GeekBomb: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Edition!

GeekBomb
You might have noticed a suspicious absence of GeekBombs on the site lately. That’s mainly because the last one I was working on blew up in my face, scarring half of my visage and leaving me with a marred silver dollar that I now use to make decisions with, and the flips just haven’t been falling the right way lately.

Actually, I’m changing things up a bit, and will now be offering you two GeekBombs each week. This means I’ll have more time to research them, and won’t be killing myself every night and day with trips to the library and three billion tabs open in Firefox while I read myself to an early grave. With that in mind, I’d like to know what YOU want to hear about in future GeekBombs. What are some subjects you’ve been dying to know about? A history of IMAX and other Large Format Film Cameras? Done. The progress of time-travel in the movies? Can do. You let me know what you’d like to see, and I’ll do my best to deliver.

Until then, keep your eyes peeled. The biweekly Bombs will be dropping soon.

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Oscar, Fallen

The Oscars are just not a geek’s friend, and you know it as well as I do. Just look at the number of posts and people there are out there bitching that The Dark Knight wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, or that a movie like Wall-E just gets relegated to the Best Animated Feature Film category which has only three nominees. But what can you do? The Academy Awards have never really smiled on movies that typically fall under the geek banner.

If it’s science fiction, fantasy, or comic book related, that’s basically a surefire bet that a film isn’t going to net an Oscar in one of the major categories. Of course the big exception to that rule was The Return of the King, which netted 11 Oscars, sweeping every category it was nominated in, including Best Director and Best Picture. I know, you’re shocked it beat out Seabiscuit, but it did. However, people generally consider those wins a huge nod to Peter Jackson for his work on the entire trilogy. Regardless, it was nice to see such a staple of geekdom clean up.

However, both before and since then, it’s been nigh-impossible for geekdom to crack the halls of the Academy. There have been a few token nominations here and there, like Stanley Kubrick being nominated for Best Director for 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968… which was actually the first time a science fiction film had ever been nominated for one of the major Oscars Sadly, yet here we are 40 years later, and Oscar geek snubbing is still the case. In today’s GeekBomb, we’ll be looking at some of the geektastic highlights of the Academy Awards, while silently lamenting the stodgy old school ways of thinking that keep us locked out. As Hollywood geeks from our generation grow up and take over, we will one day rule the Oscars. Until then, we wait. Silently plotting.

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amcpictureshowcase

Are you way behind on your movie watching? The Oscars are approaching faster than you think. In case you hadn’t realized, they’re on this Sunday. Still haven’t seen Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, or Slumdog Millionaire? Not doing anything this Saturday? Well then, you’re in luck. If you have $30 bucks to spare, you can catch every single one of these films in a row, starting with Milk at 10:30am, all the way up to Frost/Nixon at 9:45pm. It boils down to almost 11 complete hours of film time, and AMC is tossing in a large popcorn with free refills all day to boot. Plus you’ll be able to come and go as you please… like during the last hour or so of Benjamin Button.

Over 97 different AMC theaters across the U.S. are participating in this showcase, and you can check on their website to see if this is happening near you. While it might not be all three Lord of the Rings movies in a row (which is almost as long with those extended editions), it’s still a pretty serious way to geek out on some quality movies. Just make sure you eat your weight in popcorn to really squeeze some extra value out of your thirty bucks. That’s what I’m planning on doing (I’ll be at the one in Anaheim), and now I just have to figure out how to smuggle in a tank full of soda.

GeekBomb: Clive Owen, International Man of Mystery

Clive Owen

I can still remember the first time I saw Clive Owen in a movie. It was around 2000 and the film was called Croupier, and Owen starred as a struggling writer trying to write a soccer novel, and ends up turning back to his old life as a “croupier,” or dealer, in a casino in London. It was a British film with a modest budget that was about one of my favorite things: gambling. I’m a sucker for movies about gambling and con men. The plot was fairly standard stuff, but Owen really made this movie stand out as suave actor who bordered on looking bored sometimes, which isn’t meant to be a criticism of the guy. He’s just able to pull off that cool demeanor and really seem like he’s nonplussed by what’s going on around him.

