Monday, May 31, 2010

Persian Lug

Of all the movies based on video games, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is certainly one of them. I would say it's one of the better movies ever made in that genre but that's a very low threshold to achieve. It's like eating garbage and declaring it to be the finest garbage you ever ate.

I never played the game so I'm sadly denied the pleasure of bitching that the movie ruined it and, by doing so, "destroyed my childhood." I do know enough about it to know that it involved a great deal of jumping on rooftops and falling down holes and I can assure you that rooftop jumping/hole falling fans will have plenty to keep them entertained in this movie. Personally, I put it in the category of, "Not nearly as offensively stupid as I thought it would be and thus, mildly entertaining."

We're told the movie opens at the height of the Persian Empire and that the Persians ruled by the principles of justice and brotherhood. Actually, the Persians ruled by the principles of "Do what I say or I'll chop off your head and put it on a stick as a warning to others" just like every other empire did but what the hell, it's only a movie. We see the day that the Persian King Sharaman, a fellow curiously missing from every history book, is moving through the streets of his kingdom when he witnesses a tussle between his guards and a street orphan named Dustan. Sharaman admires the boy's rooftop jumping and petty larceny skills and thus decides to adopt him.

Dustan grows up to look remarkably like Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal's Dustan is a lot like the Jack Twist character he played in Brokeback Mountain only not gay and more muscular plus, instead of a bad Southern accent, he now speaks in a bad British accent. Why do all the Persians speak in British accents? Shut up, that's why. It's only a movie. We know Dustan isn't gay by the way he's instantly bowled over by the beautiful Princess Tamina played here by the beautiful Gemma Arterton. Dustan is going to have to go a long way to win the heart of Tamina since they met the day Dustan helped his brother, Prince Tus, conquer Alumet, Tamina's city. Tus was convinced to invade Alumet by his uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), who claimed that Alumet was supplying weapons to Persia's enemies. There wasn't a lot of evidence offered to support this claim and the fact that Ben Kingsley always plays villains in big budget Hollywood movies should have called his credibility into question but the ancient Persians had never even seen a movie so I suppose we can't blame them for not knowing that.

Anyway, the King finally shows up and takes Tus to task for invading the city but Tus won't really have to face too much of a penalty since Sharaman is promptly murdered. Naturally it is Dustan who, until that point, was the Persia's greatest hero and the one least likely to want to murder a king which, I guess, is why no one doubts his guilt even a little bit and yeah yeah, it's just a movie. I'm getting tired of writing that. Dustan and Tamina escape along with a very fancy looking dagger that Tamina seems to hold in high value. Dustan finds out that this dagger can turn back time one minute and is probably the main reason Alumet was invaded in the first place. Anyway, Dustan and Tamina decide on a strategy that mostly involves jumping on rooftops and falling down holes along with a bit of time travel tossed in just to spice things up and that pretty much takes care of the rest of the movie.

So, like I said, it wasn't bad. It wasn't great but you could sit there for a couple hours and come out not feeling like you've wasted your time. I didn't see it in 3D which is good as I probably would have been really annoyed by the 3D version in the same was I was annoyed when I saw Clash of the Titans in 3D. So, if you enjoy colorful visual spectacles of chunk headed lugs saving pretty girls with time traveling daggers or if you are the kind of douchebag who likes updating his Facebook status with the movie's non-stop historical inaccuracies, Prince of Persia is for you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- Sex and the City 2

What do you think of when asked what the most important moments of your life are? The majority probably think of the same things. First kiss, college graduation, wedding day, the births of our children. Those are the things that will bring a smile to our faces and, perhaps, a wistful tear to our eyes when we reach our sunset years and look back on the richness of the lives we have lived. As of today, we have a new memory to add to the fine moments that make up the glorious tapestry that is us, a new cultural touchstone that, if we are lucky, we will share with the ones we love for decades to come. We will experience this with our children and their children and we will never forget the moment that defined not only who we are but who we could dream of being.

That moment is the first time we saw Sex and the City 2.

If you've ever seen the HBO series or the first movie then you have already experienced a taste of the magic that is this movie. However, this movie is not so much a sequel or continuation of those previous stories but rather a glorious culmination and realization of a dream that started in the mind of author Candace Bushnell over a decade ago and has now come gloriously to life. I imagine director Michael Patrick King looking at blank film and seeing the movie before a single scene was shot in much the same way that Michelangelo once stared at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and saw his fresco of the creation of Man before a single brush stroke had been painted.

The four women who are not so much characters as they are members of our family to show us who they are and teach us about who we should be. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are all back and not for themselves but, rather, for us all.

I'm amazed at how the makers of this film took a moronic sitcom plot and turned it into such a delight. At first glance, the movie appears to be nothing more than middle aged women telling dick jokes. At second glance, it seems even far more stupid, vile and offensive to all that is good and holy than it did on the first glance. It is only when one considers it for a third time that the majestic vision of mankind at the heart of this film can shine through, enter our consciousness and define who we are. The scenes of the witty banter, sexual aggressiveness and conspicuous consumption combine into a big goopy mishmash of awesomeness that cannot be removed from the brain even if we wanted it to be which we certainly won't.

