Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh Come On!

I think the least plausible film to come out in a long time is tomorrow's release The Strangers, a movie about a a couple having a romantic weekend being terrorized by masked serial killers. Seriously, who the hell has time to spend an entire night in the woods scaring young couples? I don't know about you, but some of us have to get up in the morning and need a good night's sleep. What, serial killers don't have to work? And don't say, "Hey, maybe it was the weekend." My weekends are all chock full of errands and if I did get some free time I sure as hell wouldn't want to spend it at some remote cabin in the woods. Even if I was some sadist into things like tormenting couples I wouldn't do it in the woods. It'd probably take me forever to drive out there all for the pleasure of wearing some stupid mask under which I'll be sweating like a pig within 20 minutes and getting eaten alive by bugs. No attractive couples are having romantic getaways closer to at least some suburban area? And with the price of gas the way it is, I'm supposed to want to drive all the way out to some far off cabin just to kill someone when I could just as easily kill a guy on the next block?

I can believe in a guy flying around in a super advanced metal suit, a fantasy world ruled by a talking lion and a guy being upset when he wakes up to discover that he just had sex with Cameron Diaz much more easily than I can believe any of this. Nice try, movie.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Right Wing Movie Reviews -- Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

I haven't heard from him in a while but once again I have to deal with right wing blogger Götterdamerung from He has demanded space here to respond to my recent review of the new Indiana Jones movie, as always for the sake of balance even though I can't find anything resembling a political reference in my review. I don't know why he can't do this on his own site but, what the hell, at least I don't have to post anything today. -- MC

Hey all, Götterdamerung here. Once again, Michael "Moore" Clear has threatened the American way of life with one of his allegedly apolitical reviews. I suppose he'll whine about how he made no political comments but, as we at constantly point out, taking no political stand is one of the most common tactics used by modern day traitors and those sympathetic to the jihadist lifestyle. If Michael "Kos" Clear loved America, he would fill his reviews with supportive statements about the Iraq War or firm denunciations of gay marriage no matter what the plot of the movie was. For example, he could have written, "In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones stands up against his enemies in much the same way that America must keep standing against Iraqi insurgents. Also, gay marriage is bad."

However, there's plenty in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to get any full blooded patriot's blood boiling with red, white and blue rage. The fact that anyone could write a review of Crystal Skull and not mention its blatant anti-American attitudes can only be explained if the reviewer is someone who hopes that Osama bin Laden is going to ask him to the prom.

The movie opens with an American military installation under siege from terrorists. Personally, I think every movie should start this way. Hollywood could do much worse than to remind everyone that they should be constantly terrified of the terrorist threat and that the only way to keep from dying from a hijacked plane being flown right into your crotch is to give George W. Bush a third term. Unfortunately, the movie takes its flawless premise and does such horrible things to it that you just know the writers were spitting on American flags the whole time they were working on this script.

Sure, Indiana Jones is fighting terrorists but not the Muslo-fascites who are even now plotting to arm every one of the Earth's billion Islamic automatons with their very own nuclear weapon. No, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have become Mecca's latest useful idiots by ignoring the Muslims in our midst and making the villains something that they call "Communists." The movie is set in 1957 and I admit that I mostly slept in history class having wonderful dreams where Ronald Reagan and I would dance naked in a field of daisies trying desperately to resist our unnatural urges until we finally and gloriously gave in...what was I talking about? Oh yeah. I'm pretty certain that they had Muslims back in 1957 so there was no reason to take some obscure group and act like they were people worthy of fighting Indiana Jones. I think the movie said they were from Russia which would have made them illegal immigrants and normally I'd admire a movie that took a stand on de-porousing our porous borders but Wikipedia says that they don't speak Spanish in Russia which makes them the wrong kind of illegal immigrant and pretty much negates any political points that Crystal Skull could score with me.

So here we have Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford forming a cinematic axis of evil by trying to tell us that we don't have to fear the people who want us all to wear turbans, eat couscous and worship a god who wasn't born of a virgin like every right thinking person knows He was. Instead, they want us to be afraid of a society where everyone is comrades with everyone else and all are guaranteed a job which frankly sounds AWEsOME! I can imagine all my fellow conservatives embracing these "Communists" and eventually creating a workers paradise to which Michael Clear and his latte sipping liberal buddies will not be invited.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Wary Indiana

In 1999, I saw the first new Star Wars movie made in 16 years. I thought it was just the most awesomest thing I'd ever seen and wrote a review in which I awarded it 4 stars. In the years since, I have revised my opinion of The Phantom Menace and now find its emphasis on things like political dealings and parliamentary maneuvers as well as what seemed to be 87 hours of screen time given over to Jar Jar Binks to be dull and tedious. I suppose my experience with the movie was similar to that of a man coming out of the desert and being offered a glass of beet juice to quench his thirst. He'd probably think at the time that beet juice was the best drink ever and vow to drink nothing else for the rest of his life. In comparison, this was the first new Star Wars film since 1983 and yes, I'm a fan even though I recognize its flaws*. I saw Phantom Menace through the eyes of an excited fan who was feeling like he was a kid again, therefore I loved it.

