Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 3/31/11

Sorry folks, I won't be posting another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs this week. HA HA, APRIL FOOL! Yes, I know that's not till tomorrow but that just means this isn't an April Fool and that makes it the GREATEST APRIL FOOL OF ALL TIME!!! Really, it does.

Here's an interesting story about Elizabeth Taylor's role in taking down the Production Code, a set of self imposed movie industry rules governed by religious zealots that not only forbade even mildly excessive sexuality but also interracial couples. The current movie rating system still has trouble separating serious adult material from pornography but at least we're better off now than we were back then. So thanks Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Mike Nichols and everyone else who dared to stand up to censorship. Thanks to you, we now have movies like Transformers and...Sucker Punch...screw you guys.

The new Dr. Who trailer looks very cool. It teases just enough without spoiling a damn thing. It's lucky I don't have sex with trailers because if I did, it would be very sore and very pregnant by now.

Everyone complained last week about the costume being worn by the latest incarnation of Wonder Woman. well America, you can't get decent healthcare income equality but by God you can get a television network to make minor wardrobe changes to the costumes of fictional characters. They still should have done what they did to Batman and reimagined it completely to be more in line with what a real person would wear because, after all, a real person is now wearing it but it is better than it was. I'll let you know if I have any trouble ripping it off Adrianne Palicki's body when I fantasize about her.

The only answer I can come up with for this headline is, "He'll get his own show on a pornographic version of the Food Network."

Joel Surnow claims that the History Channel almost killed his mini-series about the Kennedys because he's conservative. Actually, it seems the real reason is that someone at the History Channel actually sat down and read the script.

In this week's reboot news, how the hell can Child's Play be darker? Also, they are already quite literally planning to reboot the Batman franchise before The Dark Knight Rises has even been made. This news backs up my theory that the Harry Potter movies will be "rebooted" and the whole franchise will start over again six months after the last one premieres this summer.

By now, you may have heard of Jacqueline Howett, the writer of an e-book who freaked in a comments section over a critic's bad review. Truth to tell, I feel sorry for her. It was unprofessional but she is inexperienced and almost certainly didn't think the story would get the coverage it did. Still, we do live in an age where there truly isn't such a thing as bad publicity and I can't see this not moving at least a few copies of her book. Hmm...


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meh-ga Mind

Three movies came out last week and I only had time to see two. Naturally, the one I missed was #1 at the box office. As my desire in life is to always be on the cutting edge of last week, I went to see Limitless.

The best thing I can say about Limitless is that it's bad in a bland, conventional way, not the infuriating way in which Sucker Punch was bad. The acting provided some bright spots but otherwise it was just dumb and dull piece of lame science fiction.

Bradley Cooper is pretty good as Eddie Morra, a slacker in every sense of the word. When the movie opens, he has a lot of stuff he really shouldn't have. He has these things because they were granted unto him by the godlike powers of the screenwriters and they only did that so they could take those things away. He's losing his hot girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish who was also in Sucker Punch because all he ever does is bitch about how he does nothing. He's also about to lose his book contract which he somehow got despite not having written a word ever because he still hasn't written a word since landing the contract. He's as down and out as down and out can be but, before he can comfortably settle into a future of flipping burgers and getting high, he runs into Vernon, his brother-in-law from a previous marriage. Vernon used to be just like him but now he's all cleaned up and wearing expensive suits. How'd that happen? Turns out is was because of some pill that turns on certain chemical receptors in the brain. Vernon insists it's FDA approved. It turns out that Vernon really likes to lie but Eddie didn't know that when he took the pill.

Suddenly, Eddie is a genius. He now has laser like focus, can recall any fact he's ever learned at any point in his life and can quickly form ingenious plans both short term and long and solve all the problems in his life. He finishes his book in four days and starts making gobs of cash at the stock market. He even manages to get Lindy back. Only problem is that the pills wear off. When he goes to Vernon to get more, he finds Vernon dead but he also finds a huge stockpile of the pills. I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense up to this point. Then this supposed genius decides to borrow $100,000 from the Russian mob to invest despite the fact that he doubles his money every day and would have that much if he just waited a week. Then he gets mixed up with a ruthless financier named Carl van Loon (played by promising newcomer named Robert De Niro). Despite the fact that he can't fail at the market, he takes a job picking stocks for van Loon instead. Why? Because if he hadn't done any of these things, he'd have no problems. Well, turns out the pills can cause memory gaps and he may have committed a murder. (Spoiler alert at the bottom*) He'd stop taking them because of this but it turns out that this will cause life threatening withdrawal symptoms. But, in addition to all that, he now must also deal with crazy Russians who could kill him and a rich guy who could ruin his life in various other ways.

And that's just the plot. One of the first things I did when the movie was over was check to see if this was director Neil Burger's first movie. Turns out it's his fourth. The reason I thought this is because it's not uncommon for new directors to take every trick they learned in film school and toss them on the screen whether they were needed or not. Shift everything so the shot is now upside down? Sure. Show the same character in several spots at the same time? Why not. Zoom the camera into a mirror so you're closing in on the same image over and over. Go for it. It's annoying and distracting and shows why film schools should be required to teach a class called Less Is More 101.

Cooper, De Niro and the rest of the cast do just fine with what they're given and it starts as an interesting idea but that's where the compliments end. What this movie really needed were limits and yes, I know that's a lame joke but it's about the same level of joke you might hear in the movie so I thought it was one that should be used here.

*SPOILER ALERT: That stupid murder never does get solved. He may have brought a woman back to her home and killed her without realizing. The police suspect him but it never gets past that. This is one of the reasons I call the movie dumb.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Punch Stunk

On Thursday, I wrote this about director Zach Snyder and his new movie Sucker Punch:
This means he now has the power to do what he wants. It also means he's about due for an epic failure that everyone knew was coming but no one had the guts to stop him. Hopefully, that will be his next movie and my weekend won't be ruined when I see Sucker Punch.
I hate being right. I also hate seeing my hopes dashed. Zach Snyder has now delivered an epic failure my weekend was ruined.

I was expecting to enjoy Sucker Punch. Even when I saw it's Tomatometer rating was in the low 30s (it's since dropped into the low 20s), I was optimistic. I don't look at reviews after I decide to review a movie myself so I didn't know why the rating was so low but I guessed that it had a stupid, nonsensical story for which Snyder's amazing visuals failed to compensate. After seeing it, I was so disappointed with it that I wanted to see if the world shared my misery and, while they hated it too, it was for entirely different reasons. Looking through the snippets of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the general consensus was that it was dumb, boring, misogynistic, and confusing. All these sentiments are skillfully expounded upon by Richard Roeper and, oddly, I completely disagree with them. I didn't think the story was dumb. After a bit of confusion in the beginning, I followed it fairly easily. I found it sorely lacking in misogyny. In addition to all that, I thought the visuals were simply amazing. Zach Snyder has this way of putting a camera behind his eyes and transferring his imagination directly to film and he has accomplished this once again. You know, this all sounds like a good review and, up to a certain point, it is. Then it happened. The event that pissed me off and soured me on the movie.

