It’s May at The Movie Maestro

…and there will still be now Tag of the Month. Sorry, life is really kicking my ass now.

I’ll be using what little spare time I have this month to do some blog maintenance and work on Godzilla: Resurrection, so stay tuned for more updates on that fan edit. Of course, if I watch any films, I’ll have those reviews up.

If you still haven’t checked out all of my MCU Marathon reviews, they are all listed right here, and if you haven’t seen Infinity War yet, then well, get on it!

 

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Infinity War is Upon Us!

It has been a long decade, and finally, the weekend of Avengers: Infinity War is here!

As you may know, I’ve been undertaking the expansive #MCUMarathon challenge ever since the beginning of the year, and while I may have fallen behind at multiple points, I have arrived at the finish line! Not only will I be reblogging all of Tumblr reviews throughout the day, but they will all be collected right here for your pleasure.

I have seen the film, and let’s just say…It. Is. Glorious.

The #MCUMarathon Reviews:
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War

Godzilla: Resurrection – The Philosophy of This Project

It’s been about two months since I started this edit. And what a ride it has been.

I’ve faced difficulty at every turn on this one. First there was the creation of the new prologue, which I restarted several times after becoming fed up with whatever current direction it was taking. And then the ripping process itself, and the creation of the separate audio tracks needed to undertake the new stereo mix. I originally bungled this by neglecting the audio mix entirely, working from compressed mp3 stems. I guess you can you say I’ve got the skills of a novice.

Actually, you can say that. This is my first fan edit.

244979-19776-118733-1-terror-of-godzillaI grew up watching Godzilla 1985 (heretofore known as G85). All throughout those years, I knew I loved the film as one of the best of the Godzilla series, but there was also another thing I owned that always made me wonder about the original cut: the Dark Horse English translation of the manga adaptation, known in the States as Terror of Godzilla. When I first encountered it, I had yet to see G85 or even come to acquire a basic understanding of the Godzilla film continuity, so to me it was just another (cool) Godzilla story. And then I saw G85, and was instantly both confused and intrigued; Terror of Godzilla played almost exactly as this movie, but with a lot of quirky differences. I think it’s safe to say that I was introduced to the concept of alternative versions of films through Terror of Godzilla.

As I grew, TROG became somewhat of a holy grail to me. With its unavailability on the American market and limited presence in even piracy circles, it felt like an eternity before I was finally able to view it in any kind of passable form. When I finally did, it took a few viewings before I finally appreciated it for what it was–a well-structured political procedural film, with its various crises built around the presence of a giant, radioactive monster. Unlike G85, TROG was a brilliant exercise in mounting tension, with each predicament, governmental or natural, flowing from the last organically, providing every character with ample opportunities to define themselves through struggle. Instantly, I could see why this original version was superior to what the American editors had created; all they could see was a monster mash, while Hashimoto was building Godzilla back up into a force of Nature that mankind would have to reckon with.

Still, G85 had a few advantages. There are numerous examples where the pacing of specific scenes are substantially improved by a tighter cut, such as the attack of the Shockilas upon Goro Maki. In TROG, this scene is almost laughable, with an incredibly fake and immobile puppet slowly rolling on the floor towards Goro, who seems to have nothing to fear from this lump of rubber. In G85 however, the scene is shortened by almost a full minute, turning two or three different attacks and dodges between the two combatants into a single, rapid piece of culluloid violence that preserves the shock factor of a giant sea louse suddenly appearing behind our main character.

shockilas

Some scenes are also improved with the new score additions by New World Pictures, which were sourced from a film called Def-Con 4. These selections by Christopher Young actually blend very well into the original score by Reijiro Koroku.

But by far, the additions most everyone remembers are the newly-shot Pentagon scenes starring Raymond Burr as the Steve Martin character from King of the Monsters. While not really adding to the plot in any significant way and stuffed with dismissive American Cold War humor, Steve Martin’s presence within them lends the film a sense of continuity with its past, and Burr’s performance is haunting in a handful of scenes.

