Thursday, March 15, 2007

FRIDAY SCREEN TEST: Alan Lopuszynski

A former member of The Industry, Alan Lopuszynski has traveled far beyond the reaches of Hollywood (present whereabouts: somewhere in Western Pa.) to give us Burbanked, where he dishes on all the muck and melancholy of popular culture. At Alan's site, you won't find mere movie reviews -- but pleasing skewery of trailers, one-sheets and all that's fit to broadcast. Alan writes with the authority of someone who has been there, which give his posts a bit more punch than most. As someone who has always gobbled up trailers, it's easy for me to feast on Alan's teaser takes (loved this one on the upcoming crapfest Perfect Stranger, and his classic take on Terminator's is dead-on).

SNEAKY GOOD: 'I can tell you about four dozen reasons that Sneakers is a dumb, hacky, contrived movie where it looks like every person in it is slumming for a paycheck; what I can't tell you is why I love it so. There are few things as ridiculous as the idea that 4'2'' Ben Kingsley, holding a gun that looks like a big shiny toy in his hand, would look threatening, but I just dig the hell out of it. Silly.'

LET'S GO TO WORK: 'Having worked int he movie industry, it was a requirement to go see everything, all the time. This functioned not only so that I could be up to date on the good stuff that everyone was talking about, but also to inform me as to what was bad so that I was duly equipped to crush my enemies. These days, moviegoing is not based on compulsion, but rather on what I want, what I'm interested in, what I can make time for and what is truly meaningful to me as a human being. That means I go about one-eighth as often as I'd like.'

OH NO YOU DINT!: 'My brother spoiled the ending of The Empire Strikes Back for me, and after I watched it I wouldn't have minded having a group discussion with him and my fists and his breadbasket . . . that movie probably was one of my earliest subjects of film discussion with friends. All of us had cut our teeth on Star Wars and this rather soundly rocked our worlds.

'I was too young to see a lot of the groundbreaking movies of the '70s in their original theatrical runs -- A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Sergio Leone -- but in the spirit of time travel, I would choose to go back and see the original Terminator in the theater. Watching it for the first time late at night on a crappy dormitory TV was fun and all, but it must have been pretty exciting on the big screen, and I wouldn't mind getting that first time back.'

WELCOME TO THE MATRIX REPULSION: 'I did think that the Matrix backlash was more harsh than it needed to be. I agree that Reloaded and Revolutions have the kinds of problems that only a self-hating gender-bending filmmaker could conjure, but at the same time I think that all three Matrix movies as a whole represent something rather extraordinary, unlike anything we had seen before. Ultimately, the trilogy is a pretty amazing cinematic achievement if we can remove ourselves from the hype and the expectation and our own sense of "what it should have been."'

SEARCHING FOR SOME SCARES: 'I seem to be craving a lot of horror lately, and I've been playing catch-up on recent films like the Saw series, as well as older stuff like the original TExas Chainsaw Massacre. I think the remake/reimagine surge of the past couple years has sent me searching for surprises, for shocks and the unexpected, but I've not been entirely successful at finding them.'

LIKE A STEEL TRAP: 'I use movies all the time to help improve my memory. Like when I wonder why Hollywood keeps announcing remake after remake I can remember how it's done well when I watch John Carpenter's The Thing. That one is also useful in helping me remember John Carpenter. And I have a whole bunch of movies that help me remember olden times before Hannibal Lecter became a cartoon character, and before James Cameron stopped making movies that were fun to watch.'

ROYALLY IMPRESSED: 'I hoped [Casino Royale] would be good, but I was not prepared for how amazed and thrilled and giddy it made me feel. Bond movies haven't held surprises or human drama for a long time, and whoever had the thought to just strip this character down and see how he handles himself deserves to be given a warm frothy beverage of some kind. Or maybe a hug.'

FAVORITE MOVIE?: 'I always think I can do this -- and I usually fall back on Raiders of the Lost Ark being the first and foremost movie that informed my young blah blah blah -- but the truth is that any combination of mood, circumstance, heartache, anger or fear can trigger the desire to rewatch a favorite movie, and the thing that meets those needs today may not hit the spot at all the next time. That having been said, I'm just about never in the mood to watch Driving Miss Daisy.'

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1 comment:

Tuwa said...

That bit about Sneakers is funny; I felt much the same way about it until somewhere around 1/2 or 2/3 the way through it, when it started taking turns that seemed dictated more by test screenings than by the storyline that went before them.