Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

As much as I love a good Monday rant - it's Memorial Day - and with friends and family who have served or are still serving - I'm thankful that this isn't a day that I'm visiting a grave site - but I will respectfully bow my Monday rant in respect for those who do.

I watched The Messenger (pictured above) on Friday - a film about two soldiers who's primary assignment is to notify the next of kin of their loved ones deaths. It's an interesting film - a bit sad - a bit revealing - a bit muddled - but good. Worth watching once - and a fitting film for today.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper [1936-2010]

Dennis Hopper has passed away of cancer. My folks once ate at the next table as him at a seafood restaurant in North Carolina - and though I didn't think he was a great actor - from what I was told he was very accommodating to the patrons - and despite the news reports of his crazy acts - sounded like a pretty decent guy.

Rest in Peace you crazy mother fucker!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Borrowed Time

Patron saint of my movie blog Saul - is mad that this post missed the 8AM deadline - but I'm not - which is going to make Saul even madder - and he's gonna punch somebody... Watch out guy to his right!

Strange I have such a violent patron saint...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Precious [2009]

Clarice Precious Jones is living one hell of a tough life.

Okay, I thought about how I wanted to phrase this – and I’m sorry for the puns – this is a heavy handed film with a lot of broad strokes – that even though it’s filled with a lot of fine performances – it’s just a bit too much for me to palate. The narrative was essentially – “look how much shit one person can take and still have a positive outlook – your life isn’t as bad – so get over yourself”. You know how people say Mel Gibson’s The Passion – is one giant snuff film – that’s what this film felt like to me.

I’m not ripping this film – I’m just putting those initial thoughts out there – because like I said – there were a lot of fine performances. I thought the direction was interesting – though I couldn’t understand the overuse of the little stutter zooms – which is good for showing a character having a “moment” – but I thought it was a bit more than I wanted – nothing wrong with just showing what’s happening and letting the camera pick it up – not needing to tell part of the story.

This filmed stirred up some disgusted emotions from me – from everything from rape and incest to child abuse – it was vile in it’s subject matter – I just wanted to shout “enough” – this poor girl. Story wise it was somewhat lacking – but fine performances on all sides carried the film – and though I’ve heard everything from it being uplifting to it being a tear-jerker – I found it to be good – but not great – 3 out of 5.

(First movie in a week)

[directed by Lee Daniels]

Thursday, May 27, 2010

High Snobbery! [pt 2]

I’m struggling to keep my movie blog up to date – which is usually written up on Sunday and scheduled for the entire week ahead of time – but also I haven’t watched a movie in a week now. This has become a record for me lately – and though I would be more than willing to share with you all the reasons why – if I knew you in person and we wanted to grab a beer or a cup of joe – those reasons are currently things I’m not movie blogging about.

Being movie mavens that we are – I wonder – excluding vacations and such – how long have you gone and not watched a movie (or DVD)? I know the both of you keep a movie log – we’re three oddballs of a kind when it comes to that – but a week for me is a long time.

I’ve been typing entries in the middle of the night – before they post - that explains the movie snob post – where I wanted the two of you to type up my blog for me essentially – and how when it was originally posted it contained a two part question that was the same in two parts.

The movie snob thing – yes I agree with the both of you – we have broad tastes – but we are hardly the kind of folk that would scoff at a good film no matter what genre (trash or mainstream) – if it rocks our socks – we’re willing to enjoy. I think we’ve got a healthy attitude toward film – and we really like what we really like – and there’s no snobbery in that.

I was recently given the title of “movie snob” when discussing the failings of IRON MAN 2 – but it was meant as a compliment – which I’m still wrapping my head around. The compliment part was something about having a critical mind that’s good at processing things – but followed with “if we ever watch a movie together you must shut up” – like I wouldn’t be able to control myself – not sure if that last part was meant as a joke.

