Friday, February 26, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse

There are too many zombie movies and they are having an effect on society. Well, they're having an effect on me anyway. This is what happened to me today when my power went out at noon today. I take no responsibility for my reactions but instead choose to blame Hollywood.

12:00 -- Power goes out.

12:01 -- I calmly wait for the power to come back on.

12:03 -- Power still not on. My conclusion: the Zombie Apocalypse has begun and they have taken out the power plant.

12:04 -- Luckily we have all been educated on how to handle zombies. You shoot them in the head. Going to get my gun.

12:06 -- After a brief search, I remembered I don't own a gun. Damn me and my liberal anti-gun beliefs!

12:07 -- I'm glad now I agreed to store my mother's garden gnome collection for her. I am prepared to chuck garden gnomes at the head of any zombie that comes after me.

12:09 -- I wish I could see the street from my apartment. To think I paid extra for this mountain view. What the hell was I thinking? I bet the streets are crawling with hsmabling zombies as I speak.

12:11 -- I want to call my mom and see if she's okay but what if she's already a zombie? She'll be here licketysplit and turn me into a buffet. Sorry, Mom. If I see you, I'll have to crack your head open with one of your garden gnomes.

12:13 -- I see a possum. They're not usually out during the day. A zombie possum? It could happen. Would they eat humans or other possums? Keeping a garden gnome handy just in case.

12:14 -- Damn, just ate my last M&M. Wonder if I'll end up like Woody Harrelson did with Twinkies. I can see myself scouring a zombie-ridden world looking for M&Ms. Hopefully I can get a decent rifle before I start doing that. Carrying these gnomes around would be a huge pain.

12:15 -- Power came back on. Turned on the news. No mention of zombies. Oh well, that's one on me. Honest mistake.

Later on I did see the mailman coming up the walk and tossed a gnome at his head just in case. Luckily I missed, he turned out not to be a zombie and he accepted my explanation that I was giving him the gnome as a gift. Mom's gonna be mad that I gave away one of her gnomes. You can all see why they should stop making zombie movies. I can't possibly be blamed for thinking what I was thinking.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 2/25/10

Major snowstorm happening where I live which means I have nothing better to do than sit around and entertain you people with another edition of brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

Oh good, I was worried about this.

Wow. If you think you'd be a fan of pornography crossed with German realism crossed with an acid trip, Showgirls 2 might be for you. You only thought the first one was stupid. Before you click this link, I will warn you that it defines the term NSFW. It also defines the terms "nightmare fuel" and "unintentionally hilarious." That being said...Showgirls 2.

The idea of a True Grit remake is dumb. The idea of a True Grit remake directed by the Coen brothers with Jeff Bridges replacing John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn? Okay, suddenly not so dumb. I'm looking forward to the reaction of John Wayne fetishists.

No Tomatometer rating yet for The Crazies (as of this writing) but even if it's not any good, that's fine. Since a new zombie movie is released approximately every three weeks, if one is a clunker we need only wait for the next one. It's going to be hard to top Zombieland though since it worked as both an action packed zombie film and a parody of said films.

The makers of She's Out Of My League let me know through Twitter that they didn't like what I said about their movie. On the face, it's restrained and good natured. Under the face? The Man feels threatened and now he's coming to take me down. If I disappear, put on my tombstone that I nailed Scarlett Johannson.

Walter Koenig's son, Andrew, has been missing since February 14 while vacationing in Vancouver. I hope he's found safe and sound. I was fascinated, though, to discover that the actor who played Boner on Growing Pains was Chekov's son.

This year's American Idol winner will be some mercury drinking douchenozzle with good range. Sorry for the spoiler.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Avatar 2: The Pitch

I liked Avatar and am at least interested in the story that the producers are working on a sequel. That being said, I see huge, possibly insurmountable problems for a sequel. It's well known and, to my knowledge, never been denied by James Cameron or anyone connected to the film that Avatar was, to put it politely, modeled after Dances With Wolves. The problem for Avatar is that it has no sequel. There is no Honest Injun: Dances With Wolves 2 for them to rip off. Luckily for James Cameron and 20th Century Fox, I exist. They should really be thankful for that fact as I am now offering them some ideas which they can use free of charge unless they actually decide to use them in which case they must pay me.

Empire -- Jake Sully and the Na'vi encounter an evil Galactic Emperor who commands a mystical force called the Brunt. Jake must master the good side of the Brunt in order to master a weapon called the Glow Blade and use it to beat the Emperor. There's a twist: the Emperor...IS HIS FATHER!

Sex and the Hometree -- As Na'vi society becomes more sophisticated, Neytiri and three of her girlfriends become sexually aggressive functioning alcoholics who bitch endlessly about how none of their men service them properly in a way that makes them sound like gay men.

Fly Hard -- Jake must once again tame a Toruk to become Toruk Makto when a group of terrorists/thieves take over Hometree in order to steal a cache of Unobtainium.

Precious Unobtainium, based on the novel Push by Sapphire -- A girl who is the object of derision because she is both fat and a really dark shed of blue becomes a psychopath determined to kill the other Na'vi (deviates from the novel a bit).

The Day Pandora Stood Still -- An alien warns the Na'vi to end their warlike ways and disables their technology to demonstrate his power. As the Na'vi don't use advanced technology, they come to realize the alien is either stupid or insane, pee on him a few times and ignore him.

