Friday, October 26, 2012

MMG's Guide to Cheap Halloween Costumes

Hello there, slackers!  Another October has come and nearly gone, and you still don't have your Halloween costume.  Well fret not!  We are here to turn your closet into a costume that will get you high-fives all night (maybe even down there).

Of course, we are assuming that if you're reading this website, you don't have just a nice suit and black tie... which would give you all sorts of options: Jules and Vince from Pulp Fiction, any of the Reservoir Dogs, a Blues Brother, and so forth.

Now for your sartorial pleasure, our suggestions:

The Warriors - one of the Orphans

What you need: A grubby green t-shirt, blue jeans

Bonus if you get: A wonky eye

Last Action Hero - Jack Slater

What you need: A red t-shirt, blue jeans, big belt buckle, brown jacket, cowboy boots

Bonus if you get: Steroids, Austin O'Brien (trust us, he's not doing anything he can't cancel for your Halloween party)

They Live - Nada

What you need: A flannel shirt, blue jeans, sunglasses, a mullet (or a mullet wig if you lack dignity)

Bonus if you get: To uncover an actual conspiracy

Happy Gilmore - Happy Gilmore

What you need: A red t-shirt, a flannel shirt, a golf club or hockey stick

Bonus if you get: Umm... an alligator would be pretty cool! Right, guys?

The Big Lebowski - Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski
What you need: A grey t-shirt, a grey hoodie, board shorts, flip flops, a white russian (or you could go the more played-out bathrobe route)

Bonus if you get: If you can pull off the hair and beard for this costume, you get your bonus when, after Halloween, you shave and get a job, sir!

And remember fellas, if you're feeling really lazy, you can just go with a white tank top.  You can claim all sorts of characters that way!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ghana Movie Posters

          So we've decided to take a little break from original content to be lazy.  What we're giving you instead are some amazing works of art!  These little beauties are hand-painted promotional posters for movies in the African nation of Ghana.  If you'd like to learn more about how this little incidental art movement started up, look at another site (no really, there are several resources available on the interwebs!).  Probably the best place to look is where we found many of these pictures, Ghana Movie Posters... you can even buy some of the originals there!

          And since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought we'd select a few with a more-horror-than-Man-Movie slant... but most of them are pretty damn manly.

Images also found on Visual News and iO9

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Should Be...: The Savage Sword of Conan

So here at MMG, we are big up on Conan.  He's essentially everything you want from an anti-hero... he's a thief, a murderer, a drinker, and a lech.  He's cunning and deceitful.  But he's strong as shit, abides by his own honorable code, is fiercely loyal to his friends, and treats women well despite his indiscriminate wanting of fuck-making.

In the 1970s, Marvel Comics did a fantastic series of comics in black and white, and often in what looked like a magazine more than a comic, for Conan.  Every single frame and cover looked ripe for the side of a van.  The series was later collected and printed as big paperbacks by Dark Horse Comics.  They are very much worth a read.

What we're getting at is this.  Between the novels by Howard and the comics, there is an absolute treasure trove of barbarian epicry (we just made up that word to explain how awesome these stories are) fit for numerous and varied iterations of Conan on the silver screen.  The first Arnold movie was very successful; to the point that they made a sequel.  This last one was a pretty major flop, and unfortunately will prove to be a major studio deterrent for any re-imagining anytime soon.  But with the right lead and the right story, Conan really has the potential for a long-running series the same way James Bond is still up and running... or even the same way that there were 4 (and counting) Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Here is a page from the comics, so you know what we're getting at here.  You should check them out...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Conan the Barbarian

Note: Conan the Barbarian is the most recent film to take on the classic Robert E. Howard character popularized in film by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  However, this reviewer will not do any comparison work to the older iterations of the films, the serial novels, or any of the numerous comic book versions.  This movie will be reviewed on its own merits.

