Friday, May 29, 2009

Pitch Black

David Twohy did a great job of reworking the whole aliens come to take over the Earth theme with THE ARRIVAL and in PITCH BLACK he does it again by reworking the whole people land on another planet where they begin to make like Tender Vittles theme and the results are fabulous. Despite his work in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BOILER ROOM this is the film which would propel Vin Diesel to stardom and it is interesting to note his character Riddick was originally to be killed off at the end of PITCH BLACK but the studio was of the mind they could spin a sequel from his character and thus THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK with it looking more likely there is another to come. While the character of Riddick is an interesting one it is the ensemble as a whole which make PITCH BLACK such an enjoyable slaughter. Unlike so many generic North American offerings the players are developed enough we truly care if some of them become bug lunch. Fabulous pacing, honest dialogue with unique visual effects and fine acting all around make PITCH BLACK stand out in a genre sorely needing a can of Raid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miami Rhapsody

It may just be a coincidence Sarah Jessica Parker playing a marriage obsessed neurotic under the direction of David Frankel, coincidence being she would play pretty much the same character years later on SEX AND THE CITY under said director. As for MIAMI RHAPSODY it's a fair enough picture but it didn't do much for me. I've always been of the mind if I want pablum neurosis I chose a Woody Allen film and even his movies don't always do it. Antonio Banderas and Mia Farrow have a few good moments but nothing special enough to make this one stand out. Look for a cameo from Michelle Russo and as always Ben Stein is great.

Leather Jackets

Anybody of the mind they saw Bridget Fonda at her worst in POINT OF NO RETURN obviously has not come across LEATHER JACKETS and nor should they. As a film it's a depressing, slit your wrists waste of time with characters you simply want to see die, and fast. On the other hand it is of interest to see such a collection of talent go to utter waste, D.B. Sweeney and Cary Elwes being the most recognizable of them but we also have Jon Polito, Chris Penn and even the lovely Ginger Lynn Allen and Viper make an appearance. Alas, all of this is for nowt and this film plods along like a street sweeping machine leaving dust and debris in wake.


Ben Stiller can make some pretty stupid films and ZOOLANDER would have to rank up there as the worst of them. Of course it's great, funnier than hell but damn is it ever stupid. I gather that's the point. The beautiful people on parade being......well....stupid. When I say beautiful people I mean it. There are so many cameos in this one you'd swear it was the MTV Video Awards and it's a major factor in ZOOLANDER's charm....I mean where else will you see David Bowie and GWAR in the same scene. Though Siller and Owen Wilson are in top form here it is David Duchovny who all most steals the show. I wont ruin that for you so I'll leave with saying this bit of nonsense it a must see!

The Reaping

The idea of Hillary Swank in a horror thriller frankly scared me more than anything the Hayes brothers could cook up but she was surprising effective this one. Might have had something to do with Stephen Hopkins directing style but THE REAPING is one mighty creepy biblical freak show. Easy to compare it with THE SEVENTH SIGN but so what, that was twenty years ago and hey, everybody is making end of the world films these days. Then again, any flick with raining or exploding frogs (MAGNOLIA excepted though the falling frog scene was amazing) is a good flick in my books. The biggest problem with THE REAPING is the end but I found it easy to forgive as the rest of the feature was so entertaining. Seeing Stephen Rea as a priest was a howl and nice to see Jillian Batherson getting some screen time.

Star Trek TOS: Shore Leave

The first of two episodes to have been written by the late, great Theodore Sturgeon, SHORE LEAVE finds the crew of the Enterprise encountering characters ranging from ALICE IN WONDERLAND to people from their past. It's another where a pesky flie can be seen buzzing around ol' Shatner and it also introduces us to Finnegan. Played by Bruce Mars it's a shame the makers of the new STAR TREK film didn't work him into the script as it is explained here Finnegan was a Starfleet Academy adversary. A favorite episode for many fans, be sure to weatch the tiger closely as you can see it's chain.

Jump In!