The story takes place on three levels, the Real World, the Dream and the Dream Within A Dream. The one doing the dreaming is Babydoll (Emily Browning). This, like almost every other name in the movie, almost certainly isn't real but rather a name she has assigned to real people about who she is now dreaming. In reality, Babydoll's mother dies and, upon finding out that she left her fortune to Babydoll and her sister, Babydoll's wicked pig of a stepfather flies into a drunken rage. First, he tries to rape Babydoll then he goes after the 10 year old sister. Babydoll escapes from where the stepfather locked her up and gets hold of his gun but the stepfather has already killed the sister. Babydoll is so traumatized by all of this that she's almost catatonic. This makes it possible for the stepfather to frame her for the sister's murder and lock her up in a mental institution where he pays a corrupt orderly named Blue (Oscar Isaac) to arrange for a lobotomy in five days. This is when Babydoll escapes her torment by embracing a fantasy but real life catches up with her there when real life events start corresponding to fantasy events.

In the dream, she's in a dance club/brothel run by Blue who plans to sell her to a man called the High Roller in five days. Here, though, she's lucid and she's also such a mesmerizing dancer that men are entranced. We, on the other hand, see an even deeper level of fantasy when she dances. Here, she and her fellow inmates/dancers are provocatively dressed members of an elite fighting force commanded by the Wiseman (Scott Glenn) who gives Babydoll a plan to escape that involves fighting demons, zombies, dragons and robots. No humans, probably because Babydoll isn't a killer, even in dreams. If she were, she'd have shot the stepfather in the face when she had the chance.

So, what didn't I like about it. That's where it gets hard. The reason I hated the movie is deep into spoiler territory. What I will say is this. What happened to Babydoll is, simply, one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. The fact that it was painted as some sort of victory made it even worse. While it was at least implied that Blue and the stepfather would have to pay for what they did, it didn't make up for doing what was done to her and, frankly, the people responsible for this movie should be ashamed of themselves. And no, I'm not exaggerating.

Snyder's visuals are amazing. The action scenes kick ass. The girls are gorgeous and Emily Browning has a face designed by nature to be featured in movie close ups. And none of that mattered. None of that kept the movie from crashing down. I imagine Snyder's next movie about Superman will end with Lex Luthor waving Superman's head around on a stick. If it does, it will still end better than Sucker Punch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Things I've Learned From Watching Movies Part 89

It's time to once again see what upcoming movies have to teach us.

It turns out that pink bunnies are lethal, chickens are megalomaniacs and there's a reason that jelly beans taste like shit.

History is something that can be freely pissed away. That's what these guys say anyway.

Go ahead and remake a beloved comedy. It's not like anyone will notice or care.

I thought that Kick Ass had already taught us that little girls are unbeatable psychopaths but I guess we have to learn it all over again.

If you lose your arm in a shark attack, the way to recover and once again become a champion surfer is to have a Katy Perry song playing in the background. Also, if this girl does well, don't tell her she deserves a hand.

If you were nominated AND actually won an Oscar this year, the only worthy follow up is a crude comedy in which you are given either second or third billing to Danny McBride.

You aren't truly successful
unless you've built a railroad using magic metal so you can have sex while riding on a train full of money.

Hitchcock was wrong. Birds are too stupid to ever rise up against us.

Jesus people, it's been a 150 years. Let it go.

When you run out of ideas, just do the same movie over and over.

See above only change the eternally remade movie to Blair Witch Project.

Some actors just aren't effective on screen without mumbling girlfriends and buff werewolves as their costars.

Turns out everyone who goes to prom is, at some level or other, an annoying douchebag. Again, though, we learn that all is made right by playing Katy Perry's "Firework."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 3/24/11

Spring has sprung, as they say, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere but, as we in the North know, those people don't matter and no more thought should be given to them. But I kid you Southerners. I kid because I love. To show you my love, here is another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

I'm sort of, kind of, almost really looking forward to seeing Sucker Punch. I hate to get hopes and expectations up but articles like this one have been doing just that. Oh, I don't care too much that director Zach Snyder works so closely with his wife. It's statements like this one that have peaked my interest.
"It's pretty fearless," said Oscar Isaac, who plays the villain Blue in a beard and eyeshadow. "In the sense that he is unashamedly putting everything that he thinks is cool, every idea that he's been wanting to see in a film — he puts it up there and does it very boldly."
Snyder has done the impossible. He's taken two famous graphic novels, both of which had a reputation of being unfilmable, and made them into two pretty good movies with remarkable visual imagination that were also quite profitable. This means he now has the power to do what he wants. It also means he's about due for an epic failure that everyone knew was coming but no one had the guts to stop him. Hopefully, that will be his next movie and my weekend won't be ruined when I see Sucker Punch.

Speaking of Zach Snyder, I'm still opposed to a new Superman movie and even more so now that Viggo Mortensen won't be playing Zod. Still, I just got done singing Snyder's praises and describing him as a guy who's pulled off unlikely feats so maybe...for the next part, please refer to the above paragraph when I talked about hating to raise my hopes and expectations.

And since I've raised the subject, here's something else that's unfilmable. This is obvious to anyone who ever read the book as well as anyone who ever saw the two failed attempts to bring it to the screen. Since Zach Snyder, the guy who films the unfilmable, isn't involved, the only reaction to the news of the project's apparent death is GOOD!

Who will be the one to stop this madness?

So, Captain America. He was never my favorite superhero. Thinking back, I wouldn't say he was even in the top ten. If I was short on money and had to choose which comic book to skip that week, he was always the one I'd choose. Well, him and Iron Man. The good news here is that I loved the movie adaptation of Iron Man so I see no reason not to raise my hopes and expectations to previously unimaginable heights and assume that the new Captain America movie coming out this summer will be the greatest movie ever in the history of anything.

I generally shy away from tributes to deceased movie stars so I'll let what people like Roger Ebert and many others have written about Elizabeth Taylor's death stand without my added voice. I will point out how events like this always bring out the worst in what were already really awful people. People like National Review's Mona Charen who decided the best way to pay tribute to Dame Elizabeth was to call her fat and then claim her lifestyle was proof and vindication of Mona Charen's beliefs and worldview. Luckily, I don't think I have to explain, at least not to you all, how absotively stupid it looks to hold up a woman who was divorced multiple times as evidence of the sheer wonderful awesomeness of marriage. I can only assume she's trying to lay the groundwork now to excuse the possible candidacy of Newt Gingrich who is currently on his third marriage.