This is why I'm wary** of the fact that I really liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This movie has been getting bad buzz for months now. It was depressing to read yet another user review or forum post from someone who saw a test screening declaring that Crystal Skull either "sucks," "sux" or "suXX0rZ!!!!" Most of the professionally written early reviews also panned it (though the general consensus of film critics has been favorable since its release). So I wasn't expecting a great deal which allowed the film to exceed my expectations. That, along with me predisposition to loving anything that star Harrison Ford in a fedora dodging 500 year old poison darts in exotic locations (that's why I didn't like Regarding Henry, no fedora). I think, though, that my good opinion of the movie is genuine.

Crystal Skull opens in the year 1957. Russian agents kidnap Indy and his dumpy English sidekick so he can help them find something in Area 51, an skull-like object made out of crystal...OH MY GOD, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND THE TITLE. In the first 15 minutes, Indiana tracks down the skull, swings around on his whip from car to car while fighting the Russians (including Cate Blanchett's wonderfully hammy villain, Irina Spalko) and survives a nuclear explosion while managing to avoid becoming an irradiated mutant who gets super strong when he's mad.

You know, that's about all you need to know about the plot. I will say that some of the jokes poking fun at 1950s culture were excellent. I am extremely...wait for it...WARY about casting Shia LaBeouf as the unfortunately named Mutt Williams, someone who is probably being considered as the star of future sequels. First off, Mutt Williams? What happened, Spielberg? Didn't think other names like Gocart Smith or Goofball Thompson were stupid enough? I don't want to see movies with titles like Mutt Williams and the Wrath Of The Mumboolians. Also, it's hard to imagine Shia LaBeouf stepping into Harrison Ford's shoes. Ford is an actor of such talent and screen presence that he's been able to play two of cinema's most recognizable and iconic characters. Shia LaBeouf is best known as the guy who needed the help of giant alien robots to score with pretty girls. He was better than I thought he would be so we'll see.

You don't need me to tell you to go out and see Crystal Skull since it's record setting box office take means that you probably saw it before I did. Anyway, see you again in another 15 years or so when an 80 year old Harrison Ford makes Indiana Jones and the Bob Evans Buffet.

*For example, why is it that Jedi powers only work when it's convenient for the plot? Need to make a little ball float around to demonstrate the power of the Force? Cool, it worked. Need to knock some robots off your fighter ship because they're tearing it apart?? Better hope you remembered to charge your blaster because the Force will basically say, "Kiss my ass," and let the robots do whatever the hell they want.

** DING! Title achieved!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bolling For Dollars

So there I am, innocently looking through a list of new movies coming out this week when what should I find but something called Postal. Here's is the plot synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
A religious charlatan (Foley), his mild mannered nephew (Ward) and a gang of bosomy commandos face off against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in an epic battle that will determine the fate of the world in POSTAL, the latest film from controversial director Uwe Boll (“BloodRayne”).

There are a few filmmakers on the planet who could have pulled off a movie like this with a crazy, potentially offensive plot and whose trailer includes a scene where the 9/11 hijackers are calling Osama bin Laden to scold him about the number of virgins they'll get when they die. Yeah, there are people who could have pulled this off, but instead of them, we get Uwe Boll. Uwe Fucking Boll. Don't know who Uwe Boll is? Hell, the plot synopsis actually brags the he directed Bloodrayne. Bloodrayne came out in the first week of 2005, prompting one critic to note that the worst movie of the year had actually come out in its first week. That movie is about a sexy female vampire doing...something. The plot is indecipherable and I honestly believe that you could have rearranged the scenes in any order you felt like and that no one would have noticed. It also has memorably embarrassing moments from the Ben Kingsley who, apparently, was tired of all the respect he gets from his peers.

And the best part is...Bloodrayne is Uwe Boll's BEST movie. Other titles in his oeuvre include In The Name Of The King, a movie just as bad as Bloodrayne but in a much blander way and Alone In The Dark, a monster movie where Boll used the innovative cinematic technique of making a movie so poorly lit that no one could see what the hell was going on*. He also made Bloodrayne 2 which somehow failed to get Ben Kingsley back.

