(DL) – Jarrett Heather has been a dedicated lifelong "Weird Al" Yankovic fan, but when Al contacted Jarrett in November of 2014, the only back-story Al had on Jarrett was his own admiration of Jarrett's work.
Jarrett had previously produced a music video in 2010 called Shop-Vac using a form of design called kinetic typography. Al had his own vision for a music video and believed Jarrett was a fit.
Over the course of almost a year the two then collaborated on that music video exclusively for “Weird Al” to be a part of his new album Mandatory Fun.
Unless you've been living under a virtual rock, you should be one of the ten million viewers (and still climbing) that has watched Word Crimes, a parody music video of 2013's summer hit Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.
This interview with Jarrett reveals some great trivia related to the Word Crimes video and of course Jarrett's experience with “Weird Al”.
(Lars) How did you meet “Weird Al”?
(Jarrett) Al contacted me by email last November (2013). I was just minding my own business, and then "New message from Al Yankovic" was on my screen.
(DL) – This is a detailed spoiler-free review of X-Men Days of Future Past.
X-Men Days of Future Past is far from canon depicted in the original Marvel comic two part series The Uncanny X-Men #141 & #142. Unlike Spider-Man's convolution of canon, the changes in the celluloid X-Men universe work on many levels. Perhaps most intriguing is that it changes the outcome of past X-Men movies without making them obsolete. In comic books this is called re-birth, in this film franchise it's brilliant.
This is the seventh film in the X-Men franchise since 2000. (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine). After 14 years the franchise has made the most of all the preceding good and bad X-Men films. With Bryan Singer back at the helm, great care and regard for the X-Men characters has resulted in movie magic on par with 2012's Avenger's.
It can be hard for any true believer to watch any X-Men movie as they will have to accept the source material is being obliterated on film. A glaring example is protagonist time traveler Kitty Pryde is replaced by Wolverine. Forget that some hard core skeptics reject nuances such as Wolverine is much taller in film than his print counterpart. ...Read more...
(DL) – This is a detailed spoiler-free review of Spider-Man 2.
Spider-Man is now The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield as the hero Peter Parker. In the first reboot we were encouraged by what appeared to be a more accurate retelling of Spider-Man in the Marvel universe. In this second episode we find many elements such as Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jamison are missing and while it has not entirely diverged from canon, The Amazing Spider-Man reboot is falling apart as a faithful representation. There are homage's to the comic book series such as the iconic time of (1:21 am) for those in the know. There is also Gwen Stacy dressed in film and standing in settings exactly as drawn in the 1973 issue (#121) comic book panels giving the impression director Marc Webb wants to deliver a Spider-Man that true believers will accept. Purist will debate that homages are not canon. A great deal of concerns exist in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Largely due in part from the 2002-2007 Tobey Maquire Spider-Man trilogy. In it key plot points belonging to Gwen Stacy were applied to Mary Jane Watson making it awkward and not good business for film makers to more accurately retell in this relaunch of the franchise. Spider-Man 2 released in 2004 where Spider-Man took on Doctor Octopus is considered the best Spider-Man story on film yet. The bar was set high. Now in 2014 Spider-Man faces off with... Electro? Or is it Green Goblin - and which one? This sophomore installment of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does fall short of the 2004 Doc Ock masterpiece, yet it is still a fun ride. Just don't expect too much, more changes hold it back than advance it.
What works? Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey. Their off screen relationship may be the cause of such an acceptable screen pairing. Andrew Garfield is better as the witty wise-cracking web slinger, complete with body motions that convey a humor going beyond static text bubbles explaining what actions can't. Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn even before he takes the helm as a future Green Goblin is both truly menacing and endearing all in the same breath. Just to look at him you hope he doesn't have an evil thought or you're doomed. Another reason this Spider-Man is well worth seeing is that it was filmed entirely on location in New York City. New York is as much a live character as any animate object. It's energy is authentic with little CGI (computer generated graphics) necessary.
