Thursday, September 30, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 9/30/10

Cool, one more day until the start of ROCKTOBER! WOOOO! What better way is there to start such a festive month than by reading another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

I absolutely loved the Swedish film Let The Right One In, a movie that is both a gruesome horror story and a touching coming-of-age film. Therefore, I wasn't happy when I heard that an American remake would be coming out soon. Tomorrow, in fact. I simply assumed they would try to jazz it up with action sequences and probably give it the Twilight treatment by making the kids into sexy young adults instead of 12 year olds. Well, not only did they not do that but the movie is garnering excellent reviews. The fact that the movie might be good actually seems like a violation of some sort, as if the natural order of things has been upset.

Speaking of violations and natural orders being upset, I present this: AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Yes, it's true, aliens have replaced George Lucas with a guy who's planning to do a 3D conversion to the Star Wars movies. This is all part of the alien plot to destroy all that is good and holy. After this, some sort of puppy killing virus will be introduced to the water supply then the atmosphere will be polluted with some sort of additive that will cause all the world's soft ice cream to harden up. If I'm wrong and this really is George Lucas doing it, I'm sure he'll try to make it up to the fans by offering to edit Shia LeBeouf out of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Last week, I expressed my dislike for the new Fox drama Lone Star. Despite its generally high rating from critics, I found it boring and wondered if I was the only one. Then I read this from an article on
From the beginning critics wondered if "Lone Star" could draw a broadcast-sized audience. The show best resembled the sort of nuanced character-driven dramas seen on basic cable networks like FX and AMC. But Fox expressed high confidence, with entertainment president Kevin Reilly telling critics the only reason shows like "Mad Men" pull such low numbers is because they're not on his network.

"The only reason those shows aren't watched by more people is they're not on Fox," Reilly said. "The [basic cable networks] don't have this [promotional] machine."
Those are the final paragraphs added in, I assume, because of the writer's cruelly ironic sense of humor. I say this because the subject of the article is the cancellation of Lone Star after only two episodes. One thing Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly failed to take into account when boasting about the incredible Fox marketing juggernaut was that Mad Men is excellent while Lone Star sucked.

Roland Emmerich is doing a period thriller about the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays. I'll get back to this in about six months as my brain is incapable of processing the concept of the guy who made Armageddon, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow switching gears like...see? I can't come up with anything else.

Staying in perfect character, however, is Uwe Boll. His last movie was a comedy that opened with the destruction of the World Trade Center called Postal. The fact that most of you probably think I'm kidding tells you all you need to know about the critical and financial success of that film. Now, Boll took the conclusion of the public that he couldn't possibly sink any lower as a challenge and has made a movie about Auschwitz. Judging by the article, Boll's artistic vision was to remake Saw and set it in Auschwitz, just as those who died there would have wanted it. There are two pieces of good news. The first is that, like all of Boll's films, it will only make a profit because it cost so little to make. The second is that Boll will have to die someday.

Chris Noth has a point. If film critics didn't have such discerning taste that allowed them to easily identify godawfully bad films, Sex and the City 2 would have been more popular.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 83

Who knew you could make a movie about a website? I'm looking forward to movies about eBay, Priceline and

There's nothing that says entertainment like portraying children as bloodthirsty killers.

Yep. Children. Bloodthirsty killers. Nothing like it.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. To wit, Katherine Heigl has been allowed to make another romantic comedy.

A movie about John Lennon set years before he did anything interesting? Can I buy my ticket now?

Will the horse be a champion or someone's Sunday dinner? Please do not reveal the shocking surprise ending.

Should I watch this or just wait for the ten sequels that will roll out over the next 8 years?

Warning: you will die of alcohol poisoning if you participate in a game where you take a drink every time someone gets hit in the balls.

Now THIS is how you get the young folks into the theater.

I'm glad Hollywood has once again chosen to teach us that it's a bad thing to videotape haunted houses. I don't know why people think otherwise.

Also, it's a really bad idea to hang out in creepy haunted mansions after dark. Seriously people, how many times do you have to be told this?

Once again, we are given cinematic proof that there is no God for He would never have allowed this to be made.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money, So They Say, Is The Root Of All Evil Today

It's been over 20 years since Oliver Stone made Wall Street. In that time, the movie has gone from being a searing commentary on the lawless and greedy behavior of the financial sector to a quaint farce about a trader who wasn't smart enough to evade the law like all the others do. I suppose this is why Stone felt the need to make a sequel called Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. That and the fact that the financial sector has destroyed a great deal of the world without much in the way of punishment to some of its largest players.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps covers the recent financial crisis through the eyes of some fictional characters. Some are obviously based on either actual people or composites of actual people. Then there's Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), a trader whose faith in the employer and the system that just gave him his first million dollar bonus before the age of 30 is blinding him to the fact that Keller Zabel, the Lehman Brothers type company for whom he works, is about to collapse under the weight of bad debt. Even when his company's stock loses 50% of its value in a day, Jake begs his boss and mentor, the honorable Louis Zabel (Frank Langella in an Oscar worthy performance), to tell him that this proud, old Wall Street firm isn't about to collapse. What he doesn't know is that the firm has already been sold for a pittance to Breton James (Josh Brolin), head of Churchill Schwartz, the movie's answer to Goldman Sachs. James is the one who started the rumors that Zabel had a mountain of debt it couldn't handle. The open secret is that everyone in the room full of bankers and brokerage firms that decided Zabel's fate had the same huge debts caused by the same crazy mortgages that brought down Zabel.

Jake, meanwhile, is living with a young woman named Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan, one of my favorite rising actresses). If you're thinking her last name sounds familiar, it's because her father is disgraced Wall Street trader Gordon Gekko (do I really have to tell you who plays him?). This is where the movie starts to take off. Seven years after serving a seven year prison sentence for the crimes he committed in the first movie, Gordon has written a book called Is Greed Good? in which he accurately predicts the coming financial crisis and the general state of insanity caused by monied elites basically running our planet. After Zabel throws himself in front of a subway car, Jake finds himself lacking in mentors and that's when he seeks out Gekko.

Like much of the movie, Gekko is an exercise in wish fulfillment. Unlike many men in his situation, Gordon Gekko actually served a proper sentence for his crimes and didn't exit prison a rich man. He does, however, still have his ambition and his instincts that will prove to be both a bane and a boon to Jake as he seeks out some sort of retribution against Breton James, the man he blames for the collapse of his company and the death of his employer.