This is one of those examples where studio execs catch on to a trend, usually to late, and run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to capitalize on it. In this case they're dealing with skipping ropes and I will admit to finding the competition scenes interesting as they sure don't jump rope they way I remember as a kid. Paul Hoen is a veteran television director so JUMP IN! achieves what it's meant to which is a little afternoon film for the kids to watch after school. Corbin Bleu. who we saw in GALAXY QUEST provides the eye candy for the tweenie boppers and Keke Palmer, who we recently saw in CLEANER and of AKEELAH AND THE BEE fame easily carries the drama. One for the rug rats but as I mentioned, the competiton scenes will be of interest to all.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

It took me ages to bother watching this one, another instance of me figuring the product wouldn't match the hype. Wrong. It matched it and then some. While juvenile and crass it is also smart and well crafted and very, very funny. It would seem this vehicle boosted the careers of all involved as you see most of the cast everywhere these days especially Steve Carell and Seth Rogen and one can only pray we see more of Elizabeth Banks in years to come. Same goes for director Judd Apatow. This was his first feature and he followed it up with the popular KNOCKED UP and we have FUNNY PEOPLE in the pipeline. If it's half as enjoyable as THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN it will be worth it.


I first saw Hayden Christensen in an episode (actually a two parter!) of GOOSEBUMPS back in the late '90s and I remember my daughter mooning on about how cute he was. Not long after I came across Jessica Alba on the new FLIPPER and I remember said daughter wholloping me in the head, hard, as I gather it was pretty obvious what I was thinking. Here in AWAKE we have the two beautiful people in what turned out for me to be a rathering interesting and accomplished tweenie thriller. Not quite the horror film they would have you believe but an intriguing premise which is one of anesthetic awareness or "hey, I'm fucking awake here folks, sew my chest back up will ya!". Taken in context and being aware of the demographic the studio was trying to reach AWAKE can be a very satisfying watch. Alba actually does some of her best work to date and it's nice to see Christensen without a lightsaber. Lena Olin has some fine moments and it's always great to see Fisher Stevens but I was most impressed with Joby Harold. This is his directorial debut and only film to date and I certainly like what I see so you may wish to keep an eye out for his work in the future.

Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi changed the horror business in 1981 with the now classic THE EVIL DEAD and almost thirty years later he's gone and changed it again. DRAG ME TO HELL is unique to the genre in that it's a "clean" chiller. No sex, minimal language, very little clean you could take the kids. Granted, they probably won't sleep for a month but you could take 'em! Hell, my date chickened out on it during the bloody trailers! Serious, up from the seat and out the door with an audible "nope, I can't do it"! In some ways she was right because Raimi grabs you by the throat within minutes and never lets go. It's an old cliche to compare a film to a roller coaster ride but this is exactly what DRAG ME TO HELL is. Imagine Disney's Haunted Mansion ride on crystal meth! DRAG ME TO HELL is also extremely funny and this is where Raimi shines as a film maker. He'll have you busting your gut with laughter and then smash you upside the head with a frying pan scare and then yank you back with another side splitter. It is for this very reason I recommend you see it in a ful theatre. There are points in this film where the audience is laughing and screaming at the same time, an interesting sound to say the least ans, once again, totally roller coaster. DRAG ME TO HELL is by far the best moview experience to date this year and woth every penny of the thirteen bucks it will cost you to see and I predict right now it will topple a blockbuster or two when it opens this weekend. Before ending this a special mention must be made of character actress Lorna Raver. Her work as Mrs. Ganush is superb and she will waltz into the horror hall of fame because of it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paris Trout

Stephen Gyllenhaal, father of Maggie and Jake, certainly shows his directing chops with this one. The Peter Dexter novel was emotionally disturbing enough but when he adapted it for the screen the effect is intensified. Cult roles aside this is the character many serious film viewers remember when they think of Dennis Hopper. This is all the more amazing when you consider this was made for television. TV directing is Gyllenhaal's arena but nowhere in his amazing list of credits does he come close to the power he exibits here. It certainly doesn't hurt to have Ed Harris bringing his A-game and while he and Hopper are superb it is Barbara Hershey who steals the show and I'm still stunned she didn't grab an Emmy for it. Don't let the made for television bit lead you into thinking this is fluff, it isn't. It is brutal on so many levels it leaves many viewers numb. If you thought Hopper was mad in BLUE VELVET just wait 'til you see him as Paris Trout.