Shortly after that, I received a DVD full of the BMW short films that Owen had starred in as “The Driver,” and not long after that he was in Gosford Park and The Bourne Identity, and his career was off and running. However, not many people know much about his history, because he was literally one of those “blink and he’s there” actors. He’s starring in the The International with Naomi Watts, which opens this weekend, and even though he hasn’t been on the American film radar for ten years yet, he’s already made quite an impact. We’ll check out his backstory and talk about some of his memorable film roles in today’s GeekBomb. The fuse is already lit, seek cover after the break.

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GeekBomb: The Enduring Legacy of Point Break

Point Break: A Love Story

It’s been 18 years since Point Break premiered, which is hard enough to believe in itself, but what’s even stranger is the staying power this movie has. In fact, just this past weekend, two of my friends went to go see Point Break Live! in Los Angeles, which is a comedic take on the film, complete with the actors hauling an unsuspecting guest from the audience to play the part Keanu’s Agent Johnny Utah. It helps that they’re fairly clueless and have to read their lines from cue cards.

When I interviewed director Kathryn Bigelow last year in Toronto for her new film The Hurt Locker, I asked her about the legacy of Point Break. She said, “I don’t know if it surprises me but… it’s very surreal. The permutations of once something has left your hands and enters the zeitgeist and how malleable it really is.” But why exactly does this movie keep popping up on the radar? Why Point Break Live! and not Reservoir Dogs Live! (note: do not steal my idea, that is going to totally be a cash cow for me) In today’s GeekBomb we find out everything about Point Break that you wanted to know, and then some.

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Being John Malkovich

John Malkovich is one of those actors who really seems hard to pin down. He can take a strange role and make it his own, a la Teddy KGB in Rounders, or he can take the role of a villain and make it uber-creepy, like he did in In The Line of Fire. Or, he can also play a part where he’s playing himself, and a version of himself piloted by someone else, and make fun of himself and his image in the process as in Being John Malkovich. Besides all this, he definitely seems like someone that you don’t want to piss off.

Malkovich is defined both by his acting ability, and the strange choice of roles he’s taken over the years. He’s not someone you’d ever see as the leading man, but what he brings to the table in his supporting roles and antagonistic ways more than make up for that. He’s gone from art film staple to period piece villain to comedic foil and every other role in between, and he’s now joining the ranks of the comic book realm with a part in Jonah Hex, where he’ll be squaring off against Josh Brolin. You can never quite tell what he’ll be doing next, and the only cinematic counterpart I can even think of him would be Christopher Walken (although Walken isn’t quite as choosy in his roles). Maybe we’ll see them in a father / son project some day.

While I dream about that, head down below to check out today’s GeekBomb about John Malkovich. After all, he’s premiering in this weekend’s wonderfully quirky movie The Great Buck Howard.

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A Drive-In Theater in London

Sometime in the 1970s, my older cousin and her husband took me and a neighbor girl to a drive-in theater in Texas, and I still remember how amazing it was to be watching a movie from the back of a station wagon. I mean, you’re sitting there in a car, watching a movie and listening to the audio over a speaker. As a kid, it was about one of the coolest things ever. Nowadays you have cars with built-in DVD players, video game systems, and LCD flatscreens, but nothing really beats the experience of going to the good old drive-in.

You’ll be happy to know the the drive-in phenomenon isn’t quite dead yet, despite being well over 50 years old. While it might be in intensive care, there are still over hundreds of drive-in theaters out there that need your love. You might consider tracking one down near you and showing it some love the next time you have an itch to get out of the house and check out a flick. You’ll be glad that you did. In today’s GeekBomb, we’re charting the history of the drive-in theater experience, and we’ll be letting you know how you can check one out yourself. Brace yourself, we’re pulling the pin…

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It’s been Friday the 13th all day, can you tell? Here in Los Angeles, it’s pouring down rain and the forecast is calling for it to continue doing that for several days. I’ve seen two black cats this morning, narrowly avoided walking under a ladder, and nearly dropped my shaving mirror. That’s not a highly concentrated amount of bad luck just waiting to happen, and I’ve been staying inside and keeping the blinds shut ever since.

There’s also the remake of Friday the 13th opening in theaters today,making it a double dose of superstition. If you believe in that sort of thing. So just exactly why is Friday the 13th so unlucky, both for normal folks and pretty teens who wander around closed summer camps? We’re taking a look at it in today’s GeekBomb, so grab a horseshoe, a rabbit’s foot, or a four-leaf clover and plow ahead through today’s GeekBomb.

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