Ava-Hard -- If they're really desperate, they can just rewrite Avatar as hardcore porn with Jake Sully as a plumber who drops by Hometree to "install 14 inches of pipe" and ends up connecting his tentacle-filled ponytail with Neytiri's.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wolfman, Ack!

The Wolfman is the second horror movie I saw over the weekend. If you read yesterday's Shutter Island review, I said there was a second horror film I'd seen over the weekend and that I didn't like the other one. You may now have a hint as to how this review is going to go.

To quickly sum up, The Wolfman hates joy, love, beauty, intelligence and all else that is good and holy. It took one of those perfectly decent 1930s horror films that still in many ways holds up today and turned it into a celebration of clinical depression. That's absolutely true, by the way. The only character in The Wolfman who isn't clinically depressed is a sadistic sociopath.

In the original, Lawrence Talbot was a regular guy 1930s American everyman played by Lon Chaney Jr. In this "remake" or "reboot" or "retard" or whatever the hell this is called, Talbot is now a British nobleman-turned-actor in the 1890s played by Benicio Del Toro. He apparently became an actor to get the hell away from his father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). He comes home after his brother was killed in a brutal animal attack. The title should be a dead giveaway as to what sort of animal it was. When he arrives his father quickly establishes himself as the same unfeeling A-Hole that caused him to leave years earlier and enter a profession that, back then, was considered to be unseemly. Lawrence also meets Gwen (Emily Blunt), his late brother's fiance. Gwen appears to have some sort of genetic predisposition to falling in love with members of the Talbot family as she quickly becomes attracted to Lawrence even though the supposed love of her life has only been dead a month.

As sundown approaches, Sir John does the first good thing he's even done for Lawrence. He tells him he should stay indoors during this, the night of the full moon. Lawrence promptly ignores that helpful bit of advice and goes riding out into the woods in the middle of the night to speak to some gypsies who may have information about his brother's death. Why he couldn't talk to these gypsies when the sun was up is a mystery but luckily he was riding through one of those forests whose trees naturally grow 500 watt klieg lights so he got there with no problem. Not so fortunately, he got there just as the camp came under attack from a werewolf. Lawrence ends up bitten and you know what that means. If you were wondering who the original werewolf that bit Lawrence is, by the way, it's not hard to figure out.

At this point in the movie, the only person who attempted to crack a smile is Sir John and that was only when he seemed to be amused by the pain of others. In fact, I can't remember a single moment when any other character appeared to be happy about anything. You'd think Lawrence and Gwen would have experienced a happy moment or two when they were falling in love. Instead, it was more like they were taking their mutual depression and combining into a big, depressing goo ball of sad, sticky love. Eventually a Scotland Yard detective played by Hugo Weaving puts together a group of werewolf hunters who, naturally, decide the best time to hunt werewolves is the night of the full moon. The results of this action are depressingly predictable which is good because at least the movie is consistent in sticking with its depressing themes.

There is a conclusion to this story that both allows every to return to their sad, dreary existences and also leaves room for a sequel, an idea that is extremely depressing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shutter? I Don't Even Know Her

I saw two horror movies last weekend. I liked one of them a lot. The other...well, that's for tomorrow. Today we concentrate on the positive and discuss Shutter Island. I know what you're thinking: how could a movie directed by Martin Scorcese with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role that's based on a novel by the guy who wrote Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone possibly be any good? yeah, if you calculate the odds you know that there's too successful a pedigree and they must be doomed to have this film be clunker. Luckily, they defy the odds and manage to make memorably frightening and suspenseful movie.

The movie opens with Scorcese in full Hitchcock mode. We meet Federal Marshall Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) as they're sailing toward Shutter Island, an old Civil War era fort off the coast of Boston that's been transformed into a hospital for the criminally insane. I'm not sure if Scorcese did this intentionally but you could tell they were standing in front of a green screen and not really on the ocean the same way you could tell in pretty much any movie made before the CGI age. That's fitting as this movie is set in 1954. Our heroes won't have the internet, mobile phones or modern forensic tools to assist them. They can't just put on sunglasses and crack jokes while their team blows white powder on stuff and examines microfibers.

Creepy music plays as the boat arrives and we see Shutter Island breaking through the fog. The two marshals are there to investigate the escape of a dangerous criminal named Rachel Selando who simply disappeared from her cell one night. Teddy senses, as do we, that this whole place seems a little off. He can't quite put his finger on it but I came to realize that the whole movie is constructed and told as if it were a nightmare. Normally I complain that people don't behave realistically in movies but in this case it's okay. They're not supposed to. Sometimes the most frightening nightmares aren't the ones where dragons suddenly pop through the window but rather the ones where things seem a little off, people behave oddly and there's always a sense of dread yet you can never really figure out why. That's what happens in pretty much every scene of Shutter Island.

