Sunday, March 31, 2013

Movie Review: Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers is director Harmony Korine's declaration of war on the senses. It's ninety minutes of stimulation overload. The film offers relentless visual and sonic bombardment meant to replicate, and ridicule the gilded ADHD elements of modern American youth culture. This is not your conventional bikini clad exploitation film by any means.

The film centers around a quartet of young college girls aching to escape the monotony of their everyday lives (drinking, smoking, partying). After robbing a diner to fund their expedition, the girls head down to Florida, the one place where they can let their hair down and enjoy the freedoms of Spring Break (where they can drink, smoke and party, naturally). The girls, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Ashely Benson, Selena Gomez and the director's wife, Rachel Korine, end up in trouble with the law after they arrive at their beach front party destination. Luckily for them, a charismatic drug dealer/rapper/ all around hustler named Alien comes to their rescue...only to drag them further down the path of debauchery and mayhem. James Franco's performance as Alien is the absolute highlight of the film. In a movie rife with gratuitous amounts of T&A (including Hudgens and Benson in a partially underwater threesome), that's saying something. His take on Alien is both equal parts endearing and repulsive at the same time.

Spring Break Forever...
 I think Franco shines so well in this film because he's in on the joke. He and director Harmony Korine appear to exist on the same wave length. A pair of anti-establishment rabble rousers who enjoy biting the corporate hand that feeds them. Stunt cast the hottest Disney teen idols in roles that will surely shock/alienate their fan base. Craft a film that embraces the tenets of the vapid youth culture it seeks to lampoon. On the surface, Spring Breakers is a flawed film. It's character's are one dimensional and the plot is ridiculous. But that's the point.

Korine's Disney Princess bikini flick is really an experimental art house film. Through the pummeling use of repetition, recycling the same bits of audio and visual segments onscreen the way a DJ might loop a beat, Korine's Spring Breakers is more akin to an electronic dance song than a traditional film.  Hence all the Britney Spears love. This is why Spring Breakers is an astonishing success. The movies plays out like a MDNA fever dream, something this generation of American youths, who've been raised on Twitter, YouTube and Grand Theft Auto, are, for better or worse, all too familiar with.

Director Harmony Korine explains the sick, sad and visually astounding world of Spring Breakers. Warning: NSFW
Part 1-
Part 2-

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

American Military Museum aka: TANK LAND

Before my immune system crashed and burned on me Sunday night (leaving me a mucus filled recluse), I was actually having a pretty rad weekend.

One of the highlights was definitely my trip to The American Society of Military History's museum. The place is down the road from my house and I've passed by it a million times but had never actually visited before. As a history geek and former G.I. Joe enthusiast, getting to look at real life tanks and gigantic military vehicles/weapons was kind of awesome. Also, my grandpa is a WWII Navy veteran and seeing some of the equipment from his days in the service made the old stories and pictures he's shared with me over the years seem all the more vivid. 

Here are some photos from the museum:

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forgive the douche in front blocking the tank

Glad I finally checked this place out. If you're in Southern California and want to get your Saving Private Ryan on, stop by the American Military Museum sometime.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hit By a Bus

Ladies and gents, I give you a supercut of people getting annihilated by fast moving vehicles. It's stupid but awesome and wildly entertaining. Enjoy your weekend...and look both ways when crossing the street.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

false title is false
The only thing incredible about this movie was that it ever got made. The script is flat. I'm talking phoned in plot and godawful dialogue. The direction is boring. It's a film about Vegas magicians, you'd think some dazzling camera work might complement the theatrical/hokey subject matter...but we get none of that. The film boasts an all-star cast whose talents are largely wasted and by the end the movie feels about a half hour longer than it really was. The film's only saving grace is Jim Carrey. Oh Jim. Welcome back. Earth needs you.

Jim Carrey plays a Criss Angel/David Blaine type street magician who swoops into Las Vegas and steals Steve Carell's thunder. Carrey steals every scene he's in and literally carries (get it? get it?) the entire film. If The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is remembered for anything, I hope it's for Jim Carrey's triumphant return to slapstick comedy. Even at 51 years old, nobody does it better. Carrey has spent the past fifteen years doing kid films, lighthearted comedies (re: Bruce Almighty ripoffs) and stretching his wings as a serious actor (The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I Love You Phillip Morris). His performance as wacked out street magician Steve Grey, is his first over the top, laugh out loud funny role in years. Watching Carrey contort and mutilate himself onscreen was reminiscent of his Ace Ventura and Fire Marshall Bill days.

Too bad he's not the star though. I like Steve Carell but his one dimensional character is thoroughly unlikeable. Even when he undergoes the standard change of heart in the third act, he's still a boring douche. Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin are great in their supporting roles as well, even with such a sorry script. Their characters bring the heart, Jim Carrey brings the laughs, but it's still not enough to salvage The Incredible Burt Wonderstone from being a mediocre film. 

Warning: Almost every funny bit from the movie is in this trailer.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

GAZA broke up.

I'm crushed. I've fawned over this band numerous times here at Jim's Fear and never thought I'd be writing this but alas, Salt Lake City grind/sludge/hardcore heroes Gaza have disbanded after nearly ten years together. Here's the band's official statement on the matter, taken from their facebook page:

Gaza is no longer a band. A big thank you to anyone that has supported us. Some of us will continue to make music together.
Sucks. Gaza was one of the most exciting and inspirational bands in the underground metal scene. I really hoped they would continue to soldier on after the false rape allegations from this past winter had been discredited, and if 2012's No Absolutes In Human Suffering was any indication, they still had several great albums left in them. I don't know the details behind the split, but 3/4's of the band are currently members of a side project called Bird Eater. I guess some Gaza is better than none at all?