The first half of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a pretty good fictionalized look at history. The second half, as I mentioned above, is melodramatic wish fulfillment in which evildoers are punished and even try to atone for their actions whereas in real life the people responsible for all this are not only still there but like to moan publicly about their taxes and loss of their bonuses. Still, while not as good as the 1987 film, this is a watchable film filled with entertaining performances from, oh, just about everybody in the movie, even that guy with the weird name who normally makes me itch. It's not a must-see but is a see-it-if-you-want-especially-if-you-can-sneak-into-the-theater-without-getting-caught movie so it's probably worth your time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Swift and Merciless Judgment

Doing a bit of a twist on my somewhat-regular liveblog feature today. Instead of watching something on Netflix Instant, today I'm doing real time comments on a recently premiered television show currently available on My main rule on these is that it has to be something I haven't seen before but I did see this. I watched the first five minutes anyway. That's how I know it will be a great vehicle for my sarcastic commentary. With that, sit back and watch me while I watch the pilot episode of the new Jimmy Smits drama Outlaw.

00:00 -- Oh cool, a commercial for Suave hair care products telling me to rethink salon hair. Hulu really gets me.

02:00 -- After the ad, we see some lawyer walking furiously through a prison in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure if he's doing something important or if he just had chili for lunch and is trying to find a bathroom. Ah, he has a client on Death Row who's facing imminent execution and whose final hope is a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court. Usually, the problem with that is making a convincing Constitutional argument. In this case, the problem is that the Justice who has to break a 4-4 tie is Cyrus Garza (Jimmy Smits). Most Justices, when they're not Justicing, are giving speeches to law students or writing books about Marbury vs. Madison but now Garza. No, he's one of those flashy Justices who breaks the blackjack tables of Vegas and is a common paparazzi target. I see this going well.

03:20 -- Garza is something of a rock star/strict constructionist Justice who packs auditoriums surrounded by his screaming fans. He calls the young, female ACLU attorney pleading the inmate's case a flag burner before coming on to her in a somewhat creepy way so yeah, he's a jerk. Gee, I hope there will be some sort of process or series of events through which Garza can redeem himself.

06:00 -- Garza has a tightass clerk named Eddie who has just met a woman whose ass is tight in an entirely different way named Lucinda. Lucinda is some sort of miniskirt wearing researcher/hacker who introduces herself to people by saying she doesn't want to sleep with them so she fits right in with a guy who's described as the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court.

11:00 -- An evil Senator threatened Garza with impeachment if he stayed the execution. A quick Google search showed that only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached. That would be Samuel Chase in 1798 and he won his impeachment trial. This means that there's never been a Supreme Court Justice who's been forcibly removed from office. Still, the execution, the Senator's threat and the recent death of his liberal father have come together and made Garza to decide that it would be much better to resign his position and become a trial attorney. Let me say that again. The makers of this show have created a character so fucking stupid that he actually thinks he can do more good as an attorney than he can as a god damn SUPREME COURT JUSTICE. My God, television can be stupid. The ad for LG refrigerators in which a woman pulls a fully laid out dining room table from her fridge was actually a relief.

19:22 -- Garza has joined a high powered corporate law firm that has agreed to pay him an outrageous salary and let him do whatever he wants even if it makes zero dollars for the firm. I don't mind unrealistic plots. Hell, I like the new revamp of Nikita and unicorns are more realistic than that. What I don't like is when something is both unrealistic and stupid, especially when I get one stupidly unrealistic event piled on top of another such as, oh, let's say a Supreme Court Justice being threatened with something that hasn't happened in 200 years so he quits in order to do more good off the Court than on so he joins a law firm run by money grubbing bastards who give him a huge budget to do whatever he wants. And the first thing he wants to do? That would be to represent Greg Beals, the inmate to whom he just granted a new trial. Not only do his clerks and sexy hacker/whatever the hell she is go along for the ride but he also scoops up Beals' lawyer, Al Druzinsky, to be part of his legal team. In about five minutes, they discover that the eyewitness who placed Beals at the scene of the crime recanted before he died. For some reason, this makes everyone think they shouldn't go forward with the new trial but should accept a plea agreement instead. Everyone, that is, except Garza. Cause that's how Garza rolls. Also, they needed something dramatic for Garza to do before they cut to commercial. My ad this time was for one of those icky KY sex gels. Thanks Hulu.

25:40 -- Beals was granted a new trial but, for some reason, he's have an appeals hearing. Can't Garza say something like, "Um, I kind of gave this guy a new trial." The important distinction here is that the defense has severe limitations when it comes to introducing new evidence in an appeal and boy oh boy, have they ever come up with new evidence. Seriously, I think I'm more likely to have committed the murder than Beals. Should be smooth sailing from here on but, unfortunately, we have around 15 minutes of broadcast time left which means some sort of godawful conflict is about to happen to set up the episode's third act. Let's watch.

28:30 -- Shockingly, the judge threw out their new evidence but there's something even more important. Due to a Three's Company level of misunderstood eavesdropping, Garza's very young law clerk, Moreta, thought he was dying and professed her love for him. she did this despite the fact that he sexually harasses her pretty much non-stop though this is probably why she hasn't filed numerous lawsuits against him by now.

33:30 -- I am watching this while logged into my Hulu account. This means they know it's me. I also click every one of those damn "Is this ad relevant to you?" boxes so they have some idea of what I like. So why the hell does Hulu think I am interested in ads for women's hair care products, Axe body spray and sex gels? Anyway, through actions both quasi-legal and highly unlikely, Garza and his team have tracked down some lab tech who hadn't testified in the first trial so instead of a devastating plot point setting up the final act, we have a hopeful one. This means all will appear to be lost before Garza pulls this witness out of his ass and saves the day. I wonder if I'm right.

37:30 -- Garza's witness knew all along that it was the deceased's husband, a police officer, who had committed the murder but never told anyone because, if she had, this whole story would have been denied its dramatic ending. This leads to a Jimmy Smits monologue about fairness and justice in the middle of the hearing. The judge, a man who until this point was a strict adherent of rules and process, tosses all that out the window and lets him. I may as well get comfortable as this could go on for the show's final four minutes.