As in real nightmares, the focus of this story can suddenly change and that's what happens as Teddy lives his real life nightmare. Sometimes he's investigating the escape and intellectually sparring with the secretive and slightly malevolent hospital staff (which includes Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow), sometimes he's imagining conversations with the wife (Michelle Williams) who died two years earlier. Sometimes he's remembering his time in World War II when he liberated the Nazi death camp Dachau. None of this is extraneous to the plot, by the way. It's all connected and it becomes more and more preposterous until eventually puts together a paranoid scenario and conspiracy so outrageous it couldn't possibly be true. However, the only reason it feels like it couldn't possibly be true is because the story is told from Teddy's perspective. We don't see anything he doesn't see or know anything he doesn't know. All I will say after all is this is where the nightmare ends.

Shutter Island is the very essence of film noir and and gothic horror. Some critics were put off by its dreamlike construction but it was designed that way to draw you into Teddy Daniels' waking nightmare and was a refreshing change of pace from the mostly-crap films we've had so far in 2010.

Friday, February 19, 2010

20,000 Leagues Under The Stupidity

It's been over six months since I've done Movies I Haven't Seen. I'm not actually reviewing a movie, of course, but rather an incredibly stupid trailer. So, what trailer have I seen lately that so viscerally offended me that I revived something I haven't done since last July? Have Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay made a new movie? Has someone made a movie about an out of control cop forced to partner up with a chimp? No, nothing like that. Instead we have a new attempt to rip off Judd Apatow called She's Out Of My League. Because I'm such an awesome guy, I've conveniently embedded the trailer here.

Okie dokie then, what have we learned? First, we've learned that the lead character, TSA official Kirk Kettner (Jay Baruchel), has friends who are complete assholes. This fact is confirmed several times throughout the trailer. We also see that a hot girl is such a rare sight in an airport which deals with literally thousands of people every day that any and all business pretty much shuts down. We also see that one thing this girl, Molly (Alice Eve), has in common with Kirk is asshole friends when her friend takes offense after being gently reminded that you're not supposed to use a cell phone on an airplane. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be impressed by the friend's toughness and be on her side or not. Personally, I'm thoroughly opposed to violence against women but would gladly make an exception for some stupid bitch who thinks she has a God given right to use a cell phone on an airplane.

Anyway, Molly ends up asking Kirk out after he returns her lost iPhone and this is where it gets really unbelievable. It's not unbelievable for the reasons Hollywood thinks it is, of course. Movie producers find the idea of a girl who looks like Alice Eve winding up with a guy who looks like Jay Baruchel so preposterous that they based an entire movie around that supposedly ridiculous idea. In the real world, of course, pairings like this happen all the time. What makes this particular situation unbelievable isn't the disparity in their looks but rather the fact that Kirk is a passive/aggressive loser. He lacks not only stunning good looks but also money, wit and personality. Why is Molly dating a guy who looks like he's about to piss himself in fear when he talks to her? Because he's, "a nice guy." If you're a girl and you suddenly got wet when you heard that, this may be the movie for you. For everyone else, not so much.

I'm sure this movie has redeeming qualities though. For example, there's the scene where Kirk brings Molly to meet his buddies. Now, another reason I consider Kirk to be a loser is that he's met his buddies yet has no inkling that bringing his girlfriend to meet them might be a bad idea. I can't imagine it came as a shock to him when they ask Molly if she's a prostitute or when they encourage her to strip to her underwear. Okay, that's one scene. How about when Kirk and Molly are having dinner at her place? You remember that, right? That's where she rubs up against him a bit too vigorously during a makeout session on her couch and we discover that we must also add lack of sexual prowess to his numerous flaws when he comes in his pants and we all get Jay Baruchel's orgasm face burned forever into our memories. Then, finally, we are reminded that Kirk is the type of guy who never learns from his mistakes when he confides this to his friends and they mercilessly taunt him for it.

I hold out very little hope for this movie. Maybe it will be so loaded with funny jokes I'll forget the stupid plot and the stupid characters in it but I doubt it. It's not like it's going to be loaded with unexpected twists that no one could have predicted either. Let's see if the following happens: Kirk and Molly break up due to the fact that Molly wakes up to the fact that Kirk is a loser. Kirk then quits his airport security job and finally goes after some dream job that was referenced earlier in the movie. It could be anything. Maybe he'll go to med school or maybe he'll drive a Zamboni. All that matters is that he'll get to present the new Kirk to Molly and win her back. Hopefully he won't ejaculate when they kiss at the end but if he does, his friends will be sure to let us know.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 2/18/10

The time has come once again to talk of many things, specifically my weekly brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

I've paid very little attention to the upcoming Tim Burton directed adaptation of Alice In Wonderland until this week when I saw the latest trailer and I see that it isn't so much an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll story but rather the Chronicles of Narnia with the characters from Alice in Wonderland inserted into it. Also, I see that Burton gave it the Percy Jackson treatment and changed Alice from an 11 year old girl into a sexy 20 year old. I'm sure this will work out well, especially if it restrains its use of outrageous special effects and concentrates on story and character. So...yeah.

Speaking of Alice in Wonderland, I looked at the IMDB profile of Alice actress Mia Wasikowska and saw that her next movie role is the titular character in the latest adaptation of Jane Eyre. Jane is supposed to be a very plain woman so it only made sense to cast a gorgeous girl like Mia Wasikowska to play her.

As predicted, 24 has reached the point in the season where it starts to annoy me with endless stupid plot twists that usually involve CTU agents arriving at a terrorist lair five minutes after it has been abandoned which is pretty much what happened this week. This will happen several more times before the season is over.

