Monthly Archives: May 2009

Announcement: June Viewing Schedule

Seeing that I classified myself as a film snob and I tend to watch more modern movies. I have decided that in the month of June, I will watch nothing but classic movies for the entire month. I will watch movies from 1920 -1979 respectively.

Except for the following movies that will be released in June or by the end of May:

(?) – On the fence that I might see it.

  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Away We Go
  • The Hangover
  • The Proposal (?)
  • The Hurt Locker
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • Moon
  • Whatever Works (?)
  • Year One (?)
  • Bronson
  • Up (?)
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • (Plus any indie movie that pops up during the month.)

Thank you.

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FB Rant: Top Ten Movie Conventions That Need to Die!

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WARNING

The follow rant contains coarse language that is directed to the movie industry as whole and the typical American moviegoer. Don’t let the kiddies read any further.

Lately, the American people have been bombarded with trailers, pictures, about the same stories over and over again.

I have compiled a list of movie genres that need to die:

1. Unnecessary Sequels – Unless it is a good movie and that is have a worthy story for a continuation. Don’t make a sequel. Look at “Night at the Museum 2”, “Terminator Salvation”, “Pink Panther 2” and eventually “Paul Blart 2.”

2. Prequels or Interquels – Why the fuck would you do that? Who gives a flying fuck about how something started? Let us in suspense, you dip shit. Examples: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”, “Star Wars Episodes 1-3”, “Fast & Furious”

3. Remakes, Reimagining, Reboots – Whenever you call it, it’s still going to suck hard cock. Trying to make something on fringe more mainstream aka watered down drivel to peddle to the dumb American moviegoer. Complete waste of money, talent and time. Examples: “My Bloody Valentine: 3D”, “Last House on the Left”, “Friday the 13th.” Remake a shitty movie and make it better. Duh!

4. Cheesy Cookie Cutter Romantic Comedies – They are the same formula, different configuration. You are not fooling anyone. Boy meets girl. Boy lies to girl to get her. Boy keeps a secret from her. Boy confides in best friend, family member or co-worker with said secret. They fall in love. Secret gets out. They break up. Cue the sappy music with endless stares out the rainy window, long walks on the sidewalk, looking at the phone. The grand gesture of love when the boy runs to girl and declare his love for her. They kiss. Up crane shot fading into black. Sound familiar. Examples: “He’s Just Not That Into You”, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”, “27 Dresses.”

5. Post-Apocalyptic Tales – Why all the doom and gloom, people? Why is everyone so set on the end of the world? Our horrible death? The Earth blowing up into space dust? There is a billion movies about the end of the world and I am sick of it. Examples: “The Book of Eli”, “The Road”, “Terminator Salvation”.

6. WWII/Holocaust/Nazi Movies – We get it, people! Jews good. Nazis bad. Hitler worse. Any kind of spin you put on it, it’s still the fucking same thing. The ending is anti-climatic. Talk about WWI, The Spanish American War, the War of 1812,. I don’t give a fuck. Something! Examples: “The Reader”, “Good,” “Defiance”, “Valkyrie”, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.”

7. Oscar baity movies – Those awful movies that were clearly made for Oscars so the studios could puff up their chests on Oscar night. Examples: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Atonement”, “Michael Clayton”, “Forrest Gump.”

8. Unnecessary Horror Movie Franchises – How many fucking “Saw” movies are you going to crank out? Really? Examples: “Saw”, Hostel”, “Final Destination.””

9. Badly CG movies – You think that you could get away with movies that have crappy CG effects? Example: “Angels and Demons”

10. Mediocre Blockbuster Movies – You could just dole out mindless entertainment to the masses, so you could make a profit. WTF! Examples: “Taken”, “Fast & Furious”, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

I’ve said my peace.

The Boondock Saints (1999)

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Now, you Irish cops are perking up. That’s two sound theories in one day, neither of which deal with abnormally sized men. Kind of makes me feel like Riverdancing.

— Paul Smecker

Many people have heard of Troy Duffy’s movie, The Boondock Saints for a while, since the it was released almost tne years ago.

Everybody generally know the story of the numerous delays with the release of the film because of Columbine. Duffy saying that studios were fighting over the movie to get to produce it, etc. Duffy’s ego almost leaving him broke and all that being in the documentary, Overnight. Personally, it wasn’t worth it.

The McManus brothers, Murphy (Norman Reedus) and Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) are local Irish vigilante heroes living in Boston. When their mutual friend, Doc’s (Gerard Parkes) bar is threatened to be shut down by the Russian mob, the brothers kill the henchmen.

The police are all over the case, including the kooky Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) along with Detectives Dolly (David Ferry), Duffy (Brian Mahoney) and Greenley (Bob Marley).

The brothers turn themselves in and they become unlikely heroes of the neighborhood. Another friend of theirs, “Funny Man” Rocco (David Della Rocco) joins the brothers to dole out their own form of justice.

Every time that the groups kills the scum of Bostonia, Smecker knows everything that they have done. When he comes to the scene, there is a flashback to what happened.

There are some ridiculous situations. They are not professional hitmen, but they could hang upside down falling out of the ceiling and shoot up the entire room. WTF! They are deeply Catholic men, but they are killing people. Would that conflict with their religious beliefs?

