Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good News and...Bad News?

My blogging hiatus is almost over, I think. At the very least, I should be able to put up a couple posts a week. That's the good news. The..bad news? No, the other news is I'll be pulling up stakes here and moving this operation over to Tumblr. Mainly, they have some features I like plus Blogger has been down the last two times I tried to log into it and Tumblr hasn't. The new address is http://michaelclear.tumblr.com or, if that's too much to remember, try http://www.michaelclear.com. I'm still working on some other projects so I guarantee nothing when it comes to supplying free entertainment. Fortunately for you, I rather enjoy doing it. See you there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Nothing To Braga About

Who has two thumbs, some blog space and predicted a science fiction show created by former Star Trek writer Brannon Braga would suck? This guy did, that's who. One thing I can say about Terra Nova is that it actually exceeded my expectations. Yes, it was actually worse than I thought it would be. Somehow, Braga and his crew managed to fail on every level. It was so bad that it actually drew me out of my blogging hiatus. I was going to do a review but no, it deserves a full on Liveblog. Normally, I only do these if I haven't already seen it but the hell with that. Please enjoy my epic takedown of Terra Nova, the new Fox show that can only be ironically described as science fiction.

0:00:30 --  Yes, you're reading the time correctly. Only 30 seconds went by before I felt compelled to comment. The show opens on the Moon or, rather, on a cheesy looking CGI representation of the Moon. Narrative text starts running to explain the state of the world. This is a violation of the famous "Show, don't tell" rule of storytelling and I always consider this or a narrator to be the last refuge of incompetent screenwriters. The beauty of this, though, is that this is only one way in which I was annoyed by the opening. Another is that it's white text on a light background, something you would normally only see on old Geocities pages in 1999. The third is this:

The story is set in the year 2149 WHICH IS NOT THE "DAWN" OF THE FUCKING CENTURY, IT'S THE HALFWAY POINT. Oh, there was a fourth way I was annoyed. I'm watching this on Hulu and the streaming video froze up on me 10 seconds in which meant I had to hit the REFRESH button and watch a damn Geico commercial before it would start for me again. This is going to be fun fun fun.

0:17:38 -- Commercial break. Time to pee, grab some chips and write snarky comments. The basic, stupid premise of Terra Nova is that, in the year 2149, Earth is now an environmental hellhole with an atmosphere so polluted that you never fully see the Sun  and need to wear a filter whenever you go outside. Another reason you pretty much want to avoid the "dawn" of the 22nd century is that there is also an overpopulation problem so severe that America has adopted Chinese style limits of two children per family and has pretty much done away with civil liberties in order to enforce this law. The question for me is: how the hell do you have both a poisonous atmosphere AND a population problem? The first thing should pretty much take care of the second. To top this off, the solution to society's problems is Terra Nova, a colony set up 85 million years in the past that you get to by going through a one way fissure in the time/space continuum. So, they can't clean up pollution, something well within the realm of technological possibility, but they CAN travel through time, something that is, for all practical purposes, impossible. Anyway, let's meet the Shannon family. Dad Jim comes home to wife Elisabeth, teenage kids Josh and Maddy and adorable toddler Zoe. Suddenly, their home is visited by ruthless agents from population control. As I mentioned, you can only have two kids and Zoe makes three. Jim handles this the right way, by blindly lashing out at three armed men. He spends two years in prison for this before Elisabeth tells him she and the two older kids have been approved to settle in Terra Nova. They have to leave Zoe behind because, after all, society certainly wouldn't want you to take away the illegal kid it didn't want you to have in the first place. Elisabeth slips Jim a laser past the ever-so-smart prison guards and he breaks out of prison so he can join his family. The prison officials did think to implant a GPS device on him in case he escaped and they naturally figured the best place to put this would be just under the skin of an easy-to-reach spot on his arm so he could effortlessly cut it out and leave it behind. He manages to sneak past dozens of armed guards to meet up with his family at the time portal but the crack security there finally realizes they're supposed to keep out intruders and pull him out of line. Elisabeth assures the kids they can go ahead through the portal because, "Your father will find a way, he always does." This is the guy who decided to pointlessly start a fight with law enforcement so his plan is something along the lines of yelling "RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY" while entering the portal. The guards seem perplexed that he ignored their commands to stop so they could separate him from his family forever but it's too late. He's now in Terra Nova and they even had Zoe in a backpack so it's a happy ending except that this is not the end. Damn it.

Not at all ripped off from Blade Runner and I don't know why you would think that a new life awaits you in the off-world colonies.

0:30:12 -- Another commercial. This one is something about how malaria is bad so keep that in mind. The Shannons, along with  the rest of the new colonists, are being escorted single file from the entry point to the fenced in settlement of Terra Nova. Why aren't they being transported in armored vehicles to keep them safe from the carnosaurs (large T-Rex type carnivores) that are running around? Shut up, that's why. Jim and Elisabeth are taken to Commander Nathaniel Taylor who is played by Stephen Lang, the same guy who played the evil Colonel in Avatar, fitting since Avatar is one of the movies that this show is ripping off. Even though Jim has just broken a fresh set of laws, he seems surprised that the gruff, non nonsense Taylor won't let him join the compound's security detail (he was a cop before he went to prison though, considering his behavior and temperament, he must have been one of those "let's pepper spray the peaceful protesters" type of cops). Taylor puts him on the agricultural detail and they're escorted to their new luxury Terra Nova condo. The Shannon son, Josh, shows that pretty much the only thing he brought with him from 2149 was teenage moodiness as he lays into his father for being in prison because he selfishly tried to protect his family. They are literally in their new place for 2 minutes before losing track of Zoe who, it turns out, has gone out to play with the dinosaurs. Parenting tip: if you should ever see your child playing with wild animals, even if they're not dinosaurs the size of buildings, freak the hell out and get them to safety. Don't stare in fascination and start playing with them yourself. Yes, they were brachiosaurs (I think) and thus herbivores but they were also large, incredibly strong and rendered the protective fence useless by sticking their long necks over it.


Really?
 
1:02:00-- I've skipped the last few commercials so, to sum up, Snickers are yummy, rainforests are good and you should be driving a Kia. All caught up? Cool. If you follow me on Twitter or read my Tumblr page, you know that I've said before that the heart of Terra Nova's problems is a staggering lack of imagination. People were paid millions to create something that the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction wouldn't have paid a nickel a word for. It's supposed to be 2149 yet technology has barely advanced. There are no robots or advanced machinery to assist with the back breaking labor required to maintain what is basically a frontier colony. The computer technology of 2149 is pretty much what it is today except that the tablet computers are now see-through and, well, that's it for iPad advancement in the next 140 years. I guess Apple should have tried harder to hold on to Steve Jobs. The vehicles are basically Jeeps and they still don't fly which means we have to still hear those damn "Why no flying cars?" jokes between now and 2149. There are weapons that exist today you could mount onto a Jeep that could take down a carnosaur in one shot but, for some reason, they stopped making those in the future so that they're pretty much defenseless when carnosaurs attack their vehicles. Oh, one of them did trip once, so that's something, I guess. Clothing and hairstyles are the same. I can understand not wanting to go too far with those as anything too radical becomes a distraction but they are EXACTLY the same. Science fiction is a challenge because creating a future world that is believable and entertaining to modern audiences and the makers of Terra Nova are not up to the challenge. It doesn't help that they have apparently picked the stupidest people to populate this colony. Son Josh takes a break from being belligerent to his dad to follow a group of his fellow teenagers on a trip outside the gate to see the moonshine still they have set up. Even though the rest of the group has been there for quite some time, they see no reason to bring along any weapons in case they met, say, a 20 foot carnivore. A pretty girl named Skye manages to convince Josh to cliff dive with her, mainly by stripping down to her bikini and saying, "Follow me." This is the most believable thing in the whole show. Meanwhile, a thief trying to steal power is captured while another man tries to assassinate Taylor. Jim foils that and gains enough of Taylor's trust to be appointed to a job in security. We discover that these people are called Sixers, a breakaway group who seem to have their own agenda. Some other Sixers, including Mira, their leader, simply drive right into Terra Nova without getting shot even though one of their comrades tried to kill the Commander. I wonder if al Qaeda ever tried just driving into Guantanamo to retrieve their people. It may be worth a shot.