The only thing I thought of when I read this Variety article about the new executive producer of the Carson Daly show was, "Carson Daly still has a show? Didn't that get canceled in the first year or something?"

Who the hell goes to rehab for "anxiety"? This is similar to stars being hospitalized for exhaustion. I predict we will all soon find out that she's mainly anxious about how much cocaine she's been doing.

Some actors are wonderful, brilliant and witty people who often prove to the world that they're not just good looking entertainers but that they actually have brains inside their heads. Then there's Robert Pattinson.

Here's the link if you must read the article but, as that headline says, it's NSFW.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I should probably officially cut the number of posts to four a week. Then you'd be pleasantly surprised when you got five. As it is, this is yet another day in which I'm too busy to do anything for this site. See you all later.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 80

Tim Burton must have access to the best dope on the planet.

Don't date the pretty ones. (One a serious note, I find the relationship between the sexy girl and the doofus guy unbelievable not because of the disparity in their looks but because the guy seems to be a slacker douchebag.)

No one says anything when you toss a woman into the trunk of your car in a crowded parking lot or have a gun battle on a major highway so, you know, go ahead and do that.

The ridiculous extreme of both technology and society is pretty much inevitable.

It has come to the point where if you're in a war zone or any kind of espionage situation and you see a guy who looks like Matt Damon, hop on the next plane and never look back.

I'd have thought the lesson here would be, "Stay the hell away from dragons," but apparently this film is teaching the exact opposite.

I don't want to discuss this film too much since I don't want to spoil the plot for you.

When you get married, accept the fact that the romance is gone forever and stay home until you die.

Both this movie and Percy Jackson have taught us that the Greek gods never did anything that didn't involve being total douchebags.

Monday, February 15, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Whenever I see a movie based on a book/graphic novel/TV show/Facebook status update/whatever, I generally have no problem judging the film by what it is and try to avoid comparing it to its source material. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lightning Thief has proven to be the exception to that rule. I've never read the book but, after watching the movie, the movie's plot just seemed off to me and I was wondering how it compared to that of the book so I found a plot synopsis and WOW! One of the biggest differences is that the three main characters Percy, Annabeth and Grover are all 12 years old. Naturally the filmmakers thought this meant they should cast 18 year old Logan Lerman as Percy, 23 year old Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth and 26 year old Brandon Jackson as Grover. There are loads of other changes I don't really want to deal with for spoiler reasons including a far more logical motivation for the actions of the person who is ultimately revealed to be the story's villain.

For now, let's concentrate on the movie for what it is and what it is is a mildly entertaining though banal and predictable movie. It turns out that Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists etc are way the hell off and that the one true religion is worship of the Greek pantheon. We see the ocean god Poseidon coming out of the Atlantic and entering modern New York City to meet up with his brother Zeus who is cranky because someone stole his ultimate weapon, the Lightning Bolt. Zeus jumps to the conclusion that the thief is Poseidon's son. Why? Honestly, I have no idea. I kept waiting for someone to say why Poseidon's son, the titular character Percy Jackson, is assumed by, of all things, the King of the Gods to be the Lightning Thief. The book apparently does have an explanation which means the filmmakers wanted to stay true to their pattern and not include it in this film.

When we meet Percy Jackson, he has no idea he's the son of a god. Following the Harry Potter model, he lives a miserable, unremarkable life made more miserable by his smelly and abusive step-father played by Joe Pantoliano. Personally, if Joey Pants was my step-father I'd think that was the coolest thing ever but I'm not Percy. One day Percy gets attacked by a substitute teacher who turns out to be one of the Furies from Greek mythology. He's saved by his best friend who turns out to be a satyr and his Latin teacher (Pierce Brosnan) who turns out to be Chiron, the legendary centaur who trained Hercules (should have been Heracles since these guys are the earlier Greek versions of these legends but we'll let that go). This leads Percy to a camp for demigods where he meets, among others, Annabeth, the very cute daughter of Athena. (The previous statement refers to the fully grown young woman in the movie, not the 12 year old in the book.) Percy and his two friends then go off on an epic journey to find Zeus' lightning bolt where they fight lots of monsters and finger each other (I'm pretty sure that's what happened when I went to the bathroom, it's rated PG so I could be wrong).

The Lightning Thief is an OK movie. It's nothing special and I can't see anyone impatiently waiting for the sequel. It's very hard to tell whose fault this is but I'm tempted to lay most of the blame at the feet of director Chris Columbus. The reason for this is that Columbus is, for the most part, a very mediocre filmmaker. You may be thinking, "Gosh, I liked Home Alone and the two Harry Potter movies he directed." True, give him a script by John Hughes or a novel by J.K. Rowling as source material and his unremarkable skills as a director can produce a decent movie. In this case, he was given what, by all accounts I've seen, is a pretty good book. The problem was that he wasn't forced to stick to it. I remember reading an interview where he tried to hide how annoyed he was that J.K. Rowling had so much creative control over the first Harry Potter movie and wouldn't let him change even small details. He didn't have that problem in this movie. He got to take 12 year old characters and replace them with sexy young adults and was able to gut the story of so much that made it interesting and replace all that with special effects. I will say this is a worthy addition to the oeuvre of a man who directed Bicentennial Man and I Love You Beth Cooper, two other movies that had the best parts of their original source material ripped out. At least he's consistent.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Facebook Login

Welcome to Facebook. If you do not see the Login screen, you probably have a virus that is minutes away from sending out child pornography to everyone on your Contacts list just before it melts your hard drive. For assistance, look here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- Valentine's Day

In the history of film, there have been projects so special that many of the greatest actors of their era have put aside their egos just so they could say that they were at least a small part of something great. These pieces of cinematic history are familiar to us all. Names like Grand Hotel, Judgment at Nuremberg, Nashville and The Magnificent Seven all stand not only as films with great ensemble casts but as pieces of cinematic history. Now those great examples of cinematic excellence have a worthy addition called Valentine's Day.