I'm so glad I got to see them one last time before all this went down. In today's fucked up world, Gaza's angry, yet socially conscious music will be sorely missed, but will always remain relevant.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Awesome Photo (13)

taken from James Hetfield's Instagram

Metallica frontman James Hetfield is a 49 year old man. He's also a world famous musician, an award winning songwriter, a millionaire and a father of three. That's why I love the fact that the man still travels around with a sharpie and tags his own song lyrics in public places. It's not graffiti when rockstars do it. Besides, James Hetfield is the man. I'd let him write the lyrics to "Battery" on my face.

...battery is here to stay.

Metallica's 1986 classic, "Battery."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Big Lebowski 15th Anniversary

This week marks the 15th anniversary of the Coen Brothers' beloved cult film, The Big Lebowski. Although initially considered a bomb at the box office, the film found new life on home video and became a hit with college students (re: stoners, disenfranchised intellectuals) in the early 2000s. The film's protagonist, an unemployed pacifist who only concerns himself with bowling, drinking white Russians and smoking marijuana, became a reactionary hero ("...takin' her easy for all us sinners.") to the Bush Administration's post 9/11 America. That, and The Big Lebowski is simply hilarious.

To say that I love this movie, would be an understatement. I remember watching The Big Lebowski for the first time in segments over one week sometime in 1999, maybe 2000. Showtime was playing the film like crazy and I'd catch bits and pieces of it while I was doing homework or something. At first I only latched on to the curse words and crude jokes, it was enough to make me want to watch it again....and again. You get the picture. Before I knew it I was quoting the film like clockwork and, like I'd done with The Simpsons previously, was relating experiences from my everyday life back to the film. It was extraordinary. The weird movie I couldn't even bother to sit through had somehow become one of my favorite films of all time.

Walter Sobchak guards my DVDs
It's safe to say this film sparked my interest in many unknown subjects at the time (nihilism, Vietnam, Vladimir IIlyich Ulyanov Lenin, porn, Creedence Clearwater Revival, IN-N-OUT Burger), and it's overarching cinematic theme has become my own personal mantra: "Fuck it." I could rant and rave about The Big Lebowski all day and demand each and everyone of you pay homage to the film...but that would just be like, my opinion man.

Monday, March 4, 2013

RUMOR: Christopher Nolan controls DC Universe

DC: Nolan is the perfect director...FOR YOU.
I didn't want to believe this because it sounded too insane to be true. Then I remembered how Hollywood truly functions ($$$) and realized, it's just crazy enough to work.

The Latino Review is reporting that both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale will return in Warner Bros (parent company of DC Comics) upcoming Justice League film. Nolan swore he was done directing anymore comic book movies after last year's The Dark Knight Rises concluded his blockbuster Batman film trilogy, and Bale said he wouldn't dream of reprising his role as the caped crusader without Nolan. Well, Nolan is an executive producer for this year's Superman reboot, Man of Steel, so he hasn't completely abandoned his post in the DC cinematic universe. Now this dude from The Latino Review (who has a ridiculously accurate track record of breaking scoops with DC films) is reporting that Warner Bros is so desperate to curb Disney's domination of the geek franchise market, both Avengers & Star Wars now belong to the mouse, they are willing to move heaven and Earth to get the key players from their own billion dollar Batman franchise on board with their new Justice League project. Check it out:

Justice League Scoop! from Mayimbe Media on Vimeo.

I don't know what to believe. After hearing those arguments, it sounds like anything is possible at this point. All I know is that I've been a Marvel fanboy for the past 20 years so DC and their Justice League movie can suck it! I'm kidding. I'm actually kind of stoked for this new Superman flick (the trailer where Supes gets thrown into the bank vault? *SWOONS*) and if Warner Bros can pull this Nolan deal off, every nerd in the world will be better off for it. 

What do you folks think about this mega Oprah Nolan rumor?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Vile Nostalgia: La Bouche

You know you're getting old when you nostalgia for crap you barely even liked (or flat out hated) before only because it reminds you of the past. Ladies and Gents, it's with great sorrow that I present this latest installment of Vile Nostalgia...
No longer referred to as: LA DOUCHE
I remember sleeping over a friend's house one time when I was like eleven. Me and a bunch of other little dudes stayed over, playing Super Nintendo and watching rated R movies. It was rad. That is until, everyone finally knocked out around 1am. While all the other kids dozed off I was kept awake by the booming music coming from the party next door. Loud, 1990's House music. My dislike for electronic music was born then and there.

I've become a tad more opened minded over the years. I'm more open to trying to new foods, wearing different clothes/colors (re: still lots of black doe. C'mon now!) and yes even enjoying different types of music. Although I still despise just about everything I hear people's radio & pandora stations...I've actually grown to enjoy certain electronic music acts. That being said, I never thought my grudge against 90's dance music would subside...then I threw on A Night At The Roxbury the other night.

For the record, I've always loved this movie. I was quoting A Night At The Roxbury since day one yo. I used to laugh at the Butabi brother's silly antics and sneer at their horrible, horrible taste in music. Something happened this last time I watched the film though. I found myself grinning like an idiot as soon as Haddaway's "What Is Love" started playing. I chalked it up to just being excited about the movie starting. The thing is, I perked up like a puppy every time one of the different club/dance songs played onscreen. By the time "Be My Lover" from La Bouche came on, I knew I had been swept up by a wave of full blown Vile Nostalgia.