This story that stretches from the magical streets of an idealistic New York to the exotic sands of Abu Dhabi is not something that should be experienced by all. It is something that must be experienced by all and when it is we shall tell the children that there is still wonder and truth within that wonder that tells us that glory and beauty can be achieved by this crazy, wonderful thing that we call the human race.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 5/27/10

This is the last Thursday of the month and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

This week I've seen four final episodes of television series. Of those four, only Law & Order didn't have a downbeat ending. Lost, 24 and and a third show I won't name because it hasn't shown in the U.S. yet all had final episodes whose goal seemed to be to get about 50% of their fans to commit suicide and follow the series into the television afterlife. Things worked out fairly well on Law & Order but they didn't know it was going to be their final episode. If they had, the characters could have all been violently gang raped and Jack McCoy could have been shot in the face. I shudder when I think of the bloodbath that awaits all the characters of New Adventures of Old Christine in their final episode.

Hey folks, did you absolutely love Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans? If you did, go fuck yourself. Seriously, stop reading right now, find the largest and most uncomfortable looking object you find and fuck yourself in the ass with it right now. Those are some of the stupidest and most unwatchable "comedies" ever made and they only got made because jackholes like you, the ones who loved them, went to see them again and again. If you fall into that category, you will welcome the news that a Twilight spoof being made by the same people who made those other three films is coming out in August. I'm looking forward to the scene where Paris Hilton shows up at a vampire baseball game and says, "That's hot," before being hit in the face by a baseball. I hope those of you who love these movies didn't read that and laugh so hard you passed out.

I haven't read it but I understand that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a clever, original and entertaining book. Sadly, it has spawned uncounted ripoffs, the latest one being Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion. It also is a sad fact that most of them are being made into movies which means that this may be the first time in history that a standard movie concept has gotten old before a single film using that concept has been released.

The lame Tim Burton directed Alice In Wonderland is about to gross 1 billion dollars. I hate to see this as another piece of evidence that jaded movie audiences will go see any old piece of crap and instead will work under the assumption that all the tickets were purchased by Tim Burton's mom.

Tomorrow is Prince of Persia day. Hopefully all the teenage boys who would normally be inclined to see that didn't blow this week's movie money on Sex and the City 2 which comes out one day earlier. Sex and the City 2, incidentally, is currently hovering around 12% on the Tomatometer but that could be because all but 12% of film critics are total Mirandas.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Two-day on this Twos-day I'm going two talk about 2 different sub-two-jects. I hope the rampant hilarity of this first line didn't cause anyone to pass out from laughter.

First, Lost. I'm assuming you've seen it, by the way. Don't go bitching about how you were saving the last episode for the 4th of July and now I've ruined it for you. Judging from Twitter/Facebook/message board reactions, it went over fairly well with the show's fanbase. Even people who thought the show started going downhill after that awesome first 15 minutes seemed to gain a measure of satisfaction and completion from Sunday's final episode. I can say I liked it a lot and was impressed at how much sense everything made in the end.

One of the biggest conclusions I reached is that Jacob did a lousy job in his role as island protector. It was obvious from the episode that showed us his origin that his mother didn't even intend for him to end up with the job. Hell, the first thing he did in that role was something his adoptive mother had told him not to do. As an act of revenge, he tossed his brother down the light cave and ended up creating a very powerful and pissed off enemy that was just as immortal as he was. Then Jacob decides to spend the next 2000 years trying to convince him of the sheer awesome swellness of humanity. You'd think around year 1200 he'd figure it to be a lost cause but no, he soldiers on. To me, the biggest unsolved mystery is whether the people who ended up on the island, including Desmond, were brought together as part of an intricate plan that Jacob concocted to put an end to the threat of the Man in Black once and for all or if he threw darts at names to choose his candidates and got lucky that everything worked out.

I'm not going to worry about the unsolved mysteries. If I ever meet any of the main creative forces behind Lost, I won't ask about polar bears or what was so great about Walt or if that Dharma peanut butter was smooth or crunchy. My question would be, "How close to your original vision of the ending did the actual ending turn out to be?" I'm curious about how much of the plot was planned from episode one and how much was just winging it.

