Wednesday, November 08, 2006

plug in drive off

Who Killed The Electric Car? :logically we should want cars that don't run on fossil fuels- and yes I am frustrated that these vehicles did not penetrate the NASCAR hummer economy we inhabit- but damned if I did not keep quoting the hilarious South Park smug episode(find it watch it).93 minutes of movie- called a documentary- but really just a commercial for electric cars and alternative energy with lots of info repeated over and over again- I will say it again - the notion of an electric car is very appealing to me- and I am not surprised that the oil and automotive industry could see past their stock options to support forward thinking- this movie is not that entertaining and actually depressing - you can get the meat of the movie in the special feature Jump Start the future which is 15 minutes long- This is not terrible - but it ain't a documentary- it is very slanted . C+

The Killers

Ernest Hemingway's The Killers : The Criterion Collection is about as complete a collection as I have encountered- 2 feature length editions of the Killers- the 1946 black and white noir version directed by Robert Siodmak starring Burt Lancaster,Edmond O'Brien & Ava Gardner,the 1964 version starring Lee Marvin with a supporting cast that includes Claude Akins(sheriff Lobo), John Cassavettes, Norman Fell(Mr.Roper), Angie Dickinson & future president Ronald Reagan.Both versions have merit- the 46 version features a great performance by Burt Lancaster as the doomed Boxer Ole Anderson,tons of great Siodmak shots and the lovely Ava Gardner.The 1964 version is very different - it strays far afield from the Hemingway short story( the screenplay is by future Star Trek exec Gene L. Coon)- the athlete is now a race car driver- we see Lee Marvin in a dry run for his future role as cold-blooded killer in Point Blank and we see the oddest group of supporting actors all doing a good job- Ronald Reagen as the plotting and scheming bad guy- with his sidekick Norman Fell- we see Claude Akins loyal to the point of tears- we also get a disturbing opening and a great ending- it is a flawed movie- but worth seeing.I am not going to say the 46 is flawless- but it is gripping from the opening dinette scene to the climax.The DVD also features a student film version of the Killers by Andrei Tarkovsky, an audiobook reading by Stacey Keach and a radio theater version with Lancaster and Shelley Winters.The DVD also has essays on film noir and a video essay by Stuart Kaminsky. A

Friday, October 27, 2006

Slither

Slither -A fun horror flick- written and directed by James Gunn - this rated-R flick is played straight by the cast (on purpose)- and that makes for more laughs as the critters worm their way thru a small town.Starring Nathan Fillion as the sheriff,Michael Rooker as Grant Grant & Michelle Banks as the wife of Grant squared and the apple of the sheriff's eye.If you are expecting a straight-up horror or gorefest you will be disappointed- if you are looking for a good-time drive-in B flick then you should have a good time.The Movie has cameos by Jenna Fischer(from the Office and wife of the writer/director) and Lloyd Kaufman .The DVD has tons of meaty extras including a full length commentary by the star and the writer/director,deleted scenes and a gag reel.Actually I really enjoyed all of the deleted scenes-check them out- they probably needed to cut from the movie- but they are all funny.I will probably end up owning this one. B

The Razor's Edge - 1946 Daryl F. Zanuck production of the famed W.Somerset Maugham.Starring Tyrone Power as Larry Darrell - a dull young chap that wants to find meaning in life after suffering thru trench warfare in WWI.The story is told thru the eyes of Herbert Marshall playing the author Somerset Maugham.This movie takes a long time to build each character - from the snobbish uncle played by Clifton Webb to the relationship between Anne Baxter and Gene Tierney.And the relationship between Baxter and Tierney is the fulcrum for the movie-or rather the most interesting and explosive and dramatic- The movie has some very clumsy shots and use of matte paintings- specially the stuff set in India.A big production for it's time- with tons of extras and sets- but all of it done on the lot.The best parts of the movie are later in the film when Anne Baxter tears up the scenery and Gene Tierney throws verbal darts her way.A very dated flick - the DVD has a commentary by Anthony Slide and Robert Bichard- it seems like they don't even like the movie that much.Anne Baxter won an Oscar for best supporting actress.If you like melodrama and black and white flicks this one is worth renting. B-


Fatal Contact:BIRD FLU in America: Ripped from last year's headlines- worst case scenario- Pandemic - run,hoard,give speeches,cry,bond.This made for TV movie is the combination of the worst of all dramatic cliches- the Va governor that turns his mansion into a fort than becomes a man of the people,the overly concerned doctor(Joely Richardson),the workaday Latina nurse and her national guard hubby in NYC,the fake news reports about the worsening conditions and the death count clicker.I have no idea why I watched the whole thing.The DVD has no extras. F

M:I:III -Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt in this third Mission Impossible film.Philip Seymour Hoffman is his nemisis,Ving Rhames is back as part of his posse and Billy Crudup & Larry Fishburne are his bosses.The movie was helmed by J.J. Abrams.I know I saw the first installment in the theater(I was still in awe of stuff blowing up real good on the big screen)- I did not see the second one and I would not have missed much if I would have skipped this flick either.The usual spy game stuff of double crosses and explosions.And they up the ante with crazy break-ins that seem implausible(including a kidnapping @ the Vatican).If you need mindless entertainment or want to see Cruise's last flick before his firing by Sumner Redstone- than this will work- looking for good dialogue and such.... The DVD has deleted scenes ,a commentary by Abrams & Cruise and a tribute to Cruise - a montage from his past films. C-


Criss Cross -1948 noir flick starring Burt Lancaster,Dan Duryea & Yvonne DeCarlo.Lancaster is the main character- coming back to town and still in love with his ex-wife(the stunning Yvonne DeCarlo)- but everybody thinks she is trouble for him.She is more concerned with money than love and eventually drops Lancaster for the town wiseguy.But the couple has a chance enounter and they rekindle their passions- this leads to a clumsy scheme to explain away their rendezvous to the mobster.Directed by Robert Sidomak The plot is almost given away by the title- the DVD's only extra is the trailer - which also gives away tons of plot points. Some great shots in this flick - using mirrors and light and smoke. A

Map of The Human Heart - I can't candy-coat it - I love this movie- I own the soundtrack and once paid much moolah to get it on VHS- yet somehow I missed the DVD release of this Vincent Ward movie.The DVD has some deleted scenes - but no behind the scenes or even a trailer.This epic follows a young eskimo boy (Avik played very well by Robert Joamie as a wide-eyed youth and Jason Scott Lee when he is older) who is rescued by a British mapmaker when it is discovered he has T.B. and taken to hospital.While there he encounters the cute charming and tomboyish halfbreed Albertine- they have instant chemistry as they fight,play,steal and hang out whenever possible.Since the hospital is run by nuns they seperate the two.There are jumps in the story and we end up 10 years later.An older Avik helps Walter on another mapmaking journey and hears about WWII- he wants to help.Soon Avik is a bomber for the R.A.F. and he reconnects with Albertine who is working for bomber command-yep that is a major coincidence.Soon we encounter some amazing shots of nighttime bombing over Germany and some major melodrama.The movie is a tragic romance about 2 soulmates that seem like they should be married from the first second that they meet- but life keeps getting in the way.Beautiful movie with great cinematography. A

Dark Corner - noir flick directed by Henry Hathaway starring Clifton Webb,Lucille Ball and William Bendix.A film centered around a P.I. who is getting harassed from angles from the first scene.This movie felt like a collection of noir cliches- and I found myself disinterested in the main romance angle between the P.I. and his red-headed secretary.Lacking the nuance of other flicks or the sense of dread from Hathaway's Call Northside 777 - this movie just never jelled for me. C+

Jackass 2 - fun was had by all during my matinee screening of the popular sequel- as all 4 folks in the multiplex mini theater were laughing or oohing and awing the entire flick.Like the first flick - this is extreme goofiness without a net- my girlfriend summed it up best- it reminded her of her youth - trying crazy stuff with bikes and skateboards and double-dawg daring people to do stuff.That is the fun- it is the youthful need to try and try again to find crazy stuff to do.There are some very gross moments- including one moment- the first moment in my life where I averted my eyes to keep from vomiting- but most of the movie is goofiness.Noone is safe from a quick kick to the nuts or humilation or whatever else the crew has in mind.I am glad they have a camera to document such stuff and I can enjoy it from a safe distance. B+