The Haunting

Shirley Jackson's novel THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE has been adapted, ripped off and mutated enough times on film it's hard to tell who's using what for source material. In the case of the Jan De Bont version, well, let's put it this'll be rooting for the friggin' house. The visuals are interesting and those who have a personal problem with Owen Wilson (I don't) will cheer when he loses his head, other than that call the Ghostbusters and get rid of this one!


I love the old matinee clunkers. here in Sssssss we have Strother Martin as a mad old scientist who wants to turn the human race into snakes to save them from the impending enviromental apocalypse. Along comes a young Dirk Benedict to get all slithered out and in the process develop an enlarged trouser snake for Toronto home gal Heather Menzies. Throw in some failed experiments, a copper investigating and some psychadelic sequences and you pretty much have Sssssss. I happen to be very fond of this one as I saw it real time as a kid but I will confess by todays standards it will test the patience of many. Martin is a lot of fun as Dr. Stoner (great name) and he was actually bit (what we have here is a failure to YEOWWWWWWW) on set by one of the little buggers. Felix Silla has a small role (no pun intended) and Reb Martin makes his debut as does Noble Criag as the snake man. It would be over a decade before we'd see him on screen again as the vomit creature in POLTERGEIST 2 which are the only roles he plays. Worth a look but will only scare those who have a snake phobia.

Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld has an impressive body of directorial work under is belt but one could argue this is his finest. From start to finish this sci-fi action comedy delivers. The chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is simply out of this world. Story, pacing, presentation, effects, pretty much everything about this film is perfect. While there are many faces here you will recognize, special mention has to be made of Vincent D'Onofrio who gives a stellar performance as the "bug". Look for Verne Troyer as the baby alien and the always annoying David Cross as the morgue dude.

Summer Catch

Nevermind the fact most baseball films are just an excuse to grab all of the young, hot Hollywood studs and toss 'em on a field in tight pants (same can be said for Westerns) I'm still a sucker for them. Good or bad, made for kids or adults, doesn't matter, I'll watch 'em and usually enjoy every second of it. SUMMER CATCH is standard stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, we have Jessica Biel swimming a lot but I'm too old to supposedly be getting all hot and bothered. I have a hard time with Mr. Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lead though he does turn in a fine performance in this cased. I always enjoy Matthew Lillard and it's great to see Marc Blucas getting some big screen time. Brian Dennehy can always be counted on to play the surly old gruff with a good heart but the best role in the film belongs to Beverly D'Angelo as the horny ol' den mother.

R.I.P. Peter Zezel

While I don't often write about the passings of our beloved hockey players an exception can and will be made for Peter Zezel though it need not be an exception as he was in YOUNGBLOOD playing alongside Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe. The Toronto community in whole lost a great member today and while we have our memories we are still the lesser for it. Peter was one of those men who always seemed to be aware of what it truly meant to be a hockey player in this country, a big man with a small ego it didn't matter if you came across him at a game, an alumni function or on the street, he always took the time to sign a card or give a tip to a kid while wearing that big smile of his. Our thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time and may he check hard in that big game in the sky.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Empire Strikes Back

Like the original STAR WARS there is no need for me to go on about this one. It's still my favorite of the series, the lighting is utterly phenomenal and it's about as much fun as STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN. What I can go on about is an association problem I have any time I see Chewbacca now which is I can't help but think of the Colin Farrel sex tapes and then this image of a female wookie picking hair from her teeth just gives me the intergalactic willies, no pun intended. Some things are just better left unseen.....THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK certainly isn't one of them.