The cast is a Who's Who of this generation's greatest acting talents. When you hear names like Jessica Alba and Eric Dane, your mind is immediately transported to the uncountable number of excellent films they have made and the joy you felt watching them and you know that anything other than a quality film from them is impossible. Together, they and the rest of the cast create a film that feels less like a fiction you are watching on the big screen and more like a song that is sung by your heart and soul.

Many of the movie's scenes are already cultural touchstones and those are just the ones shown in the trailer. The world has already been entranced by the funny and heartbreaking scene of Jessica Biel talking about how she has to masturbate using her Blackberry. If you are not touched by the modern day tragedy of that scene, I would have to say you have no soul. If you can watch Topher Grace saying he believes that Valentine's Day always comes on a Thursday like Thanksgiving without shedding a tear over the plight of this poor mentally challenged individual trying to find love in this crazy world of ours, you are a stronger person than I.

Valentine's Day has lessons for us all that could lead our society to a romantic awakening, an awareness of both our potential for love and how that potential can be tapped by a desperate world. That's why so many of our greatest actors joined with the director of Georgia Rule to make this modern day masterpiece. It is a call for humanity to start its next great age and it will not take NO for an answer. Valentine's Day's ultimate message is that this next great age can start now. Is the human race ready to receive and act on that message? Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper and Taylor Swift all think we are. It is now our responsibility to bring their dream to life. Come on world, let's not betray their faith in us. The future starts now.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 2/11/10

Since I assume the whole planet is like me, you all must have also had an extremely busy week. What better way to start winding down for the weekend than to read another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

I'm going to ask one thing and one thing only of the new remake of The Wolfman and that is it must include the line, "Stay off the moors." After seven decades, you'd think the word would have gotten out and people would have stopped going to the moors by now but here we are with another movie about some goob who ignored perfectly good advice and is now a werewolf. It's this same mindset that keeps people going to Camp Crystal Lake again and again.

It's just great to see that Stan Lee is not only still alive but still vital and active in creating new projects for us to enjoy. Even if it sucks, I'll still be glad he did it.

Speaking of guys who aren't dead, Omar Sharif is not only still alive but set to play the title role in a new King Lear adaptation. Honestly, he's one of these guys I would have sworn died ten years ago at least. This is what happens when you lead a graceful and dignified celebrity existence. No one talks about you and people think you're dead. He should drunkenly plow a Ferrari into an Italian fountain or knock up a 17 year old. He'd probably get more work.

There are too many remakes these days. Hell, I've said that before which means this post itself is a remake. That being said, The Black Hole is a movie that should be remade. It was a dull movie with long, boring pauses and actors, most of whom were well known professionals, more or less sleep walking through their performances. It also had some of the stupidest special effects ever put on film up to and including a black hole that looked like a giant sparkling toilet bowl. By all means, remake this and leave Die Hard and Close Encounters of the Third Kind alone.

You can also add Dune to that previous list. Sure, the movie wasn't all that great and would easily fall into the category "Mediocre Films That Should Be Redone" except for one thing: Dune is unfilmable. The only way to do justice to a book that I personally think of as one of the 20th century's great novels would probably be to shoot it as a trilogy adding up to 9 or 10 hours. Since no one is trying to do that, any attempt to film Dune is a waste of time. If you think a Dune film adaptation would suck, wait till they start trying to film the sequels. Ugh.

Roger Ebert is very active on Twitter and he's posted various comments on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Convention over the past week. This, of course, brought him to the attention of Big Hollywood. Big Hollywood is a website of film critics who give political opinions so, naturally, they're outraged that a film critic dared to voice his political opinion. Their editor, John Nolte, and regular contributor Pam Meister have both expressed their outrage. They also both used the old Shut Up And Sing argument against Ebert. Shut Up And Sing is something you say when a celebrity voices a political opinion and you then say, "I don't want to hear these celebrities' opinions. Just shut up and sing/act/write/whatever the hell it is you do." They don't mean it, of course. When they say they don't want to hear your opinions, they mean they don't want to hear opinions they don't like. Had Ebert called for Obama's impeachment or said that tax cuts increase revenues, the people now telling him to shut up would be lauding him for his courage.