Nacho Libre - I enjoyed Jack Black as the obnoxious clerk in High Fidelity and the obsessed neo-con in Bob Roberts - I even own and have laughed @ the first Tenacious D album.I am burnt out on his schtick- School of Rock was like having my teeth pulled and his talk show appearances are the same note.Even so I am a life-long fan of the pro wrestling and love the luchadores.This broken Spanglish offering is about a loser priest that decides to take up wrestling in this offering from Nappy Dynamite director Jared Hess.I don't get it- it just doesn't work and it borders on belittling to the colorful history of Mexican wrestling.First off like the WCW sanctioned crapfest Ready to Rumble (which actually led to David Arquette holding the WCW strap for almost a month)- this movie treats wrestling as athletic competition and not staged entertainment.And once again wrestling fans are presented as either cross-eyed or not all that bright.This movie will appeal to pre-teen boys with it's mix of fart jokes and cartoon violence- the rest of the family can roll thier eyes as little Billy guffaws with joy when Jack Black flexes his butt-cheeks for the comely nun.If you want to check out some good lucha action - netflix the Rey Misterio WWE DVD which features his great 1997 with the late Eddie Guerrero.The DVD has commentary by the star and the director- delted scenes and several featuretttes. C-

The Road To Guantanamo - just in time for the Halloween horror/suspense season - a well told story about 3 British Muslims that go to War torn Afghanistan and get captured as Taliban.They get treated as subhuman turds by their captors.This is more horrifying than any Saw or Freddy movie.Human rights and the Geneva Conventions are thrown out as the solidiers spit on,humilate and near starve the Muslim prisoners- truly barbaric and sickening.Directed by Micheal Winterbottom & Matt Whitecross the DVD has no extras on it.The scariest movie I have seen since Fog of War. A


Donnie Brasco -felt the urge to revisit this DVD- one of my favorite performances by Al Pacino as an aging mafia hitman who vouches for the undercover FBI agent Donnie Brasco portrayed by Johnny Depp.The DVD has commentary and 2 featurettes including appearances by Joe Pistone the federali that went undercover as "Donald Brasco". Look for camoes by Paul Giamatti and Tim Blake Nelson as G-Men and the late Bruno Kirby and Micheal Madsen as part of Brasco's crew.The movie is about the relationship between the connected Lefty(Pacino) and the undercover fed Brasco(Depp).It is nice to see Pacino dial it down and play a role with nuance. A

Whirlpool -Otto Preminger directs this murder mystery starring Gene Tierney as doctor's wife that is a kleptomanic who is "helped" by a hypnotist played wonderfully by Jose Ferrer who is superb as the conieving villian and con-man.This movie is imperfect - Richard Conte seems out of place as a successful phsyco-analyst and there are huge chunks of the story that the audience has to guess at.The movie is held together by Preminger's direction and the splendid heel work by Ferrer.The DVD has a commentary track by Richard Shickel. B-


Hard Luck - mix elements of Carlito's Way with the star and director of New Jack City and then have Cybill Shepherd as part a serial murder couple .The latest Wesley Snipes STD(straight to DVD) flick is slightly better than his recent slate of action flicks - but that is damning with faint praise at best.This mess follows Lucky(Snipes) from his release from prison to his being flooded out of the straight life by Katrina to falling back into crime.Director Pebbles is quite happy to say this movie has the WTF elements on purpose- but it really creates some leaps of logic and for a muddled mess in the end. C-


City of Industry - a hiest flick with Timothy Hutton,Famke Jansen,Elliot Gould,Lucy Lui,Stephen Dorff and starring Harvey Keitel.Stand order robbery and double-cross flick- lots of violence and cursing and whatnot.
C-



the break-up - A pleasant surprise -not as over the top as the Wedding Crashers - this movie is a comedy with more substance to it - sure it is still a mainstream movie that doesn't get as nasty as arguments between lovers can get- but it has real bite- with discussions I have been a part of myself- Vince Vaughan is not my favorite guy- he has moments - but on the whole he usually bores me with his schtick - but this role is perfect for him and for her(Jennifer Aniston).He is a schlub and a slob and a wiseass- she is a little more refined and and lot more frustrated with his taking her for granted and not chipping in with household chores and social responsibilites.Not as epic as War of Roses or as funny- this flick is about a disolving civil union and the flack that results.People expecting broad comedy like Wedding Crashers or Old School will be disapointed- but I enjoyed the flick - the highlight for me was the singing group that featured John Michael Higgins performing "Boogie Nights" and the dinner scene with another song.This is not a deep movie that will shed new light on the modern relationship - but it was a fun flick - the DVD has tons of extras ,deleted scences,Outtakes,and a commentary from Vaughaniston. B-

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel - 1945 noir by Otto Preminger-starring Dana Andrews as a smooth-talking drifter who is deposited in a small town with only a dollar in his pocket.When he goes to the local diner he falls for the sultry waitress Stella played by Linda Darnell- he soon falls in with a traveling seance scam and he goes to the local civic leaders(The Mills sisters) to get them to give creedance to the traveling charlatan(played wonderfully by John Carradine).The protaganist(Dana Andews)concocts a plan to win the pragmatic Stella by seducing the town hieress June Mills(Alice Faye).Of course things never go to plan in a noir and we find ourselves in the middle of a murder mystery.Tons of beautiful shots and great camera work-plus great performances by Linda Darnell as the waitress who wants more out of life and Dana Andrews who scheming his way to satisfy her needs.Excellent work from the creative team behind Laura. A

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

DVDs

I tried to watch Click this weekend also- not a smart idea to base a crappy movie on a remote control- cuz I just kept feeling the urge to use my - first chapter skip then eject- blah
and I could not finish Waist Deep -
I did not finish Prairie Home Companion - but that had more to do with time constraints than quality of the movie- I liked the music in it- but was not overwhelmed by what I had seen

the break-up - A pleasant surprise -not as over the top as the Wedding Crashers - this movie is a comedy with more substance to it - sure it is still a mainstream movie that doesn't get as nasty as arguments between lovers can get- but it has real bite- with discussions I have been a part of myself- Vince Vaughan is not my favorite guy- he has moments - but on the whole he usually bores me with his schtick - but this role is perfect for him and for her(Jennifer Aniston).He is a schlub and a slob and a wiseass- she is a little more refined and and lot more frustrated with his taking her for granted and not chipping in with household chores and social responsibilites.Not as epic as War of Roses or as funny- this flick is about a disolving civil union and the flack that results.People expecting broad comedy like Wedding Crashers or Old School will be disapointed- but I enjoyed the flick - the highlight for me was the singing group that featured John Michael Higgins performing "Boogie Nights" and the dinner scene with another song.This is not a deep movie that will shed new light on the modern relationship - but it was a fun flick - the DVD has tons of extras ,deleted scences,Outtakes,and a commentary from Vaughaniston. B-

Femme Fatale -flawed modern noir-ish flick from Brian DePalma.Starring Rebecca Rojimn Stamos as the title vixen.This flick is about style over substance and has some neat scenes and sound design- but also has plotholes all over the place.I spent too much time trying to put logic to the plotshifts and not enough time just going with the story.The movie also has Antonia Banderas as a paparazi stalking Stamos.A mixture of evil woman cliches,double-crosses and sexual tension this flick is not for everyone and not perfect- but as a good distraction from the 9 to 5. C+

Kiss of Death -1947 noir about a gangster(Victor Mature) that turns states evidence to garner an early parole.This movie has it's flaws - mostly the sappy father cliche played to the hilt by Mature- but it also has an excellent performance by Richard Widmark as the homicidal Tommy Udo- he was nominated for an Oscar for his debut film role.And it is Widmark that leaves with the film in hand - his character is like a psychotic Bugs Bunny on Crack- someone you don't wanna mess with -cuz he is the crazy guy kind of strong.Of course the Mature character with his bad guy trying to go good for his family is the perfect foil for the Udo character.While the plot is typical and has some very familiar twists- it is well worth the time for the Widmark character alone. B+

