A Disastrous Live Blog: Going Down on POSEIDON

So, after much demand (aka “one request”), I’ve decided to do another not-so-live blog of a movie viewing. And it Poseidon2006was while enjoying my usual New Year’s tradition of watching the classic disaster flick The Poseidon Adventure that I came upon the inspiration for my latest live blog candidate – the 2006 remake, Poseidon. So, strap on your life vests, we’re about to go under!

1:20 Opening credits and SPLOOSH! There she is – the POSEIDON – the biggest CGI ship ever to sail the CGI seas!

1:58 “Stacy Ferguson” – y’know, I can understand Fergie wanting to use her given name when she’s acting in order to distance herself from her “Fergie, the singer” persona…but she’s in a film where she plays a singer…who performs on a stage…and only has one line of spoken dialogue. “Fergie” has done more legit acting in her music videos than “Stacy Ferguson” does in this whole movie, is what I’m saying.

2:46 The SS CGI POSEIDON really is quite impressive – but not as impressive as Josh Lucas’ velour jogging ensemble.

3:46 Lovebirds Emmy Rossum and Mike Vogel, just chilling on the couch in their HOUSE-SIZED stateroom. Seriously, it has two floors and everything.

5:01 Em-Ro’s dad, Kurt Russell just launched a buzzkill, so she storms away – up the freaking WINDING STAIRCASE of their stateroom/houseboat/floating mansion.

5:09 And here’s stowaway Mia Maestro – whom I always get confused with Maria Menounos, even though there’s nary a mani-cam or awkward red carpet interviewee in sight.

6:16 She bumps into Josh Lucas and asks if he knows where the galley is – and he basically starts interrogating her about her lack of knowledge of the ship – jeez, lay off bro, a simple “down the hall, to the right” would’ve done.

POS1

bling,bling

6:35 Cut to Richard Dreyfuss, leaving a nervous voice mail to his absent partner. Man up, Dick – no one likes a sniveling gay, even if he is rich (I can just imagine the costumers high-fiving themselves when they chose to adorn him with a marble-sized single diamond earring – “It shows he’s rich AND gay!” “OMG, that’s perfect”, “I know, right?”, etc…)

7:08  Freddy Rodriguez, waiter and stowaway-enabler. Not the best actor, this one, but he’s a hot little piece of eye candy, so he gets a pass.

7:45 Captain Andre Braugher, deciding that New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to give his passengers an impromptu mythology/history lecture.

8:05 And then he presents Fergie – uh, Stacy Ferguson – as ‘the incomparable GLORIA!”…I’m sorry, but the only Gloria who gets to have an introduction like that is Gloria Estefan. Truth.

8:08 “Woo!” – Fergie

8:10 “Woo!” – FergieFerg

8:12 “Woo!” – Fergilicious

8:45  A high-stakes poker game with professional gambler, Josh Lucas, ex-New York mayor Kurt Russell, and all-around douche, Kevin Dillon – who actually refers to himself as “Lucky Larry” – aka the kind of character who won’t be alive by the midway point of the film.

10:40  Josh Lucas bumps into Jimmy Bennett, playing Conner, the most annoying kid in a disaster movie EVER and his mom, Jacinda Barrett.

12:36 Em-Ro and Mike Vogel dance it up in the discotheque while Mia Maria Maestro just strolls around the floor. She sucks at being a stowaway, y’all.

13:09 Dicky Dreyfuss orders his table a $5,000 bottle of champagne, then tells everyone his sob story about his partner ditching the crusie so he could take off with another dude. Man up, Dick – no one likes a pathetic gay, even if he is rich.

14:08 Uh-oh, up on the bridge, the First Officer’s Spidey-Sense is tingling…seriously he’s like the rogue-wave whisperer, standing there vibing, “Something’s off…”

14:17 Everyone grab your champagne, Fergie’s leading the New Year’s countdown!

15:20 And everyone is happy except Dicky Dreyfuss, who tosses his Nokia Product Placement into the ocean. No wonder his partner left him, probably got sick of him pulling entitled shit like this all the time.

Seriously, that's some XXL-type eyewear there.

Seriously, that’s some XXL-type eyewear there.