42:00 -- Beals was set free so Garza and his team celebrated in the only truly proper way. They ate large amounts of nitrate laden barbecued meat while everyone tells lame jokes and half baked sexual innuendos. Garza spots an intimidating looking man following him but we never find out who he is. This sets up a mystery to be solved in future episodes, a mystery whose answer will never be known to me because I am never watching this definition of televised mediocrity again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 9/23/10

I've officially lost 40 pounds this week so I don't want to write anything big. What a perfect time for another round of brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

I was looking at gossip sites to see what the current whereabouts of Lindsay Lohan were (can't be too careful with that girl) when I saw this story about the possibility of Glee star Lea Michele posing topless for Playboy. The final two paragraph shows why this story defines the term "burying the lede."

Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury? I'm in. Oh, I hope Cohen isn't the kind of actor who will hold back on screen and not give a completely fearless performance.

Variety blogger Michael Schneider says Fox isn't giving up on its new drama Lone Star just yet. My response: Really? Why not? For those of you who missed Lone Star, which is most of you if the ratings are true, it's the story of a con artist who married into a wealthy family who starts developing a conscience and tries to turn his life around. At the end of the first episode, one of the ways he does this is by taking on a second wife. I was expecting a fun, interesting look into the world of con artists and instead received a slow, depressing tale of a bigamist anti-hero. It's "critically acclaimed" which makes me think the critics who are going around and acclaiming it never saw the whole thing. The question isn't if Fox should give it another week but how it got on the air at all.

Speaking of unimpressive new shows, Hawaii Five-O also left a lot to be desired. I only watched it because my mother asked me to record it for her and it was pretty much what I expected. I am no longer a fan of old fashioned, conventional shows that could just have easily been on the air in the 1970s which doesn't leave much hope for shows like Hawaii Five-O that actually were on in the 1970s. This includes sitcoms with laugh tracks and standard fare cop shows. Oddly, this should have made me a huge fan of Lone Star but that's another story. Hawaii Five-O has generic characters, villains who are impossible to capture until suddenly they're easy to capture and lame jokes. It also had Grace Park in both her bikini and underwear so I do appreciate their effort on that front.

Big Hollywood's S.T. Karnick is well known to me as the guy who's always wrong. In the past, he has wholeheartedly endorsed shows like the quickly canceled Eleventh Hour and the sucky Kelsey Grammer vehicle Hank, embraced the Will Farrel version of Land of the Lost for a perceived anti-evolution message and tried to convince us the low brown Jack Black/Michael Cera comedy Year One was actually a deeply spiritual film. Given that track record, NBC should be thrilled that he didn't like The Event.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Love Ben Affleck Like Tacos

On his Twitter feed, Leverage producer John Rogers said that anyone who directs movies like Gone Baby Gone and The Town deserves to be called one of our country's best directors. That's a good observation. Let's just zip over to IMDB real quick and see who it was that directed those two fine films and WHAT? BEN AFFLECK? The guy from Paycheck/Pearl Harbor/Armageddon/Jersey Girl/Surviving Christmas? Ben "Gigli" is now one of our finest filmmakers? How did we, as a nation, allow this to happen? Did the Republicans filibuster the legislation that would have prevented this?

Snark, aside, I've always liked Ben Affleck. Oh, not for any of the crap mentioned above. I like him for movies like Good Will Hunting, Boiler Room and Changing Lanes. I like him for The Sum of All Fears, a movie whose sole fan seems to be me but that's how it goes sometimes. More recently, I like him for the outstanding Gone Baby Gone, a movie you couldn't see him in because he was behind the camera the whole time though, coincidentally, the lead character was played by a guy whose last name was also Affleck. Hell of a coincidence, that. Now I can like him for being writer/director/lead actor of the new heist film The Town.

Calling it a heist film does it a bit of a disservice, I suppose. It's like saying 2001: A Space Odyssey is a space film. It's more of a character study of people who happen to be robbers. The movie opens by informing me that the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston has spawned more bank robbers than any other area on the planet. Affleck plays Doug MacRay, leader of a group of thieves that does this neighborhood proud. Joining him in his criminal pursuits is The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner playing violent loose cannon James Coughlin to Doug's calm, cool professional who tries to avoid violence and bloodshed. I'm not sure what makes James so crazy though it may be that his sister, Krista, is played by Blake Lively which means he knows a girl who's a dead ringer for Blake Lively that he can never see naked.

Trouble is introduced to the group when, during a bank robbery, James suddenly gets the brilliant idea to take the bank's assistant manager, a woman named Claire (Rebecca Hall) along as a hostage. Doug decides to follow her around for a bit to see if she would be able to identify them. Doug and Claire simultaneously make the mistake of finding the other one attractive and start falling for each other. Doug does this knowing full well that his best friend is a crazy man who wants to kill this woman and that his friend's sister is an unstable drug addict as well as his sometime girlfriend. It's an unlikely scenario, of course, but Affleck constructs Doug's evolving relationship with Claire in such a natural and logical way that you could see it happening.

The Town is like an old fashioned movie in that it allows for fully developed supporting characters. People like Jon Hamm, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper are allowed to be interesting and memorable on screen even though none of them are the movie's biggest star. Co-writer/director/producer/star Affleck could have easily taken all of their best lines and given them to himself, something you often see in big budget studio films but instead he decided to make an interesting film that people would actually want to see.

It amazes me that, along with Easy A, I saw two good movies in a row. It also amazes me that the guy who embarrassed himself in Bounce and Reindeer Games took on three different tasks in the making of this movie and excelled in all of them. Possibly, the price for this and Gone Baby Gone will be that Affleck has to make Pearl Harbor 2 but I think that would be worth it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

For A Good Time, Call Emma Stone

Easy A is one of the most pleasant surprises I've had at the movies in a while. It's flat out hilarious and, except for a one dimensional villain, the characters grew on me and didn't insult my intelligence. This is pretty much the opposite reaction I expected to have when I saw the trailer. The trailer made me think this would be a contrived plot and a sitcom episode expanded to a two hour movie. It wasn't, or at least the movie was so well made that it didn'ty feel like it was.

The lead character, Olive, is played by Emma Stone, an actress who gained attention when she played the object of Jonah Hill's affections in Superbad. After that, she starred in some shitty movies, left movies for a shitty TV series then came back to movies just in time to be in Zombieland where, again, she became noticed. After I saw Zombieland, I was hoping to see her again in a more substantial role. She's the kind of actress who always seems to be smart and strong on screen even when she doesn't have much to do which is probably why she landed a role that I'm certain every young actress in Hollywood tried to get.