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Welcome To Collinwood

Welcome To Collinwood - a 2002 comedy about a bunch of buffoons who are trying to pull off the perfect heist.Starring Sam Rockwell as a punch-drunk con man who scams a big job away from the Luis Guzman.Rockwell puts together a crew including William H. Macy to help him execute the gig.They get coaching from a wheelchair-bound safe-cracking expert George Clooney.Since this is a comedy we know that nothing will be easy for this dimwitted crew of hooligans- the pratfalls are many.I got some chuckles from this thing- but it felt like a sham- I am sure the cast and crew had a good time making Collinwood(at least it appears fun on the BTS featurette)- but movie lacked credibility in so many ways that every character felt like a walking punchline- not human enough to take seriously- so by the end of the thing I was not rooting for anyone- I was just wanting to see resolution . C-

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pillman

She's The Man -A charming high school comedy - nothing new- and it mostly gets by cuz of the goofy lines by supporting actors David Cross,Vinnie Jones and Julie Haggerty.Now my problem with most modern comedies- I have to wait for laughs- in between wincing at the stereotypical punchlines and pratfalls.Although this movie's main gimmick is the gender switiching by the main character- this movie exists in the sexless limbo that parents want to think their teens inhabit- sure the characters want to date and kiss- but there is no mention of any other sexual curiosity or practices-.Basically Amanda Bynes wants to play soccer - but her school has cut the funding for the girl's squad- meanwhile her twin brother is going to the UK with his band and needs her to cover for his absence from school( that happens to be the school her current school is playing in soccer).The first 10 minutes of this movie were hard to digest - but once I got into the spirit of the proceedings (suspension of disbelief needed) I enjoyed my self with a few chuckles and enough entertainment to carry me through the proceedings. C+
Brian Pillman:Loose Cannon - The most recent WWE career retrospective DVD on yet another grappler that died young- so of course the end of the main package is very maudlin.The meat of this 2 DVD set is the extras- matches from Pillman's career from his early days in Stampede Wrestling to WCW and WWF.Excellent stuff from his 5 star match with Jushin "Thunder" Liger to War Games matches to the superb Canadian Stampede 10 man tag.The DVD also has the infamous Gun Incident,his ECW shoot appearances and Hollywood Blonde segments.This is a great collection for any fan of wrestling fans who were watching during the Monday Night Wars. The main hour and a half is ok - but most fans will enjoy the 16 extra matches and segments like Flare For The Old. A+
Wake Up Screaming -a 1941 flim noir flick starring Victor Mature,Carol Landis and Betty Grable is a murder-mystery.Mature plays promoter Frankie Christopher who decides to turn a hashslinging watiress to the next It girl in NYC- his plan works too well when she decides she is big enough to go to tinseltown- soon after her announcement she is found.....dead.The real star of the movie is the creepy homicide detective Laird Cregar who is certain that Christopher is the murderer.The DVD also has a deleted scene - Betty Grable at work - who all the sudden breaks into song singing "Daddy"- while the scene works on it's own - it would have totally gone against the character Grable was playing in the movie.The DVD also a good commentary track by film historian Eddie Muller- lots of information and he seems to really love this flick. A+

Sunday, October 01, 2006

X3

X Men III : The Last Stand - the thrid installment of the highly successful Marvel franchise is coming out on DVD Tuesday.As most folks know by now - with a new director.This movie throws information at the viewer as fast as it can.There is very little time spent on seemingly major events- why because the next scene will be even more SPECTACULAR or dramatic- no the movie is not all high spots- but it is close to that- the flick spends no time at all on what would to seem to be a major devolpment( I try to avoid spoilers when pounding these things out)- but instead rushes to the next high spot.The concept is interesting - the humans have created a cure for the mutant gene - of course Magneto and his crew are not down with that notion at all.From the trailers and all we know this flick will be the ultimate showdown between professor X' s team and the Magneto posse.Unlike the previous 2 movies very little time is spent introducing the new mutants(Juggernaut,The Beast,etc.) .This movie feels like they needed to cram all the information in and whatnot.Don't get me wrong - the special effects look fine- Hugh Jackman is engaging as Wolverine and of Sir Ian is great as always as Magneto- but you can tell the difference between this and the first two X movies.Also MIA is my favorite character from X-Men 2 Nightcrawler.I would put this on par with say Once Upon a Time in Mexico - it is the third flick in a series I have enjoyed and I liked it - but it was the low point of the three- slightly better than um Godfather 3- but not up there with Return of the Jedi... or something. B-
Brick -Simply excellent and maybe tailor-made for me and my obsession with noir flicks lately- Brick takes the conventions of noir and mixes them into a modern high school.Sure you have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the modern teenagers all speaking like 40s detectives,tramps and coppers.The movie worked for me because of the surreal atmosphere,the absurd dialogue and the plot.This low budget flick was writer-director Rian Johnson's first movie and was concieved as a tribute to Dashiel Hammett.Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Frye an outsider trying to save his girlfriend(Emilie De Raven(Lost)) from falling in with the wrong crowd.Soon he finds himself in the middle of a drug war between Tug and the Pin.For a low budget flick they managed to wrangle some beautiful shots out of the suburban settings. This may not work for everyone - but it blew me away from the first scene til the end.One of my favorite indies that I have seen this year (the other being the funny Film Geek).Sure this is low budget and unrealistic - but it is also fun,engrossing and has etched itself into my cranium. A
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

30 Days

30 Days - Harper Hill is the star of this 1997 movie that is coming on out DVD next Tuesday- it feels like an after-school special- with it's moralizing about race relations and schmatlzy ending- except for the teen sex stuff and a few curse words chucked in.Basically 2 teenages(one white/one black) get into a bench-clearing brawl during a hoops game and they get sentenced to live in each other's neighborhoods as punishment.The movie also has Surreal Lifester Da' Brat,Tyrese and Ellen Burstyn with a cameo by Reverend Run.Engaging enough that I watched thru the montages and the cliches and the melodrama- but not worth seeking out unless you just want some unintentional comedy. D+

btw this DVD has nada to with Morgan Spurlock or even Johnnycakes

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thank you for Edmond

Thank You For Smoking -a satrical send-up of big tobacco and the lobbyist who can spin any situation to his liking.Aaron Eckhardt takes the bull by the horns as Nick Naylor the smooth-talking nicotine propagandist.His charisma and the strength of his arguments help him craft another interesting bastard(check out his breakout film In The Company of Men). This movie features good supporting performances by the always funny J.K. Simmons and Sam Elliot as the original Marlboro Man.A mixture of chuckles and belly-laughs - but in the end I was underwhelmed by this flick- part of the problem- the concept was a funny notion- but I have been aware of the premise for months- so now when finally watching the DVD I felt bogged down by the added in father/son dynamic(although that did also lead to the hilarious take my dad to work scene).The DVD has 2 commentary tracks ,several deleted scenes and a good 18 minute segment on the Charlie Rose show.If you are looking for a comedy that does not rely on pratfalls and fart jokes than you should enjoy this flick. B-

Edmond -a modern noir flick starring William H. Macy as a suit and tie guy who one day has a Falling Down type meltdown mid-life crisis.Edmond suddenly wants to reset his life - leaving his wife and going on a quest for some strange.It is established that he is willing to pay for sex- but he seems to never get the right price til he finds someone(Julia Styles) who mistakes his madness for genius.A mixture of awkward comedy and bad decisions. Based on a David Mamet play and directed by Stuart Gordon it is fun watching Macy's everyman negotiate his way thru a seedy NYC that does not seem to exist anymore.The DVD has 2 commentary tracks and a 10 minute behind the scenes featurette.Better than the average low budget DVD I have seen recently- but in some ways this a car-wreck- you know from the first scene that Edmond is mad as heck and he will not be taking it anymore- sometimes that journey is engaging . C+

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

feed

Feed -a post Se7en type thriller slimmed down to one deadly sin - gluttony.We follow an overzealous Aussie cop who finds online sickos and then tracks them down.He has stumbled onto a feeder site- where a feeder feeds his gainer til they can not move- think Haystacks Calhoun plus.This movie mixes MTV cuts,aggro tunes and cheery 60's pop tunes to make a disgusting concoction of angst and sadism.If you are looking for a can you top this gag-reflex testing horror thriller than you should enjoy this- but if you have a weak stomach or abhor plotholes and jumpy editing than avoid this one. B-