          Conan the Barbarian does a number of things very well straight out of the gates to let the viewer know that they are in store for a Man Movie.  The movie starts with a small narration from a surprise gravitas-imbued actor.  We then see Conan born, cut by a sword out of his mother’s womb on the battlefield… because she is badass, his father is badass (the ever-present  and awesome Ron Perlman), and we need a reason to know Conan is badass even as an infant.  The next scene goes on to show a child Conan out-badassing basically everyone ever ever.  Point of the story is: Conan is a badass.  That is all.
          In fact, in an odd decision, the first 30 minutes of the movie are Conan as a child.  The actor playing young Conan doesn’t really have much of a handle on how to be a badass (how many kids really do?) so he plays the character with the same low-slung scowl as the kid down the street who tortures squirrels.  While we were all rightfully fearful of our own primary school psychos, it’s pretty safe to say that none of them grew up to wield a hot topless woman in one hand and a gigantic sword in another… while carrying a full tankard of ale hanging from their mammoth cock.
Little Conan has been making blowtorches from aerosol can in the woods again...
          That said, the obviously well-Man Movie-informed writers and director pulled a couple more textbook maneuvers to help set the tone of the movie.  Firstly, they showed that they weren’t afraid to show some blood and gore.  When someone gets nailed by a sword or arrow, there are spurts… not fountains on the level of a 70s Japanese samurai film, but good enough.  There is also a fantastic mini-motif of nose mutilation, and an instance of someone head-butted with a severed head (we know, that’s awesome).  The filmmakers also introduce us to the antagonist’s minions very early on in one of the classic roll call styles, wherein each has a featured fight sequence during one of the first battles.  This ably sets up multiple villains with personality, that the viewer has an emotional stake in seeing fight and die.
          The titular barbarian is respectably played by Jason Momoa, or as he’s better known, the guy on Game of Thrones who keeps talking about a horse fucking things*.  Respectably only because Momoa never really pans out as a leading man; he is far too brooding and understated for his star to burn bright enough.  But the rest of the movie is strong enough to carry him through.  The movie succeeds in having multiple well-done fights, including two good monster scenes, despite one of them being an almost seemingly-requisite octopus creature.  It also has a fantastic trick riding horse-chase scene where even the extras are rad and doing stuff like jumping 180 degrees around on their saddle in order to shoot people with arrows.
Fantasy movies need octopus fights like 80s beat-em-up games need an elevator level.
          But there are letdowns and disappointments in the movie as well.  There is a strong promise of continued nudity towards the beginning of the film, where it seems as though every young and attractive actress will be performing sans-blouse.  But that doesn’t hold and we’re only treated to a pair again just prior to the start of the third act.  Along those same lines, one of the two main bad guys is Rose McGowan as a witch.  Her character likely would have been best served as a sort of evil sexpot, but she is instead in heavy makeup and a baldcap with no eyebrows in order to make her look foreign and sinister (and if that weren’t enough boner repellant, there is a creepy implied incest scene thrown in as well).  And there is an uncalled-for tonal shift for an oddly tender love scene that comes off as lip service to whatever wives and girlfriends were dragged to the movie; it plays like a Playgirl/Red Shoe Diaries moment and allows the audience a glimpse of Momoa’s chiseled posterior.
Dear Rose, Thank you for giving our penis nightmares.
          All told, however, this movie was a fantastic surprise.  It shows heavy evidence of studio suit tampering, and was a pretty significant box office flop.  But this movie has strong writing and direction, combined with a cast mostly able to handle the material… not to mention a time-tested character who largely stays true to his roots.  Conan says at one point, “I live, I love, I slay… and I am content.”  So are we, big guy, so are we…

* There are actually a couple Conan alums in Game of Thrones.  It is sometimes a bit distracting.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Not Quite There: Drive Angry

Going For It:

  • A movie about someone who escapes from hell in a muscle car to shoot the shit out of people
  • Female lead, Amber Heard, is literally just a walking Maxim spread, replete with witty banter and cut-off jean shorts
  • Features the music of T-Rex, Unkle, and Peaches
  • Muscle cars
  • Car chases
  • Violent bloody deaths
  • Satanists
  • One-liners
  • Shot for 3D for maximum in-your-face Xtreme-ness©
  • Tits
The Case Against:

  • We at MMG are Nicolas Cage apologists, but even that has its limits...
  • No movie hero, especially an anti-hero, should be called Milton through the whole movie (we don't care if it is a last name!)
  • Did we mention that the movie hero, who escapes hell, is named John Milton?!  Yeah, real subtle...
  • The music is jarring and distracting, often with little-to-no place in the scene it's played
  • 3D Xtreme-ness© isn't pulled off very well
  • Terribly written
  • The tits belong to a busted ex-stripper type
MMG Says...

So many people are quick to rip on Nic Cage.  We here at MMG will eventually convince you otherwise; he was brilliant in Adaptation, and far more than capable in MMG-favorites The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. This movie, however, will not convert you to the Church of Cage (which, coincidentally, is on one of his private islands).  He is dreadful in this movie: mostly he drawls sleepily through his lines as if he were just shoved onto the set from his trailer while still in the middle of a Quaalude haze.  His delivery lives on another planet from the other actors, the script itself, and even the scenarios he is put in.  Other times his actions are stilted, jerky, and sudden with no pacing whatsoever, such as when he creepily mouth-rapes a once-raring-to-go diner waitress.  It's difficult to tell if he picked this role and this movie and this acting style for any reason other than to further his own legend as an eccentric with no real place on film.  Mission accomplished, Mister Cage. Mission accomplished.

The movie itself is written a pair of fellers (one of whom doubles as director) who knew they wanted to make a Man Movie.  Unfortunately for us, the viewers, their resume features a lot of dreck with the same failings.  Their heart seems to be consistently in the right place, and we as lovers of all things Man Movie laud  any return to grindhouse, exploitation, and cheeseball horror... the problem is that they are just not very talented.

And so we find ourselves with a movie full of ripe premises and promising situations, that falls completely flat.  This could have been the movie that every father would show to their sons on their 13th birthday.  Instead, this is just another 90+ minutes relegated for an eternity of dollar bins at Wal-Mart and liquidations at video stores everywhere.

One last plea to the writers, Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier.  Guys, we get it.  You like Stephen King and Sam Raimi.  You think you're clever for being able to work in a wink and nod to an epic poem about the devil and the fall of man.  But do us a fucking favor and don't name your characters King, Raimi, and Milton.  It's pretty sophomoric, and that's saying something... considering what your movie is about.