Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flashes of Zomby: The Bad Holiday Music Edition

What the hell was Neil Diamond thinking with “Cherry Cherry Christmas?” That, in all its self-referential glory, may well be the worst, the cheesiest, and the most painful of all contrived Christmas pop songs.

I’d much rather listen to Bill Nighy (as the hilarious aging rock star, Billy Mack in the movie Love Actually) singing his “festering turd of a record.” For those who haven’t seen it, in a desperate attempt to make a little more money and get his name back in the headlines, Billy Mack records a version of “Love is All Around” that is written specially for Christmas. Even Mack can’t like it, but his refreshing honesty strikes a chord with listeners and he ends up being the number one Christmas album of the season. Fun stuff.

But I doubt that Neil will have the guts to tell us that his own stunt-record to look to the camera and say, “This is shit, isn’t it?”

Yes, yes, Mr. Nighy, it is shit. But it’s still better than “Cherry Cherry Christmas.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So You THink You Can Dance Meets Avatar: The, Damnit, I’m Trying to be Nice Edition (Updated)

The polite view--and, I’m really trying to be polite here--of the singing of the Avatar theme song (I’m not sure if that’s the actual name of the song* or not, but roll with me)--is that:

A- The songwriter was having an off however the hell long it took for him or her to write the song.

B- The singer was had a cold and it made her sound like a sniffly walrus.

C- The seamstress was a blind charity case with substance abuse issues.

Because, to be honest, that dress was the best part of the worst performance of a hideous song that I’ve seen on national TV since William Hung had his too many minutes of entirely unearned fame.

* And, since I can’t help myself, that would be Leona Lewis singing “I See You.” Which does nothing to change my opinion of the song or the performance. I sounded like someone wanted to almost re-write that painfully irritating Celine Dion song from Titanic,** but both song and singer were lesser talents.

** “My Heart Will Go On.” And, yes, I had to look that up, too. God, I’m pathetic. I even listened to the thing to make sure it was the song I was thinking of. People, I torture myself for your enlightenment. And I’m not talking any wussy waterboarding, here, I’m talking listening to freakin’ Celine Dion. Thank yous in the form of cash are entirely acceptable.

Update: Why does Adam Lambert have a giant poopy on his shoulder? His song, aside from being less nauseating than “I See You,” was so blandly pedestrian as to make me wish for more boy-on-boy smooching and assorted, simulated naughtiness. At least he was interesting when he was being offensive.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bless the Geeks and the Children

In particular, bless these Clash of the Titans lovin’, mythology debatin’ geeks and this mildly gnawed child.

And then play and old Carpenters song just to make the whole musical pun really come to life.

For the record, the remake of Clash of the Titans is certain to best the original in dramatic tension, violence, and special effects, but it will have none of the pure, shining fun of the original. Great movies don’t revolve around seamless CGI and glowering protagonists. Story and sense of wonder are important, too, which fact is well illustrated by movies like The Princess Bride and Harvey. Movie makers these days don’t have much of a grasp of that fact which is why Pixar really shines to me. Of course, Pixar also has groundbreakingly awesome animation…

Monday, November 23, 2009

Looking for Suggestions

It’s time for a Jimmy Stewart night at the Zomby household. I’ve admired the man since I was just a boy and my appreciation for him--both as a man and as an actor--has only grown as the years have passed.

So, here’s the thing, which movies should be in the Jimmy Stewart night? Harvey is almost certainly on the list, but there are a few others that I love nearly as much. What are your favorite Jimmy Stewart movies?

By the by, the reason that this is coming up is because of this post by Shawn Macomber (and be sure to click through and watch the clip at the site he’s referencing--wonderful stuff).

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Might I Need to Trade In for a New Model?

Happily I sang out, “ East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’, we gonna do what they say can’t be done. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there. I’m east bound, just watch ol’ Bandit run.”

Darling girl looked at me like I was a fool.