Sunday, September 24, 2006

House of Lake

House of Strangers - an excellent family melodrama about an Italian banking family The Monettis starring Edward G Robinson as the tyrannical patriarch and Richard Conte as the smartest son who has been away in jail for 7 years. Most of the story is told in flashback as we follow Conte's affair with Susan Heyward and the eventual fall of the family bank. Not your usual cops and gangsters noir flick but a well told story with some good camerawork and some decent twists. B+
Lake House - a formula romance flick with pretty songs and pretty scenery that demands that you suspend disbelief in the premise so you can get the butterflies when or if the 2 actors on the case finally smooch.I admit I have had a crush on Sandra Bullock since Speed - and have suffered such concoctions as Hope Floats and While You Where Sleeping because of it. Luckily I have seen a few decent flicks like The Net. In this flick Bullock is playing to her base for this reunion with co-Speedster Keanu Reeves.The gimmick of this hankie flick is revealed in the trailer- the 2 protaginists are living 2 years apart- so knowing that it is all too easy to figure out the fulcrum for the relationship.If you need a predicatable romance movie and are able to suspend disbelief you may enjoy this time waster. C-

Saturday, September 23, 2006

That's some fineass cheesecake

The Notorious Bettie Page -a not so standard biopic about the 50s pinup queen Bettie Page.Bettie is played perfectly by Gretchen Moll who manages to capture the innocent sexuality of Page's famous pictures.Using a mixture of black and white and color we see snapshots of Bettie's life that lead her to NYC in the early 50s and to her career in front of cameras.She is a charming southern girl who is deeply religious yet not ashamed of her body.She is flattered by the attention she recieves at first- but after awhile the infamy and the contradictions and the political climate cause her a lot of discomfort.The DVD has a BTS featurette and a vintage Bettie striptease.A well done look at the model and also the repressive moral climate of the times.Great cinematography and a stellar cast lead to well spent 90 minutes- with plenty of cheesecake. B+

Thursday, September 21, 2006

good batch

The Street With No Name -an excellent film noir from Fox- featuring a charismatic Richard Widmark as the leader of the Stiles gang.I saw most of the elements of this movie earlier this month when I saw House of Bamboo which lifted several parts of this plot and transported them to post WWII Japan.This movie despenses with the trite romance that threatened to throw it's remake off the rails and is a straight FBI v the bad guys movie- mixing tons of location shooting with stock footage(like another Fox film House on 92nd Street that also featured Lloyd Nolan as agent Briggs) this movie manages to capture a vivid and raw underworld that draws the viewer in. The chase scenes in this movie are well done and the use of minimalistic sound and shadows combine to make a memorable movie. The DVD has commentary by film historians and is worth renting and worth owning if you like Film Noir flicks . A+
Black Christmas -1974 horror/thriller movie about a sorority house that gets obscene phone calls while they have their last Holiday party.Nice mix of suspense with some good performances from the cast(Margot Kidder,Olivia Hussey,John Saxon and Andrea Martin). Great mix of atmosphere and suspense - I think the modern thriller fan would enjoy this( and I guess that is why their is a remake hitting theaters this Xmas)- but I hope folks rent out this neat original.The best extra on here is the original trailer which sounds like it is narrated by James Mason. B+
Cat's Meow - In the wake of the current Hollywood Babylon(Black Dahlia/Hollywoodland) type flicks in theaters I thought I would check out the movie about the infamous William Randolph Hearst yacht murder(still unsolved).This Peter Bogdonavich flick has a good cast including Eddie Izzard as Charlie Chaplin,Carey Elwes as Tom Ince and Kristin Dunst.A well constructed look at the early stages of Hollywood royalty and scandal.The DVD is very thorough with a behind the scenes featurette,commentary and 2 vintage short subjects (including a 20 minute Chaplin short).Nothing I would own- but if you like movies about old Hollywood this worth renting. B

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

WeedGeek

Film Geek - a pleasant surprise- a funny indie about a video store clerk obsessed with movies.Sadly his social skills and over-eagerness make him a pain to work with - so he gets fired from the one job he seems to be cut out for.Lots of funny stuff in this one- as we watch his doomed courtship with the cute artist who likes Cronenberg and electronica.His attempts to catch up to her hipness are also funny. I work at a video store so I get an awful lot of the inside jokes in this one- but there are enough funny moments that are universal that folks that enjoy smaller films should enjoy this one also.The DVD also has a humorous short film The Autuer which is basically a porn director shooting commentary for his recent epic. B+

Weeds Season 1- suburban widower and MILF Mary Louise Parker is a pot dealer . This show feels like Desperate Housewives with curse words and played for even more laughs.Each half hour is mostly jokes about 2 dysfunctional families in Agresta,CA.Featuring cast members from SNL,Mr Show and 40 Year Old Virgin this show keeps the punchlines coming. Elizabeth Perkins shines as the bitter head of the PTA dealing with a promiscious daughter,a cheating hubby and a younger daughter who enjoys eating. To quote my partner something I would watch for free but nothing I would seek out or get Showtime for. Well made suburban angst humor. B

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Devil & Daniel Johnston

The Devil and Daniel Johnston -ok I have seen this movie before(Jandek/Wesley Willis promo reel/Rodney on the Roq)- but this movie about the creative outsider artist Daniel Johnston was well done and kept my interest the whole time.Mixing his drawings,home movies and cassette recordings with recollections by his friends and family.A lifelong Beatles fan -he started by writing songs and playing them on his piano- then he moved to Austin and switched to guitar- his approach to music is very stripped down- and not an easy listen at first- but when he is in the zone- there is a simple beauty to his pain-his voice while not conventially pretty or always pitch-perfect is so honest and bracing that it reeled me right in.The movie captured his brief glimpses into fame( hijacking a MTV BBQ and getting his name out) to his struggles with his manic depression - including a harrowing plane ride with his father.The DVD has some great extras also- including 3 of Daniel's early short films,his first meeting with his college muse in a decade and an broadcast on WFMU.A good documentary with tons of extras. B+

Saturday, September 16, 2006

First Deadly Sin

First Deadly Sin -1980 murder mystery flick featuring the last performance of Frank Sinatra and a bed-ridden Faye Dunaway.Sinatra's character is a close to retirement homicide detective in NYC- when he notices similarities with his case and that of a recent case.Sinatra recruits Brenda Vaccarro and a museum curator to help him track down the killer.This felt like a made for TV movie and was pretty bland with a thrown in romance-although the romance sparked one of the more heated moments of the movie when a frustrated Sinatra confronts his wife's doctor about her condition. In the opening credits they mentioned a person who had made Miss Dunaway's costumes- which is kind of funny considering she is bed-ridden the whole time.If you are a big fan of ole' blue eyes and you can score this cheap(rental/2 dollars) then you might enjoy this dated thriller. C-

Hard Candy - spawned from an idea culled from the news about Japanese nymphs that lure business men into traps for money using the internet- this movie is well done- but feels like it wants to pull strings the entire time.The special features are basically the cast and producers congradulating themselves on making the movie. The movie which feels like a stage-play is mostly a 2 person exercise where a teen girl seduces a pediophile photographer and then proceeds to cut a him a new one. The acting in this flick is well-done and same for the direction.
This movie just feels like it wants to be so controversial that in some ways it lessens it's impact.
Even knowing the basic premise I was lured in enough that I wanted to see how things ended.There are plenty of squeamish scenes in this flick and I would not recommend this flick to everyone. C

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bad City

Bad City A/K/A Dirty Work -This feels like a STD(straight to DVD release) - a small film about a corrupt cop(Lance Reddick(The Wire), a Polish immigrant and a crusading D.A.While this movie has some decent scenes and soundwork- it feels like a collage of cliche's.None of the characters are all that likeable- well except Austin Pendleton as the town bad guy- who has a unique villianish charm to him.Nothing to seek out or even rent - unless you are just craving a noir-ish DVD to watch next weekend(in that case I would pounce on the re-release of Double Indemnity). D+