Related image

Taking all of this into account, one gets the sense that arguments could be made supporting both versions. Which leads me to this edit: while ostensibly a straight hybrid cut, as you will see over the coming weeks, there’s a lot more going on under the surface. Obviously, there’s my new title screen and prologue sequence, but also some of my own interpretations of certain sequences like the Super X shelling or the end sequence of Godzilla falling into Mt. Mihara. These not only serve to provide myself some much-needed editing experience, not only to leave my mark upon one of my favorite Godzilla films, but to hopefully bring it up to the same level, at least in the eyes of American audiences, of some of their favorite pieces of cinema from the period. Films from that decade and immediately prior, like All the President’s Men, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Trilogy, The Hunt for Red October; all of these films serve as my inspiration on this project.

The end goal will be to create an alternative “export” version, a what-if international cut that posits a collaboration between the American and Japanese creative teams to preserve the original intents of Tanaka, Hashimoto, and Nagahara, with changes to improve the pacing sound design, along with some speculative additions more in tune with the current era, such as the preservation of the Japanese performances through the use of subtitles instead of a dub.

I think more than anything, this is my mantra while crafting Resurrection; not to “fix” the film, but to give it an extra bump or boost, to allow it to stand aesthetically alongside the best of the ’80s sci-fi output as I know it does thematically. In short, I want to “resurrect” The Return of Godzilla, so that it can experience, even if only the eyes of a few dozen, a new apex of popularity.

I know, I sound absolutely crazy. And maybe I am.

But so was Jodorowsky, and he made The Holy Mountain.

Tag of the Month: Visions of the Future (January 2018)

It’s January at The Movie Maestro, and since it’s a new year, it’s time for the first Tag of the Month!

What is the “Tag of the Month?”

Every month, in between my regular reviews, I will be viewing films pertaining to a certain theme, be it seasonal, holiday, or otherwise-oriented. Examples: “Twisted Xmas” for December, something romantic for February, etc.

January’s Tag: Visions of the Future

monthlytag - January 2018

Every New Years in my youth, I used to view futuristic films; pieces ranging the gamut of speculative science fiction, from the post-apocalyptic vistas of Mad Max to the dystopian metropolis of Blade Runner and beyond. This New Years, I’ll be cutting you into the fun with a series of reviews revolving around glimpses into civilization to come.

Keep a look out for the tag #FutureVisions on my Instagram and Tumblr movie reviews, and check back here for links to them every week.

The Reviews:
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Star Trek Beyond
Total Recall
Logan’s Run
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
Dune
Mad Max
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Mad Max: Fury Road
Blade Runner 2049 (more)

Happy New Years!

A New Year at The Movie Maestro

It’s 2018, a brand new year for a brand new Movie Maestro!

At about this time last year, I never would have expected to be where I am. Sure, money and time problems did not allow me to accomplish all of the goals that I had set for myself in 2017, but I did start a whole new endeavor–this blog! Since March, I have shared with all of you my love of cinema and its power over our hearts and minds, and hope to continue to share it for many years to come. To all of you who have visited and read the blog, whether in passing or as faithful fans, thank you so much!

Changes In Store

When I first started this blog, I had visions of a full multimedia site–a foolhardy ambition, this I now know. So, over the fall and winter, I have slowed down on posting, moving my film reviews onto my social media accounts for quicker and easier-to-write content.

With this in mind, I will be continuing with this format into 2018 and beyond, with my own personal stamp: the Tag of the Month. Every month, I will announce a monthly tag which many of my reviews will revolve around. Some will be seasonal or holiday oriented, like the recent Twisted Xmas posts, others will be at my own whimsy.

In addition, I will be making changes to how I post in the regular columns. The Double Bill Drive-In will continue, although I will be thoroughly viewing every double feature idea before I write the post, ensuring I have a actual opinion on the suggestion. Maestro’s Marathons is also continuing, although with my shift to the Tag of the Month posts, there will be less holiday marathons, and more original ideas. Casting Calls, Editorials, and Head Canon will all be going on, but Weirdo Cinema is closing doors.

Fan Edit Reviews will be continuing as well, but I will be moving info on my own edits to my new studio blog, Temporal Productions. This new side project will house all info on my personal work, including my films, edits, artwork, any and all original work by moi.