One of the absolute worst of all the contest/reality shows out there is Dancing With The Stars, the show in which washed up athletes, slutty reality show stars and actors whose current level of fame is about on the same level as the cast of Riptide* come together to shake their good stuff to the delight of the sad, sick thing called the majority of the television audience. Thus, I take it as a sign of hope that this year's ratings, at least for the premiere, were down 20% from last year. Thanks a lot, America. Take the rest of the week off.

*Google it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So That's Why They Call It That

I honestly had no idea why The Lincoln Lawyer was called The Lincoln Lawyer until I saw the movie. I couldn't figure it out and I'm guessing everyone else but me knew that Matthew McConaughey plays a lawyer who mostly operates out of his Lincoln Towncar and now I'm sure you're all laughing hysterically at my inability to figure that out even though the damn car was prominently featured in all the ads. You know what? Go ahead and laugh. I will console myself with the fact that The Lincoln Lawyer turned out to be a decent movie.

It's always nice to go see a movie that appeals to a slightly more mature crowd than your average blockbuster. I don't have to deal with people talking back to the screen, running around or texting the person sitting right next to them. Now that the atmosphere has been set, all I need is a good movie and The Lincoln Lawyer manages to provide that. This is one of those adult oriented mysteries you see in the Spring and Fall, most of which suck but this one managed to pull it out.

This isn't a great movie or, more properly, A Great Movie but there aren't too many of those and I wasn't expecting one anyway. The story centers around Mick Haller, Attorney at Law (McConaughey). As I said, Mick has an office but, for all practical purposes, his true office is his Lincoln Towncar in which he and his driver, Earl, literally chase ambulances. Mick is in every way the stereotype of a sleazy lawyer though he does seem to be a highly competent one. He'll find ways to cheat and overcharge you while he gets you off but he will, more often than not, get you off. This is why he gets hired by Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a man accused of trying to beat and rape a prostitute. At first, he thinks Roulet is some spoiled rich boy who might actually be telling the truth about being set up so the girl can sue him. Eventually, he comes to think that Roulet might be a serial killer who's responsible for a murder for which another one of his clients, a poor Mexican man, was convicted a few years back. In real life, I suppose you'd resign from one case or the other but, if Mick did that, the movie would have ended about 40 minutes in and been really boring.

One of the secrets to making a movie like this is loading it with talented character actors which is why you have people like William H. Macy playing Mick's investigator and friend and Marisa Tomei as his ex-wife, mother of his daughter and still his occasional bed partner when they've both had enough to drink. Older movies used to have a lot of interesting supporting characters and it's a never a bad thing when a movie does that instead of only having one or two characters do and say all the interesting stuff.

All in all, The Lincoln Lawyer is a very pleasant movie going experience that reminds me how good it can be when movies are made for grownups and how great Matthew McConaughey is on screen when he's not doing horrible romantic comedies. It was odd seeing him with a shirt on but that was a price I was willing to pay.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Almost Bury Paul

Should you go and see Paul? Yeah. I guess. Unless you have something better to do. I mean, it's all right. It's nothing special but it's decent. Is the praise faint enough?

Paul just barely rates a good review from me. If I used a four star system like everyone else does, this would probably get two and a half stars. It started off as a decent movie about two British nerds named Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) who decide the best way to follow up their visit to Comic-Con would be to visit the nation's most notorious UFO sites. They witness a car accident and, as luck would have it, the passenger is a fugitive alien (a CGI creation voiced by Seth Rogen) named Paul. Paul's been on Earth since he crashed in Wyoming in 1947 (the Roswell crash was faked to distract people from this real crash) and he's been held by the government ever since. They take Paul on as a passenger despite the fact that Clive faints at the sight of him and then tries to strangle him when he wakes up. A cooly competent government agent named Zoil (the coolly competent Jason Bateman) is dispatched to either capture or kill Paul. He's forced by his superior (a surprise big name actor whose voice I recognized but I'll let it come as a surprise to you) to team up with two less-than-coolly competent agents (Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio). Up till this point, it's a better-than-average comedy. Paul is the smart, irreverent slacker that Seth Rogen is so good at playing and that matches well with Pegg and Frost's socially awkward nerds to create some funny situations. Unfortunately, it all falls apart when Kristen Wiig shows up.

She plays Ruth Buggs, a dim witted Fundamentalist Christian whose belief in Biblical Creationism is threatened by Paul's existence. In fact, she quickly abandons that belief as well as the deeply held religious views that have defined her entire existence and just starts awkwardly cursing for the rest of the movie since she now figures that, if one part of her ideology is wrong, there must be no God at all. I knew this character was coming because conservative movie site Big Hollywood has been bitching about it for weeks. For once, I agree with them that she ruins the movie. Oh, not because of any beliefs she might offend. I don't like her because she's not funny. She's two dimensional and, like many of Wiig's SNL characters, a one joke wonder. She spends most of the movie doing the same thing over and over, that being letting out sudden curse words and the character just sucks the air out of what was a very pleasant movie. Side note: John Carroll Lynch plays her crazy Fundamentalist father in the movie. Lynch is only 10 years older than Kristen Wiig meaning he clearly didn't embrace his religious beliefs until he had spent some years as a pre-teen sex machine.

So, all in all, Paul if fairly funny and still manages to create some comedy after Ruth Buggs shows up but they don't know how close they came to getting a bad review. Or maybe they do and just don't care. They have my ticket money, after all, and there's no way I can get it back. They're probably doing filthy things with it right now. Either way, thanks for the movie's good parts. They made it into something funnier than most of Hollywood's lame attempts at comedy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

So Sarong

The most popular feature on this blog are my Liveblogs. That's where I watch a lousy movie on Netflix Instant and make real time comments about it. The downside of this, at least for me, is that Netflix now thinks I enjoy lousy movies and keeps recommending them to me. This is the sacrifice I make for my artform, I suppose, but it also gives me leads on fresh material for more Liveblogs. Leads like a straight-to-DVD Rob Schneider "comedy" called The Chosen One. I watch it now knowing full well that Netflix will probably recommend The Love Guru or Good Luck Chuck but that's the way it is.

The movie teases us with this opening shot of Schneider jumping off a building because, in this instance, they know what the audience wants.