The movie is told through flashbacks in the form of a webcast that Olive has put together to tell the world that everything they think they know about her is wrong. Olive's problem is that she's 17 and is so anonymous at her high school that even horny teenage boys treat her life she's invisible. Things must have changed since I was in high school because I don't remember girls as pretty and sexy as Emma Stone being invisible. Then again, if they were, I guess I wouldn't have noticed so I'll have to take the movie's word that this is possible. Anyway, her troubles begin when she tells her best friend Rhi (Aly Michalka) she has a date as an excuse to not go camping with her and her nudist parents. This leads to her lying about losing her virginity to this non-existent guy she supposedly just met. Unfortunately, this lie was overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes), head of the school's "Don't Fuck Till Jesus Says It's OK" Club and, thanks to modern Facebook culture, it only takes minutes for her to get a reputation as a slut. You older folks out there who read overblown articles about today's so called "hookup culture" that make you think all teens are sluts these days and that blowjobs are the new way of saying hello might be surprised that this is still a bad thing but it is.

Still, she's not anonymous anymore. People notice her even if it's only to sneer or making thrusting motions as she walks by so she goes with it and pretends to have sex with a gay male friend so he will no longer be beaten up for being gay. This begins a series of circumstances that leads to people thinking she's selling herself. I wish she'd consulted me on this because I could have told her it would only be a matter of time before a boy actually tried to pay her for sex which is pretty much what happens.

The movie has its flaws. As I said, Amanda Bynes' Marianne is a weak link in the story. Except for a funny sequence in which she tries to befriend Olive, her character isn't particularly entertaining and is probably the least realistic thing in the movie. Still, that only lowers the movie to an A to A- in my book so it's still pretty damn good.

One major complaint stems from a hilarious scene near the beginning of the movie when Olive receives a musical gift card from her grandmother that plays Natasha Bedingfield's Pocketful of Sunshine. At first, Olive dismisses it but, in a sequence that gets funnier as it goes, she ends up belting out the tune along with the card and making it her ringtone. That was the first clue that I was in for a treat and that the movie could even stand along with the films of John Hughes as an excellent teen film. It's also how I got that damn song stuck in my head. For that I say: Screw you, Easy A.

Take me away-ay ♫ GAH DAMMIT GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Manic Monday

Sorry, nothing today. I had family in town and didn't get a chance to even see any movies, much less write about them. See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Behind The Scenes: Devil

Today I introduce a new feature called Behind The Scenes. This is where I discuss facts, tidbits, gossip and stories surrounding upcoming movies. Today marks the release of the new horror movie Devil and I wanted to discuss with you how it came to be.

Basically, it was all because of a dare.

Devil boasts that it's story was written by M. Night Shyamalan who, after making The Sixth Sense, was apparently given a lifetime pass to make any movie he wanted to any way he wanted to. This led to pretty good movies like Unbreakable and Signs before he had the brilliant notion to make The Village, a movie about a contemptible group of modern people who tell their kids that they're living in the 1800s and that they're surrounded by monsters so the kids won't want to leave. That began a path that led directly to this summer's The Last Airbender, the worst movie ever made ever in the history of movieness.

This set the stage for a lunch of wine, figs and arugula that M. Night Shyamalan was sharing with a good friend whom we will call...Tim.

"Wow, Night," Tim said, "I wouldn't have thought wine, figs and arugula would go so well together."

"Yep," Shyamalan responded, "it's an old family recipe."

"So Night, what's next for you after Last Airbender wraps?"

"I'm not sure, Tim. I don't really have any good ideas right now."

"So? That's never stopped you before. Ha ha."

"Ha ha."

"But seriously, you could propose anything and the studio would film it."

"Nonsense. No matter how much The Sixth Sense made, if it's a bad idea, someone at the studio would tell me."

"Oh yeah? I bet you could propose making a movie about the Devil taking an elevator ride and they'd greenlight it like that."


And the rest is history.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 9/16/10

We finally have some cool weather up here in the Adirondacks. This means the ghost of Revolutionary War soldiers will soon rise from the ground and haunt the living. The traditional method the locals use of warding them off is to read another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

This writers of SFX Magazine somehow manage to force J.J. Abrams to spill the details of the next Star Trek movie. For example, the next Star Trek movie may or may not have Khan and Klingons, may be funny and won't make you want to slash your wrists. Well, that was quite a scoop and certainly worth a read.

While we still have Roger Ebert with us, I mourn the fact that cancer has robbed us of his voice. At least he's put together a new show devoted to reviewing movies. They're not Ebert but they still look pretty good.

I liked the look of this trailer for The Tourist at first. Hell, all they had to say was that Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp were in a movie together. Problem is that it turns into one of those stupid, incompetently made trailers that reveals a crapload of the plot. I know everything about this movie except who Johnny Depp voted for on American Idol and Angelina Jolie's favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor. I hope it's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch because that's my favorite and it would be a good place to build a relationship between her and me. Anyway, yes, I'll probably still see it if only so I can say the lines along with the actors.

The trailer, with it's lame Tom Cruise joke and the teenage girl with the sensibilities of a world weary 30 year old standup comedian, for Easy A looked so stupid to me that I thought about writing a sarcastic post tearing it apart. Now it looks like it's going to be good. I may not always be right but I at least want to always be right on this blog.

It's a coincidence that I saw Forbidden Planet again just two days before Cinematical posted this article about it. I'm always amazed when I see science fiction treated seriously on film because, for the most part, filmmakers hate science fiction. They consider it a lesser form of storytelling and an excuse to make very stupid movies since they think the very medium in which they are working is stupid. As Cinematical said, Forbidden Planet is very dated in look, pacing and the way it treats women but the wonderful concept of a magnificent race called the Krell being destroyed by that which was supposed to make them gods still holds up. I don't look forward to the planned remake set for 2013 even though Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is writing it. Hopefully it won't be another Day The Earth Stood Still.

At one point in this article about the rise of Christian cinema, Big Hollywood's Dan Gifford asks, "Should Hollywood be worried?" I'll answer that question: No. Independently made Christian films will never be a threat to the major Hollywood studios. The main movie audience is young people who enjoy their vacuous thrills and hot sex and don't particularly enjoy it when a movie starts telling them that those things make Jesus cry. As for people like I who may appreciate a more mature, thoughtful film, there's another problem: Christian films, for the most part, suck. They're almost always simplistic melodramas that flat out start preaching to the audience at some point. Occasionally one will be a modest hit, a category that even the crown jewel of contemporary Christian films, Fireproof, falls into. That movie was very profitable but only because people either worked for a pittance or nothing at all. That's not a business model Hollywood is eager to embrace.