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kiss the Lost WOrld Goodbye

Kiss Toledo Goodbye- an attempt @ funny mob flick that just never feels real and never hits my funny bone- with Christopher Walken,Christine Taylor,Paul Ben-Victor & Michael Rappaport.Barely worth a rental. D+
The Lost World(1925)- this silent film was rendered silly by some odd foley throw-ins and a very repititive soundtrack.Melp and I ended up MSTing the flick - the Claymation dinosaurs were ok I guess- but nothing worth seeking out cept as a curio.
Looking For Comedy in The Muslim World- Albert Brooks is commisioned to go to India and Pakistan to write a 500 page report on what makes Muslims laugh- sadly they forgot to include consistent humor for the people watching the flick- it had some belly laughs - but not enough to sustain interest over an entire film. D+

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friends with 24

Friends With Money - Jennifer Aniston,Catherine Keener,Joan Cusack and Frances Mcdormand are 4 friends in LA - 3 of them have successful looking lives and such and one is a maid- the movie follows the 4 women in thier 40s and the pratfalls of relationships- some funny stuff mixed with lots of angst - it felt like a big money indie film- C
The Sentinel - a paint by numbers "thriller" about the secret service- I mean the acting is decent and the secret service stuff is interesting- but plotholes and the usual good guy in peril stuff leaves this one wanting by the end of the flick.Starring Keifer Sutherland,Eva Longoria and Micheal Douglas. C

Friday, August 25, 2006

yep even more DVDs

The Stranger -a 1946 noir flick directed by Orson Welles about a Nazi who is hiding in a small Connecticut town as a professor.He is traced to the small town by a War Crimes detective played deftly by Edward G. Robinson and then we watch things unfold in this smalltown drama.There are some astounding plotholes in this one- but it is enjoyable- I got a cheap Alpha Video version of the DVD so there were no extras on the DVD B+

Wet Asphalt - this 1958 flim is billed as a Lost Noir on it's cover- but it is a far cry from most of the Noirs I have seen recently.This German film was dubbed into english and seems to be a rush job to capitalize on the recent rush to DVD of noir type flicks- and I admit I was bamboozled into snagging the flick.The idea of a journalist concocting a fake story about a hidden bunker behind the Iron Curtain that had some German footsolidiers in it for five years was pretty far-fetched- the fact that these fake stories lead to riots was also hard to believe.A mix of stock footage and bad dubbing . D

Kaiju Big Battel : The Shocking Truth - a mix of camp,Godzilla,Ultraman,Batman 60s TV show and Lucha moves this is a wrestling federation with imagination that has fun. This DVD mixes the history of the Big Battels with a hostage situation and several confrontations.For fans of MST3K,Wierd AL spoof style humour. B-

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

DVDs

Decent batch of DVDs this week so far

Just finished Small Solidiers- a 1998 Joe Dante flick about toys outfitted with Military Computer Chips- fun family flick with a good cast and a voiceover cast featuring the members of Spinal Tap and the Dirty Dozen with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christina Ricci.Worth renting if you want something to watch with the whole family - also has David Cross,Dennis Leary,Kirstin Dunst,Phil Hartman and Ann Magnuson in it . B

Wicker Man-odd and interesting cult film from the 70s with Christopher Lee and The Equalizer.Set on a remote island with a village of folks that don't venture out much.Lots of interesting and creepy imagery- I saw the truncated 88 minute version-the DVD also had a 35 minute documentary on the making and eventual popularity of the movie. B

Cincinati Kid - another excellent Norman Jewison/Steve McQueen movie- this one is about a poker player about to take on the reigning champ (Edward G. Robinson).With an all-star cast featuring Karl Malden,Rip Torn,Ann-Margret,Tuesday Weld,Cab Calloway and Joan Blondell this poker movie is well shot and well executed. A+

Saturday, August 12, 2006

DVDs

recent DVDs
Lost City-Andy Garcia's movie about pre-Castro Havana starring Andy Garcia with Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman- a mix of stunning musical numbers,vintage news footage of the revolution and a lame love story-this movie is alright- but it did manage to capture the feeling of exile(probably cuz director and star Andy Garcia was a Cuban exile)-the Dr. Zhivago/Casablanca love story angle seemed overwrought and well unimportant to the overall story( it did not help that the object of love had that bland Penelope Cruz kind of "attractiveness" to her).Inconsistent yet compelling. B-
Mr. Death- an Erol Morris documentary about Fred A. Leuchter, Jr- a man who made a living for himself creating and refining electric chairs.gallows and lethal injection machines in the 70s and 80s.This movie takes a huge left turn when Leuchter is called to testify on the behalf of Holocaust denier- he goes to Germany and decides with the evidence that he chisels out of the walls of German death camp sites that the Holocaust did not occur- this leads to lots of unemployment and personal strife for Mr. Death.An interesting character study. B-
The Setup - a Robert Wise noir starring Robert Ryan as an aging fighter who is supposed to drop his fight to an up and comer- but his manager and trainer never tell him- they just figure he will lose anyway.More than your basic boxing movie- this flick manages to capture the bizzare underworld of post WW2 America- the fringes of society- sure the movie has a very surreal edge to it -but the characters feel real as anything.The DVD has commentary by Martin Scorsese on it.A
The Bridge @ Remagen-a 1969 WW2 flick about a strategically important bridge in Germany near the end of the war.Starring George Segal,Ben Gazzarra and Robert Vaughan.This movie does a good job of capturing the feel of Germany during WW2( they actually filmed the movie in Czechoslovakia(ironically the Russian invasion occurred suring the last days of filming and led to some harrowing moments for the cast and crew).I thought Robert Vaughan did a good job as the German Army officer trying his best to do what is right in the middle of the chaos of the collapse of the 3rd Riech.A solid war flick with good action and drama.A-
Scary Movie 4 - this time David Zucker sets his sites on War of The Worlds, Million Dollar Baby , The Grudge,The Village,Saw and others and like most of the recent spoof movies this flick provides a few chuckles- but no serious belly laughs.It is a fun exercise in zaniness I guess- but nothing worth seeking out or spending money on. C-
The LA Riot Spectacular - a straight out satire of the 1991 LA Riot.Obviously low budget- but with a ton of well known folks in it - including Christopher McDonald,Emilio Estevez,Ronny Cox as Daryl Gates,Charles S Dutton as Mayor Tom Bradley,TK Carter as Rodney King and William Forsythe as Reginald Denny- a mixture of vintage footage and over the top ribs- Micheal Buffer is bought in to be the announcer for the Denny beatdown fer instance to David Rasche(Sledgehammer!) and Anne-Marie Johnson as E! type Hollywood reporters that treat the riot folk like celebrities.Good stuff- Snoop Dogg serves as the narrator on this flick- the DVD has a 10 minute behind the scenes segment that is worth watching to see what the cast was doing and thought of the riots. B+
The Thomas Crown Affair(1968) - excellent hiest flick starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway about a rich man that plots robberies for kicks.This Norman Jewison flick to use his words from the commentary is about "Style over Substance"- but in this case the style gives the movie it's glossy substance- also features one of the most sensual chess scenes I have ever seen in the movies. A+

Thursday, August 03, 2006

more movie thoughts

yesterday was DVD day(not much different than other days)
started off with The Getaway- loved the Slim Pickens cameo at the end of the flick- good tense action throughout
watched The House on 92nd Street - a decent procedural flick about the FBI and the Vth Columunists during WW2
also The Long Goodbye- liked the different take on the Marlowe character and the surprise of seeing Ball 4 author and former Seattle Pilots Pitcher Jim Bouton in the flick
this morning I watched Treasure of Seirra Madre- Bogart shines in this one
tonight gonna go see a screener of Little Miss Sunshine

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dumbfounded by Disney

Island At The Top of The World
Ok I have no nostalgia, memory or knowledge of this mid 70s Disney flick-This is an attempt to make a Jules Verne type adventure film- that fails- the special effects are lacking- most of the scenery in the movie is obviously matte paintings and stock footage- think Land of The Lost effects on a Disney movie-and then add in Good Morning America host David Hartman as an explorer , a crazy French airship captain with a poodle named Josephine( the wacky camera cuts to the dog elicited no laughter here),a shanghaied Eskimo and an eccentric inventor trying to find his lost son.The plot is very typical for an adventure epic-add a predicatable plot with a subpar cast and lame effects and you have a pretty disapointing use of time.
D-

