Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If the apocalypse comes, beep me .. well for "Buffy" fans, it's here

You know, no matter how hard it gets to do so, I still do try, even as a now certified middle-age curmudgeon, to look for the good things in life, so let's start there before I unleash what I'll warn you now will be a well-boiled pot of bile.

I, like I assume all subscribers, got an e-mail yesterday from Netflix, and as far as that goes at least, I'm now streaming only, for just $7.99 a month, and that's just fine with me. If there's a new release, I guess I'll just Red Box or maybe even buy it, and that's gonna have to do, because having all the TV and increasing movie content to stream directly to my TV was just too much to resist (and was, of course, Netflix's rather ingenious plan all along).

One thing I will, however, spring for on beautiful blu-ray are the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, and beginning in March with "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," Disney will hopefully be bringing all the Studio Ghibli titles to the format. I'm sure that I will at least buy my two favorites, "Porco Rosso" and "Kiki's Delivery Service," as soon as I get the chance, and maybe more too.

When I first bought my blu-ray player (and only after my DVD player finally died - yes, I fear all change), Movie Mom Nell Minow suggested I buy a Pixar movie, because animation in particular just looks amazing on blu-ray. For me, that meant "Ratatouille," of course, and she was right, so I can't wait to see how great Miyazaki's best works will look.

And to keep the good vibes going before the "Buffy" bile, there are few subgenres of movies I love more than boxing flicks, and it seems a potentially great one is now in the works. Gael Garcia Bernal of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" fame has signed on to play boxer Roberto Duran in a flick called "Hands of Stone," and Al Pacino is "circling" the role of his trainer, Ray Arecel.

Even though that surely means Pacino will spend the entire movie yelling at him, that should still be rather amazing to watch. Someone named Jonathan Jakubowicz will write and direct the flick, which will apparently focus on the "No Mas" fight, in which, after getting rather soundly battered by Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran simply uttered those words and walked out of the ring forever. Bring it on!

OK, enough of the good vibes until today's video clips, because there's evil afoot that must be stamped out immediately. I first heard of a possible "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" "reboot" (whatever the hell that means) a few years ago, and was hoping that, since it dropped off the radar for a while, that simply wretched idea was dead.

No way. Unable to resist an obviously "Twilight"-inspired cash grab, Warner Brothers has apparently now hired an actress named Whit Anderson (whose three-movie resume contained nothing I've ever seen) to write a "Buffy" movie.

If you were a fan of the TV show, just let that craptastic idea settle in for a moment before I explain how it only gets worse from here. Charles Roven, who is producing this monstrosity, had this to say in a press release:

“While this is not your high-school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough and sexy as we all remember her to be.”

So, Buffy won't be in high school. Since I'll never see this, fair enough. But just in case you ever happen to, know this: There also won't be any of the characters we all loved from the series. That means no Giles, Willow, Xander, Spike, Angel, Oz, Cordelia, Anya or even Dawn (always the weakest link to me.)

And, of course, there won't be any Joss Whedon, who created the show in the first place. So, if he's not involved, who is the real villain here? Well, it's apparently co-"creators" Fran and Kaz Kuzui, who had a big role in the fairly funny movie that preceded the TV show, and have held on to the rights all these years. Fran Kuzui directed the original "Buffy" movie, but beyond their "executive producers" credit, the duo had nothing at all to do with the TV show.

Whedon, for his part, has moved on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things with his "Avengers" movie, so I can certainly understand his fairly measured response to this when he was contacted by Kristin Dos Santos of E! Here's what he had to say:

Kristin, I'm glad you asked for my thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths - just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, "Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER." Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, "I'll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!" Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can't wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I'm making a Batman movie. Because there's a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain! Sincerely, Joss Whedon.

Not terribly surprisingly, very witty stuff, and certainly much funnier than anything that will spring from this abominable endeavour. I will, out of morbid curiosity if nothing else, dutifully report who gets the "honor" of playing the new Buffy once this all comes together, but for now, let's just move on, because life is indeed too short for so much bitterness.

OK, now for much better stuff, on to a couple of videos full of nothing but good vibes. I'm hoping that the presence of Natalie Portman will be enough to elevate Darren Aronofsky's sure-to-be-epicly-twisted ballerina tale "Black Swan" to a release wide enough to reach my little corner of the world when it finally comes out Dec. 3. In the meantime, there's this music video containing clips from the film, which also stars Mila Kunis. Enjoy.

And even better than that, for something which much more poetically expresses my exact reaction when I first saw all that "Buffy" crap, why not four minutes of something that needs no further explanation than its title, "Nicolas Cage Loses His Shit"? I'll only say that, while this proves exactly why Cage, while never quite a master thespian, is still often very fun to watch, please watch this with headphones if you're at work, because it is indeed just as profane as you could possible imagine. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Tuesday. Peace out.


Bob said...

Ya know I thought I would have been mad about a "Buffy" reboot but I don't know. Fans of the show are pretty much gonna stay away anyway so I'm not gonna get up in arms about it. I love Joss's perspective. The man is wonderful.

I'm gonna watch that Nicolas Cage thing about 500 times today. So thank you, because it's way too cold to go outside up here today.

Reel Fanatic said...

It is indeed the best compilation clip I've seen in quite a while, Bob .. the same guy, Harry Hanrahan, has his own youtube channel, and it really contains some amazing stuff, including the 100 best movie insults of all time, a definitely NSFW masterpiece of editing

john said...


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