Topic #2: I haven't given much space to Big Hollywood recently but this post today by Jeffrey Jena caught my eye. he claims comedian Elayne Boosler defriended him on Facebook for the crime of being a conservative.
I got “unfriended” on Facebook a few months ago by comedienne Elayne Boosler. Out here in the real world I wasn’t really “friends” with Ms. Boosler. We had met a few times and I think we may have shared a stage or two somewhere along the way but that was it. Our Facebook friendship was almost as brief. When I disagreed with one of her political postings I was soon scratched from her “friend” roster. It seems that Ms. Boosler does not like to have her opinions challenged. She is one of many “progressives” who believe in diversity of appearance but not of thought. Fair enough. You want to be narrow minded and intellectually lazy so you don’t have to defend your opinions, that is your right as an American. Second in my mind only to the right to be as stupid as you want to be is the right to put your fingers in your ear when someone who disagrees with you is so rude as to start throwing facts at you.
He then goes on to claim that another progressive friend also dumped him from Facebook and from these two incidents draws the conclusion that liberals are vicious and intolerant. What caught my attention, though, is that, in both cases, Jena doesn't show us the comments that were so offensive to liberal sensibilities. As you can see from the quote above, all he says is that he disagreed with a political post without a hint of whether he said, "I think tax cuts increase revenues," or if it was more along the lines of, "Why does Der Führer Obama think he can change our health care system when he won't even release his birth certificate?" He goes into a bit more detail in the second example in which he paints himself as a calm debater going up against an emotionally immature and out-of-control liberal but, again, he fails to show us the actual Facebook posts that set this person off. We only have his word that he is the sad victim of liberal intolerance.

On the other hand, we have Elayne Boosler saying he's full of shit. She pays Jena the courtesy of linking to what he actually said instead of providing us with her own vague characterizations of Jena's words. I also looked at some of her older Facebook posts and found this thread in which she criticizes Starbucks for allowing armed customers into their stores. In the comments, some guy states that we must allow this because a crackhead might someday find a gun while rooting through trash. According to Jena, Boosler should have lost her shit and defriended him. Instead, she disagreed and calmly stated that, if she encountered an armed customer in Starbucks, she would leave after registering her complaint to the management.

One more thing. I loved this statement Jena makes about the poor, persecuted Hollywood conservatives.
I look at folks like Dennis Miller, a guy who I have admired for years, and Drew Carey, and wonder what their brash conservatism has cost them.
Well, let's see. Dennis Miller now has a radio show because of his conservative beliefs as well as numerous tour dates. Drew Carey is an even sadder story. Because of his conservative beliefs, he was only allowed to make 200 episodes of his sitcom The Drew Carey Show. He now, tragically, makes an excellent living as host of The Price Is Right so yeah, let's all weep for Dennis Miller and Drew Carey.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lax Shrek

I'm not sure if Shrek Forever After, a movie being touted as the final chapter of Shrek, will end up being worse than Shrek Back For More, the next "last chapter of Shrek" that will be released in 2013. Oh sure, they swear that this is it but the $72 million opening weekend says there will be at least 8 more final chapters. As for this movie? It was okay, except when it wasn't. I have the feeling I will regard it the same way I regard the third film. What I mean by that is I had no memory of the third film until I looked it up. I wasn't even sure I had seen it until the Wikipedia synopsis reminded me that it was about a teenage King Arthur voiced by Justin Timberlake. I think I'll remember the plot of Shrek Forever After though I couldn't swear to it.

The new film has the same combination of postmodernism and pop culture references that made the first film memorable and the other two less so. This one, though, is in 3D, a fact that adds two things. One of those is jack, the other, shit.

Anyhoo, Shrek has settled uneasily into domestic life with Fiona and their three children. At first, all is well until each one of Shrek's days becomes a rerun of the previous one. Shrek finds that changing diapers, hearing his wife tell the same joke every day and having to fix the toilet nonstop gets old fast. Even worse for Shrek, he's now well regarded in the community. A star tour carriage goes by his house every day, usually just as he's heading into the outhouse. People are no longer intimidated by his presence or even his mighty roar. A lot of people feel this way, of course, but I'd guess the majority of those people don't have access to magical beings who can bend time and space to their will. Speaking of which, Shrek meets Rumplestiltskin, a magical being who bend time and space to his will.

Rumplestiltskin, possibly the only character in the movie not voiced by a famous actor, has hit the skids in recent years since people found out that he always adds godawful conditions to his magical transactions. Luckily for the scheming little elf/gnome/whatever, Shrek doesn't know this so he agrees to give Rumple a day of his life in exchange for a day to live "as a real ogre." Rumple takes the day Shrek was born which means he never existed. Thus, we get a kids movie version of It's A Wonderful Life except that, this being the final chapter, everyone dies. But I kid. Shrek movies are always very gentle. No one could really die anymore than this could actually be the final chapter.

Shrek Forever After has its moments. Not enough, of course, and certainly not enough to justify the jacked up price for a 3D film. Did I mention 3D added nothing to the film? It wasn't a distraction like it was in Clash of the Titans. You also had the usual tricks where things get thrown at the screen so they can come flying at you but, really, there was no reason for this to be in 3D other than to have parents fret over paying higher ticket prices so they could appease their screaming kids who firmly swore that they'd rather be dead than miss Shrek and that they would never, ever ask for anything ever again, something they'll repeat when the next Shrek film comes out.