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Boston Strangler

Just finished the 1968 movie about the Albert DeSalvo starring Tony Curtis as the Beantown Psycho with Henry Fonda and George Kennedy as investigators on the case and Sally Kellerman as one of the many victims in this crime-drama filmed in 24vision(to be fair of course this used the split-screen technique's when Kiefer was still a boy).The DVD has a decent AMC backstory segment on the film.The movie had some interesting moments - but feels dated in some ways . B-

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Grand Hotel-a decent mega-star bonanza that was best picture of the year in 1932-a couple of Barrymores,Greta Garbo and a smoking hot Joan Crawford- a mix of comedy and drama- this flick holds up well- although I think it would bore the pants of the modern viewer. B+
In A Lonely Place- a noir-ish romance starring Humphrey Bogart as a washed up screenscribe implicated in a murder of a hatcheck girl.Bogart is scary menacing in this one at times and tender and other times- a great performance I thought - A-
Puff Puff Pass - a couple of stoners obssessed with Shawshank Redemption bounce from crashpad to crashpad to rehab- stupidfunny or just stupid- but a decent diversion for a STD(straightToDVD) with lots of cameos including Terry Crews as a wack rapper. D+
Grandma's Boy - a Happpy Madison production without Adam Sandler- starring Alan Covert as game tester/pothead that has to move in with his grandma- some guffaws - but not worth seeking out D+
Munich- intense thriller about a motley hit squad put together to avenge the hostage debacle of the munich Olympics of 1972-the music can be a little intrusive- but Eric Bana does a bangup job as the lead. B+

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Recent DVD wrapup

Fun With Dick & Jane- decent update of the yuppie bandit movie from the 70s with Jim Carrey & Tea Leoni- lots of topical humour with corporate fraud and immigration and whatnot. B-

Year of The Yao-well made documentary about Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and his transition from China to the NBA. B

Through The Fire -documentary about Sebestain Telfair - made like Hoop Dreams- showing his last year of High School and all the presures of being a top recruited big name hoopster in the day and age of Lebron. B-

Satan Was A Lady -Doris Wishman low budget flick about a con artist stripper- a diverting and fun entertainment. C+

Crazy Love - based on the works of Charles Bukowski- well done and gripping- captures the innocence of youth and the pull of lust with equal clarity. B+

Flight 93 -TV movie about the 9/11 plane that missed it's target.Well done and tense- although they showed an awful lot of the grieving family members during the action scenes - yes I am sure they were distraught - but it really hampered the narrative. B-

Pinky - Elia Kazan movie about a "colored" girl who is basically white - set in the south - this 1949 film shows the ugly underbelly of racism- a melodrama that has not aged well C+

Howl's Moving Castle - excellent,imaginative,fun and well worth the investment. A great anime about a girl under a curse who stays in a magic castle with several other runaways. A+

The Bad Seed - over the top melodrama about a girl that has the murder gene in her- this movie does have several horrifying and effective scenes- mixed in with lots of speeches and scenery chewing. B-

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

2 Obits 1 Week

the Grim Reaper has been in the nieghborhood recently- first a friend of ours and now the grandmother of my gf- needless to say it has been a heavy week emotionally

I feel so numb- even the usual vicarious nothings feel more empty than normal

and well the words keep coming out in cliche form

I wish I could help more

The Big Mac That Wasn't 2

So um- same damned WhackArnolds- this time I order a big mac -no pickle

what do I get

bread,special sauce,PICKLES

no Big Mac- WTF- the manager did give me another one- but I think that is a good enough omen to forgo the soylent green convience of Mickey Ds for awhile


watched Martin & Orloff yesterday a good skit-com movie with Matt Walsh,David Cross,Tina Fey and others


currently watching SNL:The First 5 Years DVD while eating salad

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Viagravated

I believe in the notion of wakes more than funerals

and I want to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away today...

sadly I am still in shock no tears

he has been in a coma for some days

I kept telling myself that it was a hiccup and that he would wake up one day and well

so much for the glass half empty

either way I was lucky to have Tom in my life- I knew him over 15 years- but only really spent time with him over the past 4 years I guess

he was a friend of a friend and he helped us find our home

the last I saw Tom was when we finally closed the deal on our home

the last time I spoke to Tom I had called him to simply say "thanx"

"thanx,Tom"

with love your friend,
Joe

P.S.- at the moment I feel like adding Lee to my name cuz I got the blues

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Big Mac That Wasn't

@ 7:46 p.m. I decided to forgo Mickey D's on my commute home so I could get home in time to watch Smackdown - the first Smackdown since ReyJr won the World Championship.
Sadly my plans were quickly put to a stop - a sudden stop

at a major intersection with a merge - the vehicle in front of me was stopped- it was out of gas

so I stopped- and then my vehicle was ran into by the vehicle behind me - cuz a third vehicle hit his car

NOONE was hurt - it was a fender bender - but it took forever

ok first I ask the other 2 guys if they wanted to call the cops- neither one wanted to-

at one point a cop even pushed the stalled vehicle out of the interesection

I asked the guys once again if they wanted me to get the police-

these were both young black males and one guy said " No I don't want to invite them over- but I need to ask my mom what to do"

so we waited for this guy's mom to come over

his whole family showed up after about 20 minutes and they decided to call the cop

the cop showed up and turns out he was the cop that had pushed the other vehicle

noone got hurt

and it was nowhere as exciting funny or poignant as the movie Crash or erotic as the other version of Crash

of course

right now my thoughts are with a friend of ours that is in a coma

I have always been fascinated with comas-

from a distance

I can't wait to hear his voice again ....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

King Kong(2005) - the new big sized remake of King Kong is coming to DVD this Tuesday- I watched the barebones no extras rental DVD Friday- it was whelming- It had some good parts - but was undercut by the ridiculously unbelievable brontosaurus stampede and spiderpit sequence.I liked it - but may have been overly familiar with the plot material since I have recently watched the classic 33 version and the terrible 70s Dwan infested remake. B-

2001 Maniacs - an update of the drive-in classic- a group of fratboys and college girls and a biracial couple take a detour into a town filled with a bunch of conferates- nowhere near as fun or fake-goorey as the first one- but should play with folks into the gore genre.Starring Robert Englund as the mayor. C-

You Can't Fix Stupid - fun standup set with my fave of the Blue Collar crew- Ron "tater salad" White.Only 42 minutes- but full of laughs and chuckles and the 10 minute behind the scenes segment was fun also. B

Memoirs of a Geisha - Follows a young girl from being sold into a trade she did not want to enter thru her career as a giesha.Pretty customes and scenery and a nice romance story.Decent features on disc 2 - B+
reviews from 2/18/06


Ultimate Avengers- decent comic book movie cartoon. tons of extras- including fan auditions to be voice actors and the history of the Avengers in a 23 minute pieceNothing special or really new- but still a good time. C+
Laura - slow moving noir(well compared to other noir's I had seen) Very good performances by Gene Tierney and CLifton Webb.The DVD is slampacked with extras- commentaries- the A& E bios of Gene Tierney & Vincent Price. B
Zathura- imaginative family flick about a board game that comes to life-Worth checking out if you are babysitting and need a timekiller. C+
Weatherman- uneven pic about middle age and dealing with modern society.Some very funny lines and some good awkward moments- but something lacking the overall picture. C

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ok it is my fault for going to Mickey D's just cuz they are easy to get to on my commute- but this really POed me- last night I got a Big Mac and I wanted to get the apple dippers for desert-basically- apple slices that you dip in caramel- they are on the Mickey D buck menu
I get to the window to collect my food- and the guy tells me they are out of the Apple Dippers and asked if I wanted anything else off the dollar menu- I said not really I just want my dollar back
then I see the guy go to the fridge and pull out a bag of dippers and go- I just found some
COOL
right - no
as I am watching the season finale of The Shield- I realize the first slice tastes rather wierd- even drenched in caramel- then I look at the bag- the bag had expired March 3- and it was March 21st- arrrgh-
is it so hard to just give a refund if you don't have the product- specially in food service- instead of knowingly giving a consumer an expired fruit item