Hamburger: The Movie

So....did you hear Dairy Queen caught Burger King messin' with Wendy's toppings and had a cow?
HAMBURGER: THE MOVIE will be much like any fastfood, you either love it or hate it. Amazing flatulance sequence coupled with Dick Butkus and a dude turned into part chicken in a homage to FREAKS will make this amazing to some, revolting to others. Look for Jon Lovitz in his first big screen appearance.

Yes Man

It's been a while since Jim Carrey has starred in a legitimately good comedy and happily YES MAN qualifies. This has partly to do with Peyton Reed being a competent director but more because YES MAN was inspired by the Danny Wallace. I've not seen it but supposedly this British guy said yes to everything for a year and then cranked out a best seller. Don't know about that but the flick sure did good box. It starts out a bit harsh which will have you scared you are about to sit through another version of THE CABLE GUY. Doesn't take long for Terence Stamp to show up and change all of that. Stamp is like a great spice, the soup is bland, add a dash and bingo, you have something edible. It turns into a good natured exploration of what can happen when you decide say yes instead of no which allows Carrey to do what he does best. I especially enjoyed the "house band" MUNCHAUSEN BY PROXY comprised of Zooey Deschanel and VON IVA ( ) which was certainly my personal highlight. Be sure to watch right to the end as the closing scene is excellent.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

I've never been able to figure why horror fans and critics alike took to skewering this wonderful bit of black comedy. Make no bones here, while TCM 2 uses characters from the 1974 original it is in no way a sequel proper. This is party due to the studio pissing around with the intended script which in light of the finished product was not necessarily a bad thing. Intended or not, much like the first, this film changed the way horror pictures were made incorporating the blend of sick humor and even sicker splat. Tom Savini and his crew produce some of their finest work here making it imperative you watch an uncut copy as many copies are missing up to twenty minutes of footage. As for the characters, there isn't a dud in the bunch and some of the lines are utterly priceless. Bill Mosely as Chop Top is one of my faves and I have a great picture he was kind enough to inscribe with one of my face quotes from TCM , "LICK MY PLATE YOU DOG DICK" and believe it or not there are lines to top this one. I say believe it or not as I'm always stunned by the number of people who still haven't bothered to watch this classic. Jim Siedow was the only member of the cast to have been in the original and fittingly enough this was his last film while many are of the mind Ken Evert as Granpa Sawyer was also in the original when in fact this is his only film appearance period. Look briefly for my man Kinky Friedman in a cameo and be sure to pay close attention to the scene where Dennis Hopper buys the chainsaws.

In Good Company

This is an odd little picture to pin down. While it isn't great it doesn't suck coming off as made for television in feel but for the big screen in look. The TV aspect is not so much in the recognizable faces, Marg Helgenberg, Topher Grace, David Paymer or Philip Naker Hall to name a few but rather the script. It's simple, not twisted and is delivered clean. Scarlett (damn but I want to be a pop star!) Johansson sums it up best when her character delivers the line "I'm a victim of a non-disfunctional family". The film is carried on the ever broad and capable shoulders of Dennis Quaid and if anybody else had been in the lead it would have fallen flat on it's face. Of personal pleasure to me was when Quaid punches out Grace. After years of THAT '70s SHOW and the mere fact his character even "blinked" when faced with the opportunity to hop in the sack with Johansson...well.....he deserved a smack in the head! Actually, Topher does a bang-up job here as the young up-and-comer in the corporate jungle and I imagine he will turn in some serious drama pices in the years to come. Not great, not bad and sure to be in regular rotation on THE WOMEN'S NETWORK any day now.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

This is an interesting film on many levels and was far better than I expected, something I've noticed with each subsequent viewing. The first point is THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE is more of a courtroom drama than a horror film. Loosely based on actual events of a German case in the early '70s. Tom Wilkinson does a fine job of the priest accused of negligent homicide while Laura Linney was in my mind a rather poor choice for the lawyer who defends him. Nothing wrong with her acting, she just somehow does not fit the part. Because the film was shot in British Columbia we have some nice cameos from Canadian greats Henry Czerny, Kenneth Welsh and Colm Feore. Yes, I know Colm is not Canadian but he does so much work in this country he may as well be! While I say this is more of a courtroom drama than a horror film there are more than enough "boo" moments here to give it a nice whollop and this brings me to the most interesting point of all. Emily Rose is portrayed by Jennifer Carpenter, known to us here as Mrs. Dexter. As she is double jointed she does most of her own physical stunt work and looking at some of the positions she contorts herself into are amazing. Which brings me to the problem of not being able to help myself but wonder what she and Michael C. Hall, A.K.A. Dexter get up to in the bedroom. Yes, I know, none of my bloody damn business but as the song says, the mind will wander. An above average thriller and well worth the time to find.