15:25 The First Officer grabs the BIGGEST pair of binoculars ever and confirms his pre-cog abilities. ROGUE WAVE INCOMING! (And it’s happening at just over 15 minutes into the movie, too – screw character development, we’re on the fast-track to topsy-turvy time!)

16:05  Dicky D, about to toss himself to an overly dramatic death, notices the wave and…gets scared so much he now wants to stay alive?” Dude wants to kill himself, gets faced with something about to do the heavy lifting for him, then backs out completely? Man up, Dick – no one likes an indecisive gay.

16:39  Here it comes!

17:05 SPLOOOOOOOSHH!

17:10 ROOOOAARRRRRR! (I guess the wave must have swept up a pride of lions somewhere along the way)

17:45 Ship’s tipped 45 degrees – the ship’s swimming pool creates a mini rogue wave within the big rogue wave – it’s like an aquatic Russian nesting doll.

18:12 Ship at 90 degrees – time to clear the dance floor!

ZAP! Ouchie.

ZAP! Ouchie.

18:29 OUCH. Mike Vogel just crotched himself on a fallen lighting rig.

18:45 180 degrees – shit is getting real (in the CGI-est of ways) y’all. Bodies be flipping n’ falling.

18:57 But wait! The ship’s is rotating back up!

19:03 PSYCH! It’s going back under. And for good measure, serves up a fireball special to all the service staff in the maintenance hallway – FWOOSH!

19:08 Attention Passengers – your ship’s crew will not be returning from the bridge for the foreseeable future.

20:40 Kurt Russell, doing an awesome zombie fake-out, pushing his way out from under a pile of dead bodies.

21:45 Em-Ro and Mia Maestro Menounos, with a combined body weight equal to that of a large dog, try to lift the lighting rig off Mike Vogel. LIFT WITH YOUR LEGS, LADIES.

23:12 Hot damn! EVERYONE in the disco who was not currently concerned with Mike Vogel`s crotch just got electrocuted, fried, zapped and/or sizzled to death. Way harsh – surviving a cruise ship capsizing only to receive death by disco.

23:35 Mia Mya Menudo – “It`s only dead people, right?” Damn, girl – you got cold real fast.

24:58  Josh Lucas wastes no time in stealthily trying to figure out how to MacGyver his way out of the upside-down ballroom – and gets busted by annoying kid Conner. Seriously, just clock that kid over the head and say a wall sconce fell on him or something.

25:50 Kurt Russell’s gonna find his daughter, dammit! (Even though, as he feared, she’s currently busy with Mike Vogel’s crotch).

26:14 Man up, Conner! No one likes a whiny 9 year old.

27:19 Like moths to a flame, all the main players are drawn to Josh Lucas’ sexiness so they can forge ahead into Act 2. Roll Call: Josh, Kurt, Dicky D, Jacinda B, Annoying Conner and hot waiter F-Rod. Ah-ah-ah – not so fast FergieFerg, only real actors allowed beyond this point.

30:00 Back in the discotheque, Mamma Mia stumbles across a survivor – LUCKY LARRY!

31:30 Josh Lucas’s Sexy Escape Club members just found a seemingly bottomless elevator shaft and use a bench to start traversing it one by one. Dicky Dreyfuss is literally letting everyone walk all over him so they can climb out of the shaft. No shocker there.

One of you will NOT be moving on to the next round

One of you will NOT be moving on to the next round

33:27 The bench falls and F-Rod grabs onto Dicky-D, who is being held up by Josh Lucas, who in turn is quickly losing his grip – “Kick him off!” he orders, so Dicky-D goes foot-to-face with F-Rod and sends him plummeting. About time you manned up, Dick.

35:20  Meanwhile, back at Mike Vogel’s crotch…Lucky Larry lends his leverage to the ladies to help lighten the load off Mike’s legs, letting him loose without losing a limb.

37:40 Sexy Escape Club finds the Disco Death Defiers. Jacinda looks at Mike’s leg, “I think it’s just a cut” (HUGE GASH).

38:30  Ugh. Go away, Annoying Conner.

40:27  Mike Vogel, showing no regard for his recently liberated crotch, starts shimmying across a beam in the grand lobby.

41:31  Un-Lucky Larry swigs from his flask, talks some shit to Kurt and Josh, then cuts in line to shimmy next. Result: DEATH by falling debris.