0:08:00 -- Not only does Rob Schneider star in this movie, he also wrote and directed it. Thus, for the first time in history, we will be treated to pure, undistilled Schneiderian vision and I, for one, say BRAVO! That's not really what I said but my true words, like the Necronomicon, would drive you to madness with a simple glance. Anyway, Schneider's presence made me assume this was a comedy but now I'm not at all sure if this is supposed to be a comedy since these first eight minutes have been utterly devoid of laughs. It opens with Schneider's character, Paul, falling to his death. Admittedly, that would make this the greatest Rob Schneider movie ever made and would make up for the sins he committed in The Animal and Deuce Bigalow but then they puss out and cut to him at home. Was it a dream? A flash-forward? A piece of unused footage that director Schneider failed to even notice was there? Whatever. Paul reacts to his wife leaving him by drunkenly setting his house on fire. Turns out this isn't the first instance of depression getting to him because his boss at the Nissan lot chews him out for not having sold a car in three months. The boss then meets with some bikini models he's hiring for an auto show. They're wearing sarongs and, when he tells them to take them off, he says, "Nothing sarong with that." Please note that was written by a man with three decades of comedy experience. The boss is played by Peter Riegert, a guy who once starred in Local Hero, one of the most delightful movies ever made. Now he's being forced by Auteur Schneider to say lines like, "Nothing sarong with that." Fuck you, Schneider. Seriously, just fuck you.

Hot bikini models don't make this movie any better or less sarong.

0:20:00 -- Oh dear Lord, this is boring. I still honestly don't know if this is supposed to be a comedy. Paul steals a new Nissan hybrid from the showroom floor, drives it through the showroom window and takes it home where he once again tries to commit suicide. Luckily for him, Paul is as good at committing suicide as he is at selling cars and this gives him the chance to open his door and see a lovely young woman named Marissa and her three South American shaman friends who seem to think that he is some sort of divine figure who can heal their land that has been decimated by global warming. They've obviously never seen The Hot Chick. Paul is also lucky that he is under the divine protection of the writer and director because not only did his boss not fire him but he's supposed to meet some higher up at Nissan. I suppose if he's blown up the entire dealership, he would have gotten a promotion and met the CEO.

That bastard Schneider keeps teasing us with images of his brutal death but he never follows through.

0:53:00 -- If it were me, I'd be a tad skeptical if a gorgeous woman and three Columbian shamans showed up at my door saying they thought I was the Chosen One but Paul just rolls with it, lets them stay the night and gives them money for a bus ticket home. When he gets home, his mother and his Buddhist monk brother Neal (Steve Buscemi, further proof that Schneider's true goal here was to ruin the careers of Hollywood's top character actors) stopped by. Paul and Neal don't get along, probably because they are both, to varying degrees, major league assholes. Neal even brings up their father's suicide to their elderly mother but I'm sure he's still an awesome Buddhist monk in all the other areas of his life. To the shock of no one but Paul, Marissa and the shamans show up back at his door. The one running gag here is that Paul constantly mispronounces the name the shamans' tribe which he does again when introducing them. Schneider does not seem to grasp the concept of a joke getting less funny with repeated tellings so I'm sure I'll have to hear him refer to the Arhuaco tribesmen as Apakapos at least three more times. Maybe it will be funny then. Paul went back to work the next day and the South Americans showed up and started doing some sort of ritual on the showroom floor. Marissa grew up in the city so you'd think she would have told them not to do that but she just passively translates while they light incense and start dancing around before Paul finally gets them out. Again, this does not get Paul fired though I suppose now he can do anything he wants as long as it's not driving one of the most expensive cars on the lot through a plate glass window.

"I have no idea why a woman this hot is even talking to me. Oh right, I'm the director."
-- Rob Schneider

1:12:00 -- Paul, in his wisdom, figures the best thing for Colombian shamans to do when far from home is to go to an amusement park. This actually leads to something funny when one of the shamans wins a stuffed kangaroo at the park and adds it to their prayer circle. It wouldn't be that funny normally but in this case it was comparable to giving water to a man who's spent the past few days in the desert. Paul has been having a recurring dream of being in a jungle with a hawk flying overhead. When he sees that same hawk on the news being evicted from its home on the roof of a posh New York City building, the shamans tell him that he must go to New York and save the bird before mating season is over. We also revisit the subplot about Paul, his brother and how they're gigantic asses to their mother but that whole damn segment could have been cut out of the movie so it's not worth mentioning.

Hello, hello, hellooooooo...Hello!

1:40:00 -- For some reason, Paul going to New York and saving these hawks will save the Arhuacos' village. Paul seems like he's up for it but then goes on a drinking binge when his ex-wife says she wants to get back together. This finally shakes the faith that Marissa and the shamans have in him so they declare him Un-Chosen and leave. On the eve of his getting back together with his ex and receiving the Salesman of the Year Award, something I'm sure they give to all the people who don't sell a car for months and drive a car through the showroom window, Paul has a change of heart and runs off to NYC to save the damn hawks. The building has removed the nest and put some chickenwire over the site so they can't rebuild it so Paul steals the remains of the nest from the protesters who were holding onto it and runs into the building. the logical thing to do would have been to take the stair to the roof since the nest site is a perch just below it so naturally Paul climbs out a window two floors below the perch and scales the side of the building. Just in case the audience was feeling too good about this moment of triumph, writer/director Schneider decides to mix together scenes of Paul replacing the nest and flashing back to when he had found his father after he'd hanged himself. It's like he thought, "What would Scorcese do?" and then did the opposite. Anyway, remember that scene in the beginning when Paul was falling off to his death? This is why. His hands slip and he falls 20 stories to the street but, as I'm sure anyone watching (which means just me) predicted, the fire department had set up one of those big inflatable cushions they use to catch jumpers and he lands safely. He goes home then heads off to South America. It ends with him in a jeep driving toward the Arhuacos' now snow covered mountain. What we didn't see was the scene where they said, "Um, yeah, you were chosen to save the hawks and thanks for that. You can go now." Schneider must have cut that out for length reasons. Whatever. At least the movie's over.

This is basically me giving this movie the bird.
I shouldn't do that as this was the only interesting character.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 3/17/11

Happy St. Patrick's Day. In honor of this least holy of days, I have written a special edition of Look At My Briefs designed to be read while drunk. Please get as drunk as you can before reading this. I'll wait. Done? Cool.

It's a shame that Fox has decided to postpone the premiere of Terra Nova. I want it to start up now, and by that I mean this very second. I want to turn on my local Fox affiliate and see it playing. The sooner it premieres, the sooner I can make fun of it before it's mercifully canceled. I've mentioned this before but I am simply assuming Terra Nova is going to suck. In fact, let's not call it an assumption. It's really an educated guess. When you click the link and see the names of the executive producers, the name Brannon Braga will jump out at you if you are at all familiar with it. Brannon Braga is best known for making the last two Star Trek shows, Voyager and Enterpirse, staggeringly mediocre viewing experiences that were mostly mixtures of melodrama mized with dialogue like, "Let's vent cronoton particles through the warp plasma converters and shunt it through the main deflector dish." Since then, he's made a few crap series like Threshold (which also has the same name of one of the worst Voyager epsiodes, also written by Braga) and Flash Forward, neither of which went more than a year. So bring it on, Fox. But Braga, and us, out of our misery.