Armed with that sort of movie making resume, Uwe Boll figured he was the guy who could pull off a movie where the destruction of the World Trade Center was played for laughs. Fortunately, there's a flower growing in this pile of crap:
Uwe Boll's latest "masterpiece" Postal was scheduled to open next weekend in 1500 theaters, deliberately going up against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But, according to a story at Cinema Blend, Boll's people issued a release this morning claiming that U.S. distributors have dropped the film and that it will only be released on four screens. An additional source says the film will open in five cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Tucson. Boll claims that he has even tried to rent additional screens, but to no avail.

Yep, that's right. Uwe Boll now joins Larry the Cable Guy in the pantheon of talentless douchebags who have been denied a wide release for their godawfully bad movies. The movie is so bad and offensive that, when he tried to offer people money to rent out their theaters, they said, "No thanks."

So, what's next for Uwe Boll? Ooh lookie, he's making Bloodrayne 3. I suppose this is being done under the theory that, since the other 2 were some of the worst movies ever made, the odds are now bound to change. Either that or no one involved in the project gives a damn and is just doing it for beer money.

*It also starred Tara Reid as an anthropologist. When asked in an interview what exactly an anthropologist was, she mumbled for a moment then confessed that she had no idea.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anyone Else Got A Problem?

I had never heard of Bonnie Fuller until the day I read her Huffington Post article about the Miley Cyrus controversy where, according to conspiracy theorists, the 15 year old celebrity showed the world her shoulder in order to turn us all into pedophiles. (Did that happen? I haven't been paying attention.) In that article she asked, in all seriousness, these questions:
Is it OK to sexualize a fifteen-year-old if it is in the pages of a high falutin' magazine and her parents seem OK with it? Or is this really not much different from parents in a cult acquiescing to having their teen daughters wedded and bedded?

When I looked at that, I asked myself a question:
Are those questions so stupid that a person who thought that unicorns were stealing their underwear would look smart by comparison?

When the answer I came up with was, "Abso-freakin-lutely one million percent yes," I wrote my own article on the subject. The whole situation has since died down, society's fall failed to occur and I pretty much forgot all about it. Until I read this. Bonnie Fuller claims she stepped down willingly from her post as Editorial Director of American Media (they publish tabloids like Star and the Enquirer) but the general consensus is that she got fired. Speculation is rampant as to why. Some say it's because of her role in a scandal at UCLA Medical Center where her magazine illegally obtained Britney Spears' records. Others say she was just making too much money.

But come on, we all know it was because of my masterful smackdown. My minuscule readership spread the word that she was a moron and now she's lost her prestigious job and is now almost certainly giving blow jobs for crack. I imagine this is just the first step in my rise to power and that soon, people will live and die according to my whims. When I attain that level of power, I promise to use it wisely. Mostly, I'll be using it to have butt sex with Scarlett Johannson and to get a free iPod, so those of you who aren't Miss Johannson or sellers of iPods will have little to worry about.

Oh, it will also be legal to throw rocks at Bonnie Fuller and people who resemble her just in case it's her in disguise. You'll know who she is by watching her scream when a teenage girl walks by in a tank top and Bonnie screams when she sees their bare shoulders.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 22

Contrary to what the media wants you to believe, New York City does not have the following things:
  1. Homeless people.
  2. Ethnic minorities.
  3. Men in any sort of powerful position.


Kicking Aslan

My relationship with the Narnia books and, by extension, the Narnia movies is an odd one. There is as much in the stories that I like and much that I dislike. I have told people for many years that I am not a fan of the books and I actually consider the movies to be an improvement, mainly due to their visual imagination and cool action sequences. As I was watching the newly released Prince Caspian, I was wondering what it was that so bugged me about these stories and then it just came to me.

My animosity toward Narnia comes from the fact that so many of its characters are major league dicks. Narnia is just chock full of dickish beings who, when not performing dickish acts, constantly try to rationalize their dickishness in a way that makes it seem like they were actually being noble and principled when they were just being dicks.

The story opens in Narnia 1300 years after the end of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Narnia is now ruled by a group of humans called the Telmarines. The Telmarines have dark skin and exotic accents so you know they are bad guys. Except, that is, for Prince Caspian. He is better looking than the other Telmarines which apparently gives him the power to overcome whatever it is that makes the other Telmarines evil. Caspian's extra-evil uncle, Lord Miraz, wants Caspian's throne so he orders his men to shoot approximately 8000 arrows into Caspian's bed as he sleeps. What he doesn't know is that Caspian's tutor and Santa Claus look alike, Professor Cornelius, has warned Caspian that he must flee. The tutor also handed him a magic horn to be used, "only in the time of dire need." Caspian manages to avoid dire need for all of two minutes before runs into a couple of Narnian dwarves who have no love for Telmarines but help him against the assassins chasing him since Caspian is much less swarthy than they are. Before he gets knocked out, Caspian blows the horn which summons the four Pevensie children from the last movie back to Narnia.

