Monthly Archives: December 2010
Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Movie Adaptation – Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith. Release date: June 22, 2012. Studio: 20th Century Fox
I wanted to expand my reviews than have endless movie reviews. This new feature was inspired by a spirited discussion with the guys from The Film Cynics where Brian made a point about not reading the source material before or after seeing a movie. I chimed in that my love a particular book have been ruined by awful adaptations of it… (coughs) Running With Scissors. I thought that I would read books that have been or will be made into movies and give let them fight to the death.
The inaugural review goes to Seth Grahame-Smith’s follow-up to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies named Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The premise of the book is self-explanatory. There have been hundreds of biographies about out sixteenth presidents ranging from a slavery sympathizer to a closet homosexual. Why not the next best thing is to transform him into a lean, mean vampire-killing machine?
When a 500-year-old vampire by the name of Henry Struges commissions Grahame-Smith to transform the “six secret journals” of Lincoln’s lifelong battle with the creatures of darkness. Ever since, Abe was a little boy, he would question why his loved ones would be healthy one day and die the next day. He learns the bitter truth about the existence of vampires and makes a solemn vow that he would see each one of them dead. He is recruited by the same Henry Sturges to do just that. You are asking yourself, why would a vampire want to kill his own kind? You just have to fight that out for yourself. Let’s just say it’s about an impending war. It’s not what you think.
My interest was piqued when I saw the cover of the book, especially the back. The idea of the tall, lanky Abraham Lincoln being a badass vamp killer was awesome.
The problem is that he rarely killed as bloodsuckers in the book. He would have his acquaintances carry out some of his assignments for him. The main problem with the book is that Grahame-Smith felt restricted about retelling Lincoln’s life that is bogged down with facts that have heard before with sprinkling of stretched truths. It was like he was afraid to go balls out insane with it. It could have gone further.
My morbid curiosity about the damage of war or ravenous vampires would do to the human body kept my interest to read further. Even though there were sporadic kills in the book, the gory details about blood gushing out, beheadings, plunging axes into chest cavities or brains spilling out of skulls made me cringe and laugh with joy at the same time.
Final KO: Without seeing the movie, I can only hope that the movie was focus more on the killing and less with the facts. If the movie was like Zombieland, than I would give the advantage to it.
I want not take the job, because I would lose all of my hair dealing with the weight of the world on my shoulders.
You don’t have to tell with disease, smog, and all that. you’re already dead.
I just want to be perfect.
— Nina Sayers
The genesis of the #119 Movie of All Time on IMDB, Black Swan stemmed from a jettisoned storyline from Darren Aronofsky’s last movie, The Wrestler. It was intended to be a story about an over the hill wrestler and fading ballerina. Aronofsky wanted to explore the psyche of a ballerina further in this movie.
Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a featured dancer in the American Ballet Company in New York City. Her overprotective mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey) gave up her dreams of being a prima ballerina to have Nina. She wants Nina to succeed in ways that she could not.
Headmaster Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) is auditioning potential dancers for his stripped down version of the classic ballet, “Swan Lake” to open up the season. The original Swan Queen, Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) is forced into an early retirement, because she is not drawing the crowds like she used to. She is embittered by this drastic action.
Seeing her chance to be the principal dancer, Nina tries out for the Swan Queen and almost loses the part due to her frigid, perfectionist style of dancing. Thomas seeing the potential in Nina when he forces himself upon her and gives her the part.
Nina’s ambition for being the best Swan Queen that ever was is consuming her when she thinks a rival dancer from San Francisco, Lily (Mila Kunis) is trying to steal her part and her life. Her paranoia over Lily, the pressures of her mother, the criticism of Thomas and the part almost consumes her as she thinks that old habits of scratching are rearing their ugly head again.
Aronofsky has a way of setting the mood of the film with a device that he did in his last film with having the camera being behind the main actor. Like the audience is falling her, going on her journey to madness. I don’t know if the notice that the color palette was mostly black and white to represent the light and the dark, good and evil, etc. I would not think that a movie about a ballerina would be Aronofsky’s plate, but I would impressed by the result.
I did find some faults with the film. It mainly deals with the supporting actresses in this film, Hershey, Ryder and Kunis. I know that Hershey wanted to be the overbearing, neurotic mother, but the scene in the kitchen with the cake. Yeah. I don’t believe for a second that Ryder would be on point in her life. Her only emotions were inebriation or anger. Nothing in between. The problem that I had with Kunis was that I didn’t believe that her character would be a rival for Natalie’s character at all. I also had an issue with the camerawork in the up-close dance sequences. It felt so jerky and weird that I could not get into the dance on an emotional level.
Judgment: It is a graceful retelling of obsession, jealousy and destruction.