Terra Nova, filmed entirely inside some guy's Macintosh.

1:26:00 --On their way out of Terra Nova, the Sixers find the vehicle the kids used to drive to their still and stop to strip its power cells but they get attacked by an unseen foe and one of them dies. In a turn of events no one could possibly have foreseen, we find out that traipsing around unarmed in a prehistoric jungle loaded with dangerous and powerful animals is a really bad idea as the kids get attacked by slashers (basically, velociraptors with barbed tails). They take refuge in one of the vehicles which turns out to be woefully inadequate as shelter from dinosaurs, something I think I mentioned earlier but hey, what the hell do I know, right? Things look bleak until Jim, Taylor and a team of soldiers show up and scare off the slashers. Josh decides that his dad saving him was grounds for taking a break from being a dick and they head back to Terra Nova for a big, squishy reunion with Mom. Meanwhile, having learned nothing from the fact that one of their comrades was just killed by slashers, Mira and another Sixer go back to stare at some geographic drawings the kids found earlier. Mira says they were drawn by Taylor's son who went missing years earlier and that they represent the true purpose of Terra Nova, that, "He who controls the past, controls the future," which makes no sense since it was established early on in one of the show's few nods to scientific thought that this is a timeline separate from the one they came from. This means they can't do anything that would change their own past and can't change the time from which they came in any way. Was I the only one listening to that? Oh well, the hell with it. At least there was no human/lizard hybrid sex like some other shows I could mention so I'll consider that progress.

On the bright side, he'll be the first human in history to die because he was a reckless dumbass who didn't think to stay out of a dinosaur filled jungle.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Still Busy

I'll probably be off for another week. My spare time is being eaten up by work, other writing projects and wanting to take advantage of the Summer. It's times like this I'm happy I don't have loads of regular readers to lose.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gross Encounters

I missed this movie last November when it came out. I was all set to see it then heard it sucked, calculated the odds of whether I would agree with the reviews and skipped it. Rotten Tomatoes rates is at 16% positive among critics but what do those elitists know? After all, the audience rated it at 19% so I'm sure I'll have too much fun as I do another Liveblog for the science fiction masterpiece Skyline.

0:10:00
-- We're off to a rousing, imaginative start as the movie opens with title card sequences that basically look like someone sneezed on the camera. I see this was directed by Colin and Greg Strause, the guys who gave us Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem. If you've never seen it, it is the worst movie ever in the history of anything. I'm talking "should be encased in cement and dropped to the bottom of the Merianas Trench where it can never hurt anyone again" level of bad. Showgirls and Transformers wish they are as bad as AVP:R. I'm sure the Strause family has learned from the mistakes made in that debacle and are now ready to entertain us with some science fiction that is as thrilling as it is thought provoking. Where were we? Oh, yeah, everything looks like someone sneezed on the camera. We then see the city of Los Angeles, also known as the Big Apple or...something. Actually, it's known as the go-to first stop in any decent alien invasion and the aliens in this movie are no exception as lights drop from the sky. This wakes up two characters named Jarrod and Elaine played by two actors who are sort of/kind of vaguely recognizable television actors named Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson. I know their names because IMDB exists as they are in shows I don't watch. The producers have obviously bought into the myth that movie stars no longer matter and you can see by the movie's stellar $21 million domestic gross how well that idea worked out. Jarrod looks out at the lights and turns all white eyed and veiny but, suddenly, he and Elaine are on a plane and it says "15 hours earlier". I'm not sure what will happen in the next 15 hours that will top "alien invasion" but I trust the Family Strause completely to keep me entertained. They are in L.A. to visit Jarrod's old pal Terry played by another television guy. At least I know this is Donald Faison (Turk from Scrubs). Terry has made it in the music business and I guess he and Jarrod used to be in a band or something but I can't believe any of this will matter once the aliens land so let's move on.

"Who are we? I can't quite place us," they're thinking.

0:30:00 -- Terry wants Jarrod to quit his crap job, whatever the hell it is, and work for him in Los Angeles. From the way he describes his life, Jarrod and Elaine aren't living too far above the poverty line and it turns out they have a baby on the way so, naturally, they're resistant to the idea of moving from whatever shithole, rock-eater infested town they live in to L.A. where they would lead exciting lives on an exorbitant salary. None of this matters, though, because we have reached the 15 hour mark and once again lights are falling from the sky turning people who look at them into white eyed and vein covered zombies who walk into them and disappear. Jarrod and Terry decide to leave the womenfolk behind and go to the roof to investigate. Jarrod brings a camera and Terry brings a gun so decide who you want at your side during the Apocalypse. Jarrod fails to keep the door to the roof open and it locks behind them but, luckily, he brought the camera which is of no use whatsoever in this situation. The gun, however, comes in handy when more lights fall from the sky and we see that they're dropping from alien spaceships. Terry manages to shoot the lock off the door which is great because pregnant Elaine was right on the other side of it but she's fine. Well, except for when she looks into the light and goes all zombie on them.

This and the other picture show Eric Balfour's single, all purpose expression. He has it down though.

0:50:00 -- There's no television or radio and news websites haven't been updated for hours so I must reluctantly applaud the efficiency and competence of the alien invaders. They want people for something or other as they are slurping boatloads of them into their ships but I'm sure they just want to bring us all back to a planet called Happy Funtime Place. Terry has the genius idea that they will be safe on his boat and Jarrod agrees. The women think that's stupid but they have lady parts and icky menstrual cycles so Jarrod and Terry wisely ignore them. Candice (Brittany Daniel), Terry's bitch girlfriend (she gets away with that by looking like this), insists on riding in a separate car because she just found out Terry has been nailing her pretty assistant so Terry and the assistant drive out together and, in an event no one could have foreseen, immediately get attacked by some giant alien robot thing. Terry gets out of the car and back to Jarrod but he gets snatched by an alien tentacle. If only Jarrod had thought to bring his camera, he may have saved Terry but he didn't so Terry got sucked into what looks like a big alien vagina. In fact, all the alien vehicles have a "giant vagina" theme going so I'm guessing the Strause brothers didn't date much during high school. They are saved by Oliver, the building manager (David Zayas, and again, I must thank IMDB for giving me his name though I could have probably just said he plays the detective sergeant in Dexter). They go back to Terry's penthouse none the worse for where save for the fact that two of their friends are now dead.

This should work. Be sure to throw the gun itself when you run out of ammo.

1:12:00 -- For the last 20 minutes, our four survivors have spent the bulk of their time sitting around Terry's luxury apartment and looking bored over the fact that the world was ending. If the goal of the filmmakers was to get me to feel was the characters are feeling, congratulations, you did it. There was a scene where the military nuked one of the ships but it turns out that the aliens were only MOSTLY dead. Meanwhile, Jarrod has this spider web looking pattern growing all over his chest and even manifests super strength when Oliver tries to foil yet another of his genius plans to leave the relative safety of the apartment building and try to gain the attention of some Army snipers stationed on the roof next door. Meanwhile, Candice starts doing the white eyed zombie thing and steps out onto the balcony to be slurped by a pissed off looking alien vagina. Jarrod and Elaine did manage to get the Army guys to call for a rescue chopper but SURPRISE the aliens are knocking it out of the sky. At this point, I'm wondering what sort of lame ass weakness the invaders will turn out to have. Like, maybe they're allergic to zinc so we start throwing bottles of zinc supplements at them. Or maybe Jarrod will be running along, trip over their world wide master control center and hit the OFF switch. The good news is the movie only has 20 minutes left to go so I won't have to wait long.

Blowed it up real good.

1:33:00 -- OK, I was wrong. No zinc allergies. Earth was conquered and everyone died. It turned out the reason they wanted us was to rip the brains out of our heads, inject them with some sort of glowy shit and eat them. Now, Jarrod never struck me as any sort of an Einstein what with just having the one expression which could be described as "always looking like he has to fart" but he was apparently such a brainiac that he took over the alien who ate his brain. He then rescued Elaine and defended her from the alien hordes and, we assume, sent them packing and made the world safe for white, wealthy Christian Americans once again. IMDB tells me there will be a Skyline 2 next year. yay. Will the Krausi learn from their mistakes? Sadly, I fear the place you will find out will be another Liveblog.