Friday, May 21, 2010

LOST Spoilers

Well, here we are. It's been six long, uneven years of Lost. Despite, as I said, the show's uneven quality, Lost stands of one of television's finest accomplishments and its makers should be very proud indeed. This Sunday's two hour finale will finally give us at least some of the answers we've been looking for. But hey, why wait till Sunday when you can have the whole thing spoiled for you on the internet? I must warn you not to ready any further if you don't want spoilers...oops, sorry, I should have said that earlier. It's too late to back out now. Read on.
  1. A third timeline is revealed in which Hurley is in great shape and Jack is the fat one. Also, the Smoke Monster is made of cotton candy and is reported to be yummy.
  2. We finally discover what happened to all that ranch dressing Hurley was hoarding. Turns out it also got tossed down that light cave and is now Smoke Ranch Dressing.
  3. The Smoke Monster is about to kill all the surviving cast members until they reduce him to tears with their touching rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream."
  4. Hurley's lottery numbers are revealed to be rolls that J.J. Abrams once threw that allowed him to solo kill the Tarrasque in the most awesome Dungeons and Dragons game ever.
  5. Jacob reveals that the secret of the island is a killer recipe for slow cooked ribs. The secret? Celery salt. So simple, really.
  6. You don't find out the Smoke Monster's real name, the nature of the parallel realities, if the world is saved or if anyone even gets off the island. You do find out where Nicky and Paolo hid their porn before they died so it's six years well spent.
  7. They're in Hell. Yeah, the creators always said they weren't in Hell. Turns out the creators were just annoyed that anyone figured it out.
And that's it. I have now saved you all the trouble of watching Lost this weekend. You can now spend your Sunday watching Iron Chef. You're welcome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 5/20/10

It's Thursday. How do you know it's Thursday? Because that's the day I publish this, my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

"GO TO HELL NBC! GO TO THAT PART OF HELL WHERE YOU GET BALL CANCER AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE BALLS THEN GO TO SOME OTHER PART OF HELL WHERE THEY GROW BALLS ON THEN GO BACK TO THAT BALL CANCER PART!!!!!" That's what I would have said had this article announcing that NBC was canceling Heroes come out three years ago instead of this week. Now my response is, "What took you so damn long, NBC?" After season one, an example of how good television can be, Heroes steadily went downhill. The really bad part was that they would show some promise now and again that kept me watching the show. After that flash of promise, you'd get six episodes straight of people hanging around carnival washing dishes.

Even less of a surprise was the cancellation of Flash Forward. That wasn't horrible but it never stopped having moments of supreme silliness. As dumb as Flash Forward could be, though, it was an object lesson in supreme logic when you compare it to V which actually got renewed. V is to Flash Forward what a retard fungus is to Flash Forward. Oh well, now I know I'll be able to celebrate V's cancellation next year. It'll give me something to do.

Tomorrow marks the release of the last Shrek film, or at least the last one until they "reboot" the whole thing a few years from now. Anyway, this movie will be in 3D which means we get a glorious combination of people who like to bitch about 3D movies and the ones who will say, "Shrek's sucked since the first movie." So, if you're the kind of person who enjoys trolling movie forums, this weekend belongs to you.

There's a movie coming out in July I'm really looking forward to that I almost certainly won't get to see in a theater unless it's an unexpected breakout hit. So, should July 9 roll around and you find yourself near a theater that is showing Winnebago Man, try to find the will power to pull yourself away from the cinematic genius of The A-Team, Jonah Hex, Predators, Despicable Me and, as if we could forget, Twilight: Eclipse and go see what looks like a very good documentary.

I still can't accept the idea that MacGruber might actually turn out to be funny. It simply shouldn't be possible to take a one joke SNL gag and turn it into an entertaining full length feature. Still, I've been hearing all year that test audiences liked and and now the early reviews are in so the evidence is mounting up that I'm wrong. As of this writing, it's scoring an 89% on the Tomatometer. 89%? Really? You could resurrect young Orson Welles and allow him to re-edit Citizen Kane so it's even better and the result would probably only score a 90. A good MacGruber movie isn't supposed to happen and I'm pretty sure it will create cracks all through the space/time continuum.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breaking A Day

I didn't get to see Daybreakers when it was out in theaters last January. I wasn't particularly upset over this because I assumed that some vampire flick in January would be an unwatchable mess. It turns out that not only is it watchable but it had a plot line I could follow and people, for the most part, behaved logically.

It will come as a shock to some that this vampire story was not about attractive teenagers sparkling in the sunlight while some well muscled werewolf looks on. No, this story takes place ten years after a massive outbreak of vampirism has converted most of the Earth's population into vampires. This isn't that bad of a thing, at least not in the confines of this story. The vampires aren't necessarily bad people and they've basically converted society into one amenable to vampires. Most of the businesses and institutions that existed before still exist. They're just open all night now and closed when the Sun comes up. The problems start when the vampires begin to get too hungry. There's an old question about what would happen if vampires outnumbered humans. The answer this movie provides is, "Pretty much what you'd expect." The vampires are running out of blood and the human race is dying out as a result. There are hints that, when this first started, humans and vampires managed to coexist but now they're hunted and brought to blood farms until blood gets really scarce when starving vampires just kill them on sight.