I read that this movie has a sequel coming out this year. Why? It’s a gratuitous display of guns, violence and gore that is not necessary. The plot meandered. There was no point in their motivations.

Judgment: This movie is cult classic, but I beg to differ with that assessment.

Rating: **1/2

Citizen Kane (1941)

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Rosebud.

— Charles Foster Kane

Citizen Kane is another movie that I was embarrassed that I never seen until this morning. It is currently #32 of the Top 250 of all time on IMDB. It was nominated for nine Oscars and it won for Best Screenplay. This is great film making, but it does have some flaws.

Recounting the tumultuous life of wealthy tycoon, Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) when he dies at the beginning of the story. He uttered his famous last word, “Rosebud.” The main thrust of the story is a reporter trying to meaning of the Kane’s final word.

The camera shots with objects, people, lighting in three different distances in great.

The ten minute newsreel footage in the beginning of the movie turned me off.

I had some problems with the pacing. I thought that the film was three hours long. It was only two, but it felt like five. It moved like molasses in some sections. I had to take a break to eat something. I almost dozed off.

Dorothy Comingore as Susan was good, but at times, she got on my nerves with her squeaky voice. When she sang, it was beautiful. When she was not yelling, I loved her, but when she did yell, I wanted to turn the movie off.

The whole reveal of what Rosebud was anti-climatic. I knew what it was before it was revealed. When I thought about it, Rosebud had to deal with the life that he left behind to be the person that he didn’t want to be. It was understandable.

Rating: ****

Hero (2002)

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Your Majesty, my task is completed now. My decision will cause the deaths of many and Your Majesty will live on. A dead man begs you to remember; a warrior’s ultimate act is to lay down his sword.

— Nameless

Nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 for Best Foreign Language Film. Hero took two full years to get to the States. This film came out on the heels of the massive success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Being that this movie was Jet Li’s last epic action movie. We went out whimper, instead a roar. This movie was a real disappointment.

Dramatically recreating the history of China when a Nameless warrior (Jet Li) is summoned by the tyrannical King of Qin (Daoming Chen), who is trying to conquer the other six provinces. Being that he is targeted by the other provinces, he tries to keep himself from being assassinated.

Inching closer and closer to the King, Nameless recounts his trek from defeating three of the most ruthless assassins of all of the land;  Sky (Donnie Yen), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Broken Sword (Tony Leung).

There is a plot twist that derailed the thrust of the story in my mind. It became a “howcatchhim”.

The visuals were fantastic. No question. The integration of elements were good, but sometimes overwhelmed the scene.

Rating: I don’t think that I could recommend this movie. It’s pretty to look at.

Rating: ***

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

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I hate to say this, but this place is getting to me. I think I’m getting the Fear.

— Dr. Gonzo

This is my first foray into the directing style of Terry Gilliam. I saw the Criterion version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Wow. This movie is twisted mind fuck.

I am not saying that this is a bad movie. It’s not the kind of movie that pulls me in.

On a road trip to Las Vegas, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benincio del Toro) encounter strange characters and situations as they migrate their way throughout the city of pure fantasy.

Being high on copious amounts of drugs, the duo doesn’t know what is real and what is not.

This movie makes me think what an empty life drug addicts have.

Its very straightforward in its approach. I wasn’t compelled by the movie. Johnny Depp was a little “Jack Sparrow” in this movie with a receding hairline.

Judgment: If you want to see a fantastical film about drug, this film’s for you.

Rating: ***1/2

Enter the Dragon (1973)

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Don’t think. FEEL. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

— Lee

There is something about Bruce Lee that I can’t put my finger on. He has “it”. Whatever it is, he has it. His intricate moves, facial expressions, the cadence of his voice. He commands the screen whenever he is on it.

That being said, this is first time that I saw Enter the Dragon in it entirety.  I have seen the climactic scene with the room full of mirrors a couple of times. Wow! Even though this movie was released in 1973, that scene is still great. That is a testament to the filmmaking. The rest of movie not so much.

Like many other martial arts movies, the plot is basic. Bruce plays the Shaolin monk Lee, a master of the ways of Kung Fu. He is recruited by Braithwaite (Geoffrey Weeks), a British officer to spy on a local Hong Kong kingpin, Han (Shih Kien). Han used to be a Shaolin monk who turned into being a cocaine pusher and white slave trader.

Braithwaite wants Lee to enter a tournament that will take place on Han’s private island.

When Lee arrives he sees other fighters there like Williams (Jim Kelly), Roper (John Saxon). Han wants to have control over the outcome of the tournament. He enlists his henchmen, Oharra (Robert Wall) and Bolo (Yang Sze) to keep everyone in line.

It was a solid movie for being the first American produced one. Great fight scenes. The dialogue was wooden.

I had trouble with a couple of sequences. There is a scene in the middle of the movie when Han shows his true colors that completely bored me to no end. Also, when Lee is in “stealth mode”, he is fighting the guards and you could hear the sound effects loudly. I thought that a person trying to hide in the shadows should not draw attention to themselves.