Herbie Fully Loaded

Contrary to what many believe this is not a remake but a continuation of the Herbie series. These films are a guilty pleasure much like the KISS records we all had to hide when we became punks or serious metal heads, we all watched the Herbie films we just didn't admit it. Here we have Lindsay Lohan, who I'm sure will someday snag an Oscar is she doesn't crash and burn first, rescuing the loveable bug from the scrap yard. The rest is standard formula for this type of nonsense. Judging by how bad it bombed I gather this style of humor is lost on the youth of today but older folks may enjoy this blast from the past. Some interesting soundtrack work from Mark Mothersbaugh and some great hamming from Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. Considering how the religious right are always hammering at Disney over one thing or another there was neary a peep about their choice to use director Angela Robinson mostly known for her work on THE L WORD.

The Deadly Companions

This marks the feature film debut of Sam Peckinpah and not a bad way to start off. Standard Western fare has Brian Keith taking Maureen O'Hara to bury her son alongside his father and a bunch of Western shit happens along the way, you know, like back stabbing and angry natives and stuff. Albert Sidney Fleichman, whose novel this was adapted from, still makes a living writing this stuff and fans of his work will be quite happy with this. While is doesn't showcase the stylings Peckinpah would later become famous for it is a solid piece for enthusiasts of the genre. Look for Strother Martin and Big John Hamilton in small roles.


Here is a great example of trying to recoup ones losses. Take a failed TV series pilot and try to pass it off in the video market as an actual film. This is the case with NETFORCE, based on the Tom Clancy story, not a bad one either. It deal with an oganization of cyber anti-terrorists deep within the American government. The concept should have worked. The actors are there with Scott Bakula, Kris Kristofferson, Judge Reinhold, Brian Dennehy and so many other character actors you'll constantly be going " I know him, I know her". The script is fair enough but somehow NETFORCE never raises above what it was intended to be, a pilot. Worth a look for those interested in Bakula or computer based thrillers but others will want to take a pass.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

So, tell me what's wrong with this picture........Harold is now at the helm of the Enterprise and Kumar is working for Barack Obama ?!?!??!?!?!?!?! Sometime life simply is stranger than fiction though I will grant you some are of the mind STAR TREK is fiction....for others...well....a different story. Point I'm trying to make here is you have two smart actors in John Cho and Kal Penn playing two smart characters in a film which turns stereotypes on their heads. Smart and bloody funny. There are a few comedic scenes over the years which hold a strange power of me, that of causing me to simply lose my shit! One is when Dr. Evil is dinged in the cubes by the "meteorite" in GOLDMEMBER, there are of course many others but one is here. It is the short scene where the old lady looks at Kumar and sees him as a terrorist. Hell, they use it in the previews, it's very short but damned if I don't start laughing my fool head off every time I see it. ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY doesn't have quite the same kick as GO TO WHITECASTLE and suffers slightly from being too well thought out and preachy but that being said it is still heads and shoulders above most of the comedies being released these days. Neil Patrick Harris is back for the ride and you wont have to look too hard to see the great Echo Valley's cameo!