Since the Pevensies are the only thing that can restore peace and goodness to Narnia, one has to wonder why people waited 1300 years to blow that stupid horn, but no matter. The kids find out that Narnia has gone to hell in a hand basket since they left. They meet a very surly dwarf named Trumpkin (played wonderfully by Peter Dinklage) who leads them to Prince Caspian. After this, Caspian and the oldest Pevensie boy, Peter, unofficially start a contest to see who can be the biggest dick. Peter has an edge since he started being a dick back in our world as he didn't understand why no one respected him for having been a king back in Narnia. Peter reinforces his dickish credentials by listening to all the reasons that launching a siege on Mariz's castle is a horrible idea and then promptly ignoring all that good advice. Caspian decides that Narnia shall have no bigger dick than he so, instead of following Peter's carefully laid out plan to take the castle, Caspian basically abandons his post to go and rescue his tutor.

I'll warn you now that this next part of the review will go a little further into plot exposition than I normally like to go and will contain some spoilers of things that happen close to the end of the movie. More about generalities of the plot than specifics and I think you could still read this and enjoy the movie, but you have been warned. I hope you're still reading since those of you who are even mildly familiar with the plot of the Narnia stories may have noticed one major character who has not yet been mentioned, a character who is also the movie's biggest dick. That, or course, could only be the god-like lion, Aslan.

In the previous movie, Aslan had a worthy foe in the White Witch. She was a figure of such power that it took Aslan a century to break the curse she had put on Narnia. In Prince Caspian, he doesn't have that problem. Oh sure, Narnia is under the harsh rule of a merciless king who commands a mighty and ruthless army who nearly exterminated all the non-human races, but he has nothing that could stand against Aslan's Deep Magic. Upon reading that, you may now be thinking that I've been making stuff up while writing this article but no, apparently Aslan was watching a 1300 year long Star Trek marathon before finally deciding to lift a paw against the Telmarines. Even then, he allows the Pevensie children and Caspian to leads many Narnians to their death in battle against Mariz' army until one of them tracks him down and begs for his help*.

And those, folks, are the actions of a world class dick. You can watch Prince Caspian and enjoy the talking animals and cool battle scenes and all is cool at the end as no one really notices that maybe Aslan could have shown up a little sooner. The kids aren't even mad when they get their butts kicked out of Narnia so the audience really isn't mad either.

That's about it. I recommend Prince Caspian even though I just spent several paragraphs mainly concentrating on what I didn't like about it. Despite all that, it can be an enjoyable fantasy and is worth at least a DVD rental when that comes out in a few months.

Dick. Sorry, just had to say it once more.

*You could say that, to gain his aid, they had to kiss a little Aslan.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Dane Makes Us Melancholy

Once again, I feel compelled to do something that, if anyone else did it, would elicit great criticism from me. I'm going to criticize a movie I haven't seen. I've done this twice before, first with Larry the Cable Guy's witless Protection and again with Martin Lawrence's College Road Trip. Today, I will write about...this. Warning: I was fine but there are rumors that many who have watched this trailer lost the ability to feel joy.

Ah, Dane Cook. Cook is a very popular comedian who, as far as I can tell, starts being funny whenever I'm not listening to him. I last wrote about Dane Cook when I reviewed his last star vehicle, Good Luck Chuck. That movie was capped off by a scene where a three-breasted woman watches a videotape where, to the apparent delight of Jessica Alba*, he gives oral sex to a toy penguin and no, I did not make up a single word of that. As you saw in the trailer for his new movie, Generic Title, Cook stretches as an actor in a scene where he gives oral sex to a burrito. At least with this one he's moved up to organic matter (unless it's a Taco Bell burrito).

So, other than that, why will Generic Title suck? First off, you have Jason Biggs, an actor who shares with Cook the distinction that he's had sex on screen with something that wasn't human. Somehow, he's managed to land Kate Hudson as his girlfriend and then completely blows it by moving too fast and asking her to move in with him after only knowing her for a few weeks. Biggs' character, Dustin, is most likely one of these A-holes you see on the internet in droves, the ones who come to every forum on the internet, no matter what the forum's topic, to bitch that women don't like nice guys. It could be under the thread, "I Love Gouda," and one of these guys will show up to say, "You know who else liked gouda? My ex-girlfriend who left me for a guy who treats her like shit so this means that all women love getting treated like shit."