I think enjoying a film – though you see flaws is normal – and I think certain people like to embrace what they love so tightly that they don’t see flaws... Ahem – me and DOOMSDAY. I think being self-aware of certain forgivable flaws in a film – allows me to enjoy it a bit more. Though when I’m asked about a movie – I tend to try and give my honest assessment – with a disclaimer of “oh you’d probably really like it” - if I think that it’s true – and I want you to ignore what may follow if it’s critical.

IRON MAN 2 is a flawed film – but I still gave it a 4 out of 5 – because it was fun – and action packed – and I enjoyed it – and 4 out of 5 is a pretty GOOD score. I just won’t be itching to pick up the DVD when it comes out because I’m not sure if I would start to focus more on those flaws and not enjoy it as much.

Well, this was just meant to be a short little blurb to A) alert you to my movie inactivity and B) address the movie snob post – but my tired fingers keep on pumping out my random thoughts. So, thanks for reading – I’ll talk to you guys later (hopefully)!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I had a like – hate relationship with the television show Lost.

I thought it was interesting at times – and at other times it was so vague I barely called it a TV show and would better describe it as a weekly mind fuck. I understand that the show was layered to the point that if I was a casual viewer I’d find it frustrating – and that’s me.

Now, as the show ended this week – and honestly – it was one of the best endings I have seen on a television show. It answered all my thoughts and questions – and now remember back to the show with some kindness. So, today, I wanted to give some movie nods to five of my favorite actors from the show in roles in films I also enjoy.

Naveen Andrews [Planet Terror, 2007]

Emelie de Ravin [Brick, 2005]

Dominic Monaghan [Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, 2001]

Jeremy Davies [CQ, 2001]

Nestor Carbonell [The Dark Knight, 2008]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

High Snobbery!

Would you describe yourself as a movie snob?

Would you describe me as a movie snob?

Do you take it as a compliment being considered a movie snob?

By rule can a movie snob like all sorts of films - everything from lowbrow to high art?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rant: IMDB

I fucking HATE the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

I steer clear of the IMDB like it was that sloppy drunk friend who never ceases to embarrass you no matter where you are at – and how many drinks they’ve had. I still frequent the site for the basic information on a movie – because there’s no still no better place (to my knowledge).

The reviews are an embarrassment. If I ran the site – in order to post something you must have watched it – therefore there would be a quiz or something proving that you’ve watched it. Actually – I wouldn’t allow user reviews – there’s many sites that offer that – I would ONLY offer published critics reviews – and make them historical.

The comment/thread section is filled with ignorance and frustration. Reading some of the comments calling for death to people who like specific films – or having a profile that can be referenced and liking or disliking a certain film – immediately discredits people’s opinions. If I ran the site – that section would be gone – there’s never anything of any use ever in those sections.

It’s filled with pop-up ads. It disguises links to blogs as featured news articles. It panders to the big studios instead of bringing light to films of all kinds. It withholds information for a “subscription fee” – and just like internet porn that does the same – there’s other places in the entire inter-verse to get what you want – so why make people pay?

IMDB is a place that wants to be interactive – but shouldn’t.

IMDB should be an encyclopedia on film – but it isn’t.

IMDB is a pathetic and horrible place – and I encourage you to avoid it as well.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Great Silence [1968]

A continuation from yesterday's post - about my favorite westerns. I've still got a few westerns that I want to see (the most notable being Keoma & Death Rides a Horse) - but this is my other favorite western not starring Clint Eastwood.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Django [1966]

Playing the new Red Dead Redemption - has made me really want to come up with a list of my favorite Westerns to share with you. The problem soon becomes - I dig only a few westerns - and that's either because they are a anti-western or because they lack that certain machismo that turned me off the westerns growing up.

Was never a fan of John Wayne or John Ford - and I never saw the appeal of Kevin Costner - and if I keep going there won't be anything left to pick from for a list. My list would contain 3/5 Clint Eastwood to two parts films directed by Sergio Corbucci - and there's really no point in making and sharing a list like that. So, I'll share this instead...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Crazy Heart [2009]

The story of an old drunk country musician who’s slowly fading into obscurity and has pretty much given up on it all – is somewhat brought back to life when he meets a young reporter.