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I now pay mortgage instead of renting- it feels better - I really like this place

but damn am I tired- I am still working fulltime- plus moving- I wish I felt less lazy on my days off- but seriously I am exhausted

well it is fun seeing things coming together in the new homestead
Bukowski:Born Into This - a well done biodoc about writer/poet Charles Bukowski-With readings by fans and celebs- including Tom Waits,Harry Dean Stanton and others.This pic pulls no punches.The DVD has audio commentary and a deleted scene. A


The Squid and The Whale- Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are a squabbling couple of writers who live in Brooklyn and share custody of a pair of messed up sons in the late 80s.With Anna Paquin and William Baldwin as a tennis pro,brother.The usual mix of comedy and pathos for a divorce drama. B


Dead Man on Campus - Fun dark comedy about a pair of doomed roommates that find a loophole around homework.Starring Tom Everett Scott and Mark Paul Gosselar with Cameos by Linda Cardellini and Jason Segal from Freaks and Geeks. B+

Thursday, February 23, 2006

based on a web meme
next 20 tunes on the iPod on random
1."Slack Hands"-Galliano
2."Elegantly Wasted"-INXS
3."Johnny B. Goode"-Chuck Berry
4."Coming Up Roses"-Curve
5."Glorious"-Andreas Johnson
6."The Indians"-King Missile
7."Blind Man"-LA Carnival
8."Hug My Soul"-Saint Eitenne
9."In and Out The Western"-Scritti Politti
10."Soul Slashing"-Venus Hum
11."Walkie Talkie"-DJ Shadow
12."Ezekiel 25-17"-Samuel L Jackson
13."Nursery Rhyme Breathe"-U.N.K.L.E.
14."Warrior Dance"-Mammal
15."Zig-Zag Wanderer"-Captian Beefhart
16."Rattle and Burn"-Jesse Cook
17."Movement in The Light"-Fishbone
18."Porch"-Pearl Jam
19."L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K."-Ralph Myerz
20."Born Numb"-Pink Floyd v Underworld

+

"Barber College"-Patrick Swayze as Dalton in Roadhouse
"I WIll Refuse"-Pailhead
"It's My Life"-Talk Talk
"Black Cow"-Steely Dan
"The City Sleeps"-MC 900 Ft Jesus
"The U.N."-MGM Studio Orchestra from North by Northwest
"Birdie Song"-The Wolfgang Press
"Little Red Corvette"-Prince
"Rollin' Tumblin'(Remix)"-R.L. Burnside
"It's A Shame"-Monie Love
"I Don't Know What.."-Little Richard


etc....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Friday Night Smackdown Spoilers- beware

yep- I went to the taping tonight @ Norfolk Scope
the event was billed as Sold Out and looked to be- but I did buy my ticket this morning on a whim- it was an aisle seat in the sceond tier facing the fist setpiece and ring
before the event they played the highlights of last year's Wrestlemania
in the dark matches
they had Gymini managed by Simon Dean take out a pair of underneath workersthen the Juniours came out for a quick comedy matchthen Tatanka came out and squashed a jobber
VelocityPaul London and Brian Kendrick came out to a decent pop and did some neat moves during their pinfall victory over the DicksThe Mexicools got a decent pop then Super Crazy beat Nunzio(big Vito carried Nunzio out on his shoulders after the match)
Smackdown started
Rey came out to a big pop and then proceeded to beat Sylvan in a decent match with several loud Eddie chants whenever Rey was in peril
RKO came out after the match and talked smack at the former filthy animal
the Boogeyman squashed OJ
Helms beat 2 Hotty- then the match was restarted- I missed that and the introduction of the heals for the next match cuz I had to have fresh funnel cake
Fit Finley and JBL beat Benoit & Lanley with interference from Booker T
Matt Hardy beat Simon Dean in a short match
in the main event
Angle and Taker defeated MnM + Mark Henry( who is huge in person)- they teased dissension between the face team cuz ANgle tagged himself in to secure the victory
after the match
GM Theodore Long came out and gave the crowd a fatal 4 way title match
Angle v Taker v Henry v Randy Orton
since Henry was still hurting from the previous match- the first part of the match had Taker and Angle teaming up on RNN- when it looked like Orton might have a chance to win- lil' Rey came out and beat on Orton - then they brawled thier way backstage
in the confusion Angle managed to crawl his way to a pinfall
biggest pops - 1.Taker 2. Rey 3.Angle
heal heat- probably Orlando Jordan when he tried to talk or Orton

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Waiting- a balls-out comedy about the food service industry at a fern bar in anytown USA-Ryan Reynolds,Anna Farris and Luis Guzman are part of an ensemble class that lampoons the hassles of customer service and being a tipped employee.This is nothing special - but if you have worked in any service industry you will recognize elements of the movie as they unfold in front of you.
C+

I watched season one of Deadwood last week- great show with superb performances by Ian McShane.

I am 2 thirds of the way thru Eros and well I doubt I will finish it

the gf is up so I guess we will go watch Prince on SNL now

I am on the way to owning a townhome which both excites me and mortifies me

a 30 year committment- but hell I would be paying rent - this way I am building equity


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Scorpio- 70s espinoage thriller with Burt Lancaster as a company man marked for death.Basically he is on the run and there are chase scenes and gunfights and James B Sikking was in it. C


Enron:The Smartest Guys in The Room:Good documentary about the company that defrauded it's way to the top.Good use of vintage educational films/Enron prodcued skits and actual conversation with Enron traders.The DVD is chock full of extras- including Enron cartoons and commentary. B+

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Audition - a middle aged widower decides to start datin again- his friend -a movie producer suggests they hold an audition for his prospective dates to be.30+ women come in and audition for the movie-surreal enough.But this slow-building movie is mix of social awkwardness and well- physcological thriller and darned effective-well to me anyhow. A

Mad Hot Ballroom -charming documentary about inner-city youths learning ballroom dancing. B+

Male Order Wife - a well made fakumentary about a guy that orders off for a wife from Burma- well the first 30 minutes- after that the plot goes apeshit with too many ludirious turns and twsits- but a solid and engrossing low budget flick. B

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Aristocrats - the biggest inside joke in comedy- the comedians secret handshake - an aftershow tradition with roots in Vaudeville.Basically a simple joke told by comedieans for comedians with tons of crassness,profanity and more crassness.Funny watching folks like Jon Stewart refuse to tell it and folks like Gilbert Godfried revelling in it.Probably not for anyone-a mix of belly laughs and celebs working blue. B-

Mysterious Skin - captivating drama about 2 teen boys dealing with an event that took place 10 years previous.Great performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the street hustler and Brady Corbet as a kid who is convinced he was abducted by a UFO.Captures the endless void of smalltown America and the up and downsides of homosexuality in a rural town. A+

How To Draw A Bunny -documentary about mysterious collage artist Ray Johnson.Hilarious stuff with the artist haggling to get paid for his work.Interesting watching this talented artist find alternative ways of distributing his art.The DVD also includes a good 40 piece photo gallery of several of his pieces.The DVD also has interviews with Roy Lichtenstein,Christo and others from the art world. A

The Weather Underground - documentary about college students and rebels that decided to actively strike back in response to the Vietnam War.Tons of vintage footage and interviews with the former leaders of the rogue outfit flesh out this look @ these notorious revolutionaries.
A

Overnight - a cautionary tale about too much success too soon.This is the story of one man getting discovered and getting rich and pissing it all away.Troy Duffy was "discovered" by Harvey Wienstien of Miramax and given a 300.000 advance and a 15 million dollar budget to make Boondock Saints.Sadly Duffy got too full of himself and managed to alienate his friends,family,bandmates and his patron.This movie is more fun than the cartoonishly violent Boondock Saints - it feels like a mix of Spinal Tap,Decline of Western Civilization 2 & Swimming WIth Sharks. B

The River King - decent suspense thriller about a mysterious drowning death in a small town.Nothing really spectacular- but well told.With Edward Burns and Jennifer Ehle C