“Sing along,” I said, smiling, “you know the words!”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she answered. She then shuffled off and finished putting the groceries away.

My wife doesn’t know “East Bound and Down?” My wife doesn’t feel happy, warm thoughts when Smokey and the Bandit speeds, screaming chicken proudly displayed, through the nostalgic corner of her mind? Who the hell did I marry? I might have to trade in for a better model.

None of which changes the fact that Dede Scozzafava is doing what she can to provide help and safe harbor to a liberal Democrat in an important election for Republicans. The good sense of everyone who bucked the GOP party line and supported Hoffman, the independent (and conservative) challenger. I realize that lots of folks are upset with Newt Gingrich for pronouncing support for Scozzafava in this race, but he is utterly right about one part of this: this is a fight that should have taken place in a primary and not after the establishment simply pronounced Scozzafava as the candidate of choice. The person who wrote what I’ve quoted below should never have been the Republican candidate for the district.

I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me. Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.

Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it’s about the people of this District.

It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.

At the end of the day, Scozzafava has shown that she has truly earned the title of Republican in Name Only and that voters were right to be suspicious of her. If she truly cared, as she has stated, about smaller government and government restraint then she would never have endorsed Bill Owens, the Democrat in the race. If she made the choice as a matter of conscience, then she is no true Republican; if she made it as a matter of pique, then she’s more concerned about her own hurt feelings than she is about her supposed values. Either way, a horrible showing on her part and a loud message to the Republican party as we continue to head toward the bigger fights in 2010.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Observe and Report: The Ten Point Review

  1. If anyone but Seth Rogan had played the role of Ronnie, a seriously unhinged security guard, it might have been a horrible movie. His likability is the only thing that redeems the violent, delusional loser.
  2. And beware: there are things in here that will make you wince. Not least of which is the occasional bit of male, full-frontal nudity (and not in a way that many folks are bound to find aesthetically pleasing).
  3. More, though, it’s the darkness of the humor and the savagely cruel life of Ronnie that will set the viewer on edge.
  4. Yeah, it’s funny, but it’s mean, too. Sometimes, really mean.
  5. There’s a scene in which a police officer announces, “I thought it was going to be funny. It’s just kind of sad.” Well, it really is a funny movie in places, but that line is one of the more memorable moments because its not far off how the audience is starting to feel. Laughing at the lovable loser (see Paul Blart, Mall Cop for an example) can be awfully fun. This just feels little too honest to be full-on funny, though.
  6. It’s the difference, pardon the cliché, between laughing with someone and laughing at someone. Only someone truly cruel likes laughing at someone like Ronnie, who isn’t a horrible soul but most certainly is a failure as a human being by almost any standard.
  7. Beautifully shot.
  8. The occasional violence has a nasty, vicious feel. That’s not a complaint. The cruel edge helps to maintain the dark, broken tone of the whole thing. That is, it maintains that tone except for where it dives fully into insane bouts of silliness (as in the big mall fight scene wherein we learn that Ronnie wields one mean Maglite).
  9. Supporting characters vary wildly between poorly rendered cardboard cut-outs and ridiculously effective counterpoints to Ronnie.
  10. By the end--maybe an overly positive end--I was pulling for Ronnie. I wouldn’t invite the guy out for drinks, but I wanted him to wake up, wise up, and start getting better.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Legion: The Seven Word Preview

Angry angels are gonna kick your butt.*

* None of which seems very biblical, but does look to have a creepy sort of charm. And Paul Bettany is a wonderful (and underrated) actor. None of which counts against my official preview word count, in case you were curious.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tonight’s Artistic Wonder

Tonight, as I ponder impending joblessness, I am watching Jim Jarmusch’s strange masterpiece, Dead Man.

Awkward, strange, unsettling, and (self-consciously) odd, Roger Ebert famously said “Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don’t have a clue what it is.” I found it fascinating, funny, and entrancing. It has a Neil Young, electric guitars soundtrack over dusty, black-and-white, cowboys-and-indians story with a roaming cast of famous faces and Scarlet Letter-esque foreshadowings of doom. It is a little bit ridiculous; Ebert had a point.

