Tag Archives: Super 8

The Slushoverse Theory: The Shared Realities of J.J. Abrams!

It feels like we are always talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the DC Extended Universe, or whatever new series in development with a “shared universe” idea has hit the webs this week.

After the success of the MCU, it was no surprise to see some of their work with a shared universe emulated by other franchises and studios. However, it’s easy to forget that while the MCU has basically perfected the idea, they were not the first studio, series, or franchise to dabble with a shared universe.

So today, we will be discussing one of the most interesting yet relatively unknown shared universes out there, and how it relates to other theories that we have seen over the years. Today we will be examining J.J. Abrams, Star Wars, Lost, and a number of other franchises that theoretically exist in the same cinematic universe.

Welcome to The Slushoverse Theory.

Continue reading The Slushoverse Theory: The Shared Realities of J.J. Abrams!

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Grizzly Review: Super 8 (With New Footage!)

The other day, Paramount released new footage from the film Super 8.  This scene found its way into the final cut of the film, but was pared down on the cutting room floor.  In this extended clip, we see the main cast in their local 7-11 talking about the zombie film Charles (Riley Griffiths) is attempting to make.  The clip really shows, at length, the stalker-type obsession Joe (Joel Courtney) has for Alice (Elle Fanning).  He even wants to know what book she was reading in the silent reading section of the library; no doubt so he could read it feverishly before they set out to film at the train station and just happen to strike up a conversation with her about it.  Ah, kids. Anyway, you can see the clip here.

Cool.  My first and only thought about this clip: who the hell cares, really?  I was hoping, when I heard of the unseen footage, that I would get something redeemable about this movie.  Something that would make me feel better about shelling out ten bucks to see it.  Something that would make me say, “Well, it was a good movie, they just cut out the wrong bits.”  Sorry, folks, that is not the case.

Here’s the thing with Super 8 – it had such good intentions.  Mystery.  Intrigue.  Steven Spielberg’s stamp of approval.  Even halfway into the movie, I liked it.  It had a cinematic feel reminiscent of old school Spielberg; kind of like a cross between Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies.  And then the pilot took a hard nose dive which never corrected itself, and the story careened out of control until it finally burst into flames right before the end credits.  It was so bad, I wanted to go back in time after the movie to an hour prior, to tell the me that hadn’t finished the movie to leave, and go get some Dairy Queen to salvage the evening.

The problem with Super 8 is the problem that many movies have nowadays with advanced graphics and CGI – as soon as you see the monster, you’re done for.  Why was Jaws so brilliant?  Because you never saw the shark.  You knew it was there.  You saw the terror it left in its wake.  You heard the eerie music.  But you didn’t actually see the shark.  Years later, Spielberg admitted that he only did this because the shark didn’t look right.  Technology had not advanced far enough to satisfy him.  Little did he realize at the time, but because of his perfectionism and attention to detail, he created a cinematic feature that drove the film.  Audiences were terrified of what they could not see.

This begs a very scary question, though: If Jaws were made today, and the shark could look just right, would it have been another box office bomb?

I haven’t been this let down in years.  Remember the movie Signs?  Back when M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t Hollywood’s laughingstock?  He had just come off The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, two great films.  I went into Signs thinking history would repeat itself, and I would be treated to another twisting and weaving plot that would hook me at the end.  Instead, you know what I got?  Really dumb aliens.  And not just any aliens – aliens that were killed by water.  Never mind that they had been traipsing around a planet whose atmosphere is riddled with water vapor.  What if it had rained?  All that terror, all that paranoia, could have been wiped out by a cool spring shower.  Clever writing, that was.  It just goes to show, if you don’t have a strong ending, you don’t have a strong movie.

So, seeing the monster killed it for me.  But what really beat the dead horse (as in, it was already killed, yet they kept trying to kill it) was when they gave the alien feelings.  Of course.  A monster that has been killing maliciously for days can be talked down by a thirteen year old kid.  Makes total sense.

The Labyrinth was a more believable movie than this.  Maybe they should have cast David Bowie.  So, better late than never, I rate this film with 2 bears.  And the second bear isn’t even full-grown, it’s still just a little bear.

2011 Summer Movie Guide: 6 Movies Absent of Capes and Numbers in the Title…Almost.

What Ever Happened to Original Summer Movies? It’s Okay, I Made a Solid List For You to Watch…

When I volunteered to do an article about summer movies, I felt right at home. Ever since we were in high school, Doc Kronner and I would set up movie events in the summer where we would gather scores of friends together to partake in the best and worst movies of the season. But they were event movies for a reason, we would always debate afterwards whether one movie was better than the other, how much it impressed us or let us down. It was great times to be had. Needless to say, I had my list of ten movies that I was looking forward to. A solid ten in my mind that I could get myself excited about.