46:00 Father/Daughter piggyback zip-line FTW!

46:50 Back in the ballroom, Fergie realizes that her short on-screen time is at an end when the windows crack and make it insta-flood time

51:12 Our survivors all cram into a vertical vent to escape the rising water and Josh, bringing up the rear, is NOT HAVING IT AT ALL. Sexy Josh Lucas is now Angry Josh Lucas (still sexy though).

59:50 Wheee! Waterslide time, Goonies-style!

1:02:00 After overcoming her claustrophobia in the vertical vent, Mia Maria Maestro Menounos also freed Dicky Dreyfuss from a hole he got stuck in AND provided the means for everyone’s escape when her necklace was used to unscrew the vent cover. And how does the film reward her? By making her this version’s Shelley Winters. Meaning…

 See what happens when you decide to be a stowaway, kids?

See what happens when you decide to be a stowaway, kids?

1:03:00 …Miss Maestro gets tangled up in an underwater swim, hits her head and DIES. Dicky-D swims to her rescue, but of course, he’s too late. Seems the only thing he’s good at is making sure people around him die. No one likes a harbinger-of-death gay, Dick.

1:03:33 Sexy Josh Lucas is now Sad Josh Lucas (but still sexy)

1:05:00 Everyone has just stumbled into what appears to be a set from Hoarders: Cruise Ship Edition. Mind your step around the charred corpses, y’all.

1:08:30 Josh’s planned route to freedom via the propeller shaft is completely submerged (group changes their name to the Sexy No Escape Club).

1:09:20  Everyone decides it’s a perfect time to kick back and take five, and Kurt basically tells Josh, “Hey, don’t feel bad that you’ve led us all into certain death. You totes gave it your best shot”.

1:10:20 The ship starts belching big explosion-size burps. One of boom-boom burps un-submerges Josh’s escape route – but Jacinda can’t go because dumbass Conner has wandered off again. LEAVE THE DAMN KID AND GO!

1:14:00 As the water starts flooding back in, they find Conner who has, of course, managed to get himself trapped in some type of equipment cage.

1:14:25 “Conner! How did you get in there?!” “I dunno”. This kid is the worst. LEAVE HIM. Josh almost DOES, but then saves him somehow. Yay.

1:16:00 Kurt and Mike Vogel fight over who gets to be this version’s Gene Hackman and die a hero’s death. Kurt wins.

1:19:05 Kurt swims under water to the control room, reverses the propellers, does the funky chicken, then dies.

1:21:00 Even though Josh saved Conner, the kid can’t stop blubbering. LEAVE HIM.

1:22:00 Time to blow shit up and get the hell off of da ship!

1:25:00 JUUUUUUMP! (And land in the water right next to that conveniently-placed lifeboat that somehow hasn’t managed to drift away).

1:26:03 Look out – the ship`s gonna belly flop on all y’all! Everyone paddles like mad (except for Conner, fulfilling his destiny by officially becoming dead weight).

1:26:30 And the ship manages to upright itself before finally sinking to the watery depths below – so, basically everyone could’ve just chilled out til this happened and THEN jumped ship. Oh well, hindsight, 20/20, blah blah blah.

1:26:20  Yay! Fireworks! (Or flare guns. Whatever.)

1:29:30  Get to tha (Coast Guard) choppa!

And we’re done! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Until next time, SPLOOOSH!

 

 

 

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Movie-Inspired Music Videos

Many music videos have looked to key scenes or memorable sequences from films for inspiration. Madonna’s “Material Girl” video (a nod to Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted” (a take on the “Airotica” sequence from Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz) are just two of many notable examples.

However, some music videos go that extra mile and don’t just use a scene for inspiration, but rather the whole film, and end up becoming mini-remake masterpieces. And one such video just happens to belong to the current #1 single atop the Billboard Hot 100. So, in honour of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, let’s take a look at some of the more exceptional movie-inspired music videos.

Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX – “Fancy” (2014)

Australian newcomer Iggy Azalea no doubt owes part of the chart success for her debut single “Fancy” to its video, which is a spot-on redux of the classic comedy, Clueless. Azalea and her crew deftly navigate key scenes and fashions that Alicia Silverstone and company first did a lap with in 1995.