I agree with AICN that The Last Airbender trailer looks pretty good. Speaking as the one guy on the planet who liked The Happening, it would be awesome if M. Night Shyamalan could make a comeback though I'm worried that, if it's a hit, he'll use his newfound clout to make The Village 2.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yeah, I Know

I loaded Monday up with filler and now I have to skip Wednesday. Only excuse I can offer is that it's a very busy week and nothing that is normally done in time that can be described as "spare" is going to be done. See you all tomorrow, hopefully.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Murders on the Rue Dork

Around this time last year we were treated to a surprisingly entertaining action film set in France called Taken in which Liam Neeson played a former CIA operative whose 17 year old daughter was kidnapped by a sex slave ring. Taken stands as proof that a movie can have a crazy, unbelievable plot and still be an entertaining action film. From Paris With Love, on the other hand, proves that Taken was the exception for European action films and not the rule. Most action films made by Europeans are like The Transporter, a movie so messy and crazy that you just assume it was written by a schizophrenic. Let me describe From Paris With Love and you can decide if it falls in that category.

James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Myers) has a pretty decent life as the Executive Assistant to America's Ambassador to Paris. In addition to being indispensable to his boss, he also seems to be a rising covert CIA operative AND he's dating a smoking hot girl played by Polish model Kasia Smutniak. Awesome name, by the way. Kasia Smutniak. Hee hee hee. I shouldn't laugh. My name in Poland probably translates directly as "World's Biggest Dog Raper" or something like that but still...Kasia Smutniak. Moving on.

Reece is told by his CIA bosses to partner up with an American agent named Charlie Wax (John Travolta). I strongly suspect that the first draft of this script did not contain a character named Charlie Wax and that he was only added after they cut John Travolta a check. I think this because Charlie Wax pretty much seems to exist in a completely different movie. There's apparently some big trouble brewing in Paris so the CIA figured the best way to handle it was to release a rude, violent psychopath with a hair trigger who doesn't even speak French into the Parisian streets. Wax has a tendency to enter dangerous situations and shoot indiscriminately. Wax and Reece have two assets on their side: 1) Bad guys look as if they've been trained to not aim directly at whomever they are shooting and 2) Parisian police don't show up to investigate massive gun battles unless such an investigation is convenient for the plot. This means that maybe sending in Charlie Wax wasn't such a stupid idea on the CIA's part. Now Wax is free to kill Chinese cocaine dealers until his trigger finger gets tired BUT it turns out he's not really there to kill Chinese drug lords even though he spends the first 40 minutes killing a shitload of them. His actual mission is to track down Pakistani suicide bombers, a fact he withheld from Reece until the totally random moment he chose to reveal it. Why didn't he tell Reece that in the first place? Shut the hell up, that's why.

If you're wondering why the movie is called From Paris With Love, you won't find an answer from me. As far as I can tell, it's a generic, meaningless title that fits in perfectly with this generic, meaningless movie. The plot is stupid, the action is uninspired and obviously computer generated and, to top it off, the filmmakers thought it would be entertaining to shoot not one but two gorgeous women in the face. Also, they had the moviemaking smarts to have Travolta make a joke about his love for the Royale With Cheese, a line that instantly reminded us of a much better movie with John Travolta and managed to do something I thought was impossible. It lowered my opinion of the movie even further. That's one accomplishment, I guess.

Monday, February 8, 2010

140 Times Ten

As I had no time to do anything original, here are some of the greatest hits posted to my Twitter feed.
  • Next week's Lost introduces a 3rd alternate timeline where everyone's allergic to shrimp. Imagine the plot twists.
  • Unemployment drops from 10% to 9.7%. THE RECESSION'S OVER! I'm going to smoke a bottle of Dom Perignon and wipe my ass with bald eagles.
  • Regal's 20 min ad show says I should get there earlier so I can see the whole thing. Yeah, I'll do that.
  • On this day in 1819 Sir Thomas Raffles founded Singapore. I assume the residents were grateful a white European finally said they existed.
  • Dear John knocked Avatar out of the #1 spot. I'm assuming it is also an exciting 3-D action film set on another world.
  • If Einstein was so smart, why didn't he invent death lasers that shot out of his eyes?
  • Also why didn't Einstein develop a race of super intelligent plankton that formed a rock and roll band? What the hell did ne even do?
  • When adjusted for inflation, the following movies made more than Avatar: Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, Deuce Bigalow:European Gigolo.
  • Part of Tim Tebow's deal to do that commercial is that he gets a cut every time a woman pays to not have an abortion.
Hope you enjoyed the filler. I'll try to be back with something a tad more substantial tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010


So there I was, minding my own business when I see that the Hannah Montana movie is available on Netflix streaming. At first I thought, "Cool, I can watch it and make fun of it," but then I thought, "What if I die as soon as it ends and everyone sees that the last thing I did was watch the Hannah Montana movie?" Because I am truly a brave soul, I rolled the dice, survived and clicked on Evil Dead II so now that is the last item in my Netflix queue. Pretty much as soon as the movie started, I realized there wasn't much point in doing a traditional review. The movie isn't for me. It was designed for people considerably younger and more female and they seemed to like it. Michael Clear writing a review of Hannah Montana is like having an 11 year old girl write a review of Rashomon. There's no point.

Instead, I'm simply going to do something more like a liveblog. I'll watch it and record my observations in real time. Yes, the whole movie will be spoiled though if anyone reading this is upset by that, you probably aren't a regular reader and clicked on this site by accident when you Googled "Hannah Montana." If so, I suggest you click off before I do the joke about Miley Cyrus doing it with a horse.

