Monday, October 27, 2014

Music Video Monday! OK Go: "I Won't Let You Down"

It's Monday and a new video from OK Go is out, so why not combine the two for a good ol' fashioned Music Video Monday? What starts as a simple choreographed dance on some Segway scooters (?) turns into fun with synchronized umbrellas (lots and lots of synchronized umbrellas) until the camera pulls waaaaaaay back/up and then pans up and rotates, until you start to fear that maybe OK Go wasn't kidding about that whole not letting you down thing. Have a look for yourself below. Remember back in the day when you just needed some treadmills and a dream?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Favorite Scene Friday! The Birds: Pecked

This week's Favorite Scene Friday! was written by Jay from Life vs Film!

HitchcOctober is being celebrated both at French Toast Sunday and Life vs Film, plus it's Horror month pretty much everywhere online, so it seemed right to fuse the two together and pick one of my favourite scenes from one of Alfred Hitchcock's horror movies. I'm not taking the low-hanging fruit of Psycho's shower scene, I'm instead opting for 1963's The Birds, and again, I'm not taking the obvious birds-gathering-on-the-climbing-frame scene, or even one of the big bombastic set pieces, instead I'm going for the moment the film takes a sudden lurch into horror.

Lafar Posters via JoBlo

Before this point in the film, the small San Francisco fishing town of Bodega Bay has suffered a few inexplicable attacks from feathered fiends - a lone seagull clawed at the head of our heroine Melanie (Tippi Hedren), another flies into a closed door, a flock of seagulls set about a children's birthday party and a swarm of sparrows wreaked havoc in the lounge via its chimney, but nothing serious has occurred other than a little scarring - both physically and mentally. However, when Lydia (Jessica Tandy) goes to visit a fellow farmer to discuss the odd behaviour of the town's birds, we discover the true peril these people are in store for.

That's right, he's dead. And not just dead, he's had the eyes pecked out of his head. There are deep red pools where his eyes used to be, and it's ruddy terrifying. It isn't helped by the film's complete lack of score, making Lydia's slow approach down the corridor seemingly take all the longer, as there's almost no sound whatsoever. Similarly, she looks around the room in silent confusion, noticing the extreme disarray and littering of bird corpses, one of which apparently bled to death whilst impaled in a window. This is the point where we realise that a bird attack, which previously sounded more comical than actually fatal, could in fact be incredibly dangerous and life threatening, and every attack that comes after this point comes with its serious consequences, but it all starts here.

Lydia's silent, gasping fleeing from the scene looks a little odd, but was an homage to Edward Munch's The Scream. I'm grateful that we don't actually see the attack take place - if there's one thing I can't watch, it's eye trauma - but I think not showing it makes it all the more powerful anyway, especially in the jump-scare value of the moment Lydia sees the body, as the camera zooms in on his face not once but twice. It's an image I won't soon forget.

What's your favorite scene from The Birds?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Peek Through the Hatch: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Spoilery thoughts are in this post!

So I was watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night, catching up in order to watch the new episode next week, all so I could catch the world premiere of the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. I was also on Twitter, since I can't stand to be watching just one screen aparently. All of a sudden, people are talking about the Avengers trailer and I realize that it's leaked online. But I refrained from watching the leaked/bootlegged version. I was going to wait until next week.

So I was pleasantly surprised to check Twitter this morning to discover that Marvel went ahead and released the official trailer! Check it out below (like you haven't already).

Some thoughts:

  • Like a lot of folks, I'd been hearing about this trailer (or a version of it) since Comic-Con. It's nice to finally see stuff like Ultron walking in on the party scene and the Hulk throwing the car at Iron Man (in full Hulkbuster armor) and then punching through it. Expectations were basically met there.
  • The Pinocchio song is indeed awesome and lends the trailer a disturbing vibe.
  • Some cliches: Black Widow saying "Nothing lasts forever.", Scarlet Witch dropping to her knees and screaming, Thor's cape sliding/billowing over to block the background (didn't we just see that in Man of Steel?), Hulk and Iron Man punching each other at the same time (that sort of already happened in The Incredible Hulk between Hulk and The Abomination).
  • The party scene is going to be one of the highlights of the film and it's fun seeing a little bit of it here. Check out Thor's crazy red jacket:

  • We get a wide shot of the party and I'm wondering who the two mystery women are. It's clear that Black Widow is there but I'm wondering who the other two are. I'd heard that Jane, Natalie Portman's character and Thor's main squeeze, would be there but that she'd be with someone else, the guy she goes on a date with in Thor: The Dark World (Chris O'Dowd from The IT Crowd). At least, I think I remember hearing/reading that. I'm not sure why they'd do that. Maybe Cobie Smulder's character, Maria Hill is also one of them?

From left to right: Hulk, Black Widow, Mystery Woman 1, Thor, Captain America, Mystery Woman 2, James Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot, Iron Man, Hawkeye
  • Finally, that final shot of Ultron is pretty flippin' badass. I can't wait for May 1st!
What do you think of this trailer?