Here’s to another year and more of cinematic goodness!

Happy Holidays from The Movie Maestro!

December 26: With most of the holidays behind us, I’ll be wrapping up Twisted Xmas with a couple more reviews I missed in the hoopla of presents and family get-togethers, in addition to some updates to my collection posts on Instagram. I’ll be updating you all in depth soon on the future of The Movie Maestro and what’s in store for the first few months of 2018.

I hope you all have enjoyed your holidays!

Here at The Movie Maestro, I’ll be celebrating the holidays, whichever one you prefer, with viewings upon viewings of festive films. In addition to traditional Christmas fare, I’ll also be reviewing some of my favorite “Twisted Xmas” movies.

What is a “Twisted Xmas” Movie?

Good question, glad you asked. A Twisted Xmas film, to this reviewer, is any film that takes place at Christmastime, but does not concern itself with the themes of the holiday, or perhaps does so in an increasingly twisted and non-traditional way. Think Die Hard or Batman Returns.

The Reviews:

Home Alone
Iron Man 3
Ghostbusters II
Batman Returns
Die Hard
Enemy of the State
Trading Places
A Christmas Story

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…Star Wars!

You may have noticed that I didn’t get around to the Star Wars flicks last month. Well, that was partially due to my being rather busy, but also a little intentional, since Star Wars: The Last Jedi is opening this month. My Star Wars reviews are being moved to the next two weeks to prepare.

The Reviews:

Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
Revenge of the Sith
The Force Awakens
Rogue One
The Last Jedi

Harmy’s Despecialized Edition Fan Edit Review

Ch-Ch-Changes!

Once the holidays are over, I’ll be doing some major restructuring, as well as introducing you all to my dedicated Temporal Productions blog, where my fan edit and short film information will be permanently transferred to, allowing me to keep my critical and professional work separate. I hope to see you all then!

Once again, Happy Holidays to you all!

November at The Movie Maestro

Now that Halloween is long behind us, it’s time for me to refresh myself with some of my favorite films and film franchises! Until the end of November, I’ll be reviewing a wide array of entries from the Star Trek series to Indiana Jones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all just in time to read while you stuff your face with Thanksgiving turkey! Also on the plate will be a complete review of the Star Wars saga to prepare for the December 15 release of The Last Jedi.

Stay true, believers!

Time to Get Halloween-y!

Now that we are leaving Blade Runner behind, it’s time to feel the fall!

For the rest of October, The Movie Maestro will be focusing on horror films in honor of All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, the Festival of Samhain, whatever you want to call it! Kicking off this scary month will be the 2017 Halloween Horror Maestro’s Marathon, where I reveal this year’s horror theme. Check back in for the rest of the month for horror film reviews and other spooky goodies. My social media accounts will get ghostly as well!

Have fun and be safe this Halloween!

Maestro Update, September 10, 2017

You may have noticed that there wasn’t a Maestro’s Picks this past Friday, my apologies. This week hasn’t allowed me much reading, as I had my wisdom teeth pulled and have been in recovery for half the week, and working on Godzilla: Resurrection for the other half.

It will definitely be made up for however this week. I plan on seeing It tomorrow night, so expect a review for that Tuesday as well as a few more, and a trailer for Godzilla: Resurrection. Stay tuned!

Changes to Posting Schedule

Hey there true believers!

You may have noticed posting has slowed down here, and that is not a fluke. To better facilitate my work on Godzilla: Resurrection and my own short fiction writing, I have set a scaled-back schedule for myself on the blog, starting this Friday with the return of Maestro’s Picks. This time around, I’ll be presenting one item or topic that took the week for me, to you.

I will try to keep up with my reviews, with one or two a week at the very least. My special columns will continue, with at least one a month. The Double Feature Drive-In will continue once a month as well.

Social media posts will continue whenever I get to them, including two monthly highlights on Tumblr: Bite-Sized Fan Theories, and Criterion Creations, where I present one of my own hypothetical Criterion Collection covers.

As always, stay tuned to my fan edits page for updates on Godzilla: Resurrection. See ya!