I have known about The Fighter for some time now. It was originally supposed to be Darren Aronofsky next movie, but it kept getting delayed in the process. He did The Wrestler and felt that this movie would be too similar so he passed the baton to David O. Russell. It has got a lot of buzz this award season. It deserves it.
This is the true life story of Lowell, Massachusetts residents Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother, Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) circa 1993. Dicky has a HBO documentary crew follow him around for his comeback to the boxing ring where he shined as knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard, who appears as himself in the film.
Seeing that his time has passed, Dicky trains Mickey to make more goals than he ever did in his career. His decades long crack problem had him wasting away his body, hair, and mind. Their mother, Alice (Melissa Leo) is trying to keep the family together by acting as Mickey’s trainer. Dicky’s crack problem is hampering Mickey’s training and everybody sees that, except for Alice.
Mickey meets a feisty bartender after a night drinking named Charlene (Amy Adams). They begin to have a courtship when a fate steps in. Mickey would supposed to fight one opponent that is in his weight class, but his opponent caught the flu and will not be able to box. Another opponent steps up who is twenty pounds heavier than Mickey. (If you expect me to believe that Mark Wahlberg weighed 145 lbs, you are nuts. I am 160 lbs and I hit like a girl.) He takes the match so the family could get paid. He gets his ass handed to him.
Embarrassed by the loss, Mickey doesn’t want to talk to anybody in his life. Not until a rival manager would train Mickey in Las Vegas so he could have a chance to have a great career ahead of him. Mickey has a tough decision to make about choosing between his family and his career.
The movie overall was a very good exercise in establishing the dynamics between duty and pride, acceptance and being ostracized.
The story gets under your skin and wants warm your heart. It does has its faults. The main problem with this movie is the lead actor. Wahlberg has been training for this part for roughly five years and I was not rooting for him to succeed. He didn’t have the nuance, the charisma to make me be on his corner. Lastly, another down point is the fight sequences in the general were overly rehearsed. It did not feel like that they were hitting each other in the ring. It was like a choreographed dance.
Judgment: This movie is like a sucker punch to the gut.
2011 SAG Awards nominees list
A list of nominees for the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Robert Duvall, “Get Low”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Hilary Swank, “Conviction”
Outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”
Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
Outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture
Outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series
Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Hugh Laurie, “House M.D.”
Outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series
Glenn Close, “Damages”
Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: SVU”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
Outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Chris Colfer, “Glee”
Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”
Outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
Jane Lynch, “Glee”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland”
Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series
“The Good Wife”
Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series
“Hot in Cleveland”
Outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries
John Goodman, “You Don’t Know Jack”
Al Pacino, “You Don’t Know Jack”
Dennis Quaid, “The Special Relationship”
Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”
Patrick Stewart, “Macbeth”
Outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or Miniseries
Claire Danes, “Temple Grandin”
Catherine O’Hara, “Temple Grandin”
Julia Ormond , “Temple Grandin”
Winona Ryder, “When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story”
Susan Sarandon, “You Don’t Know Jack”
Outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a television series
He would have smelled the beer, then he would have fired me for sure!
— Dempster Pierson
One of the stars Jeff Bushaw of From Hollywood to Hollywood contacted me on Facebook a month ago to offer me a chance to view their movie. I was like, “Okay, I’ll watch your movie.” I finally watched the movie this past weekend and I was like, “What the fuck is this?”
The Pierson brothers are trying to find some kind of success that is not in their little town of Hollywood, Florida. Skylar (writer/director Scott Bushaw) is a reluctant gay-for-pay pornstar that wants to be a real actor and not been known for man-on-man action. His doofus of an older brother, Dempster (Jeff Bushaw) wants to drive out to Hollywood, California to be rich and famous. The trouble is that they have almost no money.
Driving out to Hollywood, California in a beat up Ford pick-up, they have a rude awakening that they hit a man, Fernando (Fernando Olivares). Miraculously, they don’t get into trouble. They end up crashing at his place, while they go to Skylar’s agent, Pat Masters (Jonathan St. Clair), who sleeps in his office with pages of screenplay as his sheet.
The brothers want to write, produce and star in their own movie. Things are not what they seem when Pat books Skylar on an audition for a ultra-low budget gay porn flick. Dempster tries to find odd jobs to help pay Fernando for rent that is due.
I almost didn’t want to review this movie, because I thought it was a huge waste of time. Jeff said it had a “unique sense of humor.” You got that right. It had none. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but come on. The acting was not good. You have a bunch of non-actors come in with their monotone, emotionless delivery of lines would make you want to kill yourself.
It was said on the IMDb page that the movie was 92 minutes long. I called bullshit. It was more like two hours of agony. It tried not to be clichéd, but it had stupid plot developments.
The only saving grace with this flick was Scott Bushaw as Skylar. At least, he did something with his character.
Judgment: This movie was painful to watch like Chinese water torture.