Enter Dr. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke). He's a hematologist trying to create a blood substitute. Edward's problem is he doesn't particularly care for being a vampire and was pretty much forced to by his brother, Al (Carl Rush). A point in this movie's favor is that, unlike most other vampire stories, the vamps here are normal people and not outrageously dressed Eurotrash types who always lean against things looking bored but you still have the "the humans are nothing but cattle" types and Al is one of those. Edward, on the other hand, cares about humans and this causes him to help escape from the authorities. These people thank him by tracking him down, breaking into his house and holding him at gunpoint (or crossbow point if you must get particular) while they ascertain whether he can be turned to work for their cause. They want Edward to find a cure for vampirism which, though he's been working hard on a blood substitute, is what Edward has always dreamt of finding. They don't have much time though. Blood is running low and it turns out that blood deprivation causes vampires to turn into crazed bat-like beings called Subsiders.

Working against Edward is his employer, Bob Evil. Oh sorry, his name is actually Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) and he has no interest in finding a cure. He even talks about farming real blood after the blood substitute is created since people will pay more for the real thing. Charles Bromley is so powerful that he'll never, ever get his comeuppance and if he does it certainly won't happen because of anything Edward does. Right?

Daybreakers is very entertaining with some clever ideas of what an all-vampire society would look like. It's needlessly gory and there's one scene where a guy's head gets pulled off that's just laughable but that doesn't hold the film back too much. I can certainly recommend a DVD rental after which you can immediately jump on your Facebook page and bitch to your friends that the vampires didn't sparkle like "real" vampires do. Still, if you're the kind of person who would do that, you stopped reading this site long ago.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sherwood Borefest

Like most people, my favorite Robin Hood movie is the 1938 film with Errol Flynn playing the titular character. Flynn seemed to so effortlessly fit the role that a lot of people don't even think that what he did took talent. I break people who think that down into three groups: dorks, morons, and dorkily moronic douchebags. A close second in the rankings for best Robin Hood film is the 1976 Richard Lester directed Robin and Marian. This movie could really be described as a sequel to Errol Flynn's version. Sean Connery plays Robin this time. He and Little John went off with Richard the Lionheart to fight in the Crusades and return after Richard dies 20 years later to find that things are just as bad now as they were when he was young and battling the Sheriff of Nottingham with his Merry Men. Marian has become a nun and he must fight not only evildoers who oppress the poor but also Marian's reluctance to rekindle their old love.

The reason I'm talking so much about those movies is because those are good movies and the brand spanking new Ridley Scott directed/Russel Crowe starring version is not. I like Ridley Scott. I like Russell Crowe. I like screenwriter Brian Helgeland. Knowing all three of those guys were involved made me keep faith in the film even when lackluster trailers for it were being released earlier in the year. I did not walk into the multiplex last Friday expecting this film to be oh so very dull. The rule here seems to be "Why make scenes 2 minutes long when they can be 10 minutes long?" People talk and talk and talk again and talk some more for no specific purpose other than to give people a chance to overact.

This movie's a bit closer to the Sean Connery film than to Errol Flynn. It starts as King Richard is leading his army home from the Crusade to topple the Muslim government there. For some reason, God chose not to allow them to force the Muslims to love Jesus which means they're coming home without much to show for it and must plunder a few castles along the way. For some reason, the centuries-long legend of Robin being a disillusioned nobleman wasn't good enough for the makers of this film who decided to try and inject as much historical accuracy as possible* into a story about a guy who probably didn't even exist. Robin is now an archer in Richard's army, highly competent and brave but a commoner nonetheless. On a night when Richard decides to walk amongst his troops, Robin makes the mistake of believing him when Richard says he wants him to be honest and winds up in the stocks along with three of his comrades, all of whom have the names of Robin Hood's legendary comrades. Coincidence? I don't want to put in too many spoilers.

Back in England, Richard's selfish and incompetent brother John is in charge while Richard is gone and, in that time, has selfishly and incompetently run the kingdom into the ground. The movie tries to cut him some slack by pointing out that Richard's war is what bankrupted the country and having a French double agent named Godfrey (Mark Strong) manipulate him into raising revenue in the most brutal way possible in order to turn the populace against John and make England ripe for an invasion by Philip II of France. He's very annoyed with John ever since John kidnapped and married Philip's sister, Isabella. Interesting footnote: this actually happened though the girl playing her in the movie is 24 year old actress Léa Seydoux and the real Isabella was only 12. If you're annoyed that they aged the object of King John's sexual obsession for the movie, please do society a favor and write the word "Pedophile" on your forehead. Moving on.

Robin and his comrades come upon Godfrey ambushing the men responsible for bringing Richard's crown back to England but are unable to save them. That doesn't stop them from putting on their clothes and pretending to be them so they can return to England in style. He did promise one of them men who died that he would return the dead man's sword to his father in Nottingham which is how they all wound up there and, from there, met Marian (Cate Blanchett) and ended up becoming a band of famous populist outlaws.**

All that has taken a while to read but, trust me, it took way longer to watch and the movie wasn't even over. It took more than 90 minutes for Robin to do his first bit of "rob from the rich and give to the poor" and, come to think of it, that may have been the only time as the rest of the damn movie was spent fighting for King John against the French instead of against him.