Which isn’t to dismiss this story of a man named William Blake, an Indian named Nobody, and big heapings of cinematic loneliness. The whole thing heads to an end that is defined early in the film when William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland, is shot. He will die and there is nothing to stop it. In that respect, the movie lets us worry over a fate that we should know that we share--we are all headed (slowly, we hope) toward our own death and it didn’t take a gun to set us on the course. Once that is established, we can settle in to see the story of a man with a poet’s name and precious little poetry in his life. The portrait of Blake is so bleak, in fact, that I found myself simply hoping that he would find some measure of grace before the end.

It’s not the easiest story, its pacing is uneven, and the script can be distracting, but that may be because the story seems to have an almost literary ambition behind its cinematic self-indulgence. Move past those rough bits and open yourself to the varied experiences of William Blake’s last days, and you might find a story worth loving, though. Or, at least, a story worth watching.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Wrestler: Ten Point Review

  1. As bad as Darren Aronfsky’s The Fountain was--filled with forced emotion, ridiculous sentiment, and half-baked philosophy--The Wrestler is its opposite. A wrenching look at a has-been who can’t pull his life together and who faces his own twilight with something too resigned to be nihilism but too broken to be redemption.
  2. It’s also the visual opposite of The Fountain. Whereas the former was a staggering vision (especially on the big screen), The Wrestler is grit and blood and an overwhelming sense of age. Not just in the cast, but in the run-down civic centers, the old cars and homes, every scene is as weathered as Mickey Rourke’s body. It isn’t pretty, but the extension of that decrepitude in threads throughout the film is just as much of an artistic achievement serving to support the mood and tone.
  3. The exception to this is Marisa Tomei whose, even looking a bit aged, is still rather pretty.
  4. It also proves that blood and violence, properly presented, can still manage to shock. Some of the scenes had me wincing in sympathetic pain.
  5. Good script. Not great but a good frame for Aronfsky’s direction and Mickey Rourke’s best ever role.
  6. You’ve heard it a million times since last year, but Rourke’s acting really is that good. It’s an engrossing and honest performance well worth the Oscar nomination.
  7. Marisa Tomei is wonderful in a much smaller role as an aging stripper.
  8. Darling girl refused to see this in the theater because of Rourke’s face--she finds it both terrifying and distracting. Which is fair: it is both terrifying and distracting. The young man who looked like this simply doesn’t exist anymore.  And while I won’t say that’s a good thing, it does give his performance a sense of gravitas that it wouldn’t have if he were still pretty. You believe he’s this screwed up old guy because he is this screwed up old guy.
  9. Washed up wrestlers aren’t a natural point of sympathy to me: it’s a strange career choice with a piss-poor retirement plan. Tomei, Aronfsky, a strong supporting cast, and, of course, Rourke give us an affecting view on these folks’ lives that is much more than I would have expected when I first heard about the project. But don’t expect any happy endings.
  10. None of which makes me believe that Aronfsky is a good choice to direct a remake of RoboCop. (which, admittedly, seems an entirely unnecessary venture even before Aronfsky’s name gets tossed into that particular pot).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Late Night Movie Fun

"Well, hello, Mr. Fancy Pants.”

Or, perhaps, you’d prefer something in a boomstick, you primitive screwheads.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things: A Nearly Late-Night List