Because most who read here are borderline art and film snobs the chances are good you've not yet seen the video for Pink's new single PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME but I can tell you I'm pretty sure I'm not the only guy out there who was creeped to my very core by it. In the case of MISERY almost twenty years later this Rob Reiner film still delivers the shivers and for my money is far more disturbing than any FATAL ATTRACTION. It's one of the few instances where the movie may actually be better than the book and certainly ranks up there as one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel. This is not just because of Reiner's direction but an amazing collection of acting talent. While everybody remembers Michael Caan and Kathy Bates most forget the background pool of Lauren Bacal and the trio of late greats Richard Farnsworth, Clayton Moore and J.T. Walsh. While this impressive list help bring the William Goldman script to life it is Bates who earned movie immortality and an Oscar for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes, a character so twisted it can rival the likes of Alex Forrest or Blanche Hudson and will still give aspiring writers nightmares. Keep your eyes open for Reiner himself in an interesting cameo.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dennis the Menace

I hate to be hard on a film directed by Nick Castle who just so happened to play "the shape" or Michael Myers if you will in the original HALLOWEEN but this version of Hank Ketcham's beloved comic strip is a flawed piece of work. Perhaps we can blame it on the script as there is nothing wrong with the directing. This was provided by John Hughes of HOME ALONE fame and here is where the problem begins. Hughes takes Dennis and throws him in a HOME ALONE feature which brings a mean spirit to the project, rather opposite to the feeling Ketcham always used in his strip, one of good natured mischief. As far as casting goes Mason Gamble does a fine Dennis though they never seemed to nail his trademark cowlick right but the real gem would be the late Walter Matthau as Mr. Wilson. Despite the problems with this picture any time Gamble and Matthau are on screen is pure magic. Throwing Christopher Lloyd in as Switchblade Sam is a perfect example og Hughes borrowing from his own work and while Lloyd has some fine moments his character simply does not fit here. Not the best you will see but worth a look for Matthau and Gamble alone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Star Wars

Is there any need for me to bother blurbing this one. Like it or not, this one changed the "landscape" of science fiction and started the great debate of which school of fandom, STAR TREK or STAR WARS were the uncoolest geeks. Here we all know it's the warbots but we wont go there. Nor will I get into the whole thing of "why didn't you list it as STAR WARS: EPISODE IV-A NEW HOPE. I was there when it first hit the big screen and it was and as far as I'm concerned forever will be simply STAR WARS. What I can say here is over thirty years later this is by far the best "film" of the lot. Yes, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is my personal favorite by STAR WARS is one mightly well made film and surprisingly the special effects which we we all wowed by but made fun of for some reason look far better now then they did back in the day. If I were to put my finger on why it may be we have been so inundated by CGI the effects here feel more organic. Another point of note is you should try to see it in the orginal form, not remastered with the update visuals or the change in perspective when Han Solo blows away Greedo. The under the table blaster scene was instrumental in setting up a neat aspect of his character, slightly lessend by the over the table shot. The late Peter Cushing has some fine moments here and all around it may be even more enjoyable now than when we were kids.


I've had a problem with director Gus Van Sant ever since he did that "look at me, I'm so clever and great" abomination of a remake PSYCHO so I will confess to having issues with this biopic though oddly enough not the one much of mainstream America did. The fact the gay community are fighting pretty much the same battle thirty years later underscores the need for Harvey Milk's story to be told yet again. There is no need for me to discuss the politics involved here, many more qualified to do so have and are doing this. What about Sean Penn? Did he deserve the Oscar for his work here. A lot of people, a majority of the mainstream I mentioned, feel he won only because of the "gay" card which I feel is unfair. Penn does some of his best acting work here, maybe not Oscar worthy but damned if his acceptance speech wasn't great. Enough about Penn, though I should mention Diego Luna who was fabulous, let's get back to Van Sant. He delivers a supremely solid film here on all accounts and I was most impressed by being unable to tell if I was watching archival or recently shot footage making MILK one of the best modern period pieces I've ever seen. I still can't forgive him for PSYCHO but I will admit he is one mightyl damn fine film maker and I'm less worried about his doing THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST after seeing MILK than I was before.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Well, it was better than OBSESSEED and yes, I do own a copy, or did as I promptly turfed it from the balcony after being stupid enough to watch it again but I just HAD to be sure it was better than OBSESSED, it was and that ain't sayin' much. I was entertained by watching my copy smash to little bits in the alley below and from the 19th floor it blew up real good which made me worry because if somebody had been below and been struck by it we would have a case of death by GIGLI which I gather wouldn't be all that unique as I imagine this stinker has bored more than one person to an early grave.