Jarrod is finding out that, at some point, every man is brought down by vaginas.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fuck Yeah!

That's the title I wasn't allowed to use over at Examiner.com. I half expected them to censor the one I did use but, so far, no one has even noticed it's a reference to the F-word.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You're Not The Boss Of Me

It's always surprising when a so called "comedy" like Horrible Bosses actually turns out to be funny. Still, I wish it had been about farting penguins but those can't be in every movie.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lizards Do It At Warp Speed

Yes yes, I know I haven't been paying much attention to you folks lately. Allow me to make it up to you with that thing many of you live for, one of my Liveblogs. Normally, my rule is that the target of the Liveblog be something I haven't seen before but I recently noticed that episodes of Star Trek: Voyager were available on Netflix Instant and sure enough, they had the worst episode of what was the lowest point in Star Trek history until Enterprise premiered. So please sit back and enjoy my takedown of one of television's stupidest moments, an episode called Threshold.

0:05:00 -- It opens with Tom Paris, the second dullest character on the show flying in a shuttle craft while talking to Harry Kim, the dullest character on the show. Sadly, this takes place in season two, before Seven of Nine, the woman whose ability to give men erections back in the 90s was matched only by Viagra, joined the cast which means we'll get little in the way of sex appeal but don't worry. They'll make up for it with loads and loads of bullshit technical jargon. For instance, when Tom says he's having problems with one of the warp nacelles, Harry says, "Try to stabilize your field symmetry." Yeah, what the hell, let's do that. And hey, it worked. Yay! Tom is flying a shuttle craft loaded with some new transwarp drive which, one assumes, does something good but he can't get it to work and it BLOWS UP AAAHHH but don't worry, it was all a dream. Or rather, a holodeck simulation. As I recall, this is the one episode in which the holodeck actually worked and didn't create sentient holograms that tried to take over and/or destroy the ship. You'd think they would have learned to stop using the damn thing after a while but no, it remained the go-to plot device when the writers couldn't think of anything else to do. One important thing you see in the opening credits is the name of the screenplay's writer, Brannon Braga. Braga is, simply, one of the shittiest writers in the history of television who has diminished or destroyed anything to which his name has ever been associated. He and his pal Rick Berman turned Star Trek from a show emphasizing adventure into a melodrama filled with scientific gobbledygook like strengthening your field symmetry or using a duranium alloy or flooding the warp plasma coils with chronoton particles. He went on to produce a dumb alien invasion series (also called Threshold), write for the worst season of 24 and then to make the very lame Flash Forward. This episode, however, is where I first saw, and never forgot, his name.

He who shall not be named. Except in the opening credits, of course.

0:12:48 -- This seems like a good spot to stop as this was where, in the olden days, the first of those quaint things we called "commercials" would have played. Paris, Kim and the half Klingon engineer B'lanna Torres are trying to figure out a way to reach the supposedly impossible speed of warp 10 but they can't do it without their shuttlecraft falling apart. The basic premise of the show is their ship is trapped in the Delta quadrant of our galaxy and it's going to take decades to get home, a problem that could be solved if they can reach warp 10. As the show was in no danger of being cancelled at this point, they should have known it wasn't going to work but they tried anyway. Neelix, an alien they picked up when they got trapped in the Delta quadrant, gave them some homespun wisdom about something or other and, from that, they figured out that...um...something about making sure the ship's hull didn't depolarize. Hell, I could have told them not to let the hull depolarize. That's just common sense. Paris wants to be the one to make this historic flight but Captain Janeway considers grounding him since it turns out he has some sort of enzyme imbalance that could cause him to...you know, they never said why this was bad. Paris manages to convince Janeway to let him make the flight by pleading in a way that made me think he was going to hyperventilate. Dull, melodramatic moments like this are what really set Voyager apart from previous incarnations of Star Trek and were why I never cared for this show. Anyway, Paris manages to pass the warp 10 threshold and disappears off their scanners. So, you know, that's bad. Luckily, Paris is a series regular. Had he been someone we'd never seen before, he'd have been a goner for sure. Star Trek has a history of casually killing off its extras that stretches back to the show's beginnings when Kirk would say, "Scotty, Spock, Bones, Sulu and Checkov, you all come with me. Ensign Smith, go check out behind that rock," and then you'd hear a scream and they'd find poor Ensign Smith with all his minerals drained out of him or something. The good news is that the actor who played Ensign Smith would have a guaranteed lifetime income from Star Trek convention appearance where he'd tell the same story over and over about how William Shatner stole his danish.

Is she upset over Tom Paris or does she just need to fart? Find out after this commercial break.

0:19:07 -- So, Tom Paris has disappeared. Why? We don't know. All the cool stuff is happening off screen and we're only getting reaction shots so we're not exactly getting any Dave-Bowman-entering-the-monolith moments. Suddenly, he reappears and is found sleeping aboard the shuttlecraft. The holographic Doctor wakes him up and he again sounds like he's about to hyperventilate as he tells how he was existing in every point of the universe simultaneously. If it were me, I'd have reentered the universe next to those green Orion slave girls but Paris came back to Voyager. Everything is just great, just spiffy, nothing at all wrong here until Paris suddenly has patterns of veins forming on his head and collapses. So, you know, maybe that whole "enzymatic imbalance" thing turned out to be a valid reason to ground him after all. At least I'm sure he won't be going through any weird transformations.

Has turning all veiny and glassy eyed ever been a good thing?

0:27:25 -- Paris begins undergoing a weird transformation, something no one could have foreseen. Apparently, he's now allergic to water and eventually he can only breathe a combination of nitrogen and acid. He does begin doing some decent acting so I suppose there's a bright side to the fact that all sorts of lesions are now forming on his body. After a while, his cells mutate so much that there's nothing he can do and he dies. But wait, it turns out he was only MOSTLY dead and he wakes up. He easily pulls out a tuft of his hair and whimpers about it which is a pretty pansy ass thing to do considering it's the alternative to death. Oh, he now has two hearts. He'd better not be a Timelord.


I'd forgotten about her. Kes, the space elf. At least they shuffled her off and replaced her with Seven of Nine.

0:36:38 -- Paris continues mutating until he eventually starts looking like a lizard. He says things like, "The present is in the past and the past is in the future," which means that at least part of him is mutating into something that's making him high as a kite. The Doctor thinks they can destroy the mutated DNA with anti-proton bursts cause, you know, why not? Unfortunately, he finally gains some super strength, breaks out of his restraints and begins a rampage through the ship. Oh, one of the crew members is working for the Kazon. Along with Kes, I'd also forgotten about the Kazon, some of the lamest villains in Star Trek history. They're some sort of warrior race like Klingons except that they're also dull as dishwater. They were not missed when they were finally vanquished.

Some topical ointment should clear that right up.

0:45:53 -- And now, the reason I curse Brannon Braga's name. Paris disabled the ship and kidnapped Janeway. He brought her onto the transwarp shuttlecraft, escaped the ship and went to warp 10. Three days later, Voyager tracks them down on some planet somewhere and they're now lizards. The Doctor says this is actually the next 4 million years of human evolution accelerated by crossing the warp 10 threshold which, you know, makes a whole heaping shitload of sense. Get to warp 10, you're a lizard. Stephen Hawking has probably written all about this in his books. Really, you'd be shocked if anything else had happened. While on the planet, Janeway and Paris have hot lizard sex and have some lizard babies and no, I'm not making that up. It turns out that de-lizarding them is fairly easy. They decide to just leave the lizard babies on that planet which denies them an invaluable scientific opportunity as well as violating the Prime Directive but it's hardly the stupidest thing that's happened so fuck it, let's move on. Do they continue to explore the possibilities of using warp 10 to get them home? Nope, that gets dropped even though they now understand the side effects and have a workable method to reverse them. And so, they continue their adventures in the Delta quadrant, blandly going where no one has gone before. I'm really looking forward to Brannon Braga's new show, Terra Nova. You should too as it will almost certainly be the subject of a future Liveblog.