  1. Outsourced. While it has moments that are remarkably predictable, Outsourced has a sweet charm in its affection for India and its main characters. It’s a small pleasure, but one that stands out for its gentle spirit and mildly sanitized view of India. While it wouldn’t do to expect anything life-changing, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a quiet romance, good humor, and a little flavor of India.
  2. FilesAnywhere.com When I had to start sharing large files with clients over the Internet, I looked for a service that gave me a great set of tools, a decent price, and generous storage. FilesAnywhere.com did that in a big way. It’s quick, reliable, and mature. I’ve only been using it for a few months, but it’s impressed a number of clients so much that they’ve become customers. That’s about as good a recommendation as I can imagine.
  3. Thunderer. I’m only about half way through Felix Gilman’s Thunderer, but I’m truly impressed by his first novel. It’s intriguing, compelling, and filled with well-realized characters to carry the reader through all of the wonders of the strange world that he has concocted (and all of its gods). Having read his blog, I can’t help but think that Mr. Gilman is a bit of a jerk when it comes to his political opinions (though no more so than John Scalzi). Luckily for me, I won’t let his politics come between me and the enjoyment of his novel. He wouldn’t be likely to miss me as a customer, but I would certainly miss the artistry of what he’s written. It took a little more than forty pages to get past the awkward introduction, but by then Mr. Gilman found a perfect pacing for the shifting views between the lead characters. I’m vaguely planning a full review of the book once I’ve finished it, but, in case that doesn’t happen, I wanted to make a quick note of this wonderful bit of epic fantasy.

What about you? What have you been enjoying lately that needs to be shared with the class?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Duh Files

Ash of course. In fact, I don’t think you can even make a good case for the Headless Horseman.

I mean, compared to, say, a whole army of darkness, the HH would be easier than dealing with a single rogue witch in the hallowed halls of S-Mart. While Ash may not be the smartest guy of all time, he certainly seems to have luck on his side. No matter how much he bumbled along, luck would swoop in and guide him to victory.

If this were back in the glory days of Grudge Match, I would have to build an entire scenario to illustrate my point. Sadly, those days are gone so what you get is this: duh.

PS- If you don’t know Grudge Match, allow me to introduce you via John McClane v/ the Death Star. If you knew where to look, you’d even be able to find a little surprise…

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where in the World is Osama bin Laden: The Ten Point Review

  1. I fell for it. The trailers made it look funny, I thought it might contain insight. I imagined it might reign in the preaching in favor of a balanced view of the Middle East, America, terrorists, and war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I fell for it.
  2. What it is turns out to be a shallow, rushed look at problems far too complex for any 93-minute movie much less one helmed by the likes of Mr. Spurlock, who disdains nuance in favor of glib and useless statements.
  3. It does have a lot of pretty pictures, though.
  4. And, in spite of itself, it’s interesting at moments--moments that are chopped too short by the rush to get to the next segment. Beware: when it starts to pique your interest it is seconds away from a jump cut and a cutesy graphic that will leave you wondering what the hell else his interview subject had to say.
  5. In fact, the bits where Spurlock focuses on himself and his life are the least interesting parts of the movie. If he let his subjects--an amazing array of people from all walks of life in Afghanistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and more--take center stage more often, allowing viewers to form opinions instead of making intrusive pronouncements about how Muslims are people just like us, well the movie might have been better. As it is, he is so intrusive that the movie feels overshadowed by his Michael Moore-sized ego.
  6. And does anyone think that the Israel-Palestine problem can really be resolved by fifteen minutes and a journalist telling us that the answer is really as simple as magically creating two states living side by side in peace? An answer that ignores all of the complicating factors in favor of something that sounds so nice?
  7. That’s not insight. That’s dumb.
  8. The Soul Calibur-esque fight between Spurlock and Bin Laden was pretty funny, though, with special moves like “mustache ride!” and “turban power!”
  9. Perhaps if it had been cut down to a twelve-minute segment on Celebrity Deathmatch it would have been a better film.
  10. From Wesley Morris comes a good summary.

    purlock interviews regular Egyptians and Moroccans and Palestinians and Saudis. A group of Hassids curse and shove him. He inexplicably dons traditional Arabic garments and walks around a mall in Riyadh asking whether anybody has seen you-know-who. Spurlock and his team of collaborators never find the movie amid all their material. If he’s a questionable journalist and a poor detective, he’s an even more woeful filmmaker.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Review: Hancock

Hancock is about one half of a good movie. The other half is about as bad as any big release I’ve seen in a while.

