Thursday, February 19, 2009

The International

Like many people I was turned onto Tom Tykwer's work with LOLA RENTT (RUN, LOLA, RUN) so I was quite excited by the trailers for THE INTERNATIONAL. Yes, Clive Owen does a fair bit of running in this one sadly the story does not keep up with him. Speaking of Clive Owen, I honestly think he should take a sabbatical and go back to drama class. He's a fantastic actor but his bag of tricks seem worn in this feature, the same brooding face, same bursts of anger and you walk away with the impression they could have made this film with clips from all of his others. This may seem like an unfair bit of criticism but think about it, add a more range and deptch to his performances and his can go from great to truly brilliant. Back to the script, it's fair but a little on the thin and implausible side but this may be a necessary evil for time restraints. Still, if they had nixed Naomi Watts character, which serves very little purpose other than eye candy, they may have been able to put more meat on this sucker. Alas, this may not be point of THE INTERNATIONAL which when you boil it all down is a straight forward action thriller and in this department it delivers. Like the car chase from BULLIT the Guggenheim gun fight scene is destined to become a film classic and this sequence alone makes the film required viewing. Another thing I should point out is you may want to see this on the big screen to get the full effect of how Tykwer uses architecture to add to the ever present atmosphere of menace. on many levels a superb piece of work just could have done with a stronger script and a more satisfying conclusion.

Listening to You:The Who at the Isle of Wight

I caught this last night in a special screening at the Scotiabank Theatre here in Toronto to mark it's release on Blu-ray. What can you say about this Murray Lerner film documenting this famous 1970 festival. Not much, except perhaps they cleaned it up so much it doesn't come of as a very good performance. Without a doubt the feature here is Keith Moon and the disc is worth a look just to see him at work. Just remember, the band can hardly hear themselves and the sound to the audience would certainly have been much different from what we have here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Sentinel

Veteran actor and director Clark Johnson has done a lot of work in Toronto over the years and with Kiefer Sutherland as one of the stars it was a no brainer to shoot this film here....hell, they even worked old city hall into the equation. Much of this work has been in television and this mixed with post-24 Kiefer gives THE SENTINEL a made for TV feel. Having DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES Eva Longoria doesn't help this problem and even Michael Douglas can't shake it. Still, it's a fair little action thriller involving a plot to yet again take out the poor old President played by another TV vet David Rasche. We are also presently with yet another poor performance from Kim Basinger making one wonder when she will once again pull herself back up to snuff. A fair enough little time waster no doubt destined to be on Peachtree any day now.

Highlander: The Gathering

In the beginning this was supposed to be the third in the HIGHLANDER film series, several budget problems and a slight change of plans turned this into the pilot for the television series and the rest is kind of history. Kind of in that many were not happy with the series. That is a matter of personla taste of course but is is important here because if you are not into Adrian Paul, who I swear at time can be even more of a wooden actor than Christopher Lambert, then you will not enjoy THE GATHERING one iota. We do have NIGHT COURTS Richard Moll in an interesting roll and Amy Pietz is always a welcome guest but this one is really for the die hards only.

Rear Window

Back when I was a young teenager cutting my teeth on the Hitchcock canon I was chomping at the bit to see this, one of the "Five Lost" films. In fact the five films weren't lost at all, Hitchcock bought all of the rights back and would not let them be shown. In the case of REAR WINDOW I honestly don't know why because from a purely technical point of view it may very well be his best film not to mention being one hell of a fantastic mystery. When I finally did manage to see almost at the age of twenty I was utterly amazed and I still watch this film with great awe. As so much has been said and written about this one allow me to point out one thing many people overlook. REAR WINDOW was made in diegetic style which means all of the sound, including the musical score, comes from the enviroment within the film. For such a major choice it is so subtle in it's presentation many don't catch it.