Monday, January 16, 2006

congrats to Steve Carrell and his Golden Globe win for The Office

Oakland Raiders-The Complete History(2 Disc DVD) - Splendid double disc set capturing the swagger,character and drama of one of the most compelling and villianous franchises in sports history.Disc one had a nice retrospective of the Raiders climb from the AFL cellar to consistent winners- it also had several featurettes on some of the greatest moments in pigskin history from the "Holy Roller" play to the Hiedi Bowl.Disc 2 is why I got the disc- it features an hour presentation of the "Ghost To The Post" game - the double overtime game between the Oakland Raiders and The Baltimore Colts-plus featurettes about the Raiders best rivaleries.
A

Sunday, January 15, 2006

the season is over- I hope Shawn Alexander is alright- he looked totally dazed after his game ending concussion-

Seattle Seahawks 20 Washington Redskins 10

oh well- at least I have my Madden team- they are undefeated- the stars are great- John Redmond is a stellar running back and Ade McPherson is having his best passing year.The defense gives up less then a TD a game- sure it is a game- but it is fun to win at something.

watched Incident @ Loch Ness - a pseudo documentary about Werner Herzog's attempt to film a documentary about the famed legendary Nessie.Things go from bad to worse -from ill-advised jumpsuits to a centerfold Sonar model it is obvious the producer(Zach Penn) wants to spice up the documentary and add "production" value.This is a fun movie with plenty of chuckles and guffaws throughout- B+

Nausicca - Another great flick from the director of Spirited Away - Hayao Miyazaki- this centers around a princess fromt he Valley of The Wind that has the an ability to communicate with critters,bugs and animals- as always great animation and a good story. A

Junebug- a nice little movie about a small town family meeting the new wife of thier son who has moved to the big city (Chicago) from Winston Salem,N.C.Good ensemble acting in this flick although Amy Adams managed to hijack the flick with her eternally happy Ashley.Lots of beautiful shots of small town America- no strip malls -just lots of green and brick. B+

tried to watch Two For The Money - but Pacino is too much in the hoo-haw mode to keep me watching- I also have Lord of War but it looks like it will get ejected quickly



last night our power went out- and it was off and on for the next 3 hours- I slept thru most of it-
today I am off from work again- tomorrow begins a 5 day work week- then I am only working 2 days the following week

Friday, January 13, 2006

Once Upon A Time In America- the first part of this movie is stunning,beautiful,great,awe-inspiring- Robert DeNiro is Noodles a former bootleger who has come back to his old town-Most of the movie is a flashback to the age of prohibition- DeNiro & James Woods head up a brash gang of bootleggers- they love each other but of course have differing philosphies on how to get ahead.The second more flawed part of the story takes place in the late 60s- just too many plotholes to fully get behind - overall this is a movie worth seeing- even with the 3rd act problems. B+

THe Eavesdropper- Straight to video suspense action thing about a girl with the ability to hear minds-with John Delancie,George Takei and others C-

The Man-crappy buddy comedy about an ATF man named Van(Samuel L Jackson) and a fish out of water Eugene Levy- a mix of fart jokes,biting and police intimidation make for a crappy 83 minutes. F

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Odd Girl Out -I felt while I was watching this one that it was a Lifetime Channel take on Heathers -and sure enough it was a Lifetime movie.We follow Vanessa a cute Freshman/Sophomore aged gal who is on the edges of the popular girl group- but is ostracized when she gets on the radar of the group's bitch who turns her friends against her.An indictment against the pack mentality- decently acted- but not much more than an after-school special on DVD.Probably the least compelling of the 3 high school based DVDs coming out this week. C-

Sunday, January 08, 2006

well I am using a vacation day so I don't miss a down of Skins playoff feetball

Hustle & Flow -I'll admit I was skeptical - til I saw it- Terrance Howard did an amazing job with a complex character - a low-level street pimp who wants to be a rapper- the entire cast did a good job- even Ludacris as a successful rapper that comes back into town. B+

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid 2005 Special Edition - more than a movie- a beautiful painting- a dreamscape with guns and violence and Dylan songs- Coburn is perfect as the conflicted Pat Garrett and Kris Kristofferson does a splendid job as Billy The Kid.This movie also has one of the best death scenes I have witnessed- pure poetry. A+

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dirty Deeds - typical teen movie- a high school flick revolving around the 10 Dirty Deeds- a task that is only tried every few years during homecoming weekend.Each task is either embarrassing or dangerous and most of them are illegal- the only real fun of the movie is trying to figure out what the next deed will be.The usual mix of vulgarity,nipples,class warfare and violence. D

The Chumscrubber - a quirky(sort of) high school movie revolving around the suicide of the class pusher and a kidnapping in a suburban cul-de-sac- think Desperate Housewives meets Heathers with a dash of Pump Up The Volume and a smidge o Garden State with some refried Stepford Wives(including Glenn Close as a near robotic widow).All of the kids seem obsessed with drugs and a videogame(The Chumscrubber) about a headless teen in a post-nuclear world.The movie revolves around Jaimie Bell(Billy Elliot) as the surviving best friend of the suicidal best friend/class pusher.The entire town is on some sort of medication- either pills or vitamin supplements.The movie was well executed and had some funny moments and a good cast- Alison Janney,Ralph Finnes,Lauren Holley,Rita Wilson,Justin Chatwin and more. A decent dose of satire and good performances save this project from being a wash. C+

for fans of Peckinpagh- three of his movies are coming out on DVD on Tuesday- Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, The Ballad of Cable Hogue and Ride The High Country- I was too tired to finish PG last night- but I loved the first 30 minutes of it.

The Texas v USC game was amazing- a big game that actually lived up to the hype- what was astounding was listening to the postgame hype- it was like they were still trying to sell the game or college football or something-

found an iTunes gift card at 7/11 of all places - I have purchased some songs- but if anyone has ideas for good songs to add to my iPod- go ahead and suggest them- I am so behind on music-I was a DJ at one time- but now I spend my time watching DVDs or rasslin or sport.

I can't wait for tomorrow's Skins v Bucs game- I know the Skins can win- I just hope that Brunell is healthy enough to play- I am happy the Skins made it this far and I know they compete with the remaining playoff teams- they beat the Bears and Giants and were competitive with the Seahawks and Bucs.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Atom Age Vampire(Seddok, l'erede di Satana) - a sillybad Italian horror flick about an obsessed doctor that falls for a stripper who he helps heal using cells from donors that he has to kill.I paid a buck for this at Target- it was on a disc with Revolt of The Zombies and a Casper flick- sometimes I need my MST3K fodder- sadly I needed the robots to liven this one up. The only interesting things where photos of Hiroshima survivors and a fused soda bottle. Some funny murder abduction scenes also. D-

Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) -charming anime about a seaplane pilot that is a pig.Once again another excellent Hayao Miyazaki flick.A great mix of comedy and imagination. A

Monday, January 02, 2006

Bridge of San Luis Rey - costume drama set in Peru- a man(Gabriel Byrne) is being tried in an inquisition about a book he wrote about 5 folks that perished after a rope bridge gave way- some great performances(Kathy Bates) mixed with some bad casting- Bobby Deniro seemed out of place as the Archbishop.Some beatiful costumes and scenery- but nothing worth seeking out. C

Gangster Story(1960) - Directed by and starring Walter Matthau as a bank robber on the run and co-starring his wife Carol Grace as the librarian that makes him want to give up his career of larceny and homicide.Low budget with huge plot holes - a budget DVD with a bad transfer-
D-

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Flirting y Wonder Boys

Flirting - engaging teen romance movie set in a 1965 Australian boarding school between a stunning Ugandan student(played by Thandie Newton) and a stuttering outcast.This movie also had Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman in it.But the pulse of the movie is the awkward and charming courtship between the 2 leads.I enjoyed the movie alot- but the ending left me rather flat. B+

Wonderboys - a novelist/professor(Micheal Douglas) with tenure has a wild weekend-doggy homicide,failed marriage,unexpected expecting,robbery,snow,hoodjumping,etc.This Curtis Hanson flick has a strong cast and plenty of chuckles- better than the average mid-life crisis story-cuz of the humour. B-