The first half of the movie, where we are introduced to the title character, is fun and interesting. Hancock, as played by Will Smith, is a pathetic bum who lives between a dilapidated trailer and whichever bench he winds up on after tying on a really good bender. He’s angry, uncaring, and lost--and he looks more like a homeless panhandler than he does a super-strong man impervious to bullets and with the power of flight.

At every turn he is offending someone or destroying something without showing anything resembling forethought.

When he saves the life of a PR man set on changing the world, he invites a new force into his life that leads him on the path to adulthood. Ultimately, the entire first half of the movie captures a boy becoming a man--Hancock learning to balance both the creative and destructive energy that every boy feels in order to create a happier world for himself and the people he cares about.

Hancock had been so destructive in his heroism that the LA DA’s office wants to put him in jail--a laughable concept for a guy who can easily rip through the walls and fly away. But Ray Embry, the PR man played by a very solid Jason Bateman, convinces Hancock to turn himself in and submit to the city’s justice. It’s a ploy to let the city learn how much they miss the crimestopper in the face of ever rising violence, but it also provides one of the most telling scenes of the first half of the film.

While making basketball shots from extreme distances, Hancock misses and the ball bounces well outside of the prison. Without a thought, he launches himself out of the prison yard and grabs the ball. For a moment he looks at the prison and then away into the distance--obviously he has the power to walk or fly away and nothing that the guards can do would stop him. The scene grows tense as the other inmates and the guards look on; he finally launches himself into the sky and we’re still not sure of his decision. When he lands back inside the fence, you just know that he’s made one of his first adult decisions.

The boy would have known that he had the power to do what he wanted to do: walk away and leave the suckers behind. The adult realizes that sometimes we do things out of responsibility and necessity: being grown up isn’t always easy. Combined with the way Hancock has looked at Ray’s family, very obviously wanting the love and care that comes from that kind of intimacy, Hancock is on his way to accepting his role as a human being with the capacity to make a positive change in the world--a role that doesn’t hinge on superpowers, but on making the right decisions.

Then the film gets shot to hell in the second half with ridiculous plot twists and phenomenally underdeveloped plot points that strip away the messages of the fist half. I won’t spoil the twists, but I would be surprised if most viewers didn’t see the really big reveal coming--and then rolled their eyes at the glib explanations and the foolish way that it leads to big, city-crushing fights and mortal danger for our hero. What I can say is that all the good will that I felt about midway through was pummeled into submission by a super-stupid plot and script.

It really could have been better; it had a good premise and an interesting start.

Here’s a warning, though: it’s fairly violent, quite profane, and not particularly family-friendly. Some of the humor is juvenile, but not particularly graceful--one scene in which Hancock shoves a man’s head up another man’s butt is both crass and dumb, but not at all funny. I wouldn’t necessarily advise bringing the little kids.

Beside Smith and Bateman there isn’t much character to develop, leaving a typically gorgeous Charlize Theron underutilized. The visual effects are decent but not particularly impressive and the same could be said for the cinematography overall. In fact, in most respects it’s a very workmanlike and disappointing effort for something that cost upwards of $150 million. Smith and Bateman salvage a bit of the thing as does an opening act that reaches just a tiny bit higher than most summer action movies. A lazy close, not nearly enough humor, and a seriously flawed plot make this one good to skip.