What doesn't work? Electro. Not Jamie Foxx, but the design of the character and the manner in which his interpretation isn't in line with the original creation of Electro's persona. A smart change was avoiding the dated green and yellow suit with lightning bolts crossing his face. That would have camped up the film. Jamie Foxx executes Max Dillon effortlessly, if Max was ever written as a self-pitying soul. Max makes an understandable character change in the story, but limits in strength are not easily conveyed. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues Sony and director Marc Webb's reboot of Spider-Man with more respect to the authenticity the original stories found in 1 through 700 run of Amazing Spider-Man than the early 2000's branding by director Sam Raimi. After all, one key give-away is the addition of the word, 'Amazing'. That one word tells us this Spider-Man on film will be modeled after the comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man. Does this make the reboot 'Superior'?...Read more...
(DL) – This review is spoiler free yet detailed oriented. It is influenced by having previously read the 1983 novel Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.
If you have not read the book, use this review as a reason to either bypass the film initially and read the book first, or to understand that the screenplay is a huge departure from the intended story.
The novel Winter's Tale is a romance with a supernatural overtone bathed in a tribute to New York City if the city could always remain in a mystical state. The book is sometimes verbose, often funny, and heartfelt in it's depiction of love. The movie insults your intellect by ignoring the vast symbolism used in the book. Example: Time Travel - In the novel certain characters have not aged through time, while the movie implies time travel as they are supernatural beings. It's NOT so. Here is exactly where the director really fowled the film. Deviating from the author's intent, turning the story into a devil's agents interplay is awkward and out of place. The devil is NEVER once mentioned or implied in the original story. Yes, some devices are necessary in film to help the audience, but the character Pearly Soames purpose as a protagonist in the film is reduced to silly. Furthermore Pearly's reason for chasing Peter (in the novel) had nothing to do with Peter's love for Beverly. Pearly never met Beverly in the novel. In fact, in the novel, Beverly had the mystical ability to subdue Pearly and all his men when she was in the company of Peter Lake. She literally could protect Peter. In the film, this trait and theme is abandoned. Here is one more non-spoiler as it too won't be found in the film. Pearly's purpose for chasing Peter Lake began the moment he forced Peter Lake into his employ and Peter later turned a huge heist against Pearly. Pearly's gang was decimated for a time. From that day forward, Pearly's will to kill Peter grew in every chase that left him empty handed.
Being sold as a straight up romance or love story is almost a mistake because the story of Peter Lake's universe is more than Beverly Penn. The film makes a flimsy effort in trying to encompass the much larger story surrounding their love affair. Where time travel was painted too clearly to the movie goer, the backstory of Peter Lake's horse Athansor is lost. The interplay of other characters in the story could have done a lot for this movie. The wildly funny malapropian newspaper editor named Craig Binky is nowhere to be found, along with a host of others. Characters such as Virginia Gamely were altered ridiculously. Virginia was from the Lake of the Coherees in the novel. In the film, she is just another New Yorker. The lack of the larger story is where the film falls apart. The director's vain effort to include the other threaded stories inside the book are convoluted....Read more...
(DL) – No question is left unanswered. Here's how to really train, what to wear and the real safety concerns of mud runs and mud races. It's your most comprehensive guide in how to effectively prepare for a long distance obstacle course from someone that's actually participated.
Endurance obstacle course events have become popular. Most add in the element of mud if for no other reason than to create a light hearted fun atmosphere. However Mud Runs such as Warrior Dash are only mud runs and contain no obstacles. If you are asking yourself, "What's the difference between the Tough Mudder (untimed event), Warrior Dash (timed event) or Spartan Race (timed event)?" The answer is very little. They are all obstacle course events with Tough Mudder being the longest on average and largest. But of the many races and runs out there you should be sure you know what type trail race you are entering. Is it a mud run or an obstacle course?...Read more...