Faith No More – “Last Cup of Sorrow” (1997)

With Jennifer Jason Leigh stepping in for Kim Novak, the members of Faith No More give their melodramatic best in this homage of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. “Last Cup of Sorrow” from Faith No More’s final studio release, “Album of the Year” peaked at #14 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.

Paula Abdul – “Rush Rush” (1991)

While Keanu Reeves’ floppy hairstyle is so totally 90s, everything else about this Rebel Without a Cause-inspired video, from the fine n’ flirty fashions to the vintage vehicles hits that 50s sweet spot. “Rush Rush” spent 6 weeks at #1, and while they may not give Natalie Wood and James Dean a run for their money acting-wise, Abdul and Reeves still make a damn fine good looking couple.

Berlin – “No More Words” (1984)

For the video for what became their first Top 40 hit, Berlin chose to give their take on 1967’s iconic outlaw flick Bonnie and Clyde. Faye Dunaway was certainly fashion-forward in the film, but she still managed to “look period” — however, much like Keanu Reeves anachronistic hairstyle in “Rush Rush”, the two-toned hair of Berlin’s Terri Nunn is so totally 80s.

Remakes, Reboots & Reimaginings: Part 2

Continuing our look into the Three R’s of non-original film-making, let’s dive into reboots – what they are and how they have been used – and misused lately.

REBOOTS

First, a quick breakdown. At its most basic, “reboot” means to restart – and is usually used in conjunction with computers and other technical devices. In the entertainment industry, a reboot is when a faded yet familiar property, be it film franchise, tv show, comic or book series is also restarted, but with significant changes.

What makes the difference between remakes and reboots can be boiled down to a couple of key points:

1) remakes use a single work as their source material while reboots are based on a series of work (i.e. film franchises, tv shows, video games or comic/book series)

2) remakes are essentially retellings of the story found in the original work, whereas reboots are literally restarts – usually taking characters audiences are familiar with, disregarding their previous iterations and telling completely new stories with them.

And in a world where remakes are sometimes met with indifference simply because of what they represent – something that is not original and usually unnecessary – reboots tend to have a certain cachet to them, as they hold the promise of bringing something new and different to an established character or series. Because of this, it is not uncommon to find that a project that has been touted as a reboot is nothing more than a glorified remake upon its release (…but more on that later).

I find that reboots tend to fall into one of two categories – the hard reboot and the soft reboot:

Hard Reboots

Hard reboots are the “traditional” reboots – the ones that wipe clean the continuity of the original source material and take their Batscharacters back to their starting point in order to take them in a different direction than what was previously established.

One of the most well-known hard reboots would be Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy,  which did away with the very comic-book-esque Batman and Gotham City found in the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher series of films, rebooted  them as a gritty hero and a grittier city and offered completely different takes on villains like Joker, Catwoman and Bane than were seen in the previous films.

Other current examples of hard reboots would include the Superman blockbuster Man of Steel, the  J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films, the latest Tomb Raider video game and (almost) the entire DC Comics universe (now referred to as the DCnU) which saw all DC titles relaunched two years ago as “The New 52”.

Soft Reboots

Mainly found in television, soft reboots keep the continuity of the original source material intact and use it as a launching point for new stories featuring new characters (along with usually least one or two from the original source material).

BHsSome examples of soft reboots include the CW’s 90210 and Melrose Place which took place in the same locations as the ’90s Fox shows Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place. Both reboots featured a few crossover characters from the originals but largely focused on their new, younger casts.

Another example of a soft reboot is one that has already has already been touched upon here in a previous post and that would be the Charlie’s Angles films. Even though they focused on brand new set of crime-solving Angels, they were clearly established as taking place in the same continuity as the original series, just 20 years later (and as for the updated Charlie’s Angels tv series that followed…well, now’s not the time to revisit that).

Blurring The Line

When thinking of other rebooted franchises, one might naturally think of Spider-Man, seeing as how Sam Raimi ended his trilogy 6 years ago and The Amazing Spider-Man, the first of a proposed new series of films, swung into theatres last summer. There’s just one problem though, because The Amazing Spider Man, is NOT a reboot. It is a straight up remake of Spider-Man. Except for a brief prologue featuring Peter Parker’s parents, this film is a beat-by-beat remake. It takes us through the exact same origin story and sometimes the exact same scenes that we saw in the original (btw, did you know that with great power comes great responsibilty?).