Monday, June 23, 2008

American Crude: The Ten Point Review

  1. Firstly, this is a bad movie.
  2. As bad as it is, though, it’s doubly stupid.
  3. Secondly, the portrayal of a child-porn peddling Republican was offensive.
  4. As offensive as that was, though, the stereotyped portrayal of a pair of Hispanic criminals was doubly so if only because I’ve grown so used to the idiotic slurs against conservatives from movies like this.
  5. Thirdly, the acting from a bunch of b-level folks was marginal. Even the b-list folks that I like--and there were a number of them.
  6. But it might be because of the stupendously bad script.
  7. When, in the end (can you really spoil the plot of something so rotten? I think not, but if you plan to see this dross, read no further) the movie climaxes with our hero (played by Ron Livingstone) frees a seventeen-year-old girl and his mother from the clutches of the depraved, Republican father, dad blames all of his evil on truth, justice, and the American way. Somehow. This was the point of everything? That the American dream forced the pre-op transsexual prostitute to suck cock for a living because others just don’t understand? That Republicans are so devoted to free market philosophies that they feel comfy and secure in kidnapping, drugging, and filming the rapes of underage girls in the search for a few more bucks? Seriously? That’s it?
  8. And that’s not even considering the whining from Livingstone’s character when he’s sentenced to jail late in the movie. “No good deed goes unpunished,” apparently, when you dismiss the fact that he slept with is friend’s fiance, set his friend up with the aforementioned prostitute in hopes of breaking up a wedding and spiriting away with his friend’s wife, was readying himself to abandon his wife (who, apparently, had also slept with their friend’s wife--but that’s another plot line altogether), and even cheated a pair of murderers out of money on a previously agreed to price for a pair of passports. Even in his criminal endeavors, the man can’t find an honest bone in his body--and he still wines about how the world has done him wrong.
  9. Seriously? That was the point?
  10. What a piece of shit.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvey Korman, Rest

I just wanted to say this: Harvey Korman was one of the funniest men to ever walk this planet. The work that he did with Mel Brooks was wonderful--Blazing Saddles and History of the World, Part 1 are movies that still set me off in fits of laughter.

But nothing--nothing--this side of Monty Python could set me off like watching Korman and Tim Conway working together. It’s sad to think that these two brilliant comedians--with perfect chemistry--will never set foot on a stage again. He was one of the last of a dying breed of comedians and I’m sad to see their time passing.

I’m kicking myself right now, too.  I think it was last year that the two came through town on a tour and I decided not to get tickets to see them. Stupid.

Read the story.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big, Stupid Prediction of the Day

I predict that Sex in the City will become the biggest grossing film of all time.

Which will irritate me greatly.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Can’t Believe I Watched the Whole Thing: Stephen King’s The Mist

Stephen King’s The Mist is hideously bad. From its derivative, overblown script to its utterly cartoonish social and political commentary, from its monumentally bad special effects to its uneven acting, and all the way to the overly telegraphed and monstrously twisted ending, it embodies all that is bad about King’s movies and books. It is ham-handed and ugly with a simplistic view of our nation’s political and cultural differences; its characters are drawn obscenely from pure stereotype with not an ounce of sympathy for the depth of real folks; it’s dialog is tedious; its thrills are killed by the sheer unbelievability of the scary creatures and the stupidity of the plot; and its soundtrack (especially near the end) works hard to infuse emotion into a laughably contrived film.

What the hell was I thinking? I really should have known better and if I had seen it in a theater I would be pissed. Hell, I just rented it for $4.99 on pay-per-view and I’m pretty damn cranky.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Southland Tales: The Ten Point DVD Review