And here it is, the perfectly sensible, logical result of achieving warp 10.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Less Than Meets The Eye

What better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than to read my review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon? If there's a better way, I can't think of it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

She's Bad

It's nice to be back writing again. On the off chance you haven't moved on to some other amateur film critic, here's my review of Bad Teacher.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oops

Looks like my last post got deleted. Basically, there will be nothing from me this week in either of my two writing forums. I'm dealing with a death in the family and then it's back to work. See you next week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On The Bright Side...

...another Transformers movie will soon come out and most likely set a new standard of dumb that movies like Battle: Los Angeles can only aspire to. My DVD review is over at Examiner.com.

Monday, June 13, 2011

EEEEEEK.T.

I posted this review of Super 8 on Saturday at Examiner but forgot to mention it here till today. Traditionally, of course, I don't post here on weekends anyway but that tradition is rather pointless. Then again, keeping pointless traditions is a sign of true class. I think.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Does This Bug You?

It's been a while since I've had time to do a Liveblog but that only means this one will be extra special. If it's not extra special, it's probably your fault in some way but we'll have to figure out why another time because it's time to get on with the movie. When I first saw this on Netflix Instant, my thought was, "Fuck me, there were three of these?" I sort of, kind of remember hearing about it but, for some odd reason, I never considered the existence of this sequel to be worth remembering. Anyway, let's hope the second in the series didn't contain anything important as I am never, ever going to watch it. Instead, let's all watch me as I watch 2008's straight-to-DVD freak show Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.

0:10:00 -- This movie is rather dull but, to make up for that, it's also poorly made. The director, Edward Neumeier, has a distinguished IMDB profile that consists mainly of writing mildly entertaining sci-fi films and their crappy sequels. He wrote all the Robocop films as well as the first Starship Troopers film which means he's one of the people I need to yell at for taking Robert Heinlein's adventure classic and turning into gross torture porn. A quick note to all you conservatives out there: why the hell do you all worship that sociopathic windbag Ayn Rand when Robert A. Heinlein expressed many of her ideas while also being able to tell entertaining stories? I'd join your movement if you'd abandon Atlas Shrugged and replace it The Man Who Sold The Moon. Hell, one of the plot points of Starship Troopers (the novel) is that the Earth is being successfully run by a benevolent military dictatorship. Someone at Fox news get on that. Anyway, they somehow managed to get Casper van Dien back to reprise the role of Johnny Rico. That's quite a "get" for them. I wonder how they managed to convince him to take time out from sitting around in his underwear and asking his neighbors if they wanted to come over and watch his Blu-Ray edition of Starship Troopers again. He's a colonel fighting the alien Bugs on a planet called Roku San. The Bugs now have these organic grenades they toss into his camp. The grenades are effective because, when the troops see one, they stand around and stare at it until it opens up and explodes instead of running away. Rico's unit is receiving a visit from an old buddy named Dix Hauser who's now dating one of rico's old flames, Capt. Lola Beck. She's played by Jolene Blalock whom you may remember as the Vulcan from Star Trek: Enterprise who logically concluded that she must wear tight clothing that showed off her flawless figure. Has anything actually happened in these first ten minutes? No, not really but I'm sure that's just a bold filmmaking choice and not indicative of the rest of the movie.
The girl standing next to Rico has a French accent so thick that she's nearly unintelligible. My assumption is that she'll be naked later in the film and then all will be forgiven.

0:30:00 -- Also arriving on base is Sky Marshal Anoke. Anoke is such a popular soldier that he's used in propaganda videos to get people to join the Federation Army. This is so despite the fact that he's short, bald and looks like a strong breeze would blow him over. So why is he mankind's greatest hero? Probably for a reason our primitive 21st century brains could never understand. In addition to all this, he's probably a traitor. I say this because he keeps talking about the Bugs with respect in his voice and a menacing look on his face. Meanwhile, General Dix Hauser is having fun listening to Rico and Dix's new girlfriend talk casually about all the good times they had when they were dating. There's actually some decent acting going on here as it's obvious that all this idle chat about picnics and sports activities that comprised their dating life is really about all the awesome, epic level fucking they used to do and they're saying this in front of her new boyfriend. A couple of Roku San farmers come into the military bar and start picking fights and criticizing the military and the war. This society hangs war protesters so Hauser orders them arrested before getting into a fight with one. Rico prevents Hauser from summarily executing the farmer and is relieved of his command just as the security fence fails and all the fierce, cartoon Bugs start swarming the camp. I'm sure that Sky Marshal Anoke has nothing to do with this even though he vanished for a while and mysteriously reappeared looking dazed. Lola flies Anoke off the planet while everyone else starts fighting the seemingly unstoppable Bug swarm. Oh, we haven't seen the hot French girl's boobs yet. I'll keep you informed.

Why is everyone so frightened of these? Just tell the CGI guy to reboot his Macintosh.

1:00:00
-- So, Roku San was a complete clusterfuck and they're laying the blame all on Rico who is sentenced to be executed for both incompetent command and hitting Dix. The whole time, all I could think was, "Is the hot French girl ok?" We haven't seen her in the past 30 minutes and I'm beginning to despair that this film will contain no gratuitous nudity. Meanwhile, the ship that Lola and Anoke escaped on is either attacked or blows up on its own and it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that everyone has to board escape pods so they can get away from the hilariously inept looking CGI spaceship crash. They land on some sort of habitable desert planet. The planet has bugs on it, of course, but they don't attack even though they spot the survivors fairly quickly. In addition to curbs on various civil liberties, all religion has been banned in this society which is why Lola is annoyed that everyone, including the Sky Marshal, is religious. He keeps talking about higher powers, talk that becomes suspicious when we find out that he was fascinated by the so called Brain Bug that the humans have in custody. Meanwhile, Rico is saved from execution by Dix who needs him to go after Lola. For reasons I'm sure will annoy me for their stupidity, an Admiral has ordered the Rescue Fleet not to go after Lola and Anoke so Dix, who has not yet tired of Lola's nether regions, wants Rico to take a small squadron and go after her. This leads us to a good five minutes of Rico meeting his new unit and everyone talking about how it's a good day to die and they'll kill the Bugs and let's all eat strudel which very well could have been in there since I stopped paying attention.

The ship probably wouldn't have crashed if they had just stopped shaking the damn camera.

1:25:00
-- Cool, the hot French girl (whose name, it turns out, is Link Manion which is probably also writer/director Neumeier's YouTube comments section name) is alive and well and part of Rico's squad. Oh, and she's naked. Gloriously and wonderfully naked along with Rico and the rest of the rescue squad. Why? Because the one thing this movie can do as well as the first one is to gives heaps of hot, naked bodies. No crap CGI necessary here. Want to see screenshots? Tough. I watched this piece of shit and deserve to see naked French girls. Back on Earth, the evil Admiral Enolo Phid has faked a bombing of the ruling council to cover up the disappearance of the Sky Marshal and Dix. Phid takes him to see the Brain Bug and shows him footage of Anoke being taken over and referring to the Bugs as God. Which, of course, begs the question of why he wasn't taken into custody long ago but there's not time to answer that because the Brain Bug has started shrieking and causing everyone's head to explode before Dix grabs a rifle and kills it. Why didn't it use the shrieking/head exploding thing before now? Let it go, people. This thing will last eight hours if we tie up all the loose ends. Back on the Bug planet, we find out that the Bug God is summoning Anoke to it and ends up swallowing him to gain his knowledge. Now, only Lola and some really annoying Jesus freak girl who was Anoke's assistant are left. I'm sure they'll now die and Rico won't drop in at the last minute to save them.

This Bug God could be easily dispatched with a grill and some barbecue sauce.

1:45:00 -- Jesus freak girl manages to convert Lola when they're at the mercy of the Bug God and they pray for angels to save them. Just then, in a stunning plot twist no one could have foreseen, Rico and his team land. They're decked out in some super powered armor and manage to take out not only a swarm but the Bug God who turned out to be surprisingly easy to kill, probably because he chose not to do that shrieking/head exploding thing, the most effective tactic in the history of warfare yet the Bugs have only used it once.. Why the Federation has never used this super armor before is yet another mystery but who gives a crap? Rico saves Lola and Jesus girl and who turns into Jesus Woman by convincing the Federation to legalize religion again. This means that now the Federation can hang war protesters with God's blessing, which they do when they kill the war protester they framed for Anoke's murder and some other shit happens but none of it involves French girls with perfect bodies so let's just call it a day.