Oh look, another fucking zombie movie. Yes, Sam Raimi is involved, which means I must amend that first sentence to read, "Oh look, Sam Raimi is involved in another fucking zombie movie."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zombies Take Over -- Part 80 Bazillion

Every few years since 2002, the makers of the Resident Evil films decide to put out another one. No one was asking for them but they showed up at at our multiplexes anyway and you know what? They all made money. Oh, not Avatar money but enough to make the producers think it's a good idea to make another one and so they do. The smartest people involved in these projects are the people who decide to release these movies in late summer/early fall so they're not going head to head against, you know, real movies. Also, theses movies have zombies in them which, for some reason, is a license to print money in the movie world. You'd think this sub-genre of the movie industry would have run out of steam years ago since they all have basically the same plot but nope, the hits keep on coming.

Milla Jojovich somehow found time in her schedule to do Resident Evil: Afterlife and that's great because if she didn't, they would have had to cast one of the literally millions of women who would have happily taken her place and that would be bad for some reason. The movie opens with her character, Alice, and her numerous super powered clones invading a fortress run by the last vestiges of the people who caused all this, the Umbrella Corporation. Some research done after I got home showed that this is pretty much where the last movie ended.

I'd like to take this opportunity to address the producers of Resident Evil. I can't speak for the rest of the world but I spent the first twenty minutes saying, "Huh?" over and over again. Why does she have super powers? Where did the clones come from? How did she track them down? Civilization has collapsed so it's not like she could just Google it. This was all pretty much covered in the last three movies but, honestly, I barely remember those. The amount of my brain budgeted for remembering complex modern mythologies is pretty much filled up with Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost and Doctor Who. If you all think I'm making space for your dumb little zombie flicks, think again. Oh, the hell with it. You don't care. You already have my money and you know you'll probably get my money in 2-3 years when the next chapter in this lame saga comes out. I may as well finish my review so I can end this misery.

Anyway, Alice meets up with a very boring, one-dimensional villain named Wesker (Shawn Roberts) who also has super powers and has pretty much the entire planet wired to explode whenever he pushed a button. He's a super villain which means things like blowing up and dying only slow him down until the next movie when he comes back even stronger. After that encounter, Alice goes looking for some sort of safe haven called Arcadia which doesn't seem to exist except it does but not really and I'd better stop now cause that whole thing just gets dumber. She meets up with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), a character that IMDB swears was in the last movie so who am I to argue? Claire and Alice fly from Alaska to Los Angeles in a plane that never seems to need fuel looking for Arcadia. Along the way, they pretty much trip over a group of refugees holed up in a prison surrounded by zombies that just happens to include Claire's brother Chris (Wentworth Miller). So yeah, the plot makes sense. Also, up until this point, I'd pretty much forgotten there were supposed to be zombies in this movie. Really, it's cute the way the producers expect me to remember these things.

Basically, Resident Evil: Afterlife is every other Resident Evil movie except this one is in 3D which means we get a lot of bullshit shots of things being tossed at the camera. At one point, Wesker even throws his sunglasses as if they were some sort of deadly weapon. If, unlike me, you managed to retain significant amounts of the other three movies in your memory and you liked what you saw, go see it. If not, go see it anyway. I was unable to avoid it and see no reason why you should be any different.

Monday, September 13, 2010

To Live Like The Hu-Man -- Part 2

Previously on Clear's Own--

I was killing a piece of my soul by watching the film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Bicentennial Man until I got distracted by a butterfly and decided to leave it at the movie's halfway point. Until now. And now, the conclusion of Bicentennial Man.

Bicentennial Man is taped before a live studio audience.

1:03:38 -- Andrew's former owner and friend Richard Martin has died. This spurs Andrew to get the son of Little Miss, now a lawyer, to sue NorthAm Robotics to tell him the whereabouts of other NDR series robots like him under the Freedom of Information Act. I'm pretty sure the FOIA only covers the government and not privately owned companies but the hell with that. I'm more interested in the fact that Little Miss now has a son in his 30s which would put her in her 50s. When she was 20, she looked 35. Now that she's aged over 30s years she still looks...35. Chris Columbus hires people who are as good at doing age makeup as he is at directing.

1:06:30 -- I'm trying to think of the best way to describe what I just saw. The cleverest and most cogent analysis I can think of goes something like this: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! More later.

1:19:00 -- Sorry about that. Andrew finally tracked down a NDR robot that was still functional in a Farmer's Market in San Francisco. It was built to look like a female, had a high pitched voice and, after buying some tomatoes, hit a button on her side and started dancing through the marketplace AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH oh sorry. My head throbbed after seeing this bit of trademark Chris Columbus stupidity. Anyway, turns out the robot didn't evolve a personality but rather had one programmed into her by a man named Rupert Burns who says that he's able to make a robot that physically looks human. With that convenient plot point out of the way, Andrew is now able to go home to Little Miss looking a lot like that guy who played Mork. As I said on Friday, Andrew is a genius except when Columbus thinks it's entertaining for him to be a moron so, when he meets Portia, Little Miss's lookalike granddaughter, he's unable to grasp the concept. Portia is also played by Embeth Davidtz who, like her grandmother, looks 35 at age 20. At least this means she'll look great in her middle age years.

1:34:00 -- The death of Little Miss spurs Andrew to work with Burns to develop upgrades to would make him even more human. This looks expensive but Andrew has apparently made so much money from selling clocks and driftwood sculptures that he can afford the multi-billion dollar price tag. Meanwhile, Andrew accompanies Portia to a dance. Judging by the music here and in other parts of the film, Chris Columbus thinks that people in the 22nd century will only be listening to songs written between 1930 and 1970. This is simply another example of a condition rampant throughout this movie that Isaac Asimov never had: a stunning lack of imagination. Oh, Portia has inherited her grandmother's robot fetish. At least Andrew now has a robot dick for her to crave. I think he does, anyway. Columbus failed to let us know about that.

1:44:45 -- Ok, turns out he didn't have a robot dick. But he does now. Ew!