Anyway, we then see that Dustin is best friends with Cook's character, Tank. Why is he named Tank? I honestly believe that, if you broke everyone on the planet down to the cellular level, you wouldn't find a single human atom that gave a crap why he's named Tank although, knowing Cook, I'd bet every penny I have as well as every penny I ever will have that it has something to do with his penis. Tank apparently makes his living as a sick, hateful version of Will Smith's Hitch character. Instead of teaching men to behave in a way that pleases and excites women, Tank is hired to date a woman targetted by a man who supposedly likes her so he can behave like a complete jerk (a role that Dane Cook has shown in the past that he can play masterfully) and the woman will then run screaming back to the "nice guy" who unleashed this vicious little pig of a man on her in the first place. This all leads to Dustin deciding to make the woman he supposedly loves miserable by having Tank meet her, date her and destroy her so that she'll need a "nice guy" like Dustin to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

Had Dustin bothered to get to know her better, he'd have known that this plan would not work. Not because it's ludicrous on the level that believing unicorns are real is ludicrous, mind you. This is a movie. Stupid ideas work like a charm on a regular basis. No, it won't work because Kate Hudson's Alexis is the embodiment of narcissistic fantasies that all those "nice guys" have of why some girl didn't like them. She actually likes it when he takes her to a strip club on their date and gets so excited that she yanks him into her home for sex after he insults her looks and calls her fat. I'm sure if he hits her, steals her credit cards and sleeps with her sister, she'll want to have his baby. After he ejaculates into Alexis, Tank suddenly develops a conscience and thinks it may be a bad thing to sleep with the woman your best friend loves.

Luckily for Tank, Dustin has the intelligence of an artichoke and doesn't suspect that Tank has betrayed him when Alexis says that she's seeing someone else. Tank then makes one last ditch effort to get Alexis to hate him by causing her grandmother to suffer a six foot fall that could easily kill a woman her age. Unfortunately, Dustin shows up with what seems to be the intent of making an ass out of himself, an intent that succeeds beyond his wildest dreams.

I'm not sure what the hell happens after that although I'm willing to bet that oral sex with non-living objects is involved. Alec Baldwin shows up to play what this movie desperately needs: a misogynistic douchebag to whom Tank turns for advice guess about how to be more of a misogynistic douchebag than he already is.

This trailer shows that Generic Title will have the same problem that Good Luck Chuck had: hate. This movie hates decency, happiness, humor and, most of all, women. It loathes women with an intensity that is normally reserved for Nazis.

I believe the trailer, along with Cook's history of horrible films is sufficient evidence that Generic Title will be a true showcase of suckitude, but, to top it off, the movie has a release date of September 15. September, especially early September, is the month where you get two kinds of movies. One is the movie where everyone dresses frilly and speaks with English accents that comes out between September and the end of the year for Oscar consideration. The other kind is Cook's movie, the absolutely horrible movie that can only possibly make money now, when there's no competition. Even then, they mostly do crap for box office making September the month where bad movies go to die.

So, everyone go ahead and enjoy your summer at the movies. You'll probably see this trailer from time to time but now you may have a bit more tolerance for it and can chuckle at the people who break down in tears or go screaming from the theater. Don't dread the coming September day when this vicious piece of celluloid will be released. If you do that, Dane Cook wins.

*I gained an immense amount of respect for Jessica Alba's acting ability just by the fact that she was able to keep from vomiting during that entire bit. I hope she got paid a hell of a lot for Good Luck Chuck as she truly deserved it.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Most AwesomeThing In The History Of Awesome Things

This is, quite simply, one of the funniest things I've ever seen and I consider it to be the reason that YouTube was invented. If you don't agree with me, you're wrong.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 21

Today's lesson: Apparently, a non-violent domestic spat in Buckingham Palace rates immediate detention whereas a protracted car chase and gun battle through some of London's most crowded streets will gain zero attention from any member of British law enforcement.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 20

Complex, intricate traps and mechanisms built by primitive people and left untouched for hundreds or maybe thousands of years ago will work perfectly well today when pesky adventurers go poking about in ancient tombs and ruins.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Blow, Speed Racer, Blow

Ok, how to put this? If Speed Racer is to be believed, and I see no reason why it should not be, then at some point in the future, an organization with the taste and aesthetic sensibilities of Cirque de Soleil will gain massive political power and take over the planet. They will then convert our economy to a system based entirely on auto racing and hire the stupidest and freakiest people on the planet as their enforcers who will then use racing to further their own vague, though definitely nefarious, ends. The only force standing against all this consists of the Criminal Investigation Division of the racing league, on organization that consists of incompetent Eurotrash types and a masked, leather clad man called Racer X. They decide that the only thing capable of standing up to the planet's power structure is some teenage douchebag named Speed Racer, his hot girlfriend, his little brother and a chimp.