Not so fast, Amazing Spidey...you don't belong in the Reboots post.

Not so fast, Amazing Spidey…you don’t belong in the Reboots post.

The changes that have been made are purely superfluous and/or still serve the same function: Peter’s webbing is manufactured instead of organic, Spidey’s costumed is redesigned, knockout love interest Gwen Stacy is swapped in for knockout love interest Mary Jane and the intelligent but cautiously admired Norman Osborn, who transforms into the crazed, murderous Green Goblin is replaced by the intelligent but cautiously admired Dr. Curt Conners who transforms into the crazed and murderous green Lizard.  Yeah, no matter how much Sony insists that this is a new creative direction – one of the tag-lines for the film was “The Untold Story” (ha!)  – it is a remake. And when one knows that Sony has to keep churning out Spider-Man films in order to keep their license on the character and that they were fully prepared to go ahead with Spider-Man 4 before those plans fell through, then the “reboot” label seems like more intended as a means to deflect any criticism that The Amazing Spider-Man was nothing less than a cash grab and license protector.

But what happens when there are projects that aren’t quite reboots, but don’t qualify as remakes as well? That’s when we enter the ambiguous valley of reimaginings, which we’ll be journeying to in Part 3 of this post.

Remakes, Reboots & Reimaginings: Part 1

More and more these days, film studios seem to be less concerned about making original, mid-budget films that could rake in a decent profit and more invested only in projects that have the potential for big, international box office and/or that have a built-in recognition factor. This has led to the biggest output ever of what I call the “Three Rs” of non-original film-making: Remakes, Reboots and Reimaginings. These terms can be quite confusing to the average moviegoer – and sometimes even to the studio heads who blithely bandy them about based upon whichever one will give their newest project the best spin.

So let’s take a closer look to nail down just what differences these Three Rs represent – and how they have been used and misused in the industry.

REMAKES

(Top) 1958's Blob was content just striking a menacing pose against a backdrop, while (Bottom) 1988's Blob was much more to an action-packed photo op.

(Top) 1958’s Blob was content just striking an ominous pose against a backdrop, while (Bottom) 1988’s Blob was much more partial to an action-packed photo op.

Remakes have been a thing ever since the days of silent film gave way to sound. Suddenly, filmmakers knew they had a viable reason to revisit an old film and tell its story again – advancements in technology would allow them to do more with the story than before. This would be the driving force behind most remakes for decades to come, probably culminating in the special effects heyday of the 1980s, which saw films like The Thing, The Fly, Invaders From Mars and The Blob give eye-popping makeovers (sometimes literally) and updated storylines to their 1950s forebears.

The general rule with remakes is that they should pretty much tell the same story as the original, but with minor (and sometimes major) changes – whether they be technical, thematic or both. Some remakes are intended to improve upon the shortcomings of the original, while others are done simply to introduce a once-popular tale to a new generation of viewers. Generally, I prefer remakes that make the effort to remain faithful to the original while still adding in unique elements of their own – be it state-of-the-art visual effects (Poseidon) or new plot twists (My Bloody Valentine 3D) – rather than those remakes that  just seem pointless and leave you wondering as to who felt the originals needed to be remade in the first place (I mean, was anyone really clamoring for the second comings of films like The Heartbreak Kid, The Longest Yard or Straw Dogs – or praised their updates once they were released?) .

Unfortunately, the latter is more and more of what we see in remakes these days. Before it seemed that remakes had a purpose – like taking a low-budget, cheesy horror flick and giving it the big-budget SFX treatment or updating a classic story to be relevant to present audiences or making an English language version of a little-seen foreign film. Nowadays studios just seem to pick any familiar property they happen to have laying around and give it the green light for a remake simply because “it made money then, so it should make money now”. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the slew of recent horror remakes that took R-rated properties like The Fog, When a Stranger Calls and Prom Night and gave them non-horrific, but wider-audience reaching, PG-13 re-tellings.

Actually, Prom Night doesn’t belong under the “Remakes” section, but more on that – and the others Rs – in the upcoming second part of this post.