A Texas Funeral

This W. Blake Herron film is not an easy one to track down but you can find it running sometimes on late night televsion. It has a slow and awkward start which almost made me turn the damn thing off but it's important to get past the first twenty minutes for the vibe of A TEXAS FUNERAL to kick it and it's an odd vibe. Mixing a ghost stroy, with a coming of age and a buddy flick and a chick flick sounds like a recipe for failure but it all pulls together in the end and the results are more than satisfying. Robert Patrick is part of that weak start and that had me puzzled and I usually enjoy his work as I do Chris Noth, Even Martin Sheen starts off on the wrong foot as it were as if they had to reshoot the whole beginning or something. Still, as I've mentioned when it get's going the ride is a heart warming one and well worth the time.

The Eye

This happens to me far too often. I hear they are doing a North American remake of some great Asian horror film and I start to drool and drooling is mighty easy when Jessica Alba is involved. Sadly, the drool came from sitting there slack jawed in boredom. Oh, they tried with this one but it's a case of been there, done that and while there are some neat special effects and a few "gotcha" moments you just can't help but think they could have done so much more with this one. This is not to say THE EYE entirely sucks, it just doesn't live up to ones expectations which seems to be the pathetic case with most of these Hollywood reworkings.

Superhero Movie

After a string of flops such as MEET THE SPARTANS and EPIC MOVIE in the spoof genre it's great to see them back on track with SUPERHERO MOVIE. As we all know, this moronic style of gag comedy is not going to be enjoyed by all and some might even question just what the standards are for determining a good one in this genre. The answer is quite it funny and in this case the answer would be VERY. From the title it should be obvious to all what is under attack here and the results are amazing. Sure, it helps if you happen to be a comic geek to get half of the jokes here, some being of a higher caliber than we usually find in Zucker produced films but even if you aren't there are jokes here which will have you pissing your pants. Shame they didn't make better use of Pamela Anderson but on the other hand the fact they were able to get veteran Marion Ross to perform some of the bits she did is amazing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great Debaters

I was thinking of all kinds of clever and wonderful things to say about this film but I honestly think I'll let it speak for itself. Don't let the fact it's from Oprah's Harpo Productions scare you away from this great bit of history. Sure, it's been slightly altered for dramatic purposes and I can fully understand why Denzel Washington (only his second sitting in the director's chair to date!) chose to do this yet the core of the accomplishment is well captured and the fact they were able to turn this into such a dramatic feature is a testament to the talents involved. Not one for late night but certainly one for the whole family.

Vampira: The Movie

Thank the stars above Kevin Sean Michaels was able to make this documentary before it was too late. Sadly Maila Nurmi, better known to the world as Vampira would no longer be with us just a little over a year after this was released but at least her story has been captured for historical purposes and what a story it is. From fans to those influenced by her there is amazing assortment of testamonials but none of them come close to the wonderful heart given accounts provided by Vampira herself, annimated and lucid she will win your heart in ways you never thought possible. While much has always be made of Bettie Page, properly so, we can never forget the incredible impact Vampira had on North American style and sexuality and thanks to this picture it will not be.

House of Sand and Fog

I seem to recall this as being marketed as a horror film, I could be mistaken, and on many levels it is. One could also refer to this debut feature from Ukranian director Vadim Perelman as the end sum of an unfortunate series of events. In a nut shell, Ben Kingsley (Oscar nominated for this role) buys Jennifer Connelly's wrongfully sold house and many bad things happen. The film takes it's time to develop it's characters and theme and I don't wish to spoil it for those who've yet to see it but I can say it is very slow and will not be to the tastes of many. While Kingsley gives yet another amazing performance poor Connelly's character is left to flounder and this is odd as I gather we are supposed to have sympathy for her but in the end I guarantee you will not wish her well. Not a feel good film in the least and if your Prozak is running low I'd suggest you avoid it.


Ive not seen NUEVE REINAS of which this is a remake so I am unable to compare the two but I can say I wasn't to thrilled wit the directorial debut of the usually behind the scenes Gregory Jacobs. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine little con film and big fans of John C. Reilly will be happy but I found it slow and to be honest boring. Diego Luna who in most cases you can count on for some fair action, emotionally at least, seems to be wasted as an actor here and while the odd spark is seen out of Maggie Gyllenhaal the film just never seems to pick up the pace. Perhaps this is the point but by the time we arrived at the ending, which I quite enjoyed, my eyelids were closing and I didn't care what happened. Others may have a different take on that and hey, it's OK but if you're reading this you must have wanted an opinion.