Were it possible for a situation like this to come about, the world would be pretty much fucked. Luckily, in the world of Speed Racer, it's possible for all this to end happily because the laws of physics have pretty much been done away with. For instance, it's possible to drive a car off a cliff at speeds exceeding 500 miles per hour and land without a scratch on you or the car. Also, it doesn't really matter which direction your wheels are facing when you are trying to turn. The car will simply go in whatever direction you choose, guided, I suppose, by The Force. Fortunately, gravity can also be ignored at will making it perfectly safe to have huge gaps in the race tracks.

Those of you who actually read this site know that I have not been optimistic about Speed Racer. It turns out that all my preconceived notions were true. I guess it was impossible to predict that trying to take the cheap look of a 40 year old cartoon and recreate it as a live action summer blockbuster would turn out to be such a bad idea. And that's the main problem of Speed Racer. It is an ugly movie. I would say Elephant Man ugly except that the Elephant Man at least had a beautiful soul. This is amazing because it was directed by the Wachowski Brothers, the guys who gave us The Matrix. That was such a visually groundbreaking film that it denied George Lucas a special effects Oscar when it was competing against Phantom Menace. Somehow, we went from one of the most memorable and imitated visual style ever put on film to this, something that looks like a dog swallowed several gallons of multi-colored paint and puked them all up at once onto 7 reels of film. Oddly, only people with the clout of the Wachowski Brothers could have convinced a movie studio to invest in excess of 150 million dollars to make a movie with such hideous, cartoonish and seizure inducing art direction.

The only good thing about awful look of the film is that it actually manages to distract you from the stupid plot I outlined above. It seems like the Wachowskis could have just tried harder to get a better script instead of deciding to cover up a stupid story with even stupider CGI graphics.

To top it all off, kind of like a weed being fertilized by the giant pile of crap that was this movie, we had an annoying kid and his best friend, a monkey. Yeah, I know the original cartoon had an annoying kid and a monkey and that there exists a sad, pathetic class of people who would have cried that their exclusion had caused the Speed Racer-verse to become impure and unclean, but this could have been an exact recreation of Speed Racer's animation and writing and they still would have found something to complain about. ("What, couldn't do something original?") Anyway, the kid (Speed's little brother, Spritle and no, I don't know what the hell that name means) and the monkey seemed to feel that the taste and sensibilities of the audience were not being sufficiently insulted so they did things like break into a secure facility in order to steal giant gobs of candy. Oh, the monkey throws its shit around too. I feel that every second that the kid and the monkey were on screen was one second less that we got to see the movie's only saving graces: Christina Ricci's Trixie character and the wondrous array of tight, low cut mini dresses that the Wachowskis kept pouring her into. I do feel sorry for her because she had the movie's stupidest line when she said to Speed, "When did winning become so important?" Yeah, what's with this sudden obsession with winning a professional auto race? That line makes no sense and thus, is a symbol for the entire movie.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 19

Today, I've learned that taking 40 year old Japanese cartoons and adapting them into full length live action feature films is a really, really bad idea. Let's hope that no one gets the idea to make Marine Boy--The Movie anytime soon.

At least we can all rest assured that no one will ever try to make a movie out of Kimba, the White Lion.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sign of the Apocalypse

UPDATE: As I said, the numbers changed. Speed Racer is at 35% but What Happens In Vegas has dropped down to 26%. This, hopefully, means that the stars are no longer aligned and Cthulu is imprisoned back in his tomb.

Whoda thunk that we'd ever see the day where an Ashton Kutcher movie about a man sentenced by a judge to be married is actually gaining slightly better reviews than a hot summer season action flick made by the Wachowski brothers*? Personally, from what I've seen, the 35% rating for Speed Racer is way too high. I am perfectly willing to be surprised and defy the judgment of the Tomatometer by liking Speed Racer. I just don't think it'll happen.

Weep for me, nation, as I will weep for you.

*These numbers can change as new reviews come in.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bella Flop

A few months back, a movie called Bella premiered at the #5 position and it was odd because no one in the movie business knew what the hell it was. It turned out to be one of those Christian movies that makes its money from church groups renting out entire theaters. Movies marketed to a Christian audience usually go straight to DVD due to the fact that they suck and when I say, "they suck," I'm paying them a huge compliment as there isn't a word in the English language to describe the pain caused by having to watch Kirk Cameron or Stephen Baldwin being warned by the Angel Gabriel that the armies of the Antichrist are about to march on Jerusalem and also that they should not have premarital sex. Bella, however, was apparently a huge cut above the rest (I haven't seen it but here is Roger Ebert's 3 star review) so it got a theatrical release. Its total box office take was around 8 and 1/2 million bucks, numbers similar to those of Expelled. This seems to show the limits of the church group audience although Bella will probably do much better than Expelled profit-wise since Bella didn't overestimate its appeal and blow a wad of cash on a huge ad budget. In fact, when combined with its DVD take, Bella will probably be quite profitable.