This may as well have said, "Mike Clear, Don't Bother Reading This." Still, it does mean I don't have to see commercials of a shirtless chunkhead and various hot women crying and professing their eternal love till next year. Between now and then, I will forget that The Bachelor even exists and will be annoyed when they remind me it's back. And so it goes.

OK, no one leaves this room until you tell me which of you was demanding a reunion of the original American Pie cast for another movie. Those movies aren't bad, mind you, and I liked the way the third movie wrapped the whole story up. My main objection to a new one is...I liked the way the third movie wrapped the story up. Oh well, looks like a done deal. I wonder what Jason Biggs will stick his dick into this time. Probably an animal.

Saying, "Richard Linklater will direct a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet," reminds of that old, "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong," game. Also, you all do know that Mr. Limpet was a man who had sex with a fish, right? Sure, he had turned into a fish but he started off human. I can't see me suddenly wanting to pork a mackerel even if I was a mackerel myself. And yes, Limpet and Ladyfish did it. It wasn't onscreen but what do you think they were going to do when they swam off together at the end? It's not like there's an alternative to sex in the ocean. On land, you can join play World of Warcraft or join a Star Trek club but those options don't exist for fish. Seriously, who's the sick fuck who thought all this up?

The right wing has once again decided that an apolitical film is actually a conservative screed and is labeling anyone who doesn't like it an un-American elitist. As usual, Big Hollywood's John Nolte is at the forefront of this debate and is upset over Roger Ebert's negative review of the movie and the fact that the existence of that review now makes it impossible for him to achieve any kind of totally hetero boner while thinking of Battle: Los Angeles. Nolte's point is that lots and lots of people saw Battle: LA and how could they all be wrong? This must mean Nolte must have absolutely loved Avatar, the top grossing movie of all time, but no, he didn't. the difference between him and Ebert is that Ebert wrote his review after he saw while Nolte wrote the first of many trashings of Avatar six months before it was even released. I should leave Nolte alone though because he's going to be very upset when he hears the news about another right wing fetish film, the Red Dawn remake.

Hey, remember that movie with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher? You know, they played a couple who decided to keep their relationship strictly about sex even though they were obviously crazy about each other? Do you remember it because I honestly can't remember the title. I could look it up but I think it's probably a good thing that I can't remember it. Anyway, if you missed it when it was out earlier this year, you can catch basically the same movie when it comes out in July.

This is the best comment I've heard so far about the upcoming Arthur remake with Russell Brand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

15 Years Later

Hard to believe Independence Day came out in 1996. You may remember that as the movie in which Jeff Goldblum managed to get alien computers to do what 90% of the computers on this planet can't. He got them to effortlessly interface with a Macintosh and thus foiled an invasion that they had planned for decades. Surely our film industry has evolved since then and we would never think that a species capable of interstellar travel that conquers our major cities in less than a day could be so easily dispatched. If you walk into Battle: LA thinking that, you will be wrong.

Yes, the alien invasion is taken out in such a way that I can only assume that the aliens who invade Earth are not the ones who actually developed the magnificent technology they used to travel to and attack Earth but, rather, some sort of alien fraternity who drunkenly stole it from a smart race one night and said, "Dudes, let's go invade somewhere."

Maybe I'm expecting too much. Can I really ask for the heights of storytelling sophistication from a mass market high concept blockbuster studio film? The answer is no. It's not just no, it's hell no. However, if you're going to have a stupid plot, you have to do a lot to make up for it. You have to have spectacular action, cool special effects, funny jokes and a strong, compelling hero at the center of it all and no, that guy doesn't have to be smart. This movie doesn't have enough of any of those to make it worth watching which is why the stupid plot shines so brightly.

The movie opens with Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) announcing his retirement to his superior. He's been burned out since his last tour in Iraq. A large number of his men died and he may or may not have been responsible but he blames himself anyway so he's quitting though he will come to regret signing a contract that says he cannot quit during an alien invasion. We meet several other Marines too. These guys are distinctly different characters and some of them are actually interesting. There are quite a few of them and their stories come at us at a fairly fast clip in the movie's first 15 minutes but you need not worry about paying attention. Who these guys are and what their lives are like will completely disappear once the aliens invade. I honestly don't know why they spent so much time and effort having us get to know these guys. As soon as the bombs start to hit, they strap on their helmets and spend the rest of the movie yelling things like, "OVER HERE, STAFF SERGEANT!" and, "LOOK OUT!"

So, we don't have a smart plot or interesting characters. That means we must get spectacular visual effects and action sequences. Now, those may very well have been a wonder to behold and a true feast for the eyes but we don't know because we couldn't see them. Most of the movie was either dark or there was so much smoke and dust floating around that you couldn't make out what was going on. All of this came together and made it impossible for me to accept the idea that the aliens' worldwide army of flying kill-drones were controlled from one central location that could be taken out by a few Marines and a couple of missiles thus foiling what should have been an unstoppable invasion.

Battle: LA is hardly the worst example of the really, really dumb action film but, honestly, I think the Transformers movies showed more intelligence and had more entertainment value and I hated those movies. I don't think I hate Battle: LA though. I certainly won't remember it like I remember the Transformers movies but that's good. I'll sit back and quietly allow this movie to drift away from my consciousness. This will allow room for the next stupid alien invasion movie when I'll write pretty much what you just read above. As always, all of this has happened before and all of this shall happen again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bad Wolf

On Saturday, the day after I posted a joke review of Red Riding Hood, I ended up having to actually go see it. Before it started, I tweeted this. I was really, really hoping I'd be wrong. I wasn't. I don't claim psychic powers, mind you. It's just that predicting Red Riding Hood would suck wasn't that tough of a call. In the joke review, I said director Catherine Hardwicke had learned from the mistakes she made making Twilight but she didn't learn a damn thing and why should she have? Twilight and its sequels have made a bazillion dollars so I suppose she and everyone else involved in making this movie didn't see a reason to not try and copy that successful formula and soak the teenage girl looking for yet another edition of sex free porn. To their credit, a good chunk of the audience with whom I saw the movie was teenage girls. I hope they liked it. I didn't.

It turns out the Brothers Grimm had this story completely wrong, probably because they didn't have access to young adult literature and didn't know the elements that would make it truly interesting. Luckily, we have Catherine Hardwicke to take the tale of a little girl saved from a wolf by a friendly woodsman to transform that timeless, popular tale into a dated, contemporary tale that's so popular that it opened third behind some crappy looking aliens and a talking chameleon. Red is now a sexy young woman named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and the woodsman who saved Red is now some pretty boy douchebag with excellent hair named Peter. Peter and Valerie are in love but her family wants her to marry another pretty boy douchebag with excellent hair named Henry who is only differentiated from Peter by the fact that his family has money. Mind you, that's a relative term as they live in one of those medieval villages where the richest guy in town is the one whose house smells 10% less like shit than the homes of everyone else in the village but that's better than nothing, I suppose. There is, sadly, a huge obstacle keeping Valerie from enjoying either a comfortable life with Henry or a poor, hot sex filled life with Peter and that is the werewolf.