1:50:00 -- Andrew convinced Portia to call off her marriage to another man and be with him and they had hot, machine-like sex (all off screen of course). Andrew now has the ability to fart in bed too, something that Portia, Chris Columbus and all the world's 7 year olds found hilarious. Good news: the movie only has 20 minutes left.

2:11:35 -- Confession: the final one hour and eleven minutes were viewed over two days. Bicentennial Man's lack of compelling content meant I kept getting distracted by just about everything. This isn't the worst movie ever made. It's just lame in the same way that other Chris Columbus efforts like Mrs. Doubtfire and Stepmom were. It substitutes in-your-face schamltz for actual emotion and mediocre slapstick for comedy. I'm annoyed because the filmmakers took Isaac Asimov's wonderfully simple and touching story of a robot's quest to figure out what it means to be human and changed it into an artificially sentimental entry in the series of man-child roles that even Robin Williams himself says he regrets doing. Anyway, Andrew wanted to be recognized by the world's governing bodies as human but they won't because, unlike humans, Andrew is immortal. As in Asimov's story, Andrew makes the ultimate sacrifice and adjusts his body so he will one day die and he is then recognized as human. The most memorable and touching part of the story is when Andrew is on his deathbed and utters the words, "Little Miss," so, naturally, Columbus cut that line. Instead, Andrew quietly passes away as his humanity is being acknowledged and Portia dies with him. This is what I consider to be a happy ending because the movie has, in fact, ended.

Friday, September 10, 2010

To Live Like The Hu-Man -- Part 1

I went back and forth as to which movie would get today's Liveblog treatment. I had narrowed it down to Dragonfly and The Love Guru before deciding on the former. It was when I went to look for Dragonfly on Netflix that I found another gem on their Instant List. It's a movie based on an award winning Isaac Asimov story. If you ever saw the godawful I, Robot or any adaptation of Nightfall, you know that Asimov stories, which don't really lend themselves to film, are always made by people who seem to have utter contempt for the source material. The short story was a wonderful and sensitive portrait of a robot that spent its existence trying to know what it was to be human. This means the movie will probably have that same robot trying to destroy all life on Earth. With that in mind, let's all watch me watch Bicentennial Man.

0:01:20 -- Opening credits look like an acid trip set to Danny Elfman music (turns out it wasn't Elfman, just someone who apparently thinks Elfman is awesome enough to imitate). When I saw the words "A Chris Columbus Film" it became a bad acid trip. It's just awesome that one of the most mediocre and overrated directors in the history of cinema is going to try his hand at Asimov. Yes, the first two Harry Potter films were all right but that was because J.K. Rowling had control and made him do it her way. Here, he has free reign. Also, Robin Williams is playing the robot Andrew Martin. This means the robot will split his time between being overly sentimental and suddenly demanding that people unzip his pants and shake hands with Mr. Tallywhacker. Oh well, only 130 minutes to go.

0:10:00 -- The movie's length is keeping me from commenting on every little thing so here's what I've been building up to during the first ten minutes: JESUS H. FUCKING CHRIST ON AN H. FUCKING POPSICLE STICK! Sam Neill heads up the Martin family in a time that the movie describes as "The not too distant future." This 1999 movie's future vision foresaw highly advanced robots but not electric cars or cell phones. Still, that happens. What I don't think would happen is that human-like robots would be complete morons when they arrived at your home. If you didn't recognize the voice, you'd know the robot, Andrew, was played by Robin Williams because he tells a series of lame jokes like Robin Williams does in most of his movies including a scene where he's being taught by Richard Martin (Sam Neill), the family patriarch, on how and when to say good night. Basically, Andrew knows everything he needs to know until the writers decide it's convenient if he doesn't know it. In the book, Andrew had to learn to socialize with humans but he wasn't a dumbass who didn't know what it meant when you said, "Good night."

0:30:00 -- You know how you can tell when the movie's director is an egotistical jackhole? When he or she changes little details for no other reason than to put their own brand on a project and call it completely their own. This is why Asimov's U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men is now NorthAm Robots and why Andrew's ID number, NRD-113, has been changed by Chris Columbus to NRD-114. They've retained his relationship with the child whom Andrew called Little Miss, a relationship that remained special to Andrew throughout his 200 year existence. Anyway, at this moment, Richard Martin has come to appreciate Andrew as special after he carves a figurine to replace one he broke. This eventually leads to him treating Andrew more like a person, an action that led him to try explaining human reproduction. This scene...did not go well. I'm pretty sure it was meant to be funny. It wasn't

0:40:00 -- Many years have passed. Little Miss is now a young woman and Andrew has become so skilled at artistic endeavors that he makes a small living off them so he and Richard go to the family lawyer to open his own bank account. I know I'm supposed to be on the side of the progressively human Andrew but this sounds a lot like that point in those movies where animals play sports and someone ends up saying, "There's no rule that says a zebra can't play football."

0:45:00 -- Little Miss has just told Andrew that her boyfriend has proposed but that she'd rather be with her unnamed friend who is obviously Andrew. I'm sure real people will want to fuck their robots someday. Part of me looks forward to this as it will keep pervs busy and make for some awesome Jerry Springer episodes. Also, Little Miss is being played by Embeth Davidtz who was about 35 at the time even though she's playing a college age girl. The result of this is that she looks like she's been held back at school for about 15 years and she also looks significantly older than her older sister. And no, this shit where Little Miss has a robot fetish did not happen in the book.

1:00:00 -- Twelve years have past. Andrew tells Richard he wants to be free. Richard is a dick about this for about two minutes before giving him his freedom and then he's a dick by kicking Andrew out. Andrew then built a house of his own on the beach. This made me think, "Who the hell sold a robot some prime beachfront property?" Either the owner sold it or that owner is going to as pissed as you would be if you were looking around your property and noticed that some asshole had built a house there. Also, something missing from Andrew's along with colloquial English is the concept of high tide. I swear that house is maybe 20 feet from the water. I just hope Andrew doesn't rust.

And it's best to stop here. This is getting long and I'm only halfway through this big old slice of lame. Come back next week as I finish watching Bicentennial Man. I, for one, am curious to see if Isaac Asimov rises from his grave to erase this movie from the world.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 9/9/10

I've been lazy this week what with taking Labor Day off and, save for one joke, taking yesterday off too. I figured I could either work extra hard today or be consistent and present to you all a completely half-assed edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs. Is that what I did? I'll let you be the judge.