I had no problem with casting Crowe and Blanchett as Robin and Marian. I imagine Ridley Scott must have had many meetings with studio heads not to cast Robert Pattinson and Keira Knightley in those roles in order to appeal to a younger crowd. It's just too bad all that effort went into making such a boring movie. The plot was boring, the action was boring and the villains were boring. I honestly can't see why people keep casting Mark Strong as the bad guy in their movies. This is the third movie in six months in which he's played an uninteresting villain. The best Robin Hood villain was Robert Shaw's Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and Marian. He was an actual three dimensional character, unlike pretty much every character in this movie. Oh, there I go, talking about better movies again.

The last time Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe teamed up, the result was Gladiator. That, too, was dull though not as dull as this one but it won the Best Picture Oscar. Perhaps they thought if they made an even more boring movie this time around it would somehow win 2 Best Picture Oscars. Looks like they got the movie they wanted. Good luck come Oscar time.

* This includes the artistic decision to make everything and everyone look like they're covered in shit.

** Or perhaps I should say "outLAWWWWWWS".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Letters To Juliet -- Guy Version

Letters To Juliet comes out today. As you can see by this trailer, it is not a Chick Flick. It is the Chick Flick. It's a double decker Chick Flick with a side of Chick Fries. This once again presents women with an age old dilemma: How the hell do you get the man in your life to accompany you to a movie specifically designed to appeal to all that he opposes? Simple, you just lie. "Oh no, we have an honest relationship," you say. Screw that. Lie your ass off. Tell him the movie is the exact opposite of what it is. If not, your movie this week will be an ex-druggie flying around in an iron suit or a rageaholic prancing around Sherwood Forest. Besides, you won't have to say anything. All you'll have to do is show him this utterly fake review so copy and paste the part below, print it out, show it to him then get ready to be swept away to the romantic Italian countryside this weekend.

Hey dudes. I saw Letters To Juliet earlier this year at a special screening during WTF-Con and I'm here to tell you that I've never seen such a hardcore, blood-and-guts action picture in my life. The thrills start from the moment the opening credits roll in Verona, Italy and never let up until the closing credits roll in the hollowed out volcano that serves as the lair of the movie's villain.

Amanda Seyfried plays Sophie, a jaded Navy SEAL who decides to take a trip to Italy after three straight tours in the Gulf. The peace she was looking for was not to be found, however, after she finds a letter written fifty years earlier warning of a threat to the entire planet called Operation Juliet. She tracks down Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman who is supposedly the author of the letter but denies ever having even heard of it until Sophie lets her guard down for a moment and Claire attacks her. Sophie holds her own and they finally end up John Woo style with their guns in each others faces. "You don't remember me, do you, Sophie? But you will. Oh yes, you will," Claire says just before she drops through a hole in the floor. After that, it really takes off. I don't want to spoil too much of the plot but here are some of the most memorable scenes:
  • Sophie in a car chase through the streets of Rome that ends with her leaping from her car just before the other two cars crash into hers.
  • A shower scene with Sophie and Charlie (Christopher Egan), a rogue CIA agent, that ends with the bathroom being broken into by Claire's agents and Sophie holding one hand over her naked breasts while she mows those three down with the 9A-91 compact assault rifle she's holding in the other hand.
  • Beautiful scenes of the Italian countryside.
  • The final confrontation between Sophie and Claire in which Sophie takes the letter she found back in Verona and stuffs it down Claire's throat saying, "Postage due, motherfucker," just before she pushes Claire onto a load of dynamite and coolly walks away as Claire and the dynamite blow up behind her.
  • A romantic montage set to a Taylor Swift song that ends in a sword fight.
As you can see from all this, Letters To Juliet is definitely worth blowing off Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood this weekend. I only hope you're able to drag the ladies in your life to this and not end up at some chick flick.

And that ought to do it. Yes, your husband/boyfriend/whatever will be royally pissed when he sees the actual movie but it won't be your fault because you, after, all, read the same review he did, right? Just give him an awesome blowjob and all will be well. Hell, even a mediocre blowjob would probably do the trick.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 5/13/10

Today is Thursday the 13th. Is that as bad as Friday the 13th? Just to be safe, I'd better do the one thing guaranteed to ward off bad luck. What is that, you ask? It's another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

Tomorrow's the premiere of the new Ridley Scott directed Robin Hood with Russell Crowe in the title role. I plan to spend the entire time in the theater Googling the movie's historical inaccuracies and shouting them out to the audience at the top of my lungs. "HEY, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE. KING JOHN ONLY TAXED WHEAT, NOT ALL GRAINS." This will be so much fun for my fellow movielovers. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Trying to follow the success of Book of Eli, the makers of that movie have cast Kurt Russell in their new supernatural thriller Undying. What really caught my eye in that Hollywood Reporter story was this passage:
Media 8 is handling worldwide sales in Cannes, while Gersh's Jay Cohen and CAA are handling sales for North America.