Every full moon for a couple decades now, a wolf shows up in town. He used to kill people until they started leaving some of their best livestock out for it. That satisfied the wolf until the day that it didn't and he decided to get back to what he was good at, that being killing the villagers and who better to start with than Valerie's sister?

So, what was not to like about this? First, I figured out who the werewolf was pretty quickly. It was just a guess at first and they kept throwing out fake clues because they wanted you to think it could be anyone. Hell, Valerie even saw at one point that, in human form, the werewolf had brown eyes, something that turned out to be the most useless clue in history when it turned out that everyone in the village, including some werewolf hunters who had just arrived, had brown eyes. Still, I thought, "Oh, that's the wolf," pretty much as soon as I saw this person and I was right. Another reason to hate it is some of the most lackluster acting I've seen in a while. This is pretty much the case with everyone except for Gary Oldman's sadistic werewolf hunter character, Father Solomon. Oldman defies what were apparently Catherine Hardwicke's instructions to the cast to act as if their characters were mannequins. True, he goes in the opposite direction by mixing full on Shatnering with a bit of, "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD, SON OF JOR-EL!" mixed in but he was a welcome bright spot nonetheless. One more thing I want to mention is that all the deaths in the movie, and there were many, were completely unnecessary. The legend says, and this is demonstrated to be true, that the wolf cannot enter holy ground so, naturally, everyone in the village silently and collectively decides to stay as far away from their local church as they possibly can on full moon nights. Oh, Valerie has a dream about her grandmother that's as dumb as it is homoerotic. Ugh.

I see Catherine Hardwicke's next film will be a new adaptation of Hamlet. Under her watchful eye, it will doubtlessly become the forbidden love story of Hamlet and some nervous virgin and I, for one, can't wait.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bizarro World Movie Reviews -- Red Riding Hood

Sometimes a movie comes along that shakes you to your core and necessitates underwear changes. Sometimes a movie challenges your perceptions and notions of the world. Sometimes your entire worldview is challenged by a single movie and you know that, now, everything will be different. Today's release of Red Riding Hood is all that and more. It is also an ancient story told through the filter of a post modern paradigm shift and no, I have no idea what that means but you know what? That doesn't make it any less true.

You knew ahead of time that Red Riding Hood would be something special. Why? It's directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the woman who directed Twilight. Now, Twilight was a horrible film. I mean absolutely godawful. It's the kind of movie H.P. Lovecraft would have described as, "Having risen from the deepest and foulest of the Stygian depths, it's very existence blasphemous and its very nature insane." The fact that Red Riding Hood and Twilight were directed by the same person can mean only one thing. Catherine Hardwicke is due for a win. She learned everything there was to learn about making a horrible movie from Twilight and has now learned from her mistakes so that she can now make a movie that is not only not bad but also kicks bad in the balls and takes its lunch money. Red Riding Hood is Catherine Hardwicke's redemption, her transformation and her apology to the world.

I really don't see how you could possibly go wrong in taking the centuries old folk tale of a little girl who encounters a wolf in the forest and turning it into the story of a sexy young woman who has hot sex with some equally pretty boy in the forest. When I heard this, I thought of only one thing. They must add a werewolf. A werewolf is the one thing that could possibly save and elevate this story into the heights of film making greatness. If this new version of Red Riding Hood doesn't contain a werewolf, they may as well just film Catherine Hardwicke taking a crap and show that in theaters because it will basically be the same thing. Luckily, the makers of this movie somehow heard me because the main focus of the movie is werewolves, hot girls getting attacked by werewolves and hot girls possibly getting it on with werewolves. This is as if the Holy Trinity was tossed into the Perfect Storm and then the whole thing got deep fried into some sort of Mega Burrito of Awesomeness which assumes you into Heaven when you eat it. The best part of that is that, once you're in Heaven, you can spend all of eternity watching Red Riding Hood over and over.

You will either love Red Riding Hood or hate it bu, if you hate it, it means that you hate love, freedom, wolves, color, and your mom because I guarantee that your mom will love it. It's entirely possible that you're not even human but are a soulless lump of putrid goo given life when lighting struck you in the toxic waste site you were dumped in. If so, you should just go back there as there is no room for you in the modern Renaissance that is about to be ushered in by Red Riding Hood.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 3/10/11

It's March 10, a day no one gives a crap about. To give it some sort of importance, I have decided to publish another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

By what definition is Twilight: Eclipse an Indie film?

The news that Guillermo del Toro isn't going to direct a big budget adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness is a shame. If there's anyone who could have done Lovecraft justice, it's del Toro. He would have shown the book the proper respect while making changes necessary as it's really not something that would make an interesting movie, something that can be said of most of Lovecraft's work. On the other hand, I am now spared having to say, "This sucks. Did this A-hole del Toro even read the book?"

The answer to this question is no.

The answer to this question is yes.

I agree completely with Michael Bay that Transformers 2 was crap. Only difference is I was saying it two years ago. I sincerely doubt that Transformers 3 will be much better though I look forward to Bay's next apology two years from now.

At this point, it will only be newsworthy if some godawful problem isn't causing major delays of the Spider-Man musical. Most Broadway productions would be upset about being shut down till June but I'm betting the makers of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark are saying, "Only June? Let's break out the champagne and party hats."

Coincidentally, this Hollywood Reporter headline is also the lead story in this month's issue of No Shit, Sherlock magazine.

The 3D re-release of Phantom Menace is coming out in February, 2012. The good news is that we'll start getting the good Star Wars movies in 2015.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


My reward for a long day at work was me having to shovel my mom's car out of 15 inches of snow so I will do a quick review of Rango.


Rango is good. Go see it no matter what age you are. It's a great satire combining plot elements of High Noon, Shane, Chinatown and...

Well, that's all the time I have. See you Thursday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Matt In The Hat

If, like me, you're a fan of the science fiction author Philip K. Dick then you know that many movies have been made based on his work. You also know that most of those movies were radically altered and some are barely recognizable adaptations of their source material. And you know what? I'm fine with that. No, really. I merely have to tell myself beforehand that the movie and the story it was based on are two completely different products and that one really doesn't have anything to do with the other. Case in point: Dick's Adjustment Team really doesn't have that much to do with Matt Damon's new movie The Adjustment Bureau.

