Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Random Notes: 10 most historically inaccurate films..ever

From Yahoo
10) 10,000 B.C.
Director Roland Emmerich is usually a stickler for realism (see: sending a computer virus via Macintosh to aliens in Independence Day). So we hate to inform him that woolly mammoths were not, in fact, used to build pyramids. Heck, woolly mammoths weren’t even found in the desert. They wouldn’t need to be woolly if that were the case. And there weren’t any pyramids in Egypt until 2,500 B.C or so.

9) Gladiator
Emperor Commodus was not the sniveling sister-obsessed creep portrayed in the movie. A violent alcoholic, sure, but not so whiny. He ruled ably for over a decade rather than ineptly for a couple months. He also didn’t kill his father, Marcus Aurelius, who actually died of chickenpox. And instead of being killed in the gladiatorial arena, he was murdered in his bathtub.

8) 300
Though this paean to ancient moral codes and modern physical training is based on the real Battle of Thermopylae, the film takes many stylistic liberties. The most obvious one being Persian king Xerxes was not an 8-foot-tall Cirque du Soleil reject. The Spartan council was made up of men over the age of 60, with no one as young as Theron (played by 37-year-old Dominic West). And the warriors of Sparta went into battle wearing bronze armor, not just leather Speedos

7) The Last Samurai
The Japanese in the late 19th century did hire foreign advisers to modernize their army, but they were mostly French, not American. Ken Watanabe’s character was based on the real Saigo Takamori who committed ritual suicide, or “seppuku,” in defeat rather than in a volley of Gatling gun fire. Also, it’s doubtful that a 40-something alcoholic Civil War vet, even one with great hair, would master the chopsticks much less the samurai sword.

6) Apocalypto
This one movie has given entire Anthropology departments migraines. Sure the Maya did have the odd human sacrifice but not to Kulkulkan, the Sun God, and only high-ranking captives taken in battle were killed. The conquistadors arriving at the end of the film made for unlikely saviors: an estimated 90% of indigenous American population was killed by smallpox from their infected livestock.

5) Memoirs of a Geisha
The geisha coming-of-age, called “mizuage,” was really more of a makeover, where she changed her hairstyle and clothes. It didn’t involve her getting… intimate with a client. In the climactic scene where Sayuri wows Gion patrons with her dancing prowess, her routine - which involves some platform shoes, fake snow, and a strobe light - seems more like a Studio 54 drag show than anything in pre-war Kyoto.

4) Braveheart
Let’s forget the fact that kilts weren’t worn in Scotland until about 300 years after William Wallace’s day and just do some simple math. According to the movie, Wallace’s blue-eyed charm at the Battle of Falkirk was so overpowering, he seduced King Edward II’s wife, Isabella of France, and the result of their affair was Edward III. But according to the history books, Isabella was three years old at the time of Falkirk, and Edward III was born seven years after Wallace died.

3) Elizabeth: The Golden Age
In 1585, when the movie takes place, Queen Elizabeth was 52 years old - Cate Blanchett was 36 when she shot the film - and was not being courted by suitors like Ivan the Terrible (who was dead by then). And though the movie has her rallying the troops at Tilbury astride a white steed in full armor with a sword, in fact she rode side saddle, carrying a baton. She was more of a regal majorette than Joan of Arc.

2) The Patriot
Revolutionary War figure Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion was the basis for Mel Gibson’s character, but he wasn’t the forward-thinking family man they show in the flick. He was a slave owner who didn’t get married (to his cousin) until after the war was over. Historians also say that he actively persecuted and murdered native Cherokees. Plus, the thrilling Battle of Guilford Court House where he vanquishes his British nemesis? In reality, the Americans lost that one.

1) 2001: A Space Odyssey
According to this film, in year 2001 we would have had manned voyages to Jupiter, a battle of wits with a sentient computer, and a quantum leap in human evolution. Instead we got the Mir Space Station falling from the sky, Windows XP, and Freddy Got Fingered. Apparently the lesson here is that sometimes it’s better when the movies get the facts all wrong.

Reviews: Recent Rundowns (5 films)

Due to my recent hiatus, I can't remember all the movies I've seen. I'll try my best, though, to give a brief rundown of recent films I've seen:

The Band's Visit
A light and quaint comedy set in Israel about a Police band stranded for a day and the events that ensue in their desertion. I thought the movie was cute, quirky and sweet. Nothing epic or even spectacular, it's surprisingly heavy at time but strong with emotion. A fine achievement. 
Grade: B
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Amy Adams continues to amaze me with every performance. But I wonder, can she ever be anything besides bubbly and cute? Even so, her performance in this film about a governess (Frances McDormand) finding herself as Adams' "social secretary" and the wild shenanigans involved in one day is endearing and lovely. I'm just a little bit in love with this film.
Grade: B+

10,000 B.C.
I don't know where to begin with it. History can be interesting, and it is. And I think when dealing with something as epic and primitive as the world 12,000 years ago, you could be more creative with a film. This movie was dull and, at times, laughable. This movie was simply ridiculous. 
Grade: D

This is probably the worst movie I've seen in a long long time. Bad story, terrible acting, the worst dialogue EVER. Wow, I was just so blown away at how bad this was. Please, enough of the J-Horror remakes. Let's take a break from this genre. It's very, very tired.
Grade: F

Drillbit Taylor
One thing I learned while watching this is that Owen Wilson is adorable. His boyish charm along with his mess of sandy blonde hair makes my insides all fangirly. This harmless movie is more broad than a movie like Superbad (which, like this film, was a Seth Rogan collaboration) and a little younger (it's PG-13 as opposed to Superbad's R rating), but I still think it works. If nothing, it's a fluff feature with some garaunteed laughs. At least you don't have to think about it.
Grade: B

That's all I got for now. Hopefully I'll get back into the habit soon with more fun stuff.

Review: Funny Games (2008)

Oh gosh golly gee whiz. I'm so shocked.

Are you happy, Michael Haneke?

Grade: C-

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Posters: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

So, Harrison Ford looks pretty old in this poster. I mean, I know he IS pretty old, but, photoshop can do wonders.. Just sayin' is all. 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Something Cool: If Saul Bass had done the Star Wars title Sequence

From Wikipedia:
Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 - April 25, 1996) was a graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, but he is best known for his design on animated motion picture title sequences, which is thought of as the best such work ever seen.

An example of Saul Bass's work:

And the fake Star Wars sequence:


Monday, March 03, 2008

Random News: Diablo Cody's new tattoo


Screenwriter Diablo Cody is planning a new tattoo to celebrate her Oscar win on Sunday. The bodyart-loving former stripper picked up the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for Juno - and wants to have the film's star Ellen Page's face etched onto her skin, according to pals. A friend tells New York gossip column "She's talking about getting a tattoo of Ellen Page's face. She's like, 'Wouldn't it look great?'"

Makes my love for Diablo even stronger. And I hear she's single.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Something Funny: Juno Parody

(From Something Awful.

My mom emailed this to me a couple weeks ago. And I just realized that I have a movie blog. And that I hate Juno.
It's funny 'cause it's true.
Page 2
Page 3