull double duty, and the labels help us know which box with blinking colors does what.

 

 

Batman does bring some of the joy provided by the show, but it sets its goals to loftily high for the Caped Crusader to conquer. I recommend those of you looking for a little Adam West nostalgia to stick with the television series, or watch the episodes of Family Guy that feature him as mayor of Quahog. The shenanigans he gets into on that show are all I need to bring back the fond memories of Batman THWACK-ing a guy right in his ZOCK-ing jaw.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

The Films That Made Us — The Horse Whisperer

By Brian Slattery

I am not going to tell you about my favorite movie. I am not going to tell you about a movie that affected me in any positive fashion. I have not seen this movie more than once and have not seen this movie since it was released in 1998. The Horse Whisperer, directed by Robert Redford, is the first movie I saw in theaters that I remember not liking. Did it have anything to do with the fact that I was a 12-year-old boy watching a romance movie? Of course. But the effects of me watching this movie run deep.

For those of you who do not know, The Horse Whisperer starts off with a girl named Grace MacLean (played by Scarlett Johansson) and her friend Judith going out to ride horses in the early morning. On the ride, Grace and her horse Pilgrim are hit by a truck, causing serious physical and psychological harm to both of them. In an effort to rehabilitate both Grace and Pilgrim, Grace’s mother Annie (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) takes them to Montana to visit the widely renowned “horse whisperer” Tom Booker (played by Redford).

The next hour of the movie is dedicated to the rehabilitation of both Pilgrim and Grace. Pilgrim must allow people to ride him again. Grace needs to regain her courage, both to ride Pilgrim and to take risks in general. The movie’s two main problems, solved. Great, roll credits, we can go home, right? Wrong. Turns out that Annie has fallen in love with Tom and is having an affair. This leads to an entire second half of Annie trying to decide if she wants to stay with her new flame or return home to her husband and family.

Imagine yourself as a 12-year-old boy. Is this the kind of movie you want to see? Of course not. You want to go see Godzilla destroy New York as Matthew Broderick tries to kill the beast. To this day I make my displeasure in Redford’s film known. People complain The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has too many endings; I tell them it could have ended and started an entirely new film in which Frodo has an affair with Sam’s new wife.

 

In this metaphor, Scarlett Johansson's look of injured memory represents Brian's theater experience. The horse represents Godzilla, naturally.

 

Since that fateful day in 1998 I haven’t been able to take the idea of romantic films seriously. There have been a few that I can say I’ve enjoyed. Overall, the thought of me having to sit in a theater and watch some people fall in love, have relationship issues, then get back together, is cringe-worthy. I go to movies to enjoy myself; if I wanted to watch a couple fight with each other and then make up I’d walk around the mall all day.

I am probably giving The Horse Whisperer a worse rap than it deserves, but that does not mean that I am going to watch it again. It has taken nearly three hours of my life from me. I shall not allow it to have any more. It also stole an opportunity to see Godzilla, which I had to watch a few days later than I had wanted.

And that is why Godzilla holds a special place in my heart — for being Not The Horse Whisperer.

 

I come to destroy New York and to heal your heart.

 

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

Captain America: The Last Piece to The Avengers

By Brian Slattery

Captain America is the most important piece of the Avengers puzzle. Why is that? Because Steve Rogers has everything needed in a super human. He has an unflappable spirit, tactical intelligence, and the willingness to put his own life on the line to save those around him. Oh yeah, and he had all those traits when he was the size of one of the Hulk‘s toothpicks.

 

Red Skull

As a bonus, he doesn't look like this.

 

Steve Rogers’ goal was to fight alongside his American brethren to defeat the Nazis during World War II. Rogers’ mission, after becoming the super-soldier Captain America, was to defeat a man who had harnessed the power of the gods and distributed that power amongst his loyal followers. Quite the task for one man to take upon himself, even with the help of a ragtag group of former POW’s. But still, Captain America has the strength of will to keep himself in any fight, no matter how the odds may be stacked against him.

Captain America’s greatest strength is his leadership. He commands respect from those around him. This is the main reason he was recruited by Nick Fury to be a member of the Avengers. Fury knew that his team was volatile, with a narcissist in Tony Stark/Iron Man, an arrogant demi-god in Thor, and an uncontrollable rage-beast in the Hulk. With Captain America, Fury had his rock. The man who could stand up to each of these men when the time came and say, “This is what you have to do.” Even if that command is simply, “Smash!” Nick Fury knew that above anyone else he could count on Captain America to take charge.

 

 

This is the beauty of the connected Marvel universe. One character such as Nick Fury, who may appear for no more than 30 seconds in any one of the movies, can be such an influential force. He is the talent evaluator, using his massive network of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to gather intelligence on potential candidates to join his Avengers Initiative. The future is an interesting one for Nick Fury. Who will he be contacting next to join the team? Will he be able to count on the founding members to return when called upon? And how will his board of directors deal with his actions on the heli-carrier? All I know is, I can’t wait to find out.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)