Oh sure, they each have supernatural beings who go around making sure the timeline goes according to some preconceived plan but it's no longer about some unlucky insurance salesman who accidentally discovers this. The movie concerns a candidate for the U.S. Senate named David Norris and the story reminds me a lot of a Harlan Ellison story. You've probably seen the Star Trek episode City On The Edge of Forever in which Kirk goes back in time and falls in love with a woman who was supposed to die. In the version we all know, Kirk sacrifices the woman he loves in order to correct history and save the future but, in Ellison's original version, Kirk said the hell with it and decided to make sure she lived and it was Spock who made sure that he failed to do so. Matt Damon's character follows a similar track.

The movie begins on the night David Norris loses his first attempt to become a Senator due mainly to pictures of him mooning his recent college reunion. A chance meeting with a dark haired English woman named Elise (Emily Blunt) in a bathroom inspires him to make a memorable concession speech that is talked about for years and creates enough voter goodwill to make a future run possible. What he doesn't know is that this was not a chance meeting but was engineered by a hidden force called...oh hell, you know what it's called. The two most prominent members, at least at first, are Richardson (Mad Men's John Slattery) and Harry (Hurt Locker actor Anthony Mackie). Richardson is a cool headed, by the book kind of guy who does what he's told and seems fine with it but Harry seems on the verge of a major burnout. He's been "adjusting" David's future for a very long time now and, in that time, he's done some very bad stuff. This causes him to be so world weary that he fails in a crucial mission three years later in which he was merely supposed to make sure David spilled his coffee. His failure means that something happened that wasn't supposed to happen. David again met the woman who inspired him. The plan is that they were never again supposed to meet and yet, here they are, talking and joking and forming a strong, mutual attraction. Even worse, David stumbled in and actually witnessed the Adjustment Bureau as they were changing the thoughts of work colleague so that said colleague would agree with David in an important decision.

Things go bad for both the Bureau and David. David seems to have the upper hand at first as he defies the Bureau but they remind him that they are more or less all powerful. At first, they make a convincing argument to David as to why he should stay away from Elise but, eventually, he decides his love for her is more important than any sort of Divine Plan for the human race. With Harry's help, he steals one of the magic hats that allows the Bureau to move through mystical doorways and goes up against the guardians of time itself.

I know I'm not supposed to say this but I like the movie better than the story. The story is meant to be a clever little tale of some guy who sees what he's not supposed to. The movie is a more ambitious and passionate story of a man and woman risking everything for something so simple as true love. The Adjustment Bureau is not a great movie but it's a pretty good one. I hope Philip K. Dick would approve. The most likely possibility is that he would make so much money off the deal that he wouldn't care and that's fine too.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen Screwing Lindsay Lohan

Sorry. Just wanted to do something to up my Saturday traffic. Hi there, Google.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I tried to be nice, Charlie Sheen. I really did. Yesterday, I only said "Fuck you" to you once and trust me, that was me being nice, but you still insist on acting like an ass and, as a result, clogging up my various newsfeeds. The way I see it, I have two options and I really don't want to suicide bomb you so we'll go with option #2. I will now take one of your crap movies, those being "Everything since Wall Street," and make it the subject of one of my merciless Liveblogs. Sadly, the first two movies I thought of, Major League and Young Guns, weren't available on Netflix Instant. I like to do this with movies I haven't seen before anyway and, luckily, you've made plenty of movies that no one has seen. Movies like 1994's The Chase, a movie that will now be seen for the first time since Charlie dragged his mom to the theater and cried until she told him it was better than The Godfather.

The producers thought people would see this if they thought Charlie perished in flames.

0:06:30 -- And so, it begins. Here we are, not even 10 minutes into this and I've already had my intelligence insulted on several different levels. Our old pal, Dumbfuck Chuck, is playing a guy on the run. Why? We don't know yet but I can't believe it matters. Sadly, his Crimemobile is an 89 Volkswagen Rabbit, the car he's driving as he pulls into a very pleasant looking suburban self serve station/convenience store run by a clerk, whose name I suspect is Jethro McStupid due to the fact that he can't successfully open a roll of nickels. The only other customer is a pretty, sharply dressed blond played by Kristy Swanson, an actress best known to me for Flowers In The Attic in which she had sex with her brother which would still be a step up from doing it with Charlie Sheen. Two cops walk in and Jethro's fumbling gives them plenty of time to receive a call about a stolen 89 Volkswagen Rabbit but Chuckels manages to hold them off when he takes the girl hostage by holding a Butterfinger candy bar to her back and telling her it's a gun. This, by the way, has to be the worst product placement since the scene in Dolores Claiborne that showed Gary Sinise playing an incestuous wife beater who was clearly drinking a Coke. Not only do the police not draw their guns but they actually let the Winner take their guns so they've violated approximately 815 rules of how they're supposed to behave in a situation like this. He then loads the terrified girl into her own BMW and they drive away so yeah, this is gonna be fun fun fun in the California Sun.

This is the first time Charlie Sheen has had a hot blond open her mouth like this without having to pay her.

0:16:30 -- I think I've done a dozen of these and this is the first time I've seriously considered just giving up. It's hardly the worst movie I've done. That would be Howling 3. Thing is that Howling 3 was bad on an epic and interesting level. This movie is just dull. Since I last checked in, Charlie's been practicing for the role he would someday have in the unfunny Two and a Half Men by not making me laugh even when his crotch catches fire. That happened when he nervously tried to light a cigarette and the girl ended up burning him with the cigarette lighter which then landed in his lap. I must admit that Charlie did very well as a guy who can't get by without some sort of chemical stimulation who also has a burning sensation in his groin so well done on the research, Charlie. A police car with a camera crew from a COPS-style show riding along has joined the pursuit. Rocker Henry Rollins is the cop driving and I'd be a liar if I said that Henry didn't have a low self opinion of himself after doing this movie. We also found out that the girl is named Natalie and that her father is obscenely wealthy. We also saw her puke which is the classiest thing this movie has done so far.

Kristy Swanson did a good job here of perfectly summing up the feelings of the audience at this moment.

0:30:00 -- We finally know that Charlie's character is Jack Hammond, a convicted bank robber who escaped prison (who claims to be innocent) and wound up in this movie. I was finally entertained when, during the high speed chase, a freezer truck from a medical school swerved and started dumping cadavers all over the place though the entertainment value came more from the stupidity and filmmaking incompetence than any sort of intended humor. Actual Charlie Sheen dialogue: "I'm a nice guy when I'm not waving a gun in someone's face." That, I'm willing to bet, is something he has said in real life.

How Charlie Sheen will look when the only job he can get is in porn.