The Wedding Date

I'll say one thing for chick flicks, they sure seem to have made Dermot Mulroney a shit-load of cash! Here we have him looking all smug as a "hired date" to join Debra Messing at her sister's wedding who just so happens to be hooking up with Messing's ex-fiance and blah blah blah blah and there is a soundtrack comprised of those ball-lacking emo tit-wads wailing on about love or some such nonsense.......and you wonder why I go for films about psychos in hockey masks slicing and least those flicks have substance and plot dammit! "Nothing a bottle of Jack and a straightrazor couldn't fix" is a line Messing mumbles and that about sums up my thoughts on THE WEDDING DATE.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Swedish Milk Maids Vol. 9

I must say I quite enjoyed this romantic comedy. Great cinematography, superb action with a very compelling plot make this one of the best films I've seen in ages. Keep an eye out for Licorice Sommers who makes her acting debut in this one as this young up-and-comer is bound for Oscar glory.

Here on Earth

The third Leelee Sobieski film I've crucified in less than a week....I'm not liking this trend and I certainly did not like this film though it did induce a rather odd dream filled nap. Maybe it was a good flick, I can't tell you because I slept through most of it and I suspect you will too.

Fools Rush In

I don't care if this flick was supposed to be a showcase for Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry, both of whom I enjoy on the big screen, a smart person will run as far from this mess of a film as they possibly can.

Perfect Romance

This Vancouver shot made for television number is above average for the romance genre and is raised by the talents of Kathleen Quinlan and Lori Heuring doing the mother/daughter love/hate thing but the film does suffer from some mighty bad poetry. I'll confess to having put to paper some eye straining pieces in my life but if you ever hear me reciting such as delivered by Henry Ian Cusick here please ship me off to that island he's been spending so much time on with LOST the last several years and leave me there.

Ultimo tango a Parigi (Last Tango in Paris)

"Go, get the butter".....these words now warrant terror everytime I hear them which is why I think I continue to clog my heart valves by eating margarine rather than deal with the nightmare of an overweight Marlon Brando doing things to me with that yellow dairy stick which would make the Godfather cringe! This French bit of film is perhaps one of the most overrated in the history of cinema though I do give it some credit for making many American viewers spit their popcorn out during that now famous scene. In fairness, film students should see it at least once but most can honestly take a pass on this bloated fantasy.

Love Story

Well, about the only good things I can say about this tepid piece of sentimental slop is it marked the film debut of Tommy Lee Jones and it was another chance to watch the great Ray Milland. I suppose I can be happy Erich Segal made a boat load of cash from the novel he adapted from his screenplay but I wish he hadn't used hockey as a backdrop because this now gets lumped in with the "great" puck related films for which I think somebody desrves a puck upside the head. As for the often quoted line from this film "love means never having to say your sorry"'ll be mighty ass sorry if you sit through the vomit inducing Ali MacGraw/Ryan O'Neal sap fest.

Star Trek TOS: Catspaw

If you can imagine the Star Trek crew doing a Halloween special then you would have this episode. It is hampered by budget restrictions, hell, you can VERY easily see the strings working the alien puppets at the end but with some imagination this Robert Bloch scripted number is an enjoyable bit of fare. Antoinette Bower joins the list of aliens trying to woo Captain Kirk and this one is also of note as it the episode where you can clearly see James Doohan is missing a finger.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jason X

People love to go on and on about just how stupid the 10th Friday the 13th film is and I always shake my head thinking they just don't get the bloody point! Todd Farmer, who just scripted the MY BLOODY VALENTINE remake, in a nut shell took ALIEN and added the Jason element to it as well as some the hottest Canadian female talent kicking around Toronto at the time and the result was an amazingly fun ride. Is it silly.....of course it friggin' is. Is it fun? You bet your cryogenically frozen ass it is! Much like new film (see blurb below) I wish they hadn't killed off the lovely Kristi Angus so fast but, just like the new one, they did give her the coolest death scene in the picture. David Cronnenberg has an awesome cameo at the beginning and my man Kane Hodder was fantastic in his last kick at the Jason role. Just take this one for what it is and have fun with it.