The CAA-repped Russell most recently starred in "Death Proof," "Poseidon" and "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story."
Golly, Kurt Russell, it's no wonder you followed the advice of the guys who got you cast in that string of mega-hits. Yes, Kurt, you definitely want to keep your wagon hitched to that star. Judging solely by this bit of information, I'm sure Undying will be the biggest hit ever.

After all these years, Lost is finally answering questions. This week, we finally found out that a vaguely defined power must be protected from unnamed enemies. That was worth six years.

I'm assuming the focus groups used to determine which clips would be used when putting together the trailer for Grown Ups were made up entirely of nine year olds. You can tell because only nine year olds would think that putting the pool pissing scene in the ad for the movie was a good idea. It's not a funny scene, especially since it's obvious it's going to happen the moment the little girl points out to Kevin James that swimming pools have a chemical in them that turns urine blue. I fear that will be a typical scene since this is a movie made by Adam Sandler and his buddies and movies that can be described like that are some of the worst movies ever made.

Andy Rooney this past Sunday bitched at the Billboard Top 200 for not having anyone he's ever heard of in it. He tried desperately to find a reason other than the fact that he's an old man who has no interest in contemporary music. This perfectly normal state of affairs utterly baffles him. What I found interesting, though, is that Rooney made basically the same complaint in the mid 80s. Prince won an Oscar for Best Soundtrack for his movie Purple Rain and, then as now, Andy Rooney used his spot on 60 Minutes to vent his annoyance to the world that there was a super famous musician out there that he had never heard of. He's truly grown as a writer. I suppose I should keep this on file for when he does the same rant in a few years.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Future Starts Now

By now, just about everyone has seen this week's Betty White episode of Saturday Night Live. It was the best episode of SNL in a long time with no real clunkers sketches I can think of. Even some of the regular sketches I don't care for like Kenan Thompson's Scared Straight, ordinarily something that tells the same funny joke over and over every time it's on, made me laugh all the way to the end. However, I'm not here to talk about that today.

No, I want to talk about the process that led to her hosting. It's well known that an online movement, mainly a Facebook page that was over a million members strong, is what pressured Producer Lorne Michaels to cast Betty White as this year's Mother's Day host. This shows the power of the internet can do anything and it is that power I seek to wield.

I want you, Clear's Lunatic Legions, to start a new movement to convince Lorne Michaels to let me host Saturday Night Live. I will expect one huge Facebook page as well as several smaller FB groups as well as a lot of activity on Twitter from folks with handles like @LetMikeHost. Round it out with literally thousands of posts to various message boards specifically related to SNL, television, comedy...oh, why stop there? Flood message boards devoted to everything. If it's a website devoted to cheese, I expect to see the comments section fulls of posts like this: "Why won't you bleeting craptards let Mike Clear host Saturday Night Live? While you're all busy arguing over whether gouda or muenster is better, the world is being denied the privilege of seeing this good man doing his killer imitation Larry King." Be honest, don't you all want to see me doing the news with Seth Myers or playing a White House aide opposite Fred Armisen's Barack Obama? Cause, you know, Fred Armisen's Obama certainly doesn't suck and it's not the stupidest piece of casting in the 35 year history of SNL and it doesn't make me or anyone else question not only the judgment but the sanity of everyone connected to that show who thinks it's a good idea to have Armisen play Obama. So, yeah, you definitely want to see me acting with him, right?

I can't participate in this movement that's about to sweep the nation. In fact, I'll have to remain humble and disavow all your efforts. I may even have to call you worthless nerds who need to get a life and stop jacking off all the time to pictures of LOLcats but know that I won't mean it. Also know that all the work, sacrifice and verbal abuse will be worth it when you see me on television some distant Saturday doing my new character Spitty, a guy who spits when he talks. I spit out windows, into fans, into food. Trust me, it'll be as hilarious as some other SNL classics like Debbie Downer. yes, I guarantee, it will be at least as funny as Debbie Downer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Second Best Iron Man Movie Ever

It's true. Of all the Iron Man movies, #2 is the second best. The first one really stood out for the fact that a summer action film was actually able to have an interesting plot, three dimensional characters and a tour de force performance from Robert Downey Jr. This time around, we still have all of that, just...less.