0:00:12 -- Movie's rated G. Cool, though I guess this means there will be few to no scenes of Miley Cyrus doing it with a horse (told you to click off). Unless that's something that's a perfectly normal part of farming of which I am unaware in which case the movie could be 75% horse screwing. Can't wait to find out.

0:01:00 -- There's an arena which I assume is the venue for a Hannah Montana concert. Oddly, it looks like everyone got there at once since people in the parking lot are pouring out of their vehicles simultaneously. If you don't know, the premise of this movie is that Hannah Montana, a top level pop star, takes off her blond wig and becomes Miley, a normal teenage girl. According to Wikipedia, our celebrity obsessed world is fooled by this.

0:19:00 -- In the past 18 minutes, we have discovered that Miley's fame has turned her into a huge bitch. To correct this, her dad has tricked her into returning to the backwater shithole she grew up in to get her back in touch with her values.

0:23:00 -- Miley got kicked off a horse (not because she was trying to have sex with it, turns out it's not that kind of movie) but gets saved by a young cowboy named Travis who is SO ADORABLE OH MY GOD! They don't seem to get along, a situation I assume will not change.

0:26:00 -- Miley finally gets to her grandmother's house where the band Rascal Flatts just happens to be hanging out and jamming. I guess things like that happen in the country.

0:38:00 -- Oh no, some evil paparazzo knows Hannah is in town. Miley tricks him into eating some sort of super hot sauce, an act that could have severely injured him. Was that supposed to be funny? I guess. If you have a kid who's seen this movie, they now think feeding you mega watt hot sauce is an acceptable and safe prank so don't trust the little bastards ever again. She also made the guy trip on some walnuts two minutes later, another hilarious act that could easily have resulted in grievous injury or death. When the guy meets Miley, he doesn't recognize her even though she looks just like Hannah Montana sans the blond wig. The Hannah Montana-verse is a strange, scary place to me.

0:48:00 -- Some evil guy is trying to build a strip mall right there in Jerkwater USA so they're having some sort of benefit to stop him. Personally I think this place could benefit from being paved over but that's just me. Taylor Swift, who also seems to live in this godforsaken town, is performing. Biggest celebrity I've ever seen wandering around was the guy who played Riker on Star Trek. This was at an airport. Apparently one must go to towns with a population that could fit in your pocket to meet celebrities.

0:51:00 -- Miley gets up on stage and says, "If you guys don't mind, I'm going to add a little hip hop to this hoedown." MILEY, NO! You can't add hip hop to a hoedown. They tried that in the 90s. People died! I can't look.

0:53:00 -- Wow, she did it. Amazingly the band and backup singers needed no rehearsal whatsoever. Also, everyone on the dance floor managed to pick up dance steps on the first try.

1:30:00 -- Oh look, movie's almost over. After various episodic hijinks that included Miley building the world's gayest chicken coop, Hannah pulls off the blond wig in the middle of a benefit meant to save the town and sings some dumb song called "The Climb" about how it doesn't matter how your journey ends, all that matters is the journey itself. All I know is if I go to the trouble of climbing a damn mountain, there had better be ice cream on the top. Anyway, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people just saw Miley reveal herself but they all agree to keep her secret. Seriously. This includes the paparazzo who's been trying to expose her the whole movie. He even quits his job. This makes everything that happened previously seem sane and reasonable but at least the movie's over.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 2/4/10

I didn't feel too well earlier but now I feel much better thanks to the excitement I feel writing another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I call Look At My Briefs.

Lost is really doubling down on the crazy this season. I think I noted about 87 different alternate realities before I stopped counting. I can't wait till they reveal who the Final Five Islanders are.

Avatar is officially the top grossing movie ever. A lot of people are hoping it gets shut out of the Oscars. If that happens, I'm sure James Cameron will be very upset as he wipes his ass with money.

The first few episodes of 24 have been decent this year but I'm scared to watch anymore as this is the point in every season where the show starts to piss me off. We start seeing various double, triple and quadruple agents entering unguarded rooms to access some sort of forbidden data while Jack manages to track down the terrorists but gets to their hidden location five minutes too late where they have managed to make a clean getaway to go set off their bomb which was actually meant to hide their true goal of freeing their leader from prison which only served as a decoy to mask their ultimate objective of adding some sort of death juice to the nation's water supply. All this happens a dozen times before the season long day ends. I won't be sad when that show ends.

Though Taylor Swift makes her movie debut in this week's release of Valentine's Day, she assures that music will always be number one in her life. WHAT?!!! How will the movie business survive this revelation that a singer won't star in a series of vanity projects, all of which will almost surely suck?

AICN informs me that we may have not only Underworld and Transformers sequels in the works but that they both may be in 3-D. Fuck you, 3-D. Seriously, fuck you. Every piece of crap ever made now has the potential for new life thanks to your stupid technology. I'm sure we'll soon see 3-D sequels of Jurassic Park, Deuce Bigalow and Schindler's List, all of which will be crimes against both cinema and humanity that can be laid directly at the feet of whoever made 3-D a viable option for major releases.

We have entered that time of year where I want to kick people in the face. The Super Bowl is coming up and that means that we have to spend as much time hearing about all those damn ads as we do about the game. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone goes on about the ads and my leg would get tired if I kicked everyone in the face so there's really nothing I can do.