So, there I was, all ready to see ANGELS & DEMONS only to find it sold out. No problem, STAR TREK viewing number eight would have suited me just fine....but no....the date just HAS to see Beyonce in OBSESSED which from the reviews I figured was already on DVD. But no, there it is in all it's glory and there we are, pretty much alone in the empty theatre, which would under normal circumstances be a fantastic thing but said OBSESSED was playing.
Watching it was like listening to Cyndi Lauper with a hangover and it actually made GIGLI look good.
As the shakin' booty might be want to say, if you like it put a ring on it but me, I want my 40 bucks and two hours back!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama

Much live they've never truly figured out how the Great Pyramids were built I've never been able to understand why Halle Berry has an Oscar and Linnea Quigley doesn't. Granted, she doesn't get as much screen time here as I would have preferred though this is made up for by the duration of Brinke Stevens scenes. The title pretty much tells all you need to know about this one and love or hate David DeCoteau's work, he's been making films for a quarter of a century now so he must be doing something right. Lot's of boobies, whipped cream, a bit o' splat and an imp to boot.....what more could you ask for.

Slumdog Millionaire

There is a good reason why I'm not a film director. Never mind the fact nobody in their right mind would throw a couple million bucks my way to make one, but if they did, and say it just so happened to be Danny Boyle's SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE I swear I would have had Jamal get smucked by a train as he was crossing the tracks to embrace his beloved Latika. Oh, did I ruin something for you? I highly doubt it. This baby would not have been the runaway smash it is was if it pulled off the "kill the lovers" stunt made famous by Billy Shake and used so often in the '70's. No, you have to have the guy get rich AND get the girl, hence, why I didn't direct it because not only would I have Jamal get smucked, I'd have the train derail and take out a shit load of other folks including Latika and it wouldn't have made a damn penny!
That being said, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a truly wonderful piece of work on all levels and more than lives up to it's reputation. Amazingly scripted, stunningly presented and superbly acting it was no wonder it danced away with so many little gold statues and yes, it even put a smile on my face.

The Da Vinci Code

Even an idiot will admit a film is in trouble when one of the lead stars, in this case the great Ian McKellen says it's bad. Mind you, this didn't stop millions of people, some of them fanatical Catholics and such, from filling the theatres and putting yet more cash into the pockets of Dan Brown and ol' Ope. To throw in my two cents I empathise with scripter Akiva Goldsman. There was just too much material to squish into two hours and I thought he did a fine job of the task at hand. As for all of the theology and such, most of it is wrong but who cares, it's a fine yarn. If you want to take a closer and "possibly" more serious look at the subject read THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL. I say possibly because these guys sued Brown for the dreaded "P" word which is odd as their book is supposed to be true which would have one question why historians world wide aren't suing authors everyday. What is true is Tom Hanks was burdened with one serious bad doo which can rival that of Kevin Costner's in THE BODYGUARD. The other major problem I had was with Silas, the bug-eyed albino psycho monk. Everytime I watch this movie and he comes on screen all I can think about is how much more fun it would have been to have Marty Feldman, were he alive, play the role and while this may seem silly...well...this is the point....THE DA VINCI CODE is silly, but good fun just the same.

The Last Shot

This is an odd little piece of fluff which can't seem to decide if it's a docudrama, dark comedy, or straight laced morality tale. It claims to be based, sort of, on a true story about an attempt to nab the mob by producing a film and then hooking them on extortion through crooked union practices. While the script, provided by veteran screenplay man Jeff Nathanson in his directorial debut, is fine the film never manages to find it's legs. Matthew Broderick is surprisingly weak here and Alec Baldwin doesn't fare much better. Tony Shalhoub can always be counted on to deliver but the big surprise here would be Toni Collette and Calista Flockhart who does foul mouthed psycho to the hilt with great bravado! I especially liked the sequence concerning the death of Baldwin's dog by suicide in the jacuzzi, come to think of it, several pooches almost bite the dust in this film, but it was not enough to save this patchworked offering. Worth a look if nothhing else is available.