It starts off well enough. Tony Stark is extremely popular after revealing his identity as Iron Man to the world at the end of the last movie. Unfortunately, the artificial heart around which that entire suit was built is slowly killing him. Turns out it's powered by palladium. Why palladium? Why not! The palladium is poisoning his blood but Stark has concluded that nothing but palladium can power the heart. I find that hard to believe since the damn thing was powered by a car battery when he first built it in the last movie but that's the way it is because SHUT UP that's why. Tony's getting understandably depressed over what appears to be his inevitable death so he starts acting crazier than usual by doing things like stepping down as CEO of Stark Industries and appointing his loyal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to be his successor. He also hires a new personal assistant named Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johannson). It's now exactly a huge spoiler to anyone who read a review, saw the ads or looked at the poster to reveal that her real name is Natasha Romanov, known in Marvel Comics as the Black Widow. It the comics, she has been both a villain and hero and it would be a spoiler to reveal that here. She also goes into battle wearing form fitting lycra and high heels for what I assume is an extremely pragmatic reason.

The main conflict comes from Mickey Rourke's character Ivan Dranko. In the comic books, he's known as Whiplash, the reasons for which are obvious when you see him. In much the same way Tony Stark built his first battle suit in a cave, Dranko proves that you don't need all that fancy shcmancy science stuff to slap together some of the world's most advanced technology and builds a suit that makes him capable of standing toe-to-toe with Iron Man is a seedy Moscow apartment. The main weapons for his suit are a couple of highly energized whips. Why doesn't he use a gun or some other ranged weapon? Because then we couldn't call him Whiplash. Jesus people, try to keep up and stop asking dumb questions.

Danko gets temporarily taken down by Iron Man before being freed by Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), one of Tony Stark's business rivals and this is where the movie slows right down. Most of the middle act consists of a black hole from which nothing interesting can escape in which Tony faces that moment all superheroes face in which a once devoted public turns on him while Danko and Hammer build an arsenal for a final battle with Stark. Even an appearance from Samuel L. Jackson as legendary Marvel character Nick Fury and Scarlett Johannson showing all her curves aren't enough to jolt this part of the movie back into gear. Still, the final act comes and it's all Iron Man action and Black Widow kick boxing and after Stark discovers that all he has to do to solve the threat to his life posed by his suit is to violate the laws of physics.

To sum up, the movie's not bad even though parts of it are boring and a lot of it is ads for other Marvel superhero movies. It's not as good as the first one but it's still good even with the dull part in the middle. Also, I'm kind of impressed at the number of people who, for once, paid attention to their Twitter and Facebook friends and knew to stay for a key scene that shows up after the credits roll. All this time, I thought I was the only one who actually read what was on the internet.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day Five

This will be the last day of my kind-of-hiatus. Next week I'll stop posting stuff I slapped together at the last minute and again post stuff it took me 20 minutes to write.

Hell froze over, the cows came home pigs now fly and I'm actually looking forward to a Roland Emmerich movie. Sure, Emmerich could screw it up but at least it's different than his normal movie idea, that being "Mish mash of every disaster movie I've ever seen."

Big Hollywood once again gives me something unintentionally hilarious. Actually it's a combination of an unintentionally hilarious trailer for a movie from the guy who swears a Janet Reno led conspiracy got him off television and the unintentionally hilarious review of that movie. I'm not sure why but I snicker when I think of the line, "Relocated from New York, the delusional Hitler and Christ now encounter each other in the seedier environs of Vancouver."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day Four

If you saw the NSFW trailer for the upcoming Robert Rodriguez film Machete that went live yesterday, you probably thought, "Hey, this looks badass. I can't wait till this comes out in September." Or rather, that's what you thought unless you were me. If you're me, you thought, "I wonder how Big Hollywood is going to handle a movie with an outright pro-illegal immigrant viewpoint and even specifically rebukes the new Arizona law." The answer to that is...not well. At least the commenters eventually figured out that this was a real movie and not something slapped together at the last minute, a realization that could only come by looking the movie up on IMDB or Google. The ones who thought it was fake must have Binged it.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day Three

Should I shave my genitals? Yay or nay?

If you thought to yourself, "I really liked the original Nightmare on Elm Street but it really needed more child rape," then the new version is the movie for you.

Honestly? I'm not a huge fan of the original Wes Craven directed version of Nightmare on Elm Street. I can't remember who said it but a film critic at the time described Wes Craven as a guy who comes up with frightening and original ideas and then populates those ideas with characters who don't speak or behave like anyone who's ever existed. Since I can't remember who said and my research can't unearth the original author, I'm going to say I'm the one who came up with that and charge anyone who repeats it a dollar.

They should make Almond Joys with dark chocolate. The entire world should go on strike until this is so.

Justin Bieber embarrasses himself and his country when he tells New Zealanders that we Americans don't use the word German. That's only partly true, of course. The word "German" is used in America but only by alumni of the Academy of Super Geniuses where folks like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking went. Still, he let the cat out of the bag.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day Two

The Losers is pretty good.

I had no idea coyotes lived so close to my neighborhood.

Rainbows get my seal of approval.

No, Virginia, Santa Claus does not exist and you are a stupid little twit for thinking he does.

I take back what I said about rainbows. They're overrated.

That's all I have time for. Bye

Monday, May 3, 2010

Away From Keyboard

I may or may not be posting this week due to some much needed down time. If I can think of something clever to say and can drag my butt to a computer to say it, I'll be on. If not, see you next week.