Oh look, a movie with Channing Tatum completely sucks. Shocking. Why do they keep letting this guy be in movies? He makes Shia LeBeouf's oeuvre look like the work of Robert DeNiro.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oscar: My Two Cents

Just some random observations I have of this year's awards.

1) There were ten slots this year for Best Picture. My World of Warcraft machinima couldn't have gotten at least one of those? I suspect this is a combination of movie business politics, snobbery toward films made outside of the Hollywood system and my own poorly conceived "Nominate Me Or I'll Call You All Queers On The Internet" nomination campaign. Worst part is I have to live up to my word and call the entire Academy queers now. I really don't want to do that but if I don't, people stop taking me seriously. So..George Clooney's a queer (to be continued)

2)I'd be really pissed if I was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and I was anyone but Christoph Waltz. His portrayal of Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds was the most memorable villain since Hannibal Lecter and his nomination is the only thing I would confidently say was a sure thing. I bet the other four guys are thinking, "Why don't we just kill him," but that would do no good. Don't forget, Heath Ledger won posthumously last year.

3) I'd be willing to place a huge wager that none of the films in the "Documentary:Short Feature" category actually exists and everyone at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences responsible for these nominations are currently laughing their collective asses off. If I'm wrong, please tell me how much you enjoyed Music by Prudence and Rabbit a la Berlin when you saw them.

4) Just when I thought those damn "Based on the novel Push by Sapphire" jokes would start winding down, that movie wins several nominations.

5) Is there a reason they don't change the "Best Animated Feature" category to "Category we created so Pixar would win every year"?

6) Speaking of that, what the hell is Secret of Kells? Did those "Documentary:Short Feature" guys slip this one in too? Even Roger Ebert hasn't seen it.

7) Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson share a nomination for Best Sound Mixing. If their names mean nothing to you, they're the guys who made sure you left Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen without your hearing. I hope they win but that it's really a plot to lure them up on stage and pants them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Edge of Larkness

The Edge of Darkness or, as you all know it, one of the movies that came out recently that wasn't Avatar, isn't horrible. It just isn't all that great. It's one of those films that has a few good scenes that make you ask why the other scenes weren't much better.

The opening is pretty good and by "pretty good" I mean "competently delivers a portrait of a man in the grip of crushing despair." Mel Gibson plays Boston Detective Thomas Craven, a guy who totally never goes on alcohol fueled anti-Semitic tirades, who is excited that his 24 year old daughter (Bojana Novakovic) is coming home to visit. She feels kind of sick and eventually coughs up blood, something I'm sure has nothing to do with anything, before a masked gunman kills her with a shotgun in what seemed to be an attempt to kill him. As we see scenes where he hears her as well as he hears anything else and is constantly reminded of her in a million ways, I found myself wondering how a middle aged man like Craven would get over something like this. He has no wife and no other children so he has to deal with one of the worst things that can happen to a human being all alone. I really found myself feeling sorry for him and I think Gibson did a good job showing us how this man just barely holds everything together before finding a way to carry on.

But enough of that human, girly crap. The "way to carry on" that Gibson embraces is to obsessively investigate his daughter's death before eventually turning into Movie Stereotype #23, The Unstoppable Vengeance Machine. A UVM can do just about anything. He becomes unaffected by things like gravity and laws of physics. He can survive falls, car crashes, gunshot wounds etc. Nothing can stop him until he has achieved vengeance.

Craven starts to suspect that the company for whom his daughter worked was behind her death, a fact that becomes obvious when he goes there and sees that the place looks like it was designed by the same guy who built the Death Star. The creepy CEO played by Danny Huston makes the mistake of acting creepy so we know right off the bat that he was behind the whole thing. Oops, that was a spoiler. Well, it's a spoiler if you've never seen a movie before.

Like I said, it's not all bad. One thing that keeps the movie going is the introduction of an intelligence community mercenary named Jedburgh (Ray Winstone). He was supposed to stop or kill Craven yet ends up helping him for what turn out to be very logical reasons. There's also the climactic scene where Craven, using his UVM powers, walks into a heavily guarded area and takes the whole place out. Do the bad guys win? Yes and no. That's as far as I go, spoiler-wise.

Edge of Darkness stops short of being a satisfying film. It was too hard to follow which made it feel long. I was surprised when I saw less than two hours had passed as the end credits rolled. Also, and this is another spoiler so I made the text white (you can see it by mousing over it), Hamlet had more of its characters survive than this movie did. Wow, bet you didn't see that coming.

I understand that this was based on a well regarded British television series. Netflix didn't have it available for streaming, a fact that I assume means they hate me, so I wasn't able to compare the two versions. I'm guessing the BBC series is pretty much the same except for the stupid parts. If I ever see it, I'll let you know.

Monday, February 1, 2010


As I had a busy weekend and you people don't seem to want to see anything but Avatar, I figured this would be a good time to link back to my original Avatar review from last month. I stand by that review though I admit that, after three viewing, there are things I didn't notice back then. For instance, I completely failed to notice the presence of a precocious ten year old buy or his best friend, a cigar smoking dog in a pork pie hat. Also, I can't believe I missed all those high energy musical numbers, especially the big closer "Avatar Superstar."

See you tomorrow.