I quite liked this film – though it’s a film about musicians we’ve all seen before – but it’s still full of its own certain complexities that make Crazy Heart an interesting film. I quite liked the idea that even though Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) has been passed by his protégé – they’ve still got a pretty good relationship. This film could’ve easily failed if it wasn’t for the healthy respect shown by Colin Farrell’s Tommy Sweet character. I mean if Bad was a joke to everyone except his new muse – Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Jane character it’d be less believable that even if you know the man behind all of the drunkenness and crassness of Bad – is someone to root for.

The music was top notch – I dug Ryan Bingham’s cameo – the man who wrote the Academy Award winning song (he’s an excellent artist – can’t get enough of his latest album Roadhouse Sun – check it out).

Ultimately though – all you really need to know about the film is that Bad Blake is a drunk and has reasons to stop being a drunk – and you get the picture of the film – and pretty much it’s all a construct (though a very well made construct) for Jeff Bridges performance as Bad Blake. It’s enjoyable – it’s got humor – well paced and well acted – but wrought with Hollywood drama fodder that you’ve kind of got to be in the mood to be dragged through. I’m giving Crazy Heart a 4 out of 5 – because I was in the mood – I could see giving it less but not more.

[directed by Scott Cooper]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Great Panda Movie Conspiracy

I believe there’s a conspiracy out there for every year to have a film that somehow involves Pandas.

A couple years ago there was Kung-Fu Panda – just last year there was Pandorum – which is almost spelled like “panda” - and what was the name of the planet in Avatar? Pandora? Lest we forget, in 1995 there was the The Amazing Panda Adventure – and though this conspiracy is being hidden from the likes of us from the IMDB - I’m confident I remember some kind of panda based films every year - big name ones too... Didn't Keanu Reeves star in one? Yeah, I'm sure he did!

Keep an eye out for more panda films coming out in 2010 - and I'll keep an eye on 2011.

We're watching you Dennis Quaid!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Dracula vs. Frankenstien
Godzilla vs. King Kong
Alien vs. Predator
Freddy vs. Jason
Monsters vs. Aliens

No doubt – if two things are popular Hollywood will take them and make them compete!

Once the President of Hollywood catches up with this new entry – they will most certainly crown me the King of Hollywood – and you will see my variation on the classic vs. theme films! Though I will probably take the versus films out of the hands of fictional monsters…

Yakuza vs. Warriors of the Apocalypse
The highly stylized well dressed Japanese mafia with their guns and occasional samurai weapons – take on the dirty punk rock warriors who use all sorts of found weaponry and rigged up cars. My conclusion would make the Yakuza stooping down to the Warriors level – after the Warriors dominating them for most of the film – ending in a near draw with heavy losses on both sides – with hopes of a sequel.

Go-Go Dancers vs. Robots
If we all know one thing – Robots hate go-go dancing – so why this film has not been made already – is unclear. Imagine a hip happening dance night club – girls on stage and in cages shaking it all over & everyone’s having a good time – then BOOM – robots invade disintegrating people with their laser beams! Of course the film has to end with the Go-Go Dancers finding the deranged figure behind the robots – and taking him down – and having a big go-go dancing party with the robots that were reprogrammed! Camp classic! (As well as getting the ball rolling on more go-go dancing films)

Biker Gangs vs. Cowboys
Imagine a line of hairy greased up Hell’s Angels swinging chains and aiming shotguns roaring their bikes toward a stampeding row of dusty cowboys yipping and brandishing six-shooters and rifles on charging horses! Epic masterpiece! I know – I’m a fucking genius – that’s why you read this blog! Not only does this film make sense visually – but also thematically as both groups are known for getting all liquored up and getting into barroom brawls.

Knights of the Roundtable vs. the Mad Scientist
A Mad Scientist accidently zaps himself into medieval times – he uses Merlin’s magic and natural curiosity to create an unstoppable shape-shifting blob monster. Merlin and the Knights of the Roundtable must act to stop the Scientist and the creature before the kingdom is in ruin. I see this one ending with a last second twist – that will alter history!