Wow, must be some kiss. Dix got to kiss Jolene Blalock which means he's the only one who got anything good out of this movie other then me who can now celebrate that it's over.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Here's What's Going On

I'm still very busy and have no spare time so no new posts probably until Friday. Sorry.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 91

They say major Hollywood releases are mindless, intellectual wastelands but I say they teach the best lessons of all. For example:

Just because you've squeezed every last drop of story and then some from a concept that's already been the subject of four movies doesn't mean you shouldn't try again.

Outdated methods of recording can be made into incredible action flicks. This opens the door for monster movies about Betamax and zip discs.

The addition of Heather Graham to the cast means it's perfectly acceptable to jack off to a kid's movie. Seriously, go ahead and whip it out. The theaters will be totally cool with it.

The end of the world is near. The fact that this movie exists is proof.

This movie may or may not be good. It's hard to tell because it stars Ryan Reynolds and you can't trust the judgement of a guy who got sick of fucking Scarlett Johannson.

That Wisconsin governor may have a point about teachers.

If you make a touching fantasy movie about learning to live for others and trying to preserve a precious way of life that's in danger of coming to an end, be sure the sequel is about spies and shit like that.

I'm telling you, we are truly in the last days. Need even more proof. How about this?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 6/2/11

As usual, it's over at Examiner.com under a different, blander name but it's still another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making Hard Men Humble

Here I am once again with a new review of Hangover Part II over at Examiner.com. I still can't guarantee a return to regular posting but things are looking better than they were.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lacking Deppth

Ah, what a week. Hopefully, life is back to normal now. To prove it, here's my review of Pirates of the Caribbean at Examiner.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sorry

I'm getting slammed by a new job which leaves me no time to write. I might not be back till Monday though I might be back tomorrow. Even I don't know so we'll see what happens.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Priest Lacks Bite

Sadly, it looks like the Liveblog I wrote for Battlefield Earth is lost forever, a victim of the great Blhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifogger outage, and I'll have to rewrite it which I really don't want to do. To console ourselves, we can all read my review of Priest posted at Examiner.com. I've heard encouraging others to read it gives you multiple orgasms.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh, Hi

Blogger has been down since yesterday which is why you don't get to see the Liveblog I wrote for Battlefield: Earth since it's been eaten. This could be Google telling me it's time to move my stuff off their servers or that I should keep copies of my posts. Oh well, I'll write it up again when I have time. have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 5/12/11

You almost didn't get this when, due to the general suck factor of Microsoft Word 2010, I accidentally deleted an earlier draft of this. As it is, you can read another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs at Examiner.com with a cleaned up title.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 90

Movies about Jesus would be more exciting if He was the type of muscle bound god who waved a magic hammer around.

Just because a movie has a porn title doesn't mean it's porn though if the star is playing a crazy man, it may just mean that he's really crazy.

Rich and poor people should be educated on the risk of wackiness breaking out should one of them ever decide to marry the other.

Fucking your best friend's fiancee is perfectly acceptable if you're sweet and the friend is a tad bitchy.

Not all vampires are emotionally flat sparkling freaks with mumbling girlfriends.


Da bitches be crazy!

It's impossible to make too many movies about pirates doing their awesome Keith Richards impersonations.

What are the odds that three guys who got so wasted that they had an insanely wild night they couldn't remember but still had to deal with rather serious consequences would ever allow something like that to happen again? Pretty damn good as it turns out.

What are the odds that an overweight panda who has mastered kung fu would be called upon to save the world from some mystical threat a second time? Pretty damn good as it turns out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 5/5/11

Once again, this week's edition of brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs has been adapted for and published on Examiner.com. Sorry folks, they're a larger audience and I even make a little money. Still, all you have to do to read it is click this link.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bad Buzz

You may remember a different version of this when Green Hornet came out in January. Well, now I'm reviewing the damn thing for Examiner so you get to read it again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Pain

I did a Liveblog last week yet here I am, doing another one. I space them out mainly because they are time consuming and I don't often look forward to spending several hours watching a bad movie and trying to find funny things to say. However, this one had to be done today or not at all. This premiered on American television just a few short days ago. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I already saw part of this but there has never been a more timely entry to this category than the Lifetime Network's William and Kate.

0:00:15 -- Jesus, I didn't even get 30 seconds in. A title card came up saying, "Inspired by true events." After muttering, "No shit," what occurred to me was the meaning of that phrase. If a movie claims to be based on true events, that means it takes some pains to adhere to the facts it's portraying. If it says it's INSPIRED by a true story, that means they took the true events and ran naked and crazy with them through the street. For example, Last House On The Left, a movie set in 1970's America, was "inspired" by a 13th century Swedish folktale. The more you know.

0:11:00 -- William and his dad (I didn't catch his name) show up for William's first day at university. Dad keeps saying, "This is what you mother would have wanted." Did his mom die or something? I'm sure this is one of the movie's exciting secrets. Naturally, this is something that would draw a great deal of public and media attention which is why nearly a dozen people showed up to witness his very public arrival. I suppose that's a lot considering the movie's budget. Everyone seems excited that they are attending the same school as the guy who only needs two people to die to ascend to the throne of the United Kingdom. Everyone, that is, except for a lovely young brunette named Kate who couldn't appear to be more underwhelmed if she were a Star Wars fan watching Phantom Menace for the first time. William settles in and starts making friends with either the school's dullest or douchiest students before going to his first class and who should wind up in his study group but the girl who couldn't care less that he's there. She has a boyfriend anyway so I'm sure any and all romantic prospects are off the table. William and Kate are played by...oh hell, I don't know and I'm not looking it up.

I think I look more like William than this guy.
Hell, I think I look more like Kate Middleton.

0:24:20 -- Kate starts spending lots more time than one normally would with a guy she doesn't care about who's not her boyfriend but I guess that's what the kids these days do along with extensive time on Facebook and casual buttsex. Will tells Prince Dad that he wants to transfer from St. Andrews to Cambridge but Charles says no so the whole scene, much like the rest of the movie, was a big waste of time. Back at St. Andrews, all the girls we've met so far participate in a charity fashion show. Luckily, St. Andrews appears to have a strictly enforced NO FAT CHICKS policy so it's very entertaining. William also notices for the first time that Kate is hot and all it took was for her to walk out on stage in a see through dress. Sadly, Kate is the only girl in Great Britain who doesn't masturbate with a Prince William bobble head doll and insists to him that they're just friends when he tries to kiss her.

"As you no doubt feel, Kate, I was educated by an ancient order of Indian shamans in the art of fingering a woman."

0:45:00 -- Wills brought Kate and several other friends home for the weekend. Unfortunately, Prince Charles had recently had the stick in his ass replaced with a larger one so the whole affair was quite uncomfortable until Kate managed to kill a pheasant when they went hunting. Will was so impressed by her ability to kill helpless birds with a shotgun that he agrees to share a flat with her and the two friends who came along. This gives Will and Kate plenty of time to awkwardly rub up against each other until Kate just can't stand it anymore and starts sleeping with him. They try hiding it from their roommates who they think don't notice when Kate screams at William night after night to conquer her colonies. Things go great for a while until she goes to a charity benefit he's hosting and His Royal Dullness pulls the genius move of ignoring her the whole night while lavishing attention on an old girlfriend. Kate storms out having come to the conclusion that he would never marry a commoner such as herself. If only that's how things had happened like that so we wouldn't have wall to wall Royal Wedding coverage.

As a handsome man with a chin, actor Ben Cross was woefully unqualified to play Prince Charles.