1:00:00 -- How quickly time goes by when nothing is happening. Well, it's not "nothing" so much as it's the same thing over and over again. The movie now cuts back and forth between various groups who are mostly sitting around and spouting innocuous dialogue. I can't tell you how surprised I am that Jack and Natalie are bonding during their hostage situation especially after Jack defends Natalie against her rich A-hole father who took the time to berate her over a new fangled piece of 1994 technology called a car phone. The few interesting moments have come from some surprise cameos, most notably from Red Hot Chili Peppers band members Anthony Kiedis and Flea as a mismatched pair of vigilantes. Seriously, why they were together I don't know because Kiedis looks like the kind of guy who's wear a Che Guevara t-shirt who should be holing a sign that says "Legalize It" while Flea is dressed like a guy who married his cousin who should be holding a sign denouncing our Kenyan President and his death panels. Ron Jeremy showed up too as a cameraman and, well, that's about it. Hopefully, I can just let the movie's last half hour drift by and wrap this crap up.

Is he snorting his own finger? Wow, he really does get high on Charlie Sheen.

1:28:00 -- Somehow, the authorities managed to deduced from the fact that he was heading south on a California highway that he might be going to Mexico and they came up with an equally brilliant plan to set up a blockade at the border. Natalie, meanwhile, has decided that she never had it as good as she has with this jailbound loser who kidnapped her at gunpoint and becomes one of his goddesses when she has sex with him while he's driving. Hell, I can't even text while driving yet Sheen gets to do this? After they're done, they come upon the border, see the blockade and start backing up, something no one at any level of California's extensive law enforcement system anticipated. They also didn't anticipate him just going around the blockade and across the border because that's what he does. They follow him and Jack decides to surrender for Natalie's sake. The director teases us with a fantasy sequence of Jack getting gunned down but then decides not to give the audience what they want and instead gives us the "real" ending of Natalie taking Jack's gun, hijacking a helicopter and flying off to freedom and a super fun life of being a fugitive with Jack. Seriously, the last time you see them is at some luxurious resort leading comfortable lives which makes me think I ought to rob a bank and kidnap a sexy girl as I see no downside. Another thing that has no downside is that this is the end of the movie. Some may think that having to suffer through this film was a horrible experience but, now that's it's over, I don't call it horrible. I call it...Winning!

Looks like their car sex was so great they got assumed into Heaven, either that or they're still on the highway and Charlie's drugs kicked in bigtime.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Look At My Briefs -- 3/3/11

Thank goodness March is here. I usually enjoy winter but I've gotten tired of this one, mainly because of an excess of snow. March comes in like a lion, they say, and the thing most like a lion, at least in the world of movie blogging, is another edition of my brief comments on various subjects I like to call Look At My Briefs.

Why is everyone so shocked that Michael Bay seems oblivious to the fact that he often offends huge sections of his audience? He's been doing this for years and yet he's only been rewarded for it. Hell, if I was him I'd remake Birth of a Nation.

You'd think I'd like the idea of Viggo Mortensen playing General Zod is a new Superman movie. I don't like it for several reasons. First, we don't need another Superman movie. Second, contemporary villains are usually far more introspective today than they were in 1980 when Terrence Stamp played Zod. In that, Zod was a bad guy, plain and simple. "Bow down before me, son of Jor-El!" is classic and cool channeling of Ming the Merciless. I'm worried a modern Zod will be like the modern Ming we saw a few years ago when the SighFigh channel tried to bring him back in a new Flash Gordon series. That Ming looked and acted like an insurance salesman. Also, WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER SUPERMAN MOVIE!

I want to see a spaghetti Western by Quentin Tarantino more than I want to see world peace, an AIDS cure or a naked Kate Beckinsale yelling, "RIDE ME, MICHAEL!". 'Nuff said.

I see Warner Brothers is trying to copy Disney by claiming they own characters that they really don't own. It will be really cool if they try to do it to Disney themselves as they try to make a new film with James Franco as the Wizard. Of course, Disney itself will claim they invented Oz when that movie comes out.

Dear Charlie Sheen: Fuck you. Your crazy behavior has been clogging my Google Reader for over a week now. It is my right as an American to demand that you get your shit together and stop bothering me. Also, good work on getting crazy conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on your side. That should convince people that your whole personal thing is now fixed. (If you don't know who Alex Jones is, look him up. I'm not linking to him.)

Worldwide access to the BBC's iPlayer is, to me, too good to be true and makes me think I must be misreading it. That would be worth the cost just for Doctor Who episodes. It's possible now to access the iPlayer in the U.S. Not that I would ever do that, of course, as just the thought of doing something so immoral and vaguely illegal makes my sphincter clench and unclench uncontrollably. I suppose the BBC figured that, since they can't stop foreigners from getting in, they can at least make money off the deal. That's downright American of them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscar Wrapup

Well, that's that for another year. Here are a few random thoughts and observations.

Anne Hathaway was pretty good. James Franco inspired a million well deserved Twitter jokes about looking stoned. I wonder if anyone had the guts to mention that in the graduate class that James Franco teaches about himself. The show itself had a few decent moments but, taken in its entirety, it looks like they hired Max Bialystock to produce it.

I don't mind that The King's Speech won as it's a wonderful film. It certainly wasn't my choice for Best Picture though. I personally put Inception, The Social Network and Winter's Bone above King's Speech. Winter's Bone especially is the one I'd have liked to have seen take home the gold just because it was really the little movie that could. It's also a movie that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, seems to like when they get around to seeing it. The same goes for Winter's Bone actress Jennifer Lawrence. I don't want to trash Natalie Portman but I think Jennifer Lawrence's performance was nearly perfect. She really is a rising talent and could rise to the highest echelons of the acting profession. By the way, anyone know where to find naked pictures of her?

The Best Foreign Language Film category lost all credibility when they failed to nominate Human Centipede.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what I was talking about when I tweeted this:

Sadly, it could have been any number of things.

I congratulate Banksy for showing restraint in not tagging the entire city of Los Angeles after Exit Through The Gift Shop failed to win for Best Documentary. I was really rooting for that one, mainly because it was the only nominated documentary I had seen.

Best Animated Film was created so Pixar could win Oscars so it's no surprise that Pixar won for Toy Story 3. I just hope they aren't so arrogant that they're wasting time writing the acceptance speech for a Cars 2 victory.

I can't remember who it was that was lecturing the audience to see more short films but he/she/it was right. It really is a shame that we don't see more short films as some of them are wonderful. What's even more of a shame is that, in a few years, those who were nominated this year for Short Film Oscars will make deals to direct Dwayne Johnson in Squadron Cathouse, a movie that has Johnson playing a former Navy SEAL who's now in charge of taking a group of prostitutes and molding them into an elite fighting force.

In closing, I was reminded last night of something my father said to me when I left home. "Son," he said, "always bet on lesbian ballet dancers." Turns out Dad was wrong. His other piece of advice, "Always wear a cup," did turn out to be right so you're batting .500, Dad.