So why did I call this post Bella Flop? Well, first off it fits in with this site's tradition of using godawfully bad puns in its post titles. The second (and main) reason for the title an article that appeared on that struck me as amusing. I'm not talking about the claims that Bella's producers have confirmed that 13 women who saw the movie decided not to have abortions. (The plot is about a pregnant woman who decides not to have an abortion, hence the fact that it can fill theaters with church groups.) I googled several sites and message boards and they all had the same unproven assertions by the producers. They should really get some sort of backup to those claims. Otherwise I get to say I've confirmed that 26 women, as a result of seeing Bella, intentionally got pregnant just so they could all have abortions and no one can say I'm lying.

Also, I'm not talking about the Bella 10 movement that they're trying to start. Apparently, if you buy a copy of Bella, you become obligated to get 10 other people to buy copies and those people mus then find 10 people of their own until everyone on the planet owns a copy. I think you should be able to buy a DVD without becoming part of a pyramid scheme. Also, eventually you're going to get to the last 10 people on the planet and they'll have no one left. Those poor people will be shunned by all societies on the planet unless they can each convince 10 people to buy a second copy and then the whole damn thing starts all over again.

No, what amused me was that, for the second time in as many months, the makers of a Christian themed movie felt that they had to manipulate and conflate their box office in order to make their gross look like more of an achievement than it was. This is a common practice in the movie business but keep in mind that these are people who believe in a book that contains the phrase, "God damns all liars." Producer Leo Severino said that over the weekend Bella was the number 1 romantic DVD on bragging, "We beat Pride & Prejudice and Atonement." So, you managed to beat a movie that had been out for a few weeks (Atonement) and one that had been out for a few months (Pride and Prejudice). Hell, I could release Mike Clear Picks Lint Out Of His Navel and beat Pride and Prejudice. Severino then admitted that his movie will probably wind up around #29 on the overall list thus allowing him to go to Christian conferences and shout at the top of his lungs, "WE'RE 29, WE'RE 29!"

I do hope that Severino makes a nice chunk of cash off the sales of Bella DVDs. If that happens, we get the potential of seeing fun headlines like, "Producer of anti-abortion Christian film caught with high priced tranny hooker in his basement's sex dungeon." Those are always fun to read.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens Naked

Sorry for the misleading headline. I'm just trying to up my hit numbers from teenagers and middle aged pervs.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Spirit

You know what I'd really like to see happen? I would like to step into a movie theater in May, 2008 and NOT see trailers for movies that are coming out in 2009.

I AM IRON MA...Oh, You Know The Rest

It's days like this that I question the wisdom of writing a hobby blog about movies that very few people read. I like to think that maybe, just maybe I have some small influence over the thoughts and movie viewing habits of all the people out there on the tubes but what could I possibly do or say that would change the fortunes of Iron Man? Here we are, its record setting weekend has ended and the only question is how little of an impact that the goofy looking Speed Racer will have on it. I give Speed Racer a 95% chance of sucking mainly because the cartoony look of its CGI really turns me off every time I see the commercials. As the characters look boring and the plot looks to range from "stupid" to "nonexistent" that means we have no awesome special effects to distract us from the hellish experience of boring characters doing stupid/nonexistent things. I'm willing to be proven wrong and sincerely hope that Speed Racer turns out to be a fun time out at the movies but I don't think so. Hmm, the dumbness of Speed Racer seems to have sucked me in and I forgot that this is actually as review of...

IRON MAN!!! This is not just "a popcorn movie*" but rather the type of high concept summer action film that we haven't seen for several years. In addition to the thrilling action sequences and special effects (not at all cartoony, unlike some upcoming crappy films I could mention and damn it, I have to stop thinking about Speed Racer before it consumes me to the point of obsession and I start ranting and babbling inside parentheses...OH DEAR GOD IT'S HAPPENED. What do I do? Maybe put up the right parentheses?) Ah, that's better. Where was I? Oh yeah, in addition to the stuff I mentioned, Iron Man has things like interesting characters that you actually give a crap about. In most action flicks, you could replace the entire cast midway through the movie and no one would notice.