A write up in Cinematical led me to this Denver Post article about female action heroes. If this were written by an old man, I'd dismiss it as misogynistic concern trolling made by a guy who doesn't like his mindless action movie violence polluted by the presence of those messy, smelly vaginas. That narrative falls apart, however, when I see it's written by Post Film Critic Lisa Kennedy who, judging by her picture, is neither old nor a man. I could assert that there's nothing saying definitely that she did not have several face lifts and a sex change but I'll take her at her word and agree that she's genuinely concerned that women may see Evelyn Salt or Lisbeth Salander and figure that they, too, could enter a bar and singlehandedly clean the place out. I don't see any more danger here than I do in the presentation of any other super human action hero. One of the summer's biggest hits gave us Sylvester Stallone leading a group of mercenaries but no one's worried about groups of sixty year olds invading foreign countries.

Speaking of action chicks, the remake of Nikita premieres tonight on The CW. I've heard mostly good things about it so I guess it's worth a look. It stars Maggie Q who, as you can see here, must be a really good actress. But I kid the hot woman. Actually, she was pretty good in a small role in Mission Impossible 3 which, sadly, is the only time I can remember seeing her. IMDB swears she was in the last Die Hard movie but, as I'm struggling to remember if that even had Bruce Willis in it, I'll have to take their word for it.

Liam Neeson is the new Michael Caine in two ways. The first is that they are both extraordinary actors who seem to have no limits on their talent. The second is that Liam will do damn near anything if the check clears. Let's hope no one is making a Jaws 5 and, if they are, that it doesn't have a role for a British man in his 50s.

This image of a sandworm from a now-scrapped new version of Dune is decent enough but I'm still happy that the movie is no longer being made. Dune is one of my favorite books. It's also unfilmable. I think the over-the-top David Lynch film and the under-the-top TV miniseries prove my point. If you've never read Dune, do so. It truly fits the definition of the overused term "epic".

In my Machete review, I theorized that the true reason a social issue like immigration was front and center in the movie was because the old time exploitation films that inspired Machete often showcased burning issues of the day. As you can see in this link, I'm always right. Except when I'm not. But this time I am.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I Have No Friends

"Damn it, the movie's almost over and she still hasn't shown them." This is a text I received from a guy who went to see Eat, Pray, Love after I told him Julia Roberts showed her boobs in it.

Does she really show them? Oh yeah, you bet. You should go see it right now if boobs are your thing.

I'll have more tomorrow. I swear to this on Julia Roberts boobs which you get to see in Eat, Pray, Love.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cuts Like A Knife

I liked Machete a lot. This is odd because it has an unrealistic plot and loads of extreme and gratuitous violence and anyone who's read more than three posts here knows my distaste for such things. Filmmakers often try to excuse their stupid movies by saying that said movies were meant to be fun and that you're just a tightass who only likes Merchant-Ivory movies if you walked into the theater and were unable to watch Transformers 2 or 2012 or Clash of the Titans without having your tastes offended and your intelligence insulted. What sets Machete apart is that this was, in fact, made to be a fun movie. Director Robert Rodriguez is a talented filmmaker who knew what he wanted to do and was able to do it whereas the movies mentioned above were corporate product cobbled together from market research, focus groups and notes from studio executives.

Fans of both Rodriguez and old time exploitation films immediately recognize Machete as a full on tribute to the low budget exploitation films of the 60s and 70s. Hell, it's really hard to miss if you ever saw the Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse and noticed what was at the time a trailer for a nonexistent movie called Machete. The current movie is actually faithful to the Grindhouse trailer and manages to include most of the same actors.

All the exploitation film trademarks are here. Simplistic characters: check. Dumb plot: check. Cheap production values: check. Mind you, a great deal of time, money and artistry went into making it look like it had cheap production values. Rodriguez also had to hire some actors with enough skill to walk the line between high camp and bad acting. Robert DeNiro and Jeff Fahey really threw themselves into their roles too and looked like they were having fun playing a racist Senator and a criminal who, when he wasn't shooting people in the face, was lusting after his own daughter. I'd also like to congratulate Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Lindsay Lohan for managing to look great while wearing very little. Lindsay Lohan deserves special praise for her virtuoso performance as a rich, spoiled, hedonistic, out-of-control drug addicted daughter of a criminal. I don't know how she managed to pull it off.

Grindhouse movies had various genres. Horror, sex, and science fiction films were some. Machete is set in what was probably the most common one: the revenge flick. The perfectly cast Danny Trejo plays the titular character, a Mexican Federale whose wife and child were killed by a drug kingpin named Torrez (Steven Seagal). Torrez then set the building Machete was in on fire but, unfortunately, he went to the Bond Villain School of Evil and didn't confirm whether Machete made it out alive. Three years later, Machete winds up an illegal immigrant in Texas until fate comes along and presents him with a way to make money and to gain his revenge.

I guess that's all you need to know about the plot. Well, except that it's staunchly pro-immigration, something that's bothered a lot of people as this over-the-top example shows. I suspect that Rodriguez is staunchly pro-immigration but what seems to have escaped most critics is that taking up issues is exactly what exploitation films used to do. Topics like drugs, discrimination and prison conditions were prime fodder for the Grindhouse. These movies taught us that the best way to society's most pressing issues was to get a big knife and an AK-47 and use them to stab and shoot some ridiculous, one-dimensional characters and that's exactly what Robert Rodriguez did here in Machete.

Machete works as a straight out action film and a tribute to a style of filmmaking that, through no fault of its own, managed to produce some very good films. I think it's one of the better movies I've seen all year.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

I was going to review Machete but then remembered that today is Labor Day. This means no one is reading this today. On the off chance you got hauled into work today and wanted to read something original from me, I guess this is it. You're welcome. See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- The Switch

I would have done this review last week but I thought it was unnecessary. When I saw The Switch, I thought, "Surely this will surpass Avatar at the box office so why waste my time reviewing it?" so I must accept at least part of the blame for it's poor ninth place opening this week. I will now try to rectify that by urging you all to see what some call an unimaginably amazing film and others call a life changing experience.

The Switch is about a woman named Kassie played by Jennifer Aniston. Her presence in the film just deepens the shock I felt when I saw its poor box office showing as Jennifer Aniston's name is synonymous with box office gold. Anyway, Kassie is close to leaving her childbearing years and still has not met Mr. Right so she decides to have a baby using donated sperm. Little does she know that her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) got drunk, accidentally destroyed the sperm so he did what any one of us would have done, including the women. He replaced it with his own sperm.