13 Going on 30

This is a fun little chick flick take on BIG if you like. Jennifer Garner is good at this sort of fare so the film works and is a perfect little Valentine's number for those doing the family thing with young teenage girls. For the jaded gagging splat heads out there you get to see Andy Serkis play a fashion magazine editior and do the Michael Jackson thriller dance which is worth a look all by itself!

Friday the 13th


I can't help but feel sorry for director Marcus Nispel. He did a great job with the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE so my expectations were high for his reboot of the 13th franchise. Sadly, it looks like there were too many machetes in the kitchen because we have three films at work here.
Think of the already mentioned TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake meeting FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 and a GIRLS GONE WILD VIDEO and this is pretty much what we have here. Let's get this out of the way, this is not a remake of the first, it is a reworking of the second Jason film, and this version pretty much opens the same way as the original Part 2 with Nana Visitor doing a nice cameo. Shoot to modern day as it were and we have a situation similar to the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake in that like zombies running we have a new Jason hauling some serious ass to capture his prey with the old burlap sack on the head just as in the original. After dispatching of the crew in the magic dope field, yes, a dope field which makes you wonder if ol' Jason doesn't partake of the ganja in which case it's no wonder why he's out there hacking folks up as they be trying to pilfer his crop but I digress. Enter a guy looking for his missing sister and a group of university students you'll just be itching to see done in and this brings us to the unfortunate boring part of the film which I had hoped they wouldn't have bothered with. Then we get the best scene of the film where the stunning Willa Ford goes water skiing topless. Now, nevermind the fact this lady is one viciously gorgeous looker, the cinematography in this sequence is joking, looks like something shot for Playboy and it continues right through to her sadly "too early in the film for my liking" demise which is by far the best death in the entire film. From there we see attempts at exploring the Jason character where we see his childhood room and trophies and such in an attempt to justify why Jason can put an arrow through some dude's eyeball from a friggin' mile away. Then we find out the sister is still alive and kept in an underground mine (can anybody say MY BLOODY VALENTINE?????) shaft where Jason has been disposing of bodies, cars, what have you and this is where we venture into TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE territory and then the other folks get it...blah blah blah, throw in a sex scene, a goofy scene (well executed by Aaron Yoo of recent DISTURBIA fame) a gun happy yuppie wannabe, a wasted chance to use a bug zapper as a killing device, and then a finale involving an industrial wood chipper. I'll stop to examine this because the end is just bloody stupid, Jason, who by the way keeps house, has runnning electricity an no doubt somewhere in his house has a box of fuckin' Cheerios, should have been toast at this point...but nooooooo...they somehow salvage the body enough (yeah, the head is still there but we never get a good look at his face) to throw it in the lake along with his hockey mask (yeah, he finds that in the middle of the film) and then we get the ol' Jason comes flying out of the lake trick we've all seen before.
Are you getting my point here? In case you missed it, this movie is all over the place and never does decide what it wants to be. What it is not is loaded with gore. What is the point of making a slasher pic and then skimping on the splat which perhaps they are saving for the special DVD or something which leads me to the conclusion you should save your money and wait for it to hit your local rental shop.
Then again, there is that Willa Ford scene................