1:34:00 -- Let me explain why you've heard nothing from me for the last 45 minutes. After William won Kate back by singing to her (and showing us all why there's never been an album released called Prince William Sings The Classics), the movie then repeated the same cycle over and over. William and Kate would be all cute and cuddly for a few minutes then Kate would get all annoyed by the restrictions of royal life and constant paparazzi harassment and then they'd be all adorable again until once again they were bothered by photographers or some A-hole would lecture Kate on how woefully unprepared she was for life amongst William's family. This happened, I think, 57 times until Kate finally broke it off. William got Kate back by threatening to jump into a river while she was coaching a crew team and she figured any man willing to jump into a river was worth never having a moment to herself again and they get engaged in Africa in surrounded by lovely stock footage of wild animals and that's it. The rest is what you're watching on your television screens today. I hope reading this was more entertaining.

After agreeing to marry him, Will reveals to Kate his greatest secret, that he's only 4 feet tall.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 4/28/11

Oh yes, your eyes aren't lying. It's time for another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs...only not here. As with most things, it's over at Examiner.com but don't worry. It's just one click away.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To Avenge Jesus, I Crucified A Roman

I let him go when he promised to go back to Romeland or whatever they hell they call it and get people to become Christians there. I can't wait to check and see how successful this was. You can thank me by checking out my review of Water For Elephants and telling your friends, family and randpm strangers to do the same.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2 Little, 2 Late

Hey folks. I suppose you think I've been neglecting this blog now that I have that new, glamorous, low paying gig at the Examiner and you'd be right. Therefore, today you get another one of my internationally famous Liveblogs, those posts in which I find a movie on Netflix I haven't seen and do humorous, real-time comments. Since next week we get to see the fifth installment of what was probably never meant to be a never ending story, I thought to day would be a good time to look back to where it almost all began. So strap yourselves in for a movie whose title doubtless caused whoever thought of it to jack off to his own cleverness. I am, of course, talking about 2 Fast, 2 Furious.

0:16:00 -- I normally chime in before now but very little has actually happened. This opening has been an extended illegal street race in what I think is Miami and, since I have zero interest in looking it up, definitely is Miami. Miami has an extremely ineffective police force since literally hundreds of people gather to watch four high performance automobiles race at dangerous speeds through the city's downtown and not a single cop manages to take notice. Vin Diesel was, of course, in the first movie but, since his career was going so well at the time, he was able to bow out of the sequel. I'm sure Vin will always be a huge star and never have to do one of these Fast and Furious movies again. Stepping in as the main character is Paul Walker who is reprising his role as Brian O'Connor from the first movie. I think he was an undercover cop who let Vin Diesel's criminal character go in the first movie since cool guys who can drive should never be locked up but again, since I can't believe any of this will be important, I'm not looking it up. Now he street races professionally and I must say that, even though it's unsafe, street racing seems to have one of the most rigidly enforced ethnic diversity programs in the country as all 4 contestants are from different races. They also all carry around $35,000 just in case someone challenged them to a side bet which Brian does. He wins and it looks like his real prize will be a gorgeous Latina played by Eva Mendes but FINALLY the cops show up and disable Brian's car with some sort of EMP device that looks like it could take down the Enterprise.

"Hey folks. Who's a guy gotta blow to get a Fluffernutter around here?"

0:36:00 -- It turns out the cops were targeting O'Connor because they want him to go undercover to help bust a drug lord. This makes sense since the one guy you'd want in a sensitive undercover mission is the guy who let the target of his previous sensitive undercover mission go. Brian says he wants an old pal and fellow street racer, Roman Pierce, along for the venture though this may be difficult since Brian is responsible for sending Roman to prison. Roman is played by former male model Tyrese Gibson which leads me to the conclusion that MY GOD, STREET RACERS ARE GOOD LOOKING. Seriously, seeing those two together is making me regret not being gay right now. Roman agrees after a promise to wipe his criminal record clean and they again meet Eva Mendes who turns out to be playing another undercover cop named Monica Fuentes who is working for the drug lord, Carter Verone. Verone wants our adorable pair and some other drivers to audition to see who gets to work for him. They have to break into a police auto lot and retrieve a package from Verone's impounded Ferrari. Let me tell you all right now that, if you ever fancied the idea of driving along the highway at speeds exceeding 120 MPH so you could be the first one to break into a police impound lot, Miami is definitely the place to do this since they didn't attract even a small amount of police attention. When they get back, Roman rags on Brian for checking Monica out and demands to know why. Allow me to answer: he checked her out because she looks like Eva fucking Mendes. Moron.

Uh, yeah, this isn't what it looks like.

1:05:00 -- This movie is very well made. It looks nice, the actors can speak without drooling. There are two problems. Problem one: the plot is very thin but that would be all right since the plot mainly exists as a clothesline upon which to hang car chases. Problem two: the car chases. Oh, they look good. Director John Singleton and everyone else involved knew what they were doing technically. The problem is that every car chase is the same. Brian and Roman are racing around for various reasons and come close to losing until Brian, with a stone face and steely eyes, hits the button that shoots nitrous oxide into the engine and he rides to victory on the burst of speed. That's what happened when they wanted two new cars since the ones the government gave them were wired with GPS they couldn't remove so they challenged two other street racers and won their cars by, you guessed it, hitting the nitro at the last minute. Oh well, I'm sure they're just preparing for the final, nitro-free finale so we just have to wait. Anyway, they got the job with Verone who wants them to move a package across town. You'd think UPS could do that but no, he wants them. Verone assures the two that cops will be occupied for 15 minutes, something he arranges by threatening to have a rat dig its way through the belly of a supervising detective so I guess Verone isn't one of those nice drug kingpins who motivates employees with gift cards and such. While Brian is asleep, Monica sneaks into his bedroom and says...I have no idea what she said since Eva Mendes is wearing a tight, low cut shirt tied up so it also shows her midriff. Hold on, let me rewind and...oh my, turns out Verone is planning to kill them but we've already established he's not nice so let's not be too surprised.

I wonder why Brian was checking her out.

1:47:00 -- Best thing about having a minimal plot is that it I can quickly condense the past 40 minutes. The whole "Just take some drug money and drive across town with it" plan went to hell very quickly when the cop who was supposed to clear their path had a change of heart. I guess threatening to have a rat eat your guts doesn't scare people like it used to. Anyway, they drive around Miami and cause dozens of police cars to crash before pulling into a garage where they arranged to have their pal, Tej (played by Ludacris), the guy who arranges all the street races, get every street racer in the city to pull out of that garage simultaneously. Why'd they do that? Because John Singleton and the writers told them to, that's why. They switched out of the bugged cars they were in and drove to Verone who did, in fact, try to kill them after he figured out Monica was a spy. He took Monica and the money with him on his yacht so Brian and Roman came up with the can't-miss plan that any one of us would have done, that being drive the car off a ramp and onto the yacht. I would say this made the movie lose all credibility but, since it had no credibility, I guess doing that made perfect sense. They capture Verone and keep a small amount of the money for themselves. Sadly, Brian didn't get to have sex with Monica. Happily, the movie is over.

I wonder how much those yachts with the fully loaded muscle cars cost.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 4/21/11

I'm writing for Examiner now which means we can no longer have another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs. Ha ha, gotcha. It still exists. It's just on Examiner now. I had to localize at least part of the content but it turned out well, I think. I bet my mom would like it anyway. Sadly, I can't use dirty words there. Fuck. Man, that felt good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not Exactly Fantastic Four

I'm back from vacation tan, rested and ready. Well, I'm actually rather pale and a bit tired but I was at least ready enough to post a review of Scre4m over at Examiner.com so please check it out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hell With It

I'm traveling till Monday but I honestly thought I'd have time to do some writing. I ambitiously planned an Examiner piece and a comedy piece for this blog to both appear today but, alas, neither was to be. I might get something out this weekend if a spot opens in my schedule. I'm sure you're all too busy planning to see Atlas Shrugged this weekend to read anyway.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Between A Goon And New York City

My review of Arthur is up at Examiner.com. Read it, tell your friends how incredible it is and how it changed your life. It's odd that I ended up recommending it since I felt comfortable in using it for a Bizarro World Review on Friday. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All Right, This Time For Real