Pirates vs. the Psycho Killers
Unbeknownst to the Captain – they had buried their treasure on an island the Europeans were shipping their mental patients to – and when they return to reclaim their pirate booty – they are met by seemingly harmless – but actually quite deadly psychos! What’s nice about this one is that the mental patients will be able to blend in with the pirates a bit – and the pirates will have to come to grips with their villainy – as the lines blur between who’s who!

To tell you the truth – even though I came up with these off the top of my head – some of these sound like they could be pretty good. It actually scares me a little. I’m not saying these are original ideas – or whatever – but they have potential – and if you put some “creative” minds along with my insane one – you might get something amazing out of some of these.

Any of them you’d watch?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Education [2009]

A young woman learns a lot about love and life when she falls for an older man.

I thought this film was very well directed - well acted - and well pulled off as a whole - my only fault I found with it was I wasn't really interested. It's not like they didn't give you reason to care about the characters and story - as I pointed out it's very well made - it's just a matter of personal preference. It's a coming of age story of a girl who's well ahead of her peers maturity wise due to her parents - but no matter how mature you may be - it doesn't mean that older people can meet your level of maturity.

This falls in one of those categories where I'll probably come back and watch it - and make a real decision on what I really think - but right now it's getting a 4 out of 5 - and that's still pretty damn good.

[directed by Lone Scherfig]

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rant: A l'aventure [2009]

So, the filmmakers want you to believe that this film is about a woman who realizes she’s unsatisfied with her life – and goes off on a journey of sexual discovery.

What this movie is actually about is an old film writer/director keeps seeing all these beautiful women – he’s jealous because he’s a dirty old fuck – so he makes a movie where some woman is upset for vague reasons – an old geezer comes up to her in the park – points at a racy lingerie ad - says a few stupid things that barely make any sense – and she decides she needs to masturbate more and have different kinds of sex with different types of people.

It is rare that I shut off a movie that I haven’t already seen before I finish it – but this one needed to be taught a lesson. At 39 minutes in - the exact same thing happened 4 times - and was starting again! Lame conversations - more like monologues - and then she's off to masturbate or screw. That's it - the entire film was written to see this chick naked! Not even in a fun Tinto Brass way - in a kind of "I wonder if I can get her to do this" pervert way.

I'm not going to get into how unoriginal the story is - we all know what I think about originality in films - but fans of cult films of the 70's - who like Euro-sexual awakening films (such as myself) - are familiar with this story line and theme. The problem is - there's nothing new or racy - it's all the same. There's no sense that the director/writer - is hijacking the story and giving it their own twist - or making it watchable again. Unless you've been living in a cave - and haven't heard some of this used-to-be-taboo topics - that have been addressed in the mainstream for a while - nothing's interesting.

I guess it all would be fine – if the conversations/monologues were interesting – but they were the most dumbed down banal conversations that I would never suspect grown adults to have. Seriously? You can’t figure out how some people might find psychoanalysis interesting? Are you a preschooler? Sex and pain – yes – endorphins – no correlation? Just because you went to business school doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot to everything else in the world does it?

“Nice day out!”
“I wouldn’t know – I went to business school.”

“Would you like go grab a bite to eat?”
“I’m not hungry – I went to business school.”

“Would you like to have sex?”
“Yes, why not – I went to business school.”

I can’t rate this film – because I didn’t complete it – maybe at minute 40 things changed and the whole film would go on to become my most favorite film of all time – making Unforgiven, Little Miss Sunshine and Seven Samurai look like pieces of shit. I’m pretty safe in assuming – the rest of the film was just as bad – and I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone other than a horny teenager looking for a soft-to-medium core skin flick.

[directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau]

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Robin Hood

Russell Crowe's/Ridley Scott's Robin Hood came out this weekend - and I can't say I'm all that interested... But I am interested in rewatching Mel Brooks version... Maybe Russell was upset during that interview about his accent because of those tights...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting Stuff Done

Sorry for the non-post today - for once I didn't have my entire week of blogs scheduled ahead of time - and this week (just like Saul up top) I'm getting stuff done. Here's hoping that I get back on track for next week...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Black Dynamite [2009]

Someone kills Black Dynamite's brother - and if there's one thing you should know - it's you don't want to EVER cross Black Dynamite - because this soul brother will take your jive ass down!

I really didn't expect to like this film that much - I was worried that the humor was going to be just too broad (and for the most part it is) - but it's blended well with a good eye for the films of the 70's and action that's so over the top it's great. Black Dynamite picks up and blends the various offsprings of the blaxploitation genre's with kung fu, the mac daddy, the clean up the streets - and it works - it didn't feel like they forced one part into another to try and make it work. Michael Jai White is outstanding in the title role - he plays it straight for the most part - and overacts in the right tone when required - and is a fantastic martial artist. Salli Richardson-Whitfield was alluring in the role of Gloria - the community organizer - and at times reminded me a lot of Pam Grier (which is only a plus).

To me a bit of the broad humor brought it down a wee bit even though I laughed out loud several times (not all comedy films I watch and find humorous can do this) - and the montage was a bit confusing (thought I was missing out on a joke from a blaxploitation film) - another bit of computer effects that just didn't fit in with the entire style of the film also gave this film a bit of a confusing nod down... That all said I'll be looking to add Black Dynamite to the collection because it's just a lot of fun - I'm giving it a strong 4 out of 5 - if you are looking for a fun action film - this is a must see!

[directed by Scott Sanders]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It may have felt as though I was picking on Iron Man 2 - but I really wasn't - I was just frustrated with a few of the flaws of the film. If someone was to say that they wanted to see it - I certainly would not tell them that they shouldn't watch it - it's a fun movie. It's certainly not the best superhero movie that I've seen - but it's not the worst - because if you take a look downward - you will see my picks for the worst superhero films that I have sat through.

Blankman [1994, directed by Mike Binder]
I've sat through this one more times than I'd like to admit - thanks to summer vacation, cable and boredom. A simpleton inventor creates bulletproof pajamas - and takes on a crime syndicate in an slapstick superhero romp that's sure to leave you dumbfounded.

Captain America [1990, directed by Alber Pyun]
This film was shot on a tiny budget - and it shows.

Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer [2007, directed by Tim Story]
Both of the F4 films could be in this spot - but this one in particular gets the nod as it made so little sense. The one bonus of this film is that it thankfully killed off this version of the heroes for what is rumored to be an eventual reboot.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army [2008, directed by Guillermo Del Toro]
I've got an idea - let's make a film about a guy in a big red suit whining about his girlfriend issues - and then has to be dragged into most of the action. I know this is probably an unpopular pick - but the first one had such great potential - that this sequel was a waste.

Pumaman [1980, directed by Alberto De Martino]
If I thought Hellboy was whiney - jeesh! An Aztec goes around throwing people out of windows until he finds the fabled Pumaman (a whiney scientist) who then has to save the world from some strange Aztec mask thing. This film was an assault of nonsense - and though it was funny in the wrong ways - it was also aggravating and annoying.

I'm aware of several other really awful superhero films - Daredevil, Elecktra, Batman & Robin, Ghost Rider, the original Fantastic Four film and so forth - but have not been suckered into seeing any of them - so they don't qualify for the list. Others like Meteor Man and Batman Forever were spared mostly because I barely remember watching them - so good for them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2 [2010]

Lately, it’s been a staple that once the origin stories of a superhero franchise is out of the way in the first installment – the second is the best. Does Iron Man 2 hold up this fine tradition?

Tony Stark’s father’s ex-partner’s son builds a similar device to Tony Stark’s Iron Man reactor – and Tony Stark’s weapon manufacturing rival, Justin Hammer, decides to employ him to get a lucrative civil defense contract. BUT IT BACKFIRES!