Then I got the bomb dropped on me. I had to do the article that involved no sequels and no comic book movies. That kind of made me blow up my list and start from scratch. The tent pole pictures of the summer were all comic book movies or sequels. I actually had to research what was coming out this summer in order to write this article. However, I’m glad it worked out this way, because I think I have some stuff you guys need to check out. Not because it has a built-in fan base, but because it just looks damn interesting and it’s about time we covered something original for the summer, right? So in chronological order, I have some summer movies you need to check out that are either original, or might be flying under your superhero radar.

Bridesmaids (May 13)

Now, I hate the marketing team that keeps begging this the female equivalent of The Hangover. It should be expected considering the massive success of the movie, but remember when The Sweetest Thing was supposed to be the solution to the R-Rated female comedy? Let’s keep the comparisons on the down low and look at the basics. You have a Kristen Wiig starring vehicle. Check. She wrote it too? Check. Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and Ellie Kemper? Check. Aww, sweet, Jon Hamm? Yeah, sign me up. As long as the Target Lady or Gilly doesn’t show up, I’m game.

Hesher (May 13)

Okay, technically this film has been around since early 2010 doing the film circuit run, but it’s finally getting a wide release this summer and it’s definitely going to be way under the radar. It’s my job to make sure you see this movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Hesher, a bad-ass troublemaker that enters the lives of T.J. (Devin Brochu – Rubber) and his dad (Rainn Wilson) after the loss of his mother. Natalie Portman is also in this movie, and since she is the only reason I would ever punt a small animal just so she can say ‘hi’ to me, that means I would be seeing this movie. But the thing is, this movie is supposed to be awesome. Even without Natalie, I think I would still be talking about how we need to see this movie. The trailer’s nice, go check it out and see why Gordon-Levitt is starting to become one of my favorite actors.

Super 8 (June 10)

This is the closest movie to an ‘event flick’ on my list. Amongst my friends, I think I was one of two that actually made it to the end of Lost after six seasons. I actually DVR’d Undercovers too, so that shows I am a J.J. Abrams slappy. However, the guy is a great storyteller, and Spielberg endorses him, so you know you are going to get a visual treat. And lens flares. Like, a million of them.

Regardless, this has Kyle Chandler (I will always carry the football for you Coach Taylor) and it has a childhood nostalgic feel to it. Abrams combined the plot of a monster/alien movie getting loose with a dramatic idea he had about growing up making Super 8 films with his friends, and getting fascinated with filmmaking. Yet another coming of age movie, but throw a little action and sci-fi in there and you get probably the movie I most look forward to on my list.

Horrible Bosses (July 8th)

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis. C’mon now, that’s friggin’ sweet. Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, and Kevin Spacey play the bosses they want to murder? Okay, you had me at hello. The big kicker? According to IMDB, Jaime Foxx plays a guy named ‘Motherf*cka Jones’. Done and done. I am all for seeing Charlie Day get more prominent roles seeing as it feels like we wait forever for Always Sunny.

Also, Julie Bowen is also in it, so it’s another reason to see if she yells an awkward, “HAPPY LOOK OUTAH!” 

Cowboys & Aliens (July 29)

Yeah yeah, it’s based off a graphic novel. I don’t care, I need to mention this movie, which is also the second movie on my list that screams ‘event movie’. James Bond, Indiana Jones, Olive Wilde, Sam Rockwell…uhh, hello awesome cast? I remember seeing the first teaser trailer one year ago where no one knew what the movie was until the title card came. I remember people in the theater groaning asking aloud, “You cannot be serious…” I then turned to my girlfriend and she turned to me and said, “We have to see that on the title alone.” And that is why I hang out with awesome people. But I digress. It’s a high concept movie, but with Jon Favreau behind the lens I think we will be good hands. Or we better hope so because he passed on Iron Man 3 and Avengers for this. That has to count for something, right?

30 Minutes or Less (August 12)

Aziz Ansari is a genius. He’s probably the best sidekick to have in anything media related, because he steps in with the best observations or reactions to make awesome comedy. With Jesse Eisenberg playing straight man to Aziz’s manic best friend, that should be on the list. If I attempt to explain the plot, I tend to lose interest because it sounds pretty weird. Just know that Eisenberg digs Ansari’s sister, has a bomb strapped to his chest, and must rob a bank so Danny McBride can hire a hitman. See? How that’s how you set a tease.

Final Destination 5 (August 12)

Yeah, just kidding.

OTHER NOTABLES THIS SUMMER THAT COULD GO UNDER THE RADAR:
– Priest (May 13th – Graphic Novel)
The Troll Hunter (June 10th – Limited Release)
– The Change-Up (August 5th)
– Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5th – Prequel)
– Conan the Barbarian (August 19th – Reboot)