Sharpe's Enemy

Another film adapted from the televised episodes for video/DVD release and as always Sean Bean totally rawks as Sharpe. The great feature here is Pete Postlethwaite as Obadiah Hakeswill, one of the finest bad guys ever to grace the small screen. Never hurts to see Elizabeth Hurley lose her bodice and we even have fun with rocketry in this one! Another fine offering in the Sharpe canon.


You know how you find an item at a restaurant, order it, and it's one of the tastiest little numbers you've stuffed down your throat in years! Some time passes and you return, order the same thing and it induces Olympic power vomiting. This is the problem I have with CLOSER, good back in the day but totally lacking in protein after the fact. When a young Natalie Portman can steal the show from Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen you just know something is wrong. Grant it, she is an acting powerhouse but like 'em or hate 'em this cast of A-listers make for some pretty stiff competition and Portman knocks them down like pins in a bowling alley. For my money the film is worth watching just to hear Owens call Robers a "fucking slag" and he does have some golden moments here but when you get right down to it CLOSER is nothing but a DANGEROUS LIAISONS for Generation X, or Y or whatever the hell it's called right now, only DL had better costumes.


I caught myself watching this one and the entire time thinking I was watching something else. Sure enough this is Milos Foreman's version of DANGEROUS LIAISONS, that French guy Choderlos de Laclos' book which everybody has been ripping off for a couple of centuries now. I've never bothered to read it as it would be a translation and I've seen so many takes on this one I don't see the point. So, we have Colin Firth prancing about as Valmont looking rather out of place I'm sad to say and we have Fairuza Balk as the young nubile looking ratherout of place and we have Meg Tilly as some broken hearted wench looking REALLY out of place and we have Annette Bening looking like she belongs but by gawd I thought I was watching Julia Ormond the who damn time and knew no different until the credits ran. The late Vincent Schiavelli has some interesting moments which made pray there was a blooper reel somewhere because he looks like he will do something out of place at any second. It's a fair enough piece of work though many seem to prefer the Close/Malkovich version.....put them together and they would make a fine one-two punch.

Friday, May 15, 2009


The great thing about a film like Ang Lee's take on HULK is all of the spin-off thing-a-ma-jiggies they market. Of course I ran right out and bought this kick ass Hulk clock which has him smashing out of the ground holding on to a swinging traffic light. Said light is a digital clock and the little red, yellow, and green LED flash. The traffic light does not swing unless you sit there and flick it with your finger, the clock died in a couple of days and one my one the little LEDs stopped flashing and now the damn thing sits in a corner collecting dust.
You could pretty much use this story to sum up the film as well.

Youth Without Youth

Here is the great Francis Ford Coppola film nobody seems to have heard of and even with the recent popularity of Tim Roth due to his hit show LIE TO ME people still don't know about this gem of a movie and those who do hate it. Based on the Mircea Eliade novel which I haven't read.....hell..I have to confess I'd never even heard of this Romanian philospoher, it tells the story of a man who at the end days of his life is struck by lightning and then proceeds to "grow" young again.....or does he. This is one heck of a mind bender and after a dozen viewings I'm still not sure about some parts. What I am sure of is this was a labor or love for Coppola, he funded the film with monies made from his winery, and I gather he couldn't care less what the critics thought. It is a bit long winded in parts and certainly does jump all over the board but it is visually beautiful and I loved it. I also loved seeing the underused Alexandra Pirici! Will not be to the taste of many but I do suggest those who liked it at first watch buy a copy as it does require multiple screenings.

Star Trek

Ok, ok, you all have spoken and here it is, the long awaited blurb concerning the new STAR TREK film. I could ramble on and on about how fantastic this film is but in this case I think simplicity will suffice.
I have no groceries but I've seen this picture seven times now and this should provide all you need to know about the new STAR TREK film.