It also does something that I doubt Speed Racer will do (GRRR I did it again!). It had a plot that actually caused me to suspend disbelief. Yeah, that's right, instead of silently mocking Iron Man's plot holes a soon as the credits rolled, I actually sat and watched with interest as the story unfolded. Oh, mind you, there were plot holes galore. I just didn't think about them until, well, now, as I was writing this. The movie opens as billionaire weapons maker/complete A-hole Tony Stark (played brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr.) is captured by insurgents in Afghanistan who want him to build them a missile. They should rigorously guard Stark as he does this but instead they do only minimal supervision over him and his assistant, the man who saved his life by attaching a magnet to his chest so shrapnel wouldn't lacerate his heart (uh, that could be a plot hole too but never mind...SPEED RACER SUCKS, sorry, couldn't help it). This gives Stark time to build a bullet proof battle suit and escape. He then goes home to something else that other action movies usually don't have, a set of interesting supporting characters played by top flight actors. These include his main executive assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), military liaison Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard) and his business partner, Obadiah Stane** (Jeff Bridges).

I don't give all the credit for the movie's quality to one person but I would give a large percentage of the credit to Downey who seems to effortlessly embody Tony Stark, the guy who starts off as the self absorbed, thrill seeking weapons maker who, after his captivity, decides to try to help humanity as a super hero while retaining just enough of his thrill seeking self absorption to remain interesting. Downey should start a club with Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken as the Guys Who Are Always Interesting On Screen Even If The Movies They Are In Totally Blows (GWOAAIOSEITMTAITB). Man, that club name sucks. Glad I'm not a brilliant, quirky actor who has to join it. I credit the other actors too for standing out in what could have been Downey's one-man show.

Well, that about wraps things up. I'm off now to enjoy life as much as I can before Speed Racer pulls me down into its abyss this weekend.

*Someday I'm going to write about why I hate that expression.

** To those of you out there who never read Iron Man comic books or comic books in general, allow me to indulge in a small spoiler. In comics, antagonists have villainous names so if you are a character in a comic book and you have a name like Obadiah Stane, odds are that you're not going to turn out to be the guy who gives the hero puppies and ice cream at the end of the story.


Friday, May 2, 2008

The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year

You say you like Christmas? Pansy! But maybe you think 4th of July is cool. Know who else thought that 4th of July was cool? Hitler! Want to be a non-pansy and not be like Hitler? Then embrace what is truly the greatest day in human history. I'm talking about Tell Someone About You Are Dumb Day.

You Are Dumb is a cool, funny and informative web column written by a guy named Bryan Lambert. Sure, spelling his first name with a Y instead of an I makes him seem like some elitist fancy-pants but he wears normal pants like you and I do. I assume he does anyway. Just check it out by clicking the link below:

The Hills Have Aye Yay Yays

I generally don't like using this cliche's a cliche but I must ask this of Dirty Harry: Really?

I've written about Libertas and their main blogger, Dirty Harry, a couple of times before so my opinion is known. (That opinion being that Dirty Harry is a cowardly, right wing demagogic douchebag who is incompetent at critical analysis of cinema, opining on political and social issues and humor, the three things he's paid to do on his blog. And yes, I know I said that my opinion was known. I just enjoy typing it out.) Today's topic is not the first time that Harry has taken a day trip to downtown Stupidville and it won't be the last. Today, however, is a rather egregious example. Surprisingly, it does not involve running the script of an upcoming film through the Michelle Malkin spin cycle looking for signs of treason. No, this just involved some celebrities endorsing John McCain.

If you don't know who Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag are, it means that you don't watch The Hills or MTV, the network that recently had a reality show about a bisexual swimsuit model pretending she was trying to find someone to love by choosing one person from a group of men and women. Anyway, the two cast members of The Hills said they supported John McCain and Dirty Harry thought that this was so super duper ultra mega mondo awesome that he immediately slapped the link to that news on his blog. In an update, he admitted that he was an asshole. No, he didn't use those words, but he admitted that he had no idea who these two girls were even though he labeled them as, "smart and conservative." As I looked through some old interviews I saw that Heidi admitted that she and Lauren had once argued about whether or not Boston was a state.

This made me think of when Bruce Springsteen endorsed Barack Obama. When that happened, Dirty Harry both criticized, mocked and dismissed Springsteen as well as the concept of celebrity endorsements. Coincidentally, Heidi Montag is also a singer. So, Barack Obama has the guy who sang Thunder Road, Born To Run and The River. John McCain has the girl who sang this. Dirty Harry thinks that John McCain can take this and ride it all the way to the White House. He thinks this and then asks us to believe that he's not a doofus which, of course, is asking too much.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 17

Once again, we see that the one guy with the means and know-how to be the masked, super powered vigilante also possesses the ability to easily dupe the public into thinking that he couldn't possibly be the masked, super powered vigilante.