Friday the 13th

With the release of the remake today I thought it would be nice to take a peek at the original again. I say again because yes, I did see it when it opened way back in 1980 (fuck me, where have the bloody years gone) and I'm happy (and hopeful!) to say I've not aged as much as this film has. This is, of course, besides the point. Along with John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN this set the rules for a bucket full of slasher filmes to comes and pretty much designed the genre until Freddy Krueger came along. You of course know Jason doesn't kill a fly in this one, it's all Momma Voorhees doing the slicing and dicing with a penchant for throat cutting in this particular feature. Tom Savini provided some nice red stuff here and Harry Manfredini introduced us to the now legendary "chi chi chi....cha ha ha" music which is now as recognizable and the James Bond music. It also made "Strip Monopoly" a game of choice for teenagers nation wide! It was an interesting way to start a franchise but things didn't really start to juice until we hit the second part and be sure to look for a young Kevin Bacon in an early role.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Celestine Prophecy

I was mentioning to an old friend of mine in Ottawa how hard it is for me to come up with new ways to say a film "blows chunks". I had this misfortune of slogging through James Redfield's "novel" if that's what you want to call it and that was a wretched experience. Sitting through the film was worse making me think "perhaps removing my eyes with a rusty old nail file might be more entertaining" but I decided against that. As for you hippie heads out there who think I'm being negative or a "controller" or whatever stupid name Redfield and his tofu heads have come up with to supposedly describe people like me, I am not being flippant, this "film" came off worse than something you would see at a bloody Scientology joint and struck me as nothing more than a long infomercial for Redfield's books.
Hey, that's great, let's all hope Eckhart Tolle does the same thing....there is just one took MY FUCKING MONEY and two hours of my life and I would kindly like BOTH back thank you.
I mean, you didn't even give Jurgen Prochnow a bloody chance to be the super bad guy here which he could have easily done and might have salvaged some aspect of this travesty.
I've met director Armand Mastroianni a few times as he often films here and he's a great guy but I hope he didn't buy into this nonsense and you can be damned sure I'll be hitting him up for a few beers as a matter of recourse next time I see him.....and once again.....for you bean sprout brains out there who want to start firing me nasty emails or loading my comment box up with your ranting......go find a nice big crystal and stick it up your ass because if this is what the new age is going to be all blows chunks!

Home Town Story

This short little 1951 film Arthur Pierson about a faulted political wannabe who finds redemption through the people around him almost seems like either a TV episode that went on too long or a film which was cut short so Pierson and the cast could go and work on something else. Will be of some interest to Marilyn Monroe fans for her bit of work her but I doubt anybody else.

Just a Kiss

It's hard enough to adapt a stage play to the silver screen as it is let alone having a less than accomplished director trying to do so as is the case with JUST A KISS. We all loved Fisher Stevens in HACKERS and he had directed a short with writer/actor Patrick Breen before but sadly what we end up with here is one of those sensitive and shallow New York art films about actors/dancers and their hollow lives. I just couldn't buy Breen as a male lead all head over heels for Marley Shelton of recent ELEVENTH HOUR fame (love that show by the way!) as he strikes me as one who should have been hot on the ass of the always annoying Ron Eldard. Marisa Tomei is once again a delight to watch but the only real saving grace here is Kyra Sedgwick who seems to be in a totally different acting dimension from the rest of the cast. JUST A KISS is unique in that it shows off Sedgwick's gorgeous eyes (yes, I'm serious!) better than any other I've encountered and it's easy to see what Kevin Bacon fell madly in love with. Brief spots for Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel are a nice touch unlike the dreadful special effects highlighting Fisher uses throughout the picture.

Walk the Line

The year was 2006 and Joaquin Phoenix was riding the wave of fame and fortune with a second Oscar nomination for best actor with his portrayal of the legendary Johnny Cash. Fast forward the time machine to right now 2009 and you have Joaquin appearing on the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN and judging by the shape he showed up in he's doing research to play Steve Earle back when he struggled with heroin. I was certainly scratching my head when I heard he was leaving acting to persue a living making hip hop music and then I saw the now infamous You-Tube footage of him performing said hip-hop live and scratched my scalp raw. Now I think there may be brain matter leaking from my skull from scratching too hard after wait...that was on an episode of HOUSE....nevermind. There is of course the thought this whole thing is nothing but fodder for a Casey Affleck spoof flick and I will admit in watching Letterman last night you couldn't help but think he must be in on the joke, still, the jury remains well out in left field on this theory. When it comes to WALK THE LINE he knocked the bottom clean out of that roll and no matter what he does in the future he's left a legacy of amazing film work and I think that is all I wish to say about that for now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1000 Ways to Die

I know most of those who come here often don't bother with the SPIKE network but they are runing this new show called 1000 WAYS TO DIE which is simply the fucking coolest damn show on television today.....period!