Judgment: If you want to see Bruce Lee at his best, I would suggest you check out this movie.

Rating: ***1/2

Brick (2005)

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Maybe I’ll just sit here and bleed at you.

— Brendan Frye

I heard about Rian Johnson’s first feature film, Brick,  from multiple people saying that it was the best movie that they have ever seen. I will not name names, but I have to pose this question: What’s the big fucking deal?

I watched the opening sequence to his latest movie, The Brothers Bloom on Hulu on I loved it. I wondered, what the hell happened?

The movie stars Joseph Gordon Levitt as Brendan Fye, the “detective” in this 1940s film noir transplanted in high school in the present. He discovers his girlfriend, Emily’s (Emilie de Ravin) body. He tries to find the culprit who did it.

When I first started the movie, I had an inkling about what the movie was about; The lens flare, the “Dawson Creek” style dialogue, the Dutch angles, etc.

I had no fucking idea what was going on. You have people that are my age (late 20s) playing high schoolers. Come on! Really? It’s just pathetic.

The characters were uninteresting as was the situations that Brendan found himself in. Why was he in the same clothes throughout the movie? This movie went above and beyond normal human comprehension.

I’m not saying that the movie was awful. It was boring. It tries to hard to be great cinema. It fails on every single level.

Judgment: If you want to be mind raped by a film, see this movie.

Rating: **

What Happens in Vegas (2008)

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You should never let a chick get in your head; that’s why I prefer not to even talk to my dates.

— Hater

You know when you see one part of a movie that is mildly amusing? My part was when Lake Bell punches Jason Sudekis square in the balls. That’s it. I know that it was for this movie, What Happens in Vegas. Let’s just say that was the only funny part of the movie. This is Fox Studio release. Nuff said.

The threadbare plot of the movie centers around a slacker, Jack (Ashton Kutcher) that was recently fired from his carpenter job by his unsupportive father (Treat Williams). The other part of this equation is Joy (Cameron Diaz), a competitive stockbroker that is vying for a big promotion. She is dumped by her fiance, Mason (Jason Sudeikis) in front of their friends at his surprise party.

When their lives do to the shitter, sepearately they decide to go to Las Vegas. They end up getting married after a night of drinking. The next day with a wicked hangover, Jack hits the three million dollar jackpot with Joy’s quarter.

They fight for the money in court when the judge (Dennis Miller) orders them to make the marriage work for six months before filing for divorce. They could split the money.

The movie turns into the The Odd Couple. It was so ridiculous. I did not buy the Kutcher/Diaz chemistry. They are just pretty people onscreen.

The cookie cutter romantic comedy formula is getting tiresome. Give the public something different!

I do not understand that a couple that is pissed out drunk could get married, even though they are not lucid enough to remember the event the morning after, but people have a problem with gay marriage. This is the kind of blatant disrespect that they should address.

The only good thing about this movie besides the nut-punch is Ashton being shirtless throughout some of the movie. That’s it.

I said my peace.

Judgment: After watching this movie, I feel like a game of Russian roulette to end my misery.

Rating: *1/2

Black Snake Moan (2007)

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God put you in my path and I aim to cure you of your wicked ways.

— Lazarus

Being that I was indisposed for a couple of days, I wanted to get back to the work at hand. Being bedridden over the weekend, I was bored. So, I decided to visit a movie that is the follow-up to Craig Brewer’s Oscar nominated film, Hustle & Flow is Black Snake Moan. This is a solid movie that you should see.

In the beginning of the movie, Rae (Christina Ricci) is an uneducated nymphomaniac that has to cope with the fact that her military boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) is leaving for basic training. When he leaves, she gets one of her “spells” and sleeps with any guy with a heartbeat, including a local pusher, Tehronne (David Banner).

Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) is a lonely bluesman that is reeling the betrayal of his second wife, Rose (Adraine Lenox) shacking up with his younger brother. The unconventional Reverend R.L. (John Cothran Jr.) bumps into Laz to urge him to come back to church. Laz refuses.

One night, Ronnie’s friend, Gill (Michael Raymond-James) makes a move on Rae when she refuses his advances, he beats her up and dumps at the side of the road. It happens to be near Laz’s house. He discovers her.

He tries to take care of her including her cough. Laz visits the local drugstore to asks the pharmacist there, Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson) about medicine to help Rae out.

Going around town, including a conversation with Tehronne, suggests that Rae is possessed by a sex demon and Laz has no choice but to chain Rae to his radiator to exorcise the demon inside of her.

In my opinion, the central message of the movie is that secrets can away at your soul. You need to free yourself of those bad vibes before it encompasses you entire life. Comparing this to his debut, the musical elements are integral to move the plot along. It’s woven seamlessly here.

There was a major element in the movie that I didn’t understand. If you have seen the movie, let me know. Laz is a guy that doesn’t go to church, but when he finds Rae on the dirt road. He decides to exorcise the sex demon that is inside of her, but he doesn’t do that. Also, Justin Timberlake was not believable in the role of Ronnie. He did not have the chops to pull it off.

Judgment: I would suggest this movie to people who have seen Hustle and Flow and want to see the next film by Brewer.

Rating: ****

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