If you read this yesterday and, if you didn't, why the hell not, but if you did then you know I have a new writing gig with Examiner.com which means some of the stuff I was doing here will now be done there. We finally worked out the kinks so they're now posting me in the correct location so please go check me out over there. Tell your friends, have them tell their friends and everyone can make it the hot new thing to hit the SUBSCRIBE button over there and make me as popular on the internet as those videos of squirrels that grab a guy's balls. I'll link everything I do from here plus there should still be some original content posted here if I don't think it's a good fit for their site. It turns out they expect you to behave, act professionally and not make things all about you so we'll see how long that lasts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

So Long...Well, Not Really

Over the weekend, I was told my application to write for Examiner.com had been accepted. I've been writing this blog for three years now and I've enjoyed it very much. But they pay. Not much but more than the Jack Squat I am currently receiving for doing this. The movie reviews I usually post on Monday and Tuesday will definitely be published there now. I will be posting links to them here so you can still visit this site for them if you wish. Also, the humorous bits I do on Fridays are something I want to keep doing but I'm still trying to figure out if they're a good fit for Examiner. I'm sure I'll figure it out. Anyway, if you've enjoyed me over the years and I've entertainedyou at all, you can pay me back by reading my stuff on Examiner.com, passing the links around and maybe even hitting the SUBSCRIBE button there. (EDIT: Actually, don't subscribe yet. Wait till the next article as this one listed me in their Albany, GA edition instead of Albany, NY and I don't know how that will affect any sort of subscription. Yep, this is going great so far.) And now, please enjoy my review of the movie Hanna.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- Arthur

Some movies are classics and many think those classics should never be touched but that view does nothing but restrict creativity and hold back truly great filmmakers from producing new work even if that work isn't exactly their own. We are all fortunate today that there are still filmmakers with enough vision to know that it's just fine to reuse someone else's vision. Thus, we now have a new version of Arthur.

So, is Arthur any good? Terms like "good" and "bad" may have been relevant in 1981 when Dudley Moore first created the character but this is 2011 so it no longer has to be Be Good. It just has to Be. And man oh man, does it ever Be. It Be's the hell out of itself. There is so much Be in this movie that it would have violated the International Be Limit if such a thing existed and could be in any way accurately measured. If none of this makes sense, don't worry. Neither does Arthur. But again, that's OK. It can still Be.

The incredibly rich Arthur Bach is played this time around by Russell Brand. Brand is the kind of actor whose vibe just screams, "Sure, I'll do this role as long as the check clears." However, that sort of attitude is exactly what this movie needed. If an actor had done this for passion alone, it would have highlighted all the movie's flaws and rendered it unwatchable but, because Brand doesn't care, neither do we. We can just go in and not really watch Arthur but just sort of absorb it. We won't care that it's not funny or entertaining. Instead, we'll remember it like a dream. The details will be fuzzy but we are reasonably sure we had a good time though we can't say why. That is what it's like to see the new Arthur and I, personally, am much better off for it. Again, if none of this makes sense, don't worry. Just Be along with the movie.

Arthur can reverse what so far has been a disappointing year at the box office if we all collectively decide not to demand anything from it. If we do that, we can go see it three or four times and reverse Hollywood's 2011 misfortunes. We can all even decide to just tell each other how much we loved it and then we'll get a sequel that we'll say we loved even more. This can bring our country together in a way that religion, community and music festivals have so far been unable to achieve. We will be bound together forever by our vision of Arthur, a vision first created in 1981 about a good movie and finally realized in 2011 by this "good" movie. When you go see Arthur, remember all of this. Laugh now and then if for no other reason than to help your fellow man and, if things get too tough, just start quietly humming the old Beatles hit Let It Be. Or just load up on Raisinets and pass out. Either way will work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 4/7/11

I don't know where you live but in my neighborhood we're finally getting a bout of warm weather. Since I know you don't care about me or where I live, I've decided to cancel the post I was working on called How To Get Free Money And Blowjobs For Life and instead do another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

This idea to tell a story of the early days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday as some sort of supernatural film is ripe for disaster but it could be good. One line that caught my eye is this:
The Old West duo are best-remembered for the famous 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., which has been the subject of many movies -- some historically accurate and some not.
The best movies about Earp, Holliday and their showdown at the O.K. Corral have been the ones that were the least historically accurate so by all means Hollywood, give us complete fantasy.

I've never been a huge fan of Patrick Dempsey but I actually support his bid to play Dr. Strange. Why? He looks the part. In that picture in the Cinematical link, he really looks like Stephen Strange did during the time in his life when he was a hopeless alcoholic. If none of this makes sense and you have no idea who the hell Dr. Strange is, I envy the fact that you probably had a life filled with sunshine and happiness that had no room for comic books.

I'm fairly certain there are more people wanting to see Tango and Cash 2 or Breakin 3: Wireless Boogaloo than there are people demanding a new sequel to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure but that isn't stopping Hollywood from making one. Keanu Reeves said it will tie in with the last movie, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey which is great because I know that the few people that have gone to the trouble of committing that movie to memory wouldn't be satisfied otherwise. I'm not one of those people so you all feel free to do whatever the hell you want.

Why is this news? Groups made up of right wing blowhards complaining that television is making the baby Jesus cry will only be newsworthy the day they don't protest something. In this case, they're talking about something that hasn't even been made yet that will probably have nudity on the level we used to see on NYPD Blue, a show our society somehow managed to survive.

I really hope this article about the growth of small budget films aimed at a more mature audience is right and that movies like Black Swan and The King's Speech are part of a new trend and not just flukes at the box office. If not, we'll get more and more movies like, well, a third Bill and Ted film. The article is an interesting read and you should check it out. Not before you finish this, of course.

The producer of the new Twilight movie is asking the movie's fans to stop posting leaked images. I want everyone to ignore that request because of all the times they have ignored my request to stop making Twilight movies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Got Nothing

had no time to write. hell, i didn't even have time to capitalize anything. be back on thursday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time After Time After Time After...

I was reading on Friday that Source Code was the best reviewed studio film of 2011. I could just say, "What those other people said is true," and that would be sufficient but that's not why they pay me the big bucks. I've been lousy lately at predicting the quality of movies. Last week, I thought Sucker Punch was going to be great and ended up hating it. This week, I thought the trailer for Source Code looked dumb. In the trailer, it looks like the government sends a man back in time to find out who was behind the terrorist attack of a train. As important as it would be to find out who was behind a mass murder, I couldn't believe that the government would use something as risky as time travel to try and solve it and I feared that this doubt would nag at the back of my brain throughout the film. Luckily, that's not what happened.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Colter Stevens, an Air Force Captain who has no idea how he got from his unit in Afghanistan to what appears to be the space capsule he is in now. Even more baffling is the fact that he is suddenly teleported from that capsule into the body of another man on a Chicago commuter train that blows up eight minutes after he arrives, sending him back to his own body on the capsule. There are two people who keep talking to him when he's in the capsule. One is a fellow Air Force officer named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and the other is a civilian named Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright). Neither one is particularly helpful in answering the numerous questions that Stevens has about his situation. They just keep coldly insisting that he complete his mission without telling him how he could be going back in time.

Eventually, they tell him that he's not really going back in time. Instead, he's entering a virtual reality that is constructed from the memories of a man who died on the train. They were able to preserve this man's last eight minutes of memories and combine them with all the records they have of the incident to create a highly detailed interactive computer model called the Source Code. The problem is that this is a highly detailed model so thorough in scope that no one really has any control over what happens inside it. The people in it think they are real, independent beings and that includes a woman named Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan). She's a friend of the man Colter in inhabiting and it's obvious that she wishes they were more than friends and, after several trips through the same eight minutes, that comes to be what Colter wants to. It's just a shame she's not real and that the real woman is already dead. Or is she?