No Country for Old Men

Yes, I saw this when it came out and of course I own the DVD and I howled like a banshee when it beat out THERE WILL BE BLOOD for best picture at the 2007 Academy Awards. I'm of the mind there is little I can add to all written about this film other than to say it is adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel so the pacing may seem awkward to some and the other would be that Javier Bardem made one of the best psychos I've ever seen. For the few of you out there who have been hiding under a rock and not yet seen NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN get up off that damn couch and get your ass to the video shop NOW!


The dude who directed this supposed horror flick goes buy the handle of Nimrod Antal. There should be a funny little hyphon thing-a-ma-jig above the O in Nimrod but I think you can figure where I'm going with this. Kate Beckinsale doing the running for her life all scared figure I'd be writing good things about that wouldn't you. Funny man Luke Wilson doing the serious I'm gonna save Kate's ass role thing. Sounds like it has potential doesn't it. Psycho dudes slicing and dicing the guests up at the local middle of no-fuckin'-where motel...think we've seen this before no? Thus the problem with VACANCY. It's a fair offering but it serves NOTHING we haven't seen done before and better at that. Worth a look but might I suggest you drive on to the next 5 star!


It's taken me two weeks and three viewings of this film to try and figure out just what I thought of it and this is the best way I can sum it up. See it on the big screen for the action, buy the DVD for the story. This true story of two Jewish brothers in Poland who help hide and protect people from the Nazi death camps. This is of course a very vague statement but I feel you should discover the subtleties of this story for yourself. Edward Zwick does an amazing job directing and the score is up for an Oscar but I'm still scratching my head about certain casting choices. Whille Daniel Craig certainly has the box office drawing power right now and his acting is fine I can't help but think he was wrong for his part seriously coming across at times as James Bond Nazi Fighter and this is not a good thing. While Craig is listed as the star this is in fact Liev Schreiber's film and it's about time. He is one of those great actors who has been plagued by bad parts in equally bad films and it is nice to see him shine like he does in DEFIANCE. Getting back to my original statement though, DEFIANCE suffers from trying to tell a serious bit of history and be a Hollywood film at the same time and I'm still undecided if it fully works. Either way, it should be on your list of films to see right now.

The Ruins

I've come not to expect much from the horror films being offered to the teen set these days and THE RUINS was no exception. I had no idea it was based on a book, which I've since been told is quite good, nor that Ben Stiller was friends with author Scott B. Smith which I gather is why this one was produced which is excellent because this is one of the best offerings I've seen in ages. Simple plot has a group of travelers checking out an Incan pyramid and running into some serious shit with the locals and a bunch of blood hungy weeds. Yes, weeds and not the good stuff either!~ While this sounds ridiculous director Carter Smith (never seen his work before and I have no idea if he and Scott are related) dares to take the material seriously as does the cast making for a very disturbing little piece of work. Laura Ramsey who at first looks to be simply there for a bouncing bit of T & A cranks out a scene which will have you squirming in your seat when you see it. Speaking of scenes, the message boards on IMDB lit up over the hand-job scene more than any other topic I've seen in recent history so those who want to know more about "that" can check it out there as I feel no need to crawl down into the gutter to discuss such sordid matters. No, I'll save that for MOULIN ROUGE! or something.

The Bucket List

A dear old friend of mine instant messaged me in the middle of the night concerning THE BUCKET LIST. He was going on about how much he was reminded of me by Jack Nicholson in this film and after seeing it for myself I'm thinking I have to track this buddy down as I'm not so sure he was paying me a compliment! As to be expected we receive stellar performances from Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, superb direction from the accomplished Rob Reiner but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it THE BUCKET LIST is light fluff on the topic of mortality. I gather what sets it aside from plain old entertainment is how this film seems to have inspired so many people to make their own bucket list, regardless of age, and in my opinion this is a mighty fine thing. Great to see veteran Beverly Todd getting some big screen time and it was also special to see Morgan work with his son Alfonso, not a first I believe they shared a scene in SE7EN but still nice just the same. It has a great little twist ending and is well worth a viewing provided you don't demand too much of it.