I had several issues with this film. First off – I didn’t really feel the motivation for the villain. His father was jilted many years ago by Tony’s father – and they were both deported. I guess if the son felt that strongly about it – he never really expressed it out loud to anybody. Sure, his father died – and he felt he needed to avenge his father – but this is a movie based on a comic book – it wouldn’t be against the genre for him go to “Your father dissed my father – and I’m here for revenge!!”

Which leads me to the main action scene that introduced the bad guy Whiplash – if nobody but Tony knew what Tony was up to – how was Whiplash so prepared for it? It was a fun action scene though –up to the Mickey Mousing around in the car with Tony’s “backpack”. Just hand it the fuck over lady!

Then my other main issue was with Tony’s father’s invention. How did he know it would work if he was never able to build it in the past? A lot changes in 36 years – and nobody has ever thought of that? It felt like such an instant answer – dues ex machina – joke. I felt manipulated in giving the film my suspension of disbelief for that nonsense.

The action also felt was kind of disjointed with the director constantly feeling as though he needed to show the face reactions of Tony and Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes – because they were in suits and we couldn’t see their pointless reaction shots when the bad guys were beating up on them. It just felt out of place.

Other than that – only minor complaints. I liked the main plot – which I considered the rivalry between Stark and Hammer. The government wants Tony to turn over the Iron Man weapon – Hammer is the rival weapon’s manufacturer who wants Tony to do the same – so he could mass produce them. It makes sense – and that’s what’s important. The minor plots involving Whiplash – and Tony’s illness – doesn’t really make much sense to me – and that’s what really stems the problems that I have with the film.

The action was solid – and interesting – though I felt the first movie ultimately had better action scenes. Scarlett Johansson is foxy as always – glad they figured out a way to get her into a cat suit. Did Sam Jackson put on some weight? I liked how they played around a bit with the whole Tony Stark drinking problem like was a major issue in the comics – though I question if it was more of a plot device than something we can look forward to seeing more of in the future.

If Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Spider-Man 3 and the Batman of the 1960's has taught us anything - dancing superheroes is not something we the people want to see. I don't care! You shut up! I didn't mind Peter Parker's little jig... I will NOT listen to reason! I hate you so much! Sorry, I didn't mean that last bit - you can have one of my cupcakes as an apology. It's all misdirected anger - and I know it - and you don't deserve to be talked to like that.

Though seeing Scarlett do some go-go dancing in her cat suit would've been nice. Would that have been too much to ask for? Haven't made mention of how much I miss go-go dancing in movies - but I still hold that flame high!

I was a bit curious why Rhodey took that opportunity to make his move – and take the old suit – it didn’t feel like he was going to up to that point – and then he did and I’m all like “whoa – hey man – get your damn hands off her” and then he looked at me and punched me and I cowered – but then got up and socked him in the jaw and gained the love of my dearest and we got married and had kids and one of my kids went into the past and set it all up using a time traveling car... It was epic.

I almost feel like I’m being generous with the rating – but it was a fun movie – and I would probably give it a 3.5 – but I round up – so it’s a 4 out of 5 for Iron Man 2.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rant: Box Office Phooey

It was recently announced that Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - has grossed enough to be the 10th grossing film of all time. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Movies now filmed for 3D and IMAX should now be on the list at the highest grossing films of all time from now on. Those films are pulling in $10 a ticket for any showing - and I'm sure even more in prime time showings. The extra novelty of a bigger screen or 3D allows people to feel they are paying the right amount - even though it's a ridiculous fee for seeing a film.

George Lucas publicly said after the success of Avatar - that 3D technology is now at a point that he wants to redo Star Wars in 3D. I think it doesn't have much to do with the technology, George, I think you saw the dollar signs Avatar put up - and suddenly your penis is feeling a bit small. That's one of the real reasons you felt you had to digitally add scenes that did not fit into the films that everyone had enjoyed for 20 years - because it brought home the bacon.

I think we should all get more interested in who's sold more tickets - rather than which film made more money. If the media insists on announcing how much a film made - and how it ranks on the all time list - that they make note of the ticket prices - and adjust.