  1. Never heard of it? That’s not surprising. Even though it came from the mind that brought us Donnie Darko (brilliant), Southland Tales got exceptionally poor reviews along with a limited release.
  2. It’s also a sprawling, messy, occasionally incomprehensible film that makes his previous work look like simplistic by comparison.
  3. It’s also, occasionally, one of the funniest looks at the apocalypse that you’re likely to come across.
  4. The acting (and there is at least a metric ton of famous folks going through this movie--some of them remarkably good actors) is a little out of step by design as is the slightly stilted script. When it works, it catches an edge of social commentary that is hard to ignore. When it doesn’t work, it jars you out of the “reality” of the movie almost painfully.
  5. Visually intriguing, filled with strange characters, and shot with a more careful eye than the messy feel might otherwise indicate.
  6. The barbs thrown at popular obsession with politics, idiotic and misguided “revolutionaries”, the mass media, entertainment, and some painfully real and moronic social commentary from TV talking heads, not to mention sly jabs at forced patriotism and government encroachment on freedom doesn’t always hit the targets. When it does, though, there are little tiny moments of perfection--witness especially scenes like the porn star talking heads discussing how the morning after pill becomes the morning before pill and a staged double murder that goes ludicrously wrong. Some of this stuff is really going to stick with you--if you can get past the rougher bits.
  7. Interspersed with ads, news clips, various forms of cartoons, and a few moments of merely watching TV, it might be the qualitative decline and pervasive nature of media that takes the biggest, most direct hits.
  8. Like DD, it’s obsessed with people who find themselves out of synch with their own lives. One particularly telling scene has a man staring into a mirror, watching his own movements which are happening in the mirror just a second behind his real movements.
  9. Yes, that was Colorado’s own Big Head Todd and the Monsters singing “Broken Hearted Saviour” that you heard for a few moments there. Good stuff.
  10. It’s a giant, ambitious mess--and I admire giant, ambitious messes. That doesn’t mean that it’s a success, though. Southland Tales isn’t the equal of Donnie Darko and most of the criticisms leveled at it are entirely earned. I don’t think it’s a complete failure, though--and, even with its shortcomings, I’ll be buying the DVD.
  11. Bonus Point: Don’t read that last as a blanket suggestion for everyone else to see it. No film short on coherent narrative or accessible message, gifted with awkward moments that don’t even seem like part of the rest of the film, and entirely indecipherable politics (when it seems to be trying to make a political point of some kind) is ever going to reach a big market. It takes a peculiar mind to appreciate this particular brand of surreal filmmaking.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Movie Stuff Both Good and Bad

The original WarGames--with a predictable, not particularly bright plot offset by the incredible charisma of young Matthew Broderick --will always be a guilty pleasure of mine. If I come across it while surfing channels late at night, I’ll stop and enjoy the little blast of eighties Cold War nostalgia that I also get from the likes of Red Dawn. It isn’t a good movie in the same way as, say, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it still makes me smile.

But a remake (with an even dumber plot plopped on an apparently no-charisma zone) probably won’t be making anyone’s nostalgia tour two decades from now. Which might be why it’s skipping the theaters and going direct to video where only the plainly foolish might be suckered into watching the thing.

Yet again I feel surrounded by seas of stupid. You can see the trailer for the abomination at the link.

On the plus side, when we went to see the slight but funny Forgetting Sarah Marshall (with all of its surprising and unfortunate male frontal nudity), I saw trailers for movies that I absolutely cannot wait to see. Steve Carell was born to play Maxwell Smart--which might seem a small thing to be born for, but if it’s as funny as the original TV show, Get Smart will be one of the funniest movies I will have seen in years. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian looks to be a worthy followup to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Lastly, a new version of The Hulk, with no connection to what shall forever be known as Ang Lee’s worst film, with Edward Norton is coming up, too, and it looks much more fun than the last movie. It doesn’t hurt that Norton, apparently, contributed some of the writing. Between that and Robert Downey, Jr’s turn as Iron Man, I have to think that there is some good comic book action coming to theaters this year.

Anyway, the message is this: don’t see War Games: The Dead Code, but look forward to some fun, dumb eye candy while the Democrats continue to work hard at making presidential politics a real brutal contact sport.

And if you’re looking for more raunchy comedy from the Judd Apatow machine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall will have you laughing and, true to form, has some touchingly real moments about how men and women screw up their relationships. It’s a joyously vulgar thing and, for all the talk of bravery for movies like Crash and Brokeback Mountain, Jason Segel showed true bravery in his willingness to bare himself in so many (often disturbing) ways and top it off by singing a portion of a melodramatic rock opera about Dracula’s desire to be loved. That’s courage, my friends.

Let us all, who have attended Rocky Mountain Blogger Bashes, give thanks that I am not a particularly courageous man.


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