The Outlaw

THE OUTLAW is one of those odd films everybody seems to know about yet few have actually seen it. You can find this one floating about in the cheap dollar bins these days and it's more than worth dropping the loonie for many reasons. Never mind the fact THE OUTLAW is famous for launching Jane Russell and the famous Hughes Aviation designed bra (which she never wore in the picture) as well as Ben Johnson it also manages to piss off censors throughout America in the process. This is easy to see for 1943 as not only is the sexual content rather heavy there also is some shockingly extreme violence especially at the end. Ignoring history THE OUTLAW attempts to tell the story of Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid and despite the fact this is an uneven piece of work the interaction between the two make for an interesting view. Holliday as portrayed by Toronto born Walter Huston, father of John and of course grandfather of Angelica is not that far of a cry form how Val Kilmer portrayed him in TOMBSTONE and one has to think Kilmer took a close look at this one when preparing his own rendering. Russell is VERY prominent in the film and certainly just not part of the desert scenery and while Jack Buetel is pretty much only remembered for his work here as Billy it's not a bad legacy to leave at all! While Howard Hughes is credited with directing the lion's share of work fell on others and though many will find the soundtrack annoying there is enough drama and genuine laughs to make up for this minor shortcoming.

Walk All Over Me

One would think any film involving Tricia Helfer running about in domanitrix gear would receive the big thumbs up from me but truth be told I have some serious problems with WALK ALL OVER ME. The biggest would be it's a wretched little bit of film making. Of even greater concern to me was Leelee Sobieski running around in said domanitrix get-up which gave me no end of grief as I couldn't watch her without feeling like a slimey old pervert...that and the fact her acting is horrible in this one and I blame the director. If Robert Cuffley had more experience under his belt he may have been able to hammer this into a fair little film as there is a good script, more than adequate talent and from the looks of it not a bad budget to boot. Alas, we have an uneven piece of work which never manages to take flight. Nice original score and the scenes with Michael Eklund are enjoyable, other than this WALK ALL OVER ME will be one where you use the fast forward or freeze frame buttons on your converter more than play.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Gran Torino

Considering the way critics have been going on about GRAN TORINO I was a bit shocked when the Academy failed to acknowledge it for the upcoming Oscars. After seeing it I now understand why.
It is not a good film!
Poorly scripted, amazingly stereotyped characters, wretched acting and a directing style which still has me shaking my head.
Yes, Clint Eastwood did direct this one and EVEN if he was trying to pay some morbid homage to the revenge films of the early '70's such as WALKING TALL or DEATH WISH it just doesn't work.
All of this aside, it is fun to watch Eastwood in the roll of the man who has somewhat outgrown his world but even his character falls mighty short in the "I can believe this" department. I did like the ending and perhaps I am being overly harsh because I expect more from an Eastwood picture than this one delivered but everybody I've spoken to about this film who WASN'T a critic agreed with me.

Batman: Gotham Knight

While many still continue to argue about who played the best Batman they often seem to forget about Kevin Conroy who has voiced the dark knight in more animated episodes and feature than anybody else to the point where he pretty much owns the character now. GOTHAM KNIGHT features several directors offering a piece of a larger story which makes this adult oriented offering a tad more interesting than the average fair. Also listen for the vocal talents of former CSI great Gary Dourdan and current NCSI doctor David McCallum. Even if "cartoons" aren't your thing, the opening segment is worth a look as an interesting take of the old "pass the dutchie" game as a group of kids give their account of a similar event from their individual perspective and unlike VANTAGE POINT it doesn't suck.

Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger-London, New York, Johannesberg

Those of us old enough to have seen Eddie Murphy's RAW will once again be struck by just how influenced Rock is by Murphy. It was so strong with this HBO special I dug out RAW and compared the two and the similarities are far to great not tom mention. Still, this is unique in that it is his show shot in three cities and edited together by veteran comedic director Marty Callner. The effect is sometimes as jarring as some of Rock's material and some will like it, others wont, much like Rock himself. I'ce had the pleasure seeing him live and he's at his best when he decides to pull no punches, like he does here, and trust me, nobody is safe. Hard to say if it will hold up as well in twenty years as Murphy's RAW does but it is notable for his observations on the unfolding of the 2008 U.S. election.

The Man from Earth

For those who like their science fiction pure be sure to hunt down this obscure little number. Written by Jerome Bixby of STAR TREK and THE TWILIGHT ZONE fame this is one which will have your head going around in circles for days to come after watching it. The premise is simple yet quite a retirement party a teacher confesses to being a cave man who has lived for thousands of years. What follows is akin to the fine type of stage play you would expect from David Mamet or Samuel Beckett. Fine ensemble cast includes Tony Todd, Jason Billingsley and even William Katt who manages to be just as obnoxious as ever even after all of these years.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fever Lake

Well, if the production crew made this film as an excuse to go bass fishing I can forgive them, if not they should all be rounded up and thrown in said lake. Even die hard fans of Corey Haim, if there truly is such a thing, will be be pounding spikes into their collective heads after viewing this stink fest. Poorly acted with the exception of Bo Hopkins who I reckon will do anything for a pay cheque (nothing wrong with that!) with an inept script and no film technique to speak of. I did enjoy how folks said "woof" instead of wolf and poor Michael Wise who could easily do body double work for Patrick Swayze, if he already hasn't, as Clear Springs the "native" was good for a howl, otherwise avoid this like you would slamming your dick in the door!~


Those who have seen THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR or OCEAN'S ELEVEN will find little new to amaze them with this one though they do make great use of the then impending millennium. What they will find is Catherine Zeta-Jones slinking about through a maze of lasers in a lycra body suit and Sean Connery looking sexier in his late sixties than most men ever will in their lives. It's a fun enough film if you just sit back and enjoy the ride but if you start to think about it the whole thing explodes like those New Year's fireworks.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Me, Myself & Irene

If this wasn't a Farrelly brothers film it would more than likely suck, as it is, even Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger manage to use their stereotypical tricks to full effect in this one. As silly as it gets at times I will say it has one hell of a romantic ending making this a more than adequate time waster.

The Glass House

I hate to kick at anything Daniel Sackheim is involved with as I so enjoyed his work on THE X-FILES and HOUSE but this one is just a boring bit of tweenie nonsense. I enjoy Leelie Sobieski but she is not that effective here and Stellan Skarsgard always makes a good bad guy but this feature is so drawn out his pop moments lack punch. Might be fine for the early teen set but otherwise wift a brick through this glass house.


This 1938 offering, nominated for 4 Oscars, is notable for inspiring two great cultural icons, the title for CASABLANCA and Chuck Jone's adored skunk Pepe le Pu who is fashioned after Charles Boyer's portrayal of Pepe le Moko. As much as we complain of Hollywood's obsession with redoing films this is hardly a new trend as ALGIERS is a remake of the French film made a year earlier which takes it's name from the lead character. It's a stunning piece of work, well shot, amazingly acted and complexly written. Unique also in that we cheer for the supposed bad guy throughout. Hedy Lamarr is there in all of her glory making this one fans of CASABLANCA should most certainly track down.

The Whoopee Boys

I have a group of friends who swear this 1986 film is the funniest thing ever made. I'll give Paul Rodriguez the thumbs up here and Eddie Deezen has some great moments but this struck me as pretty standard stuff. The thing I always scratch my head at is how they manage to snag certain actors to do films of this nature, in this case Denholm Elliot and Dan O'Herlihy. OK, both will go anywhere the money is but this brand of humor just seems so beneath them. Not for all but certainly has an audience.