If you've ever read anything I've written here, you know that my favorite type of movie is also the rarest type of movie, that being intelligent, serious science fiction. Science fiction movies are usually made by people who absolutely loathe science fiction and are only doing it so they can have a hit film and never have to do it again. Because they hate it, they figure everyone else does too and that means the story doesn't have to make sense as long as the CGI looks good so you have a movie populated by idiots in unbelievable situations doing mind bogglingly stupid things while running around past big monsters trying to, let's say, invade Los Angeles. Source Code doesn't have this problem. Source Code was lucky enough to be directed by Duncan Jones, director of the wonderful 2009 film Moon. Jones seems to actually like the medium in which he's working and he doesn't seem to think that having a movie be entertaining and make sense are mutually exclusive concepts and ends up giving us something that could have been written by Philip K. Dick. In fact, I checked afterward to see if this was yet another adaptation of Dick's work but, according to IMDB, it's an original story whose sole screenwriting credit goes to Ben Ripley, a fellow whose previous screenwriting credit was Species IV: The Awakening. Hmm, that sounds familiar. This adds to my theory that, if a movie sucks, the last person you should blame is the writer. It may be his fault but you should eliminate all the other suspects first.

Source Code is an excellent palate cleanser for, well, pretty much every movie that's come out so far this year. It did, of course, come in second to a cartoon rabbit that shits jelly beans but at least it was in the running and I guess we have to take what we can get.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tie This Kangaroo Down

So far, my Liveblogs, in which I write real time comments while watching a movie on Netflix Instant, have all been horrible movies but today I decided to branch out a bit and challenge myself a bit a profile one of my favorite movies, the 1944 adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V starring Laurence Olivier. This will be a treat for both you and me and I can't wait to get started. So, here we go and HA HA HA HA APRIL FOOL! The real movie is a reportedly godawful "comedy", 2003's Kangaroo Jack.

0:10:00 -- This movie has managed to annoy several times already and we're only 10 minutes in. First, the movie has Christopher Walken in a supporting role. This means they had the gall to cast one of my favorite actors in their sucky movie. I know it's going to be a sucky movie because they open with a quick montage of Australia with narrator Jerry O'Connell (who's playing the lead character Charlie Carbone) showing us only the godforsaken parts of it while describing it as dangerous and remote. Well, yeah if you ignore all those bigass modern cities that serve as home to most of it's population of 22,000,000, it is just some hot, kangaroo infested wasteland. But enough of that, the movie thinks, as it turns its attention to a real country, the good ol' U.S. of A. We flashback to 1982 where we see a 10 year old Charlie. The movie loses some more credibility because anyone who's seen Stand By Me knows what Jerry O'Connell looked like back then and this isn't it. He is saved from drowning by another child, Louis Booker, who will someday grown up to look just like Anthony Anderson. The cost for Charlie is that now he feels obligated to participate in whatever crazy situation Louis may find himself in. Twenty years later, that would be delivering TVs that happen to be stolen. To make it a perfect day, Louis tries to hide out in a warehouse owned by Charlie's stepfather, gangster Sal Maggio (Walken). So far, the movie has averaged two jokes per minute, only one of which has made me mildly chuckle. I'd tell you what it was but I swear I've already forgotten it.

Hey look, it's those guys from those shows I don't watch.

0:30:00 -- Around the 16 minute mark there's a rather funny sequence in which Charlie and Louis are thought to be obsessed with their own shit. So far, it's the funniest thing in the movie and it actually makes me an advocate for the idea that the whole movie should have been about guys who are thought to be obsessed with shit. It's sad that this is the one bright spot of Kangaroo Jack's first 30 minutes. Well, Walken was pretty good but hell, he was good as some brain damaged janitor in Joe Dirt. Walken's gangster character in understandably upset that these two morons inadvertently caused him to lose millions of dollars in merchandise but he can't kill them because he's married to Charlie's mother. Naturally, the only option left is to trust them to take a package to Australia and successfully deliver it to one of their associates there. No one could have imagined something would go wrong. Well, I imagined it and I'd only known these guys for these than 30 minutes so why the hell didn't Sal and the other mobsters figure that this is as much beyond their skillset as everything else they've ever done in life? Anyway, Ass and Hole arrive in Australia and, against orders, open the package to find $50,000. Knowing they must now take the utmost care to safeguard this cache of mob money, they start driving through the Outback without looking where they're going and hit a kangaroo. Thinking it's dead, they do what any of us would do, that being dress it up in Louis's Brooklyn jacket so they can take pictures. Sadly, their lifetime pattern of bad luck and incompetence is not broken here as the kangaroo turns out to be alive and hops off with Louis's jacket. The jacket, by the way, has the money. After a brief chase in which their jeep hits everything it could possibly hit, they end up walking to the nearest town to call the mysterious Mr. Smith, the guy who was waiting for the package. I guess they thought Louis misunderstanding Australian slang would never get old because they do it again. And again. And some more. And I imagine they'll do it several more times too. By the way, let me wish a hearty "Welcome Back" to Martin Csokas who plays Mr. Smith. He was last seen in the Liveblog of Aeon Flux. Few actors are capable of this level of consistency in their work. Actually, he's a good actor. It's just a shame he keeps doing movies like this.

Good job, Walken. These were definitely the right guys for the job.

0:58:00 -- Louis meets a beautiful naturalist named Jessie (Estella Warren) who tells him the best way to capture their kangaroo would to shoot it from a plane with a tranquilizer dart. My greatest wish in life when I saw that was to find some way to place a large wager on whether or not the kangaroo would outsmart them and make them shoot themselves with that and, sure enough, they did less than four minutes later. Actually, they shot their pilot, a likable local named Blue, but I would have still won the bet. After they crashed, they thought it would be a good idea to wander through one of the world's most barren and inhospitable deserts to search for the kangaroo though I do admire the fact that they show no fear at the prospect of all those biker gangs looking for gasoline. While all this was going on, Sal sent his right hand man Frankie to search for and kill Louis and Charlie which, incidentally, is what Mr. Smith was supposed to do for the $50,000 fee. Smith has launched his own search and they each end up thinking it's just a swell idea to try and track these guys down when it looks like nature will probably succeed in taking them out itself. Charlie starts hallucinating and that's when they just happen to run into Jessie. Because really, what are the odds of not running into a beautiful woman in the middle of the Outback? He assumes she's another mirage and the only funny moment in the last half hour happened when, thinking she not real, he grabbed her breasts. Other than that, all other attempts at humor are just downright adorable in their sheer earnestness as they are lacking in any comedic value. Watching this movie try to be funny is like watching a duck try to perform neurosurgery. For instance, there's the seven minute sequence where they're riding camels and the camels won't stop farting. This is full on Adam Sandler level humor and that is only successful when Adam Sandler is doing it. Jessie agrees to help them for $2000 and, when they track down the kangaroo, she tells them they can knock it out by smearing mud over themselves to hide their scent and throwing bolos at it. I'm not sure what in Jessie's brief experience with these guys made her think there was a chance in Hell it wouldn't all go wrong and then SURPRISE it all goes wrong when Louis gets a sudden diarrhea attack just as the bolos are being thrown. Did I mention the dream sequence where the kangaroo rapped? It's probably best that I didn't.

Yep, this will end well.

1:28:00 -- After some scenes of awkward, pathetic flirting by both Charlie and Jessie, they manage to get captured by Smith. Jessie offers to show him where Kangaroo Jack (and Smith's money) is if they let the other two go. She goes with Smith and his henchmen take them off to be killed anyway but, in a scene that proves Smith lacks the ability to pick competent henchmen, Charlie and Louis manage to outsmart them. In fact, Charlie and Louis suddenly act with supreme competence in all they do. They find Smith and retrieve Jessie but then Frankie shows up because, really, how hard could anyone be to find in the vastness of the Australian Outback? Charlie, Louis and Jessie manage to escape while Frankie and Smith start battling it out. Louis manages to snag to money from the Brooklyn jacket Jack is wearing thinking this will get Frankie to spare them but he finally reveals that they were sent to Australia in the first place to be killed. Luckily, the writers know all about the concept of Deus Ex Machina and have an Australian policeman, a guy I never mentioned before because we thought he was just Frankie's tour guide, swoop in at the last minute and save everyone. Oh, Charlie managed to save Louis' life and there was a big emotional scene and Lord I don't want to talk about this anymore so let's skip to the end where, one year later, Charlie and Louis made a shampoo out of some berries they found in the Outback. Charlie marries Jessie, Louis does...hell, I don't know. He does something but we'll never know because the movie is over.

This scene of a kangaroo's backside perfectly sums up the movie. See ya later.