At this point, you're probably thinking, "That's kind of gross. Isn't this supposed to be a romantic comedy?" You're right. It's being promoted as a romantic comedy even though it doesn't contain a single laugh. Not one. And that's the beauty of The Switch. The Switch takes the antiquated concept that "romantic comedy" automatically equals "funny" and slaps that concept in the face. Instead of giving us lovable, charismatic characters who make us laugh as we come to care about them, The Switch gives us truly loathsome human beings who serve as an excellent argument for death camps doing things so horrible that they make us cringe and cause us to think that they are actually demons from the lowest circle of Hell who've taken human form to corrupt our species.

Do you see now where the laughs come in? Perhaps not. I've come to suspect that it takes a sophisticated mind to appreciate the subtle humor of The Switch and too many minds have been dumbed down these days by your YouTubes and your Facebooks and your sexting and your Gagas and your fluoridated water and whatever the hell fluffernutter is made of. Our society simply can't grasp the idea that a movie about a man who does something so repulsive to a woman he supposedly loves can also be warm, uplifting and life affirming. The Switch makes you feel like you are listening to the song of the human spirit while simultaneously making you want to puke. The box office problems The Switch has been having are almost certainly due to the fact that most people want to laugh but are unwilling to accept the puking as the price they must pay.

Hopefully, you are not one of those backward thinking people but, if you are, go see The Switch anyway and do not resist as it drags you not only into the 21st century but into a new state of consciousness and world view. If you don't, you'll always be sorry.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Look At My Briefs -- 9/2/10

The local weather has just been upgraded from "Heck of a Day" to "Hell of a Day". There's not better way to celebrate something like this than to read another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

Wow, this will be the best movie ever.

No, I take that back. THIS will be the best movie ever.

I'm assuming this movie with Cher and Christina Aguilera is an elaborate joke someone is playing on me and my response is, of course, kudos. This is basically Showgirls without the nudity. The problem is that the only reason to see Showgirls was the nudity. It was written and directed by Steve Antin, a guy known for absolutely nothing. His biggest screen credit was the mediocre 1999 remake of Gloria which makes me think he killed the guy who was actually supposed to direct this movie and offered to take the guy's place. I'm always happy to be proven wrong and, if I am, I'll say so. But I doubt that I'm wrong.

This movie, on the other hand, looks cool. It also seems to be well liked, at least among the horror film community. It looks like it was at least inspired by David Gerrold's War Against The Chtorr books which means it has cool roots. So why isn't it getting an American theatrical release? Because the world is stupid.

I didn't see the Emmys but I have seen the opening sketch and it was very odd because, unlike other awards show openings, it didn't make me want to get a machine gun and take out a shopping mall. The surgical removal of Kate Gosselin would have made it perfect.

Speaking of the Emmys, giving Jane Lynch an award for her role in Glee was probably the smartest thing that the Emmys have done in its...what...10 year history? I should look that up.

Someone made a musical centered around 9/11.
It doesn't matter if it's good or not as there's already been a musical about 9/11 and this movie will never be able to top it. That clip is from Great Britain's Skins and it must have been British as American television never would have had the guts to do that.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Fish Bites Back

James Cameron recently gave an interview to Vanity Fair about the re-release of Avatar but the money quote that's been making the blog rounds is this tidbit about other movies in 3D in general and one in particular.
I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip.
The other film that he not only threw under the bus but held it down as the bus stopped, backed up and ran over it again is Piranha 3D. I happen to agree with Cameron on this point. 3D first started in the 50s and enjoyed a brief revival in the 80s before the current incarnation started showing up a few years ago. What marked both of those eras was that 3D movies, without fail, were horrible films. Well, maybe not all of them. Creature From The Black Lagoon was shot in 3D but I bet you didn't know that because it's hardly ever shown that way when you watch it these days on TCM. The reason for this is that 3D was a cheap, cheesy, ugly and distracting process. It was used mostly on cheap, cheesy, ugly and distracting movies so they could slap the words "SHOWN IN 3D" on the poster but both times it was stopped when people realized that 3D sucked. Which brings us to Piranha 3D.

When I reviewed the film last week, I barely mentioned that it was shot in 3D. That's because it wasn't worth mentioning. In that movie, I'd classify it as Mostly Harmless because, for the most part, it neither added nor subtracted from the movie itself. I didn't care for it but that wasn't because of the 3D.

All of that brings us to this. In a turn of events James Cameron couldn't possibly have foreseen, Piranha 3D producer Mark Canton also reads Variety and happened to read Cameron's trashing of his movie. His response went like this:
Let's just keep this in mind Jim ... you did not invent 3D. You were fortunate that others inspired you to take it further. The simple truth is that I had nothing but good things to say about Avatar and my own experience since I actually saw it, and didn't damn someone else's talent publicly in order to disassociate myself from my origins in the business from which we are all very fortunate. To be honest, I found the 3D in Avatar to be inconsistent and while ground breaking in many respects, sometimes I thought it overwhelmed the storytelling. Technology aside, I wish Avatar had been more original in its storytelling.
You know Mark Canton, I too wish that Avatar had been more original in its storytelling and it's just great that I have you, the guy who produced the remake of 1978's Piranha, to speak for me. Who has more credibility and moral standing to rail on unoriginal films than the man whose latest cinematic offering gave us the wildly original story of an underwater monster that wreaks havoc on a modern day tourist resort that won't close its beaches because they'd lose money? I especially enjoyed the "guy who can't bring himself to tell the girl he loves how he feels and ends up connecting with her by risking his own life to save hers" subplot because we sure as hell have never seen that before.

Now now, Mark Canton, don't be upset. I kid because I love and there was one memorable 3D moment in Piranha 3D. That would be the time when Jerry O'Connell's penis gets chewed off by piranhas and bobs around for a bit before getting swallowed whole by one of the fish but WAIT that's not the best part. No no, the best part is when the damn fish burped it back up in the glory and majesty that is 3D. With that kind of cinematic quality backing him up, you can see why Mark Canton felt that he could go after James Cameron, the guy who directed the #1 and #2 top grossing films of all time. One of them even won the Oscar but the other one was only nominated so Canton will have even more room to talk when Piranha 3D gets nominated this year.