According to the adjusted ranking for box office gross on Box Office Mojo - Burton's Alice in Wonderland hasn't even cracked the top 100 yet. We are still looking at Gone With the Wind being the top grossing film of all time at $1.6B domestic gross.

If you don't feel like clicking on the link - here's the top 10.

#1 Gone With the Wind [1939] - $1.6B
#2 Star Wars [1977] - $1.4B
#3 The Sound of Music [1965] - $1.1B
#4 E.T. [1982] - $1.1B
#5 The Ten Commandments [1956] - $1B
#6 Titanic [1997] - $1B
#7 Jaws [1975] - $1B
#8 Doctor Zhivago [1965] - $986M
#9 The Exorcist [1973] - $879M
#10 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves [1937] - $866M

It's hard to take money and movies seriously because you can cut them to say just about whatever you like. Not that studios care - but I would like to see each Sunday they roll out how many tickets they sold - and see if the film that's #10 on the weekly list actually sold more tickets than the film at #1 - because of the $3 second run theaters. Just saying... It would be interesting...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Feel Good Inc.

Last couple days have been filled with good news and good times!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Machete [2010]

Wow, if there was ever a movie trailer that spoke to a topic that's presently relevant to what's happening right now... Add this to the films I'd like to see this year - glad if finally happened! (Why did Jessica Alba need to be in it though?)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five Minutes of Heaven [2009]

Two men must face their pasts - one a murderer (Liam Neeson) - the other the murderer's victim's brother (James Nesbitt) in a televised sit down "confrontation".

What I liked about this film was that it does a pretty good job of balancing the two sides of the story. It’s not clear if you were to sympathize more with the broken victim’s brother – who’s irritable and full of hate (for good reason) – or the murderer who’s broken in his own way and inside his cool exterior is begging for redemption and forgiveness. This could’ve easily been a clown hammer movie – telling you what to feel – but it’s more ambiguous than that. That being said – over all I found the story to be intriguing – yet anti-climatic on a couple fronts – which I guess is good because you are not looking at a typical resolution – but still a bit of a “let down” for the build-up.

I felt the direction was fantastic – and the acting was outstanding by both principles. I’m giving it a 4 out of 5.

[directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel]

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Science Fiction [For Seriously]

I was watching a cooking program - where the designers had to create a 'science fiction' sugar showpiece - and one thing really bothered me - and that was the fact that the judges deemed science fiction to be robots, aliens and outer space.

If you want to be so narrow minded to believe that 'science fiction' is Buck Rogers, Star Trek and Battlefield Earth - that's great - but there's a whole lot of science fiction that has NOTHING to do with those described elements of monsters and space travel. Here's a few of my favorites...

A Clockwork Orange [1971, directed by Stanley Kubrick]
Miscreants who seem helpless to rehabilitation processes - are treated to "aversion therapy".

The Quiet Earth [1985, directed by Geoff Murphy]
A man awakens to discover he's the last person on earth.

Twelve Monkeys [1995, directed by Terry Gilliam]
In a future decimated by disease a "convict" is sent back in time to determine the cause.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [2004, directed by Michel Gondry]
A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memory.

Children of Men [2006, directed by Alfonso Cuaron]
In the near future - mankind finds itself sterile.

See, no monsters, robots or spaceships - just solid and actual science fiction. Glad I showed that cooking program who's boss!

(I would put Primer [2004] on the list - but after just watching it for the first time over the weekend - I'm still baffled.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Lovely Bones [2009]

Susie Salmon is murdered – and she watches from heaven as her family deals with it.

One thing I really dislike hearing about movies is about how the book is better than the movie – so let me bypass that statement – and let one assume that fact as I give my thoughts on The Lovely Bones.

The movie felt unfocused and confused. I found that it just lost steam towards the end – and the creativity and passion for telling an interesting story left the film. I found this to be a story problem – where everything felt like it took a long time to accomplish – even the beginning statements of how Susie Salmon was going to be murdered took about 40-minutes to actually happen. Unless they wanted to make a 3 hour film – then all the lofty ideas that were floated out there just were not going to be fully fleshed out.

The direction of this story seemed fine – but where the story begins to lack – that’s when the direction starts to fail. The acting all around was pretty solid – though with how disjointed the story became – I just didn’t feel that any character was really able to come into their own. It felt as though they kept saying “oh yeah – this happens – and this happens – and this happens” instead of really letting it unfold organically. The question then becomes – “who’s story is this?” – I thought the real story was about the family Susie left behind – and not her desire for “justice” – Susie should’ve just remained an observer rather than the driving force of the film.

By my definition – The Lovely Bones is a perfect example of a 3 out of 5 film – it failed at being all it could be – but it wasn’t a horrible way to waste my time. I must admit – the book is an interesting read – and as I consider it – it probably doesn’t work as a movie even if it was executed perfectly.

[directed by Peter Jackson]

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let's talk "bad"

I started reading a book by a Australian movie journalist, Michael Adams, called Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made. It’s an interesting topic to tackle – because “bad” means different things to different people.

I know personally, I probably like a bunch of movies that others would consider “bad”. Filmmakers Jesus Franco, Neil Marshall, Normal J. Warren and many others I will giddily rent or watch films of – might be on the “do not disturb” list for others.

I’m not going to give you a book review or anything - as I'm just a handful of pages in – I’m just going to give you interesting updates as I read and find something interesting.

My first major observation is how one of my favorite television personalities Kevin Murphy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame gave advice to the author in the early goings of his quest. He tells him that films like Robot Monster (notorious for the monster being a man in a gorilla suit with a fishbowl on its head) – pales in comparison to films like Forrest Gump on his own personal badness scale.

Robot Monster has zero budget – and zero talent – so it had no chance.

Forrest Gump had a massive budget and tons of talent – and it’s a paint by numbers – “we are telling you to feel this here – and this here – and this here” instead of a film that had any nuance or message.

I don’t mind Forrest Gump – I thought the usage of technology was interesting (for the time) – but in the overall scale of things – yes I felt it was a American History for Dummies course – paint by numbers feeling clown hammer film. When I watch the film – I don’t mind the manipulation of it – though I don’t put it on my favorite film list anywhere – it’s your standard popcorn fair.

Murphy lists as the worst films much more modern ego-driven drivel such as Warren Beatty’s Town & Country and dares Adams to sit through Gena Davis’ Cutthroat Island. Which is interesting considering Murphy is famous for ripping older sci-fi films/horror/b-movies to pieces on MST3K. (Of course you should be aware that MST3K had to fight for the rights of the films they gave the “treatment” – so their selection was mostly public domain films – so it may be more about the budget than the films “badness”)

I find myself in agreement when it comes to Murphy and “badness” of films – the more ego and money pressed up against the screen – the more apt that if it’s bad – it’s infamously bad. That’s why I’m more apt to tell someone about my hatred for Academy Award winner Crash – than Monster A Go-Go or the Wild World of Batwoman.

Also, as an interesting side note – the first movie Adams pulls from his bingo ball machine to watch is Showgirls – which I don’t find as notoriously bad as others – the message gets a little lost but otherwise an interesting film. Even Adams claims to have an affinity for the film saying it was his 6th time watching the film – and he goes on to detail parts of a trek to Vegas he made to see the sights featured in the film. That makes two Aussies that I “know” who have an affinity for the film – interesting.

Well, I enjoyed talking to you about "bad movies" and as I read this book - or I have any new thoughts on movie badness - I will be happy to pass the word along. Sadly, as I continue reading this book - I realize it sounds more and more like a talk about the author's journey and him flexing his "I know a lot about movies" muscles than actual talk about the content and quality of the films. I'll stick with it - but as for now - no assigned reading my fellow fitness friends.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

[Fake] Movie Poster Sunday

I really miss this style of movie poster - I'm glad to see I'm not the only one...

[I'd give credit to the designer - but